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Thursday, May 31, 2012

BALANCE AND THE THREE BEARS

     There's wisdom in the story of The Three Bears. I think we are all fundamentally like the Baby Bear. We want things to be "just right," and let's face it, they are best that way. A hot day is made pleasant by a breeze and rustling leaves. No breeze at all makes the heat oppressive, and too much blows things all over us and whips at our skin.
     Just so, too much change in our lives at one time is unsettling, but not enough feels stagnant; suffocating almost. We want just the right amount of challenge and evolution, just the right amount of growth. And just the right amount of solitude and togetherness as well; of activity and rest; of healthy foods and sweet treats. Just right is just right.
     The Little Bear is all about balance and the Middle Way; about finding comfort between the extremes. That is where satisfaction awaits us- not in excess and melodrama; not in everything to the max and pushing all limits- but somewhere centered and grounded and comfortable, somewhere balanced and in-between. We find our satisfaction in the place in the middle, that is just right... for us.

I seek balance in my life, and avoid the lopsided attraction of excess and all that is extreme.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK

     "I used to worry about what other people think about me, until I realized that they don't." I heard this expression years ago, and consider it often, but I still get caught up projecting onto other people. I imagine all kinds of negative thoughts they must surely be thinking about me.
     I easily accept that some individuals I encounter like me and genuinely wish me well, but there are a handful of people who I feel unsure about. I mistrust their motivations, and imagine that they have strong opinions about who I am and the way I do things. I build whole cases and conditions around a look they give me- that it means this, that, and the other thing. I think they don't like me. I think they're mad at something I said, or didn't say- that I did, or didn't do. I fret over imaginary issues and speculate all kinds of strategies to make things right.
     And then, something simple happens between us- a pleasant exchange of words, a smile, a demonstration of kindness, and I realize that my projections have been all wrong. There is no issue except for the one I've created in my mind. Which is not to say that some people don't have a problem with me. I'm sure they do. But it is never what I think, and never what I project.
     I want to remember this the next time I head off running with thoughts that someone is displeased with me, and make a decision to allow instead for the very real possibility that they are likely overwhelmed with their own life, and not actually thinking about me at all.

I resist the temptation to make assumptions about what other people think.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

THINKING QUESTIONS

     What energy do we bring to the activities of our days? Do we rush through them? Are we visibly annoyed? Tired and dragging? Do we have enthusiasm? Do we smile? Do we scowl? Are we put-upon? Inflexible? Quick to anger? Do we welcome the morning and enjoy whatever happens? Or do we manufacture problems in our minds and project disasters all over our future and have a bad time? Do we experience life as hard? Are we willing to try new things? Do we complain about the status quo? Are we friendly? Cheerful? How do we approach our work, our home, our hours of daylight? Are we spending our minutes wisely? Without exception, they are non-refundable.
     Our attitude matters. Let's choose it with care.

I engage my energy with good intention and an open heart. I choose to have a pleasant day, no matter what happens.

Monday, May 28, 2012

MEMORIAL DAY

     Let us honor the fight for freedom today. Let us honor those who have fallen, and all those who have served. Let us honor the memory of our own life's battles as well, and the veteran that lives in all of us. Let us feel grateful for this day, and for courage and heroes and victory and surrender. Let us express our appreciation for the peace we so readily enjoy.

Happy Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

PROSPERITY

      Perhaps prosperity is more of an internal state than an external one. We can have all the money we need, and everything material we could possibly want, and still feel deprived on the inside. Or we can live hand to mouth and feel abundantly blessed. Riches come in the form of good health, cozy cabins, appreciation of small pleasures, the experience of love, giving and receiving kindness, creativity, humor, friendship, and meaningful communication, as well as wopping numbers in our stock portfolios, and mansions, and memberships at private clubs.
     Fretting over money takes a lot of our time and effort. If we only had more, we think we would be happier. But happy is an inside job. Happy is a choice. Happy does not come from having more of anything in particular. It is the simple result of being kind, and being grateful. And that's fairly easy, seems to me.
     If we are alive, we have the ability to experience beauty and feelings and laughter and good smells and heat and cold and the ever-changing, cycling light. Prosperity is in the experience of life, in all of its variations. We won't find it in the bank.

