Wednesday, September 30, 2020

September 30--Mess and Complication

What are you going to do? Everything, is my guess. It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess. It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complication. 
--Nora Ephron

"Wake me up when September ends." (See Sept. 24 post.) 

    I'm in the midst of a huge mess and complication. You are getting a look straight into my soul with this writing. I'm not yet at the point of embracing and rejoicing. 
    I spent months devoted to an intense self-healing journey, all for naught, because I still need hip replacement surgery, scheduled for Oct. 14. I can't stop crying. It's another in a LLLOOONNNGGG series of disappointments that has broken my relationship with myself and with Spirit.
    Certainly there are many positives in this. I'll be out of pain, hopefully, and will be able to sleep better. I'll be able to walk more comfortably for longer distances. Medicare will pay for it (as of tomorrow!!). I like the surgeon and his staff--they answered all my questions and were very reassuring. I know I can regain my strength via swimming, as I did that after the YMCA re-opened after a three-month shutdown. I am in perfect health heading into the procedure. The new hip joint, quite the birthday present, will outlive me, most likely. My husband will be a great support person through the whole process. 
    Looking at my upset and distress, messy and complicated, I've uncovered several things: 
  • Disappointment has been a huge theme in my life, and this is just another in that series. And, yes, I have been working with a support person on this one for years. 
  • I had this surgery scheduled a couple years ago with a different doctor, and I was really looking forward to getting it done. Then I asked one too many questions, and that surgeon cancelled on me. I'm feeling gun-shy as a result, despite the fact that this new doctor and his staff are perfectly fine. There's a undercurrent of mistrust within me. 
  • Of course, there's some fear going into it, that something awful will happen, and it won't be the simple recovery everyone expects, or I'll still be in pain.
  • It means even more confinement at home, and I'm already going nuts as it is.
  • I don't know when I'll get to see my sons again. This is probably the most upsetting. 
  • My relationship with my higher power is cracked at best, if not completely broken. I expect this to be temporary, but for right now, there's no comfort there. After spending many hours in meditation over the past few months, the thought of it now makes me gag. 
    The theme for October's writings is "Tranquility." I'm certainly in dire need of that, and will continue this saga relative to surgery and recovery as the month progresses.
    Thankful for the end of another September that sucked,

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

September 29--Use Me

It is not enough to have great qualities, we should also have the management of them.  --La Rochefoucauld

    Hmmm... well, here goes. To me, the "management" of great qualities means the productive use of them. "Great qualities" would include love, integrity, reliability, honesty, loyalty, kindness, equanimity, open-mindedness, faith, confidence and joy. Productive use of these is employing each as a natural part of daily living, in all situations and relationships. This quote is a fancy way of saying "walk the walk, don't just talk the talk." 
    Lately I've been adding to my prayers, "Use me." I know I can count on Spirit to do that. I don't know what form my next usefulness will take, but I can count on Spirit finding a joyful way to use my great qualities, based on past experience. Spiritual "nudges" have led me into great adventures of love, learning and usefulness. 
    Happy to be here, 

Monday, September 28, 2020

September 28--Work<>Life

Don't ever confuse the two, your life and your work. The second is only a part of the first.  --Anna Quindlen

    I'm displaying my math nerdiness... <> means "not equal." The other symbol for that is an equal sign with a slash through it, but I don't have that on my keyboard. As you can tell, I'm rather proud of my math nerdiness.
    Back to the quote. Despite my addictive personality, I have never been a workaholic. I think my introvert nature encouraged me to get away from work to maintain my sanity, even with the one job that I dearly loved. That job was being a finance manager at a church. Since my family also attended that church, and both sons worked there at one time or another, life and work had murky boundaries back then. However, it did work fairly well, until it stopped working completely. Then, quitting that position brought work back into its proper place in my life.
    It's a very slippery slope, especially if one has people-pleasing or codependent tendencies, letting one's work overtake life. One takes on more and more, losing the will to set any boundaries or say "no" to more responsibility. There can also be an irrational drive for things such as more money, success, status or market share. As we've seen so often in the past couple of decades, cutbacks force those remaining to take on more and more work. Resentment is the ultimate result of letting work overtake life, and if that is practiced long enough, it ends in remorse--no one on their deathbed expresses a desire to have worked more. 
    I've watched my sons go from long, hard hours working in a restaurant, bringing with it lots of emotional baggage, to jobs where they put in their time and are able to leave work at work. Both men are much happier now, and their lives are thriving outside of work. It's a joy to see!
    Is your life a part of your work, or is your work a part of your life? This is worth pondering!

