24 June, 2013

Act of Complaining

ARGH! We all have been there right? We complain about the weather, the time wasted on customer service calls, the myriad of reasons why we weren't able to do something... or how something was done to us! Complaining, why do we do it, what purpose does it serve, how are we caught in the complaining cycle and how do we get out?
Today, I was reading from another author how he was tired of listening to perputual complainers, those who complain about everything.  I thought for a minute or two, about how I complain and what purpose it served in my life.  What I discovered is that I have gone through periods of high complaining tapering off to minimal complaining.  
Certainly, when we are challenged and tested, the environment is ripe to be on "high complaint mode".  There are things that may not work out as we had planned, people who seem to frustrate the process further, outside circumstances which force us to rethink, start over etc.  When our expecatations are high, these set backs have a way of derailing our focus.  The "high complaint mode" is ready to kick in, it seems.  At least for me, I know this is true.  Our ego looks for excuses and others to blame so it feels better about not having met the expectation. 
However, there is another instance when the "high complaint mode" is primed up for expression.   Think about the people you surround yourself with or follow.  (With social media today, we participate in  many agendas with a simple 'share' or 'like' contributing to the overall proliferation of the message).   Ask yourself these questions, do the people you engage with complain frequently, do they support your complaining with affirmations of further negativity?  Are you a supporter of another perpetual complainer, by way to agreeing, offering more acknowledgment and adding to a spiral of energy set forth?
I admit freely here, that I have been a perpetual complainer for years.  In hindsight, I see these were periods of time I was in a very negative rut.  Either I was in a depression or I surrounded myself with people who supported this "everyone is out to get me attitude".  It is hard to even realize you are in this pattern when those around you are doing the very same thing!
There is a popular saying insinuating the idea that you need to be careful of the people you surround yourself with, as they will affect your reputation etc.  (I believe the saying has something to do with stepping in shit and smelling like it  icon of steaming turd ).  For me, this idea has proven itself many times.  The periods of my life when I was more confident where the happier times and the people around me where also happy.  Those other periods where I was down in the depths of negativity, it seemed those around me were fewer and also ready to add fuel to an already out of control fire.  
Why do we do it?  It can "feel" good to release some steam.  We see other's doing it and want to belong and feel the pressure to chime in.  
What purpose does it serve?  The release valve, the moment of exhalation and sometimes just getting out the thoughts help.  If we turn the act of complaining into a way to see the problem in a different way, as a challenge, we might find the solution.  We just need to open up to a different viewpoint.  
How did I get out?  I moved.  Simple right?  Well the move itself was a bit stressful, but I moved miles away out of my patterns and out of my comfort zone.  This move helped me start over, I meet new people and found their happier attitudes lifted me up.  I started to incorporate ideas that I had stored away for later, when it was time to start living my life again.  I did the work; I bucked up and made healthier choices.  I scrutinized the books, the movie, the TV, the conversations, the people I allowed in... and if they were no longer helpful, I moved on.  I started to taste sweetness and I didn't want to let go of this new sensation.  
Of course there are many tenants of keeping balance and even allowing bitterness, saltiness, sour etc. into our taste profiles.  All in good measure and proper perspective these blend well and create a healthy balance.  It is the perpetual aspect of complaining and negativity that is not healthy, which I have focused on here.  
The next time you recognize a "high complainer" or see yourself slipping into a pattern, stop for a moment and see what opportunity has been placed before you.  There is always something to discover about ourselves in self reflection.   This is how we grow, learn and develop our authentic selves. 

 
 
 

25 April, 2013

Exit or Not?

The journey of life could be summed up as a long road trip.  There is the start, the path and the destination.  Along the way, we encounter pit stops; gas, toilet breaks, scenic views, grumbly bellies, rest etc.  We may even experience a delay because of traffic, construction or bad weather.   There are detours, the excursions we were not planning on which lead down a different road for a stretch of time.   Eventually we return to the path, resetting the course and are on our way.  

http://aroundtheplate.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/travel.jpgWhen you start the journey, you have an idea of where you would like to end up, as with all road trips.   Some people are very well planned out with ETA and AAA maps.   Others are more lax and allow the road to determine their destination.  Either way, there is a direction, a sense of exploration for the open road.  