Insofar as I am able to experience pleasure in being alive, I am prosperous.

Friday, May 25, 2012

TRUST

     Why do we always go to the worst possible scenario as the likely outcome? We make assumptions based on fear, negativity, and a tremendous lack of trust- in ourselves, in our bodies, and in the rolling currents of life. We are sure this terrible thing is going to happen, or that terrible thing.
     But as far as I know, none of us has ever had to deal with anything that simply could not be handled. Whatever it is, we end up handling it- with help if we need it, and one little bit at a time, but always somehow or other, and we evolve through the process. We face tough situations, and yet, we endure, and even with a certain amount of humor and grace if we're lucky. In general, things usually turn out better than we think they will... in the end. So for a change, let's imagine that it will be ok- whatever it is- and that it might not be a disaster and the worst possible thing after all.

Whatever happens, or might happen, I trust that it will ultimately be ok.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

KEEPING IT SAFE

     Some people avoid the personal at all costs. They converse on the level of history and politics and public information. Their passions circulate around social issues and disturbing things they have read about in books, or the newspaper. They seem to lack an instinct for intimacy. They are all guard and defense: highly competent in the art of distraction.
     Looking for love from these people is frustrating at best. It's better, perhaps, to cease expecting anything from them, and to join them in the realm of their carefully chosen safely discussible topics, and to have compassion for their limited ability to access the contents of their soul. These people love us simply by showing up and making conversation. For now, and maybe forever, it's the best they can do.

I accept people's differing levels of conversational comfort, and understand that the personal is too personal for some.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

LEAVES

     Summertime is a wild abundance of leaves: pear-shaped, heart-shaped, pointed, jagged, round, small and multitudinous, big and single, with berries, without them, leaves of high-bred plants, of stubby trees, and gracious ones, of flowers, vegetables, and weeds. Life in the summer is a leaf explosion! It's overgrowth and shade and tangle and brush.
     On our walks, let's take the time to notice the wondrous variety of living, growing green-ness, and appreciate the paradisical quality of leaves... and the scent of honeysuckle, and the twitter of birds, and squirrels rustling. Nature is abundant sustenance for our spirits, if we only pay attention; if we only listen and watch; if we only notice what's there. All manner of small critters and insects populate the bushes and hide in the leaves. Tiny flowers, little bright spots of color, pop up in the most unlikely of places. And delightful surprises are everywhere, and free... just for us! Just because we are walking, and just because we take the time to see.

I appreciate the dense greenery all around me and notice the beautiful details of nature wherever I go.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

HARD WORK

     There is a difference between the relaxation we feel lounging around all day, and the relaxation we feel after being productive and hours of hard work. Though both have their place, most of the time, I prefer the latter. It is satisfying to the core, and guilt-free. Hard work is its own reward. So the saying goes, and I believe it to be true. Feeling useful, experiencing ourselves making a difference- in the garden, with people, progressing along a path of achievement, making strides, making a visible impact, or making an invisible impact that is felt in the blood- these things enrich us. Hard work builds confidence and builds character. It exhausts us in the purest of ways. People who prefer sloth are missing out.
     There's nothing like the end-of-day feeling after giving our all to life, and it cannot be replicated. Only our labor will bring the result. It is sweetly drained and ready for the renewal of a good meal and a night of sleep. It is purpose fulfilled, and energy efficiently burned. It's worth every ounce of the effort, and then some.

When I give the day everything I have to give, I feel profound satisfaction and fulfillment when the sun goes down.

