Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pause Button

This morning I played the waiting game, as the tech from the electric company was scheduled sometime between "8am and noon" to update our gas meter. These kinds of service calls can be frustrating, as it always seems they show up at the end of the 4-hour window rather than the beginning, leaving us feeling "stuck" and not in control. 

This time I decided to switch up my perspective and be grateful for the pause. I have had the morning dedicated to being at home and getting a few things done here. I've enjoyed the leisurely sipping of my coffee and taking my time doing some mundane things, as well as a little quiet time for myself, which gave me the chance to reflect a bit.

Today brought the gift of seeing how important it is to press the pause button to rest, reflect, and recharge. This is a part of self-care that we need to honor, especially after a time of extreme busy-ness. Every day should have a little space in it for us to step back, take stock of where we are and how we feel, and then decide if we need to adjust our sails in any way. Without this self-care space, we're just moving along, blowing in whatever direction the wind sends us rather than choosing which way we want to go, which can leave us frustrated or apathetic at times.

Perhaps it's simply aging into my mid-40's that has made me start to appreciate how quickly life goes by and is forcing me to look at where I am and what I want to do yet. 

Recognition of your own mortality has a way of grabbing your attention, and pausing for a few moments to see if you're heading in the direction you want to go can shed some light on things that are in your way or let you see if you're off-course. I'd like to live the rest of my life choosing consciously what I want to do and be. 

I'm trimming my sails...

I've come to recognize that I don't want to make time or give energy to things that don't fill me with joy. If it's something that needs to be done but is difficult to be joyful about like getting the car repaired, I can switch my perspective and turn to gratitude, giving thanks for having a reliable auto repair service rather than feel inconvenienced and upset.

Volunteer work must be something that I love, and my expended energy and time doing that work has to be effective and have a positive impact.  

I am striving for relationships that are based in love and integrity. The people in my life that I hold close are amazing souls who love me as I am, receive my love for them in return, and understand the importance of living from our hearts and being true to ourselves. Those who I spend most of my time with will help keep me honest and call my ass out in a loving way when I'm not walking my talk. And I love them for it. A wise friend once told me, "True friends help me to be the person I aspire to be", and she is so right.

My "job" has to be what I love to do and am passionate about to my very core. And it's totally a work-in-progress as I learn to trust my belief that we are meant to simply just be who we are without any pretenses or holding back. We all have something important to give that the greater world needs. And every single one of our individual gifts and talents is needed, even if they seem weird and unlike anyone else's. When we don't share them, the world is missing a very important piece of the puzzle.

Trying to be something that I'm not doesn't serve me or the greater good. I've worked at jobs simply for the paycheck, and frankly, no one is happy doing that. And there were many jobs I was good at, but there were times I dropped my gifts into the wrong environment. That's no good either.

The beautiful thing about this world is that we have each day - each moment really - to start over if we need to adjust our sails to head in the direction we want to go or change the speed. I fully believe that we are simply meant to live as who we truly are, doing what we love. That is our very nature and will bring us back to balance when we feel something is missing from our lives or we feel out of place. 

We are not meant to simply exist, moving from one day to the next without our conscious choosing. If we don't like where we are, we can change it. We might need to start with a change in our perspective first before we can make bigger changes, but we are always in control of our thoughts, beliefs, and intentions. 

We are creators and we are amazing, each and every one of us. Even on our "bad days", when we're learning a lesson we need so we can return to our heart and who we really are, we are innovative and resilient beings who can create something better each moment as we absorb the lessons of life.

I am so grateful for all the gifts of the past which have brought me to the present moment. I'm going to grab that self-care space every day, trim my sails, and glide forward into the life I want. I will falter, get tangled in the rigging by the things that scare me, and may fall overboard when I get distracted or caught up in a storm. And it's all ok. I'll have to just laugh at myself, practice forgiveness, and release perfectionism. Then I'll get back on deck and at the helm again, maybe with a little help from those loving people in my life.

Who's with me?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude

 Thanksgiving will be upon us in just a few days where we take time to retreat, gather with families and friends to celebrate, and give thanks for all we have. And it is good. (Although admittedly, sometimes family gatherings can put the "fun" in dysfunctional if there are stressors in our family member's lives, or people have overindulged, or the turkey wasn't quite completely cooked). But we truly have much to be grateful for - the lessons as well as the blessings.

