"I found there was nothing left for it but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones."
~ Sydney Smith ~
I'm rather a Nordic creature so I prefer the cold to the heat. And add to the heat hot flashes, and I have moments every day when I feel as if I'm almost cooking. It makes me crawly, and want to run and escape somehow, to vacate the hotness. But I can't and I don't. It all has its purpose, and my restlessness and angst is teaching me acceptance.
The summer heat is as much a part of my joy as the lovely cool fall.
"Life is not happening to you. Life is responding to you."
~ Author Unknown ~
Advantages and dis-advantages, pros and cons, assets and liabilities, strengths and weaknesses- we all have them. Every situation and every person has them...
And we can focus our attention in either direction, but rather than complaining, it generally feels best to simply accept what is less than ideal, and actively appreciate what's good.
"Perform then, this one act of remembrance before this Day passes- Remember there is an army of defense and advance that never dies and never surrenders, but is increasingly recruited from the eternal sources of the American spirit and from the generations of American youth."
~WJ Cameron ~
Memorial Day is such an important holiday; that we pause and recognize the heroism and sacrifice of all of our service men and women, and celebrate the principles of honor, courage, bravery, nobility, and freedom. The day always begs the question, what's worth fighting for? And answers itself: all that we value and hold dear.
Let the lead of all those who have gone before us inspire us. Let us stand up and bravely face what oppresses us. Let us be undaunted by great odds. Let us thank those who have fought for us, and be willing to fight for ourselves using their example. Let us be filled with the grace and the glory of the noble cause for freedom.
I appreciate and honor the bravery in others and in myself.
"Faith is what makes life bearable, with all its tragedies, ambiguities and sudden, startling joys."
~ Madeleine L'Engle ~
Faltering faith fatigues the body and mind. A sense of depression and helplessness kicks in when we can't make happen by the sheer force of our will what we want to make happen; and our ceasing to trust that great things are coming paralyzes us in a scarcity complex mode, and makes us grabby and greedy.
And yet, in spite of our smallness of mind, great things do come. They come out of nowhere and bless us like a gentle soaking rain.
Life has taught me that it's good strategy to keep faith.
The unfolding of life feels very much like a trail of crumbs at times, or a scavenger hunt. We follow one lead and it takes us to the next and the next.
Occasionally, we land somewhere, the route forward isn't obvious, and we feel stopped and stuck. But if we sit patiently for just a minute, or however long it takes, and look around, and get quiet, then we see, or sense our next move.
And on it goes until we end up down the trail of our existence with the accumulated wisdom and insight that we have gleaned from each stop along the way.
I follow the leads and callings in my life and observe how one leads to another and takes me exactly where I'm meant to go.
"Giving birth is not a matter of pushing... but of yielding, surrendering to birth energy."
~ Marie Reid ~
There comes a time when we have to stop pushing to get our way, when we have to step back and admit that we've done what we can and it's time for something bigger than us to make the next move. It's time for faith and quiet and surrender and release.
Getting to that point is a rising tension and amped up energy; urgent insisting, inner pleading and a feeling of increasing desperation. It's uncomfortable, stressful, and not sustainable for long, though we generally sustain it for longer than we should.
But when we let go, mixed in with the relaxation of tension, there is a kind of sadness- that we have to let go, that we can't force it, that we are at the mercy of forces so much bigger than we can understand or realize, and that we are so much more powerless really than we want to believe.
When I am stuck to the point of desperation, I let go of my false control so that universal forces can guide my next move.
"Every time you don't follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, and a sense of spiritual deadness."
~ Shakti Gawain ~
I base my decisions on feelings as much as logic. I am an emotional and intuitive being and I get a sense about the rightness or wrongness of things in my gut that is far more powerful and meaningful for me than scientific facts or numbers on a page.
I honor my intuition and allow it to guide me as I travel the road.
Anything is possible, and generally results from steady effort in the direction of our choosing. One little bit at a time we can build cathedrals, raise children, and live healthy and long. It requires our commitment though, our decisive action, and the right choices day after day after day.
"We shall advance when we have learned humility; when we have learned to seek truth, to reveal it, and publish it; when we care more for that than for the privilege of arguing about ideas in a fog of uncertainty."
~Walter Lippman ~
The boy who cried wolf is an important and instructive story. When we lie habitually to people, they don't know what to believe, and they tend to doubt us as a matter of course, which is practical on their part, and self-protective.
Our actions dictate the way that others respond to us, so if we don't like the response, we better change the way we behave.
It's easy to catastrophize in our minds about what might be happening when we don't have access to immediate answers and reassurances- when someone we're waiting for is late, or when someone who usually returns texts right away suddenly doesn't. We think about all kinds of unlikely crises, plan our response accordingly, and become as ready as we can psychologically to deal with the potential ensuing disaster.
And then, nine times out of ten, the situation resolves itself and all is well. And our catastrophizing ended up just being a way to deal with our fear. It would be preferable though, to not be so fearful in the first place, to remain calm as a matter of course, and to patiently wait and see.
I catch myself catastrophizing in my mind and stop. I decide to let things unfold as they will without my projection, or my runaway fear.
