Why are we here? Is there meaning to this life? These questions have been pondered by many. Perhaps there is more than one answer.
More importantly, what are we here to do? Each of us has been given a “lean.” What do you lean toward? What propels you? What gets your heart pumping, your blood flowing? Maybe you’re doing that already. Maybe you’ve found a way to make a living at it. Or maybe there’s a chasm of fear in the way, or a boulder. Is the other side attainable? Is the chasm traversable? Is there a way around the boulder? Path of least resistance?
When I come up behind someone in the passing lane who is out there on their own with no self-awareness and no car to pass, I simply go around. They do not exist to me if they are offering an obstacle for no reason. Same with ornery people. When possible, I just go around.
So, what’s stopping you? What’s stopping you from reaching the upper limits of your greatest intention and desire for your work–or play–on this planet while you’re here? Perhaps you’re at a loss for what that greatest desire might be. In that case, how do you go forward?
Step 1: Remain open to not-knowing. Let the unknown be ok. It will be revealed to you when you are ready. Don’t force an answer. Try to get comfortable with not-knowing.
Step 2: Get in touch with your passion.
Make a list of what you love. Try not to think of it in terms of what to do next in your life. Just enjoy thinking about and writing down anything you love. Here’s mine in random order:
spiritual and physical health and wellness
babies and children
water and waves
What would it look like to merge everything I love into a career?
I could offer workshops (with childcare provided) on a tropical island or by a lake in summer that would help people attain spiritual/physical well-being through music, art, dance and song.
Step 3: Take steps to make it happen.
Start with today. Dream, then laundry. Dream, then plan. Dream, then send an email. Do whatever it takes. Feel the fear, and do it anyway. Go around, through, over, under. Make it happen no matter what.
“Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstance.” ~ Bruce Barton (1886-1967)Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (0)
“One’s action ought to come out of an achieved stillness: not to be mere rushing on.” ~D. H. Lawrence
How much time do we spend wishing we were someplace else? Wishing the hour were later, or earlier? Wishing we were not right here, right now?
Life is fleeting enough without rushing to get to the next desirable place or time. All we have is now, so we might as well settle in. Breathe in the moment. Breathe in the traffic jam, breathe in the bus stop, breathe in the long line. Make peace with the present moment. Can I choose a better thought than the one I am thinking right now? Can I just allow this moment to be? Can I wait for the bread crumbs and not rush ahead to where I feel overwhelmed and lost? If I jump ahead on the game board, I might miss something. I might land on a square that is less desirable than where I am right now.
Stay on the train. It’s on the right track. If you jump off and run ahead, you’ll miss it when it passes by and you’ll have a tough time getting back on track. Even through a dark tunnel, it knows where it’s going. Be patient. Wait for the light ahead to reveal itself, to reveal your next stop. Enjoy the journey, for the scenery is ever changing even when you are standing still. Other elements need their proper time to fall into place. You will be carried to meet them at just the right time, not before.
Achieve stillness.Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (0)
Can you feel the rhythm of life? It has a heartbeat all its own. In our busy lives, we easily forget this. We operate primarily from our minds, not our senses. But there are indicators that let us know when we are off-sync.
Timing is everything–in music, in sports, in business, in comedy, in theater, and in life. Have you noticed sometimes after rushing around that you’re now way ahead and have to wait for other people to do their part before you can take another step? That’s one indicator. Or do you have a too-laid-back approach to life and, as a result, miss opportunities? Another indicator. Do you find sometimes that no matter which check-out line you choose, it ends up being the slowest? Indicator. Or you hit every red light on your way because you ignored a voice inside to leave sooner?
Just as practiced musicians keep the beat, and great athletes recognize the sweet spot of good timing, so can we try to sense the pulse of life.
Sometimes, when I notice a bird in flight, I feel the natural timing of its take off–as if, on cue, it was supposed to pass by at that moment; as if, like in the movie “Ground Hog Day,” it would happen at that same moment were I to wake up again on the same day. Imagining this zaps me right into life’s elusive heartbeat and, once again, I flow and things happen with ease, like the complex inner workings of a clock.
One of my favorite sayings is “Don’t Push the River, it flows by itself,” a Zen proverb. Another is, “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are,” a Chinese proverb.
“Be. Here. Now.” are wise words. ”Get. There. Yesterday.”–not so much.
Next time, notice the bird in flight. Come to awareness as you wait in line. Watch how the pendulum of life scoops you up and nestles you in its heartbeat.Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (0)
My father, who is will be 91 in a week from today still reads the NY Times, but has trouble retrieving words to express his thoughts. This must be frustrating for someone who was a college professor and then Dean of the College of Education. Having never gotten a college degree myself—a deep disappointment for him—I was excited to tell him my news. I called him on Father’s Day. We chatted about the weather, his assisted-living “inmates,” and his love of our summer place in Michigan. He stumbled over words. Finally, I said, “Dad! I applied and got accepted to Smith College. They have a program for older students.” “What will you be studying?” “I’m thinking of majoring in education!” (I thought he’d be pleased to hear that.) “Oh. Does this program end with a degree of some kind?” “Yes. A bachelor’s degree in Education.” “Not a master’s degree?”
I just had to laugh to myself. His struggle with word retrieval miraculously disappeared during that small exchange. At 91, he could still–and with ease–express his disappointment in me.
That’s okay, I said inside my head. I’m not doing this for you, Dad, I’m doing this for me. You can take that disappointment to your grave, if you wish. That’s your choice. It’s just sad that after the divorce you never really cared to know me, because I’m having a fantastic time getting to know myself.
