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Reflect Out Loud

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

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inner peace

Glimpse Of Heaven

There are times when I really do see it.

I’m comfortable in my skin. Really living my purpose.

You’re by my side. We can design our day, better yet, our lives as we please.

You’re free and fulfilled. I’m free and fulfilled.

There are no borders.

We’re healthy. Abundance flows.

It’s beautiful. We’re beautiful. Life’s beautiful.

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Changes

It amazes me how quickly things can change.
How a moment ago we were laughing and holding each other only to never speak again. Would it have felt different if I knew it’d be the last time I’d see you?

I am having a hard time coping with parts of my life’s unfolding. My aging face. My thinning hair. My changing body. My desire to be somewhere further along.
I’m having a hard time with loss. Loss of identity. Loss of youth. Loss of health. Loss of people. Loss of possessions. Loss of status.

I know there is only so much I can do externally to keep it all together. I know that I have to learn to gracefully accept what I cannot change and stop resisting what I can’t control. But it sucks. Damn, does it suck. Why can’t things just work and be my way? Why does it have to be so difficult?

Part of my struggle is internal. Because I cannot sit comfortably with the way things are. Because I tell myself a negative story about my external situation and assign a negative meaning to what is happening to me.

I know that if I want to experience lasting inner peace and satisfaction I have to commit to being kind to myself. I must commit to seeing myself as beautiful, worthy, enough, complete, deserving, lovable and ultimately safe regardless of my external situation.

I’ve started to do EFT – an acupressure form of therapy that helps heal emotional wounds created by excessive patterns of negative thinking. I like to watch and follow along to Brad Yate’s videos. I’ll share a link here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6Ua7T01cdY

I am also working to exercise some faith. Faith that even though things may not be completely the way I want them to be right now, that in time, they will be.
Work in progress.
 

 

Be The Driver of Your Mind

The mind is like a vehicle that you use to navigate through life. You command left, left it goes. Right, right it goes. There are times, however, where your mind is the one navigating you rather than the other way around. You become lost in the stories in your head. You remember the past, rehearse for the future and on, and on the rambling continues to the point of overwhelm. Some of us are so lost in our minds and so controlled by its power that we can’t even fall asleep. The mind is riding us.

The mind is a powerful tool with tremendous potential. Use your mind for your service and wellbeing. Don’t let your mind take you away from the present moment as it replays old memories, blames you, guilts you, judges you, abuses you.  Don’t let your mind tell you negative, limiting stories that say you are not enough, not capable, and that you will not achieve your goals. When you catch yourself falling victim to the mind, interrupt it saying, “Hey, I am the boss here, not these limiting thoughts. I choose to love and believe in myself at all times. I am enough. I am present.” Command your mind! You are the driver and the mind is the vehicle – not the other way around. Drive your mind through roads that are conducive to your highest potential. If you see the mind getting out of control, like a car that begins to veer from its lane, guide it back to the present and loving path. Be the driver of your mind!

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.

The Extraordinary Ordinary

“If you’re always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you’re in?” – Unknown

Much of our life is made up of ordinary moments. Eating, brushing our teeth, walking, cleaning, sleeping, bathing, running errands, taking out the trash, doing laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, driving the kids to school, doing homework, and on and on and on.
The bigger, less ordinary, moments in life like getting married, reaching the top of your career, graduating college, moving across country, buying your dream home, among other grand achievements, happen with less frequency. When we live our entire life neglecting ordinary moments because our mind is too busy chasing after peak moments, we fail to enjoy the entirety of our life experience. Like a hamster running on a wheel, we fervently chase, chase, chase the next moment because right now, just as we are, is not quite enough.

All too often I catch myself feeling frustrated because right now my apartment is too small. Right now, I have debt to still take care of. Right now, I am not at the top of my career. Right now, I am not exactly where I wish I were. So what do I do? I spend time neglecting my ordinary moments chasing after the next moment. I beat myself up and don’t feel good in the here and now. This state of mind blocks me from seeing the beauty in the ordinary. It inhibits me from realizing that although I am not yet experiencing the bigger, more defining moments of my life, it does not mean that my life isn’t already big and momentous in and of itself in the present.

