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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

HOW WE TELL IT

"Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space."
~ Orson Scott Card ~

Life is better with embellishments. Someone's sense of humor and personal take on what happened is often more entertaining than the straight facts. We enrich life with our point of view. So who we are and how we see things is a valuable and dynamic element of the complexity and delight of our daily experience.

Life is about story-telling. That's how we share ourselves with the world.

Monday, June 29, 2015

NECESSARY ADJUSTMENTS

"Sleep, riches, and health to be truly enjoyed must be interrupted."
~ Johann Paul Friedrich Richter ~

When my routines get substantially disturbed, it discombobulates me. I feel lost and confused. Nothing is as it should be. Order and predictability sustain me, and when these things are unavailable due to forces beyond my control, I suffer for it. At such times, I need to have a little extra patience and self-forgiveness as I stumble around trying to get my bearings and doing the best that I can.

Even when life becomes disorderly and unsettled, I stay as steady and as stalwart as I can.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

BOTH SIDES COUNT

"The cloud shadows of midnight possess their own repose."
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley ~

Some people think of me as a Pollyanna, but I'm really not. I feel happy much of the time and enjoy people and my life, but I have a shadow in me as well, and a seriousness, and a sense of struggle and fear. One side plays off the other and vice versa, and I cannot possibly experience wholeness and true fulfillment unless I embrace and honor them both.

I accept the dark in me as well as the light and know they are as necessary to each other as the night is to the day.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

LETTING OTHERS BE

"Adversity is the first path to truth."
~ Lord Byron ~

When I am struggling and people try to fix me and help me, I feel a little irritated. I'm not broken- I'm just having a bad day. I'm human and life is hard. And yet, how readily I put on my cape and leap to the rescue of others. I want to help and fix them! But they're not broken either, and they don't need my fussing and bothering and meddling. All they need, and likely all they want, is my appreciation for what they're going through, and my genuine and heartfelt love.

I can't fix what's not broken. I love and appreciate people wherever they are.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

ADMITTING LIMITATIONS

"Wisdom consists of the anticipation of consequences."
~Norman Cousins ~

For many years I have misunderstood love as personal sacrifice and believed it is my job to carry the greatest load I can possibly bear. But this is silly and self-defeating and doesn't lead to feelings of love, but to feelings of resentment instead, and bitterness, and I want no voluntary part of these things.
     As of now, I am claiming my limits, and owning them without apology or exaggeration: just stating the facts. I can do what I can do, and will proceed along in good spirits, but insisting for myself that I do more than that is a recipe for dysfunction.

I stop volunteering myself for activities and responsibilities beyond my limits.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

DIVINING THE FUTURE

"The course of life is unpredictable... no one can write his autobiography in advance."
~Abraham Joshua Heschel ~

I try to prepare myself for the future by thinking through all possible scenarios and figuring out how I will handle each one if it should come to pass. But, in truth, this is a waste of productive thinking time because it's not possible to know or understand the emotional ramifications of any life circumstance until I'm in it. I can strategize action and possible outcome all I want, but I can't possible know how something is going to make me feel until I feel it.

I catch myself trying to figure out strategic moves for the future and stop. What's right in front of me is my only responsibility for today.

Monday, June 22, 2015

TRAVELING CYCLES OF LIGHT

"I walk without flinching through the burning cathedral of the summer."
~Violette Leduc ~

Sunday was the longest day of the year- the full light monty- and it was noticeable only if we chose to notice it: a benchmark. But happily, the light largely lingers for the next few months as summer sits with us. Nonetheless, while we enjoy its warmth and brightness, the cycle of time is slowly shifting us back to shorter days and cooler weather and the next season coming, and the next.

Summer arrives and is gone in a flash. I make an effort to appreciate each sweet day.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

THINKING NEW THOUGHTS

"A bad habit never disappears miraculously. It's an undo-it-yourself project."
~ Abigail Van Buren ~

I want to live my best possible life. I want to reach my potential and experience enlightenment, success, and great love. And I am willing to do whatever it takes- to overcome obstacles, admit when I'm wrong, and change whatever is not working in my life.
     To date, I have changed my behavior on multiple fronts, and the overall way that I approach life, but there is always another level and always another layer. And it has come down, at this point, to my habits of negative thinking. I need to re-program broken records of future disaster and learn to play a new song.

I catch myself in habit loops of negative thinking and choose a different track instead. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

TRANSCENDENCE

"Gratitude turns what we have into enough."
~Author Unknown ~

I am grateful for the day's end, for the respite from life's intensity and demand, and for silence. I am grateful for laughter and for my good health. I am grateful for air conditioning, sunshine, changing light, courage, and the sky. I am grateful for hope and the possibility of change. I am grateful for all that my experience has taught me, and that life is dynamic and nothing ever remains exactly the same. I am grateful for possibility and opportunity and the unknown factor in each day. I am grateful for all of my days, and nights, and the seasons, and the rising moon.
     Feeling grateful soothes me and comforts my spirit. It reminds me of all that is good and beautiful. Today, perhaps, more than anything else, I am grateful for gratitude.

