Sunday, August 30, 2015

" Truth ... "

“ ... Can't Believe how you set me free
The way you purify this soul don't you know

Ohh, Tell me what you want
Lose it all take the fall
Let it ride
As long as I have you at my side

Tired of singin to myself
I need a lesson
I need a blessing

Ohh, tell me what you want ... “

~ Bamboo ~ Truth ~

It can feel at times that our environment is one extreme or another.  It can feel busy, overwhelming and chaotic.  So what if we adopt the idea that the truth can be found in the middle, right in the heart of this chaos?  What if we can find stability and a sense of peace in the center of problems we encounter?

Emotionally charged conversations and opinionated views fill our lives.  With this, it is hard to distinct and understand what IS and many triggers can result in blaming others.  If powerful enough, it can damage and destroy years of connection ... or it can dissipate altogether from a lack of emotional energy or changing the environment surrounding it.

The middle way begins with courage and patience and can result in love, compassion and clear thinking.  This begins with probably the one of the most difficult things I am trying to practice ... not taking things personally.  When we are comfortable with who we are and our life, we become less affected than someone who is at odds with themselves and feels insecure.  Because when we are unsure, we feel the need to prove a point.  The more comfortable and secure we are within ourselves, our hearts and minds, the less we will let external events or the opinions of others affect who we are.

Patience and love for oneself and others can help us learn to step back and find that truth, that middle way.  The middle way  provides a means to the center of calm, that it is accessible, regardless of your challenge.  

... Spending time looking within has helped me to see the baggage I’ve been carrying around so long.  They are old and heavy and stuffed full of old habits and self doubt.  They cloud my vision and cause me to react before I’ve had a chance to look at a problem from another perspective ... 

And so the middle way is between the extremes of indulgence and self-denial, free from sorrow and suffering.  It is about learning to embrace the change rather than seeking resolution.  We let ourselves open and relax in the middle and we discover, life is manageable. We realize that it is not our task to create the ideal, it is our task to see how it is and to learn from the world as it is. And we understand that for the awakening of the heart, conditions are always good enough. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

" Rock Bottom ... "

“ ... I feel like I'm walking a tight rope, without a circus net
I pray that god answers, maybe I'll ask nicer

That's Rock Bottom

When you feel like you've had it up to here
'Cause you're mad enough to scream but you're sad enough to tear ... “

~ Eminem ~ Rock Bottom ~

You are walking into the ocean and big wave comes and knocks you over.  You find yourself lying on the bottom, with sand in your face. Gasping, drowning, searching for a way.  And you have a choice ... you keep lying on the bottom or stand up and start to keep walking out to sea.

It is easier to keep lying on the bottom because you know that there is another big wave approaching, possibly to knock you down further. And so you ask yourself, do you want to live?  There is something within you, that answers YES ... and in that moment when you decide to cultivate courage and bravery ... humour arises.  Because you realize that the waves never stop coming but they may seem to get smaller.  You realize that you may just need float on your back rather than swim against the current. 

There is a softness and vulnerability that emerges during this time, with your best qualities come out of suffering.  When these things happen in our life, and we choose to get up, and keep walking out to the sea, we are not shielding ourselves.  We are not guarding ourselves.  We are real.

And so ... walking out to sea, that same wave keeps knocking me down.  Falling face forward, with sand in my mouth, I get up, again ... I realize how tired I am but also that the waves may not be smaller, but my ability to swim or ride gets better.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

" Dear God ... "

“ … Dear God the only thing I ask of you
When I'm much too far away
We all need that person who can be true to you 

And now I wish I'd stayed
'Cause I'm lonely and I'm tired
I'm missing you again oh no
Once again

Some search, never finding a way
Before long, they waste away
I found you, something told me to stay
I gave in, to selfish ways
Once again… “

~ Avenged Sevenfold ~ Dear God ~

“ I guess you’ve found God now “ was recently said.

Initially perplexed, I answered … “ I am learning to let go of fear with the intention to live the rest of this life with purpose and clarity “

You should have seen the expression on their face. ... 

Naturally during times of illness, great pain and suffering, we may gravitate toward a spiritual practice, as it provides a way sometimes to heal the grief, sadness and bitterness all held up in our hearts.  Spirituality can be a means to cope.

