*

*

Friday, March 29, 2013

CHANGING WEATHER

    Traveling by car through a gap in the mountains is an interesting experience weather-wise. Sometimes it's sunny on one side and raining on the other, or raining and snowing, or windy and calm. It's the same day and only a matter of distance, but one side is sometimes as different from the other as night is different from the day.
     And maybe that's the only thing that separates our moods as well... from dark to light and sun to rain... perhaps it's all just a matter of traveling the distance on whatever road we're on.

If I just keep going when I am feeling dark and cloudy, I am likely to hit a patch of sunlight before too long.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

THE POWER OF INTENTION AND KEEPING ON

     We experience great benefit in life from simply keeping on, from putting one foot in front of the other no matter what, and waking up and filling the day with action and positive intention. Even if the results we seek do not happen on our time-scale, and even if they do not seem to happen at all, the ultimate benefit of staying the course is progress, and more progress, and more progress. So long as we are headed in the right direction, and catch ourselves if we start to swerve away, we can't help but make progress. The trick is knowing what we're aiming for. That's what makes all the difference in the end.

I direct the action of my life by the intention of my spirit, and change my intention if I want to change my life.



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

CAUSE AND EFFECT

     Perhaps the most important understanding that we can acquire in life is the understanding of cause and effect. If we get that for every choice we make, there is a corresponding consequence, we might be less reckless with our choosing, and live better lives. We tend not to think beyond our instant gratification, and choose based on impulse and demand. And we pay for such choices. We pay dearly. We become like pinballs getting whacked from one day to the next and one experience to the next. We are reactive. We claw for our lives. But if we slow down enough to consider the result of our choices, then at least we can keep our options open.
     We have more power over the condition of our life situation than we might realize, but we have to assert ourselves. We have to learn how to captain our ship and trim our sails so that we can weather the storms that will inevitably come.

Before I choose anything, I pause long enough to realistically consider the potential effect of my choice. I'm willing to be less impulsive.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

DRENCHED

     I made the decision to drive to work in the snow yesterday. It took me two plus hours, and at one point, I had to pull to the side of the road to fix my windshield wipers. While there, a passing truck drenched me with road spray. Salty slush saturated my shoes, socks, pants- the whole back side of me. Slamming myself back into the car, I felt a sense of righteous injustice and poor me and why did I bother and how stupid I was to make the drive in the first place-
     And yet, there was not a thing I could do about any of it. I was stuck in traffic, stuck with the weather, closer to work than to home, and sopping wet. Those were the facts. I resisted the urge to fall apart, and gathered my wits about me. At work I put my clothes in the sauna for as long as I could- they got partially dry- and then I carried on. The day unfolded, the way it always does, with its mix of blessings and challenge, and at the end of it, I had a new story to tell.

Everything that happens is a positive opportunity of some kind if I look at it the right way.

Monday, March 25, 2013

TAKING OUR TROUBLES IN STRIDE

     If we have survived the troubles and drama and near misses in our lives that we have survived, then others can too. Let's have faith in the journey. It's not meant to be easy or painless. It happens the way it does to teach us to be thoughtful and considerate and wise, to have compassion and to learn forgiveness. None of us is immune from tragedy, none from hurt, and none from death. So we don't need to take our hardships personally. We can take them in stride.

I stop expecting life to be easy. I am willing to let life be life.

Friday, March 22, 2013

FRESH DIRECTION

     Alcoholism is an insidious disease. Its victims are lost in swirling darkness and vicious cycles of obsession and justification. And all of our various and sundry addictions are the same. They are wheels in motion, wheels of action and thinking that are spinning out of control, and the only way to stop them is to stop: to jolt the wheel and lurch to a halt. And then we have to slowly, slowly, start turning the wheel in the completely opposite direction. If we try to keep going in the same way, to "modify" ourselves, we may be able to keep pace for a bit, but eventually we will be spinning wild yet again. The only real correction is to move in an entirely new way.

I am honest about the aspects of my life that are spinning out of control, and I am willing to stop, and learn to turn slowly and steadily in a fresh direction.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

THE PAST

     The past is innocent. It doesn't know what's coming. It is naive and fanciful. It has expectations of the future that are way wrong and completely off base. The past thinks it will live on forever, but looking back, we see that it cannot, and does not. People die. Marriages dissolve. Accidents happen. Lotteries are won. What was high and hopeful becomes low, and the low becomes high. Everything shifts in unexpected ways. Everything changes.
     And all we ever have, not being able to foretell the future, is our innocence as we stand today. We are pure and perfect in the present moment and that's the only thing that's really real.

