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Monday, December 31, 2012

HOLIDAY MAX-OUT

     By the time I get to New Year's Eve, I always feel rather maxed out on everything holiday and celebratory. The balance of work and play and pleasure and productivity has gotten all skewed. Every year I plan to simplify, to make it different somehow, and every year, the over-exaggerated emotional nature of the time of year becomes too much. It's haunted time in a way, haunted with old memories, disappointed expectations, unrealistic hopes, inconvenient physical realities, and too much food and forced togetherness. I look forward to getting back to the routine of my life.
     And maybe that's what it's really supposed to be all about anyway, the big blow-out before the fresh start-over. By January 1, we are generally ready to purify and make changes, to examine the real-life conditions in which we find ourselves and be honest, more honest than usual, about what needs adjustment.
     For all my resistance to the over-done nature of Christmas and the week that follows, maybe it happens just the way it does to push us to the next level of growth. Maybe, as always, everything I am wrestling with, is exactly the way it is supposed to be, and ultimately happens for my highest good in the end.

I accept the way I feel and I'm willing to look honestly at my life conditions to make whatever changes are necessary- in attitude, in habit, and in approach- to improve my health and well-being, and to improve my overall state-of-mind. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SIENNA AND NICK

     For eighteen years I have been a mother. Sienna and Nick came early, right after Christmas, and changed my life in every way possible. They added weight to my daily adventure, and responsibility, and a powerful sense of fierce protective loving. They gave me the desire to teach and guide and inspire and entertain. They fascinated me, and still do. They challenged me and stretched me to the farthest length of every possible limit, and still do. They gave me purpose and taught me to accept and let go, and then accept and let go some more.
     Each of them is beautiful and creative and resilient and sensitive. Sienna is heart and scrap, and Nick is commanding and charismatic. I love my children unconditionally and feel blessed and honored to participate as they unfold and step forth.

I am grateful to share life with my children.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

STRONG AND STEADY

     It is a great virtue to be steady, to be reliable, tireless, dedicated, and well-earthed. Restless, flighty folks spread scattered energy all around them, and one is never quite sure whether they can be counted on, or not. It's easy to be steady for a spell, or for a season, or for as long as a certain mood lasts, but to be steady across time brings unsurpassed rewards.
     We miss so much in life by quitting and running and laziness. It's the story of the tortoise and the hare. Let's embrace the energy of the steady turtle and reach our goals by consistent effort rather than some kind of lottery-type luck.

I master the art of steady progress.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

BOXING DAY

     Another Christmas come and gone and we are left again in the holiday aftermath. Perhaps we have a sense of anti-climax, or maybe we are hungover, or still partying and ready to rock all the way through the New Year. Perhaps we are food-indulged and family indulged- bulging from all of our seams, but happy, hopefully, and still glowing in some way from yesterday's good vibrations.

I enjoy my Christmas leftovers.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

CHRISTMAS

     Christmas is the time to recognize the people we love and appreciate, and to feel their love and appreciation for us in return. The build-up is grandiose and there's always a sense that the day should be big and bold and the height of ecstasy and all of our best emotions, but as I grow and evolve, I find it much more a time to be soft and quiet. Christmas feels small almost, and delicate, easily missed and misunderstood. It is gentle gratitude and warm homespun celebration. It's from the inside out, and not the other way around. Let's breathe and smile and celebrate the great light of love that comes to us in the middle of winter's chill.

I welcome Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

CHRISTMAS EVE

     Christmas Eve is the dawn of Love. Let's wake up and be conscious of it. Let's recognize and appreciate our blessings. Let's be thankful in our hearts towards everyone and everything- towards the difficulties that teach us and the sweetness that comforts us. We all have something to be grateful for!
     Let's invite happiness and goodness into our day; satisfaction, serenity, patience, and joy. Let's celebrate the coming Christmas in the purest way possible. Let's glory gratefully in the grace of God.

I celebrate the gift of Love!! 
    

Friday, December 21, 2012

NO MATTER WHAT

     I often want circumstances to be a certain way so that I can feel a certain way- with all things being perfect. But life is not like that. It's rare for everything to come together at the same time. One situation begins to resolve and another is just getting started.
     We have to find a way to be ok no matter what. No matter the who; no matter the why and where, we can be peaceful. We can be happy. We can be well. It is not circumstances that determine our state of mind, but our mind that determines the state of our circumstances.

I can be happy and at peace no matter what.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

ARROGANCE

     Arrogance screams out to be right sized. It knows everything and is an expert on everything and looks down from above with judgment and scorn. Most things are painfully obvious to arrogance and it has very little, if any, patience, and absolutely no tolerance for those to whom life is not so obvious.
Arrogant people are puffed up, and they shrink everyone they contact. They are guile and slickness and manipulation, with a touch of cruelty. They believe their own lies.
     Let's be loving instead. Love increases value and magnifies beauty and remains sincere. Love is genuine and complimentary. It is inclusive and has no harsh edges. Love is the best answer and always and absolutely the best approach.

I am on the lookout for arrogance, and replace it with love wherever I can.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

GREAT LOVE

     Some people, and perhaps men in particular, think of love as something soft and mushy, something Hollywood, something sensitive and unmanly. But the truth is that there is nothing more powerful on earth than the power of love. It is the power of transformation and the power of confidence; the power of the body and the power of the heart. It is joy and peace and gratitude and grace. Love alone can dispel fear, darkness, hopelessness, and sickness. Love is the ultimate light.
     Small love accomplishes small things, but great love changes the world.

Love empowers me and makes me unstoppable.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

LEAVING WORK AT WORK

     It's an art to be able to leave work at work when we finish the day. So many of us carry it home with us- all of the problems and struggles and stresses. We carry home upsets with our co-workers, resentments, anger, frustration- you name it.
     What if we walked out the door and were truly and absolutely able to leave, and turn our attention fully to home and family and pets and dinner and relaxation- to the evening- free from worry, and free from care? What if we could really leave the baggage of our hard work at the office? Wouldn't it be grand? What if we were able to be present and content and unburdened wherever we are?
     Let's try it. Let's make an effort to stop carrying our stuff back and forth. Let's leave the office at the office and leave home at home, and not keep mixing them up and confusing all of our issues.

When I leave work, I leave it.

Monday, December 17, 2012

NORMAL?

     What is "normal?" Whatever we're used to, I suppose; whatever we have become conditioned to. We can normalize anything: chaos, clutter, freedom, imprisonment, fear, love, optimism, negativity. Let's consider what strangeness and dysfunction we have normalized in our lives, both historically and in the now. What things do we do simply because we have always done them, without ever asking why? And what do we believe and act out and justify just because? 
     We have honesty at our disposal, and choices. Let's make the decision to choose consciously what's "normal" for us, and with our eye towards ever better and better health.

I consider all of the dysfunction in my life that I have normalized, and I'm willing to make different choices to experience better living.

Friday, December 14, 2012

RUTS

     Once we have mastered something, it loses a bit of its appeal. It is then that we must create new challenge or move on. I believe it's the drive of humanity to continually grow and stretch and reach for new heights. I know that's what drives me. There's always another level, and another step, sometimes along the path we are on, and sometimes striking out on an entirely fresh course.
     To stick in a rut is to miss adventure and intrigue. Ruts are comfortable for a time, but eventually they take us in a direction we no longer want to go.

If I am stuck in a rut, I am willing to climb out and look around. I am willing to try something different for the sake of my own evolution.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

SURRENDER

     To surrender is to stop fighting and fretting and battling everything we face. It's freedom from angst and freedom from the fierce and insistant desire to contol outcomes and people. To surrender is to let be what is. It's putting down our guns and ammunition and admitting that we can't win at the crazy game we're playing. No matter how we force our will and muscle and power and agenda, we can't ever make things happen our way absolutely. Life isn't like that. It's all about the unknown and the unforseen and the uncontrollable.

I am willing to stop fighting everything and everybody. I am willing to let be what is.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

NO BIG DEAL

     We make our obligations and responsibilities out to be arduous. We consider them to be largely unwanted, but necessary, requiring an extreme effort on our part. They feel like weight on our backs-a burden. We make them big in our minds, and difficult to face. But they need not be. Life is made up of many small happenings far more than it is made up of big deals.
     So much more than we acknowledge is unimportant and non-essential. All we really have to do is show up for life and do the best we can with what's in front of us. And remember that we are not alone, and that there's some kind of beauty in everything, and that it's possible to enjoy the whole ride.

