Warning: All Structures are Unstable.

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I continue to have insights the more that I read, or listen, to Eckhart Tolle. His words do much to remind me of staying in the present moment, and the benefit of leaving things as they are, without judgment. It helps me through days that seem difficult.

Most recently, I also was reminded while listening about the truth of impermanence. There is nothing permanent here. He told a story of walking with a friend in the woods, and coming across a building with the sign “Warning: All Structures are Unstable”. It certainly spoke of the building that they observed there, but also to something deeper as well; that we all are of a temporary nature.

Whether we are talking about our own eventual death, a conflict with someone that we care about, about our current financial state or any other situation that brings about upset feelings in us. All structures are unstable, impermanent, only here for a brief time. We seek and seek and we never find, because we are looking for something, or someone, that fills the void that we think is our lives.

The truth is, if all is impermanent, and all structures truly unstable, than all we can do is accept things as they are, and live fully in the present moment. Doing so is not always easy, mind you. I must remind myself many times daily about what I need to do in order to be at peace and remember that this moment is all that I ever have.

There is so much in our world that tries to show us otherwise; that we can live on and on, that health or beauty or money or belongings can last almost infinitely. And, realizing and remembering the real truth is not discouraging for me, but enlightening. If I remember the truth of only having this very moment, and that all things are impermanent, unstable and almost fleeting, my appreciation for them deepens.

I have come to have greater respect and love for those things and people in my life that are important to me, because I know that it could be just for today, just for this moment. I know that all I have is right now, and I want to make the most of it, while I am in this world and living in this beautiful dream. I want to savor every moment.

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The Miracle of Letting Go and Acceptance.

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There has been so much going on in my life in the last few months, exciting, fun, as well as challenging and deep. I have gotten married; supported my teen through some difficult moments, and started planning a move to the south. In the most recent days, I have remembered again the gift there is in letting go and accepting what is.

My desire to hold onto things, situations, people or circumstances, comes from a couple very specific areas of my being. First, it is almost always an attempt to control the world around me. For me, control has been something that I have struggled with much of my life, wanting to have it when I felt I was out of control. This control has done its share in breaking down relationships in the past, and the need for it is based in nothing of substance.

Another reason I want to hold tight to things is that, especially in situations when I feel powerless, I want to at least do SOMETHING. I want to feel needed, of use to someone or something, or at least feel like in a difficult situation there is something that can be done, and I usually want to be the one to do it.

The one that may be the most powerful reason for wanting to hold on tightly to things in this world, is that I often have my own agenda, my own expectations about the way that I want my life to go or for things to work out. I want the wedding plans to go a certain way; I want my teen to choose this school or major; I want my job to be this certain way for me. Me, me, me. I know many of us can identify, and I don’t say these things as a way to criticize myself; it is just the way it is for much of the human psyche.

The beautiful thing that I get to remember, when it is that I do remember, is that in the letting go, in the acceptance of how things are in this moment, there is complete peace. Even if only for a moment, and there are many instances when I only experience this for a brief moment in time, I feel at ease, because there is nothing that I need to do, no one that I need to save, no expectation or bias that I need to cater to. I can just look upon the world with gentle eyes and accept it for what IS.

This doesn’t mean that there won’t be difficult times in my life, of course there will. It doesn’t even mean that those difficult times won’t fill me with deep sorrow, anger, or remorse of some sort. However, the more often that I can accept the present moment as it is, and be with it, no matter what it feels like, the more likely that I can be peaceful throughout it. And, it is also highly likely that I will judge others less often if I am accepting the world as it is.

You see, I am more and more often seeing the world with soft, gentle eyes, and therefore being able to see the beauty within it. The peace that rises in me when I am able to do this is tremendous. When I let go, and when I accept the world as it is, without judgment or authority, that is true surrender. That is what brings me peace.

That is the miracle.

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Joining and Finding Sameness.

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We are spending our honeymoon on Tybee Island, in coastal Georgia. The scenery is breathtaking, the air is hot, and there is a slow pace to the world here. We are thoroughly enjoying it. Yet, before we came, and while we have been here, we have both had moments when we felt concerned about being so far south, in a time when there still remains negativity in the world about two women marrying one another. Without making too many assumptions, we believed that we might encounter less acceptance here. So, we have been more timid about declaring ourselves to the world. What I mean by that is, I want to shout “We just got married! We are on our honeymoon!” from every rooftop; I want to tell our wait staff in restaurants, and people that sit near us by the pool, because I feel so happy. Yet, I don’t. I assume that we are among people that would not be accepting of us.

I thought about this more deeply yesterday, and realized that even though I believe that to be true, I don’t know for sure that we would be met with nonacceptance here. I know that my assumptions come directly from my fears about the unknown, and my perceptions of what I believe to be true, without really giving others a chance. It is yet another way for me to see the difference I have from others rather than our sameness.