It has been my goal over the past year to take time to be grateful each day, and it has truly changed my life. This small practice has allowed me to slowly recognize that there is an opportunity for growth from the obstacles and some sort of blessing will always follow. No longer does slow traffic or a sudden change of plans leave me frustrated. I still have bad days and sometimes there are BIG challenges, but I start off in a much better place than I used to be.

And I've been able to notice the small miracles that often weave their way into our lives without much attention...the sun rising in brilliant palettes of yellows and oranges and purples, illuminating the night sky from below, a different portrait each day....the belly-laugh of a child chasing a squirrel, falling in the crunchy leaves, only to get up again - hair flying wildly behind them, to continue their pursuit wholeheartedly....the person who held the door for me at the grocery store, the parent who picked up my child and brought her home, the student who said "thank you for a great program today", amazing family and friends and colleagues that represent the colorful tapestry of our lives. The list of blessings is endless.

And not only has this simple practice (just a few moments each day of thankfulness) helped me to stay calm in the changing winds and taught me to be flexible, bending like a willow in a storm, but my "attitude of gratitude" has rubbed off on my family. I didn't notice it at first, but I suddenly realized that I was steering my kids toward more positive viewpoints when they faced an obstacle, and I was pointing out what they could be grateful for in a situation rather than sitting in judgment and frustration. It didn't require much thought on my part...my simple daily practice of a few moments of gratitude had eased it's way into more and more of my life.

Life is full of brilliant moments - whether we're experiencing the pain of growth and release of old things we no longer need or life is filling us with great joy and abundance after that challenging time of expansion. For this, I am grateful. For my breath in this body, the chance to be here in this time and space, on this beautiful planet, with loving family, friends, and colleagues, and all those who choose to stop by here...thank you. It is an honor to be here, now. 

May your holiday season open your hearts to the abundance that surrounds your life and may you be filled with the complete joy and love that comes with a simple moment of gratitude. 


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

New Day, New Start

It's the morning after the elections here in the U.S., and we are a nation of mixed feelings. Some people are crushed by the results, others are joyous and hopeful, and some are in despair. Whether we celebrate or mourn the outcome, we are all in this together. We created the current state of affairs here in our country, and only by working together can we make things better.

And now the hard work begins.

It's a new day. We have the opportunity to change things and bring our country into balance. This will only happen if we can move past our feelings of separate-ness and instead look to focus on our common needs. Underneath our different viewpoints, we all really need and want the same basics: food, shelter, clothing, clean water and air, medical care, a means to support our families, and freedom. Everyone wants these things. Where we differ is how we go about doing it, and in some cases, we've made judgments about who "deserves" what, leaving some people struggling for their very survival.

This is a big job...lots of things need fixed. And it depends on each one of us to do our own part in this process. Our government can't do it all for us. We can't elect officials and then walk away to leave them work and go back to our lives as they were. That doesn't change things.

So where do we start? With ourselves. First, we need to accept the results of the election. Some of us may not like the outcome, but this is what we have to work with. Accept the results, grieve if you must, and then be ready for the next step. Sitting in anger or despair will not make things better. It just makes things bitter.

We can have a great impact by working locally. There are needs we can fill in our own communities, and we need to follow our elected officials to make sure they're doing what we elected them to do. If not, we have the right and responsibility to speak up, respectfully. 

We need to be involved in the changes. Each one of us is important in moving forward together. If your elected officials are acting in a self-serving manner rather than for the good of all the people, speak up. This is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. We the People have been asleep and things have run amuck as we slumbered.

And it's all ok. It's never too late to change things and work for something better. We start within ourselves. Allow ourselves to grieve if we feel the outcome is disappointing, forgive ourselves and others for the mistakes of the past, and hold onto the HOPE that our great country is known for. We are a nation who can step up, come together, and work for the common good. Our history has proven that...again and again. I for one, am grateful for what we have here in the United States. We are so very fortunate and we should not lose sight of that, even if we feel things are not as good as we'd like at the moment.

Today I give you seed a hope, a DandeLion wish...

May our roots be as strong, deep, and as tenacious as the common dandelion, grounded in compassion and love for our fellow humans and planet. May we work together to nurture and grow a better future for ourselves and our children so that all needs are met. May we blossom into a strong nation who, together, has learned to recognize and appreciate the strengths and differences in each one of us...it is our diversity that helps us to survive. May we all be guided by loving hearts and reach out to be the best that we can be. When times get tough, may we reach into our depths and find common soil to nourish. Together.

I am grateful for this new day, and a chance to start again. I am grateful for the gifts and lessons of the past so that we can be even better than we were yesterday.

Love & Light to All,