Sunday, July 9, 2017

Breathe - Become Aware - That's It

I woke up to a cloudy sky this morning.  That might not seem like much but after 90 degree temps for a few days, you begin to truly appreciate clouds.  The clouds mean cooler temperatures, at least for the moment.  The sun is shining casting a hazy diffused light over everything in this moment and I’m finding myself incredibly grateful.

The energy of late has been so very powerful.  When you are sensitive to energy, there are just things that you notice.  With great curiosity do I let my mind reach for whatever it is that is tapping me on the shoulder with an, “I’m here” sort of vibe.  “Cool,” I think.  The energy is a comfort, much like these beautiful clouds keeping the temperature a bit more comfortable this morning.

I’m sipping coffee, fan on, windows wide open just listening to the birds sing.  They are creating a gentle symphony of natur-ific sound this morning and it sets off this feeling of joy from deep within my soul.  To be able to feel this and write about this just now is no less than a miracle for me.  A miracle I’m beyond grateful to experience.  There is just this beautiful sense of connection in this moment that I had to share it.  I hope as you read these words, you can feel it too.

I’m going to run off and just be for a few moments but as I sat here, I had to share this idea, this concept of just noticing my surrounds fully with all of my senses while simply breathing.  This act, this ability is a balm to any weary soul.  It’s hard to shake off the perceptional filters sometimes but, the breath is the key, awareness of the breath while experiencing this is the opening door and the calm, beautiful peace of it is like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  These moments should not be missed.  These moments are so rare and precious and do you know what the truly beautiful part is?  You need only close your eyes, breathe, be curiously aware without attaching any expectation or emotion to the moment to experience it.  That means, this can go with you no matter where you are.  Busy traffic-filled street – Breathe – Notice – Become Aware.  Hectic day sitting in your office chair -  Breathe – Notice – Become Aware.  Challenging discussion – Breathe – Notice – Become Aware.  Quiet stroll – Breathe – Notice – Become Aware.  Sipping coffee on a hot morning – Breathe – Notice – Become Aware.  You can take this with you.  Won’t you take this with you?  Wouldn’t you like to?  Great!  It’s settled!  Have a fabulous stretch of beautiful moments of breathing awareness.

© 2017 Jaie Hart (photo/words)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Moving Through Time

My youngest middle child graduated high school last week.  It was the most perfect day.  Work slowed down the weeks leading up to the event allowing me to take time off, the day was a bright beautiful and warm sunny day.  The stadium was huge and the vibe was a very, very light, excited and happy one.  We picked her out easily among the almost 900 children graduating.  I watched her sitting there, looking so grown up.  Sitting like a lady ready to receive her reward for many years of very hard work, she was.  I was so proud of her.  I was so proud of them all.

Now, tomorrow, the baby daughter is going to be promoted from middle to high school and sometimes I swear my eyes must be deceiving me.  She’s as tall as me now and is so excited to get to it.  Wow, there are just so many transitions going on in my life right now.  I’ve heard from my oldest middle child recently.  He’s got a good job and is helping his dad with the mortgage, I hear.  So, so, so proud am I.  My oldest is finishing up a certificate program in college and they’re all, every one of my children, looking forward to studying this, doing that, traveling and experiencing life.  Where did the time go?  Whatever will I do with the time that I have now?  We just keep moving through time.  I'll keep moving through time.

Child rearing now almost complete, I look ahead and see a whole new world and it is so different from when I was young.  It is always like that, isn’t it?  How many times have we heard our parents say, “The world is a lot different now than when I was young?”  I’m feeling a bit older, a bit wiser and yet so very curious.  There is that feeling of, “Okay, now what?”  I’m not sure I’m so eager to know.  Time, as we experience here on Earth is linear.  But I seem to be experiencing and re-experiencing so many times of my life all at once lately…yesterday…today…years ago.  I suppose it is normal to be in this space and time of my life feeling just exactly as I’m feeling.

I guess in a way, I’m being promoted too.  I’m graduating from one part of my life to the next.  No longer will I be the mommy person in my home with little one’s tugging at my pant legs for “uppies,” or picking those darned Capri Sun straw wrappers off of my shoes before I leave for work.  I look ahead and wonder what it might be like to experience a room I cleaned 15 minutes before, still clean just as I left it.  Ha ha ha who am I kidding, 2 are still living at home full time.  A mother can dream, right?