In order for me to be peaceful, truly peaceful, is to remember and see the sameness with each person that I encounter. That is not always easy. The sneaky part of myself wants to see the difference I have from others, so that I can feel better than and have permission to judge them. When I sit at the pool, I can observe others with their children and feel better than because they spank their kids, and I never spanked my own. Yet, when I do that, I separate from others, I don’t join with them. I see such difference in us that I feel like I have to put one of us above the other.

My only path to peace is to see our sameness. It is there, really. We don’t have to look hard for it, because if we are looking at the outside form of someone- their bodies, actions, social status- that is an illusion of what difference there is between us. The real joining comes when we remember that we all come from the same source of light, that we are ALL that light. And that is what makes us universal.

The peace is in the joining. And I feel grateful that I get to keep remembering that, moment by moment every day.

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Doing Nothing.

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Me and my beloved wife (I love saying that!) are on our honeymoon, in a beautiful, tranquil place called Tybee Island, Georgia. It is an amazing find, we feel completely secluded, and we get to have morning coffee seaside, hearing the surf and watching the world awaken. We are in complete bliss.

Before we arrived here, I had scoured websites and even bought a Fodor’s book about Savannah and the local area, thinking excitedly about everything that we could do while we are here. Go on a dolphin watch or river cruise. Take a walking tour through Savannah. Go to the local lighthouse and try out a lot of local food and restaurants. Yesterday morning, our first day of waking up here, I was full of anticipation of what we would do for the day.

Plans and ideas of what to do on a vacation are great, feeling like I don’t want an opportunity to be missed. Yet, when we settled into a beautiful morning yesterday, we decided that to have plans on our beautiful vacation is yet another way to be doing SOMETHING. Planning, living by time, making lists of where to go and what to do. So, we pledged to one another that we would keep reminding ourselves to just live in the moment, go where the spirit moved us, and take it from there.

Once we had decided to do just that, the rest was so easy. We walked on the beach. We sat by the pool with drinks, soaking up the sun. We looked at pictures, made food, and sat by the water. We walked under the night sky after seeing the lighthouse up close. We adventured and had fun without a plan.

It was bliss.

Just being in the moment brings so many opportunities for me to let go, and realized that right now is really all any of us have. It is me allowing myself to be present and available to everything that is happening right now, take it in, and enjoy it fully. It is good practice for what I aspire to bring to my world on a more frequent basis.

I love this moment.

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Love is Not a Portal.

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In my reading and studying of The Power of Awareness by Eckhart Tolle, I am learning about ways to become more present in my life, and that the diligence to presence allows me to experience the Universality of this world; another realm of consciousness. What I mean by that, is that when I consciously stay in the here and now as often as possible, I am not focused on the future, or the past, and can more fully experience my connection to the world around me. I am also more aware of how I am a part of all that there is. This is the closest so far in my life that I have come to a spiritual awakening and seeing the light of something bigger than just myself.

In this book, Eckhart talks about some of the main ways, or portals, that he believes there are in order to access this alternate state of awareness, this connection to all. First, by being in the present moment; also, by connecting with our body internally, meaning, feeling the workings of it on a very direct level, feeling the energy within; breathing consciously, at the same time as slowing down the constant thoughts that run through our minds; and if there is nothing we can do, then surrendering to what is. Each one is effective in its own way, and each portal is one which I have utilized in order to feel more peaceful and still within. In these moments, peace feels the pinnacle of my life experience.

What is interesting, however, is that most of my life, I have believed that Love was the experience that would most lead me to spiritual awakening and peace. By loving others, and loving myself, and doing so in a nonjudgmental, open way, I would allow myself to experience my connection to everything else. That actively loving others, as a verb, would bring this about. And, I am beginning to understand now how this is not the case.

Indeed, I do love, feel love and express love to myself and to others in my world, as well as to creatures and nature that I am present to in my daily life. But I don’t believe anymore that the love comes first. You see, when I am not in the present moment, in other words, when I am focused on a past transgression or future event, I am more prone to judge others when I am around them. I am viewing them through my own filters and biases, my own expectations and desire instead of just accepting the moment, and therefore the person, as it is. So, in that sense, love does not come first; however, when I open the portal to higher consciousness, by being present, or surrendering to what is, I am allowing the light of love to shine on through me.

This may seem a lofty goal, and one that we could easily talk ourselves out of as being too tedious, or not being worthy or necessary in how we spend our time. However, for me to have a more full experience of my life, I want to be present; I want to savor the here and now and be with those in my world. I want to see life with fresh eyes and keep my heart as open as possible.

And, when the portal is open to a higher realm, the Light of Love awaits us all.

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