Tag Archives: life lessons

Notice the Fireflies.

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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. 

 

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Hurricane.

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Ever since I was a child, I remember being fascinated by the weather. I would do projects in grade school that focused on weather maps and weather patterns. I would get scared and intrigued by the way that Mother Nature could be calm and beautiful one minute, and mighty and destructive the next. I had fears of high wind, mainly tornadoes, and although I didn’t live in an area of the country where such incidents were common, I was scared, just the same. Same with hurricanes; not common, but the intensity of them would stir up fear in me.

 

One of the most fascinating things to me about a hurricane is the eye of the storm. On the outer perimeter, a hurricane is fierce, in wind, rain and destruction. Hurricanes change communities sometimes forever, by the intensity of them and the impact of that intensity. Yet, in the center of it all, there is a calm, peaceful spot where none of that turmoil is seen. It is really amazing.

 

This morning, I started thinking about storms such as hurricanes, but not in terms of an upcoming weather pattern. I was thinking about the hurricanes of times that I encounter in my life. I feel grateful that I don’t experience upheaval or destruction in my world very often. My life feels very grounded, peaceful, and going in the direction that I really most want to go. Yet, I have times when it feels like life and circumstances are swirling around me. I feel overwhelmed, tired, frustrated, hopeless, and small. I feel like the wind is blowing and the rains are falling, and I am without shelter or reprieve.

 

The most helpful thing for me in those times, is to remember my own, internal, eye of the storm. I have within me, as all of us do, a peaceful center. A core essence of being that is always available to me. ALWAYS and in ALL WAYS. It is my peace; my soul; my true nature. When I am swept up in the currents of storms that may be occurring outside of myself, I at times forget that the eye is always at my disposal. However, when I do remember this, which I always do, it is a great sigh of relief to come back to that center. To breathe deeply, consciously and presently. To remember that no matter what is happening outside of me, I can always rely on what lives in me.

 

Even though it feels simple and small, that eye of peace is strong and powerful. It creates for me, or brings me back to, that sense of knowing, of having my feet firmly planted. No wind or force can uproot me when I am coming from that place of pure peace, pure knowing. I am so grateful, each and every day, that I understand and know what really exists in me. So that I can call upon it whenever I most want or need to do so.  It is nothing short of a blessing.

 

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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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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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Looking Up.

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The autumn is settling in here in our home in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  There is a chill in the air that lingers past noon; and then the warmth of the sun penetrates the cold and fills me up.  I love being outdoors much of the time, but Fall is one of my favorite times.  An extra layer, a hat, and feeling cozy.  I really enjoy and appreciate the change of the season.

 

I have been appreciating a lot of change in my life lately.  As a writer, and as a lover of other people’s writing, I would often, in the past, want my writing to primarily be relatable to others, and so would be what I would write.  I would also relate closely to what others would writer, so when I read other writers’ blogs, I would tend to follow the ones that spoke to me in some direct way, either through their experiences, or feelings about those experiences.  Reminding me of something in my own life, perhaps. 

 

Yet lately, I have been sensing a change, a change in perspective, over the last couple of weeks in particular.  As I have been appreciating and embracing my own, unique writer’s voice more deeply, I have had a more genuine appreciation for all of the unique writers’ voices that I have been reading.  I have expanded my willingness to see life from a variety of perspectives.  This has opened up to me to the realization, thank goodness, of every person’s story being of worth and purpose.  It has reminded me that it is always refreshing, and fun, to see things from a new perspective.  

 

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I’ve been so afraid of that in my life at times, to see a different point of view.  I mean, if I look at the world in a different way than I have before, won’t something go wrong?  Doesn’t that dismiss anything that I have believed before?  I understand now that the answers to my fearful questions is no, and that I am ready to appreciate, and celebrate, all of the unique manifestations of our Universal selves, in all their varied forms.  And, looking at something from a different perspective isn’t a dismissal of what I already know, nor does it threaten it in any way.  It is just different, plain and simple.

 

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I headed out with my camera yesterday, my other, brilliant instrument of expression, and instead of viewing my world only horizontally, I looked up.  What a brilliant, amazing new perspective!  And, what beauty was waiting there for me.  I only ever need to look at the world, just a bit differently, just change my view ever so slightly, to see the awe and wonder that lives there.  It is astounding.

 

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