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Monday, April 30, 2012

BLESSINGS THROUGH PAIN

     My gratitude today is for the pain in my past. I do not regret any of it. All of the excruciating difficulties and seemingly insurmountable challenges have been faced and surmounted. I have learned from each of them. And the truth is that, more than my joy, the pain I have experienced has been the thing that has guided me on my way .
     In an effort to learn about and correct the aches and pains in my body, I became a massage therapist and a personal trainer, and in an effort to heal my emotional wounds, I became a seeker of truth. Through my pain, I have discovered improved health, and I am able to share my experience with others. I am able to help them to ease their pain. What blessing in this!
     I am really, more than anything, a perpetual student of pain and discomfort. I study it in myself and in my clients, and it teaches me. It is the best teacher I know. We try things to feel better. We stretch and strengthen. We get quiet. We laugh, and we cry. And we make plenty of mistakes. Some things work and some do not. It is a constant journey of progress and refinement and following the pain.
     And my experience has taught me that we can get better. But we have to be willing to work at it, and change our habits, and keep our hearts open to hope. In the end, it seems to me, our pain comes not to punish us, but to teach us and guide us, and to point us toward the better way.

Pain has been my greatest teacher. It has led me to where I am, and I am grateful to be here.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

PEACE

     There is a moment for each of us when we are fully engaged in life and we do not think or feel anything. We simply are. We are one with the moment and all that is. We are present. Maybe it's a creative project or singing our favorite song. Maybe it's an athletic endeavor or a quiet car ride through beautiful country.
     This sense of wholeness is available to us far more than we experience it. In fact, it is always available. It's right here and right now. It's in the silent gap between our restless thoughts. It's the simple thoughtless awareness of what is.
     We cannot get there by grasping, but we might through listening; or maybe through stillness, or focused movement- for a brief second or, if we're lucky, for expanded, continuous moments. But it's definitely the place we all want to get to, whether we know it or not, because peace is there, and well-being, and a sense of joy and appreciation. If we shut down our thinking mind, and turn on our sensory awareness, we can get there. It waits for us. It's always available. It's us who wander away and discombobulate ourselves with distractions. Peace is always peace.

I focus my attention on the present moment and experience well-being right where I am.

Friday, April 27, 2012

EXCLAMATIONS

     Roll your windows down! Open yourself to the fresh air! Say yes to something you want to say yes to but you've been afraid.; and when you mean no, say no! Don't pretend! Live authentically! Be quick to forgive! Be kind! Express your joy! Move your body! Wiggle and stretch! Let life amuse you! Enjoy people! Find the pleasure in your day and savor it! Savor your meals! Touch the people that you love! Hug with your whole heart! Be compassionate! Be willing to learn! Believe in your youth and the inclination of your body to heal! Be open! Be honest! And be free... because you are!

Life is fun! I relax and enjoy the ride.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

WHAT IS IT ABOUT FAME?

     Fame is as fleeting and illusory as the mist. So what is it about the idea of being famous that appeals to us... if it appeals to us? Maybe we think that if we're famous, we can somehow cheat death and live on and on "in posterity." Or perhaps we want to make an irretrievable impact on the world to prove our importance in it, and our worth. We feel that we must be important somehow, and we want the world to give us external validation. And we are important, but not in the way we think. We are important to the people we touch with our lives. We are teachers and students. We share lessons with our family and friends, the people we work with, and those we encounter by chance.
     Perhaps we think if we were famous we would be properly loved; we would be properly appreciated and acknowledged. We would have fans! But we would also be a source of hatred, and jealousy, and righteous judgment. Living famous, I imagine, is no different than living without fame. It's all living in the end. All the same challenges must inevitably present themselves, with fear and uncertainty topping the list. Once we become famous, we can suddenly lose our fame, and then who will we be? It's all about what we identify ourselves with in the end. Are we identified by external things, or by something deep and vast within us?
     The truth is that whatever we have "always wanted to be," the likelihood is that we already are. It's not out there in the future somewhere. We are writers if we write. We are dancers if we dance. We are comedians if we make people laugh. It's our tendency to slap conditions on success the same way we slap conditions on love- that it has to look a particular way and be validated by the world in some particular way. But it doesn't. We are already valid simply because we exist. It really doesn't have to be any more complicated than that. We have nothing to prove in the end. We have only to be.

