Semblance of Happiness

November 8, 2014 § Leave a comment

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There have been times when I’ve been labeled a bleeding-heart liberal. Often too, I’ve been called a feminist; as it seems I’m generally advocating one thing or another. Truth is, if I advocate anything, it’s that we all find and allow ourselves happiness.

Life is nothing if not imbued with joy. It’s a dry, lifeless experience without it. When we feel joy, we feel the energy of life. Is a tree joyful when its growing – I can’t say. But surely it feels alive. And that is key. There have been times in my life when although physically alive, I was emotionally dead. I had no joy. I was out of alignment to the 10th degree. Unlike the tree that doesn’t have the tool of the mind, and therefore grows as intended, I stunted myself. I formed a rut consisting of a belief system that didn’t serve me, then surrounded it by a moat of fear. I lived there for many years. Then one day, an energy pushed through that overpowered my mind. Every day since I give thanks to that energy, the last breath of air it took, and the courage it infused in me to breathe again.

You may have a moat that surrounds you, dear reader. One of your own making or one that seems to have been built by another. You stand on one side and happiness seems to rest on the other. Don’t ever let fear stand in your way. Don’t ever fall under the misbelief that a life consisting of happiness is not yours for the taking. It is. You just need to claim it, and make it your own.

Each and every day look for the little things that make you smile. Those things that turn your head in curiosity. This may be a person, place or thing. Take back your power, your growth, your joy by seeking out the things that stir you with life. Start small. Even if it is one tree that seems to sit steady against all forms of weather. Maybe its the water that breathes through waves that go in and out. A song, a movie, a color that instantly pleases you. Maybe its the feel of the air as it enters your lungs. If so, breathe it in, hold it there a moment. Then release it back into its environment. Stop and treasure these things.

Joy doesn’t always happen easily. Sometimes it requires us to reach for it. We can not connect with something outwardly that is not a match to who we are inwardly. So first, give yourself permission to be happy with you. If you do not look upon yourself favorably, you will never be surrounded by a favorable reality. That is what I advocate. I have things within my being that no one but me may like. But I decided they’re okay. In fact, I came to the conclusion that they are part of what colors me. Maybe each color, standing alone, isn’t beautiful. But together, it works. I’m happy with that. I’m an advocate of you taking back your power by first being happy with you.  Work outward from there.
Sane

Sitting with It

November 4, 2014 § 2 Comments

SittingWithIt

Françoise Sagan dans son nouvel appartement de la rue de Grenelle, Paris, 1956 Philippe Le Tellier

It feels as though I’ve been pushing against the wind to get to this moment now. So odd it is to be busy carrying out my many obligations, all the while feeling the need to write press down upon me; ever-present, never letting up. I’m here now. And that’s all that matters. So with that, I will say to you dear reader, one of my deeper truths, is in coming to terms with inner restlessness. Restlessness, in my opinion, is one of the most potent emotional responses we encounter. I would say it’s as potent as fear, but to me, restlessness is an offshoot of fear. It’s the fear of simply being still within one’s self.

Because when we do, it is then that we notice all of our inner, unfinished business, our insecurities, our hurts. The chatter in our mind begins, either as an angry mob or one haunting voice. So we busy ourselves. We reach for something that will distract, numb or drown out the voices and urges. This is usually what makes meditation difficult for so many. It’s not easy working through the mental layer, with its constant chatter about what needs to be done, then the emotional layer that unearths all that was buried, and hopefully forgotten.

It’s a dreadful state so we bolt. We run toward something that will nullify the feeling. I say dear reader, as uncomfortable as it may be, sit in your restlessness. Let it wash over you. Let it wash through you. Let it bring everything to life. And when it does look around. Doing so is the gateway to peace. One is never free while running away. Freedom exists once we come to terms with who we are and who we’ve been; those things that frighten us; those things that cause us to feel vulnerable inside. That’s peace.

Looking at all those things that trouble you sounds like the last thing one would want to do in order to find peace. Yet, truly, it is the road that will take you there. Because as long as you run, as long as you distract and avoid, you remain the prisoner to those very things from which you long release. You can release yourself by sitting with those restless moments. You’ll be okay. And in time you will come to recognize restlessness as just another layer of your being that needs working through, allowing you a deeper understanding of yourself. Each layer discovered takes you closer to full ownership of yourself. And that is freedom.