How you choose to embark on this journey is all you.   The feelings of excitement, adventure, or dread and exhaustion.   I know I have experienced all of the above, to include the detours, bumps in the road, scenic views, weather delays and the necessary potty break!  
   
Now that we understand the idea of a road trip, let's talk about all those exits.  On your road trip, do you find it necessary to leave the highway at every exit?   I think the resounding answer would be, "No, why would I do that?"   Let's examine what an exit represents.  It represents a choice.  You have the choice to exit the highway at certain increments along the highway, or continue on your journey.   As we stated already, some choices are necessary, as in gas, food, rest etc.  The question is, how often are these choices needed and do you need to take part in every choice?  

If we stopped to consider some choices throughout our day, would you alter the choice in light of taking an exit, necessary or unnecessary?   Below is a list of choices,

Turn on the TV 
Watch the News
Engage in hurtful conversation
Pause and take a deep breath
Embrace a loved one
Exchange questionable jokes
Eat chemical laden foods
Liter
Smile
Listen
Speak Kindly
Allow the multitude of media outlets into your home
Watch negativity, either via the media, or in others
Plant wildflowers

My philosophy has changed over the years.  In the early 20's I engaged in it all, it would seem.  I was sorting out who I was and trying this and that.   Over time, I realized sharing an offensive joke perpetuated the energy of the joke and the hurt lingered.   If I kept quiet when the joke was being told... I still allowed the energy to continue.  It wasn't until I spoke out against the joke did I learn the energy stopped there for me.  I made a boundary, one based on what I felt inside was right for me.  (I was listening to my heart intelligence).

The same could be applied to any of the choices above.  Each choice constitutes an exit of where I was going to spend time.  I could exit and plant wildflowers to make the highway more alive for fellow passengers, or I could exit and allow the news outlets to suck up my time, before I continued my journey.   

Of course the choices are not always so clean cut and we tend to loose sight of the destination while watching others along their path.  I believe that term is called rubber necking, while driving.  There could be a line of cars piled up waiting to exit and the sense might be to exit a well, because we don't now what lies ahead.  Sometimes it is hard to determine what is right for your journey and what is not.  Which road or path will offer the best choices for you to consider?   

Pink-hearts_largeRecently, I have embarked on a love journey.  Sounds all flowery and pink hearts, now doesn't it?  Well it hasn't been.   What I thought would be easy, had proved more difficult on some days.  I have been challenged on this love journey and questioned as to why I wasn't taking certain exits.  How could I ignore the TV news, or other media outlets?  If I didn't allow the negative in, then how grounded was I?   

Truth is, I have never been one to watch or read the news.  Growing up, it wasn't a factor for my parents and I just didn't pick up the habit.   As an adult, I tried to be more "informed" and watch the news; stay "on top" of world events.   But this left me feeling hopeless and depressed, drained and tired.   Why was I taking this exit?   Just because the idea of being informed is one who is intelligent?   Just because others said I needed to, in order to be aware of current events?  Or how on earth would I know if the world was going to end?   (All questions that have been posed to me).

Honestly, I would rather not know the world was going to end.   I could think of a million other reasons to avoid the news of doom and gloom like playing a game with my children, reading a book, lounging on the deck, feeling the sun, tending to the garden, baking bread, knitting, talking with a friend, taking a bath, swimming, listening to music and the list goes on and on.  

This is not to say, I lack compassion for those who experience horrific things...  I have great compassion for the world's hurt, abused and ignored.  What I object to, is the proliferation of spreading certain negative messages.   I object to not giving the full story, inducing fear before providing facts.   Why are only certain stories put out and others completely ignored?   Is there a rating for tragedy... "wasn't harsh enough" or "too harsh" or "not the right people" being hurt?   Bad things happen every day, all over the world in far places and places close to home.  

There ARE other stories, those filled with hope, love, compassion, joy, and celebration.  I haven't found a media outlet which promotes these as much as I would like.  I certainly don't see enough of these images floating across our big screen TVs.  

Again, we have a choice - take this exit, that exit or keep driving.  My choice is clear, keep driving and appreciate the wildflowers another passenger has planted for me to see.  If I am going to exit, I will do so where I know a clean toilet will be waiting for me.   (Because goodness knows we have experienced the really nasty toilet, overflowing with filth and stench).   Having had to use such a facility, I vowed to always be more mindful of my exits and choose them wisely!  I also vowed to notice the beauty along the path, because as the destination is important, the journey is engaging and full of opportunities for growth and realization about my true nature.  