Lots of what I think is a big deal is not. I let go of my agenda and enjoy the ride.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

GRATITUDE

     It's so easy- too easy almost- to take things for granted; exceptional things like our good health and our best friends, our spouses and children, our siblings and parents, our income. We are flippant and cavalier, as if there are assurances, as if we have some kind of guarantee.
     And sadly, it often takes a loss of some kind to wake us up and make us appreciative. Anything and everything can be stripped from us in a split second. What we bank on is tenuous as a spider's web. The only answer for the fragility of our lives is gratitude, gratitude here and now and every moment of every day.

I take nothing for granted. I appreciate what I have.

Monday, December 10, 2012

ACCEPTING THE WHOLE SELF

     I have been resisting myself- my feelings and my physical limitations, my have-to mentality, my need to keep moving, and my moods. It's a bewildering thing to realize- that I am at war with myself; that I have been angry with my body for its aches and pains, for having a cold, for headaches and cramps and whatever the day might serve up. It's ridiculous. It makes me all out of whack.
     I need to come into integrity with myself, to accept all of me as me. I am not only lofty thoughts and high spiritual experiences. I am base and human, in need of sleep and tenderness. I require healing and hot showers, and an occasional medical solution. I cannot push on without stopping and expect my body to rally at a break-neck pace forever. I need rest and recovery and a whole lot of appreciation for the totality of who I am. We all do.
     Let's accept our whole selves, and be kind and loving with our ailments.

I am grateful for my physical discomforts. They remind me that I am body as much as spirit, and in need of ongoing physical care.

Friday, December 7, 2012

THE MOTIONS

     Some days are better than others. Some days we are on top of our game and some days we would do better to crawl under a rock. We feel the need to retreat from the world and spend a day in our pajamas and lick our wounds... but our responsibilities call us to action, and we have to keep on, and keep on, and keep on. And though we may resist it, the truth is, that taking care of all that we have to take care of, and going through the motions that we have to go through, is ultimately the very thing that keeps us afloat.

I am grateful for the motions of my life. They keep me going against all odds.
    

Thursday, December 6, 2012

LIFE'S SAVING GRACE

     The one certainty of life is that it goes on, no matter what, and carries us with us. Some days we are willing to go with the flow and enjoy the ride, and some days we dig in our heels with angst and dismay. But life carries us anyway. It doesn't care that we resist. It carries us through difficulties and past hardship and across time. Life always seems to find a way to bless us in the end.

I trust in the far side of sickness and emotional storms. I recover eventually, and feel grateful to be alive and well.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

RESISTING THE NEW

     Why do we resist what's new? Even if the old is worn out and not working? Maybe because we are comfortable with the old and we know what to expect. We know how to play our angle and we can speculate accurately about reactions and outcomes. We are settled in and comfortable. We have made our peace.
    With new people and new situations we are off balance and unsure. But rather than admit our fears and uncertainties we prefer to spew hostility. We pre-judge. We condemn in advance. But we needn't. Let's look for the best in all that comes our way, and keep an open mind. Let's allow for opportunity and growth and evolution. Everything comes to teach us a lesson.

I feel resistance when facing something new in my life and let it go. I open with curiosity to whatever is there.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

ADMITTING LIMITATIONS

     It's hard for me to admit that I have limitations. I believe in all possibility and I have a sense of spiritual greatness within, but I have physical, human realities that hold me back, and keep me in check. I get tired. I get sore. I am susceptible to changing hormones and colds and less than a good night of sleep. I feel fear and doubt. I have unhealthy patterns of belief.
     And yet, I have moments where I can glimpse what's beyond the realm of what I can see, and it's beautiful and unlimited and I want it all the time. But I have to work within the parameters of daily living, and time constraints, and physical stopping points, and most of the time, that's ok. There's beauty in all of that too.
     Where I get in trouble is when the endless possibilities and the short term realities clash like titans inside of me, and I become torn and conflicted emotionally, not understanding how the two can share the same space. I think it has to be one or the other. But it doesn't, and it isn't. It's both and all. It's side by side and everything matters, and there's a time and a place and a reason for all of it, even if I don't always understand.

I trust that everything I feel can coexist peacefully within me, and all of it together makes me who I am.

Monday, December 3, 2012

CONTROL FREAK

     I make myself sick trying to control things. I resist what I don't want and what I don't like as if my sheer resistance will change the facts. But my resistance only makes me edgy and irritable and rigid all over. It is a fine art to know when to surrender and when to exert my will. And the truth is, even when it's the right thing to stand up and make an effort and make a change, I cannot do it with force and angst. Grace must be the underlying principle, if I want to be calm on the inside. I get too attached to outcomes and way too intense.
     If something is meant to be, I believe it will happen, whether I come at it like a dog at the bone or a bubbling creek; and if something is not meant to be, no amount of my urging and pushing and forcing and stressing will make it happen any sooner or any way at all. So I can let go and ease up. I can trust the path and keep following my inclinations, and do a little bit stress-free, and then a little bit more.

I am tired of holding on to everything so tightly. I am willing to loosen my grip.

Friday, November 30, 2012

SLOWING DOWN

    One day at a time. One thing at a time. One thought at a time. We clutter ourselves by trying to do too much at once. And then we wonder why we feel scattered and frazzled and overwhelmed. Everything in our world urges us to speed up, to do more, to get busier and busier and busier- to push every limit and burn the candle at both ends- as if that were living "large." But it's not.
     Living large is living small in some ways, and living simple; about less, not more, and about appreciating what is right in front of us each moment of every day instead of watching it all in a rush and a blur as we accelerate past it and beyond... to where?

I slow down and simplify my life. I can do less and be happier.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

THANK YOU BOB BAGSHAW!! :)

Here's a provocative question from my friend, Bob:

If you were told that you would die by the end of the day, would you panic or remain calm? And if you panicked, what would be the reason(s)?

I honestly consider the question above, and use it as a tool to improve the quality of my life.
 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

CHOOSING OUR APROACH

     If we had a handful of words, to describe our approach to life, what would they be? Does it depend on the day? The time of year? Our mood? Do we allow external circumstances to influence us and blow us around like fallen leaves in the wind, or are we solid and rooted like the trees they fell from? Are we suspicious of life? Are we burdened? Are we enthusiastic? Curious? Secure? Does our approach define our experience or the other way around?
     Let's consider our options and our habitual fallback position and become conscious enough to choose the way we live.

I choose to live by enthusiasm, faith, hope, and love!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

LIFE AS CONTINUOUS

     So much of our experience happens in layers, and one thing leads to another and another and on and on ad infinitum. We are guided forward from one thing to the next. We begin in one place and end up somewhere else entirely unintended. And then we are led onward from there. Life is a process of moving into the next open space and then the next one, wherever the currents may flow. We don't arrive anywhere absolute. We evolve slowly instead, and continuously, one small bit at a time.

     My life is a non-stop adventure. The end of one thing is the beginning of the next.

Monday, November 26, 2012

WHAT'S WHAT

     Often, when we are faced with something straightforward, we over-complicate it. And sometimes, when faced with something complicated, we over-simplify it. We make errors in judgment and assessment all the time in both directions. We think that we know what's what at a glance.
     But we would do better to stop assuming and allow for all possibility in all things. We can't ever know for sure how many layers of skill and meaning and intricacy are involved until we begin.

I don't pre-judge situations. Sometimes what appears simple is more complicated than I realize, and sometimes what seems impossible is not impossible at all.

Friday, November 23, 2012

BLACK FRIDAY

     Let's take the panic out of Christmas this year. Let's commit to a gentle ride and a remembrance of our purpose. Let's spread love and cheer and give of ourselves at a level of depth that we've never given before. Let's not push and shove our way through people and grab for our fill, not at the malls, not in our bellies, and not in our spirits.
     Let's have an open and allowing approach, and a willing suspension of urgency. We needn't fret and collapse ourselves with overwhelm. We needn't freak out. We can be calm, and carry peace within us wherever we go.

The approaching Holiday Season needn't create panic in me. I make a vow to keep it simple and savor all of the things about this time of year that I love.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

THANKSGIVING

     Let's focus on the Thanksgiving part of the day today rather than the food and the family dysfunction. Let's focus on our blessings and all the good in our lives, and make it about peace and gratitude instead of stuffing and gravy. We can enjoy the food, but let's do it in moderation. Too much of anything becomes sickening. Let's taste and savor and enjoy each bite... of the meal and the day and our lives and our blessings.

I express my thanks in action today. I am grateful for all of the things that I habitually take for granted.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

RUTS OF HABIT

     So much of the way we experience our lives is the result of our habits. Our habits bind us and define us. They make us miserable or set us free. We have habits of thinking, eating, behavior, exercise- habits of perspective and possibility and religion and love. And most of the things we do and believe and think over and over and over are like ruts. We fell into them once upon a time and never stopped traveling the route.
     Let's bring awareness to our habits and be willing to change the ones that limit us and confine us; the ones that make us sick, or unhappy, or less than our best selves. It's a question of willingness and discipline. We feel stuck, but we are not. All we have to do is peek over the edge of the rut we're in to see that the world is bigger than we think. We can pick a new direction anytime we please, and carry on fresh.