But you have to be willing to go there. You must be willing to sit with it. After time you will look back and notice that you’ve conquered many moments that once sent you running. You can’t silence or run from inner restlessness and also find inner peace and freedom. They reside in two different places.

I am a long way from where I want to be in this regard. Yet, I take comfort knowing that mastering one’s self isn’t a title handed to us upon our death, it’s handed to us along our journey. And you will never master yourself, and thereby experience peace, unless you sit with yourself first. That means sitting still even when all you want to do is run.

Sane

As the Water Carries Me

October 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

The Water

 

The other day, while standing outside in the blustery wind, I was told one of the most beautiful things about myself, “Something about you brings people back to center. And sometimes moves them forward.” I’d like to believe this to be true.

Coming back to center, in my opinion, has little to do with finding a stationary place, forming a groove, then remaining there. The soul isn’t stagnant. The soul flows. Finding appreciation for one’s self during the ebb and flow, that is a large part of my life’s work. I have to believe this is why I find such resonance with the water. Also too, why so often I can be found sitting and looking out over the bay, watching the waves as they move, or choose not, depending upon the day. I too ebb and flow. Its been a long road, seeing the beauty in both.

It’s easy to cling to those parts within ourselves that seem so perfect and good, and hide those that don’t. To award the emotions that ride high, and push down the rest. There have been times when I felt like a stranger within my own being, whose life has stirred into a mess. And then it shifts. A new day comes and the waves calmed. I was the mess. And I am the calm. The water never divides itself. Nor should we.

My idea of being centered no longer comes with a longitude and latitude. No longer do I try to define my center by any other guidelines than – I feel good, I feel steady, I have hope. This, to me, is center. For me this is alignment, and alignment comes with a lot of leeway. There are days when feeling centered means I speak to almost no one. I sit with the weight of reflection, and think thoughts that require silence. And then there are days when my center lives and breathes within the laughter of friends, dancing in the moonlight, or sipping wine. If it feels right, if it feels good, and I have hope – then I am at peace and at center.

I used to have demons within me, from which I would run. Then one day I turned. I looked at them and they looked at me. And like with most people, I noticed their value. I noticed their purpose. With that I formed an appreciation for those things within me that use to knock me off-balance. Next to my joy stands my melancholy heart. It took seeing with eyes wide open for me to accept and embrace the all of me.

Dear reader, we all shift. We all have our own sway. No movement within you is better than the next. Each has purpose. Even when you are a mess, it is a mess that carries meaning. Life messes us up, so we have to let go. Sometimes we sink low to see something we wouldn’t had our gaze been kept high. Everything changes. It must. And so must you. Move with life and life moves with you. Maybe the purpose of life is to learn how to love yourself – throughout.

Sane

By Way of Earthquakes

October 25, 2014 § 2 Comments

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Many of the significant points of meaning within the Bible were explained using parables and metaphors. This was done because society needed it to understand. I still find metaphors a vital tool necessary for the understanding of larger concepts. And so with that let me say, I’ve lived through two major, figurative earth quakes in which I lost most everything. Yet, once the dust settled, once the clean-up process was given time, I discovered that in light of all that I’d lost, I gained greater access to me; the me that lived inside the boundaries I had been building around myself.

We are always building boundaries, intentional or not. Sometimes we build walls of brick so tightly pressed together no air can squeeze through. At times we fill our world with tangible item after tangible item, surrounding ourselves with things we use to define who we are and our purpose. “I am a successful business owner, look at the company I’ve built. This is who I am.” “I am a good parent, look at the large home I give my children.” “I’m good at what I do, evidenced by my bank accounts.” Then all is lost. Every wall comes tumbling down around us. I’ve lost homes. I’ve lost businesses. I’ve lost hefty bank accounts. Down the walls came like dominoes, one after the other – twice during my lifetime. But each time, in the end, I amassed more of me. As if the Divine knew I was, again, hiding behind limiting walls of my own making, preventing the work of my soul, a figurative earthquake was brought my way.

It’s inherent to life to build boundaries and amass things. But I will say that I do so now with more awareness. The bricks are not so tightly stacked together. And if I do build a wall or two, I try to keep them low. Most of all, I am reminded to define myself by what’s inside of me and not what surrounds me. In this I feel I have become a better parent to my children. But also it’s made of me a better friend, daughter, sister and, I hope, partner to another.

