Sunday, August 31, 2008

Lights in the Dark

I drove home in the dark tonight.
Long stretches of turning freeway...
Dark patches of nothing thanks to the black sky...
Tiny lights reflecting rays across my view at every turn.

I had a beautiful day today.
Most days are beautiful to me...
But this one especially so...
Time spent with a good friend had my spirits high.

Simple pleasures and kindness.
Such a lovely combination...
Makes for a very relaxing day,
One the best birthdays I can remember.

I drove through the night counting the miles...
Once I hit the half-way mark,
The darkness gave way to a sea of lights...
The hills of San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano.

Those are my land-marks for almost home.
I always loved the lights at night.
Something stirring and magical existed,
Thinking about where they all come from.

Hundreds of thousand of folks,
Residing in their own tiny version of the universe...
Some happy some sad,
But I take comfort in both their distance and proximity.

More miles and minutes elapse,
And I’m at the home stretch.
I make my final turns towards home,
Pleasantly distracted with memories.

Tonight I’m grateful I made it another year.
I’m grateful to have a home to come to.
I’m grateful for long drives, dark and light.
And I’m grateful for my new friend.

Mocking Birds

Nearly fifteen years have gone by since my dad died on September 14, 1993. Yesterday would have been his 63rd birthday. He died way too young and he didn’t die easy. Alcohol helped him make his transition and it was not a good transition. This time of year I always feel a little uneasy but near this time every year since he passed away I have busied myself with trivial things so I wouldn’t have to feel the pain. This year, I was not busy on his birthday. This year, on purpose, I cleared my mind and heart and planned to go visit his grave and pay my respects.

Let me back up a year and tell you a story. It’s relevant to this one as soon you will see. It’s a bit of fantasy but it brightened my day and I wanted to share it. It brings a little joy back to a heavy heart. A year ago, I helped get my alcoholic mother out of a bad situation several states away from me. It was a huge effort and a costly one from many perspectives. Just before the rescue journey began, a mocking bird showed up at my door. He was there every morning at 5:00 a.m. chirping wildly and loudly in my back yard. I thought it was odd after several days but loved the sound of his chirping and laughed at his antics as he’d fly high up into the air and then dive down to the top of the telephone pole, look at me and chirp some more. If I went to the front yard, he'd follow me. If I went to my bedroom, he would alight on the tree outside my window.

Mocking birds were a fascination of my father’s. I can’t tell you how many times we sat in the back yard or the front yard at home counting the various calls of the mocking bird. We watched intently as they would chase off the crows and blue jays from the bread crumbs we’d leave for them. My dad loved all birds but really loved the mocking bird. When my little friend joined me last year, I wondered if it could be a message from my dad, just letting me know he was around. Even when we finally got my mom to my house, she noticed it and said that I needed to pay attention because that little bird had a message for me. After 30 days of turmoil with an angry alcoholic with borderline tendencies, I had to ask my mom to leave…rehab or homelessness were her options and she chose homelessness. My little mocking bird friend left me the day after she did and didn’t return.

We moved to a new place where my mom couldn’t keep her barrage of emotional attacks on me. She had become quite angry with me for refusing her continued rescue and I just didn’t know what else to do. So, the new place was quiet and close to the beach. But, my marriage quickly ended up on the rocks. My ex-husband started engaging in tactics very similar to my mom’s to the point that I just couldn’t take the emotional abuse. As I contemplated divorce, my little friend returned. He’d chirp from 1:00 a.m. until I left for work. Every night he was there until I finalized my decision and then he left me. I wondered again if that was a message from my dad just letting me know he was there, a tough time was coming but not to worry…he’s with me.

I’ve not seen the mocking bird in a long time. We moved again some place the ex couldn’t find us and have been busy rebuilding our lives. We’re doing well and life is peaceful finally at long last. Maybe it’s because of that peace that I wanted to go pay my respects to my father on his birthday. I know his grave no longer holds him. His spirit is free just like the birds he loved to watch and appreciated so much. It was a somber drive to the cemetery with my two youngest girls in tow. My eyes started to sting when we got close to the cemetery. I wondered at that…it’s been 15 years since he died, why is it so painful this time…but I remembered that I had created such peace in my life that I actually had time to think and feel and just kept driving. I put on some sunglasses so my little one’s wouldn’t worry if they saw my tears. We brought red carnations to put on his grave. Red is my favorite color and my dad was one of my best friends. The girls and I located his grave and right off the bat just above his name on the plaque were 3 feathers. They were clearly mocking bird feathers. My youngest grabbed the biggest one and handed it to me. She said, “this one is for you.” I smiled at her but the tears were stinging in my eyes again and then I knew the mocking bird that had been with me was no fantasy, no wishful thoughts but real. My dad was with me in times of trouble, is with me still today. That is such an amazing thought. The logical side of me thinks those thoughts are crazy but the part of my heart that misses him so much believes in the faery tale I created about the mocking bird. It comforts me and when I saw the little feathers, carefully stored by my girl’s on the kitchen counter in a little blue bucket, I realized that they too finally got to meet their grandfather but in a different way. That, to me, is priceless. I’m now smiling despite having a bit of a heavy heart!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Distracted Thoughts

