Tag Archives: being present

Notice the Fireflies.

ID-10038834

 

I recently began as a volunteer with my local hospice organization. Persons that are referred for hospice services are presumed to have six months or less to live. Hospice services assist with their medical needs, social work needs, or provide companionship and emotional support. My interest in becoming involved with hospice is my own interest in death, dying, and assisting those that are close to death in making their transition. I will be a guardian angel for them, sitting vigil in the last few hours and days of breath. It is not a career, as much as it is an inspired calling for me right now. 

 

With the training that I received this week, and meeting the first person that I have been paired with, I feel completely at ease being where I am. And, I find myself being even more acutely aware of the present moment, and the importance of that. You see, the present moment is all that we ever have, even though it feels like our lives are based on past and future the majority of the time. The truth is, the past is merely a memory trace, and the future is just an anticipated outcome, that may or may not come to be.  Yet, that is often how we define ourselves and establish our identity in the world. 

 

For persons that are dying, especially those that are actively dying at a relatively young age, there is no more planning for far into the future; the reality is, that they have fewer breaths remaining than they had planned on or hoped for. So, presence of what is in their now, and appreciating everything that they have in their lives becomes of more critical importance. However, it is a reminder that could serve all of us in a meaningful way. 

 

I read, listen to, and remind myself daily of the importance of present moment awareness, in accepting things as they are, and choosing peace over conflict, judgment, regret or anticipation. It takes daily reminding for me to remember the importance of it, believe me. Yet, I am amazed at the details that I get to immerse myself in when I pause long enough from my agenda ridden life, and pay attention to what is happening right now.  

 

Gift yourself with the celebration of the present moment. Enjoy the symphony of birds in the morning as you awaken. Watch the puffy, changing clouds from your car on your drive to work. Breathe deeply in between the bites of your meal. And, don’t forget to notice the fireflies that glow with such mystery in your backyard. The moments deserve our full attention. 

 

IMG_7423

The Woodpecker and the Chipmunk.

woodpecker

 

I have been been going through some deep, emotional lessons in my life over the last couple of months. I have, at times, felt powerless, hopeless, and overwhelmed by what has been happening around me. I have taken on the heaviness and volatility of the situations at hand, as if it has everything to do with me. At those times, I always feel compelled to do SOMETHING, because I feel so powerless about the circumstances that are impacting my world, or a loved one. Anything that would assist in relieving my sense of helplessness. I have found myself being angry, judgmental, and feeling like a victim. I have focused on the actions or experiences of others. And, through much of it, I have not always focused on my own needs and what feeds me.

 

What I have come to understand about myself, actually, what I believe to be true about all human beings, is that we cannot truly be there for another person, love them as they are, unless we are first caring for ourselves in a deep, intimate way. Much of the time, that just means for me to remind myself to eat balanced, regular meals; to get good, restful sleep at night;  and making sure I get my body moving. When those are sacrificed by me, in the name of compassion or care for others, I have nothing left to care for them with.  In addition, if I don’t “feed” myself, with the activities and time that I need in my soul, I feel empty.  I feel like I could fall into a hole of self pity and have a hard time crawling out.  

 

So, I have been more diligent.  I write every day, even working on a novel that I have been talking to myself about for years but have been putting off continuing. I have beaten on a drum a bit. Taken some walks around town. And yesterday, when I woke up in a “funk”, feeling deeply raw and emotional, I knew that I had to get into nature. I had to go out into the woods and feel connected. Believe me, there was a part of me that did not want to, that wanted to wallow in some self created misery. But I knew that it was deeply important. So I headed to a trail that I had never been to before. I was on the verge of tears. I wanted to believe how lonely and isolated I felt from others. How hopeless everything was. But, I reminded myself to stay present, open and willing to be with myself.

 

chipmunk

 

I am always amazed and inspired by what I notice when I really get present in my world. When I first arrived at the trail, I was distracted. I was in my mind and my incessant thoughts. However, I consciously shifted that; and realized that any circumstance, no matter how difficult it seems to be, brings beautiful lessons to my life. And, that when I see others, and myself, as capable, open and completely perfect, magic happens. When I shifted my awareness, to just be present, I found myself hearing and seeing the most amazing things. The sound of the water nearby running over rocks. The rustle of the leaves under my feet and on the hills along the path. A sound that seemed to be a person hammering, but when I stopped, and gently looked up, it was a woodpecker, looking for insects on a tree. As I looked up, I saw at least two other woodpeckers swooping overhead, easily recognized with their red heads. 

