Giving the gift of giving

ID-100179140“Gracious acceptance is an art – an art which most never bother to cultivate. We think that we have to learn how to give, but we forget about accepting things, which can be much harder than giving…. Accepting another person’s gift is allowing him to express his feelings for you.” – Alexander McCall Smith, Love Over Scotland

It is amazing for me to see how many who are service-minded have such trouble in receiving even an ounce of what they give to others day in and day out. This is not a balanced way to live. Does the grapevine, in producing its fruits for the world to enjoy shun the sunlight, water and nutrients it needs in which to thrive? If it did, it would not produce good fruit for long. Why, then, my lovely friends do we shy away from receiving from others all that we so willingly give to them?

In order for us to thrive, we need to learn to receive. If we continue on this path of only giving, our vines will produce raisins and not luscious grapes. We cannot make wine from raisins!

I encourage each of us to begin to learn to receive. We need our cups to be filled in order to be able to fill, or even share, with others. So when others want to give you something, please receive their gift. If you can, receive it graciously. You, my friend, are worthy of self-love and self-care. Only giving and not receiving is an unbalanced equation.

Give someone else the gift of giving to you.

Namaste.

Image courtesy of Stoonn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Eating to Thrive

“..when you just sit in silence the wind blows through you, the sun shines in you and you realize you are not your body you are everything.”

― Anita Krizzan

It use to be that I lived to eat. With each meal, I focused on my next one, or the one after that. Instead of living in the moment and fully enjoying the moment I was in – and the food that I was putting into my mouth and body – I looked to the moments I would live in several hours. As you can imagine, this meant that I did not really enjoy what I was eating.

By focusing on my next meal, I was also numbing myself to what I was feeling. This was easier than being present, which meant I had to live through and own what I was feeling. Being present meant I had to feel my feelings, thoughts and emotions fully. This all scared me, so I ran away from it all. Instead of living for now I looked to another time, a future time.

Now I eat to thrive. I eat to have the energy I need to succeed in my daily endeavors. No longer do I swallow my feelings, thoughts or emotions. My stomach and hips no longer carry all of the emotional baggage of what I avoided feeling.

Now I allow myself the luxury of feeling and experiencing a broader spectrum of emotions. Now I allow myself the luxury to enjoy what I am consuming.

From time to time the emotions threaten to overwhelm me. When I feel that need to eat to soothe myself, I get still within and breathe as the waves of emotion crash on my shore.

I sit still in confidence knowing that the sets will eventually diminish. The more I sit still and stare into the storm, the smaller the storm and its waves become. I sit confidently knowing that I am stronger and wiser with each storm that I weather.

Strength is borne out of surrendering to what is instead of fighting it.

Namaste.

Image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Relationships: Where (I believe) we so often go wrong & how we can choose differently

ID-10078807“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”

H.P Lovecraft, Supernatural Horror in Literature

Quite simply, we often go wrong in relationships when we enter into them out of fear. We fear being alone, so we search for someone we can feel “not alone” with. Perhaps we feel we are incomplete; the fear that we are missing something. So we search for the pieces of ourselves in others that we feel we are missing. Out of these fears we often settle for less than. Sometimes we try to “fix” the other person to be who we want them to be. Or we may turn the “fixing” onto ourselves, feeling that we are broken and the reason the relationship is not working well. Often we fear losing the other person, so we begin to suffocate the other person or try to “trap” them. It is here that we can lose our individual identities and lose ourselves in the relationship.

In our fear-based beliefs of being broken (incomplete) or alone, we create more of the very thing we fear. Our hearts get broken when the other person leaves, or we decide that it’s time for us to leave. Or we may choose to stay in the relationship out of the fear of being alone. This often creates further alienation of our partners; so now we are alone within the relationship. It is up to us to decide to “stop the insanity,” as we are only recreating our same fears, and this time we’re creating those fears with someone else.

“Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.”

Kahlil Gibran from The Prophet

The Missing Piece Meets the Big O is an amazing book by Shel Silverstein that, quite simply, describes many of the things we do to “fit in,” so that we can feel whole. In reality the piece that is missing is the awareness that we can all choose to be whole within ourselves. We can choose to roll our own ways and, on while our own paths, we can discover others traveling alongside us.

Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Free Love: The Search for the un-relationship describes the do’s and don’ts to having a relationship based in love and not in fear. I highly recommend reading the blog. It might help to guide you in your current and future relationships. It may even help you to avoid some relationships, as well.

Both “Free Love” and “The Missing Piece Meets the Big O” describe being yourself, being whole in yourself and instead of searching for “love,” doing what you do. It is in the process of being yourself that you can find others being themselves. If you two can roll together, then do. That, my friends, takes a whole lot of trust. Fear can block us from trusting ourselves and fear can block us from trusting the process. By being true to ourselves we become magnets attracting those who are on the same path at the same time.

I, too, am learning patience. I, too, am learning to trust instead of chase. I, too, am learning to roll my own way instead of the way I think someone else would want me to roll. Some days it is easier to do than others.

So I encourage everyone to keep rolling, so we can all be “O’s” and roll in our own directions. If we happen to roll in the same direction at the same time, then let’s allow it to be just that. It’s about trusting and allowing ourselves and others the freedom to be, without attachment to what that may be or look like. It’s about being free to be ourselves. So be free!

“…nothing worth holding onto truly wants to be held on to.”

Tom Grasso, Please, DO NOTHING!

Namaste.

Photo Courtesy of njaj at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Jeep: Cruising over the bumpy roads of life

© Krysek | Dreamstime.com - Off-road PhotoIt is a rough road that leads to heights of greatness.
– Lucius Annaeus Seneca

For most of 10 years I drove a practical, economical and gas-efficient Toyota Prius. It had a wonderful turning radius, which helped to avoid curbs in tight spaces. However, pulling into parking spots with curbs would often result in hitting and scraping of the air-dam in the front. Pot holes and speed bumps meant slowing down to a snail’s pace to avoid damage to the low riding car. Off-roading was out of the question (I did that once at a construction site and it left a deep gash in the metal under the door). Making matters worse was the frequent tidal flooding in the low-lying coastal town in which I have lived, which meant that I often had to time my driving with the tides in bad weather.

The practical, economical and gas-efficient car was no longer working for me. In the last few months of owning it, my Toyota Prius started cramping my style. Literally. Driving for just 5 minutes meant that my non-driving left hip would hurt when I stood up and would continue hurting for 20-30 minutes later. This was preventing me from returning to running; my passion and my outlet for sanity. As you can probably imagine, longer distance drives meant even more and longer lasting discomfort. I tried different seat positions and resting positions for my left leg and foot to no avail.

A bumpy road is often worth its journey.

Susan Spira

It was then that I began to consider different car options. Soon thereafter, I received a windfall; a positive signal to me to check out one of my long-time dreams: owning a Jeep Wrangler and going off road.

With the clearance of the Jeep, I no longer need to worry about hitting curbs. The height of the seat is more like sitting in a chair so my legs are able to stretch out, especially at the hips.

Oh, and tidal flooding, well, that’s going to be laughable. Yes, I know I’ll still need to be careful about driving through it so I don’t float away. However, I can rest assured that I can drive through several feet of water without flooding my vehicle (and that’s without the snorkel).

The bumps, detours, and potholes on the road you travel aren’t bumps, detours and potholes. They’re the road themselves.

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Furthermore, speed bumps and potholes are no longer to be skirted or dreaded. Instead, they are embraced and sought out, as are mud, puddles and non-pavement. With a Jeep, it’s much easier to cruise through the water, dips and bumps. With a Jeep, I’m also able to stretch out and relax, too. My new ride is the key to many of my new found freedoms, as well as my new paradigm: moving through life instead of around life.

So my friends, if you are looking for me, don’t look for me on the road. You’ll find me where the road ends!

Namaste.

Photo Credit: © Krysek | Dreamstime.comOff-road Photo

What her death taught me (GRAPHIC)

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Someone has to die in order that the rest of us should value life more.

