Saturday, July 18, 2009

Celebrate or Berate

Today is my husband's birthday and I am very pleased to see him seizing the day as one to celebrate, not one to ignore.

It's puzzling to me why it seems to be universally acceptable to celebrate and not berate the birthday boy or girl when we're children, but after a certain age, which can vary depending on what we consider being "too old", many of us begin to dread being reminded we have lived another year. We give cards that tease about being 'over the hill', we make derogatory jokes about age and for many of us, just hope it will all pass quickly, so we can go back to living our lives unnoticed until the next year.

Perhaps if we more consciously and sincerely celebrated aging, we would naturally be paying more respect to those that have lived the longest. We would look forward to being older rather than longing for our lost youth.

I encourage you to truly celebrate your birthdays, since the longer we're around the more life we get to live.....and that is always a good thing.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Word of the Day.....Engage

Some days I get focused on a word for some reason and then think about it whenever I have a free moment. I have no idea why certain words resonate so strongly with me....they just do. When it happens, I just sit back and enjoy what comes along.

This morning while doing abdominal crunches, I told my muscles to engage. When I paused to consciously feel how strongly that engagement was occurring, more ways to engage lined up in my mind. They were apparently not popping into my awareness in any particular order, but they did come easily.

I like engaging. For me it is very intentional. You engage for a reason....for a purpose. Engaging in something brings about an outcome.

Another reason I like engaging is it also enmeshes with something or someone else. When you are shifting the gears of your car you are engaging the transmission with the engine. When you are truly present with another person, you are engaged in listening and/or speaking with them. If you are engaged in prayer or meditation, a spiritual connection is being made.

It's no wonder the word played in my mind all day. I love connection.....I mean being fully engaged, committed and enmeshed with purpose and intention.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Near Life Experience

Most people have probably heard the phrase "Near Death Experience", which is apparently a pretty cool thing to be essentially dead and to feel the presence of God, perfect peace, love and joy....I suppose it would be aptly described as complete bliss. What has been said to occur in these situations, is that the one that has passed away, gets a taste of the hereafter and then after a short visit comes back to their body. Although I can honestly say I look forward to going on that ride, I'm not in a big rush to leave this life.

Early this morning while hiking a back road near my home, I was playing with the thought of a "Near Life Experience". Now, I know we are already alive, but sometimes I wonder if we are reallllly alive. I know my levels of aliveness vary. When I am fully present, I feel the sweetness of each breath. When my mind is busy working on something, or I'm distracted by some stimulus, I'm not feeling all that alive. I imagine there are many people that have a very low level of aliveness most of the time and rarely even get a whiff of bliss.

I can honestly say I feel really good most of the time (mentally, physically and spiritually). I bounce between gratitude and joy and occasionally even taste bliss. I tend to see the humor in life, laugh a lot and tend not get pulled into low energy feelings very often. If someone was observing my life they would probably say I am living fully. Although that sounds great, I actually believe there is more to be lived. I believe that joy could be even more present and deeper. I believe I can love more consistently and experience bliss more often.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining.....I love my life and the learning that comes with it. I have had many "Near Life Experiences" that have shown me my ability to live fully (the no kidding kind of fully) is available to us all.

I'm up for more of about you?

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Backfire of Blame

As I observe and sometimes even personally experience situations that go awry, I often see blaming is a result. It seems to frequently be the human default to blame someone or something on whatever seems to have gone wrong.

In some of those situations, the circumstances may clearly be the fault of another and we feel completely justified in our complaining and blaming of whatever wrong has occurred.

Where blaming backfires, however, is we as the blamer, feel victimized, which never feels good. We may also tend to feel angry, and in the process be essentially robbed of joy. The time frame of this joyless blame related backfire may be over in minutes, or can last a life time.

For years I wondered how I could deal with those difficult situations differently. I wanted to be able to hold on to joy and to not feel victimized. It was my desire to not be affected emotionally by the mistakes of others....even if they directly affected me.

What I have learned to be the answer is rather than looking for someone to blame and to whom I could direct my anger, is to try to understand and to forgive. My understanding and forgiveness does not mean I don't care about the situation and am going to idly allow myself to be taken advantage of. It actually doesn't even have to change my actions. I'm referring to not being hooked emotionally by pointing my finger in complaint (with associated anger) at someone else but rather emembering that we all make mistakes and that the best solution is always to be responsible for ourselves. Another way of looking at this is I don't have to have someone behave the way I expect them to for me to be happy.

It is the seeing beyond the acts and choices of another person to what lies beneath that keeps me in peace. If I can soften my heart in the moment, remembering this person that has made a mistake was doing the best they could in that moment, I can actually think more clearly and stay better in tune to what is the wisest action.

The greatest payoff of not focusing on blaming is that my joy and peace stays intact. Giving away my peace, even if it would be apparently justified, is not worth the price.