In the end, it is up to you to decide.  It might be good to seek council, from a fellow traveler who has already been on the stretch of road ahead, but always rely on what your heart intelligence is telling you.  Only you can decide.    Happy Travels Everyone! 






07 March, 2013

Cleansing

Fresh

Time to reset, time to clean out, time to tune up. 

Have you ever been to the place where your body just starts to slow down?  It is as if you trying to push a car up a steep hill, with all your belongings inside.  This is where I am.

For weeks since the New Year, I have been on a strange roller coaster of activity.  There has been plans, events, weather conditions, people coming and going, "friends" falling away and friends coming closer.  I have started some new projects, maintained some old ones while contemplating effectiveness and sustainability along the way. 

But what has happened, is that I was slowly, giving into many comforts along the way.  Purging on TV shows recorded to the DVR, or gorging on entire series off of Netflix.  I was enjoying too many desserts along with my late night TV viewing.  Due to this purging and gorging, I had to compress much needed activities into small bursts of time just to keep up. 

The body I learned isn't very happy with this sort of tug and pull, slow and fast motion for a sustained period of time.  It prefers more of a gentle ebb and flow to create its rhythm.   One could guess how my clothes fit after all those desserts.... and my energy levels are a bit stretched out. 

I came across a book over a decade ago...If the Buddha Came to Dinner... it is about a cleansing program, which puts you in control of your food intake, supplements and activities aimed at cleaning up your life and resetting it for optimal output.  I have taken the cleanse seriously twice a year.  I feel the body becoming sluggish and realize I have induldged a little too much and almost always, my life has also become clogged. 

Cleansing isn't a diet, or new age gimmick aimed at losing weight... it is a long held practice aimed at returning to your body, returning to your life and finding the pure connections once more.  I come from a line of cleansers.  My great grandfather would literally fast for days at a time.  He would atone in his own way.  It was always spiritual, mental and physical.  

Today, I woke up; my body was screaming for attention, my mind was clogged with backed up tasks and my spirit was aching to fly.   It was time.  No more empty intentions to cleanse, time for action!

freshIf you wish to follow along, you are more than welcome to check out the book,  If the Buddha Came to Dinner.  I will be following a 3 week regime broken up into 1 week increments.   During the entire cleanse, there is no alcohol, dairy, caffeine or sweeteners.
Each day you ingest fiber morning and night along with a pro-biotic.  You drink 8 glasses of pure water, and 3 cups of an herbal tea with 30 drops of Dandelion Root Tincture in it. 


Week One, eat only fruits and vegetables keeping in mind to limit starchy veggies to once a day. 

Week Two add seeds, nuts and grains.  Again, never mixing grains with starchy veggies.

Week Three add lean proteins, fish, eggs, beans.  Keeping in mind to separate your grains and proteins. 

During the entire cleanse, you are asked to clean up your phyiscal surroundings, spring clean if you will.  This is an excellent time to start a journal, meditation practice, prayer circle, self help class, or take up a hobby that allows you some spiritual release time while creating and let your spirit shine. 

Today is day one for me.  The toughest part is the first week... here I go! 

11 January, 2013

Pruning, Time for New Growth

The phrase "Pruning your Social Garden" was presented to me this past week.  It struck me as such a clever way to allow plants to grow strong and be shaped as you see them.  That is the idea of pruning, now isn't it?

Apply the act of pruning to that of discernment, setting boundaries, intentions and good judgment.   You could even liken it to weeding a garden.  When you set about to grow tomatoes, as that is your intention, when a non fruit baring green thing comes in the garden bed, do you pull it? Why?  In this moment you have passed judgment. This green thing is not a tomato plant and will take vital nutrients out of the soil deprivening the tomato plant.  It may even choke out the tomato plant itself.   

How do we apply this lesson to our social lives?  When someone is choking you out, or sucking up the life force out of you, do you allow it?  Are you passive when it comes to your social life, because you fear being mean, judgmental or just don't have the energy to do something about it?  By allowing this element or behavior to cloud your inner space, you run the risk of manifesting more of the same.. that which is not conducive to your growth and development.