I can’t seem to think clearly today. Every thought feels distracted, pulled away and yet swirling on the perimeter. I haven’t a worry in the world today, the sun is shining and that cool ocean breeze is blowing as always. It’s my dad’s birthday today and I’ll take flowers to his grave. I know he’s no longer there but it’s something I’m compelled to do out of love.

Some thoughts do seem to break through the surface of occupied consciousness…a late night, an early morning, pleasant memories and a long drive home to think. It was a gray sky and humid morning when I left. It was hard to leave knowing I wanted to go and yet I didn’t. I waved good bye wistfully knowing the responsibilities I have to take care of and take care of them I will. I must just accept that today a part of my thoughts will be elsewhere in pleasant distraction.

Today I’ll move through the list of my typical Saturday routine and maybe find some time to go to the beach. I want to feel the sun on my skin and hear the waves crash onto the shore…something to represent a physical manifestation of the intensity of thought and emotion inside of me. I’ll breathe in the scenery and watch the birds in flight. I’ll smile as I watch my children playing. I’ll frown when we come back and engage in some of life's more mundane chores! Tonight we’ll celebrate my birthday. Just me and my girls. It’ll be nice.

Tomorrow I’ll visit a new friend. One that seems to occupy a fair amount of my thoughts of late. I’ll laugh and smile and enjoy being in the company of friendship and kindness and celebrate my birthday. But until then enough with my procrastination. If I’m going to enjoy this day, I better get to it before it slips away.


Does the sun try to rise or set each day? Does your heart try to beat? Do you get to the top of a mountain by trying? Actually, NO is the answer to all of the above. How many times have you wanted to change something and you think, "Maybe I'll TRY this or that?" Let me give you another example. I went to a seminar where the facilitator pulled me up in front of the room, asked me to stand in front of a chair and then said, "Try to sit in this chair." I thought, "OK" and then just sat down, easy as pie right? The facilitator said, "You misunderstood my instruction. I said TRY to sit, NOT SIT in the chair." Hmmm, I thought it was just symantics but I learned something new that day. We TRY to do something we believe we will be unsuccessful at. When we "TRY" something we TRY only from a place of doubt. There really is no such thing as "TRY" at all.

Remember "The Little Engine That Could" with his, "I think I can, I think I can?" That's the whole idea. The Little Engine That Could didn't TRY to climb the mountain, he just did it while thinking he could. Think about all the times you TRIED something without believing you could do it. How did it work out for you? You may have had some things that turned out okay or you might have failed. Maybe you tried again and still failed.

Think about this one. Someone asks you to do something and you don't believe you can or maybe you don't even want to and you think "Okay, I'll TRY it." What happens? Either you learn that your doubts about your ability were unfounded or you fail miserably because you didn't believe you could do what you set out to do.

Much of life's successes are the direct result of knowing the things you can accomplish (e.g., setting reasonable goals - now I suppose if you truly believed hard enough, you might pick the winning lottery numbers but that is not really a reasonable goal because there are statistics involved stacked against you - real road blocks not just perceived ones) and believing you can accomplish the goals that you set.

Next time you set a goal for yourself, just do it, don't TRY to do anything. If you want to climb a mountain, you don't TRY to climb a mountain, you take one step at a time and believe in your ability to complete the climb. Thinking about TRYING means you are still in your head with concepts and doubts and you're not out of your head and taking action.

So, don't TRY to do anything anymore. Set a reasonable goal and just start taking one step at a time knowing you can do it.

Have a beautiful day.