 

The rustling on the hillsides were many chipmunks, scurrying from logs and trees to gather nuts, to chase one another. They are so tiny, so playful and so timid. I love catching them with the corner of my eye as they run by. One of them was sitting on a fallen tree, just looking at me, his cheeks bulging with some treasure. He kept eye contact, and it filled me with peace and wonder. 

 

In that hour of time, I was reminded yet again of the necessity and gift of Presence in my life, of Gratitude and Peace. When I am in my world, present to it, willing to accept all that comes my way, and ready to let go of my own need to control or guide, the beauty of the world pours in. When I trust that I am right where I need to be, I know I need to do nothing. And I find the deepest Peace that I have ever known. 

 

photo-13

 

 

Taking Others Personally.

ID-10058475

 

Every couple of months or so, I contemplate de activating my Facebook account.  After spending a good amount of time paying attention to the various kinds of posts there, it feels like it would be self loving to take a break. Just tune out, and tune in to myself instead for a few days, weeks, whatever feels good to me.

 

However, the stuff that seems to impact me the most is not the political, commercial, provocative posts that I see there; I seem pretty immune to them these days, feeling secure in my own positions and opinions, and allowing others to have their own. What seems to impact me the most, as I do the one fingered scroll through on my Iphone, is friends on there.  I see pictures of friends, having fun times with other friends, attending or hosting parties, traveling, and I feel a pang of disappointment.  A feeling of being left out.  I feel like when it comes to friends, I don’t matter to many.

 

Please, read on before you feel sorry for me; this is not to elicit sympathy for myself.  It is a tremendous learning ground for me, and I am grateful.  But at first glance, when I see friends of mine having fun with others, I don’t just think that I am happy for them that they are happy.  I feel left out, left behind.  I don’t take it out on them; I take it out on ME.  What is wrong with ME?  Aren’t I fun enough?  Inspiring enough? Why don’t they call me to go out, to have tea, to come over for a movie?  Why not ME???? I take the entire “exchange” personally.  And, that is the kicker for me; there is no exchange; there is no rejection.  It just is what is.

 

I have been reading the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz for a couple of years now, over and over again, and one of those agreements is to not take ANYTHING personally. Now, I have put it into action quite successfully and gratefully in my world over and over again, in relationship to my work; my family; and various friends. But then, I always get another opportunity to try the lesson on for size again, just to seal the deal. So, this is another time for that.  

 

ID-100147561

 

I certainly do not feel one bit peaceful when I take others personally.  I feel frustrated, confused, rejected, sad, and angry. I feel like I am not enough in some way, shape or form. I feel like I want to be seen and acknowledged and it just isn’t happening in the way that I would like. I take an image from a social media outlet and think that means I know all that there is to a story. Because that is all it ever is, really.  Just a story.  Just a story that I tell myself and then come to believe as the truth.  

 

The thing is, I always get to decide how I want to believe things to be.  And, the lessons that I get to learn in all of this, are vital and substantial for my expansion and evolution. I am learning deeply about letting go; letting things and people be just as they are. When I do that, I accept more and judge less. Another lesson that I get to learn is that NOTHING in this world, not one thing, that is going on with another person, ever has anything to do with me.  Even when it does, it doesn’t. This one of the four agreements is the one that I struggle with the most, yet gives me the most peace within when I ascribe to it.

 

And ultimately, that is the real win for me, is to come back to a place of Peace, always and as often as possible.  When I am feeling peaceful, I am amazed that I could ever want to choose something other than Peace. Yet I do, day after day after day.  And, then, gratefully, I get to remember, day after day after day, that Peace is the choice that I prefer, and it is always available to me.  That I can pick it up, and hold it closely, as often and consistently as I desire.  That I am beautiful, bright, of value and worth.  That I am full of Love, Light, and Purpose. That all those that are meant to come in and out of my world are nothing short of blessings, and that I get to honor them as such, without putting limits, rules and expectations upon them.  I get to let them be their beautiful selves, and celebrate the Self that I am in every moment.

 

I am forever grateful to be able to keep growing, learning, and Being in the brightest, most brilliant way that I can imagine to Be.

img_7763

Moving Target.