I’m so grateful today, for this moment, for the lives of each one of my children and for the time that I’ve spent from the first moment I saw them.  I’m grateful to be a mom and I’m grateful that as we move through time, I get to re-experience being just a woman again as far as the day-to-day goes.  My children’s lives will be so full, I’m sure of it.  I look forward to hearing of each new discovery as I give them more and more room to spread their wings and learn the beautiful act of flight.  I suppose my job will never truly ever be done but I’m glad for each stage and each new discovery that I make too.  We’ve come a long way over time and now I hope it, time… stretches out and reaches to ever more beautiful places for us all to see and experience as we live and breathe.  I send blessings to you all for each of your own promotion and graduation experiences.  Celebrate them with gratitude and great wonder for what has been and what may yet come.  Be fully present as you move through time. May your God or Goddess bless you fully each step of the way as well.  Never lose that wonder.  Keep the faith in you.  I do!

©2017 Jaie Hart (photo/words)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Surviving Emotional Landmines


How do we separate ourselves from a reaction that seems to blindly stem from the core of our soul and keep us from treading the dark waters of emotional doom?  I think about this often, especially as I see social media verbal attacks wreaking havoc in the lives of those I am acquainted.  I think before we can get to the point of being able to separate ourselves from a moment of uncomfortable reaction, we have to understand our typical psychological behavior.  

For starters, we frequently judge what we see and experience based on a very complex set of psychological filters.  None of us is precisely the same in this regard as our experiences from every second of every minute of our lives has varied.  Then, there is this little acknowledged concept that our hopes and fears help establish our beliefs and, well, we unconsciously give credence to our beliefs as truth through reacting to situations before we have a moment to clearly think.  We do this quite innocently but we do it none-the-less.  So, in our daily interactions we all have these seeds that are psychological landmines of sorts waiting unseen until someone comes close enough in word or action to set things off.  We can then react somewhat unconsciously to whatever situation arises.  Because we “feel” the need to react, we must be justified.  We can weave a tale and tell it many times and get others to agree with us after the fact.  But, if we get so caught up in the superficiality of the event, we will often miss the true opportunity these situations can bring us.

Back to the seeds for just a moment.  These blessed little seeds that become our daily triggers are not the awful things we consider them to be.  Each time one of these little seeds becomes irritated to the point were about to blow, we have a beautiful opportunity to explore the core, the source of whatever it is that is getting a rise out of us.  Why does this matter?  Well, if you didn’t know these little psychological seeds, traumas or fears were hidden within you, you may never get the opportunity to identify any of the hidden beliefs and fears you hold.  Once you identify the inner most fears and beliefs not based in reality that don’t really serve you any more, you can step back and view them in the clear and pristine light of day and decide whether or not you wish to let them control you and your behavior any longer.  If we can separate ourselves from the reaction of a moment and try as best as we can to understand the truth of the heart and soul of us, we may find all these little irritating and well-triggering situations no longer have to wreak havoc in our lives.  We can also learn to respond better to a situation instead of continuously helplessly reacting.  Another truly beautiful benefit is that we can understand others who go on the offense a little better and thoughtfully guard ourselves as we go further.

I have to admit that I’ve run across many of these little irritating seeds in my life.  My reactions used to drive me mad with adrenaline pumping fear and anger.  But, when I learned to identify what they were or that they even existed, I found that my reactions were changing and my interactions became much more stable.  I began to feel much more comfortable in my own skin.  I also learned that those I faced were in the same boat I was in!  I have to say, this is a wonderful part of growing older.  You understand so much more, you can allow yourself greater patience and you can forgive yourself and others a bit more readily.  You just need to develop the ability to separate yourself from a moment of triggered exchange.   When you can feel that urge and then immediately separate from it to view it more honestly and openly with the goal of understanding, things change and you will grow.  Even if in a moment, you just understand an uncomfortable change is truly about another's hidden landmines, you have grown.  Is this easy?  No way!  Is it worth it?  Absolutely!   