The Wasp's Nest

For the last several weeks I have taken notice of a little wasp working diligently to build a nest in-between the cracks of two panels on the exterior of my office building. I step outside several times a day to remember what the sunlight looks like as the fluorescent lighting can be a little too depressing for me without periodic breaks. Every day when I went outside, I looked up and noticed the tiny little wasp so busy but making progress each day with more and more honeycomb-like cylinders added to the nest he was building. Just now as I was outside, I looked up and saw the nest gone. Then I glanced to the ground and saw the little wasp lying on the ground utterly lifeless. It made me a little sad. For weeks I saw it working so industriously. It would fly away but return within minutes. I’d see it busily working early in the morning and late into the afternoon as well. I was used to it there and had finally gotten to the point that I didn’t flinch when he dropped down from the panels near my face and quickly headed off for more supplies.

As I saw the wasp’s lifeless body lying there today, my thoughts pulled me outward. We live in a world that has had a long-standing inclination towards violence, greed, carelessness and lack of respect as long as it is a means to someone’s end. That desired end is usually based on fear or greed and even poor mental health. My thoughts pulled me out even further to just two weeks ago. I was replanting the flower beds in the front of my house when I noticed 3 cars full of kids speeding by far too quickly to be able to stop at the stop sign a short block away. I worried for a moment for them and then became distracted with something one of my children needed. When I returned to my planting my neighbor stopped by and asked if I heard the crash. Immediately my adrenaline rushed as I knew something had happened to one or more of the cars full of kids I had just seen speeding by. My neighbor hadn't seen the cars but he heard the crash. We all headed out towards the main street they traveled on just moments before. I felt the blood rush from my face as I saw one of the cars wrapped around a pole. Sadly, one of the passengers in that car, a fourteen year old boy named Phoenix Nguyen died.

They were on their way to the beach a subsequently published article said. They were just driving, goofing off on a sunny late Saturday afternoon, not a worry in the world in that moment and it suddenly came to a tragic end for all involved. I watched sadly as fire truck after fire truck, ambulance after ambulance and police car after police car headed in that direction. We were witnesses to 3 cars full of kids racing at excessive rates of speed and may need to testify. It’s probably unlikely but that’s not my point. My point in my very round about way is that we are born and raised here on planet Earth, none of us knows how long we have until our time is up so we work day in and day out, not thinking, not caring that much, living in denial even that we are not immortal, until the day we’re suddenly and sadly, for our friends and family, gone.

It’s so hard to feel secure and live in a world like this on some days. Amongst the tragedy and horror of the world, there is good too. But, you really have to look hard for it on some days. If you’re not aware and awake as you go through your routine, you might miss a kindness bestowed upon you randomly either in thought or action. You might miss the beautiful rays of the morning sun spilling across the sky to fill our days with rich and radiant light. You might miss an awe inspiring vast and depth-less expanse of starry night sky. You might miss a hint that someone you love needs a little reassurance that you’re there and you love them. You might miss a subtle clue that your life is escaping you quicker than the sands through an hourglass while you don’t even give it a second thought. I say, don’t miss those moments. We can’t all have what we want and we, incarnate, are not immortal. We are utterly human, fallible, mental, uncaring at times, loving at others and totally lost in terms of why in the heck we are here.

We have to take so much on faith if we want to find a blink of serenity or even a touch of lasting happiness. I can understand why so many dive into a bottle or drugs or other bad habits to divert the sensitive seeming soul from experiencing pain. We run from it. We hide from it. We try to ignore it because we’re taught it’s not okay to hurt. We should be taught from early on that life is filled with pain and the more hard lessons you learn in life, the harder and faster those lessons will come. We should then be taught that the former line of thinking is far from the end of the world and a far cry from a reason to jump the gun and do yourself in prematurely or wreak emotional havoc on the world. I think the trick is to find small meaning in everything that you do. Maybe you forgive an employee a trespass, maybe you withhold your anger at the guy who cut you off on the freeway, maybe you stop yourself from yelling at the customer service representative because her company made a mistake and will soon correct it if you can be patient long enough to make her understand or you just do nothing when your emotions take over. Maybe you just sit with whatever you are feeling long enough for you to resume control of your thoughts and then take non-threatening, cautious, considerate and appropriate action. What if the world thought about this stuff more? What if we slowed down a little bit and gave everything a tiny bit more thought before we acted on an urge towards violence or greed or hatred even? What if before we rendered any judgment, we truly sought to understand the perspective of the other side? What if we could look at someone else and see the same thing within us too? It is there whether we see it or not. I don’t know, maybe the world could be a better place for all for the very short time we are here.