I drop all of the conditions I place on my self-worth, and find a way to be ok with myself just the way I am.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

APPROACHING THUNDERSTORMS OF CHANGE

     I think we feel the rumblings of imminent change coming like a distant thunderstorm. We feel it deep inside and try to pretend that we do not. It flashes lightening and growls far away. We know there will be wind and rain and cracks of fire. Thunder will rattle the earth. And on some level, perhaps, we look forward to the storm, but another part of us wants to pretend that the sun will remain and that the coming clouds will move off in another direction.
     But when change is imminent, it's imminent. We can delay it, but we cannot pretend forever that we are going to be ok without it. We know inside what we need to do, but we are not ready to do it yet. And we happily pretend that we will not have to do it at all. And yet, what we rarely consider is the way the air feels after a thunderstorm. Generally, everything heavy and oppressive gets blown away, and the world is restored to fresh and crisp and invigorating.
     Our first responsibility is to the urging of our soul. It tells us things to keep us on our path. We must listen and trust. We can pretend we don't hear, but we do hear. We hear the rumblings deep inside, and the urgings will not cease until we honor the call.

I am honest about the call for change when it echoes within me, and I'm willing to step up and welcome the new into my life.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

DO NO HARM

     We can have a profound positive effect on people without being aware of it. And we can have a profound negative effect in the same way. We never know exactly what the people we face are dealing with in their lives- what challenges, victories, fears- what hurts and aches and susceptibilities. Something we say or do can change someone's life and point them towards the light, or send them into irretrievable darkness.
     We can't possibly know everything about people we are just meeting, or that we interact with in a limited context, so it's probably our best bet to be kind and compassionate, no matter what. Being righteous, we sometimes feel entitled to straighten someone out, to snap them into reality (our reality), or to call them out for wrongful acts, but maybe it's not our place to do this. Maybe it's rarely, if ever, our place to do this.
     As human beings, we are sensitive and fragile and easily tipped one way or another. We personalize hurtful comments and take ownership of other peoples' poor opinion of us... or maybe their over-inflated opinion of us, depending. As such, we might all do better to keep our opinions to ourselves, because the truth is, not having all the information, our opinions are likely to be wrong, and we could do damage without knowing it, to someone's reputation, or blood-pressure, or their state-of-mind.
     Let's leave judgment, aggression, and our desire to punish alone. Let's leave these things up to fate, where they belong. We all get what's coming to us in the end. Let's spread kindness and compassion and look for the best in others. And if we feel wronged and attacked, let's try for forgiveness and understanding instead of vengeance and retribution. We think we know it all but we don't. It's not up to us to straighten anyone else out or make them feel small. What's up to us, what's our rightful responsibility in all of our interactions, is to simply do no harm.

Even if I feel angry at someone, and attacked, I accept that I may not have all the information, and choose forgiveness and kindness over defensive hostility. I feel better about myself when I am kind.

Monday, April 23, 2012

BODY CALL

     I resist the physical exhaustion that I feel at the end of my workday. In an effort to perk up when everything in me needs to collapse for a bit and rejuvenate, I have developed an espresso habit. But the truth is that it doesn't really perk me up. It tastes good going down and feels like just the thing, but it disagrees a little with my stomach, and even after a triple espresso, I still have to pull over and take a nap on the way home so that I don't fall asleep at the wheel.
     When the body needs to rest, it will insist upon it. I am learning that. It stops cooperating and gives out. Sometimes, I can push it on and push it on a bit more, but when it's had enough absolutely, it demands its recovery time. I think I can force my body this way and that with willpower and medicines and magical thinking, but there is innate body wisdom over which I have no power in the end. In the end, I have to learn to listen, to the whispers of my body as well as its shouts. It has things to tell me, and important information to share.