Monday, May 21, 2012

PREPARING THE HEART

     Surprise visits, and surprise parties, are over-rated in my opinion. There is something startling about them, and jarring almost. We don't have the time or opportunity to prepare our hearts. Anticipation is a wonderful thing. To know that there is going to be a party in our honor, and that people we love will be there, is spirit-food for weeks leading up to the event. Surprise in the details is one thing- unexpected guests from afar, live music, or the specific nature of the decorations, the flowers, the venue, etc... but to drop the whole thing on us unsuspecting is shocking, actually, and not always as much fun as it might initially seem. It's almost a burden. Something is suddenly expected of us and we are completely unprepared for it. I like to be prepared as much as possible.
     And I like to be able to look forward to things. Maybe it has something to do with my childhood. I feel more comfortable and grounded knowing generally what's going to be happening. If plans change, I can adapt, and alter my momentum- not always gracefully, but I can do it. But I don't want to be left completely in the dark. Surprise me, and my body goes straight to fight or flight mode. I am tense and suddenly edgy: struck like a deer in the headlights. Where is the fun in that?

Save the surprises. There is a certain comfort in the anticipation of events. It gives me time to prepare my heart.

Friday, May 18, 2012

INDEPENDENT HAPPINESS

     We can be happy and ok within ourselves even if the people around us are miserable, grouchy, sick, dysfunctional, or hostile. Our well-being does not depend on anyone else being any particular way, although we think it does. It feels wrong, or selfish, to be happy, when our child, or our spouse, or our parent is suffering. We impose suffering on ourselves so that we can suffer alongside. That feels much more humane to us- but it's a self-con job. It's co-dependency and dysfunction in us that thinks we can only be happy when everyone we care about is doing ok. That doesn't happen much. Someone is always having a bad day.
     And we can let them. Where we make ourselves crazy is insisting that they be other than they are so that we can feel better. But what will truly make us feel better is to let them be. They'll work it out, or they won't. We can be loving and kind, but we needn't turn ourselves into doormats. We get so twisted up forgetting that everybody has choices to make and that giving them the freedom to make them is the most loving thing we can do, even if their decisions do not please us. If they ask our opinion, we owe them our honesty, but we do not need to spew our unsolicited judgments all over their lives.

I stop trying to control the moods and choices of the people I love. I can be happy and whole, whether they are feeling that way or not.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

SADNESS

     I believe that there are two emotional baskets in life, or "root cause" piles. They are love and fear. The fear basket holds anger, jealousy, resentment, bitterness, procrastination, frustration and the like. And in the love basket are gratitude, joy, serenity, acceptance, patience, optimism, courage, etc.
     Considering sadness in this light, I find a bit of a challenge. On first contact, it seems as if sadness easily belongs on the fear side of things, but on closer examination, genuine sadness is actually brimming with love. It is backed by compassion, not fear. There is tenderness and aching for what is, and the way people suffer, and the way we suffer.
     Sadness is free from self-pity and judgment and a desire to control- it is just sad- a heart wide open and a soul-full of tears. Love can be so big sometimes that it wants to burst us, and for me, sadness falls into that category of love. So when we are sad, let's feel for the softness behind our sorrow, and experience the great love that is actually bubbling up from deep inside of us, even as our hearts hurt, sobs rattle our ribs, and the tears roll streaming down our face.

I have a capacity for great love and great sadness, and they both come from the same place inside of me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

WALKING TALL

     The way we walk says more about us than we realize. It gives away our secrets. It shows the people who are watching us whether we have insecurities or anger issues, if we have been beaten down by life; if we like who we are and feel good, or if we are not at all sure about anything.
     Let's carry ourselves with the grace and nobility that we deserve. Let's stop shuffling around as if we are persecuted and don't think much of ourselves. Even if we have been persecuted; even if we have permanent limps, or humps in our backs, let's rise above it in our carriage and our stride. Walking as if we are confident will make us feel confident.
     We can stroll our way through life. We can float! We needn't gimp and hitch and get there however we get there. The way we move affects our state of being, so let's slow down and walk consciously, with good posture and good rhythm, and flow and nobility and grace- even if it doesn't come easily. Because we are noble, and walking is one of the important ways that we honor our beautiful selves.