My thoughts now come back to the vision of my little dead wasp at my feet. My sadness isn’t so much for him as it is for the fate of the world. If we can’t find a way to make a change in how we live our lives and live those lives meaningfully, we’re all just wasting time. I don’t want to waste any more time so I’m going to make every effort to think hard before taking action, try to see the other side of things before I render a judgment and will think even twice as hard before I interfere with any life that crosses my path. I don’t think I do this to seek happiness. I think that I really want only to find spaces of serenity in which I can respond to both the good and bad in life from a place of centered-ness. I don’t want to be thrown from my center any more by crashing cars, dead wasps or random emotional trauma. I also don’t want to be pushed from my center by elation or over-joyous feelings. Those seem to have a very "high" effect followed by a "low" effect. I think I should like to learn how to respond and appreciate everything for what it is…quite simply, a life lesson that will reside in my soul while here incarnate and beyond for eternity.

Heal and Be Peaceful

Heaven help us, this life can be hard! With all of these ego's smashing into each other repeatedly, blaming, attacking, short-changing, taking advantage of, disregarding, hurting on purpose, hurting on accident, slights and perceptions...UUUUGGGHHH! It doesn't have to ruin your day but sometimes it does. When it seems like the world is trying to stir you up and is seemingly succeeding, there isn't much you can do from the outside-in but there is a lot you can do from the inside-out.

I believe we have an infinite supply of love and energy from our Source, Creator if you will. Love is an amazing energy source. It's hard to feel it when we turn our back on it by getting our egos engaged in a war of "better than" or "tit for tat." But, if you disengage, even when you don't want to, you might start to just feel pain and that's okay, let it hit. It won't last forever and then you can forget about the outside world, sit with your thoughts and just tap into the Source instead. It's not hard all the time, just when the ego is not preoccupied with scheming to make you seem separate and different from anyone and everyone else. Take up meditation, yoga, exercise, walking or anything else that gets you outside. It's a great diversion until the ego can disengage and you can start remembering your strength, your own self-love (despite your seeming mistakes, foibles or what have you).

While the world can be an incredibly scary and hurtful place sometimes, you are always surrounded and protected. There is a beautiful source of love inside of you that you can tap into whenever you want, whenever you're ready. If you're having a hard time, forget about yourself for a minute and go help a perfect stranger, grab a can off the top shelf for someone who can't reach at the store, compliment someone's hair or shoes, smile at a stranger and wish them love and peace without saying a word. You'll then start the love flowing again and it will fill you up, energize you and prepare you to wake up and take another step in this crazy mixed up world.

Breathe and be peaceful.

Sobering Breeze

I woke up before the sun this morning. I put on some coffee and stepped outside into the dark pre-dawn morning. I could hear the sounds of the ocean, muffled as its gentle roar was carried over a distance. Although it's July and I would expect more warmth, the breeze is cool and quite sobering. I can smell the salty air and taste the excitement of a brand new day in the process of a miraculous light filled birth. I feel so peaceful in this moment of quiet and solitude; contemplative before the city begins to stir in earnest.

I wonder about the day today and what it might bring. Yesterday was a day that brought me closer to the ending of one chapter of my life. One I am all too happy to see closed. Today I am hopeful, resolved and at peace. I feel free and light, even a little bit giddy. There really are no particular reasons for this other than contrast with the heaviness of the day before but that day is now gone and I will not dwell upon it. The journey I've taken, the one that brought me where I am today has been long, hard, exhausting but filled with lessons, love and forgiveness. Each challenge like a mere mountain to climb and once climbed I was witness to the beautiful view from the top…grateful for the courage, strength and stamina to climb at all.

Life is so amazing, so rich in love, light and learning. It's so easy to miss the magic in it. If you forget it exists, if you forget to become aware and look for it, you'll only see a mere changing sea of lessons and challenges along with pain and heart ache. But life is so much more than that. Being alive and feeling the warmth of the blood pumping through your veins, the life pulsating energy in your fingertips, permeating your being; that's magic. Every breath a precious gift of love and another opportunity to dream and bring those dreams to fruition. I may sound like I've lost my mind but what is so amazing to me is that I think I've finally found it. Here in my little moment alone in the dark…enjoying the peace, the sobering breeze, the life, the love and the excitement of a brand new day.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Half Moon Glistening

Half moon glistening,
Quietly rising in an indigo diamond filled sky.
I sit alone contemplative wishing to become part of the breeze...
Maybe just go with it and see where it takes me.

