Tag Archives: changes

Whatever you do, or don’t, be Gentle.

Over the many years of my life, I have lived between the extremes, much of the time, of excess or deprivation. Whether in relation to food, alcohol, drugs, work, money, or relationships, I found myself with either too much, or not enough, of a good thing. In the context of those extremes, I would transmit to myself a few different messages.
Why not?

You deserve this.

You shouldn’t have done that.

You have got to get it together.

You can’t trust yourself to be moderate.

Fuck it.

You should look like (fill in the blank).

You only live once.

Living this way will be bad for you.

 

Any of those messages sound like ones you have said to yourself? Or had said to you or about you?

The words, as they sound to me now as I type them, weren’t the worst of it.  It was the intention behind the message, that somehow I was not good enough.  Or,  if I did, said or created something different for myself, I would be more worthy, would be of more value in the world. A sick, dysfunctional game that I would play with myself. Either feeling entitled or needing to be punished in some way.

And, even though the words can sound intense and maybe even overdramatic, it felt like make or break it back then, or that so much was riding or whether or not I followed that diet or had that third glass of wine, that my very self would either be enhanced or evaporated. SO diabolical, yet seeming to have so much power and influence over what I would do or say to myself.

Gratefully, and with a humble heart, I have taught myself a much different lesson at this point in my life. Oh yes, I still say fuck it. But now, I say that to any extremes; to living in the edges rather than filling in my life from a more balanced perspective. I don’t have to deprive myself, nor do I need to indulge every impulse that I feel. I get to tune in, be Present, and then decide what feels really good. Not good in the “I gotta do this now before I even take a breath”, but from a deeper, more solid and authentic place. So that, even if I have that third glass of wine, or eat dessert three nights in a row, or spend the whole evening on Facebook, I am conscious about it rather than being asleep at the wheel of my life.

What comes to me with my Presence is Peace; and the beautiful, brilliant after effect of that is gentleness. Being loving, and kind, and present with any decision I make, allows me to make it from a place of serenity rather than desperation; and allows for me to feel one with the decision, rather than doubting myself or condemning myself. I can choose to do, or not do, and live with myself no matter what I decide.

Traveling this road will not be perfect; and I am sure that I will forget what balance feels like. Yet, I know in my soul that I will forget less, and for shorter periods of time, and that I know not only what feels the best. 

I know what it is that I most deserve.

 

IMG_4931

Perspective.

 

IMG_0360.JPG

 

I spent a lot of time in nature today. I laid down on large rocks, I walked on trails in the woods, and I breathed deeply in the air of the day. Nature is close by our home and we spend a great deal of time there. Taking the beauty in through all of our senses is a deep, healing experience. And, it helps always to remind me of the freedom that I have to contemplate life and circumstances from a variety of perspectives.

 

I am grateful for knowing that I have a choice. Many persons, including many in my life, do not know or understand that they have a choice in their perspective on the world. Whether they see themselves as a victim, as flawed or defective, as better than or more evolved than others, as only being their life circumstances and nothing else, they cannot see beyond these roles or situations. And, in addition to that, even if they are told that they have a choice to see things differently, they don’t understand that because they don’t believe that it is true.

 

The truth is, life is different depending on the perspective with which you look at it. Today, I lay upon a rock, that was the length and width of my body, and somewhat suspended between other rocks. First, I sat up looking around, and had one view. And, then I lay on my back, and just looked upward, and the view of course was somewhat different. So it is with my life.

 

I have had a boatload of shit that has gone down in my world in the last year. And, I mean, A LOT. Good, bad, sad, frustrating, blessed, and everything in between. And, if I believed in accumulation, of good or bad circumstances, then I would be believing that 2017 was one of the worst years of my life. However, I don’t believe in accumulation of circumstances. I guess because I have stopped believing in past, or future for that matter. I still understand that memories of the past and projections of the future will occur in my life, I don’t take them as seriously as I have before. I now believe that more than anything, the present moment is all that we have. And, I don’t consider that as a point of view; I consider it to be a fact. This, right now in this moment, is all that we ever have.

 

IMG_0366.JPG

 

That reminds me that peace is always in my grasp, if I only just choose it. To look upon a small pine seedling, a pile of leaves crunching under my feet, or clouds that look like cotton streaks in the sky, or the arms of someone whom I have never met hugging me on the street. Those are moments of sweetness, of truth, love and abundance. And I can only fully experience them if I am present, as present as I possibly can be.

 

But, there are times I choose strife, and anxiety, and worry and belief that the past defines me or that the future will save me. And, then I remember that I can always change my perspective, and I remember that this moment is all that needs to grab my attention, and it carries within it every possibility of greatness, beauty, magic and eternity and infinity within it. That is my saving Grace. 

