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Thursday, March 31, 2016

HOSPITAL STAY

"Every disease is a physician." 
~ Irish Proverb ~

Generally in life, I am busy and moving fast, but I have had a chance this week- not by choice, but by circumstance- to slow way down and experience the passage of time in a hospital setting. And that changes everything. Minutes pass more slowly than usual, maybe because we are dealing with pain and discomfort, while whole days blur together as a blob, peppered with nurse visits, medications, and the high-intensity fear-filled situations that arise because of unfamiliar threats to our sense of how things are supposed to be.
     And what feels a bit like numbness is actually a kind of attunement to the environment, I think. We adapt to patience and acute physical realities erupting and dissolving in waves. It's impossible to attach to anything. A hospital is a great place to learn of the inconstancy of all things. We are ok, and then not ok, grateful and fearful, very sick, and eventually well enough to venture home.

Sickness teaches me gratitude for wellness, and hospitals teach me gratitude for being home.


   

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

SPRING WEEDING

"Gardens are a form of autobiography." 
~ Sydney Eddison ~

Spring comes bearing gifts, but in return for these gifts, a certain amount of effort is required on our parts- to keep our grass mowed, our gardens weeded, and all of the growing goodness growing in check, else it will become problematic.
     It's an invitation to work outside, a calling, and an urge- to manage what's coming up, plant what we want to nurture, and cut back whatever is toxic or out-of-control.

I carefully maintain all that is growing in my life.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

RETURNING TO CALM

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

I am testy and irritable with our dog when I am overwhelmed or afraid. He's the ultimate measure of my real state of wellness. If I find myself annoyed with him for just doing what he always does, that's a pretty good indication that elsewhere in my life I have feelings to acknowledge and facts to face.
     Sitting quietly is generally a better help to me at such times than franticly rushing around and distracted busy-ness. I have to return myself to center, and too much movement keeps me lurching off track.
     So when we find ourselves unexpectedly irritable, let's take five  minutes and sit in silence; breathing, detaching from thinking, and listening with awareness to whatever we may hear.

I cure anxiety, restlessness, fear and agitation by slowing down, sitting down, and centering within.

Monday, March 28, 2016

WHAT FOLLOWS THE RAIN

"Many a man curses the rain that falls upon his head, and knows not that it brings abundance to drive away the hunger." 
~ Saint Basil ~

Sunshine after a rainfall is exceptionally beautiful. Everything is wet and fresh. Cedar trees sparkle in the brightness, and it's as if the earth lets out a great sigh. Animals and people venture out, encouraged by the dry skies.
     Just so, difficulty and ease storm and clear in our lives- both necessary- and one making the other that much sweeter.

I accept the rain and welcome the sun that follows.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

GREAT BLESSINGS FROM SMALL THINGS

"Greet the day with reverence for the opportunities it contains, approach (your) work with a clean mind... be gentle, kind, and courteous through all the hours; (and) approach the night with... the joy that comes from work well done." 
~ Thomas Dreier ~

If we treat things with reverence, then we will experience the preciousness of life. The more gently and mindfully we take care of the management of our bodies, our finances, and all of the things that we own, the more we will appreciate them.
     To light a candle and sit in its light is a sensuous delight of immeasurable proportions; so too, is each bite of a delicious meal, the feel of fresh water on our face in the morning, and getting into bed at the end of a long day.
     Life is a great blessing, no matter the intricacies of our external circumstances. Let's pay attention enough to the details to allow them to bless us.

I approach my day with reverence that I might feel the spiritual blessing of appreciation.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

SHARING STORIES

"Man is a knot into which relationships are tied." 
~ Antoine de Saint Exupery ~

I don't know exactly how it feels to be you, but I know how it feels to be me, so that's what I have to share- all the daily struggles and victories of my life experience. And it is my hope and fervent prayer that as I open up the contents of my soul for public viewing, that there will be those in the world who are able to recognize their own experience in what I share, and that through the sharing, we become one.

I share my personal experience with others because that's what I know and understand best.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

INNER KNOWING

"Intuition, my trustworthy friend." 
~ Terri Guillements ~

When the powers that be tell us one thing, and our guts tell us something else, we should probably listen to our guts. No one else can be the authority on our intuitive knowing. It speaks its truth quietly, and often only to us.