Yet personally speaking, it isn’t about have a better connection with God. It is about having a better connection with Life.  Not believing that a Divine being out in the Universe will grant me immortality, rather I’ve been exploring the dysfunctional relationship I have had with life  …   

Each moment, each day, dealing with what comes up … and realizing that when I face a type of suffering, my faith is tested.  True faith begins with detachment becoming open to whatever arises, the unknown.  An opportunity in the face of this unknown to experience a special kind of peace, that there are infinite possibilities.  Faith is about letting go of certain outcome, a certain solution. Faith is about trusting the process.  Faith is believing All Is Well, regardless of what is.

This comes at a time when acceptance is necessary.  That a certain solution may not exist.  That you don’t have to figure it all out in this moment.  And that maybe there really is nothing TO figure out.  Shifting to a place of being, and tired of doing.  I often think of cancer or any severe illness as a type of dance.  Hoping to take the lead and be in control but not knowing it could switch in a moment.

And so spirituality allows me to shift to a place of acceptance … to manage, cope, deal and thrive, despite of this challenge.  Great words to live by and a guiding mantra recited within every day.  As I said recently to family, no one said this was going to be easy.  Yet having the ability to let go during times of darkness is where my faith truly prevails.  

“ … rather than being better. today. be there for yourself. when you wander or feel stagnant. know your path and you are one. and just like your breath. up and down. your path is about learning. to love. you. unconditionally. so today sweet soul. trust what is within you. enjoy who you are. more than enough … “

Monday, August 24, 2015

" Used ... "

“ ... You come walkin' round here
Actin' like we're somethin', ohh
Then you up and disappear
And make it real clear that we're nothin'

I've been used
Damaged by you

Yeah cuz I've been used
Guess I knew
Cuz that's what you do ... “

~ Hayden Panettiere ~ Used ~

The catch phrase used these days is “mindfulness”.  With many defining it as “heart-mind”, being present and being fully aware in the moment.  Mindfulness can be viewed as a holistic approach or tool that can have profound affects on your mind, behaviours, habits, health and well-being.  

Yet mindfulness can and has been overused too.  Some consider it a social movement, others a lifestyle trend.  When mindfulness becomes something we do than the essence of what it is, fades.  Rather, mindfulness is a part of emotional intelligence, empathy, compassion and kindness ... which are our natural states of being.  Mindfulness is a constant not something you do once in awhile at meditation class.

And so mindfulness carries a big intention.  It has been said to be “the awareness that arises through paying attention on purpose in the present moment, and non-judgementally

My teacher explains  that when practicing mindfulness, an intimately attentive frame of mind arises, where we experience relaxation and alertness, and overall equanimity.  Mindfulness is not a badge of enlightenment or a successful achievement.  There are no expectations or requirements.  Allowing us to BE fully and give permission for others to BE them.

Being mindful, being present as we are, authentically.  Giving our fully attention and awareness to the one in front of us in that moment.  Selecting our words with compassion and kindness. And appreciating what life has to offer, regardless of the challenge or joy.  

... its about moments. moments of being true. and being you. moments of listening to your heart. and following where it leads. moments to nurture your soul.and nourish your mind. so find your power. and stop hiding. admit your pain and fears. admit your love. and dare to live. shine your light sweet soul. all the way home ... 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

" Important ... "

“ ... Maybe if I liked being alone 
I could give you your life back and let you go ... 

I guess I'm important, 
but what about them standing there they can't get in ... 
They're smiling at me, I guess they're used to this. 

Maybe I'll stop wondering when I'm gonna die.
Maybe then I'll stop holding so hard to my life.
Maybe next time I see my reflection my mind won't be with me ... “

~ Lisa Marie Presley ~ Important ~ 

Recently I was asked this question ... Who is the most important person?  As we pondered, the answer came back as the person in front of you right now.  Perhaps not the answer you would expect.  As we are taught that WE are the most important person in the world.  Yet consider this ... the most important person you will ever meet is the one in front of you ... the most powerful thing you will ever say is what you are about to say right now ... and the most important moment in your life is the one you are in at this time. 

We have been in situations where we drift into autopilot and zone out.  We are not fully present ... unless the situation changes.  A situation like when we meet someone with an impairment, with a disability or something that slows us down.  We may begin to articulate our words better, listen fully and simply soften up a bit.  We take better care to check for understanding.  We become more thoughtful in being present fully, so we don’t miss anything.  We allow the person in front of us to be the most important and what we say may be more thoughtful.  As for the moment, we only have this one ... and now the next ... and so on ...

