Life Has A Crush On You

Falling in love with Life one day at a time…

Tag: mental-health

Ishvarapranidhana

I love this word. I love it so much, I have probably written about it before. But today calls for it too. This Monday, the start to a holiday week that then tumbles into an even greater, merrier, cheerier, stressier, happier, cookier, noggier season somehow marks the beginning and the ending for me in many ways. This is the first day after a day of completion yesterday where I tied up many large and looming projects and proposals. And today, I am up bright and early preparing for the next commitment.

I have thought a few times, as the “to dos” pile up with me putting on thing after thing on my calendar and commitment list, that I might not be setting myself up for the peace of the season. But the truth is, I am excited about all the things I am doing! I am thrilled! I want to do it all – just like I want to attend every Christmas party, every Thanksgiving potluck. I cannot help but feel I am called to do everything I have committed myself to do – even if this is a tremendous amount more than what I have done before. It must be a sign that I am growing.

I am coping with the increase of commitments in a few ways. One of them is remembering and practicing Ishvarapranidhana. This long Sanskrit word means literally to  “Surrender to the Divine”, yet often I have heard it said as “laying “it” at the feet of the Divine”. What an image.

This is what I find myself doing when tiredness creeps up, or I am nervous about the next step I have to take. I pause, I think about what it is that might be a little overwhelming and I see myself bow down, arms out stretched ahead of me, as this burden rolls from me down onto the largest, glowing feet I have ever seen. Then in the midst of the Divine all that I have surrendered – my very best work and my very worse-  evaporates and is made Perfect. My imperfections and errors are erased and I am free. It’s like standing by a fire. The unnecessary is burned away. I realize again, that it is not about me. I am the channel. Life asked for what I just gave it – my wrong perceptions, my feeble attempts, my best test – my thinking that it was me doing the work.

I hope I can remember this as time continues in the next few months. Any moments of overwhelm, exhaustion or the like can be wrapped up and given to the Divine. They don’t have to be perfect – in fact, that is NEVER the expectation. No, give it to Life in the messy form that you have made it and watch with wonder as it transforms before your eyes.

Any stress or anxiety that creep up, I ask now, to be a symbol of the fact that I am carrying the burden when that is not my job. May these emotions be triggers that it is time to surrender fully and allow, with the release of this mis-perceived weight, a flood of joy, merriment, and Christ- light to fill my body, mind, and affairs.

Amen.

 

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Happy Thoughts

Writing and reading by candlelight

The anticipation of glittery Christmas Parties

Pumpkins as decorations on desks

To do lists on white boards

Always having colored pencils nearby – just in case

Morning Chai Tea

Tall skinny water bottles

Offering someone who is always upset a cup of tea

Growing up

The physical manifestations of our emotional problems

Accepting

Living in clean spaces

Creamy- Creamless Tomato Soup

Morning skyscapes

Listening to your intuition

Doing what has to be done, with a smile

Being fearless when everything is on the line

Parts of life being like a spa

Diving deeper into yourself

Always going the extra mile

Letting go

Holding on

Dreaming big

“One step at a time”

Welcoming winter with blankets and warm drinks

Finding the things you left in your winter coat pocket from last year.

Simple kettlebell exercises

Routines and rituals

The ease of eating out

Being almost there

Imagining two months from now – what will you be occupied with then?

Reverse Warrior

Aligning your heart and your mind.

Using smart phones to their full capacity

 

I love and accept you just as you are right now

While I was going to bed last night, this was the phrase that kept coming to me. “I love and accept you just are you are right now.”

I was thinking of a family member, one who I had always held at a distance, and I cannot begin to describe the emotion and the love that began to flow from me to them. In an instant, I saw them, not as I always had, through the judgmental eyes that I had, but through the lens of compassion. Instead of thinking of the changes I thought they should make, or that would be easy for them to do, I felt their suffering. I was deeply pained by things I had never thought of. The problems, issues and prejudices that they had to face every day. How blind I was to their continuous suffering, which I know was so painful for them as well. It was truly one of those moments that knocked me down and showed me how far I have been from truly loving.

I continued to say it. I continued to tell them through my thoughts and prayers that I love and accept them exactly as they are right now. Through the compassionate suffering I felt they were going through, I also felt deep love that I didn’t know I could give to someone. I felt the power of this love course through me and descend upon them. For the first time, I felt the depth and love of  true acceptance.

After this experience, I realize I am a toddler in this life, just learning these new things, having a breakthrough in a step towards walking in love. While incredibly simple, I know I will fall down again. But for today, and for all consciously lived days ahead, I will continue to genuinely love and accept those in my life, and myself, exactly as we are right now.

