Life Has A Crush On You

Falling in love with Life one day at a time…

Month: June, 2012

Hours of Dark and Doubt

One New Year’s Day many moons ago I had to get up after a few fitful hours of sleep and drive 4 hours back home. I began my ride in the dark hours of 4 o’clock in the morning, leaving friends behind and a vacation that I had the privilege of joining for just a night.

The thing I remember most about that car ride was really the deep darkness I drove into. There came a point hours into the drive when I actually doubted if the sun would rise again. This amazed me.

How could I actually think, even question the rising of the sun? And wasn’t it amazing that I had lived so long never questioning it and never needing too.

I had heard the expression “it’s always darkest before dawn” but I didn’t realize the truth that came with it. There always seems to be a final push through the darkness before any change. The waiting to hear back about a job. The waiting for that special someone to call. And in this darkness somehow we even begin to question all that we know for sure – even the guarantee that the sun will rise again.

I don’t have an answer for the hours of doubt and dark. But I find it helpful to remember that while maybe the world and other people aren’t moving and doing what you think they should be doing, your answer is coming. Your change awaits you. The new day approaching even if escorted by the very opposite of what it appears to be is just beyond the horizon in front of you.

Sacred Carriers of Your Gifts..

The most remarkable thing happened to me this time last year.

After a challenging year at work and in my personal life, I had made the commitment to “refresh” myself. I was in such a lost state that I literally could only think one step ahead in regards to how I could change my then current condition. Like an injured Katniss in the Hunger Games, I was moving from one tree to the next, not thinking big picture.  “Where and when have I been happiest?”. From here, I thought, “Ok, camp was a place where I have felt my best. Happier beyond compare to any other environment.” Next though- ” Ask if you can come back.”

Limping, emotionally, from the battle wounds of work and this “lost nature” I had adapted to, I was lucky enough to be embraced back into the fold of camp.

Slowly, but surely, as the IV of camp meals, songs, and old friends revived my spirit back to what it had been, I began to heal.

But this is not the remarkable thing I hope to talk about today. The remarkable thing was that not only did the environment contain me safely in its sunscreened boundaries, but the place actually had to offer me back sacred bits of myself.

I had come to a cabin one night on an errand of the nurses, and I waited outside while the counselor finished a devotion. I could hear through the screendoor her words and instruction and then the giggles and gleaming from the children. When I heard the details my knees started to give out and I slumped down with my back against the door of the cabin.

She was doing the devotion I had thought of and brought to camp 6 years before. I had completely forgotten about it. I had forgotten the message and the heart of it. It was my message and my heart. It was a missing piece of my soul that unknowingly I entrusted into the folds of camp and the spirit of the people. Little did I know that years later, when I needed to find and bind that part of myself back into me, it would be here, graciously given in miraculous ways.

A couple of weeks later, the same thing happened, with a different ritual I had done with the girls when I was there. Again, something within me was restored. It was the message I was seeking. It was a part of myself I had forgotten.

For the first time in my life I understood fully the meaning of getting what you give.

Here, over years, over change, over hundreds of campers, the things I had given, the parts of myself that I had fully expressed enthusiastically and with the most genuine love, were graciously bestowed upon my forgotten self.

I realized in these moments that to give anything, especially the truest parts of yourself, is the only way, the only guarantee, of it surviving, and of your enjoyment of it again.

We often think of “you get what you give”  in material ways, but what of the spirit within you? There will be times when you lose it. These will be the dark days, the days of feeling lost. But if you gave your Spirit, your greatest self to anything or anyone before, these sacred carriers will come back onto your path h to share the forgotten messages and pieces of your soul that you seemed to have lost.

Ring the Bell!

I love it!

A bell rang unexpectedly a moment ago and there at the door was a timid and nervous boy. He was asking if he needed someone to cut the yard.

There is something so powerful in this one action. It didn’t matter that he was visually nervous. It didn’t matter any qualifications. It mattered that he rung the bell. He asked. He had the tool to do the job, and he saw, probably from the garden of dandelions that have sprouted up around the house, that he might be able to meet one of our needs.

This is the bravado that whispers to me, that says, “Yes, I am here – I, Life, have so much to give you, but first you have to ask for it first. You have to ring the bell.”

I feel that sometimes I get caught in a spiritual pitfall, where I ask for God for the things, yet I don’t pursue them on the physical and material plane. I don’t go after it. I don’t face the fear, the person behind the door, the possible rejection.