Having the courage to stand up for your needs is the inner journey, now isn't it?   Judgments and discernments about what is or isn't healthful to our lives isn't a bad thing.  It is quite healthy, it is called setting a boundary in many therapy circles and practices.  It isn't about labeling the other person, or name calling or blaming... it is about standing up for what is in your best and highest good for optimum health.  Simply put, you are identifying  an energy pattern which does not support your personal growth.

Recently, I have been under attack for doing this very thing, setting boundaries.  It was insinuated, I was too judgmental and this sort of judgment was an offense equal to horrible sins.  Point of clarification is needed here, because I do not judge the person, I observe the action in question and discern if this is something I wish to have in my energy field.  Does this action support my growth, will it take me to a place that I have already healed from?  It is necessary for my growth and development to experience this sort of energy?

When I was pregnant with my first child, my husband and I took the time to write up a letter.  This letter contained our boundaries.  There were family members who had questionable behavior.  This letter outlined our position on racism, discrimination, drugs, alcohol, unsolicited parenting advice to gift giving.  We didn't say these people where horrible and should repent for their sins... we did state a boundary.  "If we are in your presence, please refrain from these activities.  You are free to do whatever on your own time and in your own space.  But when you are in our space, please respect these decisions".... or something very similar is what we wrote.  It was received well and honestly, it was one of the best choices we made as new parents.  We stood up for our beliefs and let everyone close to us know what we were willing to deal with and what we were not.

If one can respect a boundary of another, then there is much to share in the continued relationship.  But if respecting my boundaries are too much for another person, then we part ways.  This is also to say if I am unwilling to respect a boundary of another.. then maybe I am not in their best interest either.  What motivates another when boundaries are not respected?

Identifying healthy behaviors and discerning harmful actions is called boundary setting.  It is not judgment; this person is good this person is bad etc.  It is the simple act of acknowledging what makes sense in your life.  The only person to know what is acceptable for your life is you.  No one else could or should tell you what is right for you.

pruningBack to pruning?  Well if you do set the boundary and it is not respected or you are being told your discernment process for boundary setting is judgmental, then by all means time to prune.  For this sort of negativity is not about you, but something else beyond your control.   In this moment, the growth of your life is being shaped by something else... not you.  As the gardener, you are the one responsible for healthy plant growth.  When you prune you allow for new growth by cutting back the old growth.  Much like your life, you are responsible for the direction of your path, your health and how you continue to grow.  Who is in your life will impact this direction.  Who respects your path and who is a detour, taking you away from your life?  Who is respecting your boundaries?  Is it time to do some pruning?   

05 January, 2013

Cleansing

What does it mean to clean up, cleanse, purge, detox, move on, change?

Cleansing is for some a daily ritual when it comes to our physical body.  We shower, bathe, wash our face.  Maybe we go a bit deeper and detox from the inside out, changing our daily intake to reduce the daily output; colonics even.  We are purging the toxic build up in our corporal body, to jump start weight loss, increase energy levels and revamp our vital organs. 

We sort and organize our belongings, clean the house, deep clean even washing the baseboards and windows.  We donate the things that are unwanted or no longer useful.

How do you cleanse your aura, energy field, ethereal being, your Luminous Energy Field, ltf.   What about all those negative thoughts, words, patterns of behavior which no longer serve our purpose?  Are we hoarding relationships, negative patterns, destructive self talk?  Are we harboring angry, loathing, envious emotions?  How does one cleanse this aspect of our being?  

Recently, I examined my friend-list on Facebook and purged.  I deleted 8 "friends" that never once exchanged a post or comment with me.  I thought about my interactions in many online groups via FB and Yahoo.  At one point, I was excited, honored and looked forward to participating in them.  Where these groups once served an important part of my soul development, I have come to see how they no longer do.  This isn't a judgement, just a knowing that the time for something else is needed in order for my growth to continue in the manner I am to grow.  All things come and go, ebb and flow in life.  I am well aware of this pattern and do find the natural cycle to be affirming when I see these patterns play out in my day to day life. 

