Once in a while I read a statement that hits me like a 2 by 4:
"Sadness does not mean something is broken that needs to be fixed. It means something important to you has been lost, and you have to identify what it is." Steven C. Hayes, PHD
Once in a while I read a statement that hits me like a 2 by 4:
"Sadness does not mean something is broken that needs to be fixed. It means something important to you has been lost, and you have to identify what it is." Steven C. Hayes, PHD
The sadness of it all ... recently I attended a concert featuring the music of John Denver. Those of you who are old enough to remember him will remember music that was filled with love of the earth and gentleness toward other people.
The music took me back to my youth. (early 70's). A time filled with the promise of what was to come and a body strong enough to fulfill those promises.
John Denver died in 1997, a tragic airplane accident. He was only 54 years old.
The music was so sweet and tender and I was lucky to be sharing it with my husband and our good friend Jeff. The band played all of John's greatest hits ... Country Roads, Rocky Mountain High, Annie's song and many more. It was wonderful sitting there holding my husband's hand, singing along with band (they asked us to), and just letting the music sweep over us.
And then it happened ... beautiful pictures of mountains, rivers, trees, horses, and eagles began to be replaced by pictures of John. Great pictures of John in concert, riding horses, flying his air plane - in all of the pics John was smiling and clearly having a good time. But with each passing picture I noticed this deep sadness coming over me.
This recognition that everything changes and passes and ultimately fades from the light. The recognition that someday my husband would also be dead (or that I would die first). Its not that I have never thought of these things or even understood them ... but sitting in that concert hall ... I truly FELT them. As tears streamed down my face my husband squeezed my hand even tighter and let me know that he understood my sadness. It was a true moment of allowing for grief.
The rest of the day I was very aware of the need to be kind, gentle and loving with those around me. The thought of loosing my husband made me more loving towards him - more aware of wanting to laugh with him.
Its a bit counter intuitive but its in the recognition of death and loss that we can come to fully enjoy and appreciate how precious this time on earth is. And its in the creating space in ourselves to allow for each and every feeling - its in allowing the tears to flow, the laughter to come, the kindness and love to stream forward that we truly find life's joy and peace.
Good old hot July - fireworks, picnics, baseball and so much more. Below are some words to help you experience the true freedom of living when you love yourself, express gratitude and love, and think more positively.
1. Sing your hearts song
2. So something outragious
3. Being flexible is fun
4. Recognize the beauty around you
5. Your presence is a gift
6. Laugh yourself silly
7. You are so lovable
8. Move with purpose
9. Follow what inspires you
10. Today is a new day
11. Bask in the grandness of the universe
12. Imperfection is an illusion
13. Your life is a fertile garden
14. Trust your heart
15. Nurture inner faith
16. You can perform miracles
17. See beyond your mind
18. Delight in simplicity
19. Plant seeds of love
20. Look deep inside
21. Honor who you are
22. You can have it all
23. You rock
24. Feel free
25. Letting go feels good
26. Create new story
27. Your choices are infinite
28. The blessings already are
29. Be the source of greatness
31. Flow and grow
The stuff of our lives doesn't change. It is we who change in relation to it. - Molly Vass
Whatever our gifts or wounds or life situation-whether we have been married several times or have never been in love, whether we have plenty of money or are sorely in need of more-the core issues of our lives will not go away.
There exists for each life on Earth a set of inner doors that no one can go through for us. We can change jobs or lovers, travel around the world, become a doctor or lawyer or expert mountain climber, or nobly put our life on hold to care for an ailing mother or father, and when we are done, though the worthy distraction could take years, the last threshold we didn't cross within will be there waiting. There is no substitute for genuine risk.
Stranger still is how the very core issues we avoid return, sometimes with different faces, but still, we are brought full circle to them, again and again. Regardless of how we may try to skip over or sidestep what we need to ace, we humbly discover that no other threshold is possible until we use our courage to open the door before us. Perhaps the oldest working truth of self-discovery is that the only way out is through. That we are returned repeatedly to the the same circumstance is not always a sign of avoidance, but can mean our work around a certain issue is not done.
In my own life, it is not by chance that struggling to adulthood with a domineering and critical mother, I have been thrust again and again into situations with dominant men and women, struggling painfully for their approval and fearing their rejection. For years, I tried to manage the circumstance better, which was like standing and varnishing the door without, ever opening it. I was destined to repeat the pain of rejection, no matter how skillfully I handled it, until I opened the door of self-worth.