But what if instead of just asking God and Life for so much, we realize that those around us, every living person we encounter, is an aspect of God? What if asking them is just as important, if not more, than asking in prayer? What if we take our “needy nature” in the world and responsibly pursue the enactment and creation of our dreams and greatest desires?

What if we ring the bell, the real bell, on a real door, to meet a real person to ask for a real need and to give a real service?

We cannot help but to change. We cannot help but to grow. We cannot help but to get closer, no matter what the outcome, to living and being the person we dream of being.

Happy Thoughts

laughing yoga

dreaming of funny times

archetypes

changing your body

second guessing yourself

talking yourself out of second guessing yourself

green tea

gift cards

secret retreats

getting organized in an area of your life

moving into the space you hope to inhabit

getting everything done on your list

days when you don’t have a list

a good book keeping you up three extra hours

spurts of writing

office supplies in abundance

the perfect temperature outside

the dancing goddess in your heart

finally admitting that you actually do want something

playfulness that infiltrates your work

being good at something

juicy highlighters

using a coupon

“easy!”

adopting a new college to cheer for

helpful and nice insurance agents

plants in offices

when something is “crazily perfect”

satisfaction

flexibility

airports

submerging yourself in another language

Redefining the Cookie Cutter

I love this idea. I heard it yesterday when I was listening to a lecture given by Marianne Williamson and I haven’t stopped thinking about it.

The idea involves a new metaphor with a “cookie cutter”. Unfortunately, to creative types like me, usually the metaphor of a “cookie cutter” is negative. It is a focus on being the same, like cookie-cutter houses and jobs and outfits. Yet Marianne redefined this for me in a very useful way. Her definition and use of the “cookie cutter’ fits more with my understanding of how we are.

You see, to me before a “cookie cutter” type of person was someone who didn’t get to choose or design the shape of what they were. They had been simply punched down and molded into a shape, taking away the extra bits of themselves that didn’t fit into the mold. In this metaphor there is no space for growth or creativity.

Yet here is the trick. The stuff you are made of is not like cookie dough- it is more like pancake batter.

When you want to make pancakes unique, special and individual, you choose a cookie cutter and put it on the pan then you pour in a little bit of batter into the center of the shape. This little bit of batter is you, your true self. The cookie cutter is the new definition, a larger, more Divine space that you will inhabit. You see  batter spills out from its center. It fills the space and bakes and rises into that new shape.

Marianne was speaking of moving into the space you want to inhabit, the self you want to be. She spoke of moving into the power, the job, the presence that you are asking for. We have all heard this before, yet it is the cookie cutter symbol that made this complete for me yesterday. It makes sense that you bring that little bit of true self to a new definition of who you know you are meant to be, the greatest image of yourself, and you enter into that sacred space. You allow yourself to fill the shape from your center. Then overtime that is who you are – a special, unique surprise in your own chosen shape that can nourish other people.

Greet Like a Dog

There was once when I thought it was actually unnatural and a waste of money to have a dog.

I can hear the gasps of dog lovers everywhere and can see your fingers move to the mouse to click off of this post. But wait!…. I have turned completely, and in fact find dogs to be one of Life’s best gifts.

That is why today’s post is dedicated to a lesson from them. Life certainly speaks to us through pets! And I hope to remember for myself to have the courage to be more like a dog.

Last night, I lay in bad as I usually do and thought of the many good things that were in my day, one consistent memory that kept bringing a smile to my face was of our dog and my parents dog greeting me. They were both so enthusiastic it was as if they didn’t have any control over their bodies. They were jumping up and down, spinning in circles, running into me and bulldozing me over – and this happened again and again! Nevermind the fact that I was the one that put our dog in his kennel for 6 hours before. Nevermind that I was going to have to put him back in his kennel in just 30 minutes. No. I was the greatest, most wonderful, most exciting person they could see. I was their heroine and their love. That was abundantly clear

It was amazing to me to think about how loved, needed and excited this made me feel. All this coming from a dog- an animal without anything to give – except their presence.  As always, this made me think – why don’t we feel that we have enough to give to others, when a dog can give me so much? Why have I not recognized my presence and energy as a gift to give others? Why have I not greeted those I love and new friends in this way?Isn’t this presence and excitement what we really want from the ones we love?

My mind went straight to think of a handful of camp friends who actually do greet me like my dog greets me.  They run and jump! They scream and throw their hands up in the air! I feel like the greatest, most wonderful person in the world – all because I simply showed up. I could remember the very first time they greeted me like this, it was as if all of a sudden I was initiated into a secret club of friendship – a membership that confirmed I was loved, I was fun, I was enough, I was part of their world. When one feels this from another it is hard not to become addicted to their presence and the love they so naturally outpour.

