Saturday, December 31, 2011
Children are amazing people. I have learned so much from my relationships with my two boys. They speak from their hearts more than their minds and use themselves up every day. They are incredibly present. There is good reason for us to listen to them. They are connected to the spirit in ways that we as adults have forgotten or have purposely removed from our everyday lives. We could all use a bit more child.
Saturday, December 24, 2011
What do we REALLY know? For sure... Nothing. Things are what they are until they are not. I work in an industry where, on a daily basis, we try to turn the vagaries of the human condition into 0s and 1s. We have to describe difficult decision-making processes in terms of 'is you is or is you ain't my baby'.... and what does that mean anyway? Sometimes I ask myself, how in the h-e-double hockey sticks did I end up here? Doing this? We have to engineer ways for people to make decisions, and then change their minds, and change their minds again. We deal with people, not mathematics. It is chaos inside the human being, continually changing and re-forming into something new, wanting something else. I fear we must take the comfort of stasis from inanimate objects, and not ask that of our fellow humans or anything we have in our control. Certainty? Well, maybe that old saying about death and taxes is spot on.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Even when it seems like you are, you aren't. Look around. The people you see are strangers. Even the ones you know. Inside all of us is something that no one else can know, ever. Do not assume that because you have spent a lot of time with someone, that there isn't some way they can surprise you. Do not assume that any other person's perception of you matches, in any way, your perception of yourself. When someone says to you; "I know you better than you know yourself," you can't believe them. Knowing another person isn't what keeps us from feeling alone, remembering that we all doing our best all the time and deserve compassion is what brings companionship. Be gentle with us, you will not be alone.
Yesterday was the solstice. For me, a wonderful holiday. It marks the day we have the least sunshine. In some parts of the country, where the weather is so gloomy it hardly matters, it is still worth celebrating. Today there is a bit more light. More light brings better spirits, brighter outlook, hopefulness. Bring it on. Stay peaceful during this exciting season.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Why is there music everywhere? Wherever you go. Radio, people humming, singing, whistling, playing their iPods. Where does all the music come from? Just wondering if anyone has an idea. Dogs don't have music and it doesn't bother them. Music 'sets the mood' for human activity. When the music doesn't match our mood, we change the channel until we find something that does. Why is it that sometimes I love Hank Williams and sometimes his music drives me straight over the edge? I should see if there are studies that have been done.
Monday, December 19, 2011
So, that Death posting was kind of grim, huh? Sorry. The thing I remember best about people in my life who have died, is that there is always something humorous going on, too. Some stupid little thing that falls apart, or gets messed up, and everyone has a good laugh like... "that figures... <enter the name of the person who has just passed> would have just peed his/her pants if that had happened when s/he was alive." You know what I mean. In my experience, the people who really love us never really leave. They hang around and let you know that they are present when you need a little feedback or reassurance. I always smile when I think of those who have died with whom I was close. I sometimes cry, and it's always because I'm happy. One of my kids went with me to visit a friend's aunt who was dying. He saw her, and when it was a good time, he said "She's getting ready to die." An 8 year old saw it, understood and summed it up quite nicely. He saw her as still being in charge of what was coming. All I could say was, "Yes". Of course.
Well, it happens that every day some one dear to us leaves the planet. By 'us' I mean, all the inhabitants of the planet. Sometimes these passages come closer, sometimes they are far away. Some of them are people we know, some are not. Some famous or infamous, and some are loved only by those nearest to them. Each death reminds us of something. Each ailing loved one also helps us to remember. We are here for a reason. Be gentle to each other and all sentient beings who share this small space. We can travel together in peace and good will. We can help each other to live, and we can help each other to die. Both are hard things to do, and so important. I want to thank the caretakers who help when we can't. I acknowledge their courage and compassion with gratitude.
