Monday, August 20, 2012
Who tells your story?
Here’s a hint: If you walk to the closest mirror and take a good hard look you will meet the author of your personal journey. It’s not mom, dad, husband, wife, or BF. It’s you. From the moment you are born there is a cosmic pen poised in your hand to write about a journey that is so unique and so amazing that in was entrusted to you and you alone. Can ya give me a sincere Amen? How’s about a hearty Hallelujah?
Yeah, me either. Some days, the importance and impact of my life journey gets lost in the excuses of negativity and doubt. Sad thing was none of them are legitimate. They were excuses, the kind I make when I want to feel better about copping out on a commitment. Yes, I hear some of you in the back of the room saying “Well what if I don’t WANT to do something?” Well you don’t have to! If you really WANT to, you will find a way. Saying I CAN’T just means I want to feel better about not getting something accomplished. Don’t get me wrong. Some things take much longer to accomplish than other things (See Weight Loss.) but it is never a matter of not having the tools. We were born with them they are our standard operating equipment and from the very moment we are cognizant of the differences we create between each other we want someone else’s tools. Ours aren’t good enough or shiny enough. We want to be taller or shorter or have a certain complexion or hair color. It’s when we begin to limit ourselves. Someone else has what we want and for whatever reason we begin to create the “cant’s”
I am a really good example of this “Stinkin’ Thinkin’ “as Zig Ziglar likes to call it.
Imagine you are Yoda’s younger brother and live in a Bible belt community of roughly 50,000 people. If it isn’t in the Bible or Sunday business section it just won’t hold water. So when you start exploring, the spiritual aspects of yoga people start whispering about burning you at the stake. The yoga class in my community offers no meditation component. So I walked around singing the blues and saying it would really be nice to have some alternative stuff to do but ya know “I can’t………”
God became weary of listening to me whine. One afternoon I am in a restaurant (It’s always about food isn’t it, lol) waiting on a client and the server and I strike up a conversation. She’s a new mom who is, wait for it………a yoga instructor. Matter of fact she emphasizes the spiritual side of yoga as well as the physical and health benefits and yes she works with clients privately. We are going to meet next week to talk about what she can do for me. I have to drive 100 miles one way for this experience but I sorta heard God ask me “You want your cake and eat it to?” It’s a start, a beginning, a “can.” I had an opportunity and I am a bit nervous, (See negative self-image blogs lol.) but it’s something I want to be a part of my life.
When my dad died a few months ago I struggled with the grieving process. I process things at a really intense level and plunge way, way deep into thought and emotion. (See Joan being canonized a saint for living with this for close to forty years.) I had no one to talk to about some of the feelings I was experiencing. A friend suggested a book, Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach. I devoured it. I sat openly crying as I read parts of it because OMG she’s writing about me and ya know what I am NOT CRAZY.
You think I’d be satisfied. I got upset because all I had was a book!! I scoured the internet for people like Tara who lived close to me and found none – another “can’t.”
In his infinite wisdom or maybe once again growing weary of my moaning God threw me another pearl. Tara Brach conducts a class each Wednesday evening in Bethesda, MD and guess what? They are available as podcasts the next day. Her guidance and insights have meant so much to me. They provide me with clarity and some sort of direction. If any of you happen to attend her sessions would you please let her know what she does has tremendous impact in places she doesn’t even realize. (Or maybe she does.) It became a “can.”
We all write our own story and we all accept our own unique challenges. For my part I am going to highlight all the “cant’s” in my story and replace them with “cans.”
Namaste my dear ones.
Friday, August 17, 2012
Sometimes I have one of those days I just can’t help but sharing.
I just returned from the gym. A Friday afternoon workout is my gift to myself. It means an extra few minutes in the hot tub and some time in the steam room and hey, hey, hey it’s Friday, correct? A lot of anxiety and tension goes swirling down the shower drain!!! I finished my workout, changed into my swimming gear, (Remember when they were called swimming trunks?) and get ready to immerse myself in fifteen minutes of hot churning water and think of, well think of NOTHING!!! As I come around the corner I see a young man of about twenty in the hot tub. I slide into the water and much to my surprise he is furiously typing on a smart phone. (Remember when they were called “cell phones?” Remember when they didn’t exist at all?) I try not to gawk but ya know I don’t think I’ve ever seen a smart phone in a hot tub before, so I’m curious. Mostly the 59 year old inside of me wonders how much the phone cost and what the water and steam might do to it. Now if Joan had been with me I’d gotten one of those “Shut up John,” looks and this wouldn’t be much of a story. However, the five year old in me was struggling to get out. I looked across the steamy water and said something like “Aren’t you worried that you might drop that thing?” It took a few seconds for him to answer and it was short and brief – “Nope.” He continued texting away, brow furrowed, face contorted and in the end he looked rather pleased with himself. He set his phone on the ledge and leaned back. “I just asked my girlfriend to marry me,” he said with a grin. “Via text message?” I asked. One word response – “Yup.” This is where I started to feel really old, really, really old. ‘Bout that time his phone dinged. He looked at the screen and shot straight out of the water, yellin’, sreamin and generally carrying on. (I was still worried he was going to drop the phone into the hot tub and we both might get electrocuted.) Apparently she had said yes. I stood up to shake his hand (It’s the right thing to do.) and he hugged me. I can’t describe the visual that created. (I have plaid swimming trunks.) After a few awkward seconds I extricated myself from his hug and went to the steam room. I called Joan when I got to the car and started with “Guess what happened at The Health Park…..” Her immediate response was “What did you do now?” Sigh
The other story unfolded earlier in the day. I am the current president of a local service club. We recently decided that our secretary/treasurer was taking on too much and we were going to split the positions come October 1. A new club member is an accountant and she volunteered to handle the financial end of things. This change is not going over too well. I wanted the new treasurer to get her feet wet and help with the report on our recent golf scramble. I sent an email out asking the two of them to get together. My phone rang about twenty minutes later. It was the secretary/treasurer. She wasn’t happy. Her replacement didn’t take over until October 1, this was only being done to embarrass her, yada, yada, yada……… She was calling the chairman of our board of directors and that’s when all mypatience vanished.