While a few people get to spend a lot of time at camps, where this greeting might be more prevalent, why can’t we create that culture and this salutation tradition in our own lives, every day? What would happen in our homes if we greeted each family member this way, consistently? How would our friendships change? How would our work environments or schools be altered? How different would your intimate relationship be if  you committed to simply dropping everything you were doing when your love walked it and you ran to them with enthusiasm and butted your head into them, and gave them your undivided attention?

Theoretically, we can see, that this is so easy a dog can do it. Yet as humans we tend to complicate things a little. We hold back because to act and greet like a dog is actually a very risky thing. We risk looking like fools. We risk being rejected, shot down, overrun by someone’s negativity or lack of reception. But, like I said, dogs do it every day – and they don’t expect anything in return. They simply cannot help it. Could we be willing to give and act from a place where rejection doesn’t even register as a possibility, the place where, like dogs, we are so fully in the moment and loving, loving, loving? It will be then that we have the ability to change someone’s day. We can then alter their moods, their outlooks, their consistent and perhaps damaging mental loops that they ride on continuously. We can love them through a greeting. We can bring an unconditional excitement and life to them for just being them. And we can do this with everything that we already have with us right now.

Statute of Limitations – A method of forgiveness

I love this idea – and I can report that it has proven quite useful to me recently. The problem we all have with some relationships is that transgressions of our past are brought up now (and we are talking about mistakes we make years and years ago that those around us won’t let us forget!) Will we ever be released from these past mistakes? Will we ever learn how to release others?

I believe we will, and can, however sometimes it takes us asking for it, from both others and ourselves.

In this country there is a very important law that states that someone cannot be tried for a crime after a certain period of time.  This is called the Statute of Limitations. You cannot be brought to court for a crime  after this time (I believe 7 years), by law in this country. Unfortunately, our relationships don’t have such a law! Instead, we might still be reminded and abused by past transgressions, that we obviously have no control over, since we cannot go back and change the past!

I have always been bothered by the fact that my father brings up mistakes I made when I was much younger. These errors of getting in trouble as a teenager, hurting a boat when I was 14, not knowing what to wear to a nice dinner when I was 12 are still brought to my attention. I can do nothing about them, and obviously, and hopefully, I learned from them. The question now becomes, though, how to rid it from having it come up so that our relationship can move forward instead of consistently be brought down by the past.

This is where the statute come in. I used it on my father! We were driving with my mother the other day, when he brought up one of these past mistakes. I paused and then simply asked him, “Dad, are you familiar with the Statute of Limitations this country has?” The question was enough for him to make the connection and understand what I was asking for. He laughed.

“I would like, Dad, to enact the Statute of Limitations here in this relationship. You cannot bring up any wrong-doing that was more than 7 years ago. And I will do the same.”

He had a lot of rebuttal – but in the end, I simply held my own. “If our country can enact this law for criminals, surely, you can do it for your daughter.”

While this was only a few weeks ago, we have held steady and he has not mentioned any of these past “things” he use to harp on. This feels much better to me.

When I was thinking about this idea this morning, I realized too, that I can apply this to myself. There were errors I made in judgement and actions in my past, that I have held close to me, allowing them to define me and defile my character in my own opinion. Yet, these were more than 7 years ago! When can I let go? When can I be free from these mistakes? Could I too can apply this here and feel more free, safe and whole?

I offer this up as a useful tool, inspired by Cloe Madanes, that can change relationships – to others and ourselves. If there is someone nagging or treating you badly (including yourself) because of a mistake long ago in the past, remember that even the legal system has ways of moving on!

Happy Thoughts…

a perfect gift for a friend you love

recognizing that this is a step in the right direction

remembering just in time to pay that sneaky bill that you almost forgot about

the color yellow – in sunflowers, in saffron, in summer squash

efficiency!

living from your radiance

committing to small steps

basking in the time you have

ball jars

dirt under your fingernails at work because of gardening in the morning

a clean desk

“Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea – and joy to you and me!”

things to look forward too

veggie-heavy meals

your daily green juice

one page planners

seeing results

commitment

the feeling of putting loose papers in files, binders or the trash

playing everyday!

letting your hair down

puppy paws

getting beyond scarcity

recognizing and accepting the differences between you and your parents

the pace of cities

the meander of small towns

wearing a sweatshirt in the grocery store freezer aisles

having friends in local businesses you can joke around with

riding a bike to work

a phone being more up-to-date than your computer

dancing wildly

a day where you see everything as your choice

kissing envelopes for their journey through the mail

generous families

laughing until you cry

being physically exhausted

the cool hours of summer in the morning and night

the few hours a week where there is not a single dirty piece of laundry

Saturday Night Live Celebrity Jeopardy

knowing your strengths and working in them

One Pose at a Time…

For the past few weeks I feel that I haven’t gotten anything done – however, I feel busier than normal.

