Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Green Bough (email) home to Oriah Mountain Dreamer
I really find Oriah a fascinating person. She is a naturalist and purest, in my eyes at any rate, and she inspires me to think in many ways! I get emails from her that really pick me up and help with some decisions that I make along the way. She also has a very beautiful but plain way of scattering and sharing her thoughts. Since I am off to the oncology clinic today I thought that I would share with you!
I’m not a fan of pithy capitalized slogans presented as complete and helpful truths instead of mere titles. It’s not that “Live Your BIG Dreams” is an unworthy goal, (although I suspect dreams qualified as BIG in a extroverted consumer culture may not be in alignment with my values) but I always want to ask: What does that mean- look like, feel like, taste like- in one particular human life?
When my sons were small I was ill for many months. Mostly I laid on the living room carpet with these two wonderful beings in my care so I wouldn’t have far to fall and couldn’t drop anyone when I was momentarily dizzy. I didn’t need to Dream BIG. I need a bath and a twelve hour nap. I was overflowing with and soaked in love (and breast milk and spit-up and baby pee.) I needed to find ways to get groceries, do a load of laundry and calm my fears that I’d be incapacitated by illness and exhaustion forever.
Because I’ve been writing a book about choice, I’m particularly aware of how often “Choice” features in many popular slogans: Happiness Is A Choice; Love Is A Choice; Forgiveness Is A Choice; Gratitude Is A Choice. . . . the list is endless. Most often I want to ask: Is it? Is it in this moment for everyone? Is it always?
Now, I get the point of these snappy declarations- they’re trying to encourage us to make choices that result in and come from love and forgiveness and other good stuff. But even that gives them too much credit. They don’t say: “Making Choices That Cultivate Happiness Is (Often) An Option”- they say, “Happiness Is A Choice”- as if you could just give yourself a smack on the forehead and remember that you forgot to turn on the happiness faucet this morning. This is at best misleading and at worst a potential cause for increased suffering as it tempts us to believe that our or another's unhappiness is actively and consciously "chosen" and therefore deserved.
In my work with individuals I often hear the “should” of inner and outer judgment planted by these sayings. People doing their best to deal with painful illnesses, trauma, and heart-breaking losses tell me again and again that they “should” be able to do better, be happier, to let go of fear, or sorrow and "get over" what is happening "faster." It makes my heart ache to hear the coals of suffering heaped on top of what is often real pain.
Can we make choices that will cultivate fear or happiness?
Often, yes. And sometimes we're swept along by pain, or grief, or fear, or unconscious material (which by definition isn’t accessible to choice until it is brought to consciousness.) Of course sometimes we can make choices- to do inner work, to be with those who support us, to ask for help, to take good care of ourselves- that will expand our ability to cultivate happiness, forgiveness and gratitude, make us more available to love. But the assertion that it's just a matter of choosing to be a certain way can prompt us to shove experiences that don’t align with this assumption (our moments of feeling unhappy, unforgiving or ungrateful) into our unconscious where they shape and limit our choices without us even knowing it is happening.
It can be scary to simply sit with the fact that in any given moment real choices are shaped and sometimes limited by inner and outer conditions. Of course, conditions change- and we can actively choose to change or work toward changing many of them- and this can expand and deepen the real choices we have.
But, in the meantime (which is to say- while we’re still human beings) perhaps we could step away from pretending to know more than we can possibly know about another’s real available choices, can give each other and ourselves a little credit for doing the best we can with what we have to work with in this moment. In the next moment we may offer or be offered or make a choice that will give us or someone else more to work with, and we’ll do the best we can with that.
I’m just sayin’:
Not Pretending We Are In Complete & Conscious Control Of Absolutely EVERYTHING- Is A Choice!
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Ted Engstrom in High Performance (Here’s Life Publishers, 1988) tells the story of a trusted advisor of President Abraham Lincoln who recommended a candidate for Lincoln’s cabinet. Lincoln declined and when asked why, he said, “I don’t like the man’s face.”
“But the poor man is not responsible for his face,” his adviser insisted. “Every man over forty is responsible for his face,” Lincoln replied, and the prospect was considered no more.
Lincoln, of course, was referring to the man’s expression and disposition rather than his features. A face conveys the thoughts and attitudes nurtured in a mind. We are responsible for how we will “face” each day.