Reality Check

Today I need a reality check… Here it is….

1. None of my “problems” are life- threatening.

2. I have the full function of my body, mind and spirit.

3. I woke up to the love of my life today.

4. I came to a job that pays me to do things I love.

5. I have work to do that contributes in meaningful ways to others.

6. I have the ability to make a new cup of tea at any moment.

7. I am finishing my dream class and closer than I realize to becoming more of who I desire to be.

8. There is clean air abounding around me.

9. I am in warm and comfortable clothes that make me feel the way I want.

10. I have a future that is brighter than I can imagine at this time.

11. I am working at a computer – a gift and tool so many don’t have access to.

12. I am never want for people or supplies to make my job easier.

13. In moments I forget these things, I have dozens of wise and wonderful people I love who can and do remind me of them.

A Brat about Bread

I pushed away my bowl of breakfast and dramatically offered it to Drew this morning.

“I have lost the will to eat.”

He couldn’t but help and laugh in my face.

Why? Because I have chosen, yes, it was my choice, to commit to not eating gluten, sugar or any refined products for a few weeks (except one day each week). Today is day four.

What I am experiencing is not hunger, but the mentality and psychology of a screaming ego. Who knew I would become such a brat about bread.

I just know with my love and seemingly “need” of bread that I am of European descent and have it built into my DNA that in order to survive I need to indulge in the freshly baked warmth of a loaf at least every few days. It is probably the food I just can’t imagine life without . Jesus even called himself bread. Yes. Exactly it’s really important.

But the truth is, this is an ego problem, not a hunger one. My energy has been great. My body starting to “hum” a bit more. But my mind – oh yes, it is kicking and screaming.

So what? On this day four of my diet change, as momentum has run off, I am starting to realize that this isn’t about cleansing, or health, or calories or weight. This is about God.

Somewhere along the lines I believed more in what bread could do for me than what God can. Somewhere along the way, I decided that I was in control and part of my control plan is the joy and physical reaction I have to bread. So of course now, this lack of bread is not just a preference, it is rocking my world. It is God saying – “Yes. Give me your tools of “control”. See how Life really is. Look to me. Stop looking to yourself.”

This voice and perspective is useful as I tame the toddler of my ego that is acting out horribly. What an incredibly spoiled brat I can be.

It is starting to help me understand just what our sermon was about this past Sunday. The hard passage in Matthew that discusses the wealthy man who came to Jesus to ask what he can do to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

“Sell all your things and come and follow me.”

But he just couldn’t do it.

The point of this story is not to instigate all of us to sell our things, but it is to ask us to relinquish to God all that we hold most dear “to make our lives work”. What is one thing that you do use to tightly hold and control your days? While it sounds quite crazy and I am sorry that it got to this place in my life – bread is one of mine.

So take it. One month. Shape me. Not my body. But me -this screaming, whining, dramatic child that needs Your Presence and Power to make me disciplined and dependent by and on Your Will, Power and Strength – not on just a man-made fickle thing as bread.

20% Days!

There is a successful business practice that allows you to take 1/5 (or 20%) of your time to pursue what you want to pursue. This is complete and total autonomy, except for one typically requirements –  to show what project you worked on in a meeting later (yet even the meeting later might be fun perhaps serving cake and beer!). Other than that it is you, creating.

This is a beautiful thing.

What they have found that this 20% time is actually vital to the production and advancement of companies – and it makes employees happy!

I am not one to learn something and not try it out in my own life. Miraculously, in the past few weeks, I have allowed myself a “20% day” (usually on these glorious Wednesdays) and it has proven to be tremendously useful in producing not only results at work, but within my own positive psychology. No one (before this post) knew I was taking it. I still showed up to work. I still answered emails and attacked what was absolutely necessary, but… if something came up, if I wanted to look into something, if lunch lingered longer… This is my 20% day! Pursue it!

What I have found is twofold.

1. I still get just as much done at work, except am able to “check” the stress at the door, since I don’t actually have to “do” anything (I have two more days to pursue that later).

2. Life supports this! What do I mean by that? In the past few weeks, as I have approached my Wednesday as a 20% day amazingly fun things have come my way – sushi making (“makin’ maki!”) parties come to my office  or free health screenings are given where I get to discuss and perform tests I would have done in my free time anyway.

What I find is that I am happy. I get through this transitional day pleased since I have given myself permission to do and be as I hope, not as I am expected to be. This is incredibly freeing and productive.

So can you take a 20% day (or perhaps apply it to 1/5 of your workday if you don’t want to take a whole day)? Can you give yourself permission to be “on” but “off” for a certain allotted amount of time? Can you pursue what you want to pursue joyously, without the restraints of guilt?

