Saturday, December 21, 2019
These days of celebration and ceremony, of tradition, hope and love are truly no insignificant things. They bring us something we need, something we’ve unconsciously wished for…a point in time of culmination of lessons learned and dreams to come. We mark the year in celebratory fashion at different points with each bringing an opportunity to observe where we’ve been, what’s worked and what needs more refinement in our lives as we go. If we take a breath and a quiet moment within the seeming chaos of activity, what things might we see? I suppose that is up to each dreamer. Every breath and step is a choice in terms of how we perceive it. It’s appreciating the experience for what it is, sometimes I think quietly to myself.
It was surprising for me to begin to witness that I was separate from my worries and thoughts each step of the way along the path that has been my life. If I’d only known sooner, I sometimes think, I might have chosen better or at least from a more aware state of being. But, I have to warn you, once you become aware, there is no going back to sleep. You begin to realize that arguments you seemingly continuously face is really just entertainment at some level and you choose it not due to challenge yourself or others but because there is something you are unconsciously striving to learn. I don’t agree with wishing I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then, as the song goes. I’m grateful for every gossamer strand of understanding I’ve gathered in my life.
Gratitude is one of the greatest keys to happiness, serenity, and peace I’ve ever known. In tragic moments, gratitude has helped pull me through. In moments of joy, gratitude has helped me to better savor the experience. I find that I become more grateful as time goes by and often it is for the simpler things in my life. Just now it’s chilly in my corner of the world that is usually beyond quite warm. The opposites are fascinating not only in the weather but all things. Like dark and light, the way they contrast and define, where they pull away and then meet…truly it is a fascinating display but more so when you are aware of their differences and the sameness they equally possess.
The solstice always marks a time for me to appreciate what I’ve learned and to begin to truly set my intent for the next year. I strive always and ever to observe but not get overly caught up in anything…not feelings that aren’t facts, not the emotion of an absent minded or psychologically triggered moment, not the struggles or stress that comes with life. When I take a deep breath and allow what is to be just as it is without needing to change a thing, I find a better stream of existence to flow within. I battle resistance sometimes until I reawaken to fully understand the obstacle is the path. When I meet it not to defend against but to embrace “it” whatever “it” is in a moment, it’s impact relaxes in response to my own surrender and the flow brings with it a greater understanding and awareness as well as appreciation. I’ve come to trust that in my life from things of great significance to small. Trust is a big word with far reaching impact in my world. Greeting in warmly has been my saving grace along with gratitude.
Embrace the season’s celebrations and know that it can bring you more than you ever thought possible. It may not bring you precisely what you wanted (or consciously thought you wanted) but it will bring you precisely what it is that you truly most needed. When you begin to trust that life will bring you that, and completely surrender to it ready to flow knowing you can handle what ever manifests on your path, the season, your interactions and your life can be a more interesting set of experiences. I pray the season brings you compassionate understanding, reawakening, joy, love and peace. Happy Solstice, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year too.
© 2019, Jaie Hart (photo and words)
Saturday, December 14, 2019
Life can some times be a challenge, can’t it? People are sometimes vexing to the core and others ultimately self-less giving whatever they can to a moment. It is hard to be compassionate sometimes. It is hard not to get caught up in someone else’s wake of chaos and negativity. But, I must let you in on one of life’s many secrets, and while it may be really hard to grasp – it’s no less than true – you get caught up in it to the extent you have something really important to learn about yourself.
Its true what they say – that every person comes into your life for a reason…even that guy who just mercilessly cut you off on the highway. The trick is trying to understand what that core-level urge within you that gets so angry and frustrated is really trying to tell you. Some will say, “You have the right to get angry when one treats you so discourteously.” Sure, why not.? We have many rights in this world. But, at some point, you may become unhinged by everything that is happening around you – rude holiday shoppers, woefully unaware drivers and the throngs of thoughtless words spoken by folks unaware (or insidiously – fully aware) in a moment their words might hurt.