Personally, I remember a time when the company I worked at had a Vice President with a speech impairment.  He was young and had suffered a stroke early in life.  He was working his way back AND he was our keynote speaker.  It took everything in the audience to listen fully, be present fully and completely aware of what was being said.  It made us truly listen, really listen.

So what if we took that approach in every interaction?  Not judging those in front of us, but giving ourselves fully and completely in the moment.  Are we able to slow the chatter in our minds?  And how much extra time would it really take?  Yet in a society that is about convenience, it can be a challenge for some to slow down.

Life is beautiful as it reflects back what is inward.  If we feel a void where we are not truly heard, it may be a time to explore if we are hearing ourselves.  Our higher self recognizes that those in front of us are another expression of the Divine.  So as we treat those in front of us as the most important person in that moment, we are truly giving this gift back to ourselves.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

" Open ... "

“ ... Times have changed in just a few months
Why can't things be the same

And maybe I'm just a little bit cautious

When it's really open.

And maybe this time
When it's really open.
Spitting fire back and forth now
Times have changed in just a few months ... “

~ Demi Levato ~ Open ~ 

How do you live when you know you are dying?  A heavy question to begin with but one that every being has faced head on when with dis-ease.  

Yes, we all live with the fact of impermanence, whether or not we have a life-threatening dis-ease.  It is when we are ill, we begin to have more clarity on how unpredictable life truly is ... and the inevitability that each of us will die in some way, at some time.

Experience with cancer has actually given me the gift of a mindfulness practice.  Within this practice, I see impermanence more clearly and am developing a wiser relationship with it in daily life.  And working on having the ability to face whatever the conditions may be, with intelligence and kindness towards self.  

This mindfulness practice has begun to reveal awareness around the fragility of the body and yet the accessibility towards freedom of mind.  This mindfulness practice has begun to reveal the lack of desire to control the uncontrollable.  This mindfulness practice has begun with acceptance of what is.

I use to struggle with the concept of accepting impermanence along with wanting to live as long as I could.  Now I see cancer as an encounter with impermanence every day because I see the difference between expectations and openness.

Openness is our natural state of mind, allowing positive qualities to be experienced and expressed.  When facing cancer, openness can be obscured by fears and hopes, and expectations must be met.  Openness creates another option, to whatever arises, regardless of the outcome.  

Death is not personal.  We all get a chance at it ... some day in some way.  Hence, an approach of openness can be a source of limitless potential when challenged.  Here we recognize our fears and begin to lessen its grip in the present moment.  Allowing for good medicine for the living and dying ... 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

" Always ... "

“ ... I've been here before a few times
And I'm quite aware we're dying
And your hands they shake with goodbyes
And I'll take you back if you'd have me 
So here I am I'm trying
So here I am are you ready ... 

So here I am I'm trying
So here I am are you ready
So here I am I'm trying
So here I am are you ready

  Always ...”

~ Blink 182 ~ Always ~

Give yourself permission to remove finite words from your vocabulary.  You know the one that you try to live up to but haven’t been able to.  The one that nags at you, tells you that you could have done better.  And that you gave up too soon.  You know the word ... always.

It is simply impossible to always.  You say you will always love, but something gets in the way. You say you will always be supportive, but something gets in the way.  You say you will always stay till the end, but something gets in the way.  Something ... life or you get in the way.  

So it isn’t al-ways.  Because if it was, commitment would be fulfilled in al-ways, in any-way.  And what are always and forever intrinsically worth?  Why is it inherently valuable?  It isn’t ... it is the moments and effort that make up forever that hold the value. 

We have learned that the concept of always and forever as merely a promise to do so is what is expected.  Yet our lives are filled with so much fear, pain, hurt, betrayal and lies.  We recognize in others the manipulation and deceit because we recognize it in ourselves.  And we realize that always and forever doesn’t exist.  Because conditions change and therefore the always and forever were actually based on those conditions.

Our words and intentions are put to the test when someone or something is not in alignment with what we want.  When our conditions are not met, we feel it personally.  And the years of always and forevers begin to hold less weight.  The response is usually to blame the other.  They are not the same, they have changed, they have ... yet if your always and forever were authentic, your resolve is un-waivered.

And so we begin to beat ourselves up because our always and forever isn’t so.  
We realize that our love is based on certain criteria.  
We realize that love is not for-ever, love is for NOW.  