I trust my intuition over the popular opinion of the day.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

HOPE, FEAR, AND INTUITION

"The metaphoric mind is a maverick. It is as wild and unruly as a child." 
~ Garson O'Toole ~

My fears and hopes sometimes masquerade as intuition. I have the sense that I know what's going to happen, both on the up side and the down side as well; great blessings and great suffering. I prepare myself emotionally in advance. And then when they don't happen, I feel let down, and jipped almost. But the truth is that it wasn't ever knowing in the first place- it was just hoping and being afraid.
     Going forward, I want to be able to separate my fantasies from my gut, and my magnifying mind from the place inside of me that really does know.

I test my intuitive knowing for hope and fear, and  if I find them, then it's not really my intuition and I have been duped.

Monday, March 21, 2016

SELF-RESCUE

"I don't want to be like Cinderella
sittin' in a dark cold dusty cellar
waitin' for somebody to come and set me free..." 
~Cheetah Girls 

I heard the other day that we should never be the heroes of our own stories, and that made me wonder, "Why not?" I think we need to be our own heroes, to rescue ourselves from what limits us, traps us, plagues us, or wants to hold us down. That doesn't mean that we don't need help and guidance as we make our way, but we do have to be the one to initiate the movement towards our own salvation. Of this I feel certain.

I have the courage to show up for myself, whatever that means on any given day.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

PASSING EMOTIONS

"Never let your emotions rule, but always let them testify." 
~ Robert Brault ~

It's ok to have an off day, or even a string of them. It's ok to be tired, overwhelmed, fearful, and unsure. Whatever we feel, it's not a permanent condition, and it serves its purpose and brings us to the other side.
     So let's not resist the emotions of the day. Let's allow them to bubble up and teach us whatever they have to teach.

I learn compassion for myself through the ups and downs of my daily emotional experience.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

THE FLASH OF TIME

"Time marches on." 
~ Bobby Braddock ~

Afternoons may drag, but the years pass in a flash and before we know it, we are older than we can believe. Let's savor the days that make up our lives and appreciate being and experiencing wherever we are right here and right now.

I make an effort to enjoy each moment of my life.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

LEAVING TOWN

"No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn." 
~ Hal Borland ~

I love the aliveness of the spring, but I am always sad to see winter go. I love the cold fresh air, wearing down jackets, and feeling cozy inside. I love the gentle warmth of winter sunlight and sparkling morning frost.
     The spring is lovely as it bursts forth into bloom, but the winter always seems to slip out the back door without our even saying thank you or farewell, so I want to acknowledge it here and give it its due.

I bid goodbye to winter and pause for a moment to express my gratitude for the gifts of the cold.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

INTELLIGENCE

"Eventually you realize that if you're going to talk sense, you're going to antagonize its opponents." 
~ Robert Brault ~

I deeply value intelligence and common sense. They refresh, inspire, and enliven any and every conversation, experience, and engagement with life. Mental dexterity, simple clarity, quick responses, and practical action: these make for good living at its best!

I celebrate quick thinking and smart living.

Monday, March 14, 2016

THE FLIP-SIDE OF PAIN

"That some good can be derived from every event is a better proposition than that everything happens for the best, which it assuredly does not." 
~ James K. Feibleman ~

I guess it’s human to resist what’s unpleasant. We prefer not to think about it, not to go there, or else we chew on it like a bone and try to make it ok for ourselves inside our heads before we have to deal with it in real life. We speculate, anticipate, contemplate, and fret. We try to figure the easiest way through, or whether there’s another way around. We drag our feet and are pulled forward anyway.
     And yet, for all of our distaste, there are moments of beauty and blessing no matter what we have to go through. And whatever pain and suffering there may be, we can rest assured that grace awaits us on the flipside.

Suffering often comes bearing spiritual gifts.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

TRUE SELF

"Let the world know you as you are." 
~ Fanny Brice ~

False sincerity is distasteful, and even a little uncomfortable: insulting almost. This serious voice and tone and seeks to illicit some kind of manufactured sympathy or appreciation in us. But being a bit rebellious by nature, I refuse to engage by force of any kind, even if it's guised as something quasi-pleasant.
     The question that begs to be answered though is why bother being false in the first place? Our true selves, the real story, our authentic experience, is richer and far more impactful and powerful than anything we could ever make up. So let's have the courage to be ourselves, and leave posturing of all kinds in the dust where it belongs.

I abandon all false pretense and allow myself to be authentic, honest, real, and true.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

GUARDING WITH CARE

"Road sense is the offspring of courtesy and the parent of safety." 
~Australian Traffic Rule ~

What is growing must be protected or it can be overrun by trampling feet. We must have gates and sign posts and a bit of careful policing because creativity is a fragile thing, especially when it's newly sprouting.

