“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!

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The Delights of Life

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?

http://www.quotesea.com/quotes/with/delight

Staring At The Water

July 29, 2012

“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.”
Rabindranath Tagore

Many of us have that “distant shore” we long to walk upon. It may be a new relationship or a new job. Perhaps it is healing after illness or loss. Maybe that shore represents courage or strength. Whatever it represents, we can all relate to the struggle of how to get there from where we are now.

The symbolic body of water that ebbs and flows between us and the shore we long to set foot on, can be small or seemingly boundless. Sometimes our fear, anxiety or  lack of confidence make it seem  simply too big to navigate and cross.

And yet, if we do just stand there staring at the lapping waves, wondering how we will cross the water, we will not get anywhere. There has to be a first step.  Otherwise you will simply stay where you are.

You can wish for things, or expect things. Like a boat, or someone to come tell you there is another way, or for the water to dry up, but most likely nothing like that will come along.……you’ve got to make some kind of decision and get moving.

Start where you are. Because, that IS where you are. Take that first step and place it right on top of fear and uncertainty and then keep on going, one step at a time.

Belief in the possibility of getting to the other side of the water and the willingness to try can mean the difference between feeling like you can or feeling stuck. Even if you don’t get where you’re headed, believing you can, and working toward your goal is more powerful than you realize.

We all stand on our own personal shore, gazing at the shimmering water and wonder how the heck do we get to the other side. None of us are alone in this.  But staring, longing, dreaming, wishing, fearing, doubting, does not help us at all.

Stare at the stars. Stare at fireworks. Stare at a work of art. But please, don’t stare longingly at the shore on the other side of the water. Go there. You can do it.

Mind chatter is the mind noise that never stops. It is the inner conversation or inner monologue that constantly goes on in the mind.

We are often unaware of this mental noise, because it has become a deeply embedded habit, something we may consider to be just a part of life.

Mind Chatter is like an inner voice that constantly analyzes everything about our lives, surroundings and the people we know. It is a voice in the head that just keeps talking and talking! It starts sometimes before we even open our eyes in the morning making a mental list of what we need to do, and follows us through the day, and is even with us when we close our eyes in bed, wishing something different had been done or said. It happens when we gossip, or think negative thoughts about others.

These thoughts can loop, go round and round, over and over. How lucky we are if this “broken record” thought is a positive one! What a struggle it is if it is a negative thought filled with worry, stress, anger or frustration. How horrible to have that noise chattering away inside our head all day long. We really could do without it!

The first step to quieting this chatter, is to realize it exists! Then we have to sort out if it is our True Self talking, or is it our sub-conscious? Often the cause is fear, in some form: the “what ifs”. This chatter tries to bring some sort of order from the perceived chaos: we have to consider all the options so we will be safer.

When we get wrapped up in this noise, while we are focused on it, listening to it, we are missing out on life going on around us.

We need to stop the Mind Chatter by learning how to stop our unconscious mind’s habit of “running off at the mouth”. Pay attention to what it is saying. If you hear negatives: “I can’t”, “I should, “what will I do?”, stop the dialogue. Make the conscious effort to change your thought process: tell the chatter to “STOP”, say ” I can”,” I am OK”, “I can handle this, I can figure it out”. Take control. We need to repeat this every time the negative chatter gets going, until there is a natural replacement of positive, rather that negative dialogue.

We will always have this mind chatter going on. Our mind loves to be busy. We can, however, change the topic! We have to be careful because when our mind chatters, we listen, and we remember. If our chatter is negative, guess what we remember? Information is continually being recorded and stored for future reference.

Brian Tracey says, “Perhaps the most powerful influence on your attitude and personality is what you say to yourself, and believe. It is not what happens to you, but how you respond internally to what happens to you, that determines your thoughts and feelings and, ultimately, your actions. By controlling your inner dialogue, or “self-talk,” you can begin to assert control over every other dimension of your life.”

Remez Sasson offers these insights on what mind chatter is :

  1. Thoughts that repeat themselves like a tape that keeps playing the same tune.
  2. Reliving negative past situations or visualizing fears over and over again.
  3. Dwelling on the past or fearing the future. This prevents us from enjoying the present. The past is gone, and the future is the product of our present thinking and actions. The only time that exists is now, the present moment.
  4. Compulsive inner monologue that disturbs our peace and makes the mind busy.
  5. Never being here. Always thinking on something else, instead of what we are doing now. If we always think on something else we never enjoy the moment.
  6. Constant analysis of our and other people’s situations, reactions and behavior. Analyzing the past, the future, things we need or want to do, our day, yesterday and the distant past.
  7. Almost all involuntary thinking and daydreaming are some sort of mental noise. This is often a constant background noise, which often intrudes into foreground in the middle of everything we do.

How do we gain control? Through some hard, thoughtful work and patience.

We have to be aware of this noise. Then we have to understand that it is our brain’s attempt to protect us from the unknown by pretending it knows what will happen. First we have to tell that noise, the chatter, to STOP. Then take the negative thoughts and turn them into positive: “I can’t do this…” to, “ I can do this”.

Breathe, count to 10, sing a favorite verse of song…let your mind know you are not interested in the negative chatter. Learn to “see” the chatter, imagine it written on a blackboard and watch as it is erased and the see the board clear and clean and blank……and then keep the board blank, do not let anything else be written.