I pay attention to my body and the lessons it has to teach me. I trust it to work hard and recover itself, to call for attention when needed, and to heal. I honor its needs and stop trying to force my will and my timing on the way it is. I express loving kindness for my flesh and bones.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

OCCUPY YOUR LIFE

     It just feels good to be around some people. They ground us with their solidity, or are effervescent and liven us up with their sense of fun and play. Some people inspire us, some challenge our intellects, and some make us feel nurtured and welcomed and loved.
     But some people drain us of energy and leave us flat and sallow-feeling. Their mere presence in our space is exhausting. I'm sure we can all think of people like that. When we think of them, our thoughts are bland. It occurs to me that these people do not fully occupy their lives. They are impostors and we sense it on some level. They're not dealing with us straight-up though they pretend to be sincere and they are speaking the right words. They pretend that all is well with them when it is clearly not, or that they are helpless to change their situations, which they are not. Their denial is dragging. It drags on them and it drags on us. There is a lack of real-deal effort, and a lack of good clean energy.
     Honesty, no matter how disturbing it may be, is interesting. Fake happiness and misery that never ends are not. People who are pretend-living are play-actors, and doing the best they can with their limited vision and misunderstanding, but that doesn't make them good company.  Fresh options exist for them, even though they don't seem to think so. In truth, they are never stuck, and help is always available to them. Real happiness is possible for everyone.
     Let's have the courage to be honest; to say what we are afraid to say, and to fully occupy our lives. Let's live authentically with all of our mess and imperfection. We will have genuinely better times that way, and so will those who have to share our space.

Inauthenticity is uninteresting, and pretend happiness leaves much to be desired. I commit to honesty in all of my affairs and I am willing to be real.

Friday, April 20, 2012

CHANGING WEATHER

     As a child I used to hate the heat. I felt righteously sulky and unhappy to my core when it was humid and buggy and too hot to move around without feeling sticky. But I've learned to appreciate it. There is something uniquely wonderful about late nights and early mornings that are hot. And even the blasting heat of a sweaty summer afternoon has its own kind of light and energy for appreciating.
     What I know now is that everything changes. It will not be hot forever. The evening will come to soften things, or a ferocious thunderstorm, or a cold front, or a gentle breeze. The fall comes again, and winter, and all of it, cycling and shifting.
     So as we begin this season of bright sun and hotness, let's not complain. Let's feel the heat and let it bake us. Let's experience it to our roots. Let's let it parch us a bit so that we can feel the refreshment of water on our faces and ice in a tall glass.

It's all good weather: hot, cold, stormy, windy, fresh, muggy, and fierce. It's all good.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

THEM BONES

     I always rather liked the song about the bones where one bone is connected to another and so-on. Life, it seems to me, is like that. It's all about interconnectedness. The bones are connected to the muscle, the muscle to the sinews, the tendons, the blood, the internal organs, and on forever. And the body is connected to the way we feel- our stomachs and our heart-rates and all of our passions and emotions.
     And we, in turn, as living beings, are interconnected with each other by family, by friendship, by marriage, and by chance. And we are all connected with the earth and the air and animals and plants, with the weather and economics and politics; with social norms and abnorms, diseases, the way we are injured, and the way we experience love. We cannot operate in a vacuum. We require interconnectedness for our very survival. And yet, we are flippant about it. We discount and dismiss our body parts, and the environment, and all of the things that irritate or displease us. We amputate ourselves and wonder why we don't feel whole. We forget the nature of things. We forget that the hip bone is connected to the leg bone, and the leg bone is connected to the ankle bone, and all the bones are connected to our hearts and eyes and outlook.
     There is no separation. There is no real way to go it alone. We are connected whether we like it or not, and we need each other to live. It may not be the way we think of it, all strident and self-sufficient as we are, but if we're honest, everything being connected to everything else is exactly the way it is.

