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Thursday, May 29, 2014

TRYING NEW THINGS

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all."
~Helen Keller~
 
I like people who are willing to try things, who are open-minded and unafraid. I celebrate those who are courageous in this way, and comfortable in their own skins, and curious to see what they can accomplish, and what unknown adventures they might really enjoy.

May I be willing and curious and brave: comfortable with who I am, and enthusiastic about the adventure of my life.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

THE SPICE OF LIFE

"Variety is the spice of life."
 ~American Proverb~

It's unrealistic to think that we're going to like everything about any situation or person, whether it be work, or our best friend, or the pursuit of some great dream. There's always bad in the good and good in the bad and the nature of life which is ever and always the mix of both.
     We're going to feel the whole range of feelings about everything- some parts will be delightful and other parts will be a bore- some inspiring, some debilitating, some happy, some sad, and some completely neutral. All of these feelings are the spice of life, and without the mix, our daily fare would be unappetizing and bland.

I savor the flavors of each day's emotional mix.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

LIES

"There's more to the truth than just the facts."
~ Author Unknown ~

Lies imprison us. Being dishonest with ourselves or others blocks us behind walls of deception, and we become unreachable. Others who love us may call us on our falsehoods, but we raise our walls higher in defense. And maybe we feel safe behind the walls, but we are not free.
     Freedom comes from honesty and sincerity and authenticity, from see-through living and the confession of our wrongs. So let's stop pretending that our lies serve us in some way. They do not. They alienate us from the very connections that we need the most.
 
I have the courage to be honest.

Monday, May 26, 2014

ANGLING

"Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow."
~Aesop ~

We all have our angle. We want things from the world and from people. We want attentions and support and money and endorsement. We are all about manipulating the "take" to make it look like we're actually giving instead. And as a general rule, whoever we're trying to manipulate feels the truth.
     Giving is the better way. If we focus solely on what we have to give, we will feel better, and ironically, get what we were after all along.

I let go of my agenda and my angling and my subtle manipulations. I stop trying to get things from people and focus on what I have to give instead.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

MEMORIAL DAY

"The willingness to sacrifice is the prelude to freedom."
~Alfred Kolatch~

Let's honor our veterans and launch the summer with gratitude for their service, and gratitude for the freedom that we all enjoy. We are free to speak, free to explore, and free to move about; freedoms that we take for granted, but that many in our world do not so readily experience as given.
     This is a day of barbeques and memories, of honor for the past and hope for the months to come. Let's properly celebrate it in our own hearts. Let's reflect quietly for a moment or two and send blessings to those who have battled and won, and to those who have battled and lost.
     Battles are never easy, but the stakes are usually high, and the causes worthy, and they bring us somehow to peace on the far side.

I honor memories today, and everything in life that is worth fighting for.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

IMAGINING THE FUTURE

"The map is not the territory."
~Alfred Korzybski ~
 
We create whole worlds of experience in our imagination. We can picture the future as if it were real. We look forward to things, or dread them, as our thinking process dictates, and in most cases, our thinking is all wrong. Inevitably, the actual happening is different from what we imagined; not necessarily better or worse, but definitely different.
     So maybe we would do better to not pre-judge at all if we can help it, and to arrive at the unknown open and willing to experience whatever may come.
 
I catch myself setting up the future in my mind and stop. I know things can't possibly turn out exactly as I imagine, so I focus on my willingness instead of my expectations.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

LIFE

"Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life!"
~Albert Einstein ~
 
We get what we need. We might not like it. We might not think we need it, but life does not fail us. I am convinced of that fact. It presents us with daily lessons for our personal evolution. It attracts people and situations to us. It rains down blessings and serendipity upon us. It whispers truth and guidance, and encourages us to fear not.
     Life pushes and pulls and sometimes drops us, so that the jolt will wake us up. But ultimately, life carries us. Life carries us over and through and across the years, and we can trust it to give us just what we are missing, and to give us just what we need.

