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Friday, June 28, 2013

WORKING WITH THE CURRENTS


     I have a tendency to want to force solutions in order to tie up loose ends, but the better thing to do may be to wait for the currents to work with me instead of pushing my way against them no matter what. But I seem to prefer my own timing and end up muscling my way to wherever I think I need to go. Such urgency lacks grace.
     When all odds seem against us and circumstances are swirling around and less than perfect, we are better be quiet and calm than to step gallantly into the midst of the chaos and try to make it all come together by forcing our will. Such action makes us crazy with frustration and is unproductive at best.

When facing confusion, I stand back and look for the movement of currents. Instead of having to fight against them, I wait until they are moving in the direction I want to go, and then step in when there is a natural opening for me.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

STAYING FED


     When I am hungry I generally feel tired and grouchy too. It's a combination experience. But eating the wrong thing at such a time doesn't necessarily fix the problem and can, actually, exacerbate it. Refined carbs and sugar and processed bars and junk-food and such make me feel worse, never better. But whole foods earth me and restore me to balance and stability and inner peace and faith. It's a grand reward for a simple cure.
     We skip meals and go too long without eating and eat the wrong things, and then we wonder why we feel stressed-out and petulant. Let's remember to maintain our metabolisms and keep ourselves properly fed.

I don't allow myself to get too hungry because it makes me feel desperate. I pack a healthy snack to eat between meals.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

THE POWER OF LOVE


      When we turn our focus from fret and worry to love, our energy shifts. To simply say what we love and then do it again and again will change our mood, our day, and our experience.
     I love cozy socks and the color of strawberries. I love music that pumps me up and a steady beat. I love the stretching light of summer evenings and saying good night to our dog, Boss. The top of his head is so soft. I love the top of his head! And his ears!
     I love the moon and the sun and oceans and mountains and flowering weeds. I love the color of my husband's beard and his solid hugs. I love hugging my children! I love to laugh and tell stories and teach. I love to learn.
     It's a simple but profound practice. Instead of attaching ourselves to everything that scares us, let's express our love. It's good medicine and good fun and good all the way around.

When I am feeling particularly funky I start thinking of all the things that I love, and it changes everything for the better.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

NEW TIRES

     Every vehicle in the family has needed new tires lately. The road has worn us down, without our even knowing it. And life is like that. Mile after mile we push on and push on. The days stack one on top of another and weeks pass, and months, and years, and we weather and age. We may rattle a bit, or pull to the left, or make funny noises when we speed up or slow down, but we get used to our own idiosyncrasies. And we learn to live with them.
     But maybe we need to evaluate our condition every so often, just like our cars. And recognize what's worn out and what's not working quite right, and attend to it-  be willing to make appropriate changes in order to safeguard ourselves the best we can from accidents and blowouts and un-necessary hardship as we travel down the road.

I keep myself well-maintained, just like my car. We both have many miles to travel.

Monday, June 24, 2013

WAITING

   Sometimes we just have to wait- in checkout lines, for our vehicles to be serviced, for a better day, the right partner, something to change, and our futures to arrive. Waiting is part of life, and as a  culture, I don't think we do it particularly well. We are impatient. We want what we want when we want it. We are interested in the quick fix and the instant gratification. But the problem with these things is that they don't usually have any staying power. They lack the quality and the care that comes from patience.
     Let's be willing to wait for what matters, and even for the things that don't. It's an opportunity to pause and look around. Let's nod skyward and acknowledge that we have been stopped in our tracks, and that ultimately, it might be for our highest good. Let's be flexible and good-natured, and learn something from the change of pace. Our lives are so busy generally. Maybe we all need occasional roadblocks in order to slow down.

When I am made to wait, I am willing to wait with grace.

Friday, June 21, 2013

UNSOLICITED ADVICE

     Unsolicited advice is not particularly helpful. It's meant to be helpful, I suppose, but it feels more like judgment and attack; like I'm going about things all wrong and don't have the sense to understand that and re-direct my course without suggestions; like I don't even have the sense to ask for suggestions when I need them. Such advice feels passive aggressive to me, and condescending.
     So when we are tempted to be the ones doling it out, let's learn to hold our tongues. If someone wants our opinion or guidance, let's trust them to ask for it. I believe the exchange is meant to be a give and take, not a strong arm push of shoulds and more shoulds.