The sounds of the night,
Are such a comfort to a weary soul.
Crickets chirping, birds settling in until the dawn.
People in shiny metal boxes moving around.

The world seems a strange place tonight.
I feel of this world and not...
For reasons I can’t quite understand or articulate.
I can only be here now in this moment.

I feel my heart beating.
Inside my body it’s warm.
It radiates outward from the space I occupy.
It exists as real as anything else so why do I feel unreal?

My thoughts are rolling,
Thick and heavy like the coastal clouds coming in.
The air now tinged with salty moisture...
Cools me to the core of my soul.

I wish I could say it was an interesting time,
But it is no more so than any other.
People are living and breathing and dying right now...
Fighting for their lives, their sanity and to be free.

I noticed a beautiful cerulean sky today.
I watched the birds and butterflies in flight.
I felt an ache in my soul for a lesson in progress.
It’s heavy and requires some more time to carry.

I reflect on mistakes and shudder a moment,
Then quickly stop realizing those mistakes don’t define me.
Those actions merely tell me who I'm not...
And I turn off the self-loathing before it begins.

I’m not sad and not happy...
I’m floating near weightless,
In conscious thoughts feeling unconscious emotions.
It’s hard to be human and hard to have a heart.

But the world isn’t all drudgery.
It’s filled with love if you know how to find it.
You don’t look under a rock or a tree or a bushel.
You don’t demand it from family or friends and strangers.

You reach deep down inside,
To the pit of your being, you notice a small flame flickering there.
You realize that flame comes from a Source,
The only true Source, love.

So how can I reconcile all that I’ve learned?
I don’t think I can without doing some more exploring.
I can’t tell you anything about the meaning of life,
I’ve been struggling daily just to live it.

I’m not suicidal, don’t take my words wrong.
I’m a realistic optimist who knows what hurts,
But who knows also how to hope,
And I know how to live and do it well.

I come back to myself.
I empty my thoughts.
I sit here alone in the dark and I cry a little.
When the emotion of sadness has washed over my soul...

I stop there and smile...
From my soul I begin to laugh.
The world is continuously tumultuously churning,
From the physical core to all its inhabitants.

The best you can hope for is some understanding.
The least you should count on is any love from without.
Then take each step each day you awaken...
On the path you’re on, the one that is your life.

Sins and Solutions

Some people commit horrible sins but not in the biblical sense. Some people feel so justified to impose their anger and frustration on other people with absolutely no self control. These are the same folks that:

1. Manipulate and control people by doing favors they later expect to extract a huge price for and when you don't pay, they inflict vile, vengeance to make you pay.
2. Intimidate to cause fear and pain, again to make you pay for what they feel.
3. Verbally abuse and attack at will because they are simply justified because you pissed them off.
4. Smash through boundaries respectfully set with the same lack of respect they hold for themselves.

Some solutions you can employ with these tragically wounded people, and it's really quite effective, are:

1. Imagine these individuals in an insane asylum screaming and attempting to attack, manipulate and control you with the same words they typically use all from the window of the insane asylum. They have less impact...truly!

2. Forgive them as they truly know not what they do nor why. They are obviously hurting and attacking them back makes no sense and by not responding to their attempts to evoke a response from you, you add no insult, injury or negative energy to the situation.

3. Pray for them. Pray that they find the love from within themselves to forgive themselves and find comfort and healing and while you're at it, pray for yourself too for strength and the ability to deflect the attacks that are really just cries for help. But, you do not have to be responsible for that help. With adults, they are responsible to get that help for themselves. Anything you for them they could do for themselves would be a co-dependent and unhealthy response.

Now, do set boundaries and request that your boundaries be respected and remember, when they don't respect your boundaries, it's because they have no self-respect and no self love and must drag you down with their minds, you pissed them off and they are entitled. They're NOT entitled, they are acting out childish frustration and demonstrating a total inability to manage their emotions and feelings like mature adults should. You wouldn't hurt a baby for smacking you out of frustration would you? No, of course not. You'd hold the baby at arm's length so it couldn't hurt you any more but you'd still love the baby and want the frustration to pass.

These are great tips I learned from Al-Anon and they apply not only to alcoholic situations but also difficult relationships with people who have no self-respect and can tend to be abusive (emotionally, verbally and sometimes physically). The next time one of these individuals comes at you with their pain and transference on to you, just put them in the window and let their painful words fall away. The words aren't about you, it's a choice they are making to keep their anger and pain alive. If it's physical abuse you're dealing with, get some help to get a plan together to get away, far away where they can't hurt you.

