Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Lesson of the Pebble

Earlier this morning I was out for my usual walk. It was cold....about 25 degrees, so I was dressed warmly and committed to go the distance. Within a quarter mile from my home I felt a pebble in my shoe. It seemed to be right under my heel so I felt it with each step. I continued to walk along another quarter mile with it eventually affecting my gait as the discomfort increased. Finally, I stopped and took off my shoe and removed the culprit of my discomfort, allowing the rest of my walk to be much more enjoyable.

As I got back up to a quicker pace, I wondered why I didn't pay attention to the source of my discomfort sooner. Did I hope it would go away if I simply ignored it? Did I see stopping and taking a moment to remove my shoe to not be worth the bother? Do I believe I deserve to hurt or have my walk be challenged?

Well, as I pondered the lesson of the pebble, it became clear that my behavior in this case sometimes occurs in other areas of my life. It seems it is a common habit among us humans to ignore that which is uncomfortable. We can tend to tolerate many things that can often be easily attended to, but we don't take the time to give an issue our attention. Instead we plod along with a pebble in the shoe of our life, sometimes silently suffering, and other times outwardly complaining.

The lesson for me is by simply being present to whatever is on my path (or in my shoe), the sooner I can move on with more comfort and more joy. It simply does not make sense to suffer. No one wins and I am not happy. Since my life's focus is to "feel good", I plan on attending to my pebbles sooner. How about you....what pebble is calling for your attention?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Embracing Transition

As long as we live we will always have transitions. In fact, I believe our transitional adjustments in life are largely responsible for our growth and learning. Whether transitions are planned or spontaneous or even out of our control, they will always be part of the human experience.

Some common transitions include aging, changing jobs, moving to a new community, children growing up, becoming a grandparent, going to school, developing new relationships and changes in health, to name a few. When seen in a positive light any of the countless transitions that occur in our lives can call us forth to expand beyond what we thought was possible. They will inevitably cause us to learn more, experience more and create new possibilities from which more transitions can take place.

So if transitions do indeed contribute to our expansion as humans, then why do so many of us resist them? We may dread our children leaving home since our lives had revolved around their activities. We may fear retirement since our identity is totally tied up and connected to our work. Moving to a new place can create fears of fitting in and making new friends. We may believe we can never have relationships like those we had before a transition. Some may fear that happiness will not be part of the transition equation as if there is only so much joy allotted per person and you had your quota.

Granted....transitions are a risk. Taking a step from the known to the unknown holds many questions. Not knowing all the answers ahead of time can frighten us. Those of us that avoid transitions whenever possible may find the routine and familiar goings on of life to be safe and comfortable.

So how can we experience transitional points in life without any major emotional backlash? My response is to be aware of what the fears or concerns may be and to identify the feelings that are present. To look at all that is present up close and personal rather than resist and run away. In fact, I believe it is the sheer act of willingness to look at whatever is the issue that frees us from whatever we resist.

We are evolving whether we want to or not. Allowing, and in fact willingly stepping into transitional experiences, creates an evolution of our lives beyond what we saw as possible.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Watch Yourself

One of my favorite pastimes is to watch myself. It is not that I am overly cautious, I'm just curious and fascinated to see me live from spirit and love or from my ego and fear. I'm curious about how I respond to that which shows up on my life's path.

I'm curious what hooks me away from feeling peace. I'm curious what is present in me when I don't get hooked by life's dramas and remain in peace.

I love to watch how I get unhooked once I know I'm hooked. I'm fascinated by my creativity in finding the best way to go about tackling an issue that may seem daunting at first. I also see my creativity in avoiding dealing with some issues.

I love to watch myself interact with those whom I feel safe and loved. I love to watch myself in action loving a stranger and connecting in a way typically saved for only those in long standing friendships.

I watch myself find the blessings in every situation. I watch myself look for the humor in all that occurs.

I watch myself with compassion when I'm frightened. I watch myself with delight when I am courageous and confident.

I watch myself expand and reach new heights of imagination when I am encouraged. I watch myself retreat when I forget who I really am.

I watch myself forgive naturally and freely without hesitation. Sometimes I see myself struggle to forgive.

I watch and see myself moving ahead with sureness and strength. I watch myself fall down and lose hope....then I watch with great interest as I see myself get up again and move forward.

Yes, watching myself is never boring. Sometimes I'm surprised by my thoughts, feelings and actions. Other times, I am not.

What makes this process of watching myself so entertaining is that there is no judgment in my watching. I observe and I learn from whatever is present since ultimately it is all serving my process of living my best life.

Another bonus of watching myself is that I learn more readily how I want to feel and be in the world. Each situation, encounter and opportunity takes me one step closer to living with more peace and joy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Road Rage vs. Road Blessings

One day not too long ago I was enjoying an afternoon drive in my Boxster with the top down. The sun was shining and I was feeling great as I drove to a meeting in a nearby town. As I came to the end of a country road, I pulled onto a major highway and headed north at the legal speed. Before I turned, I could see a tractor trailer way off in the distance, giving me more than enough time to get up to speed. Within moments this massive piece of steel on 18 wheels came up to me almost kissing my rear bumper. I can only guess it was the driver's wish to go much faster than the speed limit. Maybe he made an assumption that my fast car should only drive fast. It was obviously a dangerous and aggressive move for this driver to ride my tail. If I stopped suddenly for any reason, my car and I would have become one with the truck's engine.

I naturally felt an immediate fear of danger since this truck could easily eat up my little car in a flash, yet I was not willing to drive faster. After a few seconds of adjusting to this development and noticing my first response of anger at the other driver for this act of intimidation, I took a deep breath and gave myself a moment to choose my response. I then chose to bless him instead of swearing or being frozen with fear. I simply recognized the driver's fear over whatever it was that drove him to this behavior. I then repeated the words "bless you" a few times. The result was I immediately felt calmer and better able to drive with appropriate caution. Within a moment, while looking in my rear view mirror, I saw the truck back off to the normal speed creating a safe distance between us.