I recognize that I am ruled by my habits, and that I can change them anytime I please. I am never as stuck as I think.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

ON THE LOVE-PATH

     I don't agree that there are different kinds of love. Love is love. But sometimes we feel it in cupfuls and sometimes we feel it in buckets. Love is not sex, and love is not sexual attraction, though with certain individuals love wants to express itself physically.
     Above all, love is a pouring out of the heart. It's all our best feelings mixed together with a hint of sadness for our suffering. But love is pure and not divisible, so it's not one love for our friends and one love for ourselves and one love for our children and one love for our spouse. It's just one love.

I allow the energy of love to move through me and all around me. I am on the love-path.

Monday, November 19, 2012

BEING MYSTERIOUS

     We know facts and figures and the stories of our lives. We know how to do things and we have skills. We know people, and we know the science of birth and death and genetics. And yet, in some primordial and deep way, we are largely mysterious beings, even to ourselves. And I don't think life is about figuring out the mystery. On the contrary, I think it's about embracing it. We are marvelous and mysterious beyond our wildest dreams. 'Aint it grand? :)

I surrender to the mysterious.

Friday, November 16, 2012

CREATURES OF WANT

     We are creatures of want and longing. We want what we don't have and what is just beyond our reach. We are rarely content with things exactly the way they are. We are always striving, and always looking for the change that will make all the difference.
     But if we can't be happy where we are, then we will never be happy anywhere. The change we are looking for, and the difference that makes all the difference... is in us.

I am open to opportunity and adventure, but not as an answer, only as a choice. I am ok as I am and I want what I have.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

ON EDGE

     What does it mean to be "on edge?" What are we on the edge of, and what would happen if we went over it? Would we fall? Would we fly? Would we take a dive and land in a pool of water, or on our head? Would we get mad? Lose our minds? Laugh out loud? Would it be a relief to not have to hold on anymore? And what are we holding on to anyway?
     I think we hold on to control, and that control is the thing we are most afraid to lose. But what a grand illusion! I'm not sure we ever really have it anyway- at least, not to the degree that we think we do.

I can't lose control if I don't have it to begin with.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

WORRYING

     Worry is a deeply engrained habit, but like all habits, perhaps it can be broken. I am tired of worrying about things. It's exhausting and it doesn't do any good. What if this and what if that? I'm not sure it even matters. If it's not one thing, it's another, and will be forever and ever amen.
     If I could stop worrying completely, and fretting over all that's possible and what each and every scenario might mean for me personally, my life would be different. I would have fewer wrinkles and a lot more space in my head.

When I catch myself worrying, I shift my attention to the present moment and take a deep breath.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

PREDICTING THE FUTURE

     We make predictions about the day before us, and the week, and the trip, and the season, and the year. We are prediction experts. It's going to be amazing! It's going to be exhausting. It's going to be horrible, wonderful, refreshing, relaxing, just what I need- But... how do we know?
     Why do we have to slap our hopes and expectations all over the future before we even begin? Let's confess our fears about things but remain open to the possibility that they will be different from our expectations in ways we can't possibly anticipate. Let's get in the habit of saying it will be an adventure rather than nailing it to one side or the other of our emotional fence.

I stop thinking I know what things will be like before I experience them and open to the adventure of having no idea.

Monday, November 12, 2012

KEEPING UP

     If we cannot keep up with our lives, then perhaps they are too full. Maybe we need to do less instead of moving faster. Modern life seems to entail so much urgency and pressure- some self-induced and some imposed from the outside- and the pressure will explode us if we do not release it somehow or back it off. We can only do well in a certain amount of time what we can do well. If we insist upon more than that, our effectiveness diminishes greatly and the quality of our work is compromised.
     We hurry up recklessly and burn ourselves out. Let's be willing to plug away at things steadily and do our best work rather than demanding that everything get done in a rushing blur. So often, we hurry so that we can wait. It's silly. Let's proceed without panic and trust that all will be accomplished in its own sweet time.

I stop insisting on getting done more than I can do. I do what I can, and do it well, and that is enough.

Friday, November 9, 2012

LOVE

     Love, like happiness is an inside job. It is not something we can attain with the perfect combination of external circumstances. We cannot buy it with any amount of money, or sell it. Love is not something that happens to us. It is something that we are. Love is a way of being and a way of seeing. If we want to feel it, we have to be it.
     Some of us are guarded with our love and afraid to admit to it, afraid it makes us appear vulnerable, and maybe even weak. We have love for people but don't tell them. We are stoic, and rigid. But love is not! Love is open-hearted and generous. It looks for beauty and sees it and celebrates it. It is forgiving and compassionate and kind. If we are these things then we are love. And love expressing itself through us is the supreme emotion. It is more satisfying than anything else I know.

If I want to feel love, I feel it. It doesn't come from anything external. It comes from inside of me.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

SUN AND DARKNESS

     Let's be bright and happy. Let's stand upright and be joyful. This is the kind of energy we like to encounter in the world so why not be it as well? We look forward to spending time with people who smile and laugh, who look at things with optimism and love and shine their light on the world, and on us.
     The opposite, on the other hand, brings us down. Those who are dark and broody, sullen, negative, and cynical, are people we would usually rather avoid. So let's not be them! Let's be bright instead! It's a daily choice well worth making.

If I am down, I think of all the things I love in my life and fill up on gratitude so that I can be sunshine in the world instead of darkness.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

PERFECT

     We all have our piles of fear and insecurity, and I am willing to bet that at the bottom of most piles is the BIG FEAR that we are somehow not enough: not good enough, not thin enough, smart enough, rich enough, pretty enough, or deserving enough. And that it's our primary job to become more of whatever we perceive that we lack.We want to be more of everything to solve our problems.We suffer deeply from a consuming dis-ease of more.
     But what if the real truth is that who we are and what we have is just right and absolutely perfect? What if we are missing our blessings and our gifts and talents by being too fiercely critical? Let's slow down and remember who we really are. It's deeper than the surface, and deeper than our fears and judgments. Who we are is beautiful, and who we are is just who we are supposed to be.

I appreciate the depth of my being and celebrate the wonder of who I am.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

POSSIBILITY

     It is not enough to "try." It is not enough to make half-hearted attempts at honesty or fidelity or integrity or love. If we want to experience bliss in our lives, and the rewards of doing the right thing, we must engage our whole hearts. We must be diligent, and vigilant. We must be willing to invest our lives with everything we have to invest. If we hold back, we sabotage possibility.
     Let's be authentically alive and fully engaged. Let's not cut corners or come at things with mediocrity and less than our best. If we do that, then mediocrity will be the best that we get.

I give everything I have to every aspect of my life so that I can experience all that is possible. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

COMPASSION OVER PITY

     Real compassion is an action more than an emotion. It is empathy backed by a practical desire to help. It's different from pity which is dispensed from a position of superiority. It's the difference between "I feel sorry for you," and "I know how you feel. I have experienced something like that in my life before. And here's what helped me." Compassion gives hope. It shines a light on the path and knows there is goodness waiting on the far side of tragedy because it's been there and experienced the passage. Pity is a dead end.
     So let's be compassionate. Let's be willing to share our experience, open our hearts, and be helpful in the best way possible.

I choose compassion over pity. I am willing to make myself useful.

Friday, November 2, 2012

COMMON SENSE

     Dysfunction in our culture abounds. In business, in dietary habits, in the pursuit of pleasure and the way we see ourselves, there is a lack of common sense and practicality. Our vision is skewed and our sense of proportion and proper purpose distorted.
     Let's not contribute to the mess. Let's be smart and make sense of our lives. Let's appreciate what we have and behave with nobility and grace. Let's not cut corners and jip ourselves or our friends or our families of the time and legitimacy and dignity that they deserve.

I live by intelligence, gratitude, and courtesy.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

SIMPLE BLESSINGS

     We miss so many of life's details by being caught up in our heads. We worry over what's already done and project worst-case-scenarios all over the pristine future. We feel oppressed and singularly burdened. But we are all challenged and blessed in relative portions. So let's do the best we can with our challenges, and not miss the blessings. This time of year they come partly in leaves and wind and colors carpeting the earth beneath our feet.

I notice and appreciate all of the natural wonders around me.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

        What haunts us? What spooks and goblins rattle our nerves? Is it past spectres or ones from the future that jump out at us from behind dark corners and terrify us when we least expect it?
     Let's put on our brave masks and heroic costumes and face our ghosts. Let's welcome them and give them treats. Let's admire the ways they are dressed up, and recognize that underneath they are probably not so scary after all. Let's honor the things that haunt us and then send them on their way.

