Monthly Archives: October 2013

Who Am I?

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For a couple of years now, I have been really searching, seeking, and trying to figure out what it is that I believe, in terms of spirituality. I have wondered about God, about Great Spirit, about a Higher Power. I have wondered if I am more Christian or Buddhist. In my life I have done yoga, meditation, gone to church, and reflected and prayed at times. I have tried on many things. Most recently, I have been reading and listening to writings and speeches of the Dalai Lama.

I have figured out on a basic level what I believe; that life is a gift; that I want to appreciate it fully, in every moment; that there is some type of afterlife; that I want to be kind and loving in the world; and that I am part of the bigger connections around me.

For the last few weeks particularly, I have been trying less hard to figure it out. I have been listening to a lecturer and philosopher, Alan Watts, who died in the 1970’s. Alan Watts has struck a particular chord with me, because he reminds me, rightfully so I believe, that I am two things: I am a body, and I am also one with everything. And, he means, EVERYTHING.

Being a body is the part that I feel connected to most often, when I am driving in traffic, working at my job, or dealing with a physical issue of some sort. Or, when I am feeling like I am in conflict with others around me, or my feelings are hurt, I am angry or sad. Then, I feel just part of me, an entity on its own.

However, I also know, and believe, that I am connected to the world as a whole, yet as I have been listening to Alan’s words, I realize that I am truly connected to everything around me. And, it is an interdependence, so that the world exists because of my presence in it, and vice versa. To me, to consider that part, being part of the whole world, and to see it and know that it exists because I do, seems so vast and bigger than I can comprehend. Yet, it makes total sense to me.

Since this past weekend, I have found myself to be more acutely aware of my presence in the world, in my body and with others. The more present that I am in my days, the more beauty I see in myself and everything around me. It has been a profound experience. I feel awakened and more alive than I have in a long time.
When I remember that I am part of a whole, and not just in a body, within myself, I understand more deeply how the world really is here for me.

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The miracle of the moment.

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I spent my weekend in Massachusetts with my partner, parents, siblings and extended family. One of my cousins was getting married, and we all wanted to be there to help them to celebrate. It was the first wedding that my sister, brother and I were together with our parents, since my brother married his wife 13 years ago.

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We ate, danced, and laughed together. We talked individually and as groups, big and little. We talked about difficult subjects and fun topics. We were together, sharing fun and love and enjoying every minute of it.

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I often think about living my life in the moment, being present for what is in the here and now. I know that the past is gone, and the future isn’t here yet, nor are we guaranteed it. So, the present is really all that we have. While I was with my siblings, parents, partner, cousins, and other relatives this weekend, I was so acutely aware of how unique and special my moments with them were.

I thought a lot about the sadness of the day when some of these people aren’t on this earth anymore. I thought about my own aging, and what that means to me. I thought about the distance of geography that is between many of us, and how that makes it challenging at times to be together when we want to be. And, I remembered that we really only have right now, with those that we love, with our work, our homes, our lives.

When I really think about the magic and substance of what is in my life at this moment, and when I did that this weekend, I was in tune with what a miracle it really is. We are such amazing creatures, we humans, and to embrace the opportunity that we have in our lives every day, to be present in our world and really be in it, seems like a necessity to me.

We only have this moment. This is it. It is all that we can count on, and there will never be another one like it, ever.

That really seems like a miracle to me.

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Telling the whole story.

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I have thought a great deal about fear, and how big of a role that has played in my life. Fear has guided a lot of what I have done and where I have been in my world. Although I have not always fully acknowledged being afraid, or what I was afraid of, it has been ever present in my life for many years now. And, I have come to realize that I do some pretty predictable things when I am most afraid.

When I feel scared, whether it is fear of how I will be viewed, how a situation will turn out, or whether or not I will be held in favor by someone, I tend to tell a really long story about where I am at, and why. When my previous relationship ended, during the times that I felt most afraid of how I would be viewed, I would tell every detail of a story in order to look good to the person, not like I had done anything wrong, and to remain believing that I had done everything right. The more I could tell my side of the story, in my mind anyway, the more that it would seem like I had made the only and best choice there was.