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“Don’t seek, don’t search, don’t ask, don’t knock, don’t demand – relax. If you relax, it comes. If you relax, it is there. If you relax, you start vibrating with it.” ~Osho
I found a new way to spell “relief.” It’s R-E-L-A-X.
In quantum physics, all things exist as potential or possibility, as particle or wave. The outcome of this potential is determined by the observer. How we perceive our world affects our world.
When I was a kid, I didn’t really get the meaning of certain songs my mom would sing to me. ”When you’re smiling, when you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you” made no sense to me. How could the whole world know when I was smiling? Facebook didn’t even exist yet.
Now, I see that when you’re smiling on the inside, (not just a “cheesy” smile for the camera), you bring other smilers into your experience. Possibility. Potential. Creating our experience.
So, when I relax, let go, and feed my inner smile, I stay in that sweet spot of the pulse of life…and ride the wave of possibility.Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (0)
Conflict. It’s something most of us shy away from. After all, we paid our dues as teenagers. Now, as independent adults, we can choose to avoid it, like we now choose whether or not to clean our room or make our bed.
What’s the point of conflict anyway? Shouldn’t we avoid it…even when it’s unavoidable? Don’t we want World Peace, starting with “The Man in the Mirror” and all that? I’m conflicted. (pun intended…sorry) When given the choice of “fight or flight”, the latter seems more enjoyable.
Conflict, though, is an opportunity for change. Most of us resist that as well, only to find that life creates more and more conflict until we are forced to change. Why not nip it in the bud…cut it off at the pass? Hey, Change! I see you comin.’ You’re disguised as Conflict. You don’t fool me. I’m not afraid of you. I’m not going to fight or fly away. I’m going to embrace you. I’m going to bend and watch you roll off my back. And, if you come back for more, I’ll do the same.
It’s not “fight or flight” for me. It’s “resist or grow.” What am I seeing about myself in this conflict? How am I participating? How am I needing to grow? Where do I fall short? I will search for the gap within myself and do my best to close it. This will be my
“Yes, and…” moment that Jane Lynch talked about in her commencement speech at Smith College. Yes, to Conflict. And…
I will see Conflict for what it is: an opportunity for me to be my best self.
Oh, Conflict. Who knew a silver lining was part of your clever disguise. You rascal!Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (0)
I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to wonder if the Mayans were on to something. Not really, but I’ve heard that troubles come in 3s. Not so this past week and a half. Unexpected problems have been climbing over each other to get to me!
I believe that “things happen for a reason.” Ok, good, because my life lately is a real page-turner! What will happen next?! I also believe that the Universe, God, Source always provides. Wow. I can’t wait to see how they’ll get me out of this one!
Bottom line is, I still have CHOICES.
How I respond (within and outside myself) is a CHOICE:
EITHER, “Why me? What did I do to deserve this?”
OR, “What am I learning from this? How is it shaping me? What is it requiring of me? Patience? Faith? Strength? Slow down?”
How I feel about it is a CHOICE:
EITHER, ”These things always happen to me!”
OR, ”It could be worse. My other needs are still being met.”
What I believe is a CHOICE:
EITHER, ”Life sucks!”
OR, ”Such is life. I can get through this. Things will get better like they always do. I’ve gotten through worse than this before.”
Difficulties help me appreciate days of ease and strengthen me when I face them. Grrr! Bring it on! (Jus’ kidding!)
Things to do instead when it’s beyond your control:
- Focus on other, more joyous, things.
- Write when things are wrong.
- Count and appreciate other blessings, big and small.
- Breathe. There’s always tomorrow.
- Remember other times you pulled through and what got you there.
In life there is ebb and flow. Just because we’re ebbing doesn’t mean we’ll never flow again. Think of yourself as an arrow. You’re only being pulled back on the bow so you can spring forward that much further when you let go. And, oh, the ride when you do!Filed under Uncategorized | Comments (2)
Oh, April. You fly by at the speed of buzz like a bee zooming to the next blossom. How do you keep track of yourself?! You’ve been so busy, you’ve forgotten to rain. Haven’t you heard? ”April showers bring May flowers.” Are we to expect no flowers in May because of your hasty neglect?
Yes, there will be flowers in May. Flowers that stand in one place. Elegant. Bending in the breeze. Present. Fragrant. Offering their scent, their nectar and beauty to passersby.
I want to be like the flower. Still and just there. Not rushing around with wildly flapping wings. One breath. And then another. I long for May.Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (0)
What do we gain from hurting someone? What’s in it for us? Do we feel power–a power that we are otherwise devoid of? Do we feel we’ve somehow righted a wrong? What is lacking in our character that we feel ok with our unprovoked, hurtful actions? What is really going on down in the deep?
The depth of our own pain–or numbness–seems unreachable, or we simply choose not to go there. It feels better to lash out at someone, someone other than the inflicter of our own pain. No, that would be too scary.
Passive aggressive. Yeah. That’s the way to go. It may be cowardly, but it gets the job done. We don’t have to reveal our deepest, truest self and risk being hurt again.
Our deepest, truest self. Do we even know what or where that is? Certainly, we are galaxies away from it when we knowingly inflict pain on others.
How do we return to Love? How do we look inward, feel remorse, and grow from accepting our own pain?
We do it by simply doing good…because it feels good.Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (1)
“Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.” ~Angela Monet
Who’s your choreographer? Who’s your puppet master? Is it you? Your parents? Your lover? Society? God or some higher power?
What does your inner song sound like? If you danced to it, who would applaud? Who in your life would really get you, see you? What passions are hidden in the chords of your life symphony? Have you kept them silent for fear of losing your audience?
What if the great artists we admire still today kept their song silent?
Try stepping off your choreographed path. Leap to the clearing. Dance to your own song. Just for today. I, for one, will applaud.Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (0)