September 29, 2012
“We are constantly invited to be who we are.”
Henry David Thoreau
Everyday, as the sun rises and we open our eyes from the fuzzy interlude of sleep, dreams and silence to find a new invitation before us: You are invited this day, to be who you are.
While there may be routine, mundane, predictable parts of the day set before you, there will also be moments of spontaneity, unpredictability and surprise. These moments of synchronistic opportunity that catch us off guard provide us this invitation to be who we are. Not who we are expected to be, predicted to be…but who we ARE. And most of us, I believe, find we are able to RISE to a level we never expected.
Perhaps though , we have to train ourselves to be aware of these opportunities…mindfulness. Perhaps we will be called to muster up some courage and will ourselves to say “I will allow myself to submit to this moment in order to come closer to being the person I am”.
I go through days that are fairly routine, and within the routines, I find myself at risk of being in a rut. If I am in a rut, I most certainly am not living up to my fullest potential…the person I AM. I am not that routine, I am not that rut. I may have to live through those moments, but when I open the invitations that are presented to me throughout the day, and have the mindfulness to take action, I have greater, longer, more frequent moments where “I” am truly “me”. And I surprise myself!!
Sometimes it is an invitation to be kind, or take a risk, or say “no”, or for that matter “yes”. Sometimes it is closing my eyes, or taking a breath, or standing up instead of sitting down. Sometimes it is something big and scary, other times small and seemingly silly. Sometimes it may mean being assertive or confident, other times humble, accepting, or forgiving. But an invitation is an invitation. And if we don’t accept them and take action on them, they may stop coming. And then we may be alone with our routine, mundane, rut living self, rather than OUR SELF.
So, when your invitation arrives today, open it right away! Accept the invite and explore who you truly are!
September 23, 2012
I was going to call this entry “joy is in the journey”, but the word “delight” got the better of me!
Every day we get up. Sometimes refreshed, sometimes not so much. Maybe we tossed and turned with restless thoughts or are clinging to the dream of chocolate waterfalls and trying really hard not to open our eyes. Perhaps the sun shining through the window in the morning warms our body and makes the world seem soft and perfect. Maybe the pitter patter of rain makes us frown. That nagging worry from the day before may have already taken over every thought even before we can get a cup of coffee…..our mental list of everything that has to be done today gets longer with every waking moment…….we know all these scenarios.
I suggest that these could be labeled the ‘delights of life”. Why? Because they mean we are alive.
I have no magical ability to weather with grace or patience, the ups and downs that create my days. I get frustrated. I cry. I laugh. I feel dread and anxiety. I experience giddiness and anticipation. And as I age, ( like a fine wine, versus “grow older” like rotting. Could have said ‘mature’ but wasn’t in the mood.), I notice that when I try to embrace everything, I am surprised to discover that I can begin to see them as delights in my life. Even if they make me grumble or bitter. I find my mind chatter chortling “it will be OK”, “there is a reason for this, just let things play out”, “This seems really unpleasant, but you will get through it”, etc. And after the fact there is usually an internal or external smile or smirk: a sense of ” I got through that”. And it is a delight because I always see things differently afterwards.
We are who we are because of the experiences we have gone through, because of the road we have traveled. There have been times I did not like who I was at some specific moment. There were roads I did not want to be on, and experiences that brought great pain and sorrow. I have a co-worker or two who tosses me a curve ball every day. They are delights in my life. (although I often do need to be reminded of this)
All those uncomfortable, unpleasant, people and things. Along with the love of my family, the gift and beauty of my children, the ache in my hip, the bad meal at a restaurant……the sun shining, the snow fall, the frustration with world news…..delights. Because I am here. Because I have emotions and choices, the ability to do things for others, the opportunity to advance positive change, to learn and to grow.
I asked my facebook friends to share some of their delights. There was a lot of family, friends, sunshine, time to oneself, things in nature. One said a clean house, someone said scarves, and one said when her child is well fed. It’s different for all of us. The delights of life are all around us, don’t you agree?
September 16, 2012
I have had a hard time putting together a post for this week. I know I don’t have too, but it is a goal I try to reach.
I feel so dragged down by the politics of our country, by the violence and hate in our world.
What are we doing??
Why do we allow media to tell us what and how to think? Why do we keep re-electing these broken politicians? Why do we grow intolerance and hate in this day and age?