Some food for thought, the next time you feel triggered by fear or anger, take no other action than a slow and deep contemplative in breath.  Breathe out then, very slowly and feel what it feels like to be in your body.  Silence will not hurt you in these moments but breathing to help you stabilize yourself at your center, will help you better respond to a potentially uncomfortable emotional situation.  With a clear head, you can interact to resolve, choose to speak or not and even decide to stay and state your case or choose the matter isn’t really worth your time and walk away to recover.  Sometimes these choices come in the span of a heart beat.  Consider making great use of these lightning fast moments to realize that gut level reaction is actually a message to you and that all the chemicals that are triggered within you are truly meant to give you the energy to face whatever it is you’ve been triggered by.  In these very brief moments you can alter the direction of relationships, friendships and even the path of your own journey.  You can even begin to grow in ways you never thought possible.  I wish you a blessed grand awakening with every breath and step you take!  It matters.  You matter.

© 2017 Jaie Hart (photo/words)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Triggers - Flashes of Emotion or Opportunities for Insight?

Human interactions can sometimes be so difficult.  We sometimes beat ourselves up after certain interactions thinking, “Why didn’t I say this or say that or why did I say anything at all!”  You need to understand something about us humans.  Environmental psychology and, well, the stuff we just come in here with leaves us with trigger points.  These are those little internal flash points we people do or say that one thing or many things in just that special way that pushes our buttons.  It is so easy to look back in hindsight when calm and un-triggered and see clearly what someone said or did wasn’t about us at all.

But wow those triggers, huh?!  If you realize that the thing that gets your goat is a trigger and you learn to own your triggers, the impact starts to lessen a bit.  Sometimes it is good enough to get to the point where you recognize you have been triggered and then in those moments following, just breathe forgiving yourself for being triggered.  It is okay to be triggered, its okay to find you’ve got goats for someone to get.  What’s not okay is living in denial and blaming everyone else for your triggers.  Here is a very harsh reality, triggers are not the fault of the person pushing your buttons.  There, I said it.  It’s the truth and I know all too well how much it hurts.  There is a part of us that becomes so angry that we’ve been triggered at all and we just want to blame someone, something…anything for the terrible toxic energy that seems to be the instant result.  But, that only damages our relationships and makes it harder for us to establish new ones.

So, what do we do with these triggers?  How do we make them go away?  More harsh news, I don’t know that everyone can make them go away.  Sometimes I think the best we can hope for is understanding and maybe even some compassion.  If someone makes a joke at your expense trying to aggrandize themselves while terribly minimizing you or your efforts and you have a trigger point around this, terrible things can begin to happen in your mind in a split second.  If you do not learn to recognize this anger, or this toxic emotion being generated by you seemingly as a result of someone else’s words or actions, this trigger point can really be damaging for you.  But, if over time you can learn to see the trend of the types of things that trigger you and you begin to understand this is about fear that you hold and that the interaction truly only serves to give you a chance to understand the trigger point is there, you will have made great strides towards recovery. 

There are wounds we all carry and you can spend a life time trying to figure out why something is there and maybe some of us should – maybe through therapy.  But, sometimes we just have to understand, accept ourselves, wounds – trigger points – and all and just learn to take a breath, disengage and get peaceful again.  Whether someone meant to trigger you or not isn’t really the point at all.  The point is you recognizing you have a trigger point.  Living with them isn’t so hard if you can understand that they exist and you don’t have to beat yourself or others up because you became triggered.  You really don’t. 

This is a whole new way of living with love and understanding towards yourself first and then others in a more healthy way.  Revenge is a message.  Anger is a message.  Sadness is a message.  What is that message?  Simply put, it is that there is a wound.  No matter how it got there, there is a wound and wounds need care and healing time not thrashing, bashing, avenging and threatening yourself or  others.  In a calm and cooler mind, you can acknowledge that you’ve been triggered, get some space for yourself to recover from the moment and then just be with the trigger.  Looking deeply and fearlessly within, you can do this.  It doesn’t mean you did something wrong or that something is wrong with you.  We all have our triggers and their levels of severity vary.  But, the realization of our own body’s messaging system through emotion and energy can truly be your saving grace.  We don’t need to internalize our anger.  We just need to understand that its there for whatever reason and give it space in non-action (other than awareness) for the intensity of a moment to shift.  That is damn hard!  But there are positive actions you can take.  If there are people who continually trigger you, do your best to spend less time with them – get some counseling to help you deal with your own emotions about what these people do that triggers you or even go the no contact route if need be.  Every person deserves the right to set boundaries to protect themselves  but we must always remember to also protect ourselves from our own negative thoughts.

