Life Has A Crush On You

Falling in love with Life one day at a time…

Category: Uncategorized

Life Dream Tip #1

So often we put pressure on ourselves to “have” to do something towards our greatest dream.

While I see that this personal pressure, this “shoulding” of ourselves makes it happen, the process of attempting to accomplish this dream seems longer and harder.

Instead, of that “pressure” time, where you are forcing yourself to get something done, might I suggest taking an hour to use and connect with yourself and your body.

Personally, I have found that if I practice yoga and meditation for an hour, making that my priority, my mind is so clear and so calm, that I easily can write, so that what I want to say is written within 10 minutes. Whereas, before, it would have taken me the whole hour to simply write something comparable.

Get to a place of joy where you can work with ease, delight, clarity and excitement and save yourself the struggle and the time of working from a place of need and frustration.

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Journeying to the Mountaintop

I have been silent for a month, and some readers may have wondered where I might have gone. Well, I can excitingly say that I did go somewhere – a place further than I had ever been and that was the hardest place I have ever had to get to – Peru!

The idea for the trip began on the day I posted “Expect the Unexpected”. After posting and speaking about actively expecting the unexpected, I got a most unexpected email asking if I and Drew were available to host and lead a trip of 14 campers through the mountains, desert and cities of Peru. That was only the beginning.

The thing about this trip was perhaps how full it was of things I couldnt’ expect. The truth is that I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the majesty of the Andes. To wake up and see them tower over you and absorb you by their beauty. Nor do I think anything could have prepared me for the fits of laughter that ensued on the trip. Nevertheless, could I have been prepared to walk through a real oasis of palm trees and sparkling water in the middle of our desert adventure.

But the greatest thing I couldn’t prepare for was the actual journeying. Our travel schedule was very intense, waking up at 4 o’clock multiple days in a row, arriving at hotels at midnight those nights. Hiking 6 or more miles through ancient ruins at altitude. None the less the transfers of plane to bus to train to boat and back again.

A journey, it seems to me, has been romanticized a bit. We all hear each other say, “Life is a Journey” to help us appreciate that we are not all just scrounging around to try to get to one place, one destination. But what really does this mean?

The truth about a real journey is that you get weary. You get tired. It is hard. It is long.

For our group to get to Machu Picchu, the ancient Incan citadel atop an Andean peak, I wish I could describe to you the amount of energy, effort and time it took us, and we didn’t hike the Inca trail.

This is exactly the point. You don’t get to the sacred mountain top without having to go on the unglamorous parts of travel, without putting in the time at first. The closer you get to the obscure destination, the harder and few paths there seem to be. To get to the town that launched us up the mountain, there was only one train, that was curiously similar to the Hogwarts Express. There were no roads. There was only a stream along side of us, and a few views of footpaths that the Incan’s had established hundreds of years ago. Before this, just to get to the train we had to fly to a town hours away, take Mr. Toads wild ride down and up mountain roads, and spend the night in numerous hotels. This was surely a journey. 

Until now, I don’t think I ever had a true, condensed journey. Now I understand more. There is no one who can take your place on the travel time. You have to be there, to wait it out yourself. There are many stops along the way. In life these may mean jobs, new cities, different relationships, and there will be more stops afterwards, too. And finally it is physically, emotionally and spiritually hard work to get to the place you want to be.

So often, we are able to coast, to breeze from one place to another, but if your destination is something like a mountaintop, like an 8th wonder of the world, whether that be personal success, financial freedom, Divine love and intimacy, it is going to take long hours, physical exhaustion and real work.

Yet this too is vital to the mountaintop experience. The journey will break you like a military training, so that when you finally climb the last few miles to your destination, you are weary and worn and ready to fall to your knees. This way the majesty, beauty and power of the destination has openings to seep its way into your soul and travel with you forever more.

So yes, Life is a journey. But the journey is most likely harder than you can think or imagine. This is part of its beauty and power. This is part that we can’t intellectualize or think about it. It requires a presence that only we can bring to it. So I hope you don’t delay, for the actual or metaphorical journeys that lay before you. Prepare your baggage, yes, but prepare your heart and your spirit more. You will need these more than toiletries or travel dictionaries. Since on any journey you are paying with the currency of your vitality and spirit. And the exchange rate is forever in your favor.

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.

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

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

Big Girl Panties…

I know a word in the title might make a few of you cringe. But I can’t help but write about it, as this is the phrase that has come up in my life a multiple times this past week (what are the odds? It must be Life talking!) . Truth be told, I love this expression because it actually means something to me. I have strong associations of laughter and fun when I think of big girl panties. These associations are all thanks to Camp Seafarer and the staff training they always did at the beginning of camp. 

You see in our contract there was a sneaky clause that was titled “Other”. The way they use to teach us about our “other” responsibilities was to bring out the big – and I mean big – underwear. The idea was that when one of these tasks comes our way – like cleaning out a trashcan that has maggots in it, or staying up all night with a sick camper, or taking pictures of a camper’s nose for parents at 1:00am (don’t ask) – we were to not hesitate but simply put on our big girl panties. We were to grow up, to suck it up, and to embrace the unknown of what might be asked of us. 

The beauty of camp is that this pair of underwear was actually real. At times before we were about to be asked to do something, a Director or Head Counselor would throw the underwear our way. You knew that something was coming. Yet you embraced it with laughter – heck, maybe even a costume change! We have all been known to put the biggies on over our cover-ups and life jackets, over our summer garb, all the while doing the task that we were asked to do. 