One of the Four Agreements is; "Don't take things personally". This is speaking directly to our inclination to think everything that happens in our lives is either about us, or within our control. In truth, very little that happens in our lives is a result of some action we have taken. Life happens. People make decisions all the time that can affect us. It doesn't mean that we have to take responsibility for it. If something does affect you, think of it as a temporary condition; it won't ever happen again just like that. Let it go. The river of life takes the event and the emotions away immediately when we allow it. Holding on won't help. Take that deep breath. Breathe into the new moment, see what is here, now. Letting go means not holding on. This goes for the 'negative' and the 'positive'. Let go of past happiness, too. Clear the way for happiness in the present.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Today I had no plans. Stuff got done, shopping, assembling some furniture, doing laundry, playing with the dogs. I even cooked breakfast for myself. It was nice. A lazy day without obligation. I wrapped the last of the holiday gifts, and started packing for my trip east with my family. I got a lot done and am ready to start the work week again tomorrow. The days seem to go by so quickly this time of year. I will be happy for the winter solstice this week. It is about time for the days to get longer.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Surround yourself with good company. Be aware of how the opinions and agendas of others may affect you. When they are in line with who you are, keep them. When they are not, let them find someone else to spend time with. At times you will find yourself alone. Cool! That's a time you can have to yourself, to relax, reflect and recharge. We don't always have to have other people around to feel whole or worthy.
Friday, December 16, 2011
It might have been a defense mechanism, or it might have been a survival technique... I'm not sure. The upshot is that over the past several years, I have learned to be more present than I would have ever considered necessary. I used to think that being present meant staying in one place physically. Like raising your hand in class when the teacher calls your name, acknowledging that you are now in your seat and ready to start the day. It is a way of saying that we are in the current place right now. What has happened for me is that there has been so much going on, things moving quickly... instead of being overwhelmed, I have learned to take one thing at a time - to focus on what is in front of me at the moment. I do some planning ahead to make sure I can be places I need to be and the airfares are cheap, don't get me wrong. I don't plan each moment of my day. I allow things to unfold. By staying present/here/now I have been able to accomplish much more, bring more of myself to everything I do and offer more to the people around me. We can't spend our time in some other time and be completely who we are. I had to let that go to more completely have the experiences I found myself in every day and not be crushed by self-doubt, disappointment, or expectation. I stopped and learned to stay. I then found miracles everywhere.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
One way to handle people, including ourselves, is to keep in mind that everyone is different, and we all have choices ALL THE TIME. We can and do decide how to respond. There are lots of moments in life, and every one is a fresh opportunity to be and do something different. Pause for the length of a breath. [My grandmother would have said; 'count to ten before you do something you might regret.'] Let the irritating moment pass. It will. I am lucky to have had people in my life who challenged me to veer off the known path, to no longer take the safe road, to really recognize the truth in life, which sometimes takes courage. Letting things go, letting them be and accepting that can be hard, and it is a way to peace. My appreciation for this lesson is immeasurable.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Sometimes other people can drive you crazy. Not like dogs who are always happy to see you, or cats who grant their attentions when it suits them and are completely endearing about it. People seem crazy because we often expect something they are not able to be. People are unpredictable, even when we think we know them. Friends forget, parents disappoint, children don't live up to, spouses push our buttons. OK. How do we handle that? How do we have peace with the people around us?
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Take a nice long breath. Hold it and count to three. Breathe out, count to three. Focus your thoughts on that little place just below your nose, and just above your mouth. Gently concentrate on what's happening there with the air you are moving as you breathe.... Now that you've tried with your eyes open so you can read this message, really close our eyes and repeat the exercise for at least 5 breaths. When you're done, notice how you feel.
Let me know.
Let me know.
I learn more every day. Things always change. I expect that. I count on it. I work at it. Each day I put my self out there, I get amazing returns. The landscape around me changes, it becomes more in line with who I am. I am able to notice how easy life is when I am in the flow. I feel that peace.
P.S. Join this site so you can help me build it by contributing your own thoughts. Thanks!