There are so many tools available that can help us learn to be with emotion rather than running from, stuffing, projecting or transferring our emotion onto others psychologically.  Some of this stuff happens so quickly we don’t even know its happening consciously.  But we can learn to become consciously aware by listening to our emotion, knowing emotion isn’t always fact but it is a message.  Clearly and rationally and also, very safely exploring is paramount. 

We’ve all got our triggers and flashpoints and we may not ever be able to stop them.  But we can learn different behavior that better supports us while we learn to accept ourselves wounds and all.  No matter what you’ve been through, you are worth the effort of understanding, awareness, breathing and peace.  But in the end, it’s all about what you want to do and how you choose to live your life.  If you wish to live it blindly being triggered, that’s okay.  If you want to live it with more peace, serenity and support, you may have to learn better coping strategies for those times you become triggered.  We sometimes think this stuff is the end of the world in a heated moment but it doesn’t have to be.

It just doesn’t have to be horrible or result in terrible things said or done in a moment of emotion.  We can learn if we want to, we can become more aware if we want to.  I guess we just have to get to the point that we can’t live with our own toxic emotion.  These are great opportunities to learn from.  We just have to be willing to do the learning.  Just some food for thought today.  Blessings of great awareness, love, healing and understanding to you all.

© 2017, Jaie Hart (photo/words)

Friday, January 27, 2017

A Day in an Ordinary Life

I didn’t sleep much last night.  I’m not sure why on one hand and on the other, I’m not surprised at all.  Social media is teaming with fear, fear and well, some more fear.  I wasn’t consciously engaged in it much as I know it is just the political machinations of a new administration at the core of it.  As if the change were not enough to send people over the edge, then there is what comes next, more change.  I finally got myself up at 4:30 am and engaged in my ordinary routine...there was a shower and coffee in my immediate future and, well, it’s Friday and I’ve got the day off.

A day off for a mom doesn’t always work out to be anything else but not showing up at the office.  I had children to get to school, chores on a timeline (aka, the trash-truck comes this morning) and I’ve got old furniture to schedule for a pick up, appointments to schedule and correspondence to attend to.  In the midst of all this my mind drifts to the cool weather and the first real Winter for us in California in a few years.  The rain washed everything clean and now we’ve got a strong cool wind blowing everything away.  The trees look so bare with few rebel leaves holding tight against the wind.  The skies are so blue and I’m grateful, so warm here tapping away at the keys on my computer.

Such an exciting life, isn’t it?  Sometimes I allow the stray thoughts of dissatisfaction to roam and I just notice them without attaching much importance to them.  I never thought in my wildest dreams I would have what I wanted most, to be a Mother, to have my own place and to be able to carry myself and my family through this world.  I’m far from carefree though.  I’ve got a shoulder injury we don’t know the origins of and weeks ahead of chiropractic care and painful physical therapy.  It’s a bit daunting and frustrating but I’ll do whatever it takes because I can’t lose the use of my arm, I’m only 50 for goodness sake and intend to enjoy the rest of my life!

I’m not overly optimistic about our little part of the world here of late but I hold fast to a state of curiosity and fight off the doomsdayer's words looking away from them at every turn.  I just don’t see much use in engaging in dreadful thoughts about a horrid future.  I can’t engage with the people bashing women or anyone else for marching for what they believe in or the others engaging in wholly unsavory behavior ruining the world they live in because of someone they think is ruining their world.  This makes no sense to me.  I’m a peaceful soul who holds compassion truly for all sides.  I understand.  Everyone does the thing they think is best for them, they act out sometimes, terrorize sometimes but none of it matters in the way they think.  They take global things personally and personal things globally and it’s all like some far out and crazy circus of madness if you ask me.