Sunday, September 27, 2020

September 27--Grace

I do not understand the mystery of grace--only that it meets us us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.  --Anne Lamott

    I don't understand grace either, but I am surely glad for it. It's that Presence that loves us no matter what human messes we may get ourselves into. Grace works even when I end a sentence with a preposition. 😉
    Grace brought me to the 12-Step program when I had very little hope and no money for counseling. Grace brought my husband and I together, despite the fact that I grew up in Pennsylvania and he grew up in Missouri. Grace sustained me through the grueling yoga teacher training. Grace is working overtime to keep me sane during this pandemic. Grace heals me in all sorts of ways. In these and many more instances, grace met me where I was and left me in much better shape. I am so grateful for the constant working of grace in my life.
    Where have you seen grace transform an area of your life? 

Saturday, September 26, 2020

September 26--Harmony is a Necessity

Because we all share this planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. This is not just a dream, but a necessity. 
--Dalai Lama XIV

    Clearly, the current disharmony and distress we are living in is not working. Our leadership has taken us on a path of destruction, both in interpersonal relationships and in treatment of our earthly home. It is heart-breaking and gut-wrenching, because this disharmony is not our natural God-given loving state. Bringing things back into harmony is a necessity, because as we can plainly see, the other path leads to more and greater destruction. 
    The following comes from a daily meditation by Richard Rohr of the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC): 
From Richard: Today, I introduce you to my friend Adam Bucko, who is a devoted Christian contemplative, Episcopal priest, activist, and friend to the poor. He collaborates with spiritual leaders across religious traditions and mentors young people, helping them discover a spiritual life for the 21st century and live in the service of compassion and justice. Here he reflects on what he sees as a spiritual awakening in younger generations.

For younger people, many of us, it’s very clear we see God as present in all of the traditions. . . . Not only do they believe that there is one underlying reality at the foundation of all major world religions but they are also convinced that different traditions and their unique approaches to God complement each other. . . .

But it’s also important to say, a lot of young people don’t actually identify with a tradition any more. . . . Many of our churches, synagogues and mosques are freaking out when they hear this, thinking that young people are no longer interested in the sacred. But to me it is clear that young people are not necessarily rejecting God, they simply feel that many religious organizations lost touch with reality and are too concerned with money, power, self-preservation, maintaining the status quo, and ‘having right beliefs’. As a result, they tend to view them . . . as organizations that are spiritually bankrupt, that are no longer able to speak to and address some of the big questions of our time. And it takes deep insight and spiritual courage to see that. It is for this reason and many others that I don’t think of the rise of the ‘spiritual but not religious’ among our youth as a sign of spiritual decline but rather a new kind of spiritual awakening. . . .

We have to acknowledge that when people hear about spiritual and not religious people, they often immediately think that these are people who are just shopping around and not really that committed. . . . But when we look at some of the people who come from that group, we realize that actually many of them spend more time [in spiritual practices] than regular churchgoers.

From Richard: I can honestly say that I have observed many of these same things in my work with young people at the CAC. I do not see a lack of spirituality and good faith in many seekers of the next generation, but an abundance of it and a deep desire to live with integrity and in alignment with their values. Such people are not satisfied with a faith simply handed to them by an institution or the previous generation. They insist on investigating what is truly important for transformation and a more just and compassionate world.
    This writing describes me, even though I'm not a "young person." I have a very rich spiritual life and no need for any religious organization. In speaking with my son last night, I told him I see so much promise in his generation, because I see there "a deep desire to live with integrity and in alignment with their values," as Richard states. I believe that will ultimately lead us to living in harmony and peace.
    Lastly I share a line I wrote to a friend this week: Isn't it comical to think that some of us come from one god, some of us from another, and THEY come from THAT god. Humans are dense sometimes 😉
    In joy,