When life wants to pull me down, I get grateful, and rise again.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

THE YIN YANG OF LIFE EXPERIENCE

"There's a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out."
~ Lou Reed ~

Most of the time I go at life with gusto and have an enthusiastic and gung-ho way of doing things. The energy of this carries me, and I feel optimistic and happy. But there is yin in the yang and yang in the yin and the opposite of gung ho and enthusiastic always comes to take its turn in me. And it isn't necessarily depressing or dark- only profoundly sad, and stillness producing, and humbling. It right sizes me every time.
     There is so much suffering on earth, and in people, and surrounding us on all sides. And while there is beauty as well, every so often, it's important and necessary to take stock of the suffering, and feel it to its depths. We don't have to stay there or belabor our experience, but we do have to occasionally visit.

I acknowledge the suffering in myself and others and feel great compassion for the things we all survive.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

WHEN LIFE IS HARD

"Life is difficult. This is a great truth."
~M. Scott Peck ~

Some days it's harder to get motivated than others. When the general state of circumstantial affairs in my life is challenging and everywhere I turn there seems to be struggle, the weight of it all holds me heavy to the earth. And I feel the need to take time for retreat and to rejuvenate my spirit and rediscover the light, but that's not always possible, so I have to just mush on.
     And often, the simple momentum of continued mushing readjusts me and I become restored as if by default. But when that doesn't happen, patience is the answer, and self-compassion, and the ongoing journey of looking for and owning the love inside me that has temporarily gone underground.

I ride the tide of challenges in life and allow for self-compassion and tenderness when the weight of hardship is heavy on my back.

Monday, June 15, 2015

THE WAY THINGS TURN OUT

"Tomorrow is another day."
Scarlet O'Hara
 
Things rarely turn out the way we want them to, or hope they will. They turn out how they turn out and we have learn how to adjust ourselves. And sometimes it's easier said than done. Certain necessary adjustments make my heart ache.
     I like everything neat and clean and tied up with a bow, but experience has taught me that more often than not, life is just a big old mess instead. And when that's the case, generally speaking, it's only time that will come along to sort things out, so I have to be patient, and I have to surrender, and I have to do what I can and let go of absolutely everything else.
 
I trust in the process of unfolding life.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

HIGH SCHOOL REUNION

"For I have learned to look on Nature not as in the hour of thoughtless youth, but hearing oftentimes the still, sad music of humanity." 
~ William Wordsworth ~

I went to my 30th high school reunion over the weekend and am glad that I did. There are those people with whom I have a kind of lifetime connection that doesn't depend on constant, or even regular, contact, and yet the understanding between us is familiar and feels good. And it's always great to see those people.
     And then, there is the lack of connection that lingers across years that I feel with certain others, and that they, presumably, feel in relation to me: an awkwardness that is likely based on complete misunderstanding, and that might be overcome if we met today and had no history. And seeing them is a not-always-welcome reminder of something missed-out-on, and seemingly impossible to overcome.
     But most enjoyable are the unexpected connections that develop. Conversations, evolved energy, and the relatable accumulation of lifetime experiences creates a bond that did not exist before, and which is surprisingly delightful.
     At such events, there is generally too much alcohol consumed by most, the emotional exhaustion of dealing with constantly bubbling-up old-time feelings and memories of all kinds, and slightly stressful meals because of all the surrounding emotional chaos. In this regard, this reunion was no different from the rest. But nonetheless, it was worth it to go. High school was an important and formative time in my life, and I take this time every five years to honor those years and the people I shared them with.
 
I am grateful for my high-school experience, with all of it's awkwardness and the vagaries of my youth.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

"All of our reasoning ends in surrender... "
~Blaise Pascal ~
 
There always comes a point in life when enough is enough. Sometimes it's experienced in anger, and sometimes in a kind of exhausted letting go, but we are tired of struggling and done with all attempts to force our will. Change is slow and life is hard, and we have less control than we might like to think.

I stop pushing and surrender to all that is beyond my control.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

THE UPSIDE OF THE DOWNSIDE

"Those who expect moments of change to be comfortable and free of conflict have not learned their history."
~ Joan Wallach Scott ~

I have always wanted all the people around me to be happy with each other and happy with me. Conflict, confrontation, and silent tension alarm me at a visceral level, and I prefer to avoid them at all costs and in any way possible. And yet, much as I might want peace in the kingdom, it's inevitable that fights will break out and disharmony will occur.
     But it may not be the death knell I think it to be. Perhaps, there is resolution at the far side of conflict, and evolution somehow in the whole messy mix.