I call out my ghosts and welcome them straight-on. Then I let them go.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

COMMUNICATION

      Relationships choke and sputter without frequent and honest communication from the heart. And it takes courage to listen as well, without taking whatever is being said personally and becoming defensive.We need to talk about our daily emotional experiences, and encourage others to share with us in the same way.
     More often, we shut down, and feel miserable and misunderstood. We speculate and justify and point blame. Mis-emotion rages inside of us like wildfire, and consumes us from the inside out. But all it takes to put the fire out is to express what we're feeling. Even if it seems silly. Even if it seems un-necessary. When we spill it out of us, it dissipates. We are finally heard and understood, and we feel relief. In the open air of honest communication, our internal rages diffuse like smoke.

Whatever I feel matters and needs to be expressed.

Monday, October 29, 2012

LUCKIER THAN WE THINK

     Sometimes it takes witnessing someone else's hardship or tragedy to put our own problems in proper perspective. We are frustrated having to drive in the rain and we see a jack-knifed eighteen-wheeler and five car pile-up on the opposite side of the highway, with police lights and ambulances and fire trucks, and all of a sudden, our lack of visibility and the water on our windshield is no big deal.
     As we pass miles and miles of standstill traffic, we are filled with gratitude. Silly us. Here we thought we were unlucky to have to drive in the rain, and it turns out, we have been unexpectedly blessed.

I am grateful for where I am and what I have. It could always be so much worse.

Friday, October 26, 2012

THE PATTERNS THAT RUN OUR LIVES

     We are not as complicated as we think we are. Fundamental patterns circle over and over and round and about in our lives. They scare us. They motivate us. They inspire us, and put us on the defensive. They form the scaffolding of our entire belief system, and give structure and background to all of our action.
     Let's take the time to learn these patterns and understand where they come from; to bring ever higher awareness to why we do what we do. That way, we can change the things that don't serve us any longer, and refine the things that do. Whether we are conscious of our patterns or not, they operate on every level of our lives, so maybe it's worth it to take the time and make the effort to look at them. Maybe becoming conscious of these patterns is in some way the whole point of our lives.

I identify patterns in the way I behave and in order to behave better, I am willing to change.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

SNAKE SKIN

     Eventually we change so completely that, like a snake, we have entirely shed our skin, and we are the same in some way, but also new. It takes time and consistent effort, a focused desire for something other than what we have, a whole lot of integrity, and faith.
     And sometimes it feels as if we are never going to change at all, but we keep going anyway, because once we have started, we can't go back. And then, in the course of some otherwise ordinary day, we realize that we have turned the corner at last. Without knowing exactly how or when, we have fully integrated our desired change, and can't imagine any longer being the way that we used to be. We look back and see that the skin we have shed lies empty on the floor.

I am changing even if I don't realize it, and completely changed before I even know.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

SPORTSMANSHIP

     When we are "needy" it turns people off. We are all more inclined to give to those who are doing the best they can without complaint. There's something about whining and self-pity that makes us want to punish instead of reward.
      Perhaps we could all use a bit more of a chin-up kind of attitude when faced with challenges. Good sportsmanship in life, as in sports, is appreciated by others, and feels good on the inside too

I bring my best to every experience. I think about what I can contribute instead of all the things I want to get.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

BEING STRONG

     Physical strength and fitness are helpful in life. Being able to climb stairs without gasping for breath, to lift things with ease, to hold ourselves in good posture with our core and chest stable and secure; these things make for good living. And it's possible for everyone to be strong. All it requires is a bit of consistent effort and a dedication of time- minutes a day- not hours.
     Let's do push-ups. Let's do sit-ups. Let's do bicep curls with soup cans. Let's use our muscles everyday. Let's walk. Let's dance. Let's tighten our stomachs and hold them tight while we're waiting in traffic. Isometric contractions work as well as repetitions with weights. It's doable and we're worth it. Let's all get a little stronger in some way every day.

I work my muscles and enjoy the benefits of being strong.

Monday, October 22, 2012

SIENNA AND NICK

           
     I am grateful for my children. They have taught me courage, patience, resilience, and unconditional love. They have pushed my limits, stretched my heartstrings, and impressed me over and over with their unique gifts. They have inspired me with their incredible twin connection, and shown me what it is to have that kind of sibling by your side. Sienna is all heart and ferocity, and Nick is charisma and grace. They rise. They fall. They struggle. They yearn. They push into the world for success and independence and come home for love and hugs.
     Their being here has changed everything.


I love my children with all of my heart.
 

Friday, October 19, 2012

PLAYING WITH MONEY

     If I have the right attitude, I can experience money and all of my financial fears and obligations almost playfully. Money comes in and money goes out. It ebbs and flows like the tides, sometimes a trickle and sometimes a rush, but always moving one way or the other. That's its only guarantee.
     We want to arrest money and hold it captive and demand that it stay, but it evaporates in the misty night like a ghost, and arrives in a whirl-wind. It teases us and we get frustrated. We want assurances. But money wants to play, and we can learn to play along, and laugh at the game, or suffer indefinitely from pushing against something that is ultimately as evasive as smoke.

I keep my levity when dealing with money matters and don't let the dollar drag me down.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

THE WHEEL OF LIFE

     Life is a wheel, and everything is circular: days, nights, energy levels, moods, bills, seasons, impulses, fortunes, love, and tears. Much as we might get overwhelmed on occasion and want to stop all movement and be still for as long as it takes us to regroup, stopping in that way is not possible. We cycle and cycle even as we pause.

I am grateful that everything changes and the world keeps moving no matter what. I am willing to see this as a blessing.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

GETTING IN TROUBLE

     I  have an insidious fear that I am going to "get in trouble." It seems childish. I'm afraid some great authority figure from out of the sky is going to swoop down and punish me.
    We want to be celebrated, but so much more often we are judged, and unfairly. We want to be validated, freed, told it's ok. But instead we are questioned at every turn. "Are you sure about that?" And told, "You'd better not do it. Better play it safe"... And so we do. We play it safe to the point of spiritual strangulation. Let's be intelligent, but let's not lose our spirit out of fear. Guidelines are just that. They are guides, not rigid walls with jaws of steel to impale us if we step just an inch too far.

I can trust myself to always do the best I can.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

LIVING BY HONOR

     It's not possible to get ahead in life by taking advantage of others, not ultimately. In the short run, advancement and success can result from squashing people, and discrediting them, and bullying. But sooner or later, the negative action circles back. Call it karma or the law of attraction or justice. Whatever we call it, it never fails to play out... somehow.
     Let's prosper by spreading prosperity. Let's lift others with us as we climb to the top. Let's win by winning, and succeed by having integrity, and rise by doing what's right.

I live by honor and grace.

Monday, October 15, 2012

MAKING LIFE COUNT

     Are we so busy that we don't remember who we are or what we love? Do we go through the motions of our life almost as if we are sleep-walking? Do we do things just to get them done, or do we appreciate subtleties of detail and opportunities for blessing and growth in everything we experience?
     Let's wake up and pay attention. Let's pay attention to the people we encounter and talk to them and listen to what they have to say. Let's make every day and every hour count towards something worthwhile. We have a chance to make the most of who we are and what we've been given. Let's not waste it.

I do what I love, and I love what I experience. I make the most of my life.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

MINI BLOG VACATION

~Posts will resume on Monday, October 15~
 
Happy Weekend everybody!!!
 
:) :) :) :) :) :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

MOUNTAINS

     I love the mountains. They are rolling and sensuous and nurture those who live in their view. They change colors with the light and raise the morning sun. They curve and bend. They are solid and fluid, stalwart, supple, and ever-earthed.
     Let's be like the mountains. Let's rise above things, and overlook them. Let's change fluidly with the light. Let's be inspiring. Let's be sensuous. Let's be grounded and always maintain our magnificent view.

I am beautiful like the mountains, ever changing; ever the same.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

TAKING CARE OF OURSELVES

     We need our sleep. It restores us and keeps us fresh. But we sacrifice it recklessly. We stay up too late. We indulge our busy minds and lie awake thinking and thinking and thinking. We do not express our emotions in the daytime and we clench our teeth at night.We eat poorly, fail to exercise and deprive ourselves of fresh air. We discount our needs and then we wonder why we suffer.
     Let's not. Let's take good care of ourselves, as we would a child. We know how children get when they are tired, or hungry, or need to go outside and play. So that they can feel as comfortable as possible, we attend to them. Don't we deserve the same?