Now, all of the above doesn't mean you shouldn't own your behavior. If you've hurt someone, regardless of the circumstances or how justified you feel, be accountable and apologize (I'm sorry I hurt you or at least, I'm sorry you are hurting). Once you've done that, forgive yourself and move on.



The gulls soar over head repeating their daily flight in from the ocean. I wonder what it must be like to soar so high above the frenetic human activity us flat-landers dwell within day in and day out. I think about what it might be like just to be so high, riding the wind, flying in formation, seeking out a simple seeming existence of leafy shelter and scraps of human sustenance.

A few more stragglers float high above, trying to catch up and join the simple formation…one, two, five more join the pursuit of something my mere mortal mind cannot understand.

It's crisp and cold in morning's first light. I stand outside alone in the mists, the fresh and clean recently washed air. The rain from last night cleared away all the dust, soaked it right into the ground from which it originally came. Held down by the weight of the moisture to reside there until the warmth of the sun dries it out and the winds return to blow it about again.

The sun creeps up over the housing development across the street from me. I wonder what it might have been like to see it rise above the horizon not littered with housing developments and other man made structures. What beauty must have been seen with the view uncluttered with suburban life in progress. It must have been still, quiet, grass and flowers wet with dew as far as the eye could see. I won't ever know what that looks like. I can only ever feebly attempt to imagine that view.

The south coast is beginning to stir in earnest. I hear the whir of tiny metal boxes speeding down the highway. In between the sounds I hear something else, the hissing crash of the powerful ocean whose waters still raging, expanded by storm surge. It's amazing to hear it from blocks away but it's a comfort knowing it's there. At any time, a short walk takes me to the shore where I can drink in the view of teal blue water, soak in the energy of the powerful current and slip silently into a seemingly fixed aspect of the scenery.

It's an interesting time in the world it seems. There are so many struggles that don't have to be. I worry about the place I brought my children. Will it truly be safe for them to exist in this time and this place? No matter, it's already done. I think I will struggle indefinitely with these thoughts. All I can do is teach them to see with clear focused vision, understand the underpinnings of the real world and what is important behind the facade of normal existence. I believe that life has purpose and meaning beyond the day to day struggles. I think that life isn't something we have it's something we are and that we do. We're all connected from my tiny feathered friends in flight to the souls in shiny metal boxes headed for unknown destinations, from the sun, to the moon and to the tides even.

I leave my reverie behind and return to mundane existence. I've chores to do to exist in the society in which I find myself but, I will be reminded as I go through my day that there is more to this seeming mundane existence, there is more to what I have to buy, do and see. There is the soul at the heart of it whose energy contracts, expands and connects to all of existence.

Revenge is Not Sweet

Someone takes something that belonged to us. Someone cuts us off on the freeway. The checker was rude to us in the grocery store check out. The server in the restaurant was rude. Someone called us a name. Someone yelled at us and we don't understand why. These things occur throughout our existence day in and day out. It can wound our egos, our pride and cause us to have feelings that "it is not right what was just done to us and we must do something." Then we sometimes move into another stage, revenge. We have the negative energy of being wounded and we need to strike back to save face, to get even, "eye-for-an-eye" sort of thing. I can't remember the exact part of the Christian bible that makes the statement but I remember reading a statement to the effect of the Lord saying, "vengance is mine."

I'm not a Christian...I'm rather a student of all things good, compassionate and loving in all religious faiths but this statement echoed in my mind after several of these events occurred in my life. I thought about what I was feeling and what the words in my mind were telling me. I wanted to get even. I was hurt and wanted to engage in tit-for-tat but I didn't. When I quieted myself a little longer and asked the voice inside what "vengance is mine" really meant, I received additional words.

1. A thief will steal because he is lacking> Let go of the material possession, it's not as important as the state of your soul. I thought about that for a moment...I then felt, as long as the item stolen was sold to fulfill a need for someone else I could let it go. Now, well meaning friends said the money probably went for drugs. Since I had decided to let go and file a report with my insurance company, it really didn't matter to me. Things are only things and to expend more negative energy trying to get even when I already felt horrible just seemed insane to me. I pulled back my energy and focused on healing my sense of loss for the item stolen. The little voice inside my head said that the soul of the thief would receive his judgment and there was nothing I could do to bring that about sooner or increase it's effect ...any attempt would be wasted energy on my part.