Monday, August 10, 2015

" Layers ... "

“ ... The whole world
A magical spark
Shock waves of Joy

A simple touch
A mystery
The sparkle of life
The science of things

Layers of Love
United ... “

~ Norton ~ Layers ~ 

Layers of forgiveness ... as we continue to break through, we get closer to peace and gratitude.  Because we aspire for a lighter heart.  

... choosing to embrace the reality of your hurt 
and offer forgiveness regardless of the persons response ... 

As we sit in silence for months or years, we risk being thrown back to the initial hurt.  And we may realize that this hurt has now become a dull and nagging pain.  We begin to ask ourselves, have we fully forgiven?

We have an opportunity to discover that an unwanted root of bitterness may be springing up within.  We must be brave and have courage as we begin to peel another layer of that onion, shed a few more tears and go back through the process ... again and again.

There is an emotional core packed tightly under the layers we have built to protect us from an early age.  And we have even more layers to penetrate.  As we peel our layers, we learn to trust our heart again, to live and love freely and not to build more layers of protection.  

... the cost of forgiveness is great but the reward is even greater ... 

This emotional core, out of the blue, at any time, reminds you of the offense ... and you realize you haven’t forgotten it after all.  Again, you begin to peel another layer and shed a few more tears.  And you believe, finally a step closer to forgiveness.

Purging your heart of bitterness, anger, hurt or pain begins by choosing to accept life as it is.  And like the onion analogy, our layers are our makeup.  The more we peel, the more we get to our true self.  

Yet forgiveness can be hard and to continue hold on to some emotional trauma, we block our energy.  And, if we cannot process the emotional effects of the event at the time it happens, we shelf the pain and develop coping skills to keep it hidden from ourselves.  In essence, we are splitting ourselves into pieces and losing touch with the ones we can’t cope with.  This helps to mask our pain because we are no longer in touch  with our whole.

... forgiveness is the new beginning 
at the end of the healing process ... 

We have been taught that forgiveness is saying sorry to those we hurt.  But we intuitively know that it is more about finding the individual truth of what forgiveness is for you, personally.

Your personal state of forgiveness ... where you find freedom, courage and strength to make the changes in your life to find true joy.  Forgiveness begins with self-love ... accepting yourself and others, as is.  Once we view other sentient beings as another interpretation of the Divine, we can begin to practice forgiveness, because we are truly just forgiving ourselves.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

" Overwhelm ... "

“ ... All that You are is so overwhelming

I delight myself in You
Captivated by Your beauty
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

You are Beautiful, You are Beautiful ... 
You are Wonderful, You are Wonderful ... 
You are Glorious, You are Glorious ... “

 ~ Big Daddy Weave ~ Overwhelm ~ 

Realization ... people live by creating stories about a lot of things that aren’t really happening.  In our mind, you decide to create a story and in a brief instance, everything that could go wrong in your mind does.  You’ve just created this fabulous story of woe and misery.  And now your dealing with the stress that comes with it.  But the catch is, it’s not reality ... yet.  

It is wild to watch how the mind creates and how we begin to manifest the very thing we don’t want.  Humans gravitate towards the what they don’t have so that they can procrastinate, bitch and complain ... and blame someone else.  

Being overwhelmed is a feeling.  When things seems bigger than they are to handle.  There is some truth to that.  Trying to “handle” it all.  This is the time when our minds start to wreck havoc.  They focus on everything all at once ... resulting in anxiety and stress.  

How we move through life is by taking one moment at a time, one event at a time and slowly, very slowly ... we enjoy the journey.  

Our minds can fully focus on one thing at a time. If we focus on the beautiful things around us we will thrive. If we start focusing on the negative things around us then we are going to suffer and feel overwhelmed.

Stories in our minds can make us suffer.  Our minds tell us that we have got to find some solution, keep looking, keep searching.  Through meditation we can begin to observe the thought that arises.  Single focus exercise to bring us back to the present moment.  Living now ... and perhaps giving space and time for the answers to arise.

... focusing on what needs to be done in the moment ...

I was told today that I have a very deep innate nature of negativity.  As difficult as that was to hear, it is true.  Being negative is easy.  And I know that I am not alone in this area.   You see, choosing happiness sounds great ... but not always accessible.  Life goes very well and things can flow when you get out of the way.  
Easier said than done, and, something to keep working on ...