Even my calling to be a poet became a distraction that lasted many years. Feeling rejected and insecure at heart, I quietly made a mission of becoming a famous writer, only to find myself one day replaying the issues of approval and rejection a hundredfold at the mailbox, as I awaited word from countless critical strangers known as editors. I was stunned and relieved to finally discover myself at the same threshold of loving myself that I had run from years before.
The thresholds go nowhere. It is we who, in our readiness and experience, keep coming back, because the soul knows only one way to fulfill itself, and that is to take in what is true.
* Mediate on an issue that keeps returning to you.
* Relate to it as a messenger and ask the messenger what door it is trying to open for you.
* How will your life change if you move through this threshold?
* How will your life be affected if you do not?
- Page 42, THE BOOK OF AWAKENING, by Mark Nepo
We love our cats, they have brought so much joy into our lives. Their eyes are so cute, their fur so soft, the sound of them purring in our laps is so relaxing. Tabby, the male, is sweet and lets us hold him just like a baby. CG doesn't like to be held but loves running around the house in very playful ways making us laugh.
But oh these cats ... last week they dragged 2 birds into the house and 3 mice. Luckily, my husband was home to deal with 3 of the incidents - Rod is so good about catching the small critters and cleaning up without it affecting him.
Me on the other hand am very squeamish. The mice truly scare me and the thought of them running across my feet is nauseating. Sadly, Rod, my hubby was at work when Tabby brought in 2 different mice.
It was awful -- Tabby had a mouse behind one of the book shelves and kept taunting him. Luckily, they were close to the sliding glass door. It took a good 1/2 hour - every time I got close to the door I thought the mouse was going to leap out and so I would run away from the door. And then it would take time for me to get up the courage to try again. Finally, I did it - I opened the door and the mouse ran out.
The second mouse wasn't so lucky ... poor little guy. Tabby brought him in & lost him under the couch -- I did my best with a broom to get him out but no use - I ran out of time and had to leave for work. Sadly, when I got home later that evening - the poor little mouse was dead in front of the slider door. It was so gross ... I thought I was going to throw up ...
I called my husband for support and it was comforting to hear him saying "you can do this", I took good deep breaths ... it took quite a few tries for me to muster the courage to scoop up the little guy.
I get it -- the cats are bringing us presents and I'm certainly not mad at them but oh its so tempting to make them out-door-kitties. I would miss their energy and the joy they bring but I wouldn't have to be creeped out by mice.
I can keep working on opening space in myself that tolerates things that feel unacceptable. Reminding myself that life is not black or white, all or nothing, cats or mice ... if you will.
There is no way to enjoy the cats without the mice and so its in my best interest to accept the ickiness of the mice. Life is truly messy with many unpleasantness along the way and in tolerating THAT is how we find joy and love.
I get into funks sometimes and its hard to pull out of them. Often I get bursts of energy and think about all the things that would be fun and productive to do and then I don't do them. When I'm in one of those spaces I often starting digging through self help books or look online for blogs and articles that can point me in the right direction and invariably I get sent back to very basic ideas that if practiced daily would make my life a joy.
Recently, after a very long and frustrating day I was in one of those funks and found the following article - hope you enjoy reading it and as you consider practicing the following steps always be gentle with yourself. These ten ideas are essential to a happy life but require patience and practice ... they are easier said than done.
Here, then, are 10 tips to help you start improving your life:
Written by Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D.
May the following words inspire you, bring you joy, and allow you to experience the value of you:
1. Laugh, play and be merry
2. Allow possibility to come alive
3. Awaken to your beauty
4. You are the source of your experience
5. Embrace the magic of life
6. Fill your day with wonder
7. You are a divine creation
8. Express your truth
9. Indulge in your specialness
10. Give more gratefully
11. Move forward in life
12. Movement is healing
13. You walk in beauty
14. You are a genius
15. Everyone is a mirror
16. Trust in life's unfoldment
17. You are always free
18. You make the rules
19. Open space for new possiblities
20. Sing to the sun
21. The earth is an amazing place to be
22. Value your resources
23. Support your inner child
24. Take note of your brilliance
25. Change is essential
26. Expand your belief in love
27. Design your life with beauty
28. Learn something new
29. Bring light to this moment
30. Paint your dreams on today
I love my work and enjoy being at home but invariably I also feel a bit sad and stressed when a vacation is over and I have to return to my regular routine. I thought the following article had helpful tips in making the transition back from vacation - hope you think its helpful as well.
