Tag Archives: learning

My Humanness.

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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. 

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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

 

Sea of Change.

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My life has been a series of deep changes in the last few months. In the areas of my work, my play, my family, and my home, changes have been everywhere. And, for most of my life, I have made a determination in my mind and my heart of whether a change was good, or bad. Hardly ever have I encountered a change about which I felt completely neutral.

 

There are many reasons of why I feel a sense of judgment about change occurring in my world. One reason is that I believe that if things change, then what I previously believed about a relationship was an illusion or a lie; that if that person no longer speaks to me or is in my life, that maybe all along they didn’t really care about me. If the circumstances of my job change, I immediately feel like maybe this isn’t the right position for me, or I feel betrayed in some way that change has occurred. If a change happens that I label as positive, it is always because things have turned out the way that I wanted in some form. 

 

The main reason that I would ever feel upset or concerned about a change that happens in my life is simply fear:  being afraid for a new circumstance to come in. Afraid of what is going to occur next. Fear of the unknown. When I am coming from fear, it almost certainly means that I am resisting what will come whether I embrace it or not. I want things to stay the same, because in sameness, it seems like there is safety, security, familiarity.  I want my world to stay as it is in those moments.

 

However, whether I want it to occur or not, changes do come in my world, on a daily basis. I am in my little vessel on the ocean of life, floating along, and the ocean doesn’t stay constant. If you spend any time on the coast, the only thing certain about the waves and sea is that it is constantly changing. The tides, the size of the waves, and color and texture of the ocean, is always in motion. It never stops. 

 

When I live my life in the past, through memory, regret or sentimental feeling, then any new circumstance or information that comes in that challenges that feels threatening to me. When I live in the future, in anticipation of what I want to happen, or am planning in my mind, when those plans get changed, I feel threatened and unappreciated or unheard. It may all sound very dramatic, but this is what occurs when I am not living presently, and I judge what happens around me as either good, or bad. 

 

The truth is, I will always be riding the ocean of life, always navigating my way through a sea of constant change. Life is ever changing; that cannot be disputed. How those changes impact me, or don’t, is always my choice, my intent. If I live my life as fully in the present moment as possible, watching life as if it were a movie, and understanding that change occurs whether I want it to or not, then I can be neutral about change. I can embrace that life, in all of its wonder and unique manifestations, can just be something that I watch unfold, and see the opportunities for learning and growth with every change in the waves. I can choose gratitude for every experience, no matter what comes my way.

 

Change comes to each one of us. We can enjoy the ride or curse the tide. I want to secure as much joy and peace as possible while I am on this voyage, so I choose this moment, as often as I can remember. 

 

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Seagull Island.

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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.

 

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Grief.

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I have spent the last several days experiencing and thinking about grief. About what it is, and what it is not. About my own grief and how I express it, now in my life, and in the past. I am amazed and at peace at what I seem to be discovering.

 

When I was in college, my grandmother, my father’s mother, died after being ill for a long time with cancer. I had spent school vacations at her home for years, kept her secrets of eating forbidden foods at lunch, and laughed with her. I was so sad, and hurt, and lost when she died. I didn’t want it to be true. I didn’t want to care about college classes anymore, for months. I thought about her all of the time and couldn’t envision a life without her physical presence in it. 

 

Ten years later, my older brother died, after a long illness. He lived on the west coast, so he was far away and I hadn’t seen him in years. Our relationship had been very close for a period of time in my life, but his last few months had been strained between us. I was the person that he had his caretakers call to report his death. It was surreal and a deep hurt. I grieved in many ways when he died. I cried, a lot at first. I felt guilt at our being somewhat estranged. I felt anger that he had me be the one that had to tell my parents that he had died. And, I felt like a martyr, in a way. I wore my grief like a shroud, feeling very embedded in it. That lasted for a long time. 