I stop short-changing myself and honor my needs. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

ENOUGH CRITICIZING!

     We needn't waste any time criticizing other people. We can rest assured that they are plenty thorough criticizing themselves. We ride ourselves mercilessly. We tell ourselves that we should and shouldn't this, that, and the other thing, and we think negative thoughts about every aspect of our being. It's sad and un-necessary that we do this, but largely true.
     Let's be positive instead, and look for the good stuff. Let's be forgiving and encouraging. Life feels so much better that way, and it keeps us in the light.

I stop criticizing everything and enjoy my life.

Friday, October 5, 2012

GETTING IT ALL DONE

     I am so anxious to check things off of my "to-do" list that I often miss the pleasure of doing them. I put pressure on myself to hurry up so I can move on to the next thing, and the next. I try to maximize my time and squish hours of work into minutes... and all so that I can relax.
     While things remain undone, I feel like I have to keep on going, and keep on, until everything is finished, and accounted for, and tied with a bow and put away. What insanity! It's never all done.On the heels of one project comes another and another. Challenge follows challenge. I want to learn to take my time, to enjoy the "doing process," and relax along the way.

I can relax even if I'm in the midst of doing things.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

FACING-UP TO LIFE

     When a life situation gets uncomfortable, my instinct is to bolt. I am an escape artist from way back. And there is a certain relief in running, but it's short-lived, and eventually, I always have to face-up. We all do.
     It's actually easier in the long run to face whatever we have to face, and stay where we are, than to take off. If we run every time life gets hard we will be running forever. But if, on the other hand, we stay and face-up, we will discover our creativity, and resilience, and courage, and grace.

I am willing to hold my ground and face whatever comes.


 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

FIGURING OUT PROCESS

     Fear is a creeping trickle under the skin. It is panic that is pretending to stay calm, but still bubbling anxiety under the surface. Fear hooks us at the level of our limiting beliefs- that we are not good enough somehow, and we hang by these hooks.
     But everything can be resolved. We think if our first idea won't work that nothing will, but it's not true. We have to remember that for every plan, there is a plan "b," and there's no need to be afraid to use it. We don't always get it right the first time, and this fact doesn't make us worthless. It sinply means we are human, and in the process of figuring something out.

I am not bad or wrong if I can’t make something work. It just means I have to keep trying.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

LONELINESS

     In some ways, loneliness is more a state of mind than a physical reality. We can feel lonely in crowds, lonely in marriages, and lonely with a group of friends. Lonely is brethren to self-pity. No one understands us, or feels like we do, or cares. We are so alone.
     But we're not. Not really. We are connected to others at our very source, and any time, in any way, we can step into the middle of life and make friends and make connections and make room for others in our hearts. We can listen to someone who needs to talk. We can tell someone what's going on with us. Getting out of loneliness is a question of changing our mind. It's learning to think about what we can give, and what we can share, and how we can contribute instead of thinking about what we're not getting. The irony is, that when we give it, we get it!

If I am feeling lonely, I go out in the world and interact with people. I think about what I have to offer, and I offer it!

Monday, October 1, 2012

DRAMA FREE LIVING

     Even if big things are happening, life doesn't have to be high-drama. It can be calm, and proceed steadily, no matter what, if we are calm, and proceed steadily. The currents of our lives reflect us. If we are frantic, we feel anxious. If we are defensive, we feel angry. If we are always in a rush, we feel harried.
     Or if, on the other hand, we accept whatever happens in stride, and trust in the ultimate goodness of our path, we needn't fly off the handle at any little thing, and constantly be losing our cool. We can keep our cool, and live drama-free.

I consider my part in creating the drama of my life, and make changes in the way I behave to calm the drama down.

Friday, September 28, 2012

ALL ONE

    
That we are "all one" is a spiritual concept that is hard to get a grip on. What does it mean? That we are the same? That we are connected by our being human and having human feelings and issues? That what I do to you I somehow do to myself?
It's an intellectual grapple, and I find myself wanting to figure it out. But I don't really think figuring has anything to do with it. I think it has to do with energy and love and a heart so full of compassion that it aches sometimes with the sad state of materialism and circumstantial life affairs. It’s opening to the divine essence within us all that we share: the flame of life, our spirit, our core. We are connected deep, below the blood. And all any of us want, really, is to love and be loved.
I am kind and accepting with everyone, myself included. We are all aching with love.
 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

SELF-HONESTY

     Most of us think we are more honest than we really are. We fool ourselves with our justifications and our excuses. We talk ourselves into whatever we want to believe. The truth is often hard to face. It requires that we undress emotionally; that we admit that we are afraid, wrong, mistaken, that we may have been cruel. Self-honesty requires us to be vulnerable. We have to confess our imperfection to offer or receive forgiveness.
     But the other side of such honesty is heart-opening relief and freedom from shame. It's clean living and good feeling and well worth the courage it takes.

I stop pretending and get honest with myself.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

WIDESPREAD ANGER

     There is so much anger in the world, and people are like hair-triggers. The smallest thing fires them off. Explosively, violently, they lash out. They glare with hatred as they pass us in their cars. We are not going fast enough, or they otherwise disapprove of our driving style. They explode their horns. They loudly and publicly reprimand cashiers, waitresses, their children, and their spouse.
     Let's not be one of them. Let's not spew anger like knives. Let's shine a light of love instead. Let's keep our sense of humor. And if we cannot, if we feel irrepressibly hostile, let's stop blaming the world and look within. That is where our issues and our answers both reside.

I forgive those who lash out in anger, and carefully monitor my own irritability to keep it in check.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

WHY PAIN?

     Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do bad things happen at all? Why is there suffering on earth? Why is there pain? How do we make sense of it? We grow through hardship. Maybe that is why. We realize things. We learn to apologize and forgive. We learn to appreciate peace and joy when they happen, and all of the good things that we do have.
     I believe that challenge is opportunity. It is a call to evolve. With care and attention, we can transform pain into blessing and suffering into love. It's possible and it's worth it. Scar tissue is stronger than any other, and our wounds make us beautiful. Whatever we may face, let's choose the spiritual lesson instead of the bitter revenge.

I understand that pain and suffering are gifts to grow my spirit, and I am bigger and brighter for all that I go through.

Monday, September 24, 2012

CHOOSING TO GIVE

     Giving to others is healthy and satisfying, but giving indiscriminately not so much. There must be some kind of exchange, and some kind of appreciation. To pour our love into an empty vessel or a leaky sieve is reckless. We deplete ourselves if we give too much away. And in that case, we are easily taken advantage of, and become like shark bait, inviting abusers to us with our puppy-like willingness to be loving.
Sometimes the most loving thing we can do is to say no. We are not meant to invite long-suffering and draw it to us in some kind of martyristic way. We are meant to recognize what and who is before us, and be respectful, certainly, and polite, but not blind. It is our responsibility to protect ourselves from those who would rob us of what we are willing to freely give.
I treat everyone with courtesy, but give the gifts of my spirit with care. I do not wear out my brightness on those who want to dull me down.

Friday, September 21, 2012

LOVING HEART

     Why are we all so afraid of not being good enough? We are as good as we are, and that's all we ever can be. We know what we know and don't know what we don't know. We can learn new things but the learning process is awkward. We all have to be the student before we can be the expert.
     Our value is in our attitude and not in our skill. Are we willing? Are we full of love? Are we patient and forgiving? These are what matter most. Not our knowledge and not our expertise. It's our raw material, after all, that is our greatest gift.

I have a loving heart and that makes me equal to any situation.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

WANTING IT ALL

     I don't want to miss anything. I don't want to be left out. I want to be included and invited, and to be a part of whatever is happening. It might be interesting. It might be fun. Some great, unexpected challenge or adventure might ensue... and I want to be there for it. I want to be there for all of the little details and soft moments; the laughter, the tension, the road-trip . Plus, I want my time alone. I need regular, reflective, solitude time. And I have found that wanting it all sometimes creates a conflict in me. Maybe I want too much!
     By necessity, I am learning to be ok wherever I am and whatever I am doing, and to make peace with my choices; to fully accept my yes pleases and no thank yous. I am beginning to trust that my path will lead me exactly where I am supposed to go, and that if I miss a turn somehow, it must have been the wrong one... for me.

I don't ever have to feel left out. I trust that whatever I experience is exactly what I am supposed to experience.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

WELL-BEING

     A sense of well-being is a treat and a sweetness. It is generally a fleeting thing, coming and going like a breeze, or a bird. Some mornings we just wake up and feel good. We have a sense that all is well, and that we needn't worry; that abundance and joy abound. Our bodies are unusually pain free and we are happy to be up and at 'em.
     And then, some mornings require more effort. We are heavy with the unknown, and afraid, and uncomfortable; a bit frantic, and discombobulated. Life is fickle. We feel good. We feel bad. We feel certain. We are filled with doubt.
     When we do feel good, let's recognize it, and be sure to enjoy it. Let's appreciate feelings of peace and rightness. Let's be glad, and be grateful, knowing that sensations of well-being, like all sensations, must pass.

