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Reflect Out Loud

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

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now

One Day @ a Time

I want it, and I want it now.

Having tantrums like a babe. Throwing fists against the wind.

When I’m hungry I find that the best part is eating my meal. Yet so often I crave end results – the being satisfied part. As if there were some permanent end.

Life is always changing. There is no end. The end is the process.

What is it that you’re trying to create? Don’t kill the fun of the process by being so anxious to see the results.

I found that the best way to live is one day at a time. One moment at a time. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make plans. Go ahead. Make your plans. Just don’t get lost in trying to figure it all out meanwhile life slips through your fingers.

 

This is my Life

THE DESTINATION IS THE JOURNEY

This is my life – here, now; sitting and writing this message.

This is my life – here, now; rushing to catch the 2:25 train.

This is my life – here, now; walking up the narrow stairs of my workplace.

This is my life – here, now; brushing my teeth while staring at my image in the mirror.

This is my life – here, now; watching the people go by as the cars ride busily on the cramped New York City streets.

This is my life – here, now; crunching a carrot dipped in creamy, supremely spicy hummus.

This is my life – here, now; listening to my favorite jams while completing an intense cardio workout.

This is my life – here, now; crossed legged, sipping on a cool drink as tender winds play with my senses.

There is no place to run to that is outside  the now. This is your life – here, now. Whatever you are doing here and now – that is the entirety of your life. Life is now. The next moment is no guarantee. The future is not yet come and once it does it will be in the now. The past occurred in the now. All there is is now. All your life is now.

You have already arrived. Don’t frazzle yourself as you race to some end – because this is IT.

#thedestinationisthejourney

Ecstasy

“Realize deeply that present moment is all you ever have.” -Eckhart Tolle 

I don’t want to get There only to miss the entire life I’ve neglected by being blindly consumed with the end rather than fully and profoundly immersed in the Moment.

I want to be wildly in love with the Moment.

My love will be so alive that I will be able to taste sounds and smell colors. I want every atom that composes my existence to connect with every atom that composes the rest of existence. Pure ecstasy. No fear. No shame. No foul, no harm. Just us. Absolute joy. Innocence. Truth.

Lost and Found

Some days it feels like nothing goes my way. My jacket zipper gets stuck. I miss the train by seconds. I travel far for a project that doesn’t pan out. My hair gets brutally tangled in my necklace. I glance at the clock and suddenly I’m running late. I blindly sit on someone’s spilled coffee. A stranger’s bad breath poorly concealed by minty gum is blown towards my face. It takes the cashier 5 painful minutes to return me my change.

Is the world against me? Or am I moving too quickly and have missed the lesson here?

I watch other people pass me by and wonder if their life is easier. Maybe their zippers never get stuck.

I start thinking that if maybe I was someone else then misfortune would somehow escape me.

I know it’s ridiculous to think this – but I do it anyway. Then I come here and write about it.

Then I get over it and come back to the moment.

I play tug of war with the now and my rambling mind. The endless commentary in my head seems to win most of the battles. Yet even in the chaos of my inner world I arrive at luxurious moments of peace.
Then it’s lost again.
Then found.
Then lost.
Then found.

I realize it’s not about how many times I fall but how quickly I get up, beat the thick brown dust off my warrior body and keep on truckin’.

Truck, truck, truckin’.
Truckin’, truckin’.
Truck, truck, truckin’.

Just never gonna stop.

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! 🙂

Free Thought and Numbers

I see same digits every day without planning to. 1:11, 11:11, 12:12, 2:22, 3:33, 4:44, 10:10. These are the most common. Which is basically all of them. Except 5:55, which I think I see less of. I always feel happy when I see them. I hear some say that they are messages from the universe. Are they? I don’t know. I would really like it to be.

I don’t know how to really draw the line between what is truly real and what is man made mumbo jumbo. I wish I could know. I really do.

I have trouble at times feeling really confident in any one belief because I feel like everything is always changing. For example, if I believe in this X now, 1 second from now this X is not the same because it’s now one second old – it has changed (even if at a minuscule level) since its original time. So how can I become grounded in any one thing if all things are changing moment by moment?

I hate it. I hate that I get so confused by it all and that I just don’t know it all.

Some say that we should become satisfied with not knowing. Are we giving up by saying it’s enough not to know? If you could know, wouldn’t you want to? I would.
If I had a choice I would choose knowledge.
But that’s my personal choice.

But, of course, until then, I’ll just settle for not knowing. For wondering. For exploring.
For having enough, for now.

Be Here First. You’ll Get There.

“Worry a little bit every day and in a lifetime you will lose a couple of years. If something is wrong, fix it if you can. But train yourself not to worry. Worry never fixes anything.” – Mary Hemingway

Resisting your here and now because you want to be there and then will only create in you more emotional pain. You can eliminate additional, self-caused pain by accepting where you are in time as well as disidentifying from negative thought patterns.

There are times when our present circumstances are annoying. Of course you’d rather be in some future, more pleasant moment, because THEN you won’t be dealing with whatever drama is currently present. Totally understandable. Nevertheless, wanting to escape the present moment only adds to the already uncomfortable situation. For example, you have a job interview to get to but you miss the train so you’re probably going to be late. “FML” status, right? It doesn’t have to be.

Thinking to yourself over and over “I should have left earlier” or “I wish I was on the train” or “I will never get the job now” or “Why can’t I ever get anything right” or “Ugh, if only I never stopped for coffee” or “Ugh, where is the next train!!!??” or whatever other thought of this nature, will only add to the negative feelings you are already experiencing.

So what to do?
Be here now.
Be present with your situation without mentally projecting future outcomes and without blaming yourself or criticizing what is. This doesn’t mean become passive about your life and allow the world to just stomp over you. No. Quite contrary! When you allow yourself to accept whatever the moment is presenting you with, you approach your circumstances in a more peaceful, level headed manner. Instead of adding negative commentary to your already unwanted circumstance, you simply accept that this is where you are right now but it doesn’t define you. Missing the train is your present circumstance, and that’s it. There is no further need to add fuel to this fire with unpleasant thoughts. You accept that you are waiting for the next train and if there is anything else you can do about it, like take a cab for instance, you go ahead and do that. You do what you can do, and if there is nothing else you can do, you allow yourself to experience the truth of your moment without resisting what you can’t control. Breathe. Look around you and admire something beautiful. Take this moment to read or write. Take this moment to appreciate life and find something to be grateful for. If nothing comes up, allow yourself to just be present, breathing, being alive. Becoming frazzled will not solve your problems, instead, it will create additional pain in your life.

The mind will want to project all your worries and fears, but it’s only trying to protect you. It goes into “OMG, I am freaking out” mode because your mind wants your success and so it’s only natural for it to come up with reasons as to why missing the train was a horrible, horrible thing. Thank your mind. It is a tool that is only here to help you! Tell your mind that you appreciate it worrying about your well being and success and that you are going to relax now and breathe.

If anxious thoughts keep coming up, focus on your breath. Don’t attach to them and become identified with them as your ultimate reality. Remember, your mind is only trying to help. Let the thoughts pass like a cloud. Realize that you are not your thoughts. Breathe.
You’re ok.
Be here in this moment.
And from here, surely you will get there.
It starts with here. It starts with this moment.

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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