I pay attention to the way I walk and stop shuffling and hitching. I slow down and stroll, with my chest up, my head lifted, and a heart full of grace.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

PONDERING

     Are we more compassionate than resentful? More interested in being helpful than in getting our fill? Are we paralyzed by fear? Afraid of punishment? Do we live on the edge hoping we won't get caught? Do we think we can escape consequences, and feel victimized when we have to pay our rightful dues? Are we thoughtful? Frantic? Can we listen to others without interrupting their flow? Do we think about the impact of our energy on things and people? Are there changes we could make in the way we behave in order to be more kind? More peaceful? Easier to be around? Better friends? Are we willing to be honest? Are we willing to reach our potential? Are we willing to be the best that we can be? Or are we not?

I have the courage to ask the tough questions, and I'm willing to change where I can.

Monday, May 14, 2012

COMPELLING SUNSHINE

     The old adage, "no pain, no gain" does not always apply. During a massage, for instance, if I experience pain or discomfort, my body becomes defensive. It locks up to protect itself, tensing and tightening in alarm. I cannot be forced to relax. Digging and poking at my muscles with ever greater intensity leaves them nothing but sore and uncomfortable. They respond to encouragement rather than demand.
     And I don't believe that exercise is supposed to be painful either, and that it doesn't have to hurt in order for gains to be made. Movement and weights can be used in ways that support the highest functioning of a strong body. In my experience, and I have been a personal trainer for fifteen years, the best exercises actually feel good while they are being performed. The muscles fatigue, but they don't "hurt" per se, and the body enjoys the challenge and the range of motion. Every body has its own kind of  feel-good movements, and that's where strides are made, and where progress happens; not in pushing beyond comfort and then pushing further still.
     I am reminded of the story with the sun and the wind, who compete with each other to see who can get a man to take off his coat. The wind tries with all of his might. He blows hard, and harder still, but the man only clutches his jacket tighter around him in response. In the end, it's the gentle, loving sun that wins out.
      To me, the message of the story has broad application, far broader than the saying "no pain, no gain." If the forceful urging way we have of approaching things and people is not eliciting the hoped-for, positive result, perhaps we might try a bit of sunshine instead.

I experience more success in all areas of my life when I come at things with gentle encouragement and love instead of brute force. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

ENERGY TIDES

     The shifting tides of internal energy fascinate me. In the course of a single day, I feel stagnant, amplified, sleepy, invigorated, hot, cold, fearful, hopeful, alert, relaxed- you name it. I feel the whole realm of tides. I feel low tide, high tide, moon tide, and brackish. I feel whitecaps and windlessness.
     It is the natural inclination of movement in the universe to fill what's empty and empty what's full. When I am drained, something comes along and trickles inspiration in me. I feel the energy shift, and my sense of vitality is restored. I ride on it like a kite in the breeze. And then, at some point or other- it always happens- I crash to the ground in a tangle of string.
     I am revived by sleep, by being with people I like, by involving my intellect in a project, by creativity of any kind, and by walks in nature; picking roadside flowers to make arrangements for the house. I am revived by hugs and good conversation and a satisfying meal. I am revived by sitting still for just a few minutes.
     What's reassuring, and what pleases me, is that I am never stuck in one energetic place. None of us are, though it may feel that way at times. If we are willing to suit up and show up, life gives us the whole range of energies, and each one is a gift. Sometimes we are up, sometimes down, sometimes shaken, and sometimes rattled by joy. But what is always for sure is that we cycle through the hours moving from one energy to the next. It's quite a journey, this life, and worth every moment.

I appreciate the constantly moving tides of energy within me.