No matter what happens, I trust that I am getting exactly what I need.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

CRINKLY BAGS

"The obstacle is the path."
~Zen Proverb ~

One of the things that never fails to irk me is someone eating something out of a crinkly bag that they have to dig into over and over and over. The crinkling rankles my nerves. It feels like a violation of the public peace.
     But if I can only shift my perspective, then maybe I can approach it as an opportunity for practicing tolerance. I can breathe and forgive and allow. Maybe I can learn to turn crinkly-bag-eating into my very own kind of spiritual practice.
 
I use life situations that irritate me as fodder for growth.

Monday, May 19, 2014

TO EACH HIS OWN

"Judgments prevent us from seeing the good
that lies beyond appearances."
~Wayne Dyer ~

People are funny, shy, hesitant; sometimes aggressive; sometimes utterly blind. We are suspicious, overly trusting, cavalier, and deceptive. We are changeable. We are works in progress. And we are drawn to exactly what's right for us at any given moment in time and feel aversion for that which does not serve us... yet.
     It's easy to sit in judgment, but given the right set of circumstances, we are absolutely equal to exactly what we may critically observe.

If others are not drawn to what I have to offer, that's ok with me.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

METAPHYSICAL JUNKIE

"Seeking is not always the way to find."
~Augustus William Hare~
 
A handful of years back in time, I used to be rather a metaphysical junkie. I was into any and all things that posed as "spiritual." It was a journey of esoteric exploration and it felt exciting and "deep." But in the end, the psychic healings and pendulums and oracle cards didn't deliver me up to salvation or perfection, as I maybe hoped they would.
     In the end, what awakened me to my own wholeness was the simplicity of life right in front of me, as it is, the beauty of the obvious, the cessation of my restless seeking, and the simple and ever-available gifts of the day.

I don't need esoterica to be spiritual. I simply need to wake up and enjoy what comes.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

EVOLUTION

"People cannot go right unless you let them."
~August William Hare~

Feeling overly responsible for the well-being of other people is one of my dysfunctions. I take on their ailments and injuries and depressions. I want to make everything right, and I feel some sort of mis-placed guilt if I can't, as if anyone being less than aok in my realm of influence is some great failing of my own.
     I need to change my thinking on this. I need to remember that challenges and hurts come to grow us, and don't necessarily mean that anything is wrong. The things that we all struggle with are simply evidence that evolution is hard at work.

I accept the difficulties in my life and in the lives of others not as a bad thing, but as an indication of life in process.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

CLOSURE

"Graduation is a process that goes on until the last day of your life." ~Arie Pencovivi~

I am a big fan of the finishing touch concept. It gives me a sense of satisfaction and completion. I like to do a certain "finishing touch" kind of stretch at the end of the day, and wipe the counters after cleaning the dishes, and give the dog a treat as I walk out the gate.
     I think it's all about smooth transitions. I like to have a sense of completeness and closure before moving on. Without finishing touches, life loses some of its grace, seems to me, and becomes jarring and full of loose ends. Activities are left hanging in mid-air...

I celebrate the rhythm that finishing touches bring to my life.

THE RELATIVITY OF PERSPECTIVE

"We have them just where they want us."
~James T. Kirk~
 
We are easily discouraged and misled- with a word, a look, a sigh- a silence where we had hoped for something else. We are absolute in our thinking. Everything is great, or else it's a disaster.
     But maybe it's neither. Maybe it's ever and always shades of grey with some good, some bad, and some somewhere in-between. We so readily approve or condemn. What if we could just let everything  be instead, and understand that it's all colored by our mood and our approach and that what we might love today we can easily disdain tomorrow. Our perspective has as much relativity as the passage of time.

I am willing to be less impulsively judgmental and allow things to unfold before me. I am willing to wait and see.

Monday, May 12, 2014

SELF-DOUBT

"Action will remove the doubts that theory cannot solve."
~Tehyi Hsieh~

Self-doubting thoughts are like termites of the soul. They eat away at my confidence and my enthusiasm and my ability to act. They have a paralyzing effect.
     We tend to hold ourselves to ridiculously high standards and be unreasonably self-critical and unforgiving. We come at things to do with ourselves with negativity in hand. We dismiss and discourage our dreams. Who do we think we are? Who are we kidding? We shrink with shame.
     Let's acknowledge our self-doubt but not embrace it. Let's leave it be and focus our attention on encouraging thoughts instead. Let's believe in ourselves and believe in the possibility that we might be better than we give ourselves credit for. We are generally quick to give others the benefit of the doubt. Don't we deserve the same?

