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Friday, January 31, 2014

THE NATURAL COURSE OF THINGS

"Know when to hold 'em. Know when to fold 'em."
~Kenny Rogers ~
 
Sometimes in life our lesson is not to try harder at something but to find the courage to walk away. Pushing stubbornly onward when our energy is spent gains us nothing. Relationships, jobs, and all kinds of efforts and pursuits and behaviors have a lifespan, and we need to learn to honor the natural ending of things.We waste so much time and effort on people and situations and outworn habits that we would do better by far to simply turn away from.
     Let's learn to appropriately bid adieu to all that has run its course in our lives and turn with curiosity in a fresh new direction.

I am willing to be honest about the things in my life that are naturally ending, and that will turn to dysfunction if I do not walk away. I am willing to walk away when the time is ripe.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

WHEN LIFE IS CALM

"We pray in our distress and in our need; would that we might pray also in the fullness of our joy and in our days of abundance." 
~ Kahili Gibran ~
 
I take notice of my life when things are calm and balanced; when there is a state of equilibrium and steady goodness. I deeply appreciate these times and express my gratitude for them in awareness and enjoyment. I know that periods such as these always pass and that challenge will arise again like a summer storm and require all hands on deck.
     It is the nature of life to shift from calm to intensity, and I can find a way to appreciate them both, but today, my gratitude and praise is for the calm. It is sweet and reassuring and good.

Knowing that they do not last, I am grateful for the times in my life that are peaceful and calm.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

RELATING TO OTHERS

"We are one."
~ Ziggy Marley ~
 
We suffer from terminal uniqueness, as if we alone suffer and struggle and dream and hope the way we do. And we are unique in our own special combination of talents and sensitivities. But when it comes to the stuff of being human and living life and the ups and downs of the daily ride, we are all so much more alike than we realize.
     Let's keep that in mind as we encounter each other, and find a way to generate compassion for what those around us are going through. There is always a way to "compare in."

I develop empathy within me and open my heart and mind to compassion and understanding.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

HOPE

"The birds of hope are everywhere, listen to them sing."
~ Terri Guillemets ~
 
"Hope is patience with the lamp lit."
~Tertullian~
 
My favorite acronym for hope is Hearing Other People's Experience. There is something so comforting in knowing that others have been through what we're going through and that they have made it to the other side. They shine the light on our path and inspire in us the courage we need to keep on. And we share our experience with others in the same way.
     At any given point we are both a beacon and a darkness. We are old hands at all we've been through and greenhorns at all that we face in life that is new. Sharing our journey with others both ways keeps the energy of hope flowing.

We share the road of life. I learn from those who have gone before me, and serve as a guide for those who are coming along behind.

Monday, January 27, 2014

LOVE

"Love has no desire but to fulfill itself."
~ Kahlil Gibran ~
 
Love is allowing and gentle, inviting, encouraging and kind. Love sees beauty everywhere it looks and in all people. Love is courageous against all odds, and trusting, and secure. It is quiet, bright, and appreciated everywhere; wholesome, stable, and calm.
     Love is all-inclusive and without pretense, judgment, manipulation, or fear. It is easily over-run and missed at every turn. But it waits for us to claim it. It waits patiently until we are able to see.

I open myself to the energy of love.

Friday, January 24, 2014

SLOW TO ANGER

"People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing."
~Will Rogers ~
 
Getting mad accomplishes nothing. It backtracks us. It is far more effective to seek understanding them to fly off the handle and become righteous and defensive and take things personally that are not meant to be personal.
     We leap to indignation. How dare they, we ask? How dare they insinuate this or ask that of us or expect us to be happy with their idiotic ideas? How dare they drive so slowly? How dare they switch lanes? How dare they be different from us or make us uncomfortable in any way?
     Perhaps it is not actually a daring kind of proposition. Perhaps it is simply a difference of opinion and the nature of life.