Friday, May 11, 2012

CONDITIONAL LOVE

     Conditional love is a trapping and brutal business. It is love under siege; love that can be removed at any time for any reason. It's impossible to meet all of the potential conditions. They are always changing so we must remain ever on guard- to do what's wanted, to be sure to please the distributor of love so that we can get our share. It's stressful and exhausting. We are loved for our behavior, our achievements, our choices, and our taste, insofar as they line up in accordance with someone else's idea of who we should be and how we should be. Conditional love is control over another person at the highest possible cost, and the most prevalent and socially acceptable form of emotional abuse.
     More often than not, we receive it as children, and then pass it along to our children. We show them love as long as we approve of what they do, and when we do not approve, we withdraw our love. It was done to us so it seems only natural. But it's not. It's a horrible thing to live in constant fear that love will be stripped from us if we do something wrong. It is ever-impending doom, and life under a black cloud.
     The healing process has to begin at the level of our beliefs. We have to learn to believe that we are lovable even when we mess up; even when we do foolish things and make bad decisions. If we can't shed a little kindness self-ward, and give ourselves a break, who will? How can we ever believe that others might love us unconditionally if we cannot feel that way about ourselves?

Unconditional love starts with the way I feel about myself. If I have to daily earn my own approval, what does that suggest about my lovability? I am willing to believe that I am lovable just the way I am.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

STEP UP TO THE PLATE

     When I am attempting something unfamiliar and hoping for a specific positive outcome, it's hard to begin. I have a fear that I might make a mistake and do something that will blow my chances at success forever and ever. If I don't try, there is always the chance that I might slip through and actually get what I hope to get... when I do try. But if I make the effort and don't get the desired result, it feels like the death of my dream.
     Even as I write this, I realize that a beginning is just that- a beginning. It's not meant to be a home run or to strike me out of the game for all time. It's just a chance at the bat. Maybe I get a base hit, or a foul ball. Maybe I walk. At least the possibility exists for home runs... and strike outs too. Therein lies the challenge and the "game." If it doesn't happen this time, then maybe the next. I get another turn, and another, as long as I play.
     But I'm not even in the game if I don't step up to the plate. I won't strike out, but I won't feel what it's like to hit the ball either. And it's satisfying to make contact with it, to feel the crack and watch the ball go down the line, or straight out to left field, or wherever it goes; far more satisfying than sitting in the stands watching the dugout with envy and being too afraid to play at all.

I take my chances and give life my best shot. Even if I miss, or strike out, it's worth swinging at the ball. I could get a base hit, and move forward in the game.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

EATING WITH CARE

     The preparation of good food requires love as a primary ingredient. Meals made with haste and hostility leave the palate in despair. The difference really can be tasted and digested if we are paying attention. We consume the energy that comes from the heart of the cook.
     So many of us prepare our food carelessly, almost recklessly, and so often, impatiently. We cannot be bothered to eat well or to take the time to sit down and chew. We eat on the run, and directly out of store-bought packages: fast food for fast living: any way we can get it. And then we wonder why we feel such a lack of satisfaction in our bellies.They swell and bloat and ache and growl.
     Let's take more care. Let's take more time. Let's savor the textures and colors of vegetables, the scents of herbs and spices, the heat of the oven and the fire of the grill. The way we fill our plate matters. The way we eat matters. Let's do better by ourselves so we can feel better, and prepare our nourishment with love and appreciation. Let's be truly grateful when we sit down to eat.

The energy in what I eat sustains me, and I honor that fact by preparing my meals with gratitude, mindfulness, and a loving heart.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

MISPLACED FEAR

     So much of anger is rooted in fear. When we lash out at others, it is usually our way of reacting to what we perceive as a terrifying breech of personal security. For example, in traffic, if someone cuts us off unexpectedly and we have to slam on the breaks, our anger is mostly about the fact that our heart is racing and we thought for a second that we were going to wreck the car. But instead of admitting, "That scared me!" we say, "That driver is a jerk! What's his problem?" And we call him names, and curse him, and feel justified in our hatred and fury. But it's really misplaced fear, and nothing more than that. Wherever there is anger, you can be sure that misplaced fear is not far behind.
     We can acknowledge this in ourselves and others. Instead of going off on some furious tangent of vengeance, we can stop and ask ourselves, "What am I afraid of?" The naked truth of the question itself largely diffuses the rage. And though we may not be able to change the way other people are acting out, perhaps we can have compassion as we consider the same question for them. "I wonder what she's so afraid of?" And we can extend a little understanding instead of matching fear for fear.
    