 I allow for the possibility of positive transformation through discomfort.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

DOING THE WORK

"If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up." 
 ~ J.M. Power ~

I think we go along in life and hope to meet someone who will champion our cause for us, or that something will happen to make our dreams come true. But in my experience, it doesn't usually play out quite like that. It's up to us to be our own champions, and that is how it should be. Others can love us and support us and cheer us along, but it's our responsibility to do the daily work.

Every day I learn a little more about being a healthy advocate for myself.

Monday, June 8, 2015

ALL IN GOOD TIME

"The cyclone derives its powers from a calm center. So does a person."
~ Norman Vincent Peale ~

I imagine that most, if not all of us, have had an experience pushing with all of our heart and skill to complete a task, or the stage of a process, only to get bottle-necked down the line. It's the hurry up and wait syndrome. And no matter how efficiently we move, and how much pressure we put on ourselves, inevitably, there always comes a time when we have to wait for forces outside of our control to do their part. 
     Given this reality, perhaps we would do better to not hurry at all, and to steadily proceed on track without panic or fret. The way the job gets done is rarely on our time scale, but all in good time, it does, ultimately, get done.

I bring calm energy to my daily life process and stop insisting and pushing against the fray.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

SUMMERTIME!

"In summer, the song sings itself."
~ William Carlos Williams ~
 
I used to resist the summer with its heat and humidity, bugs and yard work, but I have changed my mindset about it, because the truth is that there are so many things about the summer that I love! I love warm evenings, the smell of honeysuckle, and lightening bugs. I love watching vegetables, flowers, and trees grow like crazy in the sun. I love the sound of crickets, the early sunrise, and the late sun-set. I love front-porch sitting, home-made lemonade, and vacationing at the beach.
     I have come to understand that every summer day is precious, beautiful, and uniquely wonderful exactly as it is, so I am making a conscious effort to enjoy and appreciate each one.

I enjoy the glory of summer days.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

OBSESSIVE THINKING

"Smile, breathe, and go slowly."
~ Thich Nhat Hanh ~

Some days it's exhausting just to be in the company of our own thoughts. All of our combined doubts, judgments, fears, and self-consciousness can be completely overwhelming. This is the "busy mind" state. We are obsessive and at work mentally- never at rest.
      Conversely, having a quiet mind is relaxing and peaceful. We are appreciative and aware of all that is good, and we are happy simply to be. The need to knaw at our problems leaves us and we are at ease and serene.
     And sometimes we can shift ourselves from the first mindset to the second through breathing and meditation, and sometimes we simply cannot. In the latter case, we just have to wait for time to shift us, which, happily, it always does.

I deeply appreciate my mind when it is not obsessively thinking and fixating, and I can be compassionate with myself when it is.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

PROTECTING WHAT MATTERS

"Personal protective equipment is self-defense."
~ Author Unknown ~

I confess that boundary setting has never been my strongest skill, and I have suffered for it. Historically a people-pleaser, even with my children, I have at times been afraid to say no and set limits- even while knowing that to set limits is the right thing. It's old, co-dependent behavior, and I readily fall back into it. I'm better than I used to be, but I still have a long way to go.
     I have worked hard to establish a life full of values that matter to me: productivity, personal responsibility, consideration, healthy habits, and self-reflection, and I am no longer willing to sacrifice these values at the drop of a hat, or the whim of another.
     In the world at large, I must live by the rules of the world, but within my own soul and the walls of my home, it is up to me to protect and defend what matters.

I courageously step up to maintain boundaries around all that I have established in my life.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

FULL LIFE

"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.'"
~ Erma Bombeck ~

I have an extremely full life, but it's full of good things, and I wouldn't want to miss out on any of it. The fullness makes it rich and textured, keeps it interesting, and never lets me become complacent.

I enjoy the intricacy and intrigue of my life; it's fullness and its mix-mash of responsibility and free choice.

Monday, June 1, 2015

STEADY DOWN THE ROAD

"One may go a long way after one is tired."
~ French Proverb ~

Life comes at us harder some days than it does on others. Our movements seem trudging and our efforts extreme. And on such days, what is usually no big deal becomes an arduous task, and we feel the weight of life bear down upon us heavily.
     Maybe dancing is the anecdote; maybe singing to music we love; maybe laughter, maybe sharing with someone how we feel, or maybe just patience and the passage of time. There is always a fix, but it's not always apparent. Our responsibility is simply to notice that we are off the beam. And through this honest acknowledgement, we open to the path of restoration, and slowly, but steadily, energy begins to shift in the direction of well-being yet again.

I am patient with trying days, and open to opportunities for rejuvenation.