I take the time to consider all sides of the situation and use anger as my last resort.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

FREEDOM FROM JUDGMENT

"Whatever you condemn, you have done yourself."
~Georg Groddeck ~
 
So many opportunities for positive exchange are missed in life because of selfishness and greed and suspicion. We set ourselves apart from others and look down on them. We judge and criticize without having any facts at all.
     If we took the time and made the effort to get to know the people we critique, we might discover that they are more like us than we know, and more beautiful by far than we could ever have imagined.

I make an effort to be less judgmental and to allow others the benefit of the doubt.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

THE LIMITATIONS OF IMPOSING OUR WILL ON OTHERS

"You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."
~American Proverb ~
 
We cannot get what we want from people by imposing rules on them and by using negative, bullying tactics. We have all known coaches who yell at their players and induce guilt and shame in them expecting their anger to make a difference in the way they play, and on the scoreboard, and for the team's success. And it may do that, but not in the direction the coach intends.
     Negativity breeds negativity, and chastising people for their efforts discourages and depresses them. It does not make them want to do better and try harder. Trust does that, and guidance, and encouragement.
     If someone believes in us more than we believe in ourselves and trusts us to succeed, we somehow find reservoirs of untapped energy within and rise higher and stronger than we ever thought possible.
But if we are constantly being under-appreciated and told that we are not doing enough, that more is required, and more yet again... then we will lose our motivation and desire to do anything at all.

I motivate others by appreciating and acknowledging their unique gifts and talents. I refrain from harping and chastisement.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

BEING DRAMATIC

"A good many dramatic situations begin with screaming."
~Jane Fonda ~

If our lives are overly dramatic, I think we need to consider that fact and ask ourselves why? For my part, I used to be somewhat of a drama-junkie. I knew no other way than to react with fear and urgency to every unforeseen situation that presented itself before me. Everything was a big deal and I conducted myself in a constant state of frenzy. Having a drink was the one thing that allowed me to relax and decompress.
     But now, I don't have to drink the way I did then, because now, I live my life differently. I am thoughtful in my decision-making and aware of my behavior and its implications. I am much less reactive than I used to be because now I am aware that what I do with what happens to me is ever and always and absolutely my choice.

I stop stirring up drama in my life and choose to be responsible instead of reactive.

Monday, January 20, 2014

OPEN HEART

"Open your heart- open it wide!"
~ Mary Engelbreit ~
 
There is no stopping the magnificent effect of an open and loving heart. It can travel easily and with grace in all circles and all societies. It is bright eyes and a smile, well-meaning and kind. It has no agenda, no manipulation, and no passive-aggressive plan. It's only desire is to spread joy and express love, and it is delicious to be around, and infectious in the best of ways, and good.
     Let's set aside our selfish aims and be that loving heart. Let's focus our time and energy on what we can give and how we can contribute to the greater good rather than playing to win or grabbing, as we so often do, for far more than we could possibly ever need.

No doors are closed to me if I am simple and loving and kind. The greater my agenda, the fewer options I have.

Friday, January 17, 2014

PERSERVERANCE

"Hope whispers, 'Try it one more time.'"
~Author Unknown ~

The itsy bitsy spider song has a powerful lesson to teach. The spider gets washed out and struck down, but as soon as the sun comes out and dries things up, the spider climbs again.
     Over and over and across the years as we sing the song the little spider climbs and falls and climbs and falls. Never deterred, never discouraged, just up and down and wet and dry and life as it comes: no judgment, no self-pity, no victimization.
     The sun and the spider work together to overcome the rain.

I am as tireless as the itsy bitsy spider and keep on climbing the spout no matter how many times I get washed away.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

ROAD TRIP

"Leave sooner, drive slower, live longer."
~Author Unknown ~
 
Riding in a car alone is an excellent time for thinking and processing and reflection. Let's keep the radio off and put the cell-phone down and let the sound of wheels turning on the road beneath us bring us to a meditative and contemplative state.
     We can anticipate the day and plan ahead, or review our interactions and all that has passed. We can dream and pray and chant, or we can observe the landscape with care and all of our attention. We can check in with ourselves and consider how we're feeling and why. We can forgive others. We can forgive ourselves.
     We can make resolutions and decisions. We can face the things we fear. And if we allow ourselves the real indulgence of the quiet and rolling road we can enrich our lives every time we get in the car and drive.