I extend compassion wherever I encounter anger. I understand that it is usually only fear that is improperly expressed.

Monday, May 7, 2012

DETOURS

     I find it fascinating in life the way we head off enthusiastically in one direction- pretty clear about our goal and intention, and quite sure of ourselves. And then we encounter a detour. We have to make an unexpected right turn. And that leads us down a hill and around a corner and through a town and unfamiliar neighborhoods. And then we have to turn again, and again.
     And sometimes, after a detour, we return to our original course, but it is somehow changed by what we have been through. We see it differently. And sometimes the detour itself becomes the new path. We thought we were headed one way, but we were mistaken.
     What never seems to fail, however, is that we end up exactly where we are supposed to be. We arrive as if by accident. We travel countless, unanticipated curves in the road. We head off to LA and end up in Jackson. But we realize, when we get there, that Jackson was actually the place we were headed all along... whether we knew it, or not.

I think I know where I'm going, but the truth is that I never really know for sure until I get there.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

SQUASHING JOY

     Joy is durable, surely, but fragile as well, and easily squashed. How often and how easily do we encounter someone who seems unusually joyful and make some kind of squashing comment to them? "Wow. You sure seem happy today... what are you so bubbly about? What's with the good mood?" We are almost accusatory, definitely passive-aggressive, and often sarcastic. And people make the same kind of remarks to us when we are feeling exceptional. It's almost as if the world is in collusion. We seem to silently agree that nobody should be allowed to be too joyful, and if they are, we feel entitled to jab at them with guilt induction and bring them down a size. Perhaps it has something to do with a kind of primordial resentment. It seems more natural to resent people their happiness than to share in it. There's a sense of "not fair" when others are thriving and we are not.
     The loving thing to do is to rejoice in their good humor, and to accept it gracefully and let it wash all over us and lift our own mood by mere association, but so much more often, we make the impulsive decision to squash them instead. We feel an urgent need to put them in their place. And in the receipt of our not-so-helpful commentary, we watch joy deflate like a popped balloon. And maybe we feel badly and want to take our comment back- but by then, it's too late.
     Let's think before we speak. Let's celebrate the happiness of others, and if we cannot celebrate it, let's at least make the decision not to crush it with sarcasm or some other kind of clever quip. Life is hard and joy is precious. Let's honor it properly and give it room to breathe and grow.

I pay attention to the squashing of joy in myself and others, and choose not to participate. I celebrate joy instead, and feel grateful for bubbling happiness wherever I encounter it.

Friday, May 4, 2012

SEEDS

     It's an amazing thing to plant seeds in  the dirt and watch them sprout with their happy green-ness. They are so tiny at first. And then, each day, they rise a little taller, and a little taller still. They develop particular character and shape. They begin to look like what they will become. They outgrow their starter pots and need to be transplanted. So long as they have health, and light, and water, nothing stops their growth, and eventually they deliver up flowers and fruits, vegetables, and heavenly scents. And all of this comes from apparent smallness. Some seeds are no bigger than a spec of pepper. I find it miraculous and wonderful, fascinating and inspiring.
     We too, are all growing from seeds, and developing our own kind of breadth and width and foliage. We develop as efficiently and gracefully as lavender plants, tomatoes, and rows of corn. We are perennials. Our influence spreads across the earth as we ripen and go to seed year after year, evolving, growing, and ever-expanding- until, eventually, we become compost, and fertilize the life that follows ours when our growing is completed.

