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Reflect Out Loud

"The unexamined life is not worth living." – Socrates

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fear

Breathe. Be Here. Be Present.

I think a lot. A lot.

I realize that most of my thinking hinders my ability to simply experience the beauty of the present moment. The sounds. The smells. The colors. The joy of being part of the eternal now.

My thoughts give rise to my emotions, which gives rise to more thoughts, and circles endlessly.
When I interrupt my thinking mind I feel peaceful. I don’t project myself into the future or wallow in my past or my fears.
Letting the thoughts just play like a song on a radio allows me to be the observer of the thoughts without identifying or giving them more energy to persist.

When I let my thoughts carry me away like the mighty waves of an ocean, I lose myself in my mind. I drown. I start to believe my limiting thoughts are my reality. I play and replay scenarios in my head. I remember the past. I rehearse for the future. I replay all my fears. I analyze. Overthink. I beat an idea down over and over until I am overwhelmed and uneasy.

Then I remember  I have a choice. I can either live in my head or live in the moment. Do I live in the mental stories or do I actually live? The stories make me feel good or make me feel bad, or something in between. The stories do not provide lasting peace as they are always changing, analyzing, criticizing, judging.

Regret. Fear. Anxiety. Love. Nostalgia. Guilt. Shame. Sadness. Pride. Creativity. My myriad of emotions. It’s all tossed in my head like a salad.

Then I chose to take a seat. I just sit there and watch the thoughts. I watch them until they are done rising and sinking. I let them ride but I don’t join. I actively interrupt the thoughts by commanding myself to “Be here. Be present.” I take deep breaths and focus on the feeling of the air filling my lungs and then releasing.

In…
Out…
In…
Out…
Be here.
Be present.
In…
Out…
In…
Out…
Be here.
Be present.

My mind becomes quiet. I am brought back to the present moment where everything is ok. The colors penetrate my eyes. The smells dance in my nostrils. The sounds tickle my ears. The air makes sweet love to my lungs. I am well. I am here. I am not identified with the stories in my head. I am not my memories. I am not projecting myself into the future. I am not trying to control. I am not trying to do more, be more, have more to prove some point to myself or the world. I just am. I just am this living being who is settled in peace, inner stillness and soothing joy.

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Scaredy Cat

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It’s normal to feel afraid of the unfamiliar.

I compare it to my cat’s (Lila) perception of the world. A small sound I make with a spoon may startle her because she doesn’t understand that it’s just a spoon and nothing else. This is the same with us humans. Something simple may startle us because we just don’t know any better.

Breathing techniques are a great way to calm the heart when you’re afraid.

So don’t forget to breath.

Contemplation

“This, too, shall pass.” – Source Unknown 

I remember sitting on this spot earlier this year under the blazing heat of the summer. I pondered my choices and felt utterly lost, without a clue as to where life was headed or what I wanted.  image

Today, as I sit here and contemplate life, I feel more certain – though the wind of uncertainty still caresses my skin every then and again. I realize that it’s ok to be uncertain, even though it’s a horrible feeling to me. Everything passes. All is fleeting.

Live Fearlessly

You are enough, valid, and fearless. Live it!

The external world can be an intimidating place.
We are constantly bombarded with information that tells us how to behave, what is appropriate, what is beautiful, what is acceptable and so on. When we live by comparing ourselves to others and comparing ourselves to the general understanding of what is “right” and “proper” we lose the chance to be who we really are. We start to embrace the world view of others and behave in accordance to what may earn us respect, love and acceptance.

This is where self love and self acceptance comes in. When you begin to validate yourself for who you are without comparing or basing your self-worth on external and unrealistic ideals, you finally realize the freedom and power you really have. You start to live from a place of fearlessness and embody confidence that radiates from the inside out. You learn that so long as you approve of yourself, it is not necessary to seek validation from others. You begin to trust yourself and realize how valid your sense of being actually is! You no longer need to act like somebody you are not simply because doing so may get you the approval of some. Approve of yourself! Listen to your heart and follow it without being afraid of what others may think.
Sooner or later you realize that when you live authentically, the right people will be drawn to you. You will start doing what you love simply because you love to do it and not because you want others to give you a tap on your shoulder.

Be free to be who you are without fear of judgment. No matter what you do or don’t do people will judge anyway. For this reason, it is important to be your own judge and to love yourself unconditionally. Love yourself with all your flaws and all your imperfections. Love all your good and all your “bad.” You are an entire package and every aspect of you is here to be shared and explored!

Next time you feel a strong urge to reach out to someone or say something bold, don’t hold yourself back or judge yourself harshly – be free to express yourself.
You don’t have to worry about who is judging you negatively because you already approve of yourself.

You rock! Remember that! Always.