I gently care for all of the new growth in my life.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

SALVATION IN THE MOMENT

"In almost every age in almost every part of the world, human beings have had to live their normal lives and do their normal business under conditions of uncertainty, danger, and distress..." 
~ Arnold J. Toynbee ~

The other day, I heard someone say that what made him angry were the things he couldn't control, and that seemed important somehow. I go along happily, thinking I am spiritually fit and full of acceptance and patience and well-being, and then I'm hit with news of something bigger than me- something I have to go through that I don't want to go through, and the result is anger- subterranean anger, but anger nonetheless. And it makes me realize how attached I am to controlling things, to the idea of my own power, and how invested I am in getting what I think I want, which primarily consists of certainty.
     I am less good at not knowing than I care to admit, which makes me a little short on faith I guess, and especially when it really counts. I seem to want relief more than process, and finality rather than evolution. I recognize that this perspective is a bit marred, but it gives me something to work on. I can catch myself in a state of agitation and fear and take a deep breath, and then another. The answer, I think, is to stay in the moment, and appreciate what's right in front of me and the only real certainty I have which is the reality of right now.

I save myself from catastrophic thinking by taking a deep breath.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

THE DAILY BUFFET

"Don't dig your grave with your own knife and fork." 
~ English Proverb ~

Sometimes it seems like a good idea to overfill our plates. Everything looks so delicious, and we feel hungry and deserving of a bit of excess. Life owes us somehow, and we have earned the right to take a taste of everything. But if we eat it all, we feel sick. It is too much, overdone, and rough on our digestion and our spirits.
     Let's set some limits instead, and choose only a few things, and each of these for a good reason, in manageable portions, and a pleasing combination of colors and textures on our plate.

I fill the metaphorical plate of my life with great care, and do not slap on volumes of questionable items like a starving man at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Monday, March 7, 2016

THE LIMITATIONS OF BEING A LONE WOLF

"The 'i' in illness is isolation, and the crucial letters in wellness are 'we.'" 
~Author Unknown ~

Once in a while, I have lone wolf fantasies. I imagine living in complete isolation and doing exactly as I please, because loving others can be such hard work. It’s so deeply emotional, and carries me up and down and in circles. I sometimes get dizzy from spinning in emotional circles.
     But the answer is not in separation, not really. It’s in honoring and feeling and experiencing the journey of life. It’s in sharing the ride, with all of its twists and turns, in being able to look back together- with laughter, with tears, with quiet nostalgia. Solo might be easier in the short run, but in the long run, it lacks the depth of connected experience across time.

I travel the road in the company of those I love, and together we face whatever comes.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

TRUTH

"You can't run away from trouble. There 'aint no place that far." 
~ Uncle Remus ~

When life is not going along the way I want it to, I get in this place- this mindset- where I feel like I have to do something. I have to make some big life changing decision to transform everything and prevent difficulty from ever happening again. I want to make this big choice that will save me from pain, hurt, discomfort, and fear forever and all time.
     But no such choice is possible. Life has these things built in, and that's just the way it is. And they come, not to hurt us, not to beat us down, but to soften and sweeten us. Hardship comes to tune us in to love, compassion, and forgiveness, which are what really matter in the end anyway: not ambition, success, fame, or wealth, but tenderness, kindness, and a loving heart.

A meaningful life has hurt and hardship in it. That's the sand that makes us into pearls.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

THE PROCESS OF PROCESSING

"A man must find time for himself." 
~ Carl Sandburg ~

As a general rule, I think we take too little time in life to integrate our experiences. We rush from one thing to the next and never stop to process our feelings, the implications of what we've been through, or the lessons we may have learned. We live in a rush and a blur.
     Let's not. Let's reflect, consider, and absorb the things that happen to us- regularly, frequently, faithfully, and as an ongoing way of life.

I allow myself time for self-reflection.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

LETTING GO OF GRASPING

"Surrender to win." 
~ Laura Harris ~

When things feel out-of-control, it's scary, and I try to hold on and grab for certainty wherever I can. And rather than trust the process, I often throw my weight around in an effort to find a foothold. But security does not come from grasping or insisting. It comes, paradoxically, from surrendering completely and releasing my grasp.

I don't have to let the things I can't control control me.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

TWO HALVES OF A WHOLE

"Be melting snow. Wash yourself of yourself." 
~ Rumi ~

One part of me is a loving caretaker of myself, and the other part is hateful and self-deprecating: half-love, half-doubt. I rally forth with enthusiasm and courage and draw back in shame. I am my own push-me, pull-you, my own inspiration, and my own demise.

I have a good-cop, bad-cop routine going on inside of me, but I have a choice when it comes to what information I act on, and what I believe.