 

There have been many persons that I have known since then, friends or family, that had died. My responses to each one have been different. Yet, none so different as the deaths of two persons in my life in literally the last three weeks. First, my beloved aunt, my aunt Ruth, who was as close to me as a family member as my own parents. She lived with my grandparents when I was growing up, and I spent those school vacations with her as well, and many happy times after that. I would go up to her house for a weekend, just to spend time and talk with her. Her heart was so open and filled with love. I thought she would be around awhile longer, if not forever. Her death has been hard to bear, although manageable at the same time.

 

Only a few days after her death, my father in law, my wife’s father, died. I had not had the opportunity to build a longstanding, deep relationship with Ben, but I had felt a deep fondness and love for him, and enjoyed our times together. He gave Brenda away at our wedding. He had many of his own demons, yet I saw the light in him that was love, even though he didn’t see it in himself, it seemed.

 

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What grief represents to me now in my world is much different than I have ever experienced before. Even though we may share grief and the expression of it with others that are close to us, grief feels very personal to me; meaning, my feelings of loss are not going to be like anyone else’s about the person, as no one else’s will be like mine. In essence, I can feel whatever I feel, without any need to compare myself to others. I get to just move through it in the most loving, gentle way that I can. I also don’t feel like I have to express it in any certain way. Whatever seems to help me and bring me comfort and support feels right.

 

Grief also looks like Peace to me now. I don’t know how to best explain that, except that even when I am sad that my aunt Ruth is gone, or longing to spend another day with Ben, I feel at Peace when I accept things just as they are. Accept that they are absent. Accept that I miss them at times. Accept that life will go on without both of them in this physical realm. Letting Go and Acceptance bring me Peace. Bring me comfort. And are deep expressions of Love for me.

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Keep Letting Go.

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My young adult son has been going through some deep emotional struggles in the last couple of weeks. He reached a point that felt like a bottom of sorts; a feeling of being in a pit that he did not how to get himself out of. My deep, raw, maternal instincts kicked in, not only because he asked for my help, but because he is my blood, my being, my child. So I went to him, helped him through the darkest parts, and stayed close by to be near as he healed. 

 

At various times over the last two weeks, I have felt like he was a small child again, and I was his protector, his guardian, his mommy. That has shown itself in various ways, in me breaking down in tears as I saw him at his most vulnerable; feeling lost, alone and afraid about what might happen next; wanting to clean his house, buy his groceries, and take care of his every need. I would feel it, resist it, and feel it again. It was like one of the most intense roller coasters that I have ever ridden. 

 

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And today, I am getting off. 

 

Today, I go back home to my world, the life that I have built with him, and since he went out on his own. I feel scared, and sad, and worried as his mom. I wonder if he will be okay at moments. Yet I know that he will be. I see him as capable, and free. And I know, that any time I hold tightly to him, or anyone, that is Fear showing itself. And, although understanding and accepting Fear can help with self love, compassion and understanding, I still get afraid. And, I keep going forward. Keep remembering that feeling fear is normal, and that I will always encounter it in my life, I feel certain. Yet, to release it is a gift.

 

Letting go is always hard for me on and off in my life, with family members, friends, co workers, even in traffic. Letting go has been hardest for me in the last nineteen years as a parent, as a mom. A small being that is so vulnerable that you have to protect them from everything, who keeps growing, expanding and evolving and becoming more self sufficient. More independent. They not only grow up, but grow away. It is beautiful, and scary at the same time.

 

Yet, in that time, we have built beautiful bridges and structures of Trust, Love, Forgiveness and Understanding. That is what we stand upon now. I have come to deeply appreciate how capable, strong and willing my son is to grow, to heal, to keep expanding and loving himself more and more. And, I will probably continue to have lessons in my life of when I hold on tightly, and when I need to let go, again and again.

 

This morning, I see clearly the beauty in the Letting Go. The Freedom that it allows us both. The capability that we both stand in. And, I embrace it with open arms.

 

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