I appreciate the interconnectedness of all things, and feel grateful for my part in the whirling circuits of life.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

WHISTLE WHILE YOU WORK

     If we set our lives up in polarities, we are bound to suffer unnecessarily. If we think of work as a burden, and time-off as our only pleasure, that puts an unreasonable expectation on our time off- to deliver the goods, and the happiness, and the fun and satisfaction that we desire; not to mention the fact that we are throwing a huge chunk of our lives away in what we perceive as the misery of toil.
     In order to pay the bills, we have to toil a bit, so why not make it enjoyable somehow, and if we cannot possibly make it enjoyable, perhaps we should consider another job. There is pleasure in our work, no matter what we are doing, so long as we approach it with an open heart and a certain amount of love. Resentment is the death of our joy, as is hostility for our co-workers, hatred for our boss, dislike of the hours and our commute, and complaints about the corporate bureaucracy. We have to let it all be what it is and find a way to be ok with it, or else have the courage to walk away. Life is too short to do otherwise. I believe that little joys wait for us everywhere, but we have to be awake and aware to see them. It's our mind's eye that matters the most. Work is only work if that's the way we look at it.

I choose to accept my work as it is and enjoy it in unexpected ways. I am grateful for the opportunity to be of service.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

UNDERAGE DRINKING

     Why, as a culture, do we expect and condone underage drinking? And not a European style glass-of-wine with dinner, but a party intense attitude that encourages drunkenness through games and peer pressure. Where is the fun in blackouts and alcohol poisoning and bed spins? In uninhibited sex with strange partners and puking all over ourselves? What does it say about our society that this behavior is considered a rite-of-passage into adulthood?
     I did it. I partied with the best of them, and paid my dues. I'm still paying in some ways... And now, I have young adult children who are expected to experiment and participate because of their age, and I'd like them to be spared the cost.
     Looking at the situation with sober, adult eyes, I don't understand the draw of rebellion and getting wasted, but I know it's real and I know it's powerful. We spend a fortune on college educations, and so much of the college experience is focused on getting drunk, and being drunk, and who got drunk, and what happened when we were drunk, and how much fun we must have had... even though we can't really remember any of it clearly.
     I believe we underestimate the effect of alcohol on the productivity of our youth. We let them get away with irresponsibility and actually encourage and excuse it as a certain privilege of their age. But perhaps, young adulthood is the time to be forming healthy habits for a lifetime instead of chasing the perfect buzz.
     It makes me thoughtful. Is the way it is really the way it has to be, or is there a better way? A higher road? A more satisfying experience for burgeoning young adults to be "cool" and have fun? I don't have the answers, but it seems worth it to me to ask the questions anyway. Are we culturally too permissive with our young adults? And does it end up harming us all in the long run? Are the things we promote as fun really fun, or are they Russian Roulette instead, and just a matter of time to see who ends up dead from too much alcohol, or inopportunely pregnant, or compromised beyond redemption?

Good clean fun is my prayer for young adults. I bring awareness to the high cost of drunken behavior and promote healthy alternatives in any way I can.

Monday, April 16, 2012

DIRTY BY ASSOCIATION

     We need to bring awareness to the very real influence of the company we keep. If we surround ourselves with slippery people whose integrity is questionable, then it should come as no surprise to us if our own moral judgment becomes looser the more time we spend with them. Just so, if we associate with healthy individuals, we can expect to think and behave in healthy ways.
     People's energy is catching, whichever way it blows, and their attitudes are catching as well. Feelings ooze through telephone lines and over table-tops during conversation, and move between people across space. If we are not vigilant and protective of our peace, it can become easily sullied by negativity, tension, poor judgment, anger, name calling, and finger-pointing. And we can be pushers of all of these things to others as well.
     We have to guard our gates. We have to monitor what we send out and what we allow in. We can become seedy by association. Or we can become eloquent by association, or we can refuse to piggyback on anyone else's stuff and be our own bubbling fountain of good feelings and honest intentions. We can be pure of heart, and free from the influence of external storms.

