Let Go and Move On

Let go of old belief systems. You know, the things ingrained in your brain that hold you back or pin you down. You know what I’m talking about. It might be a family superstition, a religious dogma, an expectation or opinion of you, or a statement made against you. This could be a past humiliation, something that binds you in shame or guilt or causes you a lack of confidence. Many of these boulders of principle date back to our childhoods. Yes, I call them boulders because they weigh so much on our emotional bodies that we are unable to move our physical and intellectual bodies to start the work we need to do. When you can move this block in your mind you enter the wonderful world of emotional and spiritual freedom.

Honor what is true. How do you know what is right? First of all, the ego lies. When we choose to do the right thing it usually resonates in either our heart or gut, sometimes both. The guidance of prayer or meditation helps pave the way, not what someone else tells you is best for you. The answers will come, but you must be willing to listen to spirit.

Clip those wings and fly!

Pick Your Poison

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,

Your thoughts become your words,

Your words become your actions,

Your actions become your habits,

Your habits become your values,

Your values become your destiny.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

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We each have a thing. You know the thing that prohibits growth, keeps us stuck. It could be anything…fear, materialism, greed, addiction are examples of habitual obstacles.

What does this photo of persimmons have to do with this? Well, you see my childhood memories of persimmons are bitter. Yes, the mouth puckering kind. DirtMan told me to try one. He swore they were sweet. I picked the firmest one I could reach. Oh my, the inside of my mouth drew up like a dried prune. He told me to try a soft one, the mushy ones that looked like they were about to rot on the tree. I was hesitant but complied. It was sweet, juicy, and downright delectable. Some things in life take time to mature. We go through many phases before we come into our “goodness”. It is mostly a matter of awareness and the desire to want growth.

When we focus on our poisons, we gnaw away our insides until it clearly shows on the outside. When we don’t allow the blossoming of our souls we become bitter like that persimmon. Listening to our needs and following what insures growth permits us to sweeten.

DirtMan casually mentioned downsizing now that we are empty nesters. How dare he? This house holds my memories. It is my comfort zone. He claims we need to think about settling into a one story because one day those stairs will be killers on our knees. So, he has a point. I don’t do well with disruptions to my routine. I fear change…yes, the big word here is FEAR. I don’t like my security compromised. Here I am looking at what could be a new and exciting adventure as an end to my life as I know it. See, it’s all in how one looks at things. I could get used to the idea and go with it…might take me a while, but I’m sure I’ll come around.

The inability to let go; yep, that’s my poison. What’s yours?

What Does Silence Say?

“What do we any of us have but our illusions? And what do we ask of others but that we be allowed to keep them?”  ― W. Somerset Maugham

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I am an observer. I am enlightened, educated, and often entertained by people watching. I enjoy seeing what makes others tick.

The thing is a general impression upon observation is not the truth of the matter. You must know your subject or at least a good bit of his story for the pieces to fall into place.

Emotion is the driving force of action. People act or react due to love, anger, guilt, fear, jealousy, greed, and so on. Sentiments leading the deed are indicative of motive…and those of us in the audience often make guesses. I don’t suppose it makes us right or wrong, just human. We are born to reason and thus empowered to opinion. The question arises whether voicing said opinion without firsthand knowledge of the situation is helpful or hurtful.

The amazing thing about people watching is not what I find out about them but what I learn of myself. Do I agree with their position? Do I try to sway their opinions? Am I tolerant of their beliefs or actions? Do I feel myself getting angry or fearful? Am I touched by their attitudes?

Have you ever witnessed people bully, belittle, or boss others to do things their way or agree with them?  We pride ourselves with our uniqueness, how we look and act differently, yet we are appalled when others think differently than ourselves. We fear their beliefs and reduce their opinions. Perhaps this is done in our own need of validation.

I am a sky watcher. I no more tell the clouds how to behave than I direct the shining of the stars. I simply observe, enjoy or annoy as it depends on the weather, and learn what I can. I prefer to do the same with people.

What’s On Your Mind?

IMG_6653 You got something to say? Spit it out. Do you feel misunderstood? Are you afraid of what people will think? Is it too painful to bear?

Can you write the words you cannot speak? The unspoken heaviness upon our hearts can often be written as poetry, song, or fiction if not in a journal. It provides a release.

Have you ever heard a song that said exactly what was on your heart? Have you ever heard music that stirred your soul? Have you ever looked at a painting and felt you knew the artist? The power of art is the connection between the artist and the viewer.