At the end of the day, you get to decide how you want to experience your days. Believe it or don’t, you have a choice in terms of how you want to experience a moment. You can do it nutted up with anger and frustration or you can let go of the expectation that people will behave with common decency (remember – if decency where actually common – wouldn’t every one possess it)? So, the world of humans and their interactions and behavior will, at times, be completely opposite to yours and what you think is right or wrong in a moment. But, it’s that tiny little space within you that immediately spools up is just exactly the thing the encounter is intended to teach you about.
What is it about the interaction that really upset you? Break it down. Are you tired? Are you hungry? Are you frustrated? Are you in a hurry? Notice that not one of these questions focuses at all on what the other person did. Do you want to know why? Because you do not have the power to control anyone else that crosses your path but you do have the power to control you and your own reactions as well as behavior. Do you need a nap? Do you need a time out? Do you need to chill out a second? We’ve all done unthinking things at one time or another. So, you can’t blame everyone for doing something without thinking about it. To do so is missing a really great opportunity to take accountability by looking within. Consider, is there a theme of certain kinds of behavior in others that always brings you from a simmer to a boil? Why? What exactly is it about that kind of behavior that gets to you? Why do you let it get to you? Is it worth continuing your life letting other people control your reaction in this way? It is handing your power to other people. Do you want to continue giving your power away?
Listen, it’s okay to get mad and frustrated. But, but, but, before you act on that feeling, I promise you that it will always be a thousand times better to sit with it and fully experience it reflecting without doing a single thing about it than it would be to get angry or retaliate in some way. I read a social media post not long ago about someone driving in their own lane, minding their own business when another car was coming into the lane without looking creating a potential wreck situation. The driver already in the lane honked to let the other driver know they were there. This person, who was acting carelessly then retaliated for being honked at and then sped up to get into the lane safely and then break-checked the driver who was in the lane several times. This is the perfect example of twisted psychology in action. The driver trying to merge in unsafely got honked at and likely felt bad with some level of self-frustration – so then, proceeded to get even with the other person for reminding them of their unsafe behavior. Listen, these kinds of things can really escalate and needlessly so. This retaliation game of escalating is really a waste of human energy. There are lots of other choices that could have been made without wrecking the experience in that particular moment for everyone driving near either driver. The negativity impacted more than just the two drivers.
But, you see, there will always be unthinking people doing things dangerously. Sometimes when you remind them, you become the object of their self-anger and you experience the retaliation for their poor choices. But, you can disengage. You can be with your own feelings without taking action that might escalate beyond anyone’s ability to save life or limb. I don’t mean to take a passive approach – this isn’t about cowardice. This is about the realization that acting in a moment when a psychological filter has seemingly unconsciously taken over might be a bad idea and getting peaceful with yourself before taking action. Then, choosing a constructive approach to continuing whatever it is you were doing. Of course, you can take on the mantel of savior of the world and brake-checking everyone else’s bad behavior but consider the outlay of energy necessary for that. Is it really worth it? Is that how you want to choose to behave? Is there another way you can manage yourself?
Sometimes we can’t get out of the way. Bad things will happen. There isn’t anything that we can do to change the bad behavior of others. Some people, believe it or not, are simply un-teachable and will continue the bull-in china shop approach to life. When I encounter them, I pull back and disengage. I don’t feel like becoming part of the wreckage (if that can be avoided by my choices). So, well, to be honest, I get frustrated too. Peopling is hard when you’re on the road, when you’re shopping, working or even at a family gathering. I merely suggest there are alternatives in our choices. You can get mad and fight back. You can go toe-to-toe and match punch with punch. It’s your life, do what you want. But, if you don’t want to live your life in a continually triggered state, you’ve got to understand your triggers. What about this experience or that experience triggers you? Do you need a nap, a cookie, a counselor, a hug, a friend, a quiet chill out moment? It’s up to you to take the opportunity or not. Not is okay too if you’re okay with that. Just know there are always alternative choices even when the emotions have been triggered. You can choose not to react and pull yourself back until you figure out how you would most like to constructively respond. It’s an option. I’m not judging. I’m just saying that there are many choices.
