Monthly Archives: March 2013

Trying.

ID-10028812

I have been thinking deeply lately about expectations. Expectations that I have of others, and that I have of myself. I have been thinking of it more often recently, because I have been encountering lessons that address that in my life that have been painful in the moment. There is one consistent theme that I discovered, quite by accident, as I was thinking about expectations.

Every time that I am focused on trying to do something, I am doing so to meet very specific expectations.

For most of my adult life, I have had big expectations of myself. I have wanted to always be pleasant, friendly, loving and accepting. I have always wanted to be the best employee, mother, partner, friend and student. I have always expected myself to follow my diet and exercise regimen precisely; to not think negative thoughts; to get enough sleep and keep a clean house.

I have also had high expectations of others in my life. I have expected those around me to always know what is going on with me, without me telling them. I have expected others to to be perfect, in the ways that I saw myself as aspiring for perfection. I have held others to a standard that I believed was the correct one, as it reflected the standard that I held myself to.

So, what I have been thinking about is that expectations can create a situation where I separate from myself, and from others. I don’t think having a desire for our lives to turn out a certain way is a bad thing, in and of itself. However, it occurs to me that there is an absence of faith in the fact that all will turn out well, when we add an expectation, and then further add our desire to TRY to meet the expectation.

Stay with me here, I am evolving this as I type! 🙂

When I say that I am TRYING to get along with someone with whom I have conflict with; when I say that I am TRYING to be more patient and kind; when I am TRYING to eat more healthy and exercise consistently; or I am TRYING to run further each day that I exercise; each time I try, I put an expectation in place. I know how I want the story to end. So, when I try to run two miles without stopping, and then, I stop, I have disappointed myself, because through saying I would try, I added the expectation of what I wanted the outcome to be.

And, as a result, anything short of the expectation becomes a disappointment.

So, I am trying something new on instead. Now, it is like a new pair of shoes for me: it feels great, they look great on my feet, by I need to adjust to how they form to my foot type over time. It is not an immediate fit.

What I would rather believe, and do, is to be in the moments of my life, and enjoy what is in that moment. Enjoy the run that I am having around the lake, without trying for the two mile mark, and being able to rejoice in whatever I accomplish. AND, be able to be gentle with myself if I run a quarter of a mile that day instead. Being present to whatever it is that I am able to do.

When I put an expectation on my actions, for myself or others, I immediately place value, positive or negative, depending on how well the expectation is met. SO, if instead, I am unconditionally loving myself, loving others, and just being in my world, while showing my best self, the results will always be awesome. I will get to revel in connecting more deeply and authentically with others; I will get to love myself with what ever I am doing; and living in the story rather than trying to skip to the ending.

As with other new concepts that I have considered, this is not meant to be perfection. It is yet another way to begin living my life in a more full, meaningful way, and to love myself and others more and more deeply.

Come with me.

sunrise lavender

A Beautiful Surprise.

Amaryllis!

A few months ago, I was given some plants from a friend who didn’t want them anymore. It is only in the last couple of years that I have begun to feel confident in being able to make things grow, thrive and bloom, so I was excited to have more greenery in my home. One of the plants given to me was an Amaryllis bulb, which was big and not showing much growth. I wasn’t sure what it was supposed to do, but I kept watering it and waiting.

About a month ago, some rather large green shoots started to show in the pot, and it was pretty amazing to watch them grow each day. Then emerged the stem, and I could see how what was forming was going to be the bud of a brilliant flower.

However, I had NO IDEA how beautiful it would actually be.

At some stages, it looked rather odd; the petals when they were only partially opened, looked a bit lopsided. But then, yet another stage of development was on its way, and the results, are what you see above. It is an amazing, beautiful surprise, to see such a result and to have it feel, in some ways, so unexpected.

When I thought about the Amaryllis this week, as I watch it becoming more and more brilliant, I thought about the love that I am cultivating with my partner, Brenda. From the beginning, I knew that I wanted to, and I was ready, to bring new love into my life. I felt like I was new to really having what it takes to help love to thrive, to grow and to be cared for. Although I have loved many times before, I don’t believe that I had the “green thumb” necessary to keep love going; I wasn’t always willing to do my part to keep it alive.

So, over the last seven months, I have been part of a team that nurtures, waters, and cares for the love that we are cultivating. And, the results have been a beautiful surprise. Even though I knew that this was the love relationship for me, from the beginning, some of the ways in which it has opened up, and been revealed to me, have been astounding. The levels of honesty; integrity; openness; and vulnerability were something that I didn’t fully anticipate.

lotus flower

So, like the flower has been opening, changing and showing its beauty more each day, so will our love continue to be. Open, brilliant and ever changing.

It is a beautiful surprise.

flower in a box

Paint a Peach.

ID-10059542

There is a monthly event here in Scranton called First Fridays. The first Friday of every month, downtown Scranton, in the evening, comes alive with art, music, food and people. This time of year, it has been less active, due to cold and snow keeping some of us away. However, spring is right around the corner, and after that, SUMMER. And, in honor of the summertime and the commitment to local art, First Fridays is sponsoring a contest to Paint a Peach.

The premise is this: Take a peach that they give you, made of some substance, and already a neutral color, and make it your own. Decorate it in any way that fancies you, and then, a series of judges will decide which ones are what they are looking for. And, the peaches get displayed all over the city, in a chosen location or one of your own.