2. People will demonstrate all manner of unkindness for all manner of reasons. To judge someone by your own common decency, common courtesy or morals is not really unfair. First, these terms are defined differently in all parts of the world...the fact that you can sit and type on a wireless computer in a house full of TVs, electronics and clothing would be beyond common decency and morals in other places. That fact does not make them wrong or you wrong. Another aspect of this within those that do share common definitions of common courtesy and morals is that these things are often put by the wayside when souls are in pain. Maybe the guy who cut you off on the freeway was rushing to be by his child's hospital bedside? Maybe the checker in the grocery store just lost her husband and knows her income will not be enough to support her and her child, maybe the server in the restaurant just got stiffed on tips and now she knows she cannot pay the rent. Don't treat these events as personal slights, do not act on assumptions that have not been source validated as truth and if you cannot validate the truth of a seeming slight, assume instead positive intent, show compassion and the slight you felt will be replaced by loving energy. If you engage in "get even" behavior by chasing the man on the freeway down, reporting the rude checker or the server, you are adding more insult to their existing lacking or draining energy. It takes you more energy to get even than to simply focus your energy on healing yourself.

3. The insult - yes, this one is most challenging because this one is the most difficult for us to not take personally. If someone told you the sky is green, does that make the sky green? If you were color blind and someone said the sky is green but you were always taught the sky is blue, would the statement cause you to react differently? Let's try another example, if someone called you a horrible ugly monster but you knew you were a beautiful person inside and out, wouldn't you see the comment for what it is? Would you have to hurl comments back to get even although you know the statements made were untrue? Behind the scenes, people insult us to take our energy because they are lacking. If you fight to get the energy back in a negative way, you just lose more precious energy and cause the person hurtling the insult more pain than they were in to begin with. As a positive and loving person you can generate all the positive energy you need...just withdraw, heal yourself from the insult and you will have restored your energy without engaging in a war of words with another person who is in pain. See the insults at their source. Perhaps the other person is wounded and fearful or jealous because they don't understand the true source of your happiness and they need to bring you down. Adding insult to injury here may be unkind. In some situations we have to be the "bigger person" even when we don't feel like we can. It doesn't make you a coward...your ego may feel bruised but if you are not the insulting thing you've been called, your ego should not be bruised anyway. Now, if the insult has a shred of truth, it will hurt. Instead of hurtling insults back, think about what you can do to heal that part of you that was vulnerable to verbal insult. Heal that instead of going after the person who insulted you.

All of these things flooded into my mind when each of the above occurrences happened in my life. Right after I heard these words and started to own them, I received confirmation again in the form of bulletins on Myspace, books that I have read and confirmation both positive and negative in the actions of others behind me.

I've noticed the difference in how my energy feels when I do not react, when I do react and when I seek to get revenge. Revenge is not sweet, not even a little. It is toxic and dark, thick and murky energy-wise. I don't do that any more. I will speak my words well thought out so as not to cause more harm to an individual who seems to have slighted me. If I have to, I will hold my tongue and go for a mindful walk and come back and talk later when I can speak from my soul instead of my ego. I will go out of my way to show kindness to those who seem rude to me (heck, they probably need a smile and some gentle-energy if they're walking around being rude to people). I don't take a stance of non-reaction as my actions being more like a spiritual doormat. I'm not that either because I do act authentically and align my energy with my best efforts to heal a potentially volatile situation instead of fueling the volatility.

Another note, there is a big difference between getting even for bad behavior and calling people on their bad behavior and you can call someone on bad behavior without instigating a war. It starts with saying something like "when you said this, it made me feel...fill in the blank." It's not hard it just takes quelling our natural tendency towards self preservation in action that maybe doesn't match the situation, thinking a little more clearly but not from a place of ego and then gently providing facts about what you feel or what you are concerned about.

For those who know these words already, pass them on today to someone who may benefit. For those who've never thought of these concepts, think about it for a time today. You do not have to own or act on any of it. Each day we are presented with opportunities to see things from a new perspective. Each day we're given a new chapter to read in the book of life. Enjoy.

Be well and be happy!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wrestling Joyously With Difficulty

Some days are just easier to exist in than others. For no apparent reason, I'm very contemplative today. My world, as I knew it, was shattered over the last year. Well, the last three years to be precise. My world wasn't shared by anything really bad, just emotionally traumatic events, people and words. In order to exist without remaining in the fetal position, I had to learn to tear everything down...all the seeming structures I had built, all the thoughts, beliefs and everything that I thought I knew. Once the devastation of all of that work settled, I had to rebuild my life again. It wasn't easy but I worked on it a little at a time.

