Monday, January 31, 2011
Anyway, I arise, get my coffee ready, heat up a wonderful heating bean bag thing for my back, and adjourn to my office, my “fortress of solitude.” I turn on some soothing music, and then I take about 45 minutes to meditate. Time to myself. Ahhhh!
I then have about 15 minutes left for the news, traffic, weather, or whatever before I rally the kids. I am calm, relaxed, have time for coffee before they arise. A great way to start the day! The way I have time for this is that I make it a priority. Simple enough.
The troops rallied, snuggle time, pet the dog, more coffee, life is good.
About 45 minutes go by and kids are dressed, car is started to warm up, lunches packed, dog has been out, backpacks being packed, same routine, same timing, check!
What I have found though is something odd. Forty five minutes ago, life was good, blissful, appreciative, and grateful. Now I am scurrying around making sure that things are going “according to my plan”, “my routine”. (Mind you – it is the same plan, the same family, the same routine, the same house, same dog, that I deal with every day for years – like overnight they all lost their minds or memory. Well...maybe.)
*Grumble* “Yes, I guess so.” (Reminder–I have already started to warm the car.)
“Honey, will you mail this for me when you drop off the kids. It needs to be mailed this morning.”
*Gripe* “Does it have to be done at 8:00 AM?”
(Two examples are enough.)
Now I have done a lot to work on my ego in the last few years. A lot...Alot! I have become very mindful of what I do, what I put in my body as well as my brain. I try to live in service of others. I work on patching my “leaks”. I mean emotionally and spiritually the proverbial “orange barrels” have been up for some time. Did I say I have done a lot of work? I did? Okay...good.
Well I still need some.
As I have said many times before, “it is the storms that show us where our leaks are.” These times at least keep me mindful of the importance of continual spiritual grounding, self-examination, gratitude, and awareness.
I drove the kids and noticed the other children walking in the cold exhaling small bursts of steam. I picked up two other kids in the neighborhood–proud that I could offer a warm transport for them to get their education. The happy childlike banter filled the car. The sun was bright, the energy good.
I find my ego still likes to bitch; to makes its presence known. I also find that thankfully the “conscious” me likes to play “hero” more than adversary. The rewards are much greater. Much greater!
Nowadays I find my ego is like the neighbor dog that is contained behind a secure fence. When noticed, he will bark, and bark, and bark, trying to establish his dominance, yet with little threat but great nuisance. I just need to be mindful of keeping the gate latched!
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Patience is a virtue my behind! I remember admiring a sign my father used to have hanging in his business early on, it was a photocopy obviously passed on to him and hung with pride like that of today’s inspirational plaques that executives hang on their office walls.
I used to perceive patience as weakness; a belief of those who were unable to make things happen. The movers and the shakers, you know those with the cool motivational plaques hanging in their offices did not just simply sit by “patiently” waiting on their rewards. They went out and “killed something!”
I remember I used to profess that if someone were passing out one million dollar bills, and there were a line ahead of me, I would get out of line. Sad.
Now that makes me wonder. If I want time to speed up, then am I okay when the time I wish would speed up would also rapidly zip by when I am actually enjoying myself? Do I want my kids to grow up, move on, and move out sooner? Do I want to get old and succumb to my mortality sooner? Do I want the party over sooner?
I find rather than trying to control time and trying to control how others manage theirs, it is easier to make a stronger attempt at finding my own source of patience. I find once we find our source of patience, it is a humble beginning of surrender. Surrender in the fact that we find we are not alone, we do not control the universe, yet if we slow down, we can enjoy what unfolds around us.
I also eventually get what I am impatiently waiting for. I find that being impatient does not make the metaphorical universal UPS truck deliver my wishes any faster. My impatience only dictates how I feel as I close the gap between now and the delivery of my awaited circumstances. What I want to happen quicker does indeed happen, as it should and will on life’s terms, I just find through impatience I simply make the journey there more frustrating by choice.
Monday, January 10, 2011
The reason for my aspirations usually comes after a time of tragedy. Mass shootings, politically charged rhetoric that inspires exclusion or separatist thought, ecological disaster, you know the icky, big stuff. I would profess, and still do, that it would be nice to be able to escape it all, to simply go to a beautiful place where these thorns could not grow in my garden.