Friday, September 25, 2020

September 25--Living Well

Happiness is not a goal; it's a by-product of a life well lived.  --Eleanor Roosevelt

    There is a similar quote in 12-Step literature: "When we live well, we are well." What does living well, "a life well lived," consist of? 
    Inner peace and sanity. There's so much going on in our world that pulls me off center. So much of it makes me crazy. I know I have a fountain of peace within me that overcomes "outside me" if I stay focused on that peace. I am taking a long break from news and Facebook. With all that's going on in my own life, I simply can't handle any more from "the world" and stay sane. 
    Good relationships. I have those. They come from living in integrity, being true to the values I hold dear. I interact with folks as my real self, without need to justify or apologize for my existence. I appreciate the people in my life and I tell them so. I make amends when I slip up. I am grateful for all the love in my life, flowing in both directions. 
    Creativity. We all create our own experiences of life. While there are occasional low spots, I can genuinely say "I love my life." I have always been creative in arts and crafts. It makes me happy to create something new, be it a crocheted blanket or barn quilt painting. Imagination is a powerful tool of a life well lived. 
    Usefulness. This can come from satisfying work, being a volunteer, managing a family and household, whatever gives that feeling of being of service in some way. I do a variety of things in my "work" life, but I enjoy them all so much, they are not work. It's fun to be useful in an assortment of ways. 
    Fit spiritual condition. I have a daily spiritual practice that supports my inner peace and sanity. I maintain an ongoing dialogue with my Higher Power. I support myself and others with prayer. That emptiness inside that I once tried to fill with food is now the residing place of Spirit--a fullness that I could never have imagined in my active-addiction days. 
    Being teachable. I am willing and excited to learn. While it can be challenging, I strive to keep an open mind. I love exploring all that is "Leta." I especially love learning about our magnificent planet Earth and all the life and nature upon it. When I think about my many vocations, I see that all of them have huge learning potential (taxes, yoga, Melt, coaching), which is one of the things that make those activities so enjoyable. 
    Enough from me. What is the meaning of "a life well lived" for you?
"I am Universe"

Thursday, September 24, 2020

September 24--I Digress

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is a nobler art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials. 
--Lin Yutang

    I leave this quote to you, dear readers, to ponder for yourselves.
    Today is a memorable day for me that I feel I must acknowledge. 41 years ago today my mother died. 20 years ago today my father died. Yep, same date. What are the chances of that happening? That's a rhetorical question--I know there is a statistical answer. I don't believe in coincidence. Maybe it happened that way so I'd pack all my sadness into one day only? My mother passed when I was just shy of age 24. She's been gone so long, it's almost like I never had a mother. While I think of her often, I don't miss her. My dad, however--I miss him every day. My parents didn't get along with each other, so maybe my dad did it to piss off my mom, so that she couldn't have her very own solo day. September has often been a rough month for me, but I don't know if that started before or after or between their deaths. In any case, both parents dying in the same month is one of the biggest black marks one could smear on a month. 
    I never thought I'd hear this Libra say this, but I'm tired of the September theme of "Balance." Peeking ahead to October, I see the theme of "Tranquility." Hallelujah! October is also my birth month, and it's my favorite month of the year--the upswing after September. 
    Thanks for putting up with my digression. Six more days till October,

P.S. It turns out that Green Day does a song that's relevant. You can listen here:

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

September 23--Contentment

We need to learn how to want what we have, not to have what we want in order to get steady and stable Happiness.  --Dalai Lama XIV

    I find it interesting and pleasing that "Happiness" is capitalized in this quote. To me that signifies that it is a Spirit-given, inherent, built-in truth of our being, a quality we can access like peace, joy, and love. It's something we are born with. 
    As we know, we can get off center on all those inherent qualities, far from "steady and stable." The key suggested in the quote is being content with what we have, rather than being in a constant state of wanting. Wanting takes us into the future, and the unsatisfying state of "I'll be happy when I get ________." There is nothing wrong with desires--we can't live a human life without them--but if having everything we want is a requirement for our Happiness, we are bound to suffer disappointment. Having everything we want is a constantly moving target. 
    I have good health, food, shelter, love, the opportunity to love, and satisfying, useful work. Hmmm...I guess that's why I am usually in a state of steady and stable Happiness. 
    Content with life,