The desire to create is a strong urge. Does it begin with love, anger, or pain? Or even confusion? I think art evokes emotion because it was created with emotion. What do you find inspires you to create? Think of a song or piece of art that has aroused a strong response from you. What is the similarity between your response and your desire to create? What is different?

Sometimes we need to speak without saying a word; we just need to let it out. We all have outlets to soothe our souls, and many of them come in forms of creating.

I’ve been writing, sewing, and creating art in one form or another since I was a child. At times I wanted to be seen or heard. Other times I disappeared within my creations. There have been times I’ve thrown my anger into written word or my love into a quilt. My confusion has reared its face upon pieces of fiber art, and wonder has worked its way into the stitches. I’ve even created just to tear it to bits.

And then there’s graffiti. How do you feel about it? Does it depend on whether you see it on a bathroom stall, bridge overpass, or alley way? Does it matter more what or how something is written? Personally, as long as the language is not offensive to the public, I think the colors and styles of script found on bridges etc. can be quite pretty. Why do people write graffiti? Is it because they want to be heard? Does it promote inner healing? Graffiti, is it art or vandalism? What say you? IMG_6656

Balance

“Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralysed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.” ~Rumi, The Essential Rumi

IMG_4824As the days wear on, I am becoming more and more of myself.

In life we experience both contraction and expansion.We are the unfurling flowers of the universe. It is in our nature to expand. When we choose to contract does that make us the dying bud? I don’t think so. It is necessary at times for us to contract in order to learn. It pushes us to open up to the world. You must know one to know the other; kind of like having to experience the dark in order to know light. Who wants to spend a lifetime shut off, hardening?

When we are cold, uncaring, suffering from guilt or shame we are contracting. We are unable to forgive in a shriveled state. When we are stagnant, we don’t experience growth which is vital to fulfilling purpose and finding peace.

When we set our intentions to believe in life and the guidance of spirit, we open ourselves to love; we expand. When we surrender to Spirit, we receive truth and extend love, thus entering the dwelling of gratitude. It is impossible not to be at peace when one lives a life of gratitude. Sure you might experience rough times. Pain is paramount to growth. You will even shed tears as you will be sensitive to the good and bad of the world. But because you know it’s a part of the purpose you’re not in a state of anxiety.

Grace allows us to let go of fear and anger. Grace leads us to forgive. This is expanding. Have you ever noticed how difficult life seems when you are contracted and how easily it flows when you are expanded? This is a part of coming in tune with the nature of our true selves.

What do you believe? It makes all the difference.

Where is the heart guiding? Is the spirit energized, is it blossoming? Are you coming into yourself?

In reality, we have a choice of contracting or expanding.  Finding peace is a choice as well…we choose the road we travel.

The Path of Resistance

Be faithful to that which exists within yourself. ~Andre Gide

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I find when I resist doing something it is usually the very thing I need to do. Completing the action moves me forward or teaches me an important lesson. Perhaps it is what comes after that I resist.

What causes us to resist doing the things which we feel driven to do? I can only guess it is fear. We fear failure. We fear judgment. We often resist because we think others expect us to be perfect when in fact we have set ourselves up for failure. Yes, we set ourselves up because we are the ones who put the thought in our heads. It is this fear of being less than perfect that paralyzes us. We know perfection does not exist, yet we continue to fall prey.

When I find myself intrigued and resistant to a prospect I tend to explore the possibilities and educate myself on the subject by study and research. If I feel a passion for it I pursue it.

Part of me wonders if success would feel nearly as sweet if not for the tug of resistance along the way. How can I reprogram myself for success?  I’m going to allow my ideas time to incubate. I will ban perfection from my vocabulary. I will only entertain reasonable expectations. I will forget what other people might think. I will concentrate on how I will feel when I complete the task at hand. I will keep in mind the purpose of my project. Any suggestions? What do you do when you feel resistance to doing the thing you feel called to do?

From Where We Stand

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You must look within for value, but must look beyond for perspective. ~Denis Waitley

Is it the backdrop of life which makes us stand out, or are we set apart by what we hold within?

We are all we encompass through our lifetime. Our experiences are colorful threads connecting with our responses to life situations which weave the stories within our tapestry.

As we share our stories our lives intertwine. We find our worth in ourselves and in others. We learn to see life through new perspectives. We grow as individuals and prosper in a community of love.

May we not be afraid to speak our own truths nor hear divergent truths.

May we respect the stories and perspectives of one another.

May we each learn to use our experiences to support others.