“I don’t care if you call Apollo son of Zeus,” I said.
It got quiet
“I guess that’s one of those Catholic saints you all pray to all the time, huh?” she yelled
I wasn’t quite sure what to say
Be safe my dear ones
Namaste to each of you
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
A few of you have written me and asked why I end my blogs with the word “Namaste.” I thought I’d collect my thoughts and share with you the meaning the word has for me.
The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another. Namaste literally means “I bow to you." On a much deeper and personal level, when I bow to you I honor you as a creation of the Divine, just as you are, right now, no strings attached. It means I do not desire to change you or mold you or create in you anything other than what is there. I honor you as are you are, as you exist, in the present. When I bow to you I acknowledge there is no past or future, only the now.
That’s easier said than done isn’t it? I ran across a saying yesterday that I used as my status update this morning: “The mind creates the chasm that the heart bridges.” What prevents me from honoring you as I should is that nasty “P” word. We only whisper it. It’s not politically correct, you know. Some people will tell you it no longer exists. The word is prejudice. We all suffer from it but most of us won’t admit it. Most of us churn through life chanting a mantra that we accept everyone as they are. We very well may accept someone but do we honor them as they are? Do we bow to the Divine spark inside of them; acknowledge that God exists inside that creature we feel may be the work of Satan himself? Our prejudice manifests itself in all shapes, sizes, religions, colors or preferences. It is never grounded in reason or rationale. It is the most difficult emotion we will battle in our lives.
My solution is to honor the Spark of the Divine in each person. When I greet them I remember that no matter how much I may disagree with what they do or who they are; that if I truly call myself a child of that amazing and loving God, I will fold my hands at my heart and bow slightly as I utter that word. Sometimes the gestures are done silently. Sometimes they are done to remind me that whether I choose to believe in it or not you and I are connected to each other by God. I have no choice to honor that if I choose to embrace love. I must love you in return. That is often difficult. Each of us has a mirror in our minds eye that tells us what we are supposed to be. Each day, we look into that mirror and begin finding our faults and flaws. We compare ourselves to other people and usually find ourselves lacking. That’s when we begin to find fault with other people in an attempt to make ourselves feel better. It doesn’t work does it?
We stand perfect and complete before our notion of the Divine each day. I work each day to see that in each life that touches mine. Whether you are slender or obese, young or old I say to you my dear one:
Monday, August 06, 2012
I learned a valuable life lesson on my morning walk a few summers back. Each morning I would pass a college aged woman standing at the bus stop. She was dressed in a fast food uniform and as I passed by I would greet her with a cheerful “Good Morning!!” She would turn around and smile and we’d both go about our day. One morning in early August I heard her voice say “Excuse me sir?” I thought maybe something had fallen from my pocket so I stopped and turned around.
“I wanna thank you for saying hello to me every day,” she began.” I’ve had a rough summer and I’ve had a lot on my mind and when you walked by every morning and smiled and said hello it made my day bearable. I’m going back to school on Wednesday and I wanted to make sure I thanked you. You made me feel that someone really cared enough just by saying hello. ”We both stood there a bit uncomfortable for a few minutes and I actually had a tear or two in my eyes. I mumbled something like “Thanks,” or “God bless you,” and went on my way.
That life lesson stuck with me. I can’t tell you how many times I have watched a grumpy cashier or servers turn their face into a grin when I’ve simply said. ‘Hi, how are you this most amazing day?” They will tell me they are fine or well or whatever and then the grin breaks out. “Thank you for asking!!!” I say it with sincerity. I genuinely do care.
What comes around goes around as they say? The other morning I was running late and needed some water to wash my BP pill down with. I swung into a long line at a fast food place to get a bottle of water. After what seemed like forever and my anxiety level rising higher and higher each moment because I just knew I was going to be late for everything for the rest of my natural life, I reached the window. A hand reached out with a bottle of water. I fumbled for my wallet and the person said “Apparently you have a new friend John, because the person in front of you paid for your water. Have a good day.”
When we were kids there was a chant prescribed mostly as a negative. It went “I’m rubber, you’re glue. Anything you say bounces off me and sticks on to you.” So maybe, just maybe we turn it around. And anything I say bounces off me and sticks on to you, especially the warmth, love and affection.
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