My belief is that my blessing of this driver created a shift. I believe perhaps without even knowing what "hit him", he realized his actions were that of a road bully and that intimidating another driver was not what he really wanted to do. I am sure that my choosing to respond with peace turned what was an initially frightening situation with a potential for great danger, to one of peace.

So, the next time someone hooks you into getting angry, pause for a moment and bless them. Whether or not you see a difference in their behavior cannot be confirmed, but I can guarantee that you'll feel better.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Your Life....the Movie

Have you ever wondered if your life was a movie what genre would it be? What would the story line be like? What would be the impact on someone else, watching this movie of you? Would it be a drama? Would it be a horror flick filled with fear? How about a romantic comedy or an adventure film?

Well, I have given this question some thought and I have no doubt my life movie would have it's own genre. It would be a Spiritual Comedy Adventure.

Although there would be many spiritual lessons for the movie watcher, the over-riding feel of it would be humorous. It would be light. I would hope the movie watcher would see the benefits of not taking life too seriously and that there is a blessing to everyone around you, as well as yourself, when you look for amusement in all that creates your life process. The spiritual component would be woven throughout. There would be a joyful, loving feel in most every scene. The adventure contribution would be in how I see all that happens in life, not necessarily only activities that are high risk, but holding the process of living as an adventure.

In my Spiritual Comedy Adventure the story line would not be the most important part, since every scene would have great meaning regardless of its outward appearance. That means even the scenes that were pretty routine, without any great accomplishment or life shattering event in the story would have the same feel as those that many would see as the "stand outs". Every scene matters. Not because of what I did in each scene, but how I felt and how I grew and learned as a result of living it.

I'm not sure how long my movie will be, but I do know that it will be entertaining. The viewer will sometimes be on the edge of their seat with excitement, but not fear. Sometimes they will cheer. Other scenes will touch their hearts and make them cry, but through most of it they will laugh.

Hopefully the viewer of my life movie would walk out of the theater smiling and feeling inspired to live their best life.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Joy Without Punctuation

Part of my morning routine is to read the daily guide in the Science of Mind magazine. These short readings often amuse and always inspire me to live my day with more peace and joy. This was true for today's reading which was actually very similar in its message to my post yesterday about the natural joy of children.

What struck my eye was the last sentence, which did not end with any punctuation. The last word of that sentence was joy, but there was no period, exclamation point or question mark, just the word joy and then nothing. I'm sure this was an unintended typo, but it made me smile.

As I looked at the word joy and then the nothingness that followed, I imagined the reason for it was because joy is infinite. It doesn't end. The lack of punctuation kept me hanging on the word as if it were a trapeze. I could sit on it, stand on it or swing on this word, and it will not end as long as I trust it is present.

We so often think of wonderful times in our lives as having an end. Our babies grow up. Our flower gardens die. The colored leaves fall from the trees. Our favorite T.V. show ends its run. Our youth ends. Our vacations end. Our good health ends. We come to the end of a wonderful book. Relationships we cherish, end. Baseball season ends. I could go on and on here, but I think you get the picture. It may sometime seem as if our joy disappears as these things that we love in our lives end. A different lens through which you can look at joy is that it is endless, regardless of the time of our life, the season, or any of the circumstances that surround us.

Joy is endless, because it is not dependent on anything outside us to exist. Our life circumstances are constantly changing, yet joy can be constant. The joy that dwells within us is infinite. All we have to do is be still, clear our minds of the messages of the outer world and tap into it. Sometimes it seems we have to dig deep to find a joyful or peaceful space within, but I guarantee, it will always be there.

So, I take this lesson of JOY without punctuation as a reminder, that it never really fades away and certainly never ends. It is always present, I just have to be open to feeling it. Notice what happens for you as I complete this post with this sentence: Look in your heart to find joy

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hop, Skip, Jump

A few days ago I happened to be in my car running some errands in the vicinity of the elementary school right after classes were dismissed. As I was waiting at a traffic light, I happened to notice a little boy walking down the street with his book bag in tow and with great joy in his heart.

What it was that grabbed my attention was the energy this child was releasing. I can only imagine the freedom he must have felt to once again be out of the classroom and able to move about as he pleases.

The specific energy I observed was hopping, skipping and jumping.....all in just a few moments. It seemed like he couldn't contain himself. He flowed through all three movements as he made his way down the street, obviously allowing himself to feel the wonder of the freestyle movement of his body. It was obvious he didn't care who may have been watching. I can't imagine that he was judging the style of his skip, or the height of his jump, of the distance he could hop. He was clearly just having a great time transporting himself home after school.

The impact on me, the observer, was joy. His movement reminded me of a dream I had where I led a class in skipping. Skipping is an activity I believe cannot be done without smiling. The freedom that it creates is natural and does not require work, planning or any assistance from anyone else.

He also inspired me to (at least metaphorically) live my life with a hop, skip and a jump. Imagine what fun life would be if we allowed ourselves freedom of movement as we made decisions on how we would spend our time, how we would approach our work, how we would be in relationship with others.

I'm not suggesting you hop, skip and jump to work or to your next board meeting ( unless of course you want to), yet I do encourage you to focus on moving through your daily activities with delight in your heart and a sense that there are many ways to be in process. You can move through life with joyful appreciation of each moment, or in fear, dread or worry about what may or may not happen next.

I plan on taking my cue from the child on the street and not care who's watching as I skip along appreciating the sheer joy of propelling myself into the next adventure.