I forgive myself my self-doubts and don't let them sink me. I carry on courageously in spite of them. 

INSIDE JOB

"You shall listen to all sides and filter them for yourself."
~Walt Whitman~
 
When we are troubled, most of us look for a quick fix. We have a drink hoping that will make us feel better, or we eat something fattening, and maybe that helps for a little bit.... but our struggles always return in the end.
     Or maybe we seek out someone who will tell us exactly what to do. And there are plenty of people who will be only too happy to accommodate us on this front. But we are the ones who have to live with the consequences of our actions, so we better learn to consider with care before we make a move.
     The truth is that we can gather information, talk to as many people as we like, and allow ourselves a bit of distraction, but always and ultimately, we have to look within for the answer to our questions. We will not find the solution to our problems anywhere other than inside of ourselves.

Whenever I feel like something's broken, instead of racing after a quick fix, I learn to become quiet and look within.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

ABUNDANCE

"A thankful (and generous) heart hath a continual feast."
~WJ Cameron

If we want to experience abundance in our lives, we have to practice generosity. Feeling like we have more than enough- more than enough time, money, love, and support- we can give these things away. And feeling like we are more than enough, we can give of ourselves, and feel blessed by our giving.
     Pinched as we may sometimes feel, it is nonetheless true that everything exists in an unlimited supply. And whatever we give away is guaranteed to return to us in spades.
 
If I want to experience abundance I practice generosity.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

LOVE

"Love must be as much a light as it is a flame."
~Henry David Thoreau~
 
Love is a way of being and a way of behaving. It is not something we "fall into" or become sick with. Love is a mode of expression and a generous attitude towards others and towards ourselves. It is compassionate appreciation and forgiveness and acceptance. Love is kind and creative.
     We try to package it and put it outside of ourselves as something to be sought after and something to find. But it is in us. Love is, and will forever and always be, an inside job.

I stop looking to others for love and grow it inside of me.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

HOW WE TALK ABOUT OURSELVES

"Too many people overvalue what they are not and
undervalue what they are."
~Malcom S Forbes~
 
Self-deprecating comments serve no good purpose. Let's strike them from our record and cease to use them going forth. We are not any of the negative things that we claim to be. Our self-effacement is no more than false humility. We pretend to be worse than we are hoping for attention or pity or excuses to keep us from having to be responsible.
     But responsibility is our honor and our gift. We can stop being meager and less-than and step up into the fullness of our glory. We may not be perfect, but we are likely far better than the disaster that we tell ourselves we are.
 
I release my derogatory comments to the wind and learn to speak about myself with respect.

Monday, May 5, 2014

REMEMBERING THE VIEW

"Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind."
~Johnny Nash~

We have mountain views from every window of our house, but when there's a heavy cloud cover, or it's raining, we can't see them at all. And in my experience, life is like that. The view- the happy perspective- is always there, but sometimes it's blocked- by our fear or our consuming desire to control things, or our anger, or our hunger, or whatever it may be.
     But just as the cloud cover passes and clear skies return, the vista always reveals itself again eventually. And it's never so sweet as when we have missed it for days on end.

When I feel petulant and moody, I know that eventually, good feelings and happiness will find me yet again.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

LESSONS FROM THE DOG

"If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience."
~Woodrow Wilson~ 

Our dog, Boss, is a wonderful measure of my level of spiritual fitness. If I feel irritated with him, if my anger flashes when he comes up for attention, then I know that something is amiss. Maybe I need to eat, or sleep, or process some upset from my day. Or maybe I just need to shift my perspective from self-pity to gratitude.
     Sometimes I don't even know that anything is wrong when I approach him. I think that I feel generally ok. And then he becomes my mirror, and I realize that I am actually way off center, and in fairly immediate need of a strong internal shift.
 
The way I feel toward my pet at any given moment is an excellent indication of my state of mind.

Friday, May 2, 2014

HAPPY

"Happiness is not a goal; it's a by-product."
~Eleanor Roosevelt~

Healthy
Appreciative
Positive
Patient
Yielding
 
Happiness is the result of good values.