ID-100146448

 

During various periods of my life and development, I have felt like a victim.  As a small child, when I was overweight and getting teased a lot at school, I felt like I was victimized.  When I came out to people and they didn’t accept, I felt like I was being judged and felt wounded by that.  As I got older, when things with a partner didn’t feel right, I rarely took much responsibility for the problems, and blamed the other person for mistreating me.

 

Now, being a victim had its payoffs for me, or so I thought.  That is why I held onto the identity for so long, and still do pick it up on occasion. When I felt like or saw myself as a victim, I got to get the attention of others, that either sympathized with my pain, could identify with it, or were just being good friends to me, or so they thought.  It also enabled me to NOT have to look at myself.  Even though when I was seeing myself as a “victim”, in those moments, I would have afterthoughts of my own role in it,  but would not think on it for long.  I knew it was a part of myself that wasn’t pretty.

 

The biggest way that being a victim was of benefit to me, is that I never had to actively say Yes to my life.  To say yes would mean to embrace whatever changes I needed to make to really, truly realize my dreams.  To focus my energies like a laser beam to that which I wanted for myself.  No, being a victim was a great excuse to stay inactive in the path of my life.

 

And, even though the other person seemed to be shooting the arrows at me, I was the one who was wearing the target.  There it was, on my chest, day after day.  Walking around in front of the weapon, begging to be shot at.  GULP.

Gratefully, I got sick enough of being a target, that I started to empower myself.  I started to take chances, to say both Yes, and No, powerfully and lovingly.  I remembered that being a victim is me saying no to my life and yes to misery and inaction.  The beauty of not being a victim, is that I get to fully embrace and accept the things that happen in my world as my own creation.  When I am not a victim, I am a Warrior.  I stand openly for what it is that I want, in a peaceful, strong way.  I feel firm.  I feel free.  I feel ready to take the steps that keep me in Light.  

 

Taking the target off my chest, and embracing that Warrior instead, brought me into the most powerful moments of my Life.  

 

IMG_2742

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Circle of Life.

photo (10)

I have been in deep study lately, not just of perspectives on life that I read in books, but more than ever, I have been in deep internal study.  Considering who I am, what this is, and why I am here.  Whether the world really exists or it doesn’t.  Things that feel worth considering at this phase in my existence, yet, disputes much of what I have learned in the past.

 

I really believe that our lives as humans is a process of taming, or domestication, as put by Don Miguel Ruiz, from the Four Agreements.  We are born wild, with no rules or structures yet put upon us.  Our needs are simple.  Our imaginations are forming.  What we see around is us brand new, so we see it freshly and excitedly, with a sense of curiosity, awe and wonder.  

 

Then, we realize that we have a choice, a voice, an ability to exert ourselves onto the world.  We start to say no, we start to run away from that which we were contained for so long.  We run toward things that seem interesting and worth exploring.  Then, we begin to be deeply educated in rules, laws, limits and expectations.  We learn that it is okay to do this, but not okay to do that.  We learn that it is important to be serious, and plan, and follow the rules as you are told.  We learn that to play is okay for a child, but when you grow up, play is something that is a thing of the past.  We learn to keep safe and not take chances and stay within the confines that have been put upon us.

 

These world structures, mind you, have no malice in them by those that put them upon us.  The persons that make and enforce the rules only want to keep us safe, and warm, and cared for.  Then, we begin to believe, maybe for a very long time, that the only existence that there is, the true reality, is that in which the rules define.  

 

Then, we come to the later years of our lives.  Maybe we are faced with death in some way.  Maybe some life changing experience alters our perspective.  Or maybe, we just have questions about whether or not this is all that there is.  Are we really just individual beings floating around in the same universe?  Or is there some aspect of oneness that exists?  

 

My life has become like a circle:  I was born not knowing; I learned; and then I began to unlearn that which no longer suited me.  Each of us was born wild and free; became tamed and domesticated; and then, sought to become wild and free again.  Yet, we have wisdom in the later part of our lives, so we are wise, wild and free again.  That is the journey.

 

Even though this is my journey that I speak of, no matter what book or philosophy I have heard about, learned or studied, this seems to be the path of many.  To come into this world as a clean slate; fill that slate with knowing that we believe is necessary; and then, cleaning the slate and going back to where we began.  Back to the egg.  Our Source.

 

Wise, wild, and free Again.  

 

sunrise lavender