*

*

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

ROAD TRAVEL

     Traffic caused by a bad accident is an interesting situation. We are inconvenienced and frustrated. Our plans are delayed. But not nearly so much as the people and vehicles that have crashed. In some cases their lives may never be the same again.
     So if we are stuck in accident traffic, let's be patient and compassionate. Let's be grateful that we are alive and well and in one piece. It is by the grace of God that we survive as much road travel as we do.

I am thankful every time I arrive safely at my destination. Our roads and speeds and a world of distracted drivers make for dangerous conditions.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

MY NEED TO KNOW

     I have a tendency to resist the unfolding process of things in my life. I want to know exactly what's coming and what I will have to deal with, so I can deal with it, and move on, and not be left drifting indefinitely in a sea of waiting and not-knowing. If suffering is imminent, then I want the full blow all at once and early on so I can get it over with as quickly as possible.
     At least, that's what I think I want. But actually, there is beauty in the maybe phase of things. In the indefinite mist of uncertainty is the dim outline of all possibility. I think I want clarity- yes and no, cut and dry, checkmarks on a list- done, done, done, but life is not meant to be clean and tidy and all put away. It's meant to be lived-in and constantly revolving: messy sometimes, and confusing. It's meant to be glory and compassion, heights and depths, hope, and doubt. I want to learn to trust whatever comes and stop my urgent and tyrannical desire to know what I don't yet know.

I curiously welcome the unfolding process of my life. There is nothing I need to know until I know it.

Monday, July 29, 2013

WE DON'T KNOW EVERYTHING

     The easiest person to fool is ourselves. We believe whatever we think, and we can concoct some wild thoughts without much effort. And quick on the tail of our thinking is our power of justification. We can convince ourselves of anything.
     But life always comes along to set us straight. If we cannot learn to question our thinking and check it through with reliable others; if we insist on knowing everything and being sure about what we know, then life is sure to humble us and show us all the things we don't know, and all the things we're wrong about. Which lessons are usually quite painful.
     So let's be open to our own fallibility and remain teachable and willing to consider the possible truth of opposing points of view. If we are able to do that, we may be able to save ourselves a lot of stress and strain.

I do not insist on my point-of-view. I am willing to hear what others have to say.

Friday, July 26, 2013

THE PURITY OF DOGS

     A dog leaning out of a car window with ears flapping and tongue hanging is a happy sight. There is something pure and joyful in it: the simple pleasure of wind in the face. Dogs are excellent spiritual teachers for us, and cats as well but in a different way.
     Dogs read the energy of people and respond appropriately. They are loyal and protective and forgiving. They love without conditions, and they are wonderful purveyors of pure joy. Let's take the lead from them and be tail wagging happy to say hello to the people we love and to eat our meals with gusto and to play without stopping. Let's give and receive unconditional love and be up for anything anytime. Let's be aware of sounds and strangers and the smell of good things.

I let my dog teach me about love and how to experience pure joy.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

CLEAN LIVING

     I used to think that I needed to drink in order to relax, to celebrate, to be comfortably social, and to have fun. But the effects of drinking always had a cost for me, and I think they do for most people. Alcohol creates a need in us, and a false sense of promise and dependency, but rather than delivering on its promise, alcohol always seems to rob us of something. We think we're so clever after a few drinks, but generally speaking, we're not. More often, we become see-through fools.
     The best relaxation and celebration and good times I know are alcohol free. There's no hangover and no guilt and no dull fuzz. I experience the real blessings of things instead of seeing and understanding them through the haze of booze.

I don't need a drink. My life is better beyond compare when I am alcohol free.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

SUMMER PASSING

     The summer is full of heat and storms- sun, clouds, rain, lightening, puddles, and intermittent drought. Vegetables and flowers grow and wilt. Weeds come back over and over. Summer feels more like endurance to me than invigoration, especially during a heat wave. But the truth is, as with all things, it passes fast. Already, I sense a hint of fall in the light and the air.
     All weather and all seasons come and go in a kind of dream, and we are beyond them before we know it. So let's embrace each summer day that remains. Let's notice and appreciate the hotness, the thunderstorms, and even the humidity. It will pass in a flash and we will find ourselves missing it and wondering where it went.

I notice and fully appreciate the weather and the day, every day.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

RELATIVITY

     Everything is relative- time, popularity, intelligence, fitness, courage, faith... Some days and in some situations we have more of these things than we do in others. Just because we may feel a lack a confidence in one environment, and be quiet and shy, in a different situation where we are more comfortable, we may find ourselves being quite lively.
     And with some things we are scared like a small child, while facing other obstacles we are brave beyond our wildest dreams. We feel na├»ve. We feel wise. Time creeps and speeds. Variability is the nature of life, so we need never lock ourselves or anyone else into a stuck-fast position. We change, from morning to night, from day to day, and from week to year. This is a blessing! And it keeps things interesting and ever-fresh.
     There is no room for any kind of complacency in life. The only thing that's for sure is the exact moment we are experiencing and our ability to change.

I am never stuck. Mutability is the law of life.
    