The idea both excited and intrigued me.

Excited me, because I have been finding that I am opening more and more, to various types of expression of my artistic self. Whether it is through singing that I have been doing more of recently; drawing; writing; and most recently, a new idea for a photography series, I am excited at any new opportunity to be expressive and to find new outlets for that. So, I believe that I will submit my own version of a peach.

What intrigues me about it, is that it is such a great way to show, in a very practical way, the ideas of universality, and uniqueness among humans. As humans, we have this preconceived idea of what a peach is supposed to look like, as we have this preconceived notion of what a human, or a certain grouping of humans, should look like, act like, BE like. I know that I still do it on occasion, I have a belief system about a person just because they are a member of a certain “food” group. So, in creating our own version, we challenge those beliefs in ourselves, of what we believe a peach is supposed to look like.

The other part that equates with humanity to me, is that we can create what best reflects us, so, I can create a peach that is a true reflection of me. And, at the same time, I can be reminded of how Universal we all are. Underneath, each of these painted peaches will have started out just the same way. Hence, as humans, we all have blood running through our veins, we all have hopes, dreams, disappointments, tragedies and joys. What I enjoy so much about this life, is continuing to learn how to celebrate who I am as an individual; and, at the same time, see how deeply I can and want to connect with those around me.

Who would have thought, that a peach, could be so much more than just a sweet, bright piece of fruit? Expanding my mind serves everyone! Gathering_of_Nations_PowWow_in_Alb__NM

The Miracle.

ID-10018197

Spring is on its way. And, I am so happy for that. Mainly, because here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, our weather is such that we have pretty much a six month long winter season. Meaning, six months of cold, snowy, blustery weather. Spring, on one hand for me, means WARMTH. More SUN. LIGHT.

AHHHH…………….

Spring being on its way also means to me new life. When buds first start to appear on trees, and the flowers that have been waiting to come to the surface of the ground, start to show themselves, I get really excited. New life. Colorful possibilities and opportunities. Fresh starts and new chances. A change of season, from dark and cold, to light and warm.

I have always viewed the Spring season as a sort of miracle. I am sure some of that is related to Easter, and the miracle of the resurrection, but also because to me, new life as it shows in the trees and flowers keeps me ever present to the miracle of nature, of the wild and living things around us.

Lately, I have been expanding my view of miracles. Thinking more broadly about what is really, a MIRACLE. And, the bottom line of it all is, this life is a miracle.

The breath that I take in. The day that I had today, with coworkers and friends, and my daughter and partner. That is the miracle. That I still have my parents with me, that I have an amazing relationship with my siblings, that I have a healthy, strong body. That is the miracle.

That I appreciate, respect and honor the living creatures all around me, and my Native roots. That I found love that is meaningful and lasting in my life. That I am opening up my true self, to myself, and to the world. THAT is the miracle.

And, what I am realizing about the miracle, is that I need to keep present to it. The more that I recognize that my being here, breathing and living this amazing life, is the miracle itself, the more that my life will open up. When I honor the miracle of life, my mind is open to amazing possibilities, ones that I didn’t even think of yesterday, or last month or last year. Last week, I was contented writing my blog. Yesterday, I thought about learning to write a screenplay. Tomorrow, who knows?

When I can acknowledge how precious this life is, and my presence in it, then I understand how possible it is to create anything that I desire, and even get it.

This life. THAT is the true miracle.

sunrise lavender

The true nature of Power.

heartcandy

In the most recent evolution of my self, which has been occurring just in the last few days, there is one adjective that keeps coming to mind to describe it.

POWERFUL. I feel powerful in my life and in regard to how I see myself.

This has been a word that I have used to describe aspects of me at various times before. Sometimes, feeling powerful to me meant that I was overcoming an obstacle, or perceived obstacle, and moving forward where I might have been stalled. At other times, it meant that my body felt strong, and I saw in the mirror an image that I believed would be appealing to others, in addition to myself. Powerful has also been used when I have gotten positive feedback from others about how I am doing on the job, or other aspects of my life.

Today, I am embracing a new, and more accurate version of what powerful means to me.

Powerful means to me that I love my life; that I feel connected to myself, to others, and to all things that I participate in. Powerful means that I embrace my courage, my fear, my insecurities and confidence. It means that all emotions are valid and have a place in my growth and development. Powerful means that I am vulnerable, yet strong. Captivated, yet free. Honest, and compassionate and sensitive to others.

Powerful to me, means connecting with all aspects of who I am, and seeing the wholeness of me as the sum total.

In the past, being powerful often was represented in my mind by what I thought that I was, or had to, build or create. When I achieve this degree, I will have a powerful means to get a great job. When I have this much money in the bank; that certain kind of relationship with others; when I am a specific weight and size, THEN I will be at my most powerful.

What I understand and embrace now, is that the TRUE nature of power, and being powerful, is being honest and aware of all aspects of self, and using them in the world.

Truly accepting who we are, in all aspects, and taking it to others. In all of my fifty years, that has not been how I fully embraced being powerful. And now, I see how, in embracing what I carry, and showing it to others, it is the only way to truly be a powerful force in this world.

hand and heart