I am aware of the energy that I can pick up from others and refuse to take it on. I let their energy be theirs and keep mine as clean as I can.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

WHAT'S STUCK NEEDS TO MOVE

     Here's the answer to sluggishness and feeling stuck and hopeless: get moving- do something. As our blood begins to circulate, so does our outlook. Perspective changes as muscles engage. We are relieved from obsessive thinking as we focus on walking, stretching, lifting, and pulling. If stopping and becoming internally quiet won't fix what ails us, then chances are that movement will!
     Our life solutions are generally so much simpler than we think they are. We fancy our problems as megalith and certain to crush us. But the truth is that more often than not our solutions are fairly obvious. We either have to stop doing something that is creating a problem in our lives, or start doing something to move in the direction of correction and healing. The solutions seem so difficult because we don't want to change. We want everything to improve without our having to make any effort.
     But the efforts are never as huge as we think. They start small, and remain forever bite sized, no matter how complex the problem. We begin by stopping completely, or by getting moving; by eating something healthy, taking a walk, calling someone, saying a prayer, or gathering more information. We wait and see. We listen to our gut. We have the courage to step up or walk away. Whatever it takes. If we are overwhelmed, we stop; and if we are stuck, we get moving; and by doing so, we allow for the new direction to appear, the space to open, and our next step to be revealed.

If I feel lethargic and unmotivated, I get moving. Circulating my blood will shift my mental perspective, and give me just the fresh start I need.

Friday, April 13, 2012

STOP

     Here's the answer to doubt and feelings of overwhelm: stop everything and regroup. That's the answer to discombobulation, sloppiness, agitation, and exhaustion as well. So often we push on and push on and push on, beyond reason, beyond sense, in some kind of stubborn exertion of rigid willpower. But all of our answers and all of our relief comes from stopping- not pushing on, and not slowing down, but the cessation of all movement.
    Then, once we have gathered ourselves about us, we can begin again, slowly, with calm, and a sense of purpose inside. We have to remember what we are about and be willing to return to basics. Or, if we are so beyond ourselves that we have no idea how to go about regrouping, then we need to stop for longer. We need to do nothing until we know what to do. And we cannot know unless we get still and present and pay close attention to everything going on within us and around us. We have to listen for guidance. It may take an hour, or a few days, or longer.
     We go on about our daily routines, but we stop all momentum in the direction of our uncertainty until we hear, until we know. And we will know when we are ready to know. We return to the basics and keep things simple and wait for life to loosen and for elements of the confusion to equalize, and clarify, and open the path for our next right step. And when we see it, then we take it, and we go on from there.

When I am frazzled and frustrated, I stop, and wait, for calm and clarity to return.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

SPIRITUAL CONNECTION

     Call it God, or Great Spirit, or The Universe, or Mother Nature, or whatever you will, but having some kind of consistent connection to this energy is crucial if we wish to experience fulfillment and calm in our lives. It is both the settling force, and the rocket-launcher for manifestation. It is intuition and guidance and home base. It is reassurance and motivation; accessed through prayer and meditative mindfulness- through please and thank you and the courage to ask for help and direction.
     Life is scary and fierce if we think we are are the only one in charge of things. It's a burden to monitor all the goings on. But if we surrender our desire to control everything to whatever it is that actually does have the control- the unknowable mystery- then we are relieved.
     We are like small children in the cockpit of a plane. We insist on doing the flying, but we don't even know how to turn on the engine. We sit stubbornly with our hands on the yoke, refusing to let the pilot take over. It doesn't seem to phase us that we are stuck on the ground. We're sure the pilot will crash us if we let him take off. Better to sit and pretend we are where we want to be.
     Life comes so much more easily with little requests throughout the day- for help, for guidance, for a change of thought, for healing for a friend, a safe ride home, inspiration, comfort... We can sit beside the pilot and experience the wonder and the beauty of the take-off and the flight and landing. We can trust that the Universal life force wants to share positive, enriching experiences with us, and not drag us down and punish us for being. That's what we do to ourselves.