Monday, July 22, 2013

NO WHINING

     We love to talk about bad things that have happened to us. Most of us thrive in the realm of poor me. We go on and on about this that happened and then that: what was said to us, what wrongs committed. We are righteous and indignant, full of exaggeration and disbelief.
     And sometimes our stories are funny, especially if we have the ability to laugh at ourselves. But sometimes they are just a litany of negativity and we might do better if we simply kept our mouths shut.

I catch myself when I am on a whine-roll and stop the wheel. No one wants to hear me complain.

Friday, July 19, 2013

ACKNOWLEDGING OUR GIFTS


     Let's recognize our gifts and talents and celebrate them. Some of us are good listeners. Some of us are good at making people laugh. Some of us are here to inspire, some to make beautiful art, some to be mothers, some teachers, some perpetual students, and some hard to pin down.
    Some of us are athletes, some computer wizards, and some international travelers. Some of us take good notes, have steel-trap memories, unstoppable rhythm, an eye for style, and the ability to sleep soundly through the night. Some of us have a knack for finances, the best home-made pie, eyes that are compassionate, super-soft skin, and hands that heal.
     Whatever our gift and our contribution, it matters. We matter! Let's not belittle ourselves. Let's joyfully give what we have to give.

I am honest about the things I'm good at and the things I'm not so good at. I give what I can and leave it to others to give the rest.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

VENTURING FORTH

     Taking a risk and putting ourselves out on a limb is scary business. What if people laugh at us, or criticize us? What if we fall flat on our faces and things don't turn out at all the way we hope? Does it matter? It will turn out the way it turns out.
     It seems to me that we succeed simply by taking the uncomfortable step. No matter what we do or don't do, some people will always laugh at us, and some people will not be able to appreciate or understand what we have to offer, but if we want to live fully we have to carry on in spite of them. We are made for adventure. Let's not be afraid to step forth.

I am willing to take a risk to follow my heart. I trust that I am being called for a reason.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

THE ART OF ARTICULATION

     Let's consider the art of articulation and how we do personally in that realm. Do we keep the attention of whoever we are talking to, or do they get easily restless and seem distracted and disinterested? Do we over-explain, hem and haw, and crowd our sentences with "like" and "uh" and "you know?" Do we say what we mean and get to the point or do we talk in circles? Are we sarcastic? How is our tone?
     Let's take note of the way we speak and make improvement. Let's choose our words with care and purpose and not litter the world with talk just for talks sake. The world, it seems to me, is already littered enough.

I pay attention to the way I talk to others and how they respond to me, and I make adjustments where they are needed.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

GIVE AND TAKE


     All of us are longing for recognition and appreciation, whether we admit it or not. We want to be considered and consulted. We want to be loved! And sometimes, out of fear, we go about grabbing for these things any way we can- by tooting our own horns, being manipulative, inducing guilt, or whatever our tactic may be.
     But in order to genuinely receive the appreciation we seek, we have to give it to others. We have to love and appreciate them, and recognize their feelings and gifts. If we do this, and do it regularly and without agenda, then the same kind of love and appreciation will always and inevitably find it way back around to us.

What goes around comes around. If I want to feel loved and considered, I need to be loving and considerate.

Monday, July 15, 2013

BEING AUTHENTIC

     If we can let go of our self-consciousness and authentically be ourselves, life is more fun. We can be playful that way, and uninhibited. So often so many of us, myself included, seem to suffer from seriousness; from what we feel and perceive to be the weight and burden of our lives- our duties and chores and responsibilities.
     We think that we have to be serious and present ourselves in some kind of particular way in order to be taken seriously, but that is not necessarily so. Respect, it seems to me, comes from authenticity, and never from posturing.
     We are enough. We are just right as we are- a mix of intensity and play, responsibility and refreshment, laughter and tears. So let's stop pretending we are something in order to win approval. Let's remember that the greatest gift we have to share is our authentic self.

I am not here to impress others, but to simply be who I am. If that's impressive, so be it, and if it's not, well, then, it's not. Either way, I am exactly who I am meant to be.

Friday, July 12, 2013

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN

     I cross mountains every day on my way to work and back home again. From one side to the other I burst through storm clouds of all kinds. Rain becomes sunshine, clear skies become black, and I encounter fogbanks, and sudden hard wind, and crowds of bugs that smash against my windshield.
     No matter what weather we are experiencing, there is always different weather elsewhere, and sometimes much closer than we think. The storms we are in may not be as vast and all-encompassing as they at first appear to be.

More often than not, when I am feeling clouded over, the sun is bright and shining on the other side of the mountain.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

THE BIG "D"

     I don't believe in death, and I don't believe in heaven either, not in the sense of harps and cherubs and streets of gold. I do believe in metaphysics and transitions and unstoppable love. For me, death is less of a termination point and more of an open door. I see it as a kind of entryway into another dimension: pure light and freedom and the continuing cycle of nature. And perhaps, it is not nearly as unlucky as we think.
     Being limited by a human body is hard work. On some level, and in so many situations, death is final freedom: a physical burden and a whole lot of pain relieved.