Written by Ceren Cubukcu
After the much deserved vacation that is full of fun and joy, returning back to the regular routine can distress many of us. While almost everyone doesn’t like going back to work especially after a relaxing and peaceful vacation, you should face the reality and do your best to adjust and be productive again. In order to prevent the post-vacation syndrome, you have to do a little bit of planning and accept that the vacation is over so that you can get back to the right mindset.
Below are some helpful tips which will help you to resume your regular routine.
Thanks for checking in on my blog. I'm on vacation this week and enjoying some time away from my regular routine. I'm writing this in advance and hoping that if you are reading this it will serve as a reminder that we all need some down time - go relax, go play, go explore and NEVER forget to go LOVE!!!!!!
I find the humor of Chuck Lorre to be funny, filled with deep irony and sound words to live by.
For so many years I've roamed this planet looking for meaning only to find that when I let go of searching and enjoy what is right in front of me ... life became more pleasurable. Often the most depressed clients I work with are people who keep asking "what does it all mean". The irony to it all is that there is NO MEANING -- when we stop looking for meaning and DO the things that energize us we find enjoyment, satisfaction, peace.
Hope you enjoy the vanity card below and hope the idea of doing rather than searching appeals to you!
Miscellaneous Show Biz Tips
Never forget that taking a bow and ducking are essentially the same thing.
The reason you suffer is because you think your identity and worth as a human being are inextricably tied into your career. Don't think that.
Success has many parents, and even more lawyers. They're paying you a lot because they're killing you. Don't grow too attached to your agent. Like a beloved spouse, they come and go.
If you want fair, go to Pomona September 8-26. Wear comfy shoes. It's not true that if you believe the good reviews, you must also believe the bad ones. The bad ones could have been written by mean, stupid people who hate your success.
Act like your job is the most important thing in the world, but never forget that it's ultimately meaningless. All we are is dust in the wind, yada-yada-yada."
1st Aired: 20 Oct 2011
Hope you find, joy, love and inspiration in the following words from my May calendar.
1) Rejoice in your power
2) Notice the power of your words
3) Pass on a message of love
4) You are whole and complete
5) The loving universe is your guide
6) You are whole and complete
7) Delight in your relations
8) You are divinity expressed
9) Move with purpose
10) Live generously
11) Thank you for being
12) Trust your inner wisdom
13) Allow your spirit to soar
14) Give thanks for all the Mothers
15) Inquire into the mystery
16) Invent a new choice
17) The world expands with your dreams
18) Your smile illuminates space
19) Where you are is perfect
20) Celebrate the cycles of life
21) Be gentle with yourself
22) Everyone is an angel
23) Smile at your life
24) Find your rhythem
25) Choose peace
26) Cultivate sensitivity
27) Laugh for the joy of it
28) Time is an illusion
29) Balance live inside you
30) Keep your promises
31) Let yourself be loved
The world said good-bye to Barbara Bush this week. She was one of my favorite first ladies -- and although I didn't agree with much of her politics; her wit, charm and ease made her one of my heroes.
My entire life I have struggled with weight problems. Sadly, my size became tangled in my self-esteem and a belief system that said I wasn't good enough to be loved. Barbara Bush served as a great reminder that size does not matter. She was an example that people can be large and still have love, friendship, purpose and meaning in their lives. She was a reminder that its OK to be you and that body size has nothing to do with our life accomplishments or finding love. Her sense of humor, dedication to others and her strong sense of self are things that I would like to hold onto.
I happened to be reading an article called "Lessons You Won't Learn In School" in Psychology Today when I heard about Mrs. Bush's death. I have a feeling Mrs. Bush would strongly agree with the following:
"Wisdom lies in acting on the world as it is, not as we wish it to be. Here are 10 skills that will clarify your visions and bring you closer to your life goals":
1) Understanding that not everything that happens to you is about you.
2) Focusing on other people without dwelling on how they view you.
3) Realizing that you don't have to act the way you feel.
4) Being able to re-frame (and manage) disappointment and adversity.
5) Knowing how to solicit honest feedback.
6) Staying true to your own values despite what others expect of you.
7) Being open to new information or revised thinking.
8) Mastering a fail-safe way to motivate yourself, one that works when interest flags.
9) Zoning in on your purpose in a zoned-out world.
10) Tolerating ambiguity.
I invite you to read the entire article on page 52 of Psychology Today: May/June 2018 edition.