Dear reader, if everything in your world has crumbled down, and you are working to rebuild, or worse, still buried under the damage of all that has fallen – dust yourself off, stand up and look around. Among other things, those walls may have been preventing you from seeing your limitless potential. And that earthquake might have been ushered in from the cries of your soul. Somethings in life may be undeniably harder now. And you may feel bitter and angry. Some of those trees you planted took years to grow. But please ask yourself if those trees where blocking your view.

Chances are things were not right the way they were. Now is your chance to start anew. Do so with awareness. Take this moment and all it has exposed. That’s what earthquakes do – they expose all that was hidden behind and within. They uproot and toss to the side. Now is the time to clear things out and lay groundwork of great importance. Now may be your time to rediscover – you.

Sane

Invest Wisely

October 24, 2014 § 2 Comments

Investing

My mind has been on investments as of late. Even when I get caught in the undertow of my daily routine, mind-chatter and distractions, the subject returns, and with it comes reflection. This means, it’s time for thought to manifest into words; if not for you, for me. 

What if, at the end of our time here on earth, we are asked by the force that gave us life, how we invested what was given to us? And as we scramble to explain the litany of our obligations and responsibilities we are stopped, and asked again. You – were given these days. The job was to invest with reverence for self. The job was to invest in the fulfillment of what pleases you. The time has come – how did you spend what was given?

Did you hoard your days? Did you waste them? Did you spend them solely upon others with no return – and now, never having received a dividend, you have no more to spend. Or did you invest well?

Having almost lost my life, unexpectedly as is usually the case, I tend to look at life with a bit more thought than some. I still waste them though. I still find myself taking all that is in my savings and giving it to others. This is fine if we are receiving a 100% return. It’s important to take note of this as you move along with a friend or partner. And as a parent it’s easy to give only to our children. It sounds noble. In fact it seems as though we should receive a reward for doing so. Yet, that would be the same as starving one’s self to feed another. Or putting the oxygen mask on everyone else first then struggling, breathless, to put it on you.

I have to wonder if in our final moment we will be asked if we taught our children by way of modeling? Will this most generous, life-giving energy tell us that our children were given unto us for the sole purpose of us showing them how to live a joyous, purposeful, compassionate life. Furthermore, would it also say that we were given a multitude of opportunities to do so along the way.

It’s important that we invest in ourselves. And if the thought of doing so is too hard to conceptualize, think of it as you would money. Your days are like dollars. Only, in the end, you really don’t know how many you will truly have. The truth is, you only know what you’ve already spent. All you know now is what you have before you in this moment. Invest it well. Maybe you can’t do everything you want in this moment, but you can surely take the small steps toward that end. Life is made up of the little joys; those moments that cause us to come alive inside. You know when those moments have come your way. You remember them and the feeling. Spend at least some of your time on joy. Joy is your dividend. Give back to yourself. Everyone benefits when you do.

Sane

Being Good To Me

October 14, 2014 § 2 Comments

Being Good To Me

I’m pretty good to me. You would think doing so would come natural. It doesn’t. And when I say, “being good,” I don’t mean that of the selfish variety. No, the kind of treatment I mean is that of honoring one’s self. This has always been a challenge for me, especially now that my spirit has expanded somewhat. You see, dear reader, I do unto others as I would like done unto me. I have no regrets. My actions stem from my inner truth, which is a place of love.

Then it happens. The scales refuse to float in balance. I step back and have to view the situation. And when I do I notice my actions are right. But I’ve lost myself amidst it all. I’m left with the seemingly selfish thought: What about me? In my attempt to do right by another I’ve ignored the gentle signs of impending imbalance. There are times when we extend so heavily to another, especially when they are in need, that reciprocity should not be a consideration. But otherwise, it is.

Those with whom we surround ourselves are vital to the shaping of our reality. Without any words spoken, we are telling the Universe that this exchange of actions and energy is acceptable – please bring more. Yet, if what’s being given to you by another is not how you would treat them, and it isn’t how you would treat you – then stop allowing it. Once you do, the eyes of Heaven turn. The revised, unspoken request is noted. And with enough time, new people and experiences will come your way.