My whole life I have spent as a mostly co-dependent individual, working to be invisible, be what everyone else wanted and needed...rescuer, confidant, financial supporter, mentor, friend, daughter, wife, mother, boss and employee. These labels can be a dangerous thing because you can quickly lose sight of who you really are and what you want while you assume the roles everyone else wants you to play. I've learned this year the importance of setting down those roles as if they were masks I chose to wear for a time. I'd take them off when I was done with them for the moment and pick up a new one. Then, eventually when the work day was done, I'd put all those masks away and just focus on who I was.

For a long time I didn't know who that was. Part of me didn't want to know and didn't want to explore because I was simply too afraid to see. But the events of the last year and some passive-aggressive relentless attacks from a couple of individuals really helped me to want to see and see with crystal clarity. I found some things I wasn't so happy with. I found fear, mistrust all the lies I told myself. I found pain and anger. I found sadness and frustration. You can only cover those things for so long with masks that you wear and pretend to be who everyone wants you to be. I'm happy to say that I don't wear masks any more. I've learned that the only way I can survive in life is if I face it with only one mask. Well, its not a mask. I made a commitment to myself to show the world only one face from now on. I decided to move in accord with the source of my own truth, acting in line with who I really am...dealing with those I care about with openness and honesty.

It's scary, I'll admit, to walk outside of those hardened steel mile high walls I built around the person I really was. Walking outside means I'm no longer invisible, I can't hide who I really am or what I think or who and what I care about. I have to live authentically, in reality not being jaded by my past or worried too much about what people might think of me. The perceptions of me made by others does not change who I really am and that lesson sunk in deep because it meant also that my perception of others does not change who they really are.

So each day now I wrestle a bit with my thoughts and my feelings. Things are a little sharper and more clear even when I don't want them to be but I'm living life instead of hiding myself away. I just can't do that any more. My attempts to hide was dishonest and changed all of my interactions with people, particularly in relationships that were really important to me. I choose now instead to trust until I can trust no more and realize that my openness and honesty will bring those to me not out to test me...hopefully... it will bring me those of a like mind, more healing and authentic relations. That's really what I want and for as long as it takes, I will wrestle joyously with difficulty if I should encounter rejection, fear and insecurity. Those things cause me a fair bit of anxiety but no longer rule me. In changing my perspective, I have changed my life. I will no longer be ruled by fear.


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Talking Too Much

Sometimes I think I talk too much. Maybe it's not the actual talking in and of itself but rather the revealing subject matter I never seem to hold back. Maybe I'm not so bright in that regard but I'm an open book to the world, for the most part. I appreciate openness and honesty whether wounded egos abound or not. Including, my own. Maybe it's the shock value I gain from seeming to be a sane, rational, semi-intelligent and responsible woman who has engaged in some interesting emotional adventures of sorts. One might actually call them ridiculous acts of poor judgment and I probably couldn't argue at all. But, long gone are the days where I berated myself to the point of intensely poisonous self-loathing.

With age comes a little wisdom I suppose. I keep hoping for more but at times it seems a bit slow in coming. So, patiently I move through my days one day at a time, seeking healing and finding it, thinking with crystal clarity and feeling it. I may not appeal to the masses who hide away behind impenetrable walls of seeming emotional security. I left those behind learning first and foremost that our mistakes do not define the whole of who we are. It's what we do with the knowledge gained from seeming mistakes that really define our character. It's seeking the deepest meaning possible from every interaction in the world that is the most important aspect of living.

I don't know, I mean, it just seems at times when you're an open book, you're often met with judgment. That's an interesting but real aspect of human interaction. Judgment can be a fearful concept when you're open to the world, speaking from who you are really because the rejection can be much more personal and, well, intense. However, nothing ventured is nothing gained and the judgments of others, I completely understand, has everything to do with the state of other egos. Granted the hosts of those egos have the right to be discerning as to what is okay and what isn't in their worlds. It's just hard to be mistaken or relegated to the land of the untouchable or undesirable for one's honesty. But then again, I guess I'd rather be rejected for being exactly who I am than some manufactured or distilled version of who I might have represented for someone.

Just some thoughts this morning with no particular points of origin.