I refrain from assuming that someone wants my advice. I share my opinions with courtesy and care.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

WORKAHOLISM

     I'm not sure exactly what drives workaholics, but I have some of it in me. It's a bit of an ego rush and a bit of a frenzy- a sense of being indispensible, and a sense of economic fear. It's one part overwhelm and one part excitement and one part passion and one part foolishness. But being a workaholic is not healthy, not for anyone. It's not balanced and not intelligent. It's extreme behavior that cannot help but collapse us in burnout and injury. And when it does, we lick our wounds and superficially heal our exhaustion and then throw ourselves right back in the fray.
     Perhaps, fundamentally, workaholism is the result of an inability to set boundaries. We have not learned to say no without guilt, so we say yes instead, with reservations perhaps, but yes nonetheless. We take on more and more until we are sunken beneath our load.
     This is our wake-up call. This is our moment. Let's learn how to do less and still be secure in our self-worth. Let's learn to say no when it's too much. If we don't, our lack of boundaries will cause us unlimited suffering on a daily basis, and hardship beyond our wildest dreams.

I do not need to take on more than my share to prove my worth. I can learn to say no with a clear conscience.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

DOING THE BEST WE CAN

     It used to annoy me when less than perfectly healthy individuals gave me high and mighty spiritual advice, but now I find it amusing instead. We are all so true blue and right on from our own perspective. It's everyone else who doesn't understand. We go through life being helpful, and maybe sometimes we are, and maybe sometimes we are not.
     So let's give ourselves and everyone else a break all the way around and in every direction. Let's make the decision not to take offense or rail others with our judgment and suspicion. With our limited vision and propensity for being mistaken, we are all doing the best we can.

Life is hard for all of us. I am quick to forgive.
    

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

SAVORING LIFE

     A bigger serving does not make a better meal. A small slice, a few bites, a managable portion: these are the things that satisfy. As a culture, we are over-served, over-stuffed, over-worked, and over-indulged. We are sick with bounty.
     Let's draw back and retreat and slow down. Let's learn again to savor things- to savor words and touch and conversation and good food. Let's savor our sentiments and emotions and relationships. Let's savor the details of our life every day that we live.

I practice enjoying smaller portions in every way and appreciate all that I have.

Monday, June 17, 2013

JUST RIGHT

     I have been living under pressure for years and I am tired of it. I'm tired of rushing and pushing and worrying and being afraid; tired of guilt and uncertainty and tension. Life hasn't changed. Life is life. It's my response to it that's been misguided and off-track. It's always been about doing more and being more and taking on more and giving more. And if it hasn't been more of one thing it's been more of another. And all of that eventually just becomes too much.
     So I want to simplify things if that's possible, and I think it is. I think simplicity is really the state of my mind rather than the state of my stuff or my busy-ness. It's about being ok with what is, one day at a time, and being ok with myself. And from there, everything else falls into place.
     My life is enough today. Everything properly fills its place, and will again tomorrow, and again the day after that. The pieces and players and scenes will shift, and sometimes be fuller and sometimes emptier, sometimes disappointing and sometimes unexpectedly delightful, but they will ever and always be just what they are supposed to be and ever and always be just right in the end.

I am tired of wanting more. I am grateful for exactly what is.

Friday, June 14, 2013

BEING AUTHENTIC

     When I speak in platitudes and theory, it comes across much differently than when I speak from the heart. What makes for empathy among us, and enjoyment in each other's company, is when we talk about ourselves honestly, unafraid of our vulnerability or how we might appear. We are what we are and that's exactly what we're supposed to be. There is no need to pretend that we are anything other than that. If we do, we miss the chance for real connection, and our words, so carefully designed to impress, land flat and lifeless on the people before us.

I surrender my pretense and desire to impress. When I open my mouth, I commit to sharing whatever is going on with me, authenticly, and from the heart.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

TRUST

      All of my life, I have tried to save the people I love from the consequences of their own behavior, and to make their way easier. I have made a habit of giving more than my share. And I have thought this was loving of me, and kind, but I have been mistaken. What's loving is to let life play out for everyone and for me to stop running interference.
     I have tried to manage and protect what was not mine to manage and protect, and my attempts at control have been guised as love, but rooted in fear. I am now ready to surrender the fear for real love, and let the chips fall where they may.

I am here for the people I love but I do not need to save them. I trust God to work in their lives without my having to run interference.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

WORDS THAT FLOW

     I used to think that what it meant to be a good conversationalist was to be like an interviewer asking question after question, but what I have learned from being on the receiving end of such questions is that they feel a bit like gun-fire. I have learned that if I pummel someone with interrogation hoping that they will share themselves with me, I am more likely to meet with resistance and one-word answers than meaningful sentiments. But if, on the other hand, I am simply present as a kind of witness and allow for conversation to flow forth however it comes, it is more likely to serve a higher purpose and to come from the heart. It's better from all sides when I stop insisting and let people be.