I trust in something bigger than me, and stay connected throughout the day. I am not afraid to ask for help and direction. Life goes better when I remember that I am not in charge of the ride.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

JUST KIDDING

     If, after some comment, someone actually feels the need to say that they are "just kidding," chances are that they aren't. Chances are, that they have said something intentionally hurtful, and that the barb of it has been felt; but they don't want to take any responsibility for being hurtful so they quip out a self-pardon in the form of "Just kidding. You know I'm just kidding, right?"
     And then it becomes my problem if my feelings are hurt because it's just meant as a joke. And if I'm not amused it means that I can't take a joke and no one wants to be that person. So I smile and say, "Of course," and allow the perpetrator to carry on guilt free.
     I'm inclined to think this whole "just kidding" business is actually a mild form of emotional abuse... and depending on the circumstances maybe even not so mild. Under the guise of humor, a quick assault is launched and executed. It's conscious and it's cruel, and yet, it slips by. It is allowed and even condoned, because of the two words that follow the jab- because of the "just kidding." Let's strike them from our usage. We can have fun and be silly, but let's not make a joke out of ourselves or anyone else.

If I am really kidding, people will know it, and if I am not, then saying "just kidding" is a sorry excuse for a stinging barb. I choose to be kind instead.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

HIDE AND SNEAK

     My favorite definition for "addiction" is "anything we hide." If that is the case, then what are we addicted to? It's interesting to watch ourselves jump to defenses as we consider our harmless "sneaks." Surely, these aren't addictions- all the little rewards we give ourselves in secret- the snacks, the naps, the shopping adventures- whatever they may be.
     Why do we feel the need to hide at all? In any way? That's the deeper question. Why the longing for "secret" pleasures? Is it guilt that runs us over? Have we been programmed to believe that we don't really deserve treats and goodness and pleasure? Are we somehow not allowed?
     And is it even possible or desirable to live a fully disclosed life?  What would that look like? It seems to me, that if we have nothing to hide, then we are absolutely free in the broadest sense of the word. Without any kind of hiding, we are free from having to sneak around and free from consequent feelings of guilt and shame. We are free from embarrassment and fear. We can live in the light. We can stand tall and be ok with who we are and how we are, and all of our likes and dislikes and talents and dysfunctions: no apologies and no excuses. This kind of freedom is worth an awful lot, it seems to me. Maybe we ought to give it a try.

I live free from guilt and shame. I don't apologize for who I am, and I trust myself to make good choices. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

DIFFICULT PEOPLE

     The most difficult people in my life have been my greatest teachers. They have taught me patience and acceptance. They have taught me compassion and forgiveness and how to hold my tongue.
     I used to rail against all of those who didn't behave in the way I thought they should... as parents and siblings and children; as teachers and bosses and doctors and politicians and friends. I have felt anger and injustice and a strong desire for righteous retribution. But none of my angst has ever changed anything in other people. It has only made me unhappy, and preoccupied me with darkness.
     I realized eventually that people have varying levels of integrity and the ability to communicate, and varying levels of their own internal bitterness and hatred and feelings of victimization. Some people are fountains of love, and some are more like empty wells. And for most of my life, I have shown up at the empty wells wanting to have my cup filled, and walked away disappointed time and again. But I'm getting better about it. I'm starting to understand and be able to recognize who's who. I believe we all have the inherent potential for enlightenment and high-integrity living, but that we do not all have the capacity or the inclination.
     I am learning to better accept people as they are, with all of their human-ness and limitations. I don't feel angry the way I once did, though it does continue to baffle me the way some people behave. But I realize now that these are the ones who teach me the most, and I can feel gratitude for them today instead of resentment. Their dysfunction can work to my advantage if I only look at it the right way.

