Tag Archives: lessons learned

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.

 

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Love Well.

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I had an epiphany this week, brought on by words from my wise wife, about what I really want to do here, for the remainder of my time in this physical form. The words that she used, and that have stuck with me since, is to Love Well. As I have aged, I seem to learn more about what Love is, and what it means here to be Loving. I am still not completely sure that I understand it fully; and when I attempt to put it into words, they seem to be sorely lacking. Yet, words are what I have, and what I use, so I will do my best to describe what I mean.

 

You see, I see myself as a loving person; it is one of the characteristics that I have been able to see in myself easily. What I have seen in myself is a heart that literally feels filled up when I am connected to those around me. It is a heart that feels grateful and present much of the time in my life. But, how I expressed Love on the outside, wasn’t always pure love. Sure, I would take care of those around me; I would try to fix what seemed to be broken; and I would give with my whole heart and soul, putting myself aside in the process. 

 

Today, I am understanding that although those actions in the past could pass as Love from an outside view, and love as I have been taught, it no longer suffices for me, as the Love that I wish to bring to the world. That takes more presence, diligence, and peace, and less Ego, less Me involved. To truly Love, deeply Love, Love in the way which our true nature shows us, I need to see beyond the form. I need to Love equally and fully. I need to accept everything as it Is, and trust that all is unfolding as it should. I need to forgive easily, and then realize, that there is nothing to forgive.

 

It is a huge challenge for me on many occasions. I want a certain outcome. I think that I know what is best, for everyone around me. I want to control the situation so that I feel less afraid. I want to have an expectation of someone or something so that I can feel more safe. None of those states of mind are Love. Not really. Even though I can justify them in my mind, they aren’t Love.

 

So, today I commit again to Love in that way. It starts with me, of course, Loving myself precisely and exactly as I Am, which then creates the allowance to Love every, single situation and person as it Is, as they Are. I learn deeply along the way. I fall short. I try again. And, every day, bit by bit, I learn to Love. 

 

I learn to Love Well. 

 

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Awakening the Bone Wisdom.

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Nine days on the road, 2100 miles driven throughout the south, and I am so grateful to be back home again. The Hug Bug Tour 2018, as it was named prior to our departure, is now in the memory banks, literally and figuratively. Once again, my journeying and experiences have deepened my understanding of who I am, and what I want for myself. What I am truly made of.

I had so many magical moments. Many stories that would easily make for another book. Yet, that isn’t the path this time around for the lessons learned. Since we returned home yesterday, I have been deeply quiet, and in my thoughts about what stands out for this trip. In total, I didn’t exchange that many hugs with strangers. I have no interesting circumstance that would help to explain that; it just didn’t happen. I got tired of being on the road, sleeping in a different place each night and being away from home. 

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But the learning that came my way this time around was unmatched up to this point in my life. I deepened my practice of surrender, of being in the present moment, and of going toward the best feeling state that I can manage at any given time. I had fewer expectations of any outcome, and being more flexible in where I would go, and how I would spend my time. I had fun, and felt so quiet within throughout the trip.

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And the lessons that I learned, or rather, was reminded of, were those that live in my very bones. It is the wisdom that is not bestowed on me from any guru, or book, or way of living. It is the wisdom that I affectionately, today, call Bone Wisdom. That which lives in my marrow, that has been there since the beginning of time, the Wisdom that lives in all of us, yet if you are like me, you go throughout much of your physical life not being aware of it. 

Bone Wisdom came to me in the form of some of the simplest lessons that I have learned yet; simple in their concepts, but complex to put into practice on a daily basis. Yet, I did that on my journey. The two biggest teachings that I came away with, is first, to always trust my guts. I did that on my last trip, toward the end of my stops, and it brought me complete peace and inner knowing to go where I was led. Last week, I did that every day; I spoke truthfully, I followed my intuition of what and where felt best, and the results each day were remarkable. 

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My main take away however, the one that will be on my heart forever more I believe, is that right now, in this moment, I have every thing that I could possibly need, or even desire. I went on this tour, in part because I have a desire to connect with others, and to talk with them about what that means. Yet, I also saw it as a way to have what I don’t everyday- a fun destination, a way to see friends, which are all true things that happened. Yet, I came back with a richer understanding that I am so well cared for, have so much that fulfills and inspires me, that even though I will continue to adventure for the fun of it, I don’t need to in order to find anything. I am not lacking. Nothing is missing. In every moment, through every experience, I have precisely all that I could ever need.

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I believe that I will always feel, in some way, that there is more that I could do, be or achieve in this world. And, I need to constantly remind myself to not always be planning for what must come next for me. Yet, I also more easily understand that in the doing nothing, I have everything that I will ever require. And, I am grateful to have listened to the Bone Wisdom once and for all. 

Perspective.

 

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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.

 

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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. 

 

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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