According to a Nielsen survey, average Americans watch 34 hours of television a week- between 4 and 5 hours a day, and this number increases as we get older. The implications of this are bothersome at best: so much lost productivity and wasted life! We whine and complain about not having enough time and the lack of fulfillment and happiness that we feel in our lives... it's no wonder!
Let's get honest and brave and look at our television habits and realize that if we made some adjustments, there are hours to claim for ourselves in the pursuit of a greater calling. We could get an online masters degree in the time we sit vegetating in front of the screen, or write a book, or design a building, or learn a new craft. The options are unlimited, as is our potential.
After an hour or so of relaxation, what real benefit to our life is so much daily TV?
I limit the amount of time I sit in front of the television and follow my dreams instead.
"Good habits are safer than rules; you don't have to watch them. And you don't have to keep them. They keep you."
~Frank Crane ~
Consistency is the answer to so much that we struggle with in life. We tend to be flippant and sporadic in our pursuit of wellness. We do something good for ourselves, feel better, and promptly stop. We go back to our old habits like a bowling ball tracked for the gutter. But we needn't!
We can engage self-discipline to keep us going with positive action for long enough to form a new habit, which is a matter of months, or less if we're lucky, but then we have to steady on and steady forth. We give up on ourselves so easily. Let's not! Let's do the next right thing for more than just a day or a week or a month. Let's make it a lifestyle, and if we do that, we will reap benefits beyond our wildest dreams.
"We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us to our fellow man."
~ Herman Melville ~
As individuals, we are limited. We can only do so much and produce so much as one person, but the power of community and networking is unlimited. We are so much more collectively, and collaborating, than we can ever be alone.
I celebrate my participation in community. It broadens my perspective and enlarges my life.
Staying awake in the afternoon on my long ride home from work is a challenge. The road is so hypnotic beneath the tires and the car so comfortable. I am lulled into sleepiness and my eyelids droop. There is no easy way to resist this pull when it happens. Loud music and wide open windows may work temporarily, but the best thing to do is generally to pull over and give in. It only takes a few minutes with my eyes closed to completely refresh.
Nonetheless, most of us, in similar life situations, would sooner fight it any way we can and insist on our will over the power of Nature. But no matter how we may fight it, no matter what we may do to counteract what's happening, Nature always wins in the end.
I stop fighting what I cannot over-power and succumb to whatever must be.
Open sharing is preferable to guarded sharing, or sharing with self-consciousness, or sharing with any kind of agenda attached. It's better for the one doing the sharing and the one listening as well. It allows both parties to fully relax in the context of being human, and to enjoy together the adventure of real-life experience complete with all kinds of error and mis-emotion mixed up and intertwined with endless love and hope.
I share openly and freely. I have nothing to hide.
It always happens. Emerging spring is no longer spring, but summer- trees full of leaves and everything filled in and finished budding. We patiently celebrate the daffodils, forsythia, cherries, red buds, and dogwood as they flower in turn. We notice the first shoots of green. And it seems so slow and progressive, and then, almost seemingly overnight, it is done. Spring has sprung and we move forward into the energy of summer, gardens, and shady trees.
The buds of spring have turned to full foliage, and so must I. Life is a perpetual cycle of blossom and growth.
Self-pity and martyrdom are wildly over-rated. They feel like the right thing- we are so burdened! But our relief comes not in complaining to others, but in actively demonstrating love. And if we can do that- show genuine love and feel it too- then our pity will leave on the passing breeze and gratitude and blessing will be restored in us yet again.
Loving others is the best cure I know for self-consuming self-pity.
When we want something too badly, we actually create a block to our being able to receive it. We strangle the energy flow with our urging and our fear; lock it in a strait jacket with our insisting that things be just so.
But things will be as they are, and the sooner we learn that, and become willing to live with what's possible instead of what we think we must have, the sooner we loosen up the energy that is all stopped up, and allow for the very thing we are hoping for to come to us.
I stop forcing outcomes and enjoy the flowing dance of all possibility.
"A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he gets to know something."
~ Wilson Mizner ~
As a general rule, we are not great listeners. We hear something that strikes a chord in us, leap into the conversation enthusiastically, and head off running in our own direction, recklessly, not having waited to understand what was really being said. And in this way, we discount others, which is likely not what we intend at all.
Let's bring awareness to our internal voices but not let them run the show. We can be conscious of the fact that we have the desire to interrupt someone's train of thought, but we don't have to act on it. We may not be as right about what's coming as we think we are, and learn something by listening that we didn't know before.
I am aware of my desire to interrupt others, but listen instead, and wait for my turn to speak.
"It is the unspoken words that spoil in the mind."
~ Margie Piercy ~
In some ways, unacknowledged stuff has as much power over us, and possibly more so, than extreme challenges that we face head-on. There's something invasive to the spirit about remnant hurts from the past that have never been cleared. Like boll weevils in a cotton crop, they spread, and do devastating damage.
I used to think it was possible to just move on and let by-gones be by-gones and never speak of them again, but I'm not sure I feel that way anymore. To speak of what is left ugly and unresolved in our history is to heal it by properly honoring the fact that it happened. To act as if it never happened at all feels like betrayal and pretense and leaves its own kind of new trauma in present time.
I talk about hurts from the past in order to clear them and take away their sting.