I am grateful for the difficult people in my life. They teach me lessons that serve me well.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

CHANGING TASTES

     As we change, our tastes change- our taste in clothes, music, books, people, exercise, food, and beauty- our taste in everything. And yet, we have mental mindsets that lock in and stubbornly refuse to make the adjustment. We insist that we like something because we have always liked it. Maybe we associate it with pleasant memories from the past, or it served some purpose in our lives that we no longer need to serve. And maybe we don't really even like it anymore, but we keep on with it for old time's sake.
     We do things because we have always done them. We eat foods because we have always eaten them, even if they begin to create problems in our bodies. Giving up the familiar seems too high a price to pay, and we resist it with all of our vigor and determination.
     The irony is that if we made the appropriate changes in honor of our changing bodies and spirits, we might actually feel better. In fact, we most certainly would. And if we didn't, for some reason, then we could always return to our original habits. But let's at least give ourselves the chance to feel the best we can. Let's be willing to try living without the things that cause us discomfort. And it's possible, and maybe even likely, that contrary to our insistence otherwise, we might not actually end up missing them at all.

I am willing to give up the things in my life that cause me to suffer, even if I like the idea of them, and have come to depend on them for some kind of twisted emotional comfort.

Friday, April 6, 2012

THE WAY THINGS GROW

     How can a maximum number of people benefit from an experience that has some of its value tied up in being undiscovered? I find this a perplexing question. All great movements begin as small happenings. A handful of people get excited over something new and they spread the word. The group evolves. And as additional participants receive benefit, they, in turn, spread the word, and the group grows bigger still- and so on.
     But at some point, the sheer volume of people can't help but change the nature of the original experience. A commercial, cookie-cutter approach seems the obvious answer, but the lack of authentic spontaneity initially available threatens to dilute and diminish the enjoyment and purpose. It's a conundrum. Anything worthwhile grows a following, but the following itself can become a problem.
     So what to do? Embrace the change, I suppose, and do the best job possible to accommodate the growing group. As long as the the mission and intention remain pure and the point is to be helpful to anyone seeking help, then there's nothing for it but adaptation and adjustment.
     I sometimes want to return to the small beginnings of things when all feels uncorrupted and simple. I want to reject the bigness of what grows up. But it's forward and outward in life, forward and outward forever until we die. We cannot shrink or go back. There is nothing for us in the past. All of our life and our lessons are before in the unshaped and unknown form of whatever may come.

I am ok with the way everything in life changes. I look back fondly, but do not wish to repeat the past.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

SELF-RESPECT

     Are we able to be our own best friend? Or are we more usually our own worst enemy? Are we crueler and harsher with ourselves than we would ever consider being with other people, and do we feel like that's pretty much what we deserve? Is it the last thing we think of to forgive our mistakes? Do we habitually chastise ourselves and think that we should have known better, we should have done better, and that we should really be better in every way? Do we trust ourselves? Are we able to live life free from guilt? And if not, why not? It's a sad state of affairs if we regularly condemn ourselves, and yet, don't we?
      Just because that's what we do, and what we have always done, doesn't mean it's what we have to continue to do. We can hear ourselves saying that we are un-coordinated, or not-creative, or bad at something, and correct ourselves right there. We can stop belittling our efforts and extend a bit of kindness. We can have compassion for ourselves. Life is hard, after all, and we are really doing our best.
     Let's take a risk and celebrate the wonder of who we are, every day, in every way. Let's be willing to try things and explore our gifts and talents. Let's figure that we're here for a reason and we must have something to contribute, and start contributing. Let's contribute our good nature to those we encounter. Let's improve the quality of someone's day. Let's share a smile and spread a little joy. Let's be kind, be complimentary; let's look for the good in others as well as ourselves. And doing so will get the energy of loving kindness flowing and make us feel good. It's a vicious cycle in the right direction. Let's do it. Let's like ourselves for a change.