Why is this such a good metaphor? – because it is such a tangible example of growing up. When we had the real transition from diapers to “big girl panties” we were changing our lifestyle significantly. We were praised for growing up. We felt honored and proud to have “accomplished” this milestone. In our adult lives we don’t have such tangible milestones. We don’t get praised for the steps we take where we are growing, but instead perhaps live in fear of criticism and failure, where nothing is good enough to us. However, we do deserve praise for putting on these big girl panties, in whatever form they might take as adults. We do deserve to flaunt it! We do deserve to feel proud and to have fun with it. 

This is how the phrase came up in my life for the third time this week – one of my best friends, one of my idols, one of the inspiring figures in my life has done this – and a colleague of hers wrote about it (http://camdenmainefilm.com/2012/05/29/big-girl-panties/).

Taking a step into the unknown last summer, this friend along with 5 other young women wrote, produced, acted and directed a movie. And not just any movie, but the best movie I might have ever seen. It was moving to the point, where even now I am tearing up with its beauty and truth. 

So this post is a thank you. A thank you to her and the others that decided to put on their big girl panties and face the bold, uncertain and meaningful endeavor that has since defined their life. It is a thank you for being the an archetype to me, as I meditate on the qualities I hope to acquire. It is a thank you for not listening to any outside voice, but giving the stage to the still and quiet one inside that says, “Yes, even though it might be scary, it is what you are meant to do. Go forward and do it.” 

This is to her, for taking the chance. For willing to look foolish by exposing her heart, but for putting on her big girl panties and advancing into the life she has dreamed of. 

Complaint or Request?

I was exposed to this idea last night and I think it is brilliant!

Every body has the choice to hear someone as either complaining or requesting.

Hidden deep within every negative comment is actually a secret request.

It is our job to find the request, not to think of it as a complaint.

Let us work with a fictitious example:

Drew decides to visit a friend on Saturday morning.

I get angry since I feel I have to do the laundry and the dishes, and that there are things around the house that I have to attend to.

My mind starts to go down the path and blowing this up (this is feminine energy at work – making little things big)  – Why isn’t he here more often? Why do I have to do all these things? When do I get a break?

All the while, deep down, I am thrilled he is going and doing something he wants to do. Then I am just annoyed that I have conflicting emotions.

He gets back and I am angry with him. After a while I open a little, yet instead of trying to be nice, I give him a deluge of complaints against his behavior.

Here is where it gets interesting. 

He can look at me and see that I am complaining – or he can see that I am actually requesting something.

This request is far from the complaints. The complaints, it appears are just vehicles, for in some strange language that we communicate to each other, I was asking for something more than just a partner in crime to attack the laundry. If he was to pause and say, what is it she is asking for,  he would see that it is not about the laundry or other household tasks, it is about feeling supported and loved. I am asking for his presence, full presence for me and no one else. (And I might not have even known this myself!)

Then, if he tries to give me the request, not a defense against the complaints, I imagine I would in no time feel more than excited to do the laundry all by myself since I would be so fulfilled.

These requests may not be reasonable- or even know to the one so annoyed – but even if they cannot be met, the simple act of  recognizing the request, instead of the complaints,  could change the whole situation – not to mention your relationship.

It’s all ok…

Have you ever had a night or a day when you are just off? It’s as if everything you say comes out incorrectly.

This was me last night.  I was at a cocktail party and there were three instances where things were misconstrued, when things I said where complete missteps, when I couldn’t seem to get back on my two rooted feet and simply be safe with what I was talking about. I insulted people. I embarrassed myself. I shared too much.

Luckily, in my case these nights aren’t too often, but I cannot help but see with all these blunders that I have the potential to really mess up some times. Could things I say actually have the effect of hurting someone’s dreams, including my own? Could I be so untactful that I don’t think ahead of what not to say?

The night before Drew and I had a transformational conversation. When we finished I felt we were brought to a new level. We were more aligned than ever before. We were more free. More excited. More in love. I think this is why the day after I fumbled. I had entered new territory. This was unchartered seas, and like a blundering freshman, I excitedly got ahead of myself.

This helped me realize that I am not immune to mistakes – and I mean quality mistakes (the kind you think will end your life – I was saying some things that could have jeopardized our dreams greatly, not intentionally). While I think I tend to dwell in the safe mistakes that I can romanticized and write about as small lessons, I realize that the more we start living, the more risk is involved.

The more you choose to live your greatest life, the greater our perception of our potential failure. The closer and more dedicated you become to your dream, to truly living a life that is thrilling and exhilarating and fun and risky – the greater distance you think you have to fall. It is here that we have a greater fear that if we make a mistake we will actually perish, since this dream is something that we care more about than anything else – it is our secret and greatest identity – that we guard intensely. It is easier to mistakes when you don’t live fully – those don’t matter as much. I don’t care if something that isn’t part of my greatest self fails – but what if this thing that my Soul is telling me to do gets messed up by mistakes I make?

I imagine if I was to talk to a Yogi about this, he would look at me, and say, “Ahh, yes. It is nice to hear you and your loud, very important voice, Ego. But, tell me, Soul. What is the truth that you see?”

Then I would know. The quiet voice inside of me would whisper as gently as a slight summer breeze that relieves the sweltering Southern heat for just a moment -” There is no fail. I, your Soul, am indestructible and brilliant despite anything you externally choose to do. Despite any external situation.”

Anything worth doing is worth failing. We have said that before here. But this is what it means – it means that anything worth doing, brings forth facing the fact that you could fail – and fail in such a way that all of your identify crumbles, even the achievement of your secret greatest desires in life .

But perhaps it is just then,when your identity is lost, that the ashes only nourish the soil for your Soul to truly root down and have a chance to grow in your life.