I fully enjoy my moments of well-being. It feels good to feel good!
:)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

PROJECTION

     It's so easy to project disaster all over our future. We are good at thinking of everything that could go wrong, and making contingency plans in advance. We worry and stress-out, thinking that gives us some kind of control, but it doesn't.
     Things rarely end up the way we think they will, and that's a good thing. It's not our job to figure life out ahead of time. We don't have to know how we will feel if this happens, or that. It is our job to be good sports, and show up for the adventure with an open mind and a positive attitude, and to enjoy every little bit of the journey, however it may unfold.

I stop trying to figure out my future and enjoy the present instead.

Monday, September 17, 2012

SELF-ACCEPTANCE

     Guilt and fear can make us sick. So can self-doubt, uncertainty of all kinds, fret, and worry. We become old before our time, and haggard, and rough-worn. We believe in other people's opinions of of our lives and what we should and should not be doing, even if their suggestions don't ring true inside of us. We betray ourselves to please people. And then we feel guilty for our betrayal.
     Let's follow the calling of our hearts. Let's trust in our own health and well-being. Let's trust that we know what's best for us, and that what makes sense for others may not necessarily make sense for us. And that it's ok. Let's rid ourselves of guilt for being who we are, and rid ourselves of the fear that we could be anything less than perfectly ourselves.

I accept myself as I am. It's ok to be me.

Friday, September 14, 2012

THE WILDFIRE OF SELF-DESTRUCTION

     The people we love don't always make the best choices for their own health, or ours. To watch the path of self-destruction run its course like a wildfire in someone we love is excruciating and painful. We want to fix them, to re-direct their path, to make them see! But they don't see, and maybe they can't. We have no power to change their direction. Only they can do that.
     We can only love them and be honest with them about the way we feel. We can be present, and helpful, but we cannot allow ourselves to be used as fodder for their fire. We are worth more than that.
     It's a hard thing to realize that the best we can do when others are in reckless resentment and self-abuse mode is to take care of ourselves. It always feels a little bit as if we should fall apart with them. But that's not the answer- not for them, or us, or anyone. It's live and let live that's required, with our hearts open, and our self-care boundaries intact.

I take care of myself first and foremost because that's my main job. I am loving towards others, but do not throw myself under their train out of a sense of impetuous co-dependence.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

LOVE LIST

     I love the smell of wet leaves. I love the first chilly fall mornings and the feel of the fresh air. I love breezes stirring tree leaves, and having the best husband on earth. I love clouds in a blue sky, and getting into bed after a long day. I love candle-lit dinners and screened-in porches. I love to laugh, and the telling of stories. I love the mountains, and the vulnerability of people.
     I love hope and joy and inspiration. I love being strong, and I love the flow of words on a page. I love the smell of bacon cooking and the taste of coffee, the color of vegetables, and hugging our German Shepard, Boss. I love the early morning and the late night, the afternoon, and the evening. I love feeling cozy, and I love feeling amped-up.
     Giving expression to the things we love lifts us up. It's simple, and satisfying. Let's make it a regular practice to improve the quality of our lives!

I tell myself and others all the things I love about my life!
    

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

HUNGER

     We are hungry beings- hungry for answers, for sweets, for love, for understanding, and for all that we lack. We are hungry for different bodies, different lives, and for a certain amount of blood and glory. We are hungry for more of everything: more money, more time, more time off, more sleep, more joy, more patience, and more freedom. We are insatiable. And we stuff our hunger down with food and addictions and bad habits, with whatever we can find to numb us.
     But our appetite is tireless, and nothing external abates it, not really, and definitely not permanently. We quest daily for satisfaction, and to determine finally and absolutely just what we need... to be happy... and full. But the only thing that really fills us is realizing that everything we need we already have. It's inside us. It's in gratitude, and acceptance, and integrity. Our salvation and happiness are as close as the moment; as close as our self-honesty, and a deep breath.

External grasping cannot ever satisfy my longing. Fulfillment happens in the moment, and in my heart.
    

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

PROCCESSING LIFE

     We need a certain amount of time to process our experiences. We need to allow for reflection and consideration. We need to make sense of things, and to decide what we are going to make of them, and how we will integrate the new into our already full lives. What spin will we use on the adventure, the meeting, the person, the day? Will we learn lessons, cop resentments, be self-critical and blaming, be resistant, or be grateful?
     Somehow or other, we have to settle what's happened before we can move on. We have to take the time to make our peace.

I allow for the time I need to absorb and integrate the experiences of my life, and do not rush frantically from one thing to the next.

Monday, September 10, 2012

SWEET AND SEEDY

     In life, there's sweet, and then there's seedy. There's savory and unsavory, in food, in the human character, and in the way we choose to live. What we create and surround ourselves with becomes our experience. If we are wholesome, we attract wholesome, and live wholesome, and the same goes for seedy. And if we are one, and encounter the other, it can't help but rattle us a bit. When wholesome encounters seedy, there is a creepy darkness that spills over one way, and an unfamiliar, perhaps even detestable freshness, that spills over the other.
     In cities of all kinds, both things live side by side, and a certain immunity develops, but if we pluck anyone from the comfort zone they regularly inhabit, and place them in the opposite environment, they will squirm. It's good to know where we live, but be able to float amongst the other side on occasion, with our compassion and our curiosity leading the way, instead of our judgment. The earth, with her great generosity, carries and sustains us all.
    

I extend my love and compassion to all people who are different from me, even if their choices of lifestyle make me squirm. No matter who I encounter, I can choose to be kind.

Friday, September 7, 2012

TOO MUCH

     I value my solitude, but I can spend only so much time by myself before it starts to become unhealthy. My mind is busy, and noisy, and not always friendly. It tells me things... Just so, I value leisure time, but can do it for only so long. I feel the lack of productivity. Too much relaxation makes me restless, and I look forward to getting back to work. But too much work depletes me...
     Everything in balance is the rule, and everything in moderation. I can only sleep so much, work so much, play so much, talk so much, listen so much, and cry so much. Too much of anything is simply too much.

I discover where there is too much of something in my life, and tip it a bit in the opposite direction to restore balance.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

VACATIONS

     Vacations are hard work. We plan them and rearrange our lives. Then we pack and travel. Once arrived and settled, we search out our best food choices, and adjust the best we can to unfamiliar beds and pillows, and the reality of our experience as it stands up against our expectations. The weather, traffic, sickness, the wrong clothes, the attitudes of our traveling companions: all of these things are wild cards.
     And then, when it's all over, we have to travel home... and unpack, and do loads of laundry, and re-group. We have to prepare to return to our lives, and work, and the next thing, and the next, with our trip now behind us. And what's interesting, and never ceases to amaze me, is the simple reality that no matter what kind of time we had, it becomes nostalgic. The adventure becomes a "classic" in our lives, even if it was nothing but hardship. And we smile every time we remember it... just knowing that we made it through.

Let's live our lives like we live our vacations, with a willingness to experience whatever comes, knowing that whatever happens, or doesn't happen, it will grow us in the end.
    

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

ASSUMPTIONS

      We make assumptions about the way people are, and the way they feel about us, based on our impressions, and thoughts, and our history. Frequently, we are wrong, and discover that others are equally wrong about us. They think we are mad when we are only quiet and tired; that we are intimidating when we are actually more like friendly pups.
      If we want to know how someone feels about something, let's ask them! Let's lay down our assumptions and take up our listening skills. And let's be willing to share our own truth as well, and talk about the way we feel. Communication is the key to clarity. It is the best possible tool to dispel misunderstandings.

I needn't speculate and second-guess the world. If I want to know what someone thinks, I ask them! And then I believe what they tell me.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

THE TWINKLE OF OLD AGE

     In general, when people reach a certain age of maturity, there is a kind of purity about them. Older folks who are in decent physical and mental health are positively twinkly. They are beyond the rush and fret of youth, beyond anxiety, beyond resistance, and largely beyond fear. They seem easily and naturally settled into present moment awareness, and they have learned how to take their time. They are easy-does-it and good humor; amused at all of our youthful follies and self-imposed urgencies. They inspire us. They seem to have learned that in life, as in nature, everything is accomplished in its own sweet time.

I learn from my bright-eyed elders. Life may not be as arduous as it sometimes seems.

