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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.