I open to the possibility that death is a blessing and a gift and that whenever my time may come, I don't have to be afraid.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

MOVING FORTH

     To get to wherever we're going, we often have to make a number of false starts. But each one tilts us slightly towards our purpose and away from what holds us back. We bang up against closed doors and they bounce us off so that we discover new doors and new directions. And eventually, open space appears before us.
     Moving towards goals needn't be frustrating. It is meant to be starts and stops and tries and fails and if not this then that. We are ever and always being steered towards what is best for us... if we are awake and aware, and if we are willing to let go of our preconceived ideas about the way things "ought" to be. There is no "ought" necessary. Life is an unfolding process, and not a demand.

I stop insisting that things be a certain way and let them be the way they are.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A LITTLE OF EVERYTHING

     Life is a mix-mash of blessings and challenges. Sometimes our blessings are material, sometimes physical, and sometimes spiritual... and just so with our challenges. They move and shift and change position and proportion, but there is always a mix. Life is never all one thing or the other.
     And yet, I think we often expect it to be. We expect absolute perfection, of ourselves, our lives, our relationships, our jobs, and everything we encounter. Consequently, we feel disappointed if there are flies in the ointment, or if we have to deal with any kind of wrinkle or scab or inconvenience. And when life is already hard, we don't expect joy or laughter or pleasure of any kind, and yet, there it is.
     Maybe we should take a realistic look at our expectations and remember that life is supposed to be a mix of many things all at once. We need never be stuck in any particular position or mood. We can change our focus and our perspective at any moment and as often as we please.

I am able to see the good in the bad and the bad in the good and keep an open mind about the fantastic and mysterious mutability of life.

Monday, July 8, 2013

FEAR OR FAITH?

     We either live by faith or we live by fear. We can't have it both ways. One or the other guides us and motivates us and establishes our place on earth. Fear is a watchdog position, full of angst and suspicion, while faith trusts in whatever may come.
     Of course, most of us flop back and forth, from one side to the other, but life is always better for us when we're on the faith side. So let's catch ourselves in fear and remember our blessings and all that we've come through. If life were about justice instead of mercy and grace, it seems to me we'd be living very different lives.

I am willing to let go of my fear and trust in the gift of grace.

Friday, July 5, 2013

PRACTICALITY

     What is practicality? Being realistic about all of the potential downsides of life and preparing for them, or living from my purest and simplest joy every day that I live? Is it better to be smart or to be happy?
     Sometimes, in order to achieve our dreams, we have to live in a realm beyond what might seem sensible to others. Sometimes, in order to fully live, we have to stretch and believe and move away from the purely practical into the realm of courage and miracles.

I am not afraid to move beyond what's practical when what's practical suffocates my spirit.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

INDEPENDENCE DAY

     What is freedom? I believe, as much as anything, it is a state of mind. Freedom does not buy-in to guilt or fear or obsession over anything. It is an unlimited outlook full of trust and faith and absolute acceptance of what is. So long as I resist my circumstances, I suffer a kind of mental imprisonment. But as soon as I take things as they are- the good with the bad- and all with a certain cheerfulness, then I am free. Nothing and no one can enslave me without my compliance.

I am as free as I allow myself to be.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

BEING DIRECT

     I challenge us all to be direct! Let's say what we mean and ask for what we want and stop going about these things sideways and backwards. We are tricky and try to get others to figure out what we want, or better yet, we steer them until they suggest it themselves, as if it's their idea! And then we pretend they are getting their way, when, in fact, we are getting ours.
    But all these innuendos and manipulations and lack of clarity are frustrating at best, for both parties. It's so much easier and fresher and cleaner to simply be direct.

I catch myself trying to manipulate others into understanding what I am afraid to say, and simply say it. :)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

APPRECIATION FOR WHAT IS

     We are cavalier about the things we have- as if they are readily replaceable; almost flippant as we talk about a different house, a different job, a different relationship- or whatever it may be. We have a tendency to take what we have for granted, and erroneously think that it can be duplicated and improved without effort.
     But we have worked all of our lives to be wherever we are, and it's worth appreciating being there, even if we have plans to eventually move on. Let's enjoy what we have while we have it, and realize that it is unique and special and beautiful in its own way, and in its own right, and for its own reasons.

I stop fooling myself about what could be, and appreciate exactly what I have.

Monday, July 1, 2013

STAYING UPBEAT

     Some people have flat energy. I don't know how they live with themselves. I have compassion for them and give them the benefit of the doubt, but still I find them draining. There is something sapping about their outlook, a certain negativity. They are victims, and as such, life is a burden for them no matter where they turn their attention. To hear them tell it, they have been dealt a bad blow on every front.
     Let's not give in to our own feelings of darkness and drudgery. Let's be sparkly and playful and light instead; willing to be silly and have fun. Let's recognize that we have the power to change our lives at any time we choose, and that we are not helpless, but responsible. And how we feel is up to us! Let's not burden ourselves or others with flat and draining energy. Let's be energizing instead, and good to be around.

I make a conscious effort to keep my energy upbeat. It's better for me and better for the people around me as well.