Cleansing takes on a whole new meaning when applied to multiple levels of existence.   It isn't always easy to recognize what is no longer needed.   When releasing sugar from your diet... you know how difficult it is to say no to that ice cream cone.  But there is a pay off... and it usually leads to a certain clarity about yourself;  a sense of knowing a deeper purpose within. The senses are sharpened and more alert.  You become a bit more in the present moment, ready for the living you are meant to live. 

Changing our routines, habits and patterns in all aspects of our lives is how we grow, how we learn.  We process experiences and figure out the next steps.  There is nothing wrong with cleansing, if it is done with the utmost care of your soul and its development.  This is always appropriate and to be celebrated!    Even when the house is clean that too is to be celebrated.  What a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction to see the shiny new space, new you that has been unearthed.  

01 January, 2013

New Year, Cycle Returns

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  

With all the past pressures of new year's resolutions, affirmations, clean slate etc.... it begs the question, what is a new year and it is more than just another day?  

What does a new year mean to me?  
What have I done on New Year's Day?  I sit with my calendar and start marking it up with important dates, events, and highlight certain aspects of the year that I don't want to miss.  As I flip through each month, I start to see the visual in my mind as to the season, the theme, the feelings and the activity.

solar circle year litha beltane yule samhain lunasa lammas candlemass equinox summer winter solstice spring autumn
wonderful piece of art by Nahimaart
It means a whole new cycle of seasons to enjoy.  In fact it always has, as the wheel of the year turns I look forward to each seasonal change and holiday, celebration of life and love in our birthdays and anniversaries, even those days of loved ones passing.   I see family gatherings with scrumptious foods, decorations of various sorts, music of different themes and changing scenery.   I try to see this as the way we move through our lives day by day, ritual by ritual.   I enjoy each moment for what it is and sprinkle the magic all around.   The hard part is not rushing the wheel it's momentum, but relaxing into movement.

The entire year is marked with important dates that awaken my soul and write the story of my life, the personal bits and the collective shared bits.  The year represents a slice of my life.  A segment of time that I mark in continual patterns from day to day.  Each year I do plan on some new things, maybe a place I never visited, a festival to add to my tradition, a new challenge to accomplish.  It is in these experiences that my life is written and this is the tradition I hold for New Year's Day. 

What does the story of your life look like and if you were to create a wheel of the year, would it include balance and dimension, personal and collective, celebration and pause?  

Blessings to each of us as we turn our own wheels. 


21 December, 2012

Dark to Light and into Love

Have you ever been so low that you felt you were down in a well, a dark obsidian well covered from the sun?  If you are reading this, then you have been able to climb out and gain perspective of light and dark, so appropriate for this day of the winter solstice.

 For those who have climbed out of the Obsidian Well, you figure out that the depth wasn't so awful to overcome and rise above.  Over time you become an expert at climbing out; you become more skilled and agile in working through the darkness of your life.  It is then, that you have the choice, to either choose the well of darkness or to choose the light from above. 

When you choose the light, it doesn't mean you have forgotten the well and all the lessons there, but you understand those lessons are no longer needed for your growth.  What is needed now is for you to embrace the light and live your life fully open to the miracles which are outside of the well. 

During the longest night of the year, we are challenged to go within, maybe even look at our well.  Take stock of what lies beneath and what is necessary for growth.  This time is contemplative and necessary.  It doesn't have to be messy or hard, it depends on what sort of work has already transpired in your life.  Do you know the walls of the well, do you smell the air from the depths below?  

To be familiar and intimate even with this darkness you carry inside is critical to knowing the being you were meant to become.  It is paramount to allow the time and space for this growth to develop. 

Today the darkness has arrived and we are looking in the obsidian well of our existence.  Each day forward we will embrace more light, allow more love and move away from our well.  To allow more light is to allow more love.  Not love from others... but love of self, love of your life and existence. 

Are you able to say with confidence that you are intimate with your well and love the life you live?  It is a tall order and requires much work to arrive at, if you have suffered greatly under your hand or others per the soul contract of this existence. 

I am here to say I love my life.  When I say I love my life, I say it in earnest, for I have climbed out of the well on more than one occasion and it feels amazing to stand in the light allowing my presence to be wrapped in love.  I so do love my life, it is beautiful through and through, up and down, in and out and all around! 

May the well of darkness serve to allow the light of love to dwell within.  Blessings of light on this solstice night!