Each day, I realize more clearly how important it is to my wellbeing to simply enjoy the journey without getting worked up about the destination. Life is not about chasing moments, though it’s easy to get caught up in the cycle of chasing. It is easy to get stuck in not feeling enough because right now you are just not there yet. The funny thing is, there is no there – there is only, always, here and now. It is always in the now moment that we will experience anything, ever. To live a happy and satisfied life, we must carry happiness and satisfaction with us in both the everyday standard moments as well as the bigger more rewarding moments. If we place our happiness on any future desire then most of our days will be gloomy because we will always have more average days than peak days. We will always be waiting for happiness to happen in some future time while our present suffers. It is in the here and now that we have to find our joy. It is in the ordinary that we have to see the extraordinary. It is in taking out the trash, washing the dishes, walking the dog, driving the kids to school, brushing our teeth, washing our hands, doing the laundry, walking to work, and all the other little things that we have to participate in with joy. The joy we experience in the extraordinary is the same joy we can carry with us when experience the ordinary. Life will be joyous not just because of the great things you will achieve, but it will be joyous because YOU in and of yourself are great and joyous. Feel it! 🙂

Let it Be

Let the wind blow through your hair. Don’t worry if it gets tangled and wild.

Let the rain get you wet. Don’t care if it seeps into your shoes.

Let yourself be late. Don’t frazzle about what you can’t change.

Let yourself mispronounce a word. Don’t judge yourself for your mistakes.

Let your tears roll down your cheeks. Don’t hold back from what you feel.

Let yourself snort when you laugh. Don’t worry about who is looking.

Let yourself get some mustard across your face. Don’t be embarrassed at such simple things.

Let your life be. Let yourself be. As things are. As you are. This doesn’t mean cross your arms and do nothing while life passes you by, it means don’t resist what is, but rather, make the best of it.

Gratitude

After standing on my feet for several hours, I began to notice how wonderful my feet really are. I began to notice how gracefully they support me all day no matter where I go.

I started to thank life for my feet. I began to see how I take so many things for granted. There are times where I focus so much on what I am lacking in my life and forget all the blessings that I already have.

Having a sense of gratitude is so important to our wellbeing. Thankfulness allows us to see the good that we already have and refocuses our attention on the beauty that is currently present. There is nothing wrong with wanting more from life, but it is crucial that we remember what we already have.

I started a gratitude journal. I recommend it. Even if you don’t write in it every day, take some time throughout the week to focus on what you are grateful for in your life. It could be the smallest of things, like the wind blowing in your hair. It could be the sunrise. It could be your coffee or tea. Anything that brings you joy; anything that serves you. You can even be bold enough to be thankful for the challenges that have strengthened you and opened your eyes to new knowing. Whatever it is for you, give thanks. There is always, always, always, something to be grateful for.

I am thankful in this moment.
Thank you, feet for supporting me and taking me from place to place.
Thank you, brain for being the source of my functions.
Thank you, hands for making this post possible.
Thank you, lungs for allowing me to breathe this air.
Thank you, bed for allowing me a comfortable place to rest.
Thank you, weather for being so pleasant today.
Thank you.

Dance With Your Life

“Everything – the good and bad, pleasure and pain, approval and disapproval, achievements and mistakes, fame and shame – all come and go. Everything has a beginning and an ending and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.” – Richard Carlson

Life can be so unpredictable. One moment you are sitting there smiling, sipping some coffee – the next you’re in tears because of unexpected events beyond your control.

We cannot control what happens outside of us. A plate breaks, someone yells at you in traffic, a woman cuts you in line at the grocery store, your company downsizes and you are cut from the team, the kids are in trouble at school, there is a sickness in the family, the list is endless. Nevertheless, you can control how you react to your external circumstances.

When you live your life from the inside out, you finally come to a place where you always have control. You always have a choice when it comes to your internal feelings about the chaos going on all around you. Life will hand you curve balls. Inevitably, something will eventually go wrong, and it is at this moment where you can breathe and tell yourself “I am in control of how I respond and of how feel about this situation.” You can think to yourself, “Will I react by feeling defeated, angry, and upset? Or will I let go, breathe and invite peace into my heart as I take deliberate, intuitive steps to bring myself out of this situation?” You always have the power to choose the latter. You do not have to choose to feel bad when the car breaks down or when you lose your job or whatever other difficulty. It may not be easy at first to realize that you have the power within you to switch from painful reactions to peaceful ones. But with practice and awareness you will come to see that you do have a choice as to what you harbor in your internal space and how you will react to your external world.

Life will always hand us troubles and because of this it is important to become a peaceful warrior. Challenges are opportunities for our growth. We learn from our mistakes and from our difficult circumstances. We learn to let go and realize that when one door closes it also opens new doors of opportunities. One day, we will all eventually let go of everything – this is called death – the total letting go of all. So why not practice now? Let go of painful reactions and embrace peaceful responses that allow you to dance with the unexpected maneuvers of life rather than battle with them only to bring yourself more pain. Dance with your life!

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