Today, I’m going to be home, resting.  I may write a bit, color in the gorgeous coloring books my partner and children bought me and maybe resign myself to letting the world be as it is and love it any way for its multi-faceted display of experiences.  Life is truly amazing when you shift your perspective to one of observation without emotional attachment to specific outcomes.  It doesn’t create the horrid apathy one thinks. Instead, at least for me, it creates a greater appreciation within me for diversity, expression and the varied perspectives we hold.  I may not like everything that is happening in the world right now but I know that the only thing I can bring to it is my loving attention, positive energy, respect and appreciation right now.  Anything else I might engage in emotionally, might not be so positive or uplifting for me or those around me.   

I will do my best to see a better world and ignore those who attempt so vigorously to cram fear in my face and destroy the true love, compassion and peace in my soul.  I won’t let them even if I know they mostly mean well.  I may be unpopular in my approach to what is but I’ll not waste energy where it is not needed.  I just can’t bring myself to add to the negative energy of it all and believe me, there is a LOT of negative energy permeating all communication channels just now.  So, I will do what I can.  I will pray, support organizations that I think make a difference, fight hard to stay positive, optimistic and more that those in power will learn about what truly serves humanity, that the people will learn what truly serves and what doesn’t and mostly, above all else, I’ll pray for everyone mired in fear and those who need help and healing at this time.  Some day in the life huh?  Pretty low key, pretty boring and un-sensational.  But for me, it is calm and peaceful amidst chaos.  It seems it's always like that.  I don’t mind so much any more.  Blessings of peace, of hope and calm for all.

© 2017 Jaie Hart (photo/words)

Monday, January 16, 2017

A Split Decision and Peace

I had occasion to visit a local theme park a few days ago.  Aside from letting my inner child out with much excitement, I made an unexpected discovery.  I’ve never been one for amusement park rides or fast-moving roller-coasters that take you way up high away from the Earth’s normal pull on your being and let you free fall quickly back down.  There is a feeling in it that I just never cared for.  To describe it might sound strange or to some of you, not but its that tightening sensation at the core of my being during free fall that I just never ever liked.  I don’t care for the feeling of gravity forces on me at any rate of speed.  I guess I just never found any joy in it.

Well, upon my recent visit to the “Happiest place on Earth,” I went on one of those rides…not a big one or a fast one, mind you, but one with a bit of a drop.  This time as I  approached the few seconds before the drop I knew would be coming, instead of tensing up, I let go.  I let go and let whatever would happen, happen.  The rise in the darkness came and then the drop and I relaxed so fully into the experience of it I felt near out of body.  Time slowed in my consciousness and I felt a very familiar sensation.  It was nearly just like that moment in the void during my NDE (Near Death Experience) where there was no motion, no body to tense, no light, no anything but just me, my consciousness and a presence.  Well, that is what I felt this time.  I let go so fully without any concern.  I found myself for mere seconds in a state where nothing in my life held any significance for me and that meant, there was nothing for me to fight against.  In that moment "life" as I knew it didn’t hold significance because I knew whether I tensed up or relaxed, all was going to be as it was.  It needed no interference from me focused or not and it would go on as it was meant to.  It's hard to put the exact sentiment into words.

When I reached the bottom of the drop, my senses came back to me with the sounds of rushing water and the screaming of exhilaration from the children I traveled on the ride with (grown up ones too) and I just smiled from somewhere deep inside of my being.  I knew what was coming, I knew I didn’t care for the feeling of gravity pulling me back to Earth but I enjoyed it truly for the first time in this life.  Now, I’ll not be setting my sights on bigger and faster roller-coasters for that just isn’t my way.  I don’t derive joy from getting a fix of my own adrenaline.  Every day life does that enough for me, honestly.  But, I did feel a sense of triumph.  Not for making it through the amusement park ride but rather for a moment of letting go so completely that I felt myself disappear into a place of pure peace, quiet and freedom.  I can’t explain it any better than that.

It was a perfect day in every other way but in this moment, I found the day to be extraordinary and it took the least amount of effort.  It took only a split second decision to shift my focus from a point of resistance to a point of complete and total surrender and I have to tell you that it freed a part of my psyche in a way I can’t say I’ve enjoyed much in my life.  Now, I don’t intend to run around the rest of my life extrapolating tiny moments of decision making to give myself a little buzz of triumph but I will hold gratitude for every moment that I am granted and have wits about me enough to recognize that in much of this life I am given a choice in terms of how I will experience something.  That, to me, is an epic outcome to a simple and yet at times very complex, adventure…Life.