THE FRICTION OF BEING VISIBLE ***
It is only by risking ourselves from one hour to another that we live at all. - William James
Living through enough, we all come to this understanding, though it is difficult to accept: No matter what path we choose to honor, there will always be conflict to negotiate. If we choose to avoid all conflict with others, we will eventually breed a poisonous conflict within ourselves. Likewise, if we manage to attend our inner lives, who we are will-sooner or later-create some discord with those who would rather have us be something else.
In effect, the cost of being who you are is that you can't possibly meet everyone's expectations, and so, there will, inevitably, be external conflict to deal with-the friction of being visible. Still, the cost of not being who are is that while you are busy pleasing everyone around you, a precious part of you is dying inside; in this case, there will be internal conflict to deal with-the friction of being invisible.
As for me, it's taken me thirty of my forty-nine years to realize that not being who I am is more deadly, and it has taken the last nineteen years to try to make a practice of this. What this means, in a daily way, is that I have to be conscientious about being truthful and resist the urge to accommodate my truth away. It means that being who I really am is not forbidden or muted just because others are uncomfortable or don't want to hear it.
The great examples are legendary: Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Sir Thomas More, Rosa Parks. But we don't have to be great to begin. We simply have to start by saying what we really want for dinner or which movie we really want to see.
*Center yourself and meditate on a decision before you might generate some conflict; either within you, if you withhold who you are, or between yourself and others, if you exert who you are.
*Breathe steadily and feel both the friction of being invisible and the friction of being visible.
*Breathe slowly and know that you are larger than any moments of conflict.
*Breathe deeply and know that who you are can withstand the experience of conflict that living requires.
*** Taken from THE BOOK OF AWAKENING by Mark Nepo, (pp. 19-20)
The human mind is very adept at labeling. Left to its own devices, it will label situations, things, places, and people. It's a pretty handy app. Except when it comes to people. Over time those labels tend to solidify. They become all we can see. They become what we experience. The true depth of a person, the breathtaking miracle of their very existence, is replaced with a word. A sound. An assemblage of vowels and consonants. Ink or digital letters on paper or screen. Which is why I sometimes try to look at people and see them, witness them if you will, without immediately attaching a mental label. This is especially fun to do in a crowded public place. After a few minutes of practicing nonjudgemental looking, I find my heart filling with affection for total strangers. It's an extraordinary experience. I encourage you to try it sometime. Be warned though, when you feel affection, you can't stop smiling. This may cause total strangers to react fearfully, or, in New York City, say, "What the hell are you lookin' at, ya friggin' freak?!" "Friggin' freak" being your new label.
Recently I was cleaning a closet and stumbled across my old journals. I started keeping a journal in college (class assignment) and have kept up the practice (off & on) through the years. I decided to type up my journals as a way of putting them all together but more of interest as a way to get me to read them.
The first entry is from 1977 (I was 16 years old). So weird now as a 59 year old woman reading the words of a 16 year old. So many entries about hating my body and my weight. So many entries about avoiding situations and people because I didn't feel good enough to be seen or heard. So much pain and sadness.
There is a very sad entry about not going to a party at the lake because I could not risk being seen in a swimsuit.
It truly breaks my heart for that young girl - she felt so alone and so scared of the world. Occasionally there are bursts of hope - she talks about wanting to live fully, explore places and ideas, wants someone to understand her.
The truly fascinating thing is that my feelings have not changed all that much. I still don't really like my body and struggle with my weight. Most days I feel that people are smarter, prettier and more entitled than am. Even though I've done years of therapy around these feelings and fully understand their history - I still feel them.
However something very different has changed - I no longer ACT on these feelings (well at least not always). These days I treat myself to social outings and friendships. I allow myself to plan vacations and to explore ideas with people. I will even wear a swimsuit in public.
How I wish that my 59 year old self could have hugged young Rosemary - comforted her sadness and filled her with courage to try different things and enjoy herself. Its in doing that we receive all of life's joys not in thinking. To quote Stephen Hayes, "Life is not something we fix its something we experience".
I've only typed up 4 months of material and I'm sure many more feelings and impressions will come leaping off the pages. For now thanks for letting me share and I look forward to sharing more with you. And for today, take a deep breath and I wonder if you want to tap into your courage and go do something that scares you - take a risk!