What occurred to me only recently, is that I tend to tell the longest, most detailed stories of who I am and why I have done something when I feel the most afraid. When I am in a space of feeling settled, balanced and right with my life and my decisions, I feel quiet inside. I feel and act quiet on the outside as well. I don’t have as deep of a need to speak a lot, to tell a detailed story to justify or defend who I am and why I am that way. I can sit in the quiet acknowledgment of me, as I am, and know that if I am truly being myself, I can trust that with few words, those that I am speaking with will know me. I don’t need to tell an elaborate tale to look a certain way; I only need to be present with all that is truly me.

It has taken me my whole life to be able to not be so scared, and more specifically, to not be so afraid of who I am. Today, I may get scared at different times and in different circumstances, but I can still shine my full self and be with those that are around me, in the most authentic way possible.

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Waking up in My Body.

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I have an ongoing relationship with my body, that can vary anywhere from love to self loathing. I have been that way with myself for most of my life, as I have written about here before. I go from losing weight, and loving myself, to gaining weight and despising myself, and then, get peaceful just as I am for awhile.

Over the last year, I have been in what feels like the final battle with myself over my body. I am tired of valuing myself by what I see in the mirror, or don’t. I am tired of judging myself as a good person or bad person by what number I see on the scale. I am tired of being afraid of scales or going to the doctor to get weighed, or anything that means I have to see myself as I really am.

From an objective point of view, I know that I am not what is considered, overweight. I feel healthy, strong and whole. I like what I see in the mirror, most days. Yet, I still loop back at times to what I think the right number is, based on symbols of what attractiveness is around me, and not what the true story is.

However, about a month ago, I woke up, and realized that I felt good about where I was at. I had gotten rid of some clothes that no longer fit me, that were too small, without being dramatic about it. I got myself some new clothes that are comfortable and attractive. And, I was feeling good about the strength and health, AND appearance of my body, naked and clothed.

Then, the next day, the same thing happened. This lasted for at least three weeks, that when I would wake up in the morning, I would feel good, and AT PEACE, with my self and this beautiful body that I have. That sustains me so well. That carries me and keeps me here on this earth for another day.

This week, I hit a speed bump. Old messages came flooding back, simply because my underwear didn’t seem to be fitting me the same as the day before. I swear, that is my mind. Yet, I did something differently than I have done before. In addition to telling myself what is true in the moment, and speaking lovingly to myself, I told Brenda about my thoughts, instead of letting myself fall for my thoughts being true. It helped, not because of her reassuring me, but because I knew how silly it sounded to myself. I knew it was all bullshit that my mind was trying to tell me. AGAIN.

My body, my image of my body, and my thoughts of self are more loving, realistic and honest now. I find myself appreciating it more than ever before in my life. And, it is possible that I will keep hitting those speed bumps. Yet, this is the time of my life when for the first time, I really love waking up in the body I am in.

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Peace On the Rock.

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The lake by our home is such a beautiful place. B and I love to go there and walk around it, and be with nature. Between the walking path that most people walk, and the lake itself, is wooded areas and rocks. B found a spot a long time ago, on a large rock by the water, that she enjoys spending time on to meditate, or just be. She took me to that rock shortly after we started dating. It is a beautiful spot.

I love being in nature. Whether it is walking at Lake Scranton, going to Nay Aug Park in the city and walking by the falls, or going to a local park to hike, or just sit, is a beautiful experience for me. I love any aspects of nature, whether it be the woods, the water, or the mountains. I find great peace and connection there.

I have been thinking this week about what is it about nature, about being with the land, that is so peaceful. For me, it is in great part from my Native American heritage. I feel close to the Earth and all that She offers to me on a regular basis. In addition to that, when I am in nature, I feel like I am interacting with the world in its natural state. The creatures that I see there, and the trees and flowers that I admire aren’t there to be seen. They are just doing their thing.

I think that one of my most favorite parts of being in nature, and seeking the peace with Her, is the quiet. It is allowing myself to have a quiet enough mind, and mouth, to take in the sounds of the creatures, the wind, the water and trees. It is profound.

Although nature is my favorite place to be when I am seeking quiet, or just wanting to connect with something bigger than myself, I know that I don’t need to go to the rock to find peace. Earlier this week, I reminded myself that I really can choose peace, anytime, just by deciding to do so. When I am gripped in the clutches of self doubt, or judgment or assumptions, I can always break myself from that. Being in nature reminds me of that lesson, and I remind myself that it is always available to me.

Peace is here, waiting for me. I simply have to let it in.

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