I take advantage of my driving time to be thoughtful and aware.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

COURAGE TO ACT

"Courage is doing what you're afraid to do."
~Edward Vernon Rickenbacker ~
 
It's possible to become so afraid of making a mistake that we are unable to act.. But act we must, because it is the very momentum created by our motion that leads us on and leads us forth and takes us to the next level.
     And perhaps it could even be argued that there is no such thing as a mistake- that everything serves to evolve us even if it's challenging or painful or otherwise costly. We learn and grow and as long as we're growing it seems to me we must be on track.
     We cheat ourselves only if we don't take the step forward, if we cling to the status quo and what feels safe. But the truth is that life itself will force our movement and decision-making and our action even if we resist it with all that we have. Because it is the nature of things to change. Even the status quo cannot remain the status quo forever. It shifts and passes and is born anew, as we all are, day after day after day.

I am willing to explore the options and opportunities in my life and take action to move forward.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

INNER CONFLICT

"Fortunately analysis is not the only way to resolve inner conflicts. Life itself remains a very effective therapist."
~Karen Horney ~
 
I am conflicted within. A part of me wants to achieve great things and is driven to do so- driven deep from within as if by some force beyond my own understanding. And a part of me wants to not be driven, to be satisfied with things as they are and the simple pleasures of everyday life.
     On the one hand I want to see how far I can go and on the other I want to be content with exactly what I have and where I am. And perhaps these two things are not mutually exclusive. Perhaps they can both live peacefully inside me. Maybe it's not one or the other but both and...
    
I accept that there are conflicting desires within me and that it is not my job to make perfect sense of everything that I feel.

Monday, January 13, 2014

BODY LANGUAGE

"Suppose the body is a God in its own right, a teacher, a mentor, a certified guide? Then what? Is it wise to spend a lifetime chastising this teacher who has so much to give and teach?"
~Clarissa Pinkola Estes ~
 
Our bodies are magnificent echoes of our mind. They respond to all of the things we think, and all of the things we speak. Perhaps we feel cramped or are afraid to let go, or feel that people in our lives are a pain in the neck or a pain in the rear. Perhaps we are unwilling to see things that are right in front of us, or are unwilling to bend. Perhaps we are inflexible, up tight, off center, or out of balance.
    What is our body trying to tell us? Maybe we should take the time to pay closer attention.

I watch the way my feelings and behaviors show up in my body as aches and pains and become willing to change in order to experience greater well-being.

Friday, January 10, 2014

WHAT I LOVE

"The key to happiness is to want what you have."
~Unknown ~
 
I love fresh air and sunshine. I love candlelight and hearth-fires. I love bonfires! I love to witness other people's evolution and experience evolution in myself. I love to laugh. I love to sing. I love to swing kettle-bells.
     I love good food and a bite of something sweet. I love sunsets and starlight and coming home after work. I love my husband and I love my children. I love all kinds of people for all kinds of reasons and I love the loving feeling.
     I love to write and learn and ponder. I love to self-reflect. I love my life with all of its ups and downs and twists and turns and I wouldn't have any of it any other way.

I love my life and express my gratitude!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

SEEDS IN THE WIND

"Que sera sera."
~Spanish Proverb ~
 
When we express our ideas, share our vision, give the gift of ourselves to others, it is like scattering seeds in the wind. Who knows where they might land and what may grow from them? That is not for us to know, or even to hope. We release the seeds and leave it to God to find the fertile ground.

I share my perspective and my passion with the world and leave it to powers greater than myself to cause an effect.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

THE END OR THE BEGINNING?

"All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses. And to die is far different from what anyone supposed, and luckier."
 ~Walt Whitman ~

Where do the dead go? Wherever it is, they leave their flesh and bones behind them. The body remains but the spirit is long gone... on to better things and greater glories I have no doubt; to the bright light of unconditional love everlasting and the suffering free zone.
    We tend to avoid the topic of death as a rule. It makes us squirrelly. Perhaps we believe that by avoidance we can escape it somehow.
     The Buddhist mindset suggests that we should spend regular time preparing ourselves for it, becoming familiar and comfortable with its implications and seeming finality. They believe that death is our greatest opportunity for evolution and that we would be well served to approach it with care and curiosity and respect.
     For my part, I find death sweetly sad: the end of physical pain and the great loss of contact all tangled up together. I celebrate the freedom of those who have been released from human bondage, and weep hot tears for all of us who remain.