I have no idea about all the things that will happen in my future so I stay in the moment and enjoy what I am experiencing now.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

BIRTHDAY AFTERMATH

     I am lingering in the sweet aftermath of a wonderful Birthday. In the past, on more than one occasion, I have had Birthday expectations and gotten all twisted up emotionally, but not this time. This time, I simply opened to the adventure and the unfolding of the day. I let it be what it was, and it was delightful. I was remembered in unexpected ways and I was willing to receive. I am giver so that is something I generally resist, but I was able to relax for once. I was even able to ask for what I wanted in advance a little bit...
     I feel loved and blessed and happy and full. I know it won't last forever, but this is a lingering sweetness I am pausing for long enough to acknowledge. I am grateful to all the people in my life who enrich my world with their big hearts and creativity and kindness. I am grateful for small surprises and all kinds of thoughtfulness. Birthdays can be tricky, but if I stop having all kinds of expectations they usually turn out just right.

I leave my expectations behind and let the day unfold.

LEARNING LESSONS

     It's a hard thing to sense that someone we know and love is headed for trouble and not be able to step in and stop them. So much heartache could be alleviated if it were possible to have others learn their lessons from our mistakes, as if by osmosis. But everybody has to learn for themselves.  Everybody has to go through the go through and experience the ego belief of being beyond consequences. We all have our time when we are sure that we can defy the odds.
     But eventually, the dues must be paid for our poor choices and mistakes. And the people who love us have no ability whatsoever to save us from ourselves. The best they can do is watch and wait and pray and hope. The best they can do is manage their own egos. It's a full time job for us all.

I trust the people I love to learn their lessons and I trust that I will learn mine.
    

Monday, March 18, 2013

DRIVING THE DISTANCE

     Driving in a car alone is good thinking time. With the road humming beneath the wheels and the landscape constantly changing, my mind feels free to wander and explore, to consider and ponder. It is idle time in the sense that nothing is required of me except to sit and to steer and to be. It is quiet and soothing.
     Or, I can blast music and sing aloud. I can dance in my seat. I can cry or rage or recite poetry or whatever I please. Traveling alone in a car is private and productive time. It is covering distance, planning the future,  and reviewing the past. It is pleasant possibility, or arduous and grueling. It is whatever I make it out to be.

I allow the time I spend in my car to be soul-satisfying. If I look at it the right way, my commute is a blessing.

Friday, March 15, 2013

ACCEPTANCE

     Even when I know something doesn't particularly suit me, or serve me well, I will keep on trying and trying to make it work long after I have proven to myself that it doesn't. It's the same when I look over and over in the same place for something I have lost. It's not there, but I keep on coming back to be sure.
     It's like banging into a wall. I know the wall is there and I know it hurts to bang into it, but for whatever reason, I just can't quite accept that it's absolutely there forever and always... because I'd rather it not be. Perhaps I think I can will it away if I just keep trying...
     It seems like I could save myself a lot of trouble by accepting things as being the way they are on the first go round.

I stop trying to make things other than they are by insisting that they be that way.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

ENERGY LIKE WIND

     Energy is as temperamental as the wind. Sometimes I feel it in gusts, and sometimes it is so still that it's an effort to even move. Sometimes it picks up in the afternoon, and sometimes it is strong and steady and sustainable for hours on end. I want to remember to appreciate it when it's like that, because the doldrums always come, and I never know how long I might have to paddle the boat to keep my momentum until the wind picks up again.

I am grateful when tired feelings pass away and my energy is strong.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

GROUCHY

     We all feel grouchy at times, but being reckless with our distemper and spewing negativity into the world has a high cost. If we act as if we're feeling ok, and remember to be kind to others and considerate, knowing that our mood is not their fault, then sometimes we start to feel better just by acting the better role. We can express what we're feeling without being accusatory or cruel.
     If, on the other hand, we act out on our darkness and indulge our bad mood, then we are guaranteed to feel worse and worse. Our negativity grows on itself until it consumes us whole, and consumes those around us as well. 