There is much to learn from seeds. I watch them sprout and develop and bear fruit. And it occurs to me that our life journey happens in much the same way.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

THE COST OF SECRETS

     I used to keep secrets. I held onto stories from my past and facts about myself with great guardedness and fear. It was a security job I took seriously, because I was sure if people only knew the things I had done, and thought, it would be the end of all respect for me. I carried shame around like a bag of rocks.
     And then, by suggestion, and through courage, I shared everything about me- my whole life story- with someone I could trust. And I discovered that I was not so bad after all; not so different from others; and that everything in my past was entirely forgivable. It even turned out that in some way, my errors and mistaken judgments actually made me beautiful- imperfect and vulnerable and human... and beautiful. It was a relief to let go of my secrets, and to set free my internal slaves of shame.
     And now I can talk about everything in my life with almost anyone, because I realize things are only a big deal if I refuse to share them. Through sharing comes relatability, understanding, humor, and a right-sized image of who I am. And life is much simpler knowing that everyone's stash of secrets amounts to pretty much the same thing: we are human and we make mistakes.
     So let's disclose our secrets and laugh about our human-ness. Let's let go of the un-necessary shame that we carry around once and for all.

I relax knowing that it's ok to make mistakes, and I don't have to pretend to be perfect. Sharing my secrets brings me closer to others and lightens my load.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

THE NATURAL ORDER OF THINGS

     Some days my energy is buzzing with lively happiness and all possibility, and some days it is flat and everything seems an extreme effort. I make the mistake of thinking that the high energy can be recalled at will, but it cannot. So I need to enjoy it while it lasts, knowing that it will change. And truthfully, I can find a way to enjoy the low energy too. It's different, but not without it's own kind of appeal.
     Windows of opportunity seem to open in the same way. There is a fresh breeze that comes in with the promise of something hopeful; something unexpected and exciting that seems suddenly doable. But I have to act, and continue to act each day in small steps if I want to grow the excitement and keep the window open. Otherwise, like the energy that drops without warning, the window slams down. And what was visible, what I wanted and was jazzed up to do, is out of sight again. And I can no more recall it than I can make myself energized when I am in need of rest.
     Everything is cyclical, and rhythmic. I have to learn to ride the cycles and be in touch with the natural order of things- the rising and falling of the sun, the wind, the moon, the heat; energy, hunger, internal peace and restlessness, eagerness, and exhaustion. It's all part of it, and all has its place. There is beauty in the waxing and the waning of my vision and the pursuit of my dreams, but whether I am bursting with new ideas or listless and dull, I am nonetheless growing, and developing, and maturing. I am ever learning how to ride the tides and experience the rising and dips of life, with courage, and good humor, and trust in the passage.

I observe and appreciate the cycles of my enthusiasm. I experience it rise and fall like the tides. I am a part of the natural order of things.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

PICK UP THE DRAG

     If what we are doing drags us down and makes us tired, I think that's a pretty good indicator that our hearts are not engaged. We may be going through the motions, but there's something lacking. If we do not have the option to walk away from whatever it is that we are doing, our best bet is to find a way to make it interesting. Maybe we need to creatively mix things up, with our thoughts, if not our actions. We need to approach it differently; maybe establish an internal state of play and bring some fun to the activity. We can come at it from a new angle of consideration.
     The worst possible thing is to think of how tired we are, and bored, and how we wish we were elsewhere. Such thoughts make the experience utterly excruciating and slow time down to creeping. We have to remember the options that we have. We can make the decision to pick up what's dragging. We can change our mind and find the interest in what's in front of us. There's always something of interest. We can make it an observational adventure to seek it out. Sometimes it comes easier than others to engage our hearts in what we do, and sometimes we have to be a little more creative. But if the situation is before us, then we can be sure that we are up to the challenge, and that the creative journey is not only possible, but excellent practice for finding a way to be happy no matter where we are or what we are doing.

If I find myself feeling tired and bored with what I'm doing, I make the decision to come at it from a fresh angle and mix things up. Life is much more fun when my interest is engaged.