How can we all, take one step to change something? Do we care enough to try? I try on facebook. I post things I hope will make people (even me)think differently, even if it is for a moment. I don’t have a twitter account, but I think about getting one so I can tweet news organizations and ask them why they find it so difficult to report news and not regurgitated sensationalism and personal ideology, that more often than not creates fear.
I read comments on “news” articles and am dumbfounded by the remarks: name calling, vulgarity, inappropriate jokes, bullying.
Am I part of an aging, fading population that believes we have a responsibility to be respectful of others, even those with differing values, opinions and beliefs?
Is there anyone out there who wants to discuss this? What can we do? What can you do? How do we hold on to hope?
September 9, 2012
“Wandering re-establishes the original harmony
which once existed between man and the universe.”
Spiritual or physical wandering brings us closer to something. Something we may not be able to define. Or prove.
I think we all are on a quest or pilgrimage. Some of us know it and some of us don’t. Some know it more deeply and more personally than others.
We all venture into the unknown. It doesn’t matter if it is a new job or a dream that is so vivid we begin to do research on it’s content. We all confront things: difficulties, anger, disappointment, pain. And we return to ourselves, home, with a new understanding of ourselves, others and the world.
Are you on a quest or a pilgrimage? Are you aware that you may be traveling along one path or the other? Or both?
Traditional thinking of a quest is a hero trying to obtain something, or someone. S/he then returns home. It may be something that fills a void in his/her life. Or perhaps it is something old that was stolen.
Sometimes the hero doesn’t want to return home and this causes it’s own set of complications. Maybe s/he cannot return. And, if the hero does return, s/he may face rejection.
Questers venture into the unknown, confront difficulties and return home with a new understanding of themselves and the world.
A few familiar stories that could be interpreted as quests: The Wizard of Oz, Lord of The Rings, and The Catcher In The Rye.
A pilgrimage is a journey or a search for something of moral or spiritual significance. Often there is a relationship to one’s spiritual or religious beliefs. Or, it could even be a metaphorical journey. Wallace and Jean Clift have even suggested that as a common human experience, the pilgrimage might be proposed as a Jungian archetype.
A pilgrimage is part trip and part ritual. It is for those seeking healing and renewal. It may be a desire to explore spiritual roots, to pay homage, to ask for forgiveness, or to find an answer to a question.
Phil Cousineau in his book The Art of Pilgrimage writes: ” ….the outer journey reflects the inner journey. The examples range from a pilgrimage to the oldest baseball park in America, to walking the labyrinth, to the art of hiking.”
In Heaven Begins With You: Wisdom From Our Desert Fathers , Greun Anslem writes, “….(the monks) believe we can work on ourselves. We aren’t completely at the mercy of our predisposition and upbringing….”, and ” they don’t try to find excuses for themselves in an education gone wrong; they don’t put the blame for their lives on other people. They don’t feel helplessly abandoned to their desires…..they trust in a power by which we can liberate ourselves from the obstacles that might hold us back from ourselves.”
ARE we our own heroes? Aren’t we all seeking something or the answers to something? When we do return will we be the same as we were or are we changed forever? When you experience something that creates a profound response in you, ARE you changed forever? When we do return changed, are there now new obstacle? Is there rejection, or a questioning of what we have done? Do others miss our old self?
Whether you are already on a quest or pilgrimage, or have not yet started, you have to leave “home”. If you haven’t knowingly started, you don’t have to travel hundreds or thousands of miles. Maybe this will be an inward journey, but one where you have to leave a certain comfort and familiarity. Or chances are there is a “special” or “sacred” place near you. A place where there is some kind of history or significance. Research the history. Go there. Ask the silent questions. Sit. Experience. Are there traditions or rituals associated with this place? A prayer or a blessing, or a story? Write in your journal. Take a picture, makea sketch. Look for answers where you least expect to find them. Don’t be discouraged. Don’t give up. You may stumble, but you will find a “gift”, or an insight to bring home with you.
Pema Chodrom wrote: “Embarking on the spiritual journey is like getting into a very small boat and setting out on the ocean to search for unknown lands. With wholehearted practice comes inspiration, but sooner or later we will also encounter fear. For all we know, when we get to the horizon, we are going to drop off the edge of the world. Like all explorers, we are drawn to discover what’s waiting out there without knowing yet if we have the courage to face it.”
I think we do have the courage . I think we have the potential to be our own heroes.