I hope so!

Your greatest weapon against stress

Next time you feel stress, realize the choices you have.

The only thing that is forever in our control is how we react to things, and therefore the subsequent meanings we give things.

When things start to feel overwhelming. Stop. Breath. Recognize that you have the choice to proactively do something, instead of re-actively fret.

One of the best cures for stress is action. It doesn’t matter if you initially think the action you are taking is too small. Everyone can only eat, do, think, be so much at one time. Get the momentum going. This is not only the movement of accomplishment and completion, but the movement of proactively.

Being proactive is your greatest weapon. This will make all the difference.

Don’t dare use stress as an excuse to not do something. Never let it be your disability. Instead, make it the fire that burns away all that in unnecessary – including, perhaps most importantly, the stress itself.

May the overwhelming situation be a Divinely Ordained lesson designed for you to claim your own power and to put that into action.

To Do More, First Do Less

It has occurred to me that this is one of my favorite topics to write about. Most likely it is because it is “creating space” is my actual job right now, not planning events, or being a wife, or being a friend, sister, writer, yogini…The real work is carving out space in your mind, heart, body, physical space, schedule, so that each of those roles has not only time to do what is tasked to them, but to roll around in the grass, to muse and dwell in the space of what it means to be in that role.

It is counter-intuitive to think that to do more, you first has to do less, yet this is the truth I have found.

As more responsibilities and projects come to me, I find I have to first make space, to separate myself from the tasks and rolls and just be. Sure there is the tightening in the chest that says, “whoa… how are you going to do that too?” but that is exactly what the space addresses. I figure that I have a choice. I can be overwhelmed and controlled by the tight chest, or I can say “stop!”- to my mind, my body, my thoughts, my chest, my emotions and tell them to chill out. It is an interesting conversation I have with these parts of my physical and emotional body, but it’s vital. I usually then think expansive thoughts about  “how other people do it”. I think -“Oh, well! Imagine if you had a kid!” Then I think about the President of the country, or people who own 13 companies! Yea, I can address this new thing as my responsibility. I can handle this!

In addition to this self-talk, I have a few other methods that I would love to share, for you and as a nice reminder for myself as I continue to make way into being a more contributive, responsible, organized and joyous being!

* Start with the breath!

When the chest tightens or the head starts to ache, or perhaps you just feel tired at the thought of what you have to do, stop everything and breath deeply. You don’t have to know any breathing exercises, just count while you inhale, count while you exhale. Add a mantra or simply keep your focus on your breath. You are creating space physically, emotionally, schedully, mentally! (For those of us who have had the habit of eating when stressed, breathing deeply will help you get the same effect that food does without the regret and tummy ache later)

*Organize something!

I know, but there  are so many other things to do! I don’t care. You will be a more effective, efficient, useful and happy person if you clean up the pile you have been “meaning” to get to. This now is your priority. Clean it up! it will help you gain momentum, as well as, give you space away from your “to-do” list. This time is actually a time your sub and super conscious will order your other tasks, making them easier and manageable when you get to them.

* Move your body!

I am not talking something strenuous, if you don’t want (kill the “shoulds” that are controlling you!). But get outside. Walk. Stretch. Do yoga. Laugh. While you might think you don’t “have time” to do something like that, it is actually your priority! It creates space for you, on a cellular, spiritual, mental and emotional level.

With love,

Elizabeth

Sunday Procrastination Help….

Yea its Sunday! Yet in this season, with finals, or projects, or maybe just the overwhelming desire to be and do everything outside, there comes a weight on us too – the weight of procrastination.

I am writing about this, because, whoa! am I guilty of it this weekend! There has been three things I have been putting, putting, putting off and this makes me feel terrible! (I eat poorly! I berate myself! and I dilly daddle! What is that about?)

Here is one trick though, that I just used that was AMAZING! It helped me focus and get “it” done. (And really wasn’t painful at all)

1. Think of the task that you have been putting off (for me it was making a scavenger hunt – don’t ask!)

2. Then think realistically how long will that take (I suggest never doing it more than 45 minutes – we all need a break! If the task you are thinking of will take longer than 45 min. then break the task up. Study for one section/one chapter. Do the first part of the task. This alone will help with not feeling overwhelmed, which is usually the culprit of the procrastination in the first place.)

3. Take you phone and set a timer for that time.

4. Then, Do It!  Give yourself full permission to completely stop when the timer is up, but not until then. 

Chances are the momentum of just starting will push you to want to complete it!

God bless timers!

Amen.