Monday, September 3, 2012

LABOR DAY

     Every ending is a beginning, and every beginning is also an ending. They are inextricably linked. Life is full of deaths and births and evolution. It's never-ending and non-stop. It is steady and trickling and crashing all around. It is all things connected.
     Summer ends and fall begins. We welcome cooler weather but remember the heat. It has become a part of us. Each summer of our lives accumulates to make us the bundle of experiences that we are. And we embody all of it, just like the earth. We grow and grow through seasons like the trees.

I express my gratitude for the summer that has passed, and I welcome the coming fall.

Friday, August 31, 2012

EASY DOES IT

     Who do we think we are? And why do we imagine that what we do is so important, so crucial, and so worth our angst and stress and fury and discombobulation? Why are we so up tight? Why can't we relax and enjoy the ride? We are sure that we won't get what we want, or deserve, or hope for. And that we will lose everything that matters to us. But why are we so negative? Hasn't life been good to us in the past?
     Why don't we trust in the best possible outcome, no matter what? Blessings often grow from the muck. We survive, and yet, we don't trust our survival. We feel happy, and then we wait for the other shoe to drop. Why are we so suspicious? Let's take what comes and be grateful for it, whatever it may be.
     Life can be that simple if we let it. 

I trust the process of life and stop believing that just because I can't see something doesn't mean it's out to get me.



Thursday, August 30, 2012

DREAMS ON TRACK


          Sometimes things happen in life, and they just feel right when they happen. Even when we have wanted something with almost anxious desperation for a very long time, and have expected to be giddy with excitement and thrilled all over when things start to come together. And instead, we are calm beyond reason. We are reassured in an unfamiliar way, and at a deep and inexplicable level. We somehow know that we are clearly on track, and that everything is as it should be. We can relax at last and proceed steadily. It's as if we suddenly wake up from a fog, and know beyond the shadow of a doubt, that we really can trust in the validity of our dreams.

I feel calm and steady when I am on track. If I do my part, I can trust in the universe to deliver up the goods.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

COLORS

     I love the colors of the world! I love fall leaves and spring flowers! I love green grass and cat-tails, and the color of fruit; of blueberries, watermelon, bananas, and perfect peaches. I love the color of cream, and butter, and pancakes; of ripe tomatoes, sauteed spinach, and rooster feathers. I love turquoise and silver and gold. I love all the shades and angles of sunlight. I love storm clouds and shadows, brake lights, and Chinese lanterns. I love these new-fangled neon sneakers, and bright red lipstick. I love the ever-changing colors of the mountains, and the sky, and the eyes of people. I love colors in contrast, and colors in compliment. Every color has its own kind of appeal. Let's celebrate them all, every single one!

I notice all of the colors around me and celebrate them with joy!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

HONOR

     Are loyalty and fidelity different things? Can we be one without the other? I have been told this is a European concept: that loyalty is prized above fidelity. It feels snaky to me. It feels like justification for slippery behavior, and reminds me of times in my life when I have been told - reassured even- that what is clearly one thing is actually something else entirely. I have been made to feel like a fool for believing what is evident, and what I see with my own eyes.
     Let's choose to live by honor. It's blissfully guilt-free. Let's be scrupulous, morally meticulous, and have integrity through and through. Let's be exactly what we are, and put a low value on pretension and lame excuses. If we don't hold ourselves to some kind of code of conduct, no one else will.

I choose to live by honor and integrity.

Monday, August 27, 2012

BEING A BEGINNER

     Most of us have a smart-alec within. We think we can figure things out on our own without needing to follow directions. We feel certain we can launch right into anything and be expert; that we don't have to start at the beginning and build up. Other people have to do that, but not us. We can start in the middle, or even at the end.
     By being so certain of ourselves when there is no legitimate basis for our certainty, we miss out on layers of intricacy and understanding. Maybe we even injure ourselves. Making assumptions, thinking we're above the need for help, directions, guidance, etc, is a dangerous place to be. It invites disaster. If we don't right-size ourselves, the universe will do it for us.
     Let's be ok with needing help and instruction, with not knowing, and not understanding. If we must assume, let's begin with the assumption that we don't know everything, and that we likely need to start slowly and ask for help. That is the place to begin, and the one that will insure our ultimate success.

I can be a beginner at things. I'm not afraid to ask questions and seek direction. I don't need to be an expert right away.

Friday, August 24, 2012

SMART AT WORK

     Work smarter, not harder. That's never been my forte. The concept of expending less effort and achieving greater results I understand in theory- to flow instead of fight- but my instinct and nature is more like a beaver. I chew and build, and chew and build, and am busy busy busy... always hard at work.
     I seem to believe that the harder I work, the more worthwhile whatever I'm working towards will turn out to be, but I'm not entirely sure of the truth of that. There's something about the energy of pushing and striving and going hard at things that seems antithetical to peace and happiness.
     Maybe hard work doesn't have to be hard. Maybe it's all about our approach. We can be strong and steady and purposeful and consistent, but we needn't be straining and uncomfortable. Work, in the end, is designed so that we might contribute our special talents to life, and to fulfill us deeply. It's not meant to strip us of every possible thing we have to give.

I take the strain out of my work effort. I can be effective and worthwhile without being self-destructive.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

EQUILIBRIUM

     I used to be prone to explosive little fits of temper. I felt the inconveniences of life, and things not going just my way, to be some kind of personal affront that required great sighs from me, and justifiable irritability. For the most part, I have out-grown such behavior. But I see it in others and have great compassion. It puts us in such a snippy and petulant place, and is so entirely un-necessary. Our temper tantrums don't change anything about circumstances, and only make us angry and edgy and full of hatred. It's not worth it, not for one second.
     Let's get better and better at not indulging our bad moods and disappointments. Why do we expect life to be so easy? If it were, it would hardly be satisfying. Our challenges grow us. So let's learn to take the good with the bad and the bad with the good, and find a way to keep our equilibrium the best we can throughout the ride.

I feel myself amping up into a fit of temper, and stop before I get there. I remember that life is not supposed to be challenge-free. I can stay calm in spite of whatever goes wrong.


    

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN

     Impossible things happen every day. We are sure that we don't have enough money, or luck, or experience, or savvy, or style, and yet, we manage to accomplish unheard-of things, and survive against all odds. Believing in what's possible comes first. We don't have to understand, or know, or figure anything out. We simply have to keep our minds and our hearts open. If we can do this, we will be blessed many times over, and then again.
     Traditionally, we think small. We sell ourselves short. We believe only in what we can see and feel, and what we know for sure. But there is a whole other world at work that we cannot see. If we are truly open to all-possibility, the sky is the limit. Anything can happen, and does. It makes for good living, a boatload of gratitude, and blessings galore.

I am open to possibility. I believe that anything can happen, even if I don't understand how.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

THE POWER OF THE PECS

     It's difficult to successfully perform any kind of athletic movement without a strong and stable trunk. Like a tree, our trunk is the thing that roots us to our life-source, and supports our growth. Made up of abs, and back, and chest, it is our power point, and our still point, our confidence, and our stance on the earth.
     And though we all know about the importance of "the core," and having a strong and healthy back, few of us give the chest the credit it is due. The way we present ourselves to the world is primarily through our chest, the keeper of our heart. Are we sunken? Puffed-up? Flabby? Or solid?
     A strong chest gives us more than we can possibly realize. It gives us internal grounding, among other things. It holds up our abdominals, supports our shoulders, and balances our backs. And this is as true for women as it is for men. Ultimately, it's about balance, and being strong all over, and through and through, but let's not underestimate the power and purpose of our pecs.

I care about keeping my back and my core strong and healthy, so that means I care about keeping my chest strong too. The chest is the uncelebrated muscle that makes all the difference.

Monday, August 20, 2012

BODY WHISPERS

     Every body has its particular way of expressing itself. Some bodies speak in wiggles, some in angles, and some in curves and flesh. Our bodies have their own kind of personalities. They like certain things, certain movements, and styles of touch, and stretches; and they feel aversion, and discomfort towards other things.
     Finding the language of our body is a vital part of self-discovery. Understanding the joy of strength, and stature, and length, and grace, as it suits us specifically, guarantees a life of healthy physical function, and a happy body that feels honored and appreciated.

I honor the calling of my physical being. I tune in to discover the ways my body loves to move, and then I move that way.

Friday, August 17, 2012

LIGHT

     The light is changing. I feel the fall coming, and the subtle difference in the evening air, and the sun. The earliest leaves are turning, on my potted vines, and certain weeds that grow along the roadside. I am grateful for the change of seasons, and for the promise of coolness after the summer heat, and all of our Virginia humidity.
     We have seasons of change within us as well- slight shifts to mark the coming of newness in life, and the ongoing transistions of our living evolution. If we are diligent, we become brighter as we age, more full of wisdom and self-understanding and patience with the way things are. We can become beacons of good living, and examples of what it is to have a quiet heart.
     Let's celebrate light in all of its manifestations- in ourselves, in others, and in the air. Let's celebrate the rising morning, high noon, and the lengthening shadows of evening.