I do not indulge my bad moods. I feel them want to overtake me, but maintain my manners no matter what.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

ENTITLEMENT

     None of us is entitled to anything. We are not entitled to receive love from our parents, or enjoy material success, or the unending approval of our peers, or courtesy from strangers, or perfect health, or physical beauty. We may have any or all of these things, but we are not entitled to them.
     We are subject to the consequences of our hard work and integrity, and the generosity of our spirit. We are subject to the shifting tides of luck and the unlimited and unpredictable grace of God. And we are all given, daily, the opportunity to enjoy the endless blessings of small pleasures and the wonder and beauty of the natural world.
     If we accept that life is changeable and that fortunes can switch in an instant; if we take pleasure in what we have; if we do the best we can and open our hearts to love, then there is no need for feeling entitled to anything. Then, we know that we are already blessed with more than we could ever possibly deserve.

I am grateful to be alive, and I experience my blessings with joy!

Monday, March 11, 2013

BEST EFFORT

     Being productive helps me relax and helps me sleep at night. I put forth my best effort on a daily basis and do right by my job and my family and my friends and children, and my dreams. And I do right by me. I am actively present for all of these things in my life. I am ready and willing to help, progress, maintain, correct, whatever is required.
     If I try to cut corners and do less, or try to "get away" with doing the least amount possible, then I am the one who suffers. Giving everything I have to give to life leaves me tired in a good way at the end of the day. I am relaxed and fulfilled. I have done my best and go to bed with a clear conscious.

I show up for life and give it my all.

Friday, March 8, 2013

STRESS

     Stress will kill us in the end unless we learn how to let it go. We stress over all kinds of life stuff- family dynamics, traffic, work, upcoming events. We stress over the way we look, the way we feel, and what other people might or might not think. We stress over money and bills and how we're going to survive.
     But stress is cumulative. It builds and builds, and it will snap us unless we send it packing. It comes like termites and eats at us from the inside. Let's exterminate it with the wisdom of the present moment and the faith of the ages. Let's leave our stress on the roadside and abandon it to history.

I don't need to stress over everything. I can relax and have faith.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

FREEDOM

     What is freedom really? It's environmental, certainly, and determined by the state of our culture and the state of our nation and our neighborhood, but it's also an inside job. We can be imprisoned by our thinking, our perception, our self-consciousness, and our fear. We can be locked down by limiting beliefs.
     We always have the option to free ourselves, no matter what difficulty we may be suffering. We can let be whatever is and stop fighting. We can stop fighting circumstances, and we can stop fighting ourselves. We can find peace by being peaceful. We can experience freedom by opening the locked doors of our hearts and our minds.

Insofar as I am willing to accept the conditions of my life, I am free.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

PERFECTIONISM

      Why do we expect perfection of ourselves? We think we are supposed to be beyond error and flaw, beyond stupidity, beyond fear and obsession and poor judgment, and beyond limitation. But of course we are not. We are not meant to be.
     It is our imperfection that makes us vulnerable and our vulnerability that makes us beautiful. We don't expect others to be perfect. We have compassion and patience and forgiveness for them. But for ourselves we have criticism and contempt.
     Let's not. Let's make the decision to give ourselves a break.

I accept my imperfection.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

LETTING GO

     One of the most difficult things to do is to let go- to let go of tension, of fear, of control, and yet, life requires it of us constantly. We hold on in any way we can for as long as we can. We tighten our necks and shoulders and jaws and lower backs. We are in knots from holding on. Even when it's time to relax, we are rigid. Even when it's hurting us to keep on, we cannot stop. We grip and claw and hold fast for all we're worth. We are in pain from holding on so tightly and yet we don't know how to let go.
     Let's turn from our fears and be willing to trust the unknown. Let's risk the act of letting go. If we can do it, freedom awaits us, and freshness, and relief. Of that, I am certain.

I practice the art of letting go.

Monday, March 4, 2013

THE BROAD WORLD

     We feel that life is contained completely in our personal experience, but it's so much bigger than that. It is endless possibility and ever-fresh adventure if we are open to it. We can do anything, be anything, try anything. We can stretch beyond the limits of what's familiar. We can explore a whole new world every day simply by taking a new route.

Life need never be dull. It is as exciting as I allow it to be.

Friday, March 1, 2013

GRACE UNDER PRESSURE

     When I witness someone being stoic in the face of great difficulty, I feel their sadness. I ache for their hardship especially and particularly in the light of their gracious strength. On the contrary, when someone is whiny and victimized and verbose about their life challenges, I do not feel the same compassion. I might even feel mildly irritated and want them to buck up and stop complaining.
     There is something beautiful and noble in someone who faces their share of struggle in life and doesn't let it sink them or turn them bitter. It is an art to be able to rise above and carry on in spite of whatever life may divvy up.

I accept my challenges in stride and with grace and do not whine and complain and solicit pity.