I stop belittling myself and creating self-sabotage at every turn. I make an effort to be my own best friend.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

WHAT MOTIVATES US?

     Thinking that we need to control everything is dangerous business; that if we don't do it, it won't get done right, or won't get done at all. Such an attitude is a breeding ground for misery.
     It's important what kind of thought process we allow to motivate us. Are we driven by guilt? by a cheerful desire to be helpful? by greed? by fear? by martyrdom? We all feel obligated to do certain things in our lives, but the truth is that it's all a choice. We think we "have to" but we don't. Everything is a choice. Everything. In what spirit do we choose? It's worth considering.
     If we are hoping for peaceful living, we need to find the "want to" energy in our daily activities. Otherwise, we are nothing but victims, or sacrificial lambs, and we needn't be either. It's a waste of our time and our lives.

I'm honest about the energy that motivates me, and if it's dark energy, I am willing to change. Life is too short to be miserable.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

TRYING TOO HARD

     When we are frustrated trying to accomplish something in life, it's a natural inclination to expend extra effort. We think our lack of success must mean that we are not trying hard enough; that we have to do more, push harder, somehow force the outcome with the strength of our will and muscle.
     But often, what is actually needed is less effort, and more flow; more surrender and rhythm and instinct and the natural order of things. Whether it's hitting a golf ball, or playing soccer, or trying to get pregnant, or writing a novel, or proving a point, if we can relax and let go, we can release enough pressure to allow for grace and shifting movement.
     It's obsessive wanting and insisting that creates the pressure that gets us stuck in the first place. It is difficult to accomplish things by force. If it's not happening, we need to leave it alone. We need to back off and get out of the way.
     We get so attached to outcomes and our belief that things are supposed to be a certain way, and that we should be able to do this and do that... Getting frustrated at not being able to do so creates angst and tension and all the wrong kind of energy. When we find ourselves stuck, we have to be willing to do less instead of more. As long as we hold on and force our will, we are locked in stalemate with the way things simply are. When we are willing to change our approach, we are rewarded with new solutions and success that comes easily.
     We are brought up to believe that we are supposed to try as hard as we possibly can, and then try harder still, but the truth is that if we try too hard, then we actually end up sabotaging ourselves every step of the way.

I catch myself in the energetic struggle of trying too hard to get something done that doesn't seem to want to get done. I am willing to back off and let go.

Monday, April 2, 2012

GROWING OLD

     Surely, youth is over rated. What pain and suffering in middle school, and high school! What angst in puberty, and learning about love with all of its attendant heartaches and dependencies! What upset comes from our green-horn bravado as young adults taking the world by storm.
     If we are open to it, aging comes with increased graciousness, wisdom, and calm. We have learned a bit about who we are and what we value, about what foods and exercises serve our bodies best, and about what and who we love the most.
     I believe that life begins at 40, and then again at 60, and then again at 80. The longer we live, the more comfortable we can become with who we are and being in our own skins and how life works... and doesn't work. We don't have to freak out over every little thing the way we do when we're 16, or 30. I think growing old is a gift, not a burden. It is only horrible if that's the way we make it. We have a choice in the way we grow through the years. We can grow fat, or sickly, or wise. We can appreciate our changing bodies and embrace increasing health at any age. Culturally speaking, we seriously underestimate the importance of mental, emotional, and spiritual health. We focus all of our attention on the body, and miss the point of life, and time, evolving our spirits.

Every day that I live is a chance and an opportunity to improve my health.