I create the space for conversation and let it come however it does. I am willing to let go of my demand for answers.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

SMALL PLEASURES

     The real joy in life is not necessarily in the big achievements, but in the small pleasures: ice cream, honeysuckle, the feeling of energy in the body, the smell of woodsmoke; the rise and fall of music that moves us, laughter, tears. We don't have to be rich, or way up on the corporate ladder. We don't have to have a great relationship with our parents or with anyone in particular, and we don't have to be perfect physically. We don't even have to be near-perfect.
     All we have to do is be alive to experience the gifts of living, and then when death takes us, I imagine other gifts will follow. But for now, for today, I take my joy in the hum of car wheels on the road beneath me, and the gentle breezes of summer; in hot showers and birds around the feeder; in all that I can see and whatever I feel, in the tap of computer keys and our German Shephard chewing on his bone. Happiness is simple, and always available. It's not in future plans or past achievements. It's right here and right now. It's being fully in the moment. All we have to do is pay attention, and it is ours.

I take joy in small pleasures!

Monday, June 10, 2013

DENIAL

     It's easy to deceive ourselves about our motives, our health, our needs, and our limitations. We are powerful justifiers. We convince ourselves of whatever is most convenient at the moment and further convince ourselves that we are being honest- even when we are not, completely.
     And yet, if we are willing to be truly honest about where we are in life, it's a gift of freedom. From there, we can get to where we want to be by making changes in the right direction- towards better living and better health. But as long as we tell ourselves that we are fine and we are good and we are happy; as long as we step around and over our real reality with excuses and justifications and denial, we give up our options. Denial imprisons us as surely as bars on the door and iron locks.

I am willing to be honest about the realities of my life, and I summon the courage to make appropriate changes where they are called for.

Friday, June 7, 2013

BUILDING FROM THE GROUND UP

     There's a difference between flurried activity and actual productivity. We can easily create busy-ness and spend money to create a facade of success. But real success comes from hard, steady work and daily commitment  It's a growing and a building, not a dust-storm.

I catch myself being frantic and overwrought and telling myself that I am being productive. I stop everything, regroup, and start again with steady, grounded intention. I remember that real productivity is rooted in calm and clarity, not in the fickle wind of the moment.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

TOO MUCH SITTING

     Sitting in a car for long periods of time is hard on the body. Everything is compressed, and nothing circulates. Our muscles and bones and insides settle and congeal. I ache when I sit too much. My body longs to move. Road trips are exciting in one way, to be sure, but utterly exhausting in another. Long hours of sitting and eating unpredictably is bad for the blood and bad for the spirit.
     It makes me appreciate being at home, and being at work, and being able to stand up and stretch. I don't appreciate that enough. It's a blessing and a daily gift.

I appreciate my ability to move and the feeling I get from doing so.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

BEST I CAN

     When I am motivated by consideration and compassion, the things I do feel good through and through. If, on the other hand, I am motivated by a fear of disappointing someone, or I'm trying anxiously to be pleasing, then I feel stressed out and insecure. Doing for others the right way is a joy. But worrying fretfully about what they think is an unnecessary burden.
     I want to work on being ok with simply doing the best I can in each and every situation. I am tired of holding myself and everyone else to impossible standards.

I let go of fretting over what other people think. I live from the heart and do the best I can. That's all I can do.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

THE WAY THE WIND BLOWS

     Life goes along easier for us if we can accept the way the wind blows and not get too bent out of shape if our plans are altered and the unpredictable occurs. For every challenge that we face, we have lessons to learn- lessons of adaptability, patience, new and improved coping skills, the things that trigger us, and what we actually require, and actually do not. I believe we are thrown off course for our own good somehow, but it's discombobulating nonetheless.
     If we pay attention, ours is a continuing process of getting to know ourselves. And this is useful information to have, especially if we want to grow up.

I am grateful for whatever happens and trust the way my path unfolds. I am willing to make the best of things.

Monday, June 3, 2013

MILLIE

     My mother-in-law died last Thursday. She was sick and suffering in varying degrees for a number of years, but severely so for the last six weeks- needing bedside care and daughter's advocacy at hospital facilities.
     Towards the end, we knew that she would die, and still the news landed, when it came, like a fall hard to the ground. It felt sudden and shocking and final- the vitality of her no more- her special Millie Herrman way of seeing things. She was the only one on earth who said things exactly the way she said things, and who had her boldness and sense of humor, which we couldn't help but appreciate... right to the end.
     When I pause long enough to consider it, there is a gaping hole where she belongs- my husband's mother, her husband's wife- a sister- a friend. In her honor, let's remember to enjoy the people around us today and particularly the ones we love. We are all here so temporarily really, and our lives are but a flash.

I grieve the loss of those whose company was once familiar and appreciate the people who populate my life today.