Life Has A Crush On You

Falling in love with Life one day at a time…

Month: March, 2012

Our Wakes

I had the privilege of being on my first ski boat two weeks ago. While I enjoyed kneeboarding for the first time, I really enjoyed seeing what could be done by those I was with and learning more about the sport.

The most interesting thing I learned was the utmost importance of the wake. How was it breaking? How deep was it? How do you go into it? Where on it do you land? I never realized the importance of the driver in the sport, how there is an endless amount of communication and partnership between the skier and the driver. No ride is the same, and it is the job of the driver to manuever the boat to help the skier the best they can.

Then my friends showed me something amazing. By weighing down the boat they were able to make a wake deep enough that you can surf on a surfboard, behind the boat endlessly. While I thought this was tremendously cool, the image stuck with me and helped me understand something a few nights later when I read an expression I had heard often.

The sentence read, “If it is to be a lasting blessing, with happiness in its wake, it must be handled in a way becoming to the nature of the source whence it comes.”

While this is out of context, reading this sentence I saw something. I saw that both metaphorically, and perhaps more literally than we can realize, we are all creating a wake. This wake is one of our best creations. While it can be intentional or not, there is no doubt that it affects those around us, for better or worse, giving them a ride or a headache.

In the quote it talked of a wake of happiness. This thought thrilled me! Like Amelia Bedelia, I couldn’t help but imagine a wave behind a boat spewing things that tend to make me happy – little baby ducks, vegetables, friends, laughter, rain, good grades, hugs, writing etc. Then in my visual mind, I saw the boat disappear and it was me. As I was charging through this life, what was my wake? What was I leaving people with? Could they ride it? Was it thrilling, helpful, deep? Above all, was it a wake of happiness?

We don’t often look back to see how others are using the residues of our presence. We are more focused on looking forward or to the more tangible things in life, which of course is much needed (you are steering a boat). But there is a partnership that we all have with each other. Our moving forward can help someone get up and have a exhilarating ride. It can help them fly and laugh. Our choices can create a wake deep enough and wide enough for someone to walk on water and have the ride of their life. I just see now that there really is a wave behind me, and behind all of us. It’s up to us to see how we can make these wakes waves of happiness for others to enjoy and be thrilled by.

Goodbye “Should”

I recently read in Nonviolent Communication that the act of thinking or saying “should” is actually a very violent act against ourselves. The word “should” implies that we have no choice.  The very idea and act of choosing is the basis for all freedom. Therefore, creating a situation where there is only one answer makes us each a slave to our “should”.

If the violence of “should” is that we deny there are other options, or rather we deny ourselves a choice in everything, then would we find greater peace and happiness, if we started developing the habit of seeing our choices?

I experimented with this this morning. I fought the “shoulds”. I fought the persistent voice that keep claiming I should be doing something. That this was not right. That I was lazy or stupid. I fought it.

Drew had to get up early this morning, and so he did. I was still in bed when he was leaving the house (6:45 am) and I found this guilt engulf my body. “I should be getting up now”. “I should have a job that I need to get to this early.” “I shouldn’t still be tired.”

Then I stopped. “Wow!” What was my internal dialogue going to be if I took out all these “shoulds”?

The remarkable thing was that without allowing myself to say or think “should” I became much more gentle! I didn’t even know how hard I was being on myself! Suddenly, I found myself asking, “Do you want to get out of bed?” “Is it pressing you get up now, or could you use this hour to catch up on some sleep, since after today the week gets a busier?”

Then I noticed myself using a phrase that I rarely used in this situation. “Are you joyfully willing to begin this day?” “Are you joyfully willing to get up now?”

I found the answer was a definitive “No!”. So guess what. I didn’t. I indulged in staying in bed, fighting the shoulding voice, declaring that today, I would get up when I was joyfully willing to do so.

In an hour or so, after sleeping, meditating, clearing my mind. I found I was there. I was at the space where I was excited and ready to get the day going.

Instead of rushing my shower, which I often feel is something I “should” do. I lingered. I lit a candle. I even turned it into a bath for a few minutes! Any time I felt I “should” do something, I had to say “no”, sometimes even out loud to get the full message across to myself.

By 9 o’clock, having worked against my “shoulds” I found myself fully ready for the day, showered, done the dishes, started laundry, taken out the trash, cleaned the bedroom, almost effortlessly. Each action I had taken came from a place of joyful willingness. It was a choice, and I had full right and liberty to choose not to do it.