P.S. Join this site so you can help me build it by contributing your own thoughts. Thanks!
Monday, December 12, 2011
I return home to empty space. I am struck by the lack of noise, activity, light. It is dark and comfortable, cozy when I light the fire. My things are everywhere, in their place right where I left them. The walls are the color I chose for them. There is a full moon that lights half the house when the lights are out. My bed is cozy and warm with a comforter and cover given to me by people who love me. It is peaceful. I am happy. I relish these moments; when I can look at my life, my surroundings, and wonder "how did I get so lucky?"
Friday, December 9, 2011
Set aside time now and then to look back on your life. Recall the past from your 'now' perspective, and take the opportunity to feel the way you did then or feel the way you do now. A common quotation is: "if we don't learn from our history, we are doomed to repeat it." I have only heard this phrase from people who were talking about our overall human history, but why not apply those words to personal history as well? Each time we recall/reflect on the past, we can see/feel it differently. We can also repeat the past, but now it really is a choice. Now we can see it from a place of safety, a place of peace... we chose to look, so lets look with gratitude for the lesson and appreciation for the gift.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Let it go. Whtever "it" is. You're holding on to something you don't need. An opinion, an idea, a judgement, an old hurt/a new hurt, some assumption, something... Drop it. Cut it out. Set an intention to let go of whatever is holding you back, even if you have no idea what it could be, or if you have no idea that there is anything being held at all. Take a deep breath, close your eyes and say to yourself "I let you go. You have been with me awhile, and I can/will move forward without you." Be specific if you can. If you can't just imagine a mist being released from your body and that everything you no longer need just floats away in the mist.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Ow. Judging. Not a way to personal peace. Someone important to me once said that when you make comparisons, the result is always negative. So right. Judging one thing to be better than another, or one person to be more important than someone else, or comparing the ideal you to the real you always results in something negative. Who wants more negativity in the world? Some court cases may have clear outcomes, where the facts completely point to a certain decision, but those are rare. Even in the supreme court, the results are recorded as 'opinions'. Fire your internal judge. The trick here is to recognize that even positive judgements may be dangerous.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
So many times we change companions. People frequently move in and out of our lives. When we are young, we have family, school friends, sport teammates, youth group friends and later, people we date, marry and parent. All these different personalities provide us with information, feedback, experiences... opportunities to stretch ourselves. Each person we meet becomes part of us and we become part of them. Some small part of each of us is exchanged and we are both different afterward. The flow of our lives can bring chaos, disaster, peace, anger, loneliness, disappointment, joy. Sometimes a single event can produce all of those at once and can be quite overwhelming. It can be hard to remember that we're not alone, and we are never alone. Sometimes its just a bit harder to see.
Monday, December 5, 2011
Thoughts today are around all the ways we create peace for ourselves each day. For one person, it may be to make sure her child goes to bed on time, leaving her with some part of the evening for herself. For another, it may be to spend time formally meditating or praying. Each day may be different, and add another possible way to center, empty and regain appreciation. We can't make peace where there has been none in the past, we cannot create a guaranteed peaceful future. We can only create peace now and here, where we are. It is something that happens the moment we remember that who we are is much more than what we do for a living, how we treat the people around us, or what possessions we have. It is what happens when we know who we are and that each of us has everything we need right now.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Time for a bit of laziness. Thinking about space, emptiness, lack of clutter, blank walls. My temporary home provides a lot of those things and I realize that often we complicate our lives unnecessarily. We load time with going places and doing things and forget that some of the most precious times in our lives occur when we are stopped... when we can remember that just breathing is a completely fulfilling activity. Ideal vacation? Sitting on a beach with nothing to do but look out over the ocean... vast emptiness, calm, lack of personal demands. Each day could contain something like that.
Saturday, December 3, 2011
I would like this blog to become a central repository for thoughts about peace in the world and individual inner peace. A place to share tools that bring peace, books, discussions, traveling for peace, and anything else our hearts, minds and spirits bring.