We can also work to change the chatter, and make it useful and powerful in a positive way. Begin a routine of beginning your day with positive thoughts. Instead of “oh, I HAVE to take a shower”, turn it into “The hot shower will feel good.”  Replace “I have so much to do today”, with “I am going to accomplish a lot today”.

Mid-day, find a few moments and slow down. As thoughts creep in…erase them. Be still. Pat yourself on the back, “I’ve made progress”, “I am handling things well”.

At the end of the day, tell your mind to STOP chattering. When it starts up, divert and recite a poem, sing a song, do a multiplication table! Do not let it get chatting….

Some ideas of how to quiet your mind chatter include this from

Swami Nithya Bhaktananda

  1. Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Do not make excuses, “I am busy then.”, “I already have plans.” Make a conscious decision to say the absolute truth, or what you actually mean. The absolute truth doesn’t have to be harsh or hurtful, you can do so compassionately and authentically, but firmly. When you own what you say, no one can reject it, even if they don’t like what they hear; because you are telling the truth and you mean it. Make a conscious commitment to yourself to mean everything that you say, and not to make empty promises that you cannot, will not, do not intend to fulfill. Do not tell someone you will call if you know you won’t. Telling the truth prevents the mind from having something to chatter about!
  2. Don’t say to anyone unless you can say to everyone. “Make a commitment to yourself, that you will not say something to one person, unless you can announce it to the world, to everybody. Make a commitment to stop the spreading of drama and bad energy.”
  3. Don’t say inside, what you cannot say outside. When the chatter starts, especially when the thought is full of negativity like “I am so stupid”, or “I feel like a failure”, say to yourself, or even out loud: “STOP! From today forward, I choose to let this thought go, for it does not uplift me. I am exposing this thought as being false, for you are not real! From today onward, I am free from this thought.”  Whatever thought you are not able to say out aloud to people (anyone), don’t even bother entertaining inside your head. Keep your inner space clean. While you may share your self doubt with others as a means of processing, you would never go around introducing yourself as “stupid” or as a “failure”, so stop your mind chatter from saying it to you.

Don’t let Chatter say it unless it is true, useful or kind. Be conscious of what you say and only say it if any of the following is true:

Is what I’m saying …

  • True to me? An authentic statement from my heart?
  • Useful or helpful to someone or some situation?
  • Kind or compassionate? Such as a compliment, or an offer of help.

Don’t let your spoken words run rampant either. Be conscious of what you say out loud. Your mind chatter will begin to reflect that, and you will not have to battle the mind chatter caused by speaking meaningless, gossipy, hurtful words.

http://thinksimplenow.com/clarity/how-to-quiet-your-mind/

Another interesting site is: http://www.aquietmind.com/2011/09/28/day-1-quiet-mind/

It offers simple, short, day by day suggestions to slow and quiet your mind chatter through attainable steps.

As we change and grow and move towards fulfilling our potential, free from mind chatter that slows us down, we also begin to change those around us. And one by one, the change spreads. You are good, and strong, and kind and of value. Make sure your mind chatter is telling you the same thing, or else tell it to STOP, so that you can GO forward.

Every Day Intention

April 14, 2012

Some days the only intention I have is to get through the day. That doesn’t always seem to be the best or the healthiest way to go about living. Other days, while it may be mired in boring, routine things, I have a plan of action. Other days my only goal is to relax and take the day as it comes. Do any of these really help me live to my fullest on any given day? Do these thoughts and actions serve to boost up and support my potential?

What about beginning each day with focused, purposeful INTENTION?

Definition of INTENTION

1: a determination to act in a certain way : resolve
2: import, significance
3: what one intends to do or bring about

On New Year’s we make “new year resolutions”. How long does that last for you? For me, not so long. Perhaps the old idea of “one step at a time” would work more effectively….the “one day at a time” idea.  There are so many things I do each morning to prepare myself physically, mentally and emotionally for the day. Setting positive intentions for the day could easily and reasonably become part of that routine.

Let’s look at this more closely.

We do have the power to make a choice about how to begin the day. It is important to remember that we do attain personal growth through everyday challenges. When your mind becomes cluttered,  pause and take a few breaths to gain some clarity and move on. Learn to recognize limiting beliefs that hold you back. Make it a goal to use your intuition and emotions in a positive way. Self acceptance goes a long way.

Little, by little, chip away at the old  habits and obstructions in your path, commit to trying something new.

Get a journal, a little notebook, a pad of paper, or use your computer, phone or whatever.

Write down one intention, more if they come to mind. Something positive and realistic.
Recall it throughout the day. Your intention could be as simple as resolving to smile more, to slow down, to say something kind to someone you do not often speak to, to dress more professionally, or to meditate for 5 to 10 minutes.

The next  day, review your intentions.  Was there an intention that didn’t manifest? Let it go for a bit and include it again later. Give thanks for the intentions you brought to fruition, and then start the process all over for this new day.
There is  cumulative power in even the smallest positive actions. You may also begin to notice patterns of behavior or thought that inhibit your confidence. Don’t  try to sweep them under the proverbial mat, befriend them; understand where they’re coming from.

Change requires vision and commitment. Daily intention setting is one step to making small changes every day that add up to big changes. Changes that help us grow and move towards our full potential, and along the way, bring others along with us. As you rise to your potential, others will notice and then you have the opportunity to reach out your hand and guide them on a path that may help them discover their potential too.

Have the intention to care about yourself and live with the knowledge that through one small step each day you can manifest your fullest potential.