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

September 22--Essential Darkness

Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word "happy" would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. --C. G. Jung

    I have a mostly happy life. Something within me knows the need for contrast, I guess, because regularly some darkness overshadows the "happy." The darkness isn't sadness very often. I'm more prone to anger. I'm guessing that is because anger was vastly frowned upon in my home growing up. We were swimming in it, but God forbid it should be expressed or constructively handled. Over several decades, I've learned to be curious about my bouts of anger. I'm in the midst of one now.
    Darkness is an essential and inherent part of each day's earthly cycle, and so it is with us. We all have shadows, and we hide them at our peril. Resistance to our inner dark spots makes for discomfort and eliminates the possibility for true happiness. Curiosity and awareness gives us a choice as to how to use the shadow for our benefit. There is energy in our darkness that can be put to good use if we make the conscious choice. 
    Looking specifically at sadness, I don't know how one could go through life without any. Those dear to us, both human and animal, pass away. Natural disasters wreck homes, lives, landscapes. Our beautiful planet is damaged by human carelessness and greed. Politics is a veritable gusher of sadness. There's plenty of sadness to balance our happiness. The challenge is in keeping the balance without getting buried in the darkness. 
    Grateful for the morning light,

Monday, September 21, 2020

September 21--Time Well Spent?

The key question to keep asking is, Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all you have.  --Randy Pausch

    This key question is annoying me. I'm in the midst of several weeks of even more stay-at-home due to upcoming medical appointments. I go to the YMCA to swim and I play golf a couple times a week, otherwise I'm at home. I'm struggling. If I was spending time on the right things, I'd be traveling--visiting my sons in Colorado, driving back east to see my Miller family. Actually, I'd be in Spain right now. Alas, that trip went "down the drain" with all the Covid travel restrictions. 
    I can read, paint, crochet, and watch sports, all of which I enjoy, but I get weary of those. I do a good job keeping up with my hobby of napping. I enjoy "hang time" with my husband, who takes wonderful care of me. I love playing and snuggling with our dog Barney. I've done a lot of online learning over the past few months. I'm avoiding news and Facebook for now, as those only bring me down. I fully realize that, all things considered, I have it pretty good. I do consider myself a "home body," but even that has its limits.
    Alas, because time is all I have, at my age, I wonder how much time I'll have to spend on "the right things," especially traveling. It troubles me that I find myself wishing my life away, wanting to be somewhere else. Yesterday, my husband and I said to each other several times, "It's still Sunday, isn't it?" I don't like feeling bored, and I've been feeling that a lot. I know I'm not alone with these frustrations. 
    Monday is just beginning,

Sunday, September 20, 2020

September 20--Personal Integrity

Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. 
--Mahatma Gandhi 

    For me, this is the definition of personal integrity. Other ways of saying this are phrases such as:

My insides match my outsides.
What you see is what you get.
Walk the walk, don't just talk the talk. 

    My insides match my outsides. I don't wear masks or pretend to be someone or something I'm not. I'm honest with myself and others. I live my personal values. If I'm sad, it shows. If I'm happy, it shows. I don't try to hide behind any facades. 
    What you see is what you get. This is me, and I'm fine with that. I don't change my behavior to attempt to keep you happy. I don't need to justify myself, and I won't apologize for my existence (I could write volumes on that one). I don't need to people-please. To quote author Tama Kieves: "Those who get me, get me." 
    Walk the walk, don't just talk the talk. Anyone can talk a good line, but do they actually practice their talk? This is where the "deed" part of Gandhi's quote comes in. I've been in a 12-Step program for decades and have seen, unfortunately, too many incidents of plenty of talk, then walking away because the person wasn't able to live their talk. It takes a lot of integrity. I grew up surrounded by addicts, people not known for personal integrity, so I am forever grateful to the 12-Step program for teaching me that very important personal foundation for living well. 
    All of these phrases, including Gandhi's quote, can be summed up as "comfortable in my own skin" or "content with who I am." And this one, from the 12-Steps: "when we live well, we are well." What an excellent promise!
    Best day yet, 