 

IMG_0348

My Humanness.

presence

 

I went out last night with my wife, first for dinner, and then out to listen to some music. I always look forward to our evenings out together,  because we are spending some time as a couple; because I like visiting some of our favorite local businesses, and because I enjoy seeing people that I know. At those times, I feel social and available to others around me, and my environment. It feels freeing and peaceful, and I am present with how in touch with my own self and feel good about it.

 

We began the evening with dinner at our favorite restaurant in the city. We don’t go out to eat very often, but we enjoy this restaurant no matter what our other choices are. The food, atmosphere, and heart in the business draw us there, and it is warm, welcoming and delicious. I always see people that I know, including the owners, and even strangers feel known to me. I feel at home.

 

When we got to the second venue, to see some friends of ours who recently formed a new band perform, I knew right away that it felt different than where we had just been. Something inside of me didn’t feel like myself anymore. I felt like I didn’t want to be seen; that I was too old, not cool enough. And that even if there were people there that were familiar to me, I didn’t care to have them converse with me, ask about me. I wanted to go into a corner of the room, drink my drink and just listen to the music.  

 

Now keep in mind that for two years now, I stand on the street and give hugs to complete strangers to me. And it feels connected, true and warm when I am hugging those people. Like I am connecting with them on a level beyond words, beyond form. It feels deep and true, both what I offer and what I receive. So, to feel uncomfortable in a room with many people, some of whom I knew or could get to know, I felt closed, not connected at all. 

IMG_2770

 

This morning, when I was sitting quietly, I found the space in me that feels like an open wound. A wound that has been around for years, some years more intensely than others, and is my own tendency toward self loathing and attack. That not wanting to be with other people in an open way, had nothing to do with them, but myself. It feels raw and vulnerable to see the ways in which I want to attack myself for not being enough. When I start to feel really good and sure of myself, Ego is never far away, reminding me of the voice that exists that is self deprecating and attacking. It is always there, wanting to undermine me in some way, undermine who I know myself to really be. 

 

With deep gratitude this morning, I say a hearty Thank You for the awareness that catches this in myself. And remembers what the real truth is. The truth is that I am complex and made up of many parts and aspects, in my human form. I have been domesticated in many ways in my life, about many things, and only now in my life do I have the eyes to understand that none of what I was taught is true. That the truth is that I am perfect; I am Light; and to Love myself is blessed. And that I am a part of All and can embrace that fully, but only by honoring and loving myself deeply first.

 

It can be daunting some days to love myself. Yet, I will continue to remind myself every day of how beautiful that is, and how opening myself fully shines my Light more brightly into the world. It reminds me that I am not alone, ever.

Fearing but Craving Connection

 

Seagull Island.

photo-1

 

During my walk this morning, and for many mornings this winter, I have noticed a flock of seagulls that hang around at the lake. Now that the weather is turning colder, and ice is beginning to form on parts of the lake, when they gather there, in the center, it looks like an island of sorts where they sit. They are huddled together and occasionally fly away. I often find myself wondering, why are they here? Where did they come from? Why in the winter would they settle on our local, homegrown lake?

 

As I wondered on that, I also wondered, on why I ask why. When I am asking why, about a situation or a person, it is most often because I feel scared. I might feel scared about why someone I love is upset with me, because that means, our relationship, in the way that I am viewing it, has changed. I might feel scared because I don’t know what is going to happen next, so I feel less secure about my life and where it is going. I might feel scared if I don’t understand the why of something, because that means I am not as wise as I might of thought, so I give myself room to judge and criticize myself.

 

For me, any why or wondering question comes from a place of fear. Even about seagulls on a lake, you ask? Yes. When I am wondering why something is the way that it is, I am afraid of something. Afraid of what I think I already know from the past. Afraid of what might happen in the future. Afraid to just let the present moment Be as It Is. You see, when I am coming from a fearful place, if I let the present moment be, then I feel as if I am letting go of control. And, when I am afraid, if I am not in control, that is terrifying. 

 

Maybe being in control doesn’t sound like a problem to many of you, especially if you are a control freak like I am. However, I can attest to the fact that it certainly is not a peaceful place to come from. Not at all. When I am in control, or needing to know the hows and whys of every little detail in my life, I am certainly not feeling at ease. I am feeling tense, and always waiting for the next thing that is about to happen. 

 

The deepest lessons of my life are occurring right now, and those are about how to bring Peace more consistently and deeply into my world. And, the beauty is, I don’t have to do anything special for that to happen; not at all. I just have to be in my world, without questions or judgments or rules. I can just let the world Be as It Is. Let Go of what I think it should be. Breathe deeply and take in what is happening Right Now.

 

Today, the seagulls on my homegrown lake are a great lesson in Presence, because instead of wondering why they are there, I get to watch them dance on the water, hear them communicate with one another, and appreciate their beauty and unique nature. I get to just Be with them, in this very moment.  After all, the Present Moment is all that there ever Is.

 

photo-2

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