I am aware of the changing light, and welcome the subtle transitions in my life.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

PRESSURE OFF

     We have to find a way to put a bit of vacation in every day, and some weekend in our weeks, and to stop overdoing everything on a regular basis. That's what eats away at us and wears us down: too much over and over and over- too many hours, too many obligations, too much guilt, and busyness, and not enough lag time.
     We overstructure our hours in an effort to fit it all in, and it's exhausting to live that way. We need to allow for unstructured time, to just be, and sitting in front of the television set is not it. We are all about the doing, doing, doing, and it's burning us out! We ache. We are weighted down with have-tos. And it feels like we don't have a choice, but we do. We always have a choice. We can choose less doing, and experience more bliss. We need to. If we don't, we pay the price, and it's no great victory to break down physically or emotionally. It's a sign of deep need- for care, for attention to self, and for ease and relief. It's a sign that we need to take the pressure and turn it off.

I don't have to do everything I think I have to do. I always have options for relaxation available that I choose not to take.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

THE UPS AND DOWNS OF DAYS

     Some days dawn bright and crisp and our energy is lively and excitable. It feels good to be alive. We are happy to go to work, or to do whatever is before us. We have a sense of well -being, just because we do. And then, some days, are flat, and stale, right from the get-go. It's hard to wake up, and the journey of hours stretching before us seems heavy. We don't feel capable of the effort we know we will have to expend. Even if we have a willing attitude on such days, the body's energy is sometimes just not there. Maybe it's burn-out, or maybe it's just life. If it weren't for the one kind of day, we might not appreciate the other.
     Nothing is better than to feel good- to feel enthusiastic, and energized by life. But there are definitely worse things than to have an off-day when everything doesn't come easily flowing. It can't all be glorious. It's not meant to be. We can learn to roll with the punches and accept whatever the day brings, knowing that whatever we're not feeling is likely just around the corner... so if we are willing to wait for just a bit... then... we will have it all! :)

I accept that some days everything comes easily and I feel great, and that some days require more effort.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

WATERING

     Every day in the summer I check the plants to see if any are particularly parched and in need of water, or if they all are. Even when it rains, I check them, because sometimes the rain is not enough. A happy plant requires plenty of water, sunlight, and a certain amount of respect. And we are no different.
      A particularly hard day or relentless heat can whither us, and leave us drooping, just like a plant. The efforts of life require sustenance and replenishment. But we so easily forget to check ourselves. We push on and push on. And then when we do need water, or rest, or food, or beauty, or laughter, or sleep, or whatever, we grab for the nearest thing and thrust it upon ourselves. And then we feel frustrated that we don't bounce back more readily.
     Let's give ourselves the same care that we give our plants, and if our plants are dead, or dying, that tells us something too. We must spread care. We must be gentle and attentive if we want to live a life refreshed.

I pay attention to my whithering energy and replenish my body and my spirit with loving kindness.

Monday, August 13, 2012

ROOM FOR EVERYONE

     We are not meant to serve the world as sacrificial lambs, sacrificing our needs and wants to those of our children, our spouses, our parents, bosses, or friends. Believing we don't matter, or that we are somehow less important than others, is ridiculous. No one is more important than we are, and we are no more important than anyone else. It's not a one or the other kind of proposition. We are both important. Our needs matter and so do theirs. And there's a way to do the best we can by everyone, including ourselves. We can successfully compromise and negotiate. That's what compromise is for. We needn't habituate ourselves to lay down on the alter of life. That's martyrdom that is neither recommended nor required.
     Let's be well. Let's honor our needs, whatever they may be, and equally honor the needs of those we love.

There is room in life for everyone's needs to be met. Melodramatic sacrifice isn't necessary.

Friday, August 10, 2012

BALANCE IN COMMUNICATION

     No news is not always good news. For the person we are waiting to hear from, it may mean that we have lost our appeal. And too much news is no better. There is a kind of dependent sickness in constant checking up and checking in. It feels fun at first, but wears thin.
     Healthy balance in communication is the same as healthy balance elsewhere. It needs to be just right. Not enough feels like abandonment, and too much is suffocating. We have built-in warning systems on both ends of the spectrum, but it's easy to ignore them. And though we may play at making no news after a certain point something other than disinterest, if it goes on too long, we are kidding ourselves. The no news is, in fact, it's own kind of news. And we can pretend that too much is actually being meticulously attentive, but too much, in the end, is always too much.
     Let's beware of imbalance in communication, both what we send out, and what we take in, and read the clear signs to appropriately set our boundaries and expectations.

I am honest about the reality behind communication that is skewed one way or the other, either too much of it, or not enough, and make good decisions based on the real reality.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

CONSIDERATION

     Consideration is a high form of art. To be aware of those around us and consider what they might appreciate, and then act on it, is meaningful beyond measure. To be thoughtful, to not splatter our mess all over the place, to keep our part in things neat and tidy: these are behaviors that make us compatible with others. These are the things that bring love and thanks raining down upon us.
     The opposite behavior is tiresome. Unlike consideration, which is an ever-delightful surprise, inconsideration is a constant burr in our craw. It's exasperation and frustration. It's unbecoming. It's the height of selfishness. To expect others to clean up after us, and deal with our inefficiencies and misplacements without losing their cool, is unreasonable. It's enough for all of us to take care of our own "stuff" without having to make allowances and exceptions for those who do not take care of what is rightly theirs.
     Let's be the considerate ones. Let's be a source of pleasure to others and not frustration. We will feel better, and so will they.

I clean up after myself and take the time to be considerate of others.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

THE UPSIDE OF MISFORTUNE

     We like our misfortunes to be taken seriously, and we have all had a hard run of it in life one way or the other. We have suffered injury, losses, abuse, neglect, betrayal, and heartbreak. We have felt greater than others, less than others, worthless, and puffed up with pride. It is all this "stuff" that makes us human, and these are the realities of human life. But happily, because we have all suffered in our own ways, we can relate to each other. We can have compassion, and feel helpful as we share the up-and-down experience of our own path.
     Our misfortunes and our grief do not separate us, as we may fear, but actually bring us together, and connect us deeply, at a level almost beyond words. Because we have lived through whatever horrors we have lived through, and survived them, we have something of value to share, and likewise, others have valuable experience to share with us. We do not have to let our hardships isolate us. We can join with others who know how it feels. There is always someone who knows how it feels.
     And maybe we can even learn to laugh at our defense mechanisms and fears and avoidance strategies. Maybe we can learn to graciously accept the pitfalls of being human, and find a way to somehow enjoy our own vulnerability.

I am not alone in my suffering. As I suffer, so does the rest of humanity. It's all a part of the dance.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

THE PHYSICAN WITHIN

     We want doctors to fix us, but they have their limits. The body has mysteries beyond comprehension. The recipe for our ultimate healing has to come from the physician within. Medical professionals can put us back together when we break, and medicate our symptoms, and put us through a series of tests and protocols, but after they have done what they can do for us, sooner or later, we have to face our own health and take responsibility for it.
     We think that it's easier to have someone else do something external to correct whatever ails us, and be made well forever, but it doesn't work like that. Health is a state of mind as well as body, a resulting condition from our amalgamated choices and the habits we keep, so how we feel is largely up to us. This is good news! We have within us the very real power to improve our well-being if we choose to. No matter what state of health we are in, no matter where we begin, we can help ourselves to feel better. We can always help ourselves to feel better.

I accept the limitations of doctors, and look within to improve the quality of my health.

Monday, August 6, 2012

THE BREATH

     We forget about our breath. We take it for granted. We rarely pause long enough, or expend the necessary consciousness, to focus on the the air within us as it travels down the length of our spine like a wave; ebbing and flowing all day and night like the tide. Because we forget about it, we shorten its path. We breathe shallowly, from our chest to our mouth, in chops instead of waves, and suffer for the lack of distance. We miss out on our available well-being and rejuvenation.
     The breath has the power to assist us. It increases our strength on the exhale, and increases our relaxation as it fills us up on the inhale. It expands and contracts us in balance. It is release of tension and relief from pain, from anxiety, exhaustion, and suffocation. It is life-force. It is meditation. It is health.
     Let's remember it. Let's remember to breathe fully and deeply, smoothly, and with rhythm. Let's take advantage of our body's best medicine for calming and healing on the one hand, and intense power and stamina on the other.

I breathe with gratitude and awareness. The rhythm of my breath heals me.