John

I will tell you about John.

John is a good guy. He walks around trying to do the “right thing.” He smiles at people hoping people will smile back. He yearns to connect; he yearns to be accepted and to accept back.

John loves all people. Even people with three or four heads and eyes. Even purple people, blue people, orange people and invisible people.
John is very curious.
John is scared sometimes because he doesn’t like pain. But he does like it when the nurse comes along and rubs alcohol on his boo-boo. It makes him feel loved. Like someone cares about his well-being.

John likes to play. He wishes he could play all day. He wishes he could climb trees and pretend he is a pirate looking out into the ocean for some loot and new found land.
But there is a thing called “job” he has to do.
John doesn’t necessarily dislike the idea of a job – he understands how important functions are to a well operating society. What John doesn’t like is when he is forced to play roles he doesn’t feel comfortable playing.

John wants to walk around the world and give everyone little paper hearts because he wants people to remember how to love.
John wants people to know how to see not just with the eyes, but with their whole entire being.

John gets angry sometimes. He gets angry when the world expects him to be more than what he already is. It is not that John doesn’t want to be more – or “expand” as he would call it, it’s that John wants the freedom to grow at his own pace.

John doesn’t like when he is corrected in a condescending way.
John wants to be the best John he can be and wants to be spoken to in a loving manner, not in a punishing manner.

John is tired now.

I will share more about him another day.

Finding Purpose in the Little-Big Things

Sometimes I get down on myself because of where I am in life. I get stuck thinking that I should be doing more, accomplishing more, believing that through my accomplishments I will be finally fulfilled. I keep thinking that once I have a high paying job, a nice house, a nice car, a couple of degrees on my wall then I could look at all the things I’ve achieved and say “OK. You did it. Your life is now perfect.”

Where did I get this idea? Why do I think that fulfillment comes from external accomplishments?
I mean, sure externals can bring fulfillment, but if you’re like me struggling and straining through the externals in hope that your strain will later bring fulfillment – then maybe we need to refocus ourselves.

I keep thinking I need to achieve some big thing so I can prove to myself and the world that I matter.
But today I woke up with the realization that I don’t need to do anything in order to matter. I already matter simply because I exist.

I realize that I need to appreciate the little things and that these little things are really big things in and of themselves. I was wallowing around thinking I have no purpose because I work a “meaningless job” at a storage company. Then I realized “Hey, wait a minute. I do have a purpose. I am the storage girl. My purpose right now is to be the best storage girl I can be. My purpose is to smile and give good service to my customers and to make sure that everyone who comes in looking for a place to keep their stuff is helped in a warm and friendly manner. I am the storage girl for now and this is my purpose right now.”

I was undermining myself simply because I didn’t feel like my job was meaningful. But it is. Even if I was flipping burgers at McDonald’s, that is meaningful too. If flipping burgers is my job, I simply need to know that for now my purpose is to be the best burger flipper I can be! Or if I am a cleaning lady, my purpose right now is to just be the best cleaning lady I can be.

I realize now that no matter what position I am in, whether it is president or servant, I have a purpose to fulfill in my particular place in time. I need to know that my purpose right now is whatever that purpose is right now and that I am not less than anyone else simply because of the title I hold.

I realize also that I have a tendency to compare myself to others making me feel inferior because I believe I should also be doing what others are doing. I need to understand that I am ME and not OTHERS. And that whatever I do in time is just as meaningful as what other people are doing because in the grand scheme of things we are all operating for some greater purpose – to move forward in time.

I need to improve my faith. I need to learn to trust that tomorrow will be ok and that I will be provided for. I don’t need to work-out the future, I just need to be here right now fulfilling this very purpose in time. I need to understand that my worth is not defined by my accomplishments even though that’s what our society often wants us to believe. This kind of mentality only serves to discourage us when in truth we are all the same.

Ultimately, what I am saying is: This moment, right here, right now – this is my life. My life is not in some future place or in the past. My life is here and being here is my purpose. I don’t need to feel like I must accomplish some great thing in the future in order to feel great. I am great because I exist. Life has chosen me to come to be and to be is my primary purpose. What I do at any point in time is big. Just coming in to my job and helping people get their storage room is big. Life has all these little moments that make big things. Let’s marvel in the little-big things of every day life.

Just relax in this moment.
Let yourself know that this moment is enough.
Let yourself know that tomorrow will be ok.
Let yourself be here and now.
Whatever action needs to be taken in this moment, take it.
If no action needs to be taken, just be.
You don’t need to plan your whole life.
You don’t need to compare yourself to others.
You are enough just as you are in this moment.
Your presence is a big accomplishment in and of itself.
Marvel in the little-big things.
Your purpose is to be and that is very, very big.

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