May we love others enough to see life through their eyes.

May we learn to connect the dots between our stories to fill the book of life.

On Being Paralyzed By Panic

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.  ~Joseph Campbell

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Have you ever skirted the edge of safety, danced with danger? Have you stood upon the precipice with trembling knees and racing heart? Was the excitement so strong you could taste it? Did you find yourself holding your breath?

Most of the “firsts” in life feel this way for me. I’ve always been a person who craves security. Change has always been a challenge for me.  In the last few years I’ve taken lots of baby steps in hopes of ever so slightly expanding my world.

Two of my biggest obstacles were my fear of heights and the vulnerability of others reading my writing. While I haven’t gone sky diving, I have scaled the ledges of some huge mountains out west…I scrambled frantically at times, but I survived.  I released my words to the world…I was rejected by some and embraced by others. I’ve attempted many other small hurdles, and not only endured but broadened my horizon and met wonderful people along the way.

Ideas poke and prod me. Voices scream at me. Synchronicity comes and goes. I often resist these nudges. Sometimes they remain unnoticed until the opportunity passes. I have found most of the things I resist are the very things I need the most. Why? Human nature, fear, not really sure. I’ve been told if I look the fear head on with understanding it’s easier to conquer. Yes, identifying the fear is half the battle. I have friends who use the “what if…worst scenario” questioning to move beyond the anxiety. I’ve learned to breathe deeply and slowly  while simply placing one foot in front of the other. While I will never be considered a dare devil, I have the courage to take chances and open myself to allow change.

Have you ever been paralyzed by panic? What did you do to make your way through? Did you find it wasn’t as big of a deal as your mind had portrayed it to be? Tell us your story.

Taking The Long Way

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As children, my siblings and I played with the children who lived two doors down. As you can image there was much traffic of small feet coming and going between houses. We had three routes to get to one another’s home.  The first one involved going down the length of our driveways and hitting the main road. The second was making our way through the brush and briars in the darkened woods. The third was to zip through the yard of the neighbor between us. We opted to take the short cut through the neighbor’s yard.

After a period of time we cut a well-worn path right through the grass. Our neighbors were really nice people who adored children but also kept an immaculate yard. As they would never endanger our safety, they didn’t ask us to take the road or roam through the woods, but they did ask us to create another path at the very edge of their yard which ran along the woods.

A few times we did take the road. The speeding cars frightened me, not to mention the smell of the fumes. And of course, if we happened to be barefoot in the summer, there was the heat of the asphalt and the pain of loose gravel cutting our feet. However, we could hear the roar of the river so loudly we could almost feel the coolness of the water’s mist. If we peered over the bank edges we could see the water falling in spits and splurges over the dam. The sun sparkled like diamonds across the river’s surface and occasionally we would watch a fish jump up and form a splash and a ring in the water.

When we went through the woods, we could hear the gruff voices of men working in the soapstone plant below. I was always afraid someone was watching us. And of course, during the summer months we feared getting bitten by a snake or contacting poison oak or ivy. However, we could listen to the slight gurgle of the stream below, the twitter and song of the blue jays and robins, and the scurrying of the squirrels. If we were barefoot we could feel the cool dampness of the forest floor. We could see more tones of green among the moss, weeds, and leaves than we knew existed. And we always scored a wild daisy or other pretty bloom along our way.

Often in life we fear taking the long route. We prefer instant gratification. We want to save time. We insist on short cuts. How much do we miss out on due to fear or impatience?

Next time you attempt to take yet another short cut, take a deep breath and go the long way. You never know what you might see, hear, feel, or learn along the way.

Getting Along

“When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others.” – Peace Pilgrim

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This pair of cardinals frequents my backyard. This Rose of Sharon is their favorite perch. They sit there for hours watching the activity of the squirrels and other birds. They used to flutter to higher ground or fly off when Wylie and her friend, Rex, played in the yard. They feared the dogs until they came to be familiar with them. Now, the dogs can scamper about the yard and beneath the tree, and the red birds seem to guard them.

Daily we come in contact with those different from ourselves. They might look, act, or think differently. Some adjust their thinking or try things their way. Others feel they must force their beliefs on them and change them. Do they do it out of fear? It is a matter of control?.

I think we can peacefully coexist. I don’t think anyone else need convert their ways or thoughts to mine nor do I to theirs. I think we can and should be respectful of one another. Perhaps we should focus on similarities rather than differences. When we replace our fear with love we will come to accept and value individuality.