One woman reported that she had just paid for some purchases when she heard the cashier say something. Not understanding, she asked her to repeat it. “I said have a happy day,” the cashier snapped. “Are you deaf?” Here is a person who seems to be unaware of how she is facing others.
Earl Nightingale put it like this: “Our attitude is something we can control. We can establish our attitude each morning when we start our day.
In fact, we do just that whether we realize it or not.”
You are already choosing your attitudes every day. Your ultimate happiness or misery depends as much on your disposition as on your circumstances.
Face the day with hope and confidence, generosity and love, and you’ll find yourself choosing to be happy. And you may be surprised at how much others like your face!
What do you or I convey?
Saturday, February 23, 2013
I can remember when I was growing up I would hear my grandparents and Mom Dad longing for the good ole days! I promised that in those days that I would always be up to date and never look back! HA. . . .HA!
Back in the 70's and 80's I used to write poetry and even paint on canvass. It was like the work was fresh and we used elements like sand to make the impressionable art seem pure! I had a problem with poetry though as I loved to write in Iambic pentameter which became an old style. While I could put impressions on canvass, I did not have the same gift with poetry as without the rhyme and rhythum I no longer had any thing to say. Eventually art styles also changed and it seemed that I started to let things slip by as I morphed into a technical grantwriter during the 80's. Sometimes though I now really long for the 'Good Ole Days”!
I have never let my my love of words and thoughts go by the wayside, however. Now my morning routine involves not writing but finding the positive and I look to the words and wisdom of others to say what I feel. It probably goes without saying, I receive a lot of poetry in my morning email. This morning was no exception. One of the websites that I visit routinely is AnitaPoems.com. Here I have always found words that mix with my daily emotions so this morning I clicked on “friendship inspiration”. I was pointed to this link by my many positive friends on Spark People and I was in the “mood” for friendship. I was lucky too as this morning, I found some really good ones on the type of friend that I want to be for you. This blog is my friendship commitment to you.
I believe in what you think,
There's no need to see a shrink.
We're all trying to find our way,
Don't you worry, it's Okay.
Years ago, they told us to dream,
Nothing wrong, if you wish to scream.
You always wanted to be a dancer,
I just don't have the answer.
Your unique mind, I do understand,
Next to you, here I stand.
We'll deal with whatever happens next,
Even if it's real perplex.
Your amazing strength comes from deep inside,
How you do it, you should write a guide.
Your words and actions always inspire,
The way you do it, I truly admire.
When I look at you, I'm very proud,
Not afraid to proclaim aloud.
Every challenge that you face,
You manage it, with so much grace.
This strength of yours often amazes,
You deserve more than just praises.
With all you do, I hope you get rest,
The rest of us, are profoundly blessed.
I support you one hundred percent,
One-hundred and ten, is what I actually meant.
I'm here for you, whenever you need,
Your expectations I hope to exceed.
Tomorrow is something, together we'll deal,
If pain follows us, together we'll heal.
The actual process may be quite slow,
Through this journey, together we'll grow.
In the end, the challenges we face,
We won't run away, instead we shall chase.
Whatever happens, I know you will win,
To the blue sky, point your proud chin.
Thanks for being my friend, my strength and just being there!
Friday, February 22, 2013
Good Morning! I am feeling a wee bit like our weather this morning so I am going to share a poem with you that encourages me when I feel like this!
Hello World By:Dan Coppersmith
I'm uniquely spectacular
I am one of a kind
From heart and mind
I'm stupendous, tremendous
I stand out from the crowd
I do things
That aren't allowed
I am amazing
Celebrating the being
I choose to be
I'm inspired, desired
I am wondefully wierd
I am unbridled passion
I am highly revered
I'm outrageous, contagious
I am daring and bold
I am honored and cherished
I'm a treasure to hold
I am gifted, uplifted
I am endlessly blessed
I am sought out
For the skills i possess
I'm delightful, insightful
I am loved and adored
I live a charmed life
I'm renewed and restored
I am grateful, elateful
I am centered and wise
I am wealthy and worthy
I am immortal in disguise
I declare my brillance
It won't be denied
The world cries out
For what I provide
I am powerful, masterful
I am focused and clear
Life beams brighter
Because I am here
I'm blazing, amazing
I can't be contained
I'm a glorious, fabulous
I choose to exude
All this and much more
My wings are spread
Watch me soar!
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