Saturday, October 4, 2008

Serenity Circle

You can really feel the change in seasons now. The fog has rolled in off the coast nearly every day this past week. We had a few extraordinarily warm days but they passed and yesterday was quite cool. Gone are those hot sunny summer days that gave you a feeling that all the cares in the world were nothing and fun in the sun was the theme of the day. But, well, I’m in California so they’ll likely be back with a nice arid Santa Ana wind from time to time. The weather has always been a fascination of mine and it’s a wonderful and universal way to strike up a conversation, isn’t it?

Yesterday I had a touch of the blues. Maybe it was the thought that summer is over and summer brought me many new things, wonderful things and self-discovery. Maybe it’s just impending change…lots of it over the next year once again. I don’t want to borrow trouble so I’ll let the idea of that go and focus just on the big one I’m facing in the near term. I’m excited to start my new job, learn a new role and go back to working with familiar friends and faces. Not that the ones in my current job aren’t special. Of course they are. It’s change that I struggle with even though logically I see the wisdom of stepping into it and enjoying the process. I realized though that somewhere inside is doubt, concern and hesitation for seemingly no reason at all. “Its just change,” I repeatedly attempt to tell myself.

I felt completely at peace when I woke up this morning. My first thought was that first precious cup of warm coffee and cream. I’m pretty simple but always look forward to that first cup. I love the feeling I get when I smell it brewing. I love the bold taste of coffee tempered with something sweet. My morning ritual includes adding just enough cream to change the color from deep brown to tan. I can tell the mix is right just by the color. I’m funny like that but that’s okay. My coffee is very much like a morning ritual. When I’m sipping that first cup, I recall the events of the day before, those things I’m grateful for, those things I’ll strive to do better with and those things I left undone. I acknowledge them and move on to the day at hand hopeful and optimistic it will bring unexpectedly pleasant surprises. I like a pleasant surprise. After that, I typically look forward to sitting down to write. I don’t publish even half of what I write. I write what’s on my mind, in my heart and in my soul. If I like it enough, I post it.

Writing, like any other task, is worth doing well. I’m not perfect with mine but I just get so full of ideas and thoughts from the many lessons I learn day in and day out and just feel compelled to commit them to my blogs or my poetry. It’s one thing to create a piece but there is a release of reality to it when it’s published in one of my blogs somewhere on the web. Writing is catharctic, healthy and focusing for me. Sometimes I feel like I can’t really own something I’ve learned unless I’ve committed it to words on my screen or handwritten it in my journal. I’m a kinesthetic learner unable to just hear something and own it. I’m unable to see something and own it. I’m unable to do something and own it. But, when I write about what I’ve heard, seen or done, it cements the concepts, ideas and feelings rolling through my internal vision and memory to a lesson learned and one that won’t be forgotten. It’s interesting to me how that works so differently for all of us.

I have so many wonderful things and human exchanges happening very regularly these days. In fact, it’s those human exchanges that seem to humble me most. I was helping a friend with a particularly vexing issue yesterday. I guess my perspective made a difference as this friend gushed afterwards with commentary along the lines of disbelief that I carry so much and have time for a friend, that I go through so much and yet have so much sensible wisdom to offer along with perspectives that get right straight through to the heart of the matter. It makes me feel good for a few seconds because I’m truly grateful to help another human being on the planet with perspectives on things that represent a way of looking at things they haven’t considered before…I like to offer what I can to help bring about healing or growth. Although I say something trivial like, “What are friends for” or “It’s nothing, don’t give it a second thought,” what I want to say sometimes is, “I’m nothing and no one. Take a walk inside my mind with me. Come on. You think I’m so special, let me show you how much I’m just like you.”

“This place is filled with light sometimes and darkness in others. See over there, that’s where my fear resides for the one thing I’ve always wanted and was never sure I had, love. Over here is where my sense of self-worth fluctuates like the tides at times. See over here? This is where my anger still resides from childhood at feeling cheated out of a normal life thanks to alcoholism. Down here, see this is where I always feel successful and full of self-love but this place is often consumed with the parts of the ego that will ever strive to be better than everyone else as if my life depended on it. Here is the place my memories dwell and rather than take the weight of the sadness some of those memories bring, I get creative and strive to find meaning so the weight and pain of these things won’t destroy me. See over here? Here is a spark of a tiny flame, a flame of hope and where my dreams are still alive. Look over there…see that? T hat’s my sanity…notice the tiny gossamer thread it hangs by most days?”

I’m not different than any one else and when the worries of the world hit me…like everyone else, I must wade through the dark recesses of my mind and look for something to use as a filter, a filter of recognition of how I or someone I know dealt with something from the past to use to guide me. I have to dig through years of fears and feelings of failure to try to find enough light to guide me. I do know that something within me is ever inquisitive and philosophical. I thank God for that part of my mind or maybe it’s actually my soul. I’m not sure which but whatever it is it compels me to seek the deepest meaning possible in every experience that floats and/or crashes into my thoughts. I’m grateful for that and believe because of that I’m upright rather than rocking back and forth in the fetal position in the corner. Like everyone else I’ve seen good things and bad, terrifying and joyful things and have experienced happiness and pain. I’m a little more careful with myself these days in many regards. Not that I lock myself away, I really don’t do that any more. The writing of this piece and the fact that I published it here is a demonstration of how very open to the world I am regardless of past pain. I’m either very brave or very stupid. I’m not sure which but it works for me and helps me survive the thick and heavy emotions that some times strike us mere mortal human beings.

I think maybe that thinking these things through detail by detail, analyzing, fitting pieces together and seeking always to learn and understand are the corner stone of my existence, the drive that pushes me ever onward even when I’m afraid and the source of my lessons. I’ve gone off on quite the tangent I see but it’s good. Everything that happens to us is ultimately good, we just can’t always feel that way until enough time and distance has passed enough for us to look back objectively with a fresher perspective a little more free from the attached emotions we have with events. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just full of “you-know-what” and the gossamer thread snapped a long time ago. It could be. However, this place I’m in is a good place today. I’m removed from the heavy feelings of the day now passed and have returned to myself a measure of serenity.

I sincerely hope you all can do that too today. Maybe happiness or bliss is a bit much of a stretch. Sometimes those things aren’t what they’re chalked up to be. I find that bliss and happiness raise us to a precarious place, like after eating a good piece of chocolate…the high is nice but the fall somewhat devastating. Peace and serenity are a lot different. They are more neutral feelings and places in which you can allow the mind to dwell in a state of. There is no fall from peace and no fall from serenity. We get pushed outside of those things like they are a circle at the center of our being. The really great part about that type of analogy is that at any time we so choose, we can step back into that circle. Really, it is just that simple. You have to give yourself permission to let anxious thoughts go though. You have to really believe it is possible and then just do it.

May peace and serenity over-take you today and all of your tomorrows.

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