Look, there is a reason that it is said, “Patience is a virtue.” The experience of patience, compassion, and the ability to pause when you feel like reacting are very powerful moments to experience. When you are in a space of accountability for self – understanding of others – patience for those less knowledgeable or aware as you – taking a breath – this is how you maintain your power instead of spilling energy out everywhere unthinkingly. Did you know? Well, now you do. Again, you’ll get no judgment from me on your individual choices. I really do understand. We all have choices and every choice we make has a lesson for us. But, certain life lessons will continue to repeat until we understand them. Sometimes, until we understand the reason certain people and situations present themselves to us and frustrate or anger us, it can be a really painful set of experiences. I wish you many moments of perfect pauses for quick contemplation that allow you to breathe, understand and respond to your experiences. I wish you much personal power and full realization of your life experiences. I wish you an ever increasingly satisfactory set of human interactions. Enjoy your life. Live. Love. Understand. Bless.
© 2019, photo and words.
I sit in the cool and darkness becoming light. The sun slowly greets the day and me, here, mind empty and heart full. Not only does another year come to a close but the end of another decade does too. I don’t know where the time has gone. It trickled away bit by bit while I was busy with other things. Don’t get me wrong; the time I spent, I am most grateful for. My grandfather barely saw 54 years and my father never did. Their time here was brief, so much so that I barely knew either of them. I send them my love wherever they are and hold nothing but gratitude for the blessings their existence brought me.
I have in my pocket, a seeming lifetime of good and hard life lessons learned in just this last decade and although I don’t care to repeat them (and pray I never do again), a part of me has come to terms. A part of me is glad to be nothing else but simply present. I’ve made so many changes in just the past 10 years. I’ve come to a number of realizations. They are by far too many to recite here and likely, they’d bore you to tears, but my life isn’t for anyone else’s entertainment but mine I suppose.
I used to think I knew where I was going and what I was doing as well as why but the funny plot twist in my life is that I never knew a thing. Learning that now, is a very strange blessing. I don’t know where I’m going and I do whatever it is that I am called to do without attempting the pre-determining of the outcome. The results are more entertaining when it’s a surprise any way. I’ve seen dreams shattered and brilliantly born in this past decade. It’s been a joy, all of it. But its strange to feel more self-assured not knowing what will happen. It’s not as fearful when you truly know you can trust yourself to manage whatever it is that presents itself squarely upon your path to contend with. If it is that and only that I have learned in this past decade, it was all well worth it.
The next decade holds just as much promise - of that I have no doubt. So, I’ll slip into it gently, in full awareness of the past, pure enjoyment of the present and much hope and faith for the future, whatever it brings. I’ve had seasons come and go, family and friends too. It’s always a challenge to say goodbye but there is a strange comfort and peace in letting go and letting things and people be just as they are – even if far away.
When I look at the miniature world of this life I have created, I am content. It isn’t perfect and I think that is the best part of it. The beauty in the imperfection…it can sometimes seem magical. To dare to be and do whatever it is your heart calls for is an amazing experience. I say, pick up and move, go and explore, be a stranger in a strange land, be anonymous in the crowd, be one with the energy and stand in awe and wonder of every moment of every day. Stand in the sunlight and feel the warmth. Stand under a vast and depthless seeming sky and feel every single star and planet. Know the motion of it all is not only something you witness, but something you are a part of.
The ripples and waves we create in this life can be good ones if we can simply learn to relax and flow. I don’t know. It’s been a while since I have allowed myself to wax contemplative. No reason behind that really, it’s just a side effect of staying ever-present. Thinking really big thoughts is cool and all of that but it is entirely another thing all-together to just be so very present in a moment to truly appreciate all the moment has to offer you…the richness, the simplicity, the breath, the heart beating, the sensing and gently holding and then letting go. It is a different sort of magic I guess and that is what the last decade brought me. It brought me a deeper appreciation for all that is just exactly as it is while letting go of any thoughts depending upon some egotistical desire to change things or people. The now moment is a powerful thing. And it is right there for you, Now. How will you experience it?
I wish for you as this decade comes to a close, many realizations, the beautiful culmination of lessons learned, laughter, love, hope, courage and faith for the next one that comes to your door. Breathe in; Breathe out. You’ve got this and the Universe has got you! Thank all that is good!
© 2019, photo and words.