I Am expanding. And shrinking.
Consciousness expanding. Ego/identity shrinking.
It feels miraculous.
Photo by Keith Perks
I Am expanding. And shrinking.
Consciousness expanding. Ego/identity shrinking.
It feels miraculous.
Photo by Keith Perks
I have the amazing privilege and gift of being a parent. I have been deeply grateful for that experience for my whole adult life, and what I have created with the person I call my son, over his lifetime, feels miraculous. We have each grown in very profound ways, and brought so many more gifts to our table as a result.
Part of what our relationship looks like is in person connection, which is more challenging to come by at this phase of his life. He is in college, living far away from home, and building what is important to him. I see him only once every few months, and when I am with him, I feel overwhelmed with happiness and love.
However, old habits tend to be difficult to let go of at times in Life. I have long taken care of his needs, even long after he became an adult and started making his own decisions. I like making sure he is okay. I like cooking for him, filling his refrigerator with groceries, or taking him on a shopping spree when we are together. It feels safe, familiar, and nurturing.
Yet, it is one of those areas where I need to be cautious within myself and my intentions. There are times when my care of him feels over involved; when I become so focused on him being okay, and the need for me to care for him, that I don’t allow him the space to figure out things on his own; nor do I trust his ability to do so.
I remember years ago, when he was first a teenager. His other mother and I had separated, and were living apart. It was an emotionally painful and intense time. I often had to pick him up after school at her home, the home that the three of us had previously shared as a family. I remember one particular afternoon, when I arrived to get him, he asked for my help. On the front porch of the house, a hummingbird had become trapped. It had actually tucked itself behind one of the shutters of a window. I wasn’t sure what to do, but felt compelled to do something. So, I gently and carefully reached in behind the shutter, and took the little bird into my hands. It didn’t move, and I was amazed at how small and fragile it seemed. We opened the porch door, I opened my hand, and it flew away. It was one of the most profound experiences of my life.
And, last weekend, as I drove away from my son, putting 12 hours of highway between us, I realized something. My son, my hummingbird, seems fragile and small and vulnerable at times, and I want to do all that I can to protect him. At the same time, I know that if I hold him in my hands, I cannot allow him to fly, to spread his wings, to create his own magic in the world. In Native American medicine, hummingbird symbolizes pure Joy. Yet, I cannot appreciate that joy in my son if I am holding him in my hands, not allowing him to be who he is, and trust that expression of his joy is the greatest gift I can allow for him.
So, again I learn. I learn that in the letting go, I am experiencing some of the most brilliant joy of my life.
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.
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.
A couple of weeks ago, I decided after much consideration that I would sign up for and take a seven week writers course. The course is being offered through The Shift Network, which offers amazing on line programs related to self discovery and improvement, as well as connection to others in the world. The writing course is being led by an author who I have enjoyed in the past, SARK, whose creativity and words I have admired. It is being co led by Scott Mills, whose energy is also dynamic and soft. I have already had my first session, with many other persons from literally, around the world, and I think I will be in for a treat as it goes forward.
It took much consideration for me to take the course, for many of the reasons that create blockages in my writing. First of all, I worried that I was not a good enough writer, that there would be so many other great writers on the call, including the facilitators, that I would feel inadequate and self conscious at what I would bring to the table. Also, I often diminish the type of writing that I do as not being “real” writing; I write a blog, I write about life, emotions, and human experience. “Real” writers write novels, biographies, and the like. The last reason that I almost said no to the course was because of the money. Although it is really affordable, especially for whom is leading it, and all of the benefits I will receive from it, I saw that as an obstacle, that didn’t really exist. However, I plowed through all of that, and said a powerful, YES.
The biggest reason that I hesitated in taking the course, and the biggest reason why I said I MUST take the course, is that I have often not described myself as a writer. I would say to people that I enjoy writing, like a hobby that I find time for here and there. To say that I am a writer seems like a lie. I don’t write on a full time basis; I don’t get paid for my writing; I haven’t published any books yet (although I have been published in a chapter book in the past); I don’t make time always for my writing by being on a schedule with it. All of these excuses I use to not call myself what I actually am. And, not calling myself a writer is the least of it; I don’t SEE myself as a writer when I am having these thoughts of diminishment and self deprecation.
The real, loving truth is, is that I AM a writer. I AM a person who puts to paper, or to computer screen, ideas and things that scare me, excite me, and help me. I talk about love, grief, compassion, judgment and fear. I tell stories of things that I have experienced in my life, and the experiences of others that I have known in my world. And, I AM a writer, who wants to keep writing, keep growing, keep projecting my words and my thoughts out into the world, for healing, for connection, for love and for Life.
The kicker is, all of the other persons that I have met through this workshop so far, including our facilitators, all have the same fears; of not being enough; of not making enough time for our writing; of others being better than ourselves. Yet, we each have our own, unique version of how we see the world, and that makes whatever we have to say valuable and worthy of the page. There is so much comfort, connection and love in that.
As a true writer and lover of words, I can’t wait to see how this story unfolds.
Yesterday was my birthday. I am officially 54 years old, which is really a misnomer, because I feel 54 years young, as corny as that may sound. I feel amazing. My life is amazing. And, I feel more blessed than I have ever realized in my life before now.
At various times in my life, I have practiced gratitude daily for myself, and what that looked like in the past, was writing down each day what I was grateful for, in the morning before I would start getting ready for work. I also would wear a bracelet, and count my blessings literally on the beads of the bracelet. It was always a great way to start in the morning, before the hustle and rush of the world set in.
Lately, I began the practice again, but not by writing down what I am grateful for. During my morning walk, I think about all of the things and persons that I am grateful for in my world. I find so many things to be deeply grateful for, because I am surrounded with gifts in so many ways.
A birthday on Facebook is hard to beat; I got dozens of birthday greetings, all lovely and caring, and celebratory. I felt the love from every single person that wished me well. It was really beautiful. And, I felt grateful, for all of the persons in my life, and what a gift it is to have family and friends that surround me, at all different times in my world. Then, last evening, I saw this beautiful message from my wife, in honor of my birthday, after an evening she had planned for me of fun and surprises.
I felt grateful for having us meet one another in the world, to walk this path together with a partner who supports me, and I support as well, and who I have fun with, travel with, and learn new things with. It really is a blessing.
I feel such deep gratitude for my son, and the relationship that I have built with him over the last few years, more deep than ever before. And, as he begins this new phase of his life, it is also a new phase of mine, and that we get to share that with one another in love, friendship and support is a joy. I am so grateful that he is in my world.
I am so grateful for a strong, capable body, that carries me every day to my walks, to take out the trash, that does anything that I ask of it; and is sustaining me in healthy, loving ways. I am grateful for the lovely home that I share with my wife, that keeps us safe and warm and cared for. I am so grateful for being in nature, and seeing her sights and hearing her sounds outside my window every single day. It is a gift to be able to live in and appreciate her beauty.
I have had challenges in my life, and I will continue to face them as life goes on for me. Yet, I find myself in joy the majority of the time, and I know that to be in a large part, because of Gratitude. No matter what is happening with me or around me, Gratitude can always put things in perspective, by reminding me what I have that I am grateful for.
Reminding me of all of the gifts in my world.