Saturday, September 19, 2020

September 19--Great Sadness

We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it.  --Roald Dahl

    Actually, both ways are valid. With the pandemic stay-at-home order, suddenly there was so much time and so little to do. Projects and to-do lists flourished, and again, life became the reverse--so much to do with so little time. 
    Changing direction somewhat... my heart is heavy with the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. What a human being she was, champion of all people and the Constitution. Just when we (foolishly) thought 2020 couldn't get any worse, the fight has already begun regarding her replacement--so much to do, so little time--depending on your viewpoint. To quote Yoda: "Now, matters are worse." 

Friday, September 18, 2020

September 18--Power-Balance-Healing

The power is in the balance: we are our injuries, as much as we are our successes.  --Barbara Kingsolver

    Everything I am today is a result of everything I've been through: ups, downs, injuries, successes, what I did, what I didn't do. I've learned from all of it, like it or not. There is a part of me that squirms as I say this, but I say it anyway: I wouldn't change any of it. All of life has been a healing journey of me with myself. 
    In yesterday's meditation (Sept 17) from the Center for Action and Contemplation, these words by Lama Rod Owens, a Black, queer, American-born, Tibetan Buddhist teacher, who was raised in the Christian church and graduated from Harvard Divinity School, spoke to me:
"Perhaps what I have come to understand, finally, is that somehow I have become the one I have always wanted. This is why I do the things that I do. There is a fierce love that wakes me up every morning, that makes me tell my stories, refuses to let me apologize for my being here, blesses me with the capacity to be silent, alone, and grieving when I most need to be. You have to understand that this is what I mean when I say healing."
    "Somehow I have become the one I have always wanted." What a mighty statement that is! It's evidence of the power referenced in the Kingsolver quote above. I hold in my heart that each of us may be able to make such a bold statement and truly feel it. 
    Loving humanity,

Thursday, September 17, 2020

September 17--Happiness Requires Freedom

Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. 
--Thich Nhat Hanh

    Abraham-Hicks tells us that we are here on Planet Earth for joy, expansion and freedom. Those make for happiness. Considering those, I see that joy and expansion can only happen if we have freedom. 
    Freedom is an inside job. Outer circumstances such as government oppression or imprisonment may limit physical freedom in some ways, but freedom is an organic, innate quality of a human being. Freedom of choice, free will, is the foundation of our existence here. 
    Our day's quote tells us how to cultivate that inner freedom--by letting go. Letting go of what? How about these for starters:
  • Concern for others' opinions
  • Perfectionism
  • Need to control others and situations
  • Need to be right
  • Status-seeking
  • "Keeping up with the Joneses" 
  • Habits that don't serve us
  • Limiting beliefs
  • Expectations
  • Having to prove oneself
  • Resentments
    That's a lifetime of practice in that list! I have experienced releasing all of them somewhere along the way and continue to let them go. As a result, I do enjoy a fairly consistent state of happiness. 
    Is there anything you are ready to trade for freedom and happiness?

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

September 16--Balanced Thinking

Truly successful decision-making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking.  --Malcolm Gladwell 

    I'm not sure what Gladwell means by "deliberate" and "instinctive," but here are my takes on those. "Deliberate" means "just the facts, ma'am." It includes looking at the data related to a decision and laying out the pros and cons. Detailed written plans may be needed. "Instinctive" means looking at what my gut feel says, what my inner wisdom tells me from both past experience and current conditions and feelings. All the deliberate thinking may say "yes," while instinctive thinking may be a "no," and vice versa. 
    I'll admit that I'm a fairly organized, numbers-oriented, deliberate kind of person. However, I have learned over the years to be more trusting of my instinctive guidance. Years ago I landed in a couple of different networking-sales opportunities that were quite reasonable with deliberate thinking, but I failed to acknowledge my instinctive knowing that I am not a salesperson. Those ventures did not last long. 
    There is great