What is this about?

I think the source of this problem is the fact I haven’t been focused on one task at a time – rather I have been trying to squeeze them all in at the same time!

My “multi-tasking” is not working for me.

Before this I was in bliss, feeling focused, steady and consistently moving while not stressed. This stark contrast of different ways of being has made me think why this might be. I believe this blissful and productive state was due to what I learned in yoga.

Unlike what you may think, it wasn’t the peaceful and strenuous 2 hours of yoga I was doing daily (although that can only help), the practice of yoga taught me how to do one thing at a time.

You see during a class, or a practice, there is only one pose to do at every moment. This doesn’t mean that you don’t move in and out of different poses, yet your focus, your drishti, is in one place.

This didn’t just bring me into the moment, it opened up time for me. While at first I felt I might be focusing too long on one pose/ one thing, I would soon come to realize and live the fact that there was actually more time to do everything if my mind wasn’t racing from one thing to the next, if I gave what was in front of me my full attention.

I don’t know how or why this works, but this was the message I was meant to remember and practice today. While at first I felt there were so many “balls in the air” and I was trying to strategize how to do multiple things at once, it wasn’t until I remembered to focus on one at a time when the tasks actually become complete and I had more than enough time to do everything!

So tomorrow, tonight, a week from now, I hope that this post can serve as a reminder to stop and focus on one pose, one task, one thing at a time, despite how awkward or counterintuitive that may seem at first. This is when you find flow. This is when Life comes up behind you to support you and carry you gently into peace.

Crazy Love

This weekend I had the privilege of being with some of my best friends. It the occasion of one of their weddings and the excitement of simply being together was palpable, if not noticeable by the incessant dancing on the tables and hugging and singing with each other. It is so wonderful and so refreshing to spend time so excited!

Not only were we able to celebrate this weekend together, but we were able to celebrate another engagement and the decision of one of us to move to New York to pursue a dream they had always wanted.

As i think back and talk to others about this weekend, I cannot help but think of how “crazy” all of it is. These decisions – the quality decisions about our lives and the courses they will take, appear to us as “crazy”, “risky” yet also necessary.

In my toast to the happy couple during the rehearsal dinner, I slipped a bit and said the word “controversy” when I meant to say “conflict” in describing the natural course of marriage. However, the word fit and was appropriate in some ways for this couple. There is one very noticeable difference between the couple, and sometimes it is hard for us to see beyond this to the love and similarities they do share. To some this was “crazy”, even to the couple themselves. Yet when we stop and realize the truth of our souls, sometimes it is wildly incongruent to the path we “thought” we would have or were taught to have.

It is this that I think is the message of this weekend. It’s the idea that Love, in all its forms, whether it be of another person or of a career, in its very essence is crazy. It is a risk. It is new. It is the boldest thing we can do and I admire those who step forward and do it, proclaiming to the world that in fact they do love each other or this path – no matter what.

While this doesn’t mean that there won’t be hard times, difficulties, and the like, it does mean that we are alive. The choice to love and to follow love, to commit to love, despite circumstances that are less than ideal, or the typical norm, is a brave and laudable action.

This is why, I do believe, that this idea of “crazy” has to be examined more. Something that we might call “crazy” shouldn’t be an excuse anymore for not doing it (with the exception of something that harms us). In fact, if anything, I think “crazy” could  become more or a flagged word, helping us to see that in fact it is exactly what must be done in order to lead a life more true to ourselves and our dreams.

The truth is that any venture – whether in love, career, body, life – that actually is going to make a difference, is going to be at least “kind -of crazy”. If it is crazy then it is something that we have not been doing before (almost guaranteeing a different result than what we have produced before). It also shows that there isa risk and all risk can be associated with some type of “crazy”. When there is no risk, Life seems to be less active, less engaging, less “meant-for us”.

That is why this is another toast – to the friends that have stood up and embraced the “crazy” and followed their love. It is a toast to their boldness, and the loyalty they have to what they are feeling. It is a toast to their courage as they took the steps towards their dream, no matter what others may say or think.

This is a toast to the love in all of us that is crazy. May it bring peace into your Soul and excitement into every day.