Copyright 2017, (photo and words), Jaie Hart

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Gentle Rain from My Ceiling

The leak in my ceiling is like a gentle waterfall and as the hours go by, the paint bubbles to release some more.  It’s almost like this place is filled with pent up emotion bubbling out and ready to fall.  I’m home now waiting for the contractor to arrive.  He’ll pull down the dry wall and the water will fall whichever way it wants to.  It won’t have to find the seam from the last repair to try to worm it’s way out and about from behind the dry wall.  So many metaphors spool up and race to reach my finger tips.  I think I’ll just acknowledge them and flow more gently with the vibe of the day.

Things go wrong sometimes at the worst possible time.  You can stress and worry about these things or you can just take things as they come, do what you can do and well, just breathe.  I never in my life would have thought a leak coming through my ceiling would bring me peace.  Really, I’ve already done everything I could possibly do and now I wait.  I wait for help and assistance and listen to the tink, tink, tink as the water drips from the ceiling onto the cookie sheets I have strategically placed around my living room floor.

The floor is now getting wet and all I can do is shield the electronics I’m not able to move at this time.  I’d take out the only semblance of norm we’ve been able to somewhat restore since the leak became apparent.  I did take the opportunity to rearrange the furniture while everything was torn up.  I’m trying to change up the energy a bit.  Preliminarily, I’m happy but it needs some fine tuning.  I’m also using the opportunity to throw away the clutter, get rid of a couple more big pieces of furniture that just no longer suit me.  All the money I spent for this piece 10 years ago feeling like I was somebody because I could spend $900 on a beautiful desk.  It was one of the first really nice things I bought for myself.  I’m now going to give it away.  I no longer need things of monetary value to feel okay. I find it easy to let go of things these days and become so much more curious now to wander through my motivations then.

I’m so much happier, I think - letting go.  I’m simplifying my life as much as I can.  I’m down grading, releasing, breathing more comfortably and making plans to get rid of some more.  So much have I physically carried with me for all of these years.  Honestly, I’m going to empty my garage without opening the boxes.  I’ll donate what I recall as usable, recycle what I can and then just enjoy the space with no need to fill it.  I suddenly feel so grown up, content and happy.  Life isn’t about attaining material things as much as we think it is.  At some point you realize you didn’t really even want half of the stuff you bought for a quick fix of ego-joy.  It pales greatly in comparison to acceptance of self, love of what is, as it is and just being.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m as sentimental as the day is long and have small trinkets from family and my partner all around the house that make me smile.  It isn’t the things that matter but the sentiment behind them.  If I lost them all tomorrow, I’d carry the memory of the sentiments and just count myself blessed.  I glance up at the ceiling and see yet another bulge in the paint as big as the palm of my hand.  At any moment, it is going to break and more water will be tumbling down.  I’ve prepared - another cookie sheet is at the ready to catch the mini deluge.  I don’t know why I’m calm right now but I like it.  My home is chaotic at the moment with everything being removed from the room where the water is gently coming down.  I’m not feeling chaotic.  If that bulge gets much bigger, I may opt for a pot…hmmm.  Not necessary, I now hear dual tink, tink, tinks as the water is now making it through the other leaking spot in the ceiling. Only another hour to go until help arrives and we’ll hopefully have the leak found this time, staging for repairs of the source and after-math of it and then repairing the ceiling and drying the floors.  Who knows how long it will take.  But I’ve got the day off today to manage it and the frame of mind to handle it.  I guess that is just good enough.

Water is an amazing substance, I must say.  I wholly admire its tenacity to move and flow.  I might appreciate it more where it falling from the sky instead of my ceiling but, well, this is what I’ve got to contend with today.  So, I’m off to it.  Whatever you face in your day, whatever inconvenience or frustration you encounter, just do what you can do.  Make sure you take some time to breathe, step back and view the situation as if it were on a TV screen.  Let it be as it is, let you be as you are and know that you are up to the task and if not, ask for help and be grateful when it arrives.  Blessings of great peace, calm and understanding for your journey.

© 2016 Jaie Hart