  • Virginia Woolf

It was a year ago on my son’s third birthday that I saw her last.  She sat in a booth at one of my favorite local eateries talking happily to her friends.  Tired myself after a long day of celebration and not wanting to interrupt, I smiled to myself and kept walking by.  That was the last time I saw her alive.  If only I had known then what I know now…  Hindsight is 20/20, right?

That day faded into my memories,  lost in the mix of daily life and needs.  Until one day,  I just happened to read the newspaper when an article’s title caught my eye. It said something to the effect of what some mothers did that most don’t do.

The article talked about how two local mothers had apparently killed their children and then themselves.  I read my friend’s  name in that article.  I sat stunned. In disbelief,  I checked my phone to be sure I had her married name right. Yes,  it was her.

She was my college roommate the first half of my freshman year.  We hadn’t seen each other for 15 years following graduation,  when we bumped into each other in the produce aisle 2 years before her death.  At the grocery store,  we exchanged phone numbers.  Her daughter was my daughter’s age. Later, we set a play date and our daughters played together at a local children’s museum while she and I reconnected.

After reading about her violent death, I was very unsettled. It took me several days to process her apparent crime and the violence. The house she rented and died in was within 2 miles of my home.  I wondered if I heard the sirens the day they were found.  I wondered if I had sent up a prayer,  like I often do when I hear the sirens traveling down the main artery by my house.

You see, my imagination went wild after I read more about her death. In my mind’s eye, emotions and in my body,  I experienced the events from my friend’s perspective.  I can only guess that she felt she was protecting her daughter and in her mind,  her daughter was better off dead.

She shot her daughter at close range twice before she put the gun to herself.  I can only imagine what she felt and experienced that day.

That day that I saw her at the restaurant was a mere 2 weeks before her death.  Maybe I could have known. Maybe I could have intervened or been there to support her.

I didn’t find out until about her death until well after the fact. However,  this was important timing for me. As a few weeks later I asked my husband for a divorce.

Knowing how terrible things must have been between my friend and her estranged husband taught me to do my best to keep my heart open as much as possible. There were times that I was angry and expressed myself angrily, but I did not let it continue to become a pattern. Instead, I chose to look at my shadow; the reflection in my of her suffering.  It breaks my heart to think how much anger and fear she must have felt to cause her to take her daughter’s life and her own life.  May she find peace in death that she could not find here, in her life.

I choose to live.

Namaste.

Photo courtesy of Pong on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Calm at the Center

© Dave Bredeson | Dreamstime.com

You have to be able to center yourself, to let all of your emotions go. Don’t ever forget that you play with your soul as well as your body.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

At the center there is little movement. The stillness is here. The silence is here. The witness sees and hears without holding onto any one thing.

The sounds streak across the sky, leaving vapor trails of paths once traveled. At the center, the visions blur into sounds that clap softly as they buzz by. The sounds are seen and the sights are heard. It all makes sense at the center. Yet,  no-thing is held. It just passes through.

When at the still point in the center, the storm of colors swirl and twirl around dancing about. It is here that the witness sees, experiences and knows. There is a calm here, even with the chaos that abounds just outside its fluid bounds. One micrometer to either side and the effects of the storm can be felt 10-fold. The further from the center, the more the changes in pressure can be felt.

It is easy to be drawn out of the center point. The pain, the suffering, the drama beckon us away from it. The joy, the happiness, the excitement do, also. At the center, nothing and everything is felt. Duality no longer exists. Everything is balanced, as this is where everything is held together. This is a delicate matter to be held at the center. Just like the wind, it cannot be held onto or grasped. It just is.

In the calmness of the center the effects ripple outwards into the ether. Like RADAR, the sound waves move outward and return back to the center. The more calmness that is emitted, the more calmness that returns. It is here at the center that choices return to their maker.

To sit in silence and stillness can be a challenge to do. With practice, the center can be found even in the middle of the hustle and the bustle. To sit in the center can be a challenging thing to do when the myriad things beckon, pulling, tugging, and drawing the focus away from the center.

The center just is. It is the here that the silent witness lives. The witness that is free from all, at the center.

Namaste.

Photo Credit:© Dave Bredeson | Dreamstime.com