Treat yourself well. Love yourself like you would like to be loved. That starts the ball rolling. Now keep it moving in the right direction by surrounding yourself with those that do the same. Nestle yourself in the synergy of like souls.

Barring the soft learning curve of genuine foibles as you grow and learn the ways of another, don’t settle for less than the love you give. So, again I’ll say, what are you giving to you? Do you give to others yet cut corners when it comes to you? Do you lessen your dreams, tether your hopes? If so, the Universe will never be able to work beyond your limitations. Remove the limits. Sit and bask in thoughts filled richly with everything you want. No restrictions. It’s in the privacy of your head, after all. Have fun with it. From there, be the best person you can be – beginning with your treatment of you. Now your energy is in synch with the force that brought you here. You are loved. You are worthy. If not, you wouldn’t be here. When you look in the mirror see a person who is evolving, maybe slowly, maybe in warp speed – either way, you are a work in progress and today is a new day. No one is better than anyone. Whether we care to admit it or not, we’re all in this game together.

Life reflects back to us our beliefs. First and foremost then, believe yourself to be worthy of being treasured and treated well. This starts with how you treat you. You are always the first and defining number in the equation of your life. Always. Now take that love with you wherever you go. See others as the hapless, searching, loving, sometimes completely messed up people that we all are. Give them your patience and grace. Allow your love to spread. But don’t drop your awareness. If how you are being treated is less than how you would treat another or how you would treat yourself – love yourself enough to take notice. The life you want starts by being good to you.

Sane

Honoring You

October 3, 2014 § Leave a comment

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It’s on my heart to write about relationships tonight and yet my mind says I have no insightful words to offer. However, the desire remains. So I must. Let’s see what is given.

To those whose hearts are aching tonight, I’m sorry for your pain. When the heart and mind have conjured a desire, it will be given. I don’t believe it is always easily given though. If there is a good deal that stands in your way, layers of dysfunction, unresolved pain, then those things must be worked through. The universe will prepare you. But it will do so first by bringing those things to light.

So if you are sitting tonight with a heart that feels two pounds too heavy, pay attention. The dream exists. It lives and it breathes. Clear yourself first. Do the work. Truthfully, you wouldn’t want it any other way. Because when this most breathtakingly beautiful person enters your realm you would not want your layers of damage standing between you two.

As you read these words, I want you to look inward. I want you to sit in darkness and close out the world. Then fall. Free fall until you reach your core. Go home. Remind yourself of who you are. Fall in love with you again, dear reader. You will see some things you may not like. But that’s okay. Those hues upon your palette are there for a reason. They got there somehow. Now paint with them. You get the chance to reclaim your canvas each and every day. No excuses. Just begin painting again.

Take broad strokes. Now paint outward. This time I want you to paint your world not with fear, not with shame and most assuredly not with guilt. This time, paint with love. There is a darkness within me that used to choke my breath. Now, it sits as the shadow within the backdrop of my colorful portrait. I chose how to use it. It didn’t choose me. And if those who view me don’t like it, look away. I won’t change it. So it is with this knowing I say to you, dear reader, do not compromise yourself. Does this take a strong hand – yes. But you are strong.

You are beautiful. You are divine. And God would have it no other way than for you to love every inch of you. No one but society expects you to be perfect. To that I say, fuck society. Fuck the opinions of others. Decide for yourself your definition of perfection, and let that definition be that you are a perfect work in progress. Why – because you are. You see every smudge on your palette. You see every brilliant hue as well as every dark color.

But don’t you see – you were meant to have them all. Life is about figuring out how to use them to paint the life of your dreams. Dream big. Dream bold. Dream in fine lines, dream with giant splotches – just dream. Don’t look upon yourself as possessing anything that is less than. And if someone in your life fails to honor the greatness that is you, step back; they have work to do. The work you had to do was honoring yourself by accepting no less than someone who honors you.

Me – I’m a motley assortment of colors. I am darkness and I am light. But I love them all. I carry the full spectrum of color upon my very large palette. I used to hide much of it. It nearly killed me. Now, I paint using all that is me. What I change are those that I allow into my world, I never change the colors that are me.

Now dab your brush, take a little bit of your lightness and smack it hard against the canvas. Then find the courage to see your struggles, and touch your brush upon the darkness and glide it across your canvas. Own it. Step back. Notice how your darkness brings your lightness to life. See how the one makes the other shine.

Sane

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