I would accept the restricted diet of fish and limited produce for the peace of a hammock between to palms, a hut, and many hours of unmolested reflection at the water’s edge. Maybe the diet would solve my expanding waistline as well, and the hunting/gathering would become sufficient exercise.
“Anyone...anyone??!” (We then hear the crickets...)
I then find that I hold a majority of the potential for change. I myself can drop the proverbial “pebble in the pond”, and stare as the ripples retract concentrically outward reaching far shores.
My world is simply a reflection of myself and how I see it.
When I say, “The world sucks”...it often proves me correct.
When I say, “People today are crazy”...they often act in such a manner.
When I say, “Life is rough”...I meet quite a bit of adversity.
However, when I tell myself, “The world has beauty and promise, contains an abundance of compassionate, intelligent, and beautiful people who are willing to take on the same challenges as I, so none of us are alone”, I find my burdens lighten.
Same world, same people, same life–different perspective. My choice.
I have three simple tools in my tool kit. They like a hammer, screwdriver, and duct tape can fix most any a household dilemma.
Second–the questions I ask myself. “Why are you such a loser?” is not the best way to try to motivate yourself to overcome your shortcomings. When I ask myself questions like this, amazingly I have many, many answers. Most of them are rooted in past behavior. Behavior I no longer can do anything about. Why? Because it is PAST behavior! When I ask, “How can I make today better than yesterday?” Or, “How can I be a better person, husband, wife, employee, citizen, etc.”, interestingly enough, I get answers here too. These answers usually come in the context of things I can do in the present and will affect my future. The opportunities presented to me in this life appear often in direct proportion to the questions I ask myself.
Finally–the window I peer out into the world is one I place before myself. What we focus on is what we see. If I constantly focus on death, pain, belligerence, debauchery, suffering, madness, loss, and hatred, guess what I see? If focus on people making a difference, compassion, growth, ingenuity, progress, and miracles, yes–miracles; I will see them too. Same planet–different worlds.
Yes, it can be challenging at times. If you want a good workout on these principles, turn on the news. There are many people who are willing to spiritually spar and test our resolve. It is empowering to know that my armor thickens with my recall of these ideals. However if this is a bit hard, the S.S. Minnow always is an option.
Sunday, January 2, 2011
If I call this guy, I can improve my finances, own real estate, or learn the secrets of getting a perfect physique in 90 days.
I can quit smoking, drinking, drugging, arguing with my kids, teach my baby to read, and go back to school.
I am emphatically encouraged to emerge from the chrysalis of last year’s drudgery into the beautiful butterfly I am destined to become...this month.
Eagerly I listen. I critically examine my attributes and lack thereof assessing what I need to keep, and what I need to improve upon. It is January 2nd. I am already a day late. Am I a loser already?
Of course it will be hard even with the noblest of intentions to make major life changes this time of year. We go from a season of indulgence, self satisfaction, giving, abundance, and festivity to immediately tear down decorations, a cold season of grey skies (here in the Midwest), holiday credit card bills, and then are expected to proclaim, then live up to, stopping things we have done habitually mainly because they make us feel good.
No sir, I don’t like it. It is hard enough for me to write the correct date on my checks in the New Year let alone stop eating what I enjoy, get more rest and exercise, upgrade to “better behavior 2.0”, reboot, and act as if it is easy, or at least enjoyable. It is like driving along the freeway at sixty miles and hour and noticing your exit then slamming your car into reverse trying to make it safely to your next destination. Not good for cars or humans.
Perhaps before considering resolutions we should examine what went well in the previous year? Let’s do more of THAT stuff! Perhaps make habits out of serendipity. If we spent more time focusing on some of what we do right and not so much that our jeans don’t fit like they used to, we would embellish the skills that would allow us the skill sets to achieve many more of the things we desire.
Personally I reflect this time of year “categorically.” I try to look at global attributes that I would like to examine in more forensic depth in the upcoming year. This examination requires time, research and rhythm. There is no way I can incorporate lasting changes into my life without practice and patience. It took a lot of the negative habits I may wish to eradicate a long time to erode their way into a habitual pattern. I must therefore offer the same amount of dedication and tenacity in replacing them. I am still busy making excuses in January!
I have in the past used categories such as “expanding my knowledge”, “improving my spiritual awareness”, “stabilizing my health”, “developing greater patience”, and I will often revisit those yearly but with just different amount of emphasis.