I make peace with the reality of death.

Monday, January 6, 2014

IN LOVING MEMORY OF STUART RAKOFF

"Good night, sweet prince. May flights of angels sing you to your rest."
 ~William Shakespeare ~
 
My friend, Stuart, died this morning. He left us all with a final message that love and honesty are what matter the most, and it was a powerful message. I am quite sure that Stuart died peacefully, and I am quite sure that he was surrounded and enveloped by love on all sides.
     And while I am grateful that his suffering has ended after months of piecemeal deterioration from ALS, I am sad to lose contact with his particularly Stuart kind of spirit. He had a twinkle about him right to the end, and a lively sense of humor. Highly intelligent, protector of those less fortunate, lover of good food and art and music and culture, Stuart was clever and compassionate, bright-eyed, and always up for an adventure.
     I watched him travel his own kind of journey from sarcasm to anger to pure raw love, and that's where his tale ends: beautiful, tragic, inspiring, and absolutely real. I will miss him deeply.

RIP Stuart Rakoff
 
In honor of Stuart, let's courageously and resolutely express our love.

GO FOR IT!

"To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself."
~Soren Kierkegaard ~
 
It's so easy to second-guess ourselves. We have a plan, an idea, an inspiration, and then as soon as we begin to act on it we are filled with doubt. "Who am I kidding?" we think. We are suddenly gripped with the thought that perhaps our great idea is actually a terrible idea. And maybe we even feel a kind of hot internal shame.
     But we must silence these doubts and objections and push on. Maybe our critical voices come from our parents, or our friends from long ago, or our own inner judge, but they are old tapes and they cannot help us if we want to evolve. We have to be willing to take a risk and then take another. If we fail, we will not do so without having learned something, and if we succeed, what glory!

I am willing to take a risk and make my life an adventure.

Friday, January 3, 2014

SELF-CONSUMPTION

"People who are all wrapped up in themselves make very small packages."
~Ben Franklin~

It's so easy to become self-consumed with our unrequited wants and our fears and our ailments and our limited thinking. We forget to consider our situation from the outside and how blessed we may actually be- what others might give to have some small bit of whatever we may be taking for granted. We whine. We complain. We spend endless hours trying to figure out what to do and what we want and what we're not getting and how we are being wronged.
     Let's get out of ourselves and contribute to the greater good. Let's think about what we have to give and how we can be of service, about how our existence might positively effect the quality of someone else's day, or life. Let's give and then give some more and the give more again. 
Let's live life on purpose and do right by others and stop self-pitying our energy away.

I understand that doing right by others I do right by myself.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

LIFE

"The best way out is through."
~ Robert Frost ~

We have a tendency to be overly dramatic. We make big deals out of things that are not really big deals. They are more likely unresolved situations and loose ends, fear of the unknown and the simple but never-ending busyness of life happening. In time, everything is made sense of and everything understood. We get through things, whether we freak out about them or not. But if we chose not to freak out, then we have a better time of it, and so do those around us.

I stay calm and centered no matter what comes my way, and keep my focus on the next right thing.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

NEW YEAR'S DAY

"Every man should be born again on the first day of January.  Start with a fresh page.  Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past." 
~Henry Ward Beecher ~
January 1st has come around again and here we are, facing a fresh page and an empty slate. We are somehow free today, and newly so. We have an opportunity to approach everything differently in our lives if we choose to. We can change our habits, our attitudes, and our perspective in order to live better lives and have more satisfying days, or we can continue on with the status quo if that is our choice. Of course, the truth is that we can change anything and everything in our lives at any time, but there's something about New Year's Day.
    Today begins a cycle, whether we honor it or not. So the question is, what are we going to set in motion?

I set down my intentions for 2014 and commit to the forward momentum of this new cycle in my life.