I continue to enjoy the inspiration of my lovely calendar and with your permission want to share some inspirational words:
1. Give love spontaneously
2. Let go of excuses
3. You were born of love
4. Joy accelerates healing
5. Exercise your adaptability
6. Your family is full of teachers
7. Seize opportunities for growth
8. Show up with love
9. Strengthen your intuition
10. Discover freedom through discipline
11. Listen to your body talk
12. Fully participate in fun!
13. Every moment is a gift
14. Everyone craves love
15. Say yes to an adventure
16. Dreams become illuminated
17. Bless your ancestors
18. Believe in miracles
19. Move with grace
20. We're all in this together
21. You have more support than you know
22. Love from the inside out
24. Write yourself a love letter
25. Create clear intentions
26. Your body is so beautiful
27. Live is a process of creation
28. Enjoy the journey
29. Trust your heart
30. Magic happens
I just read the following and had to share it with you.
Taken from THE BOOK OF AWAKENING by Mark Nepo
How Does It Taste?
The more spacious and larger our fundamental nature, the more bearable the pains in living.
- Wane Muller
An aging Hindu master grew tired of his apprentice complaining, and so, one morning, sent him for some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it.
"How does it taste?" the master asked.
"Bitter," spit the apprentice.
The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake, and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, "Now drink from the lake."
As the water dripped down the young man's chin, the master asked, "How does it taste?"
"Fresh," remarked the apprentice.
"Do you taste the salt?" asked the master.
"No," said the young man.
At this, the master sat beside this serious young man who so reminded him of himself and took his hands, offering, "The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains the same, exactly the same. But the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things... Stop being a glass. Become a lake."
****Center yourself and focus on a pain that is with you.
****Rather than trying to eliminate the pain, try to breathe through it.
****With each in-breath, notice your efforts to wrap around the pain.
****With each out-breath, try to enlarge your sense of Self, and let the pain float within the depth of all we'll never know.
I'm so tired I can't stand it. Every part of my old body hurts. On Sunday we completely dismantled our home - moved everything into the garage in preparation for the carpet installers on Monday. The installation took most of Monday and hubby and I spent all day Tuesday putting the house back together.
The old carpet was 16 years old and I've been wanting to change it for quite some time -- so nice to have it done and the new carpet is all soft and cushy - its wonderful. But it reminds me of how often in life it takes a lot of hard work to get to one's goals.
It also reminds me that things are usually easier than we think they are going to be. George, my brain, kept telling me that the project was impossible, would be too costly and wasn't worth doing. George is usually on the side of negativity and the status quo - George gets spooked pretty easily.
Yes, I'm tired right now but so glad that we finally did this and glad for the ongoing lesson that action is better than listening to a brain that is filled with anxious and negative thoughts.
The next time you find yourself listening to your brain - make sure to sort out thoughts that are helpful and the thoughts that just keep you stuck in "old carpet".
Last week I was running late for work and as I was packing up my briefcase I realized my cell phone was missing. So you know the drill - retrace steps, ask husband if he has seen it, look on all the counters and table tops, turn over couch cushions, and then suddenly it appears on a small side table. A sigh of relief and out the door. Start the drive and realize I don't have my wedding ring ... a sigh of disappointment but my ring I can do without for a day.
Work day done and arrive back home ... felt naked all day without my wedding ring. Start my nightly routine: feed cats, get into comfortable clothes, and get out of jewelry. WAIT A MINUTE my wedding ring is not in jewelry box where I assumed it was. OH NO where is my wedding ring? So you know the drill ... search entire house, every available space, under beds, go through clothing pockets...can't imagine where it can be. After 2 hours of searching I gave up. And then George my brain took over ... "you are so stupid - how could you loose your ring", "if only you were more careful", "how can you be this careless" ... on and on George went beating up on me.
I took a deep breath, sat down and did my leaves on a stream mediation. In my mind's eye I visualized myself sitting next to a stream and gently watched leaves falling from a nearby tree. With each leaf I noticed my thoughts and allowed them to drop onto the leaves and then flow down stream. This is a wonderful exercise to slow the brain down and to separate out helpful thoughts from destructive thoughts that just leave us feeling badly.
After calming my mind down I called my husband at work and shared my tears of sadness that I lost my ring and he assured me that we would find it. He also reminded me that I'm a pretty organized person and that everybody is entitled to make some mistakes. I went to bed feeling sad but more hopeful that whether I found the ring or not things would be ok.
George tried to convince me that I was a bad person for this loss and that it was unacceptable - very problematic thinking.
Two days later ... hurrah I found it ... tucked deeply under a fold in my briefcase. My best guess is that while I was putting on my ring was when I realized my phone was missing and dropped the ring in my frantic mindless search for the phone -- sigh!
As always the point is gentleness ... there is no point beating up on yourself for mistakes ... learn from them but with gentleness and love. Next time you find yourself with fast paced racing thoughts do the leaves on a stream mediation - it works!