I am amazed at the amount of time I now have and the clarity and peace I am experiencing during this day of not “shoulding” myself. My list of “to-dos” is more a reminder of some things that I hope to get done today, as I am working on my relationship to this list. I have to see each of those little bullet points as a choice. My choice. Each one is not necessary, each is not vital to my success, my day, my job, my progression. They are each ideas and choices I make to move me forward, to help me get my work done.

This is still very hard, but I am working on it. The imprisonment of “should” has held my mind for some time and it is hard to simply change. So I look, instead, even at this process. “Are you joyfully willing to change your “shoulding” ways? Are you joyfully willing to experience a life of more peace?”

Act as if…

What does it mean to act as if?
To me it means that we act knowing that exactly what we have asked for, that our greatest desire, is already with us.
When we are determined to bring anything of substance into our lives, then we are creating something out of nothing. We are alchemists of Life! We are creating the mold that Life is ready to fill. But what are our tools? What is our clay? It is exactly what you find in front of you.
If you are desiring love from another, then “act as if” that person who loves you endlessly and unconditionally is already there (which it is, since it is Life, it’s just that Life will take the form of a person). What are the tools around you that can demonstrate your faith that Life is rushing to fulfill this request? Could you set a place for him at your breakfast/ dinner table? Can you create a space for a frame of the two of you on your desk? Heck, send yourself flowers asking the florist to “surprise you” on a random day in the next two weeks with a bouquet. Sign it from Life or maybe it just says “I Love You”. Truth is, hopefully, you do love you! That feeling you will get the moment they arrive is exactly the feeling we want to generate and reproduce again and again, since that is how it feels when you are in love! Why wait!? Lets feel it now! Perhaps you leave your first speed dial open for your future love that is coming to you! Or maybe you clean out half your closet and a drawer because this person is not going to want to leave you alone. Get them a toothbrush. Buy some shaving cream. Why not even buy a pair of boxers that you keep on the floor in the bathroom? That’s what ‘ to be like when you move in together! Then every day these briefs are a reminder that the person to fill those boxers is coming. Spray your bed with cologne. Buy some beer or bourbon to have for them. What can you do, since this person is en route?!
If you are desiring financial peace, then “act as if” you already have that. What can that look like? Perhaps never saying that you are lacking anything. Someone who had wealth wouldn’t talk that way.  Perhaps it’s creating space in your wallet, or new accounts at the bank for what you would want to do with extra money – savings, vacations, education etc. Think of the things that represent financial peace to you. Is it shopping without worrying – create a budget and stick to it! Then you always have money to do what you have deemed important. Does financial peace come in knowing about stocks and financials? Or perhaps meditating and living well within your means? Is financial peace really a sense of having beauty and security? If so, then do luxurious things every day- take a bath at night with rose petals in it, while reading Jane Austen and listening to Enya. Ask to meet the chef at the next restaurant you go to to send your compliments. Start a travel journal that describes your adventures – real or not! Use good hand cream. Subscribe to magazines that interest you. Feel the wealth of having a home. Running water. Change in your couch cushions. Wear red toe-nail polish. Meditate every day. Simply your home. Your schedule. Your priorities. These are all expressions of wealth, and each represent a faith in the fact that Life will come and meet you to give you exactly what you want and need. Create the mold through all the tools at hand. Life will come and fill it. Life is abundantly wealthy, and Life has a crush on you. It is ready to give to you the desires you hold dearest to yourself. Don’t get fooled though. Although you may want a particular type of car, or perhaps a designer outfit – is that really wealth, or is it significance that you desire? What is the need behind the wants? I know I desire financial stability because I desire peace and freedom. Are there other ways to get peace and freedom without millions of dollars! Indeed, and they are accessible now!
I chose two examples of “acting as if” above, but it can be done with anything – jobs, careers, families, relationships, friendships, education, health. This is the fun of it! This is where we get to play. If thinking and playing in this way, using the things immediately in front of us to create a mold for what we desire, isn’t fun, isn’t enjoyable, but a burden, then there is another step first – there are some residual emotions, some conflicting thoughts that must be cleared up. But that we can discuss another day. Life is waiting to pour itself into what you create through your heart games! Let us then begin!

Happy Thoughts….

the smell of spring

growing 2 inches in your twenties!

apps that help you learn

friend’s successes

going straight into a run instead of going inside when you get home

a shower at the end of the day

doing many things at once

the sensation of taking your shoes off at the end of the day

the calm before the storm

working with your hands

hydrangeas

Goddess cultures

pre-history

gaining momentum

dancing recklessly

songs that make you sing at the top of your lungs

nice people

hidden gifts we can all give : smiles, compliments, joy, peace, assurance, hugs, winks, laughs

going through old journals

creating an opportunity for someone

seizing an opportunity for yourself

making the utmost of the ordinary

doing something extraordinary unintentionally

seeing the Divine in everything

the moment you know before you know

change jars and what they fund

empowering someone

butternut squash ravioli

kitten chow – low cal puppy chow

being efficient

accepting where you are so much that you love every day, without fear of it ending

persistent prosperity

magnets

you

Beyond the Temple

We often hear about the concept of our body being a temple. We strive to remember this when we have critical thoughts about it, when we find ourselves eating non-nourishing foods or simply when we put our body low on the list of our priorities. I have loved this idea since it implies sacredness, but it has always seemed slightly incomplete. There was something missing with this metaphor, and it wasn’t until last week that the answer made itself apparent.

In our present day society most of us don’t dwell, play or worship in a temple daily and I personally have forgotten what a temple really does or means. Why is the body a temple? Why not a playground? A garden? A meadow? A machine? A vehicle? Couldn’t the body be all these things too?

Of course! But the temple fits more for one particular reason. The role of a temple is not just a gathering space or simply a place of worship. It is to be the guardian, the outer walls that create space around a sacred altar. You don’t worship the temple. You worship what the temple holds. Like tending to an eternal flame within a place of worship, this is the meaning and highest calling of our bodies. Our bodies are the walls to our own inner flame and unique sacred altar. Maintenance and upkeep of our temple allows for the easy flow of visitors, yourself included, to come, worship and celebrate the Divine that is held within you.

While it is inherently sacred in its nature, like anything that is given continuous presence, ritual and interaction the sacredness and presence of this altar grows when we begin to incorporate it into our daily routines. By visiting or simply acknowledging this altar we are expanding the flame to be carried to others far beyond temple walls.

In my personal experience, if I don’t tend to the altar within me first before making any change, including one to my body, then there isn’t as much sacredness and Divinity in my actions. Yet it has been times, when I have given time and space to recognizing this Divinity within, that I feel as if Life itself is sacred in all of its moments. Can going inside, then, examining ourselves and looking to the alter rival the moments when we have known Life and Everything that is Good intimately and with love. Can turning inside and bowing down to the alter within be as breathtaking as a sunset that stops you from your busy pace, as moving as a deep connection with a new friend? Can we create a space within us that is the most sacred of all we know. Can we harbor within the walls of our temple bodies an idyllic geography that serves us and points us to the Divine as worship centers, camps, schools, or even your own home might do right now.

A temple is built for only one reason – to create a sacred space around the pure Divinity, the alter, that already exists. We all share this commonality of having such an alter within us. Can we praise the temple, tend and maintain the temple, but not forget and get lost in worshiping it, worrying about it, judging it, when its sole purpose lies inside. Can we love our bodies, embracing their individual and unique existence, which do need consistent upkeep like any structure, yet not be too distracted by this responsibility. Can we dare to not only find this sacred space within ourselves, but in all those we come in contact with? Can we possibly see everyone and all the masses of people just like they are, moving, breathing, working temples, serving the Divine spark that graces us at this very moment.

The Sunday Blues

In my experience, the Sunday Blues are a real thing. Emotions lingering from school still come up. I think these are residual feelings from when I used to procrastinate and finally look at the work that I had to do for the week ahead. Yet there is a deeper emotional component to the Sunday Blues, too. It is as if I need to mourn the weekend. For me  it is never fun to walk into this time alone with only the sad setting Sunday sun.

While I have tried a few things to combat these blues that haven’t been too healthy, including eating too much, vegging out in front of the TV, reading a book that is not required by class, each of these was simply a distraction and a way I could avoid facing what I really needed to.

So today, when these Blues crept in with a vengeance, compounded by the fact that it is the final day of a fabulous vacation, I decided to do something about it. I have compiled a list of things to do (with some that I plan on doing right now!), that will lift my spirits. Hopefully these won’t take you away from feeling what you are feeling  and mourning this small finish of something. Instead, may these suggestions of actions help you  face the good that has occurred and courageously enter into the turning point of the week with a bit more joy.

Take a Shower.

Do the one thing that you are avoiding the most / scared of looking at.

Laugh for two minutes for no reason (even if faked).

Give yourself permission to feel and cry if you can.

Make a happy list.

Play your new favorite song and dance while no one is watching.

Rub your feet.

Do a yoga series.

Clean your living space.

Find a short task to get the momentum going for the week – a load of laundry, finish the dishes, write a thank you note, place your order on amazon.

Go for a run.

Call your best friend.

Do a guided meditation.

Imagine yourself celebrating Life next Saturday.

Cook a new dish and invite someone over to enjoy it.

Color a simple drawing with some crayons or colored pencils.

Do your work outside.

Write down all your prayers/ requests for the week.

Text someone that you love them.

Journal.

Jump for 5 minutes (proven to make you happier and change your state!)

Clean out your closet (or maybe even just a drawer).

Do 100 crunches

Affirm something in the mirror for 2 minutes. (Perhaps that you trust and allow change.)

Drink 4 glasses of water in one hour.

Smile for 1 minute.

Read something encouraging and reflect on it (I like to write on it)

Look through old pictures! (preferably not on Facebook, since this breeds comparitis.)

Say thank you to all the inanimate objects you are using.

Play with an animal!

Practice four-part breathing.

Call your family.

Plan a gift.

Linger in a hug.

 

 

Can you befriend Pain?

Every morning I have found that I put myself through a series of relatively painful positions in my yoga practice. Some are awkward, some are strenuous, some are just plain hurtful. However, at the end of the practice, no matter what pain or discomfort I felt during the hour, I leave with a halcyon peaceful feeling, as if a part of my soul has been put back into its place, slowly, yet, steadily becoming more whole.

This morning I did something I rarely do and checked my emails before going to yoga. Here in the dark sixes of the morning, I was taken by surprise. The act of checking ones email requires certain guards to be up. I had not yet donned these defenses for my day. I wasn’t ready for the email I received. It stabbed me in the subtle hours before dawn taking my breath away with a painful, yet honest truth.

While the email was quite encouraging in some ways, it too held an ominous message that I wasn’t enough. It conveyed that there was a lot more work to be done, work I didn’t know how to get done. It pointed to the fact that maybe, perhaps, I was further from my goal than I had thought. In simple terms, it was painful.

I went on to teach yoga after this and found I couldn’t help but talk of this phenomenon of pain. Although I had gone through this pain a few times before, I noticed that I was handling it differently this time. As I was twisting my body in eagle pose, I realized how this change in my reaction was due to my yoga practice. Now, I found I could observe the pain. I could touch it, see it and hold it in my hands, like an injured beautiful bird that I couldn’t help but marvel at, despite its pain. I was separated enough so that part of me knew the truth that I was enough, despite certain accomplishments I had not yet done.

In every pose I went to the edge of my physical discomfort and was reminded of how to deal with pain. Stop, be and breath. I realized that this was exactly what I had done when I read the email and its rejection in the morning. I sat with it, writhing in the discomfort, and welcomed it and its new reality into my day.

Just like the poses I find myself in every morning, Life puts us in awkward, contorted positions with others, ourselves and with Life. These can be painful. Yet it is how we deal and interpret this pain that then we find some power over it. Just like a challenging pose, can we breathe into it? Can we accept it fully? Can we suddenly become fully aware of our limit, physically, emotionally, spiritually, career-wise, relationally, etc? Can we find the place that says, “Yes, ok. This is as far as you can go today. This must then be enough”. Can we say that despite the voices, our your included, that are telling you they need more? You are better than this.

When we sit and breath with pain, we realize that it isn’t “bad”. It is simply an indicator.

The truth is that we are continuously growing, therefore we are always striving, looking forward, trying to accomplish something. This is in our nature; it’s called growth. It is the promise of Life. But there come these moments of searing truth that point out to you just how far you are from your desired destination.

That is all that pain really is. It’s the man on the side of the street that you stop to ask for directions who tells you that  you are further from your destination than you anticipated.

But who are you to say that you don’t need to spend a few more hours in the car, on the journey?

Who are you to say there is a timeline, a deadline, and a need to be there right now?

At least you know where you are going. At least you are on the right road, you have a map, and helpers along the way. At least you have the time to sit with your discomfort and pain, and ride with it for a little bit, seeking to understand it as you would a new friend. What does it have to offer you? What does it mean that it is with you right now? Can you trust that there is a lesson, a need, a higher purpose to the delay and the pain that you
don’t understand? Can you understand that it is because we care so much that we have the ability to hurt so much? Can we stop judging, dismissing or shunning the pain, and welcome it into the passenger seat, not for the whole journey, but just for a little, just until it naturally wants to get out and leave?

If I could start a trend….

Sometimes I dream of what my world would be like if I could enhance it just a little bit.

Here is the trend I wish for…

Every woman carries a bouquet of flowers, everywhere. As if flowers were a new purse, or perhaps a piece of jewelry or adornment.

This way her beautiful bouquets are not limited to her wedding day, or perhaps her dining room table. No. They are brought out into the light. Shared with others, and herself, and are a constant reminder of beauty and change in life.

Society supports this trend by engineering vases into cars, like cup holders for your coffee. They have special wrappings to keep the flower tips moist. They have vases at every table for every potential place setting, on the bars, in the bathrooms. They have vases on your desk like they would a coaster. They have flower vendors on every corner like coffee shops are now. People don’t just ask, “How are you?”, but they ask “How are your flowers?”. Then when you see someone having a hard time or a bad day, you can give them not just a smile, but also a flower (or all your flowers). Then those bad days turn into reminders of how people really do care – those who know you and not. Those days are filled with mementos that Life and all it creates really is beautiful.

When the day is done we place our flowers at our bedside and fall asleep next to them. We wake up and feel their generosity of spirit that never stopped in the night and we joyfully dress ourselves and our lives with a bouquet yet again.

The 11th Hour

This is important for all of us to remember. It is our job as friends, siblings, spouses, employees, bosses, mothers, fathers etc. to remind others of the sacred and holy time of the 11th hour.

The expression of the 11th hour hasn’t been used for some time, but it refers to the very last time before you need something. It is the day before the dance that you haven’t been asked to. It is the last few seconds of the game where you are one score behind. It is the last time before your bill is due. It is the very few moments before whatever deadline you have is approaching.

The 11th hour, most importantly, is the hour when you have literally done everything you have thought of. It is the time when all you can do is be. There is no more doing on your part, there is only being.

To some this may seem”lazy” or indolent. Have you ever tried this, though? Have you ever surrendered to the unseen. It may be the hardest thing you will ever do. Doing things, creating busyness and commotion are easy, especially as distractions for ourselves. Letting go, however, can be the ultimate challenge.

It isn’t until we have let go, though, that Life really comes to you. It is during the last few moments when you have surrendered your control, that Life suddenly finds it has the space to work within your affairs, circumstances, heart and mind to the extent that it needs to. Life efficiently will come in, no matter what the situation, and provide for you and your need. First, however, you have to give up control.

Often we shirk from the 11th hour. It is nerve-racking to walk into this time. Not to mention we are emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted. We have come to the point when we see no possible solution to our problem, answers to our prayers. We see only complete darkness, when all we need is just a little light to remind us of the beauty of Life.

The most important question when we are approached with problems and demonstrations worthy of an 11th hour, is can we grow to love the 11th hour and even get excited about it? Can we know we are about to meet Life and its gifts?  Can we run to the end of all our thoughts and ability to change a situation and then look blindly to Life through the darkness, trusting that we can confidently move forward? Can we find peace in the 11th hour? Can we prepare a table, a dance floor, a space in bed for Life at this time?

I don’t know why it is this way. I don’t think that Life wants to test our faith in It and Its ability to meet us anywhere, at any time. But I think rather this is the time and space for us. This is the stage and podium for us to declare  what we see as true, despite the appearances around us. This is our time to exclaim our love for Life, no matter what darkness, impending doom, or problem is facing us. This is our time to be bold in our faith that Life does have the ability – the endless, unstoppable ability – to give to us all the light that we need, all the answers, good, love and assurance for our days to be good, joyous and fulfilled.

The 11th hour is then transformed into a time of our own peace, meditation and trust. The 11th hour is the day of rest it has been advised that we take. It is the bold action of surrendering to the power and awesome ability of Life.

So today, tomorrow, or perhaps in weeks from now, when you find yourself at this time, when the deadline is approaching and you see no solution, no way you can answer your own need, prepare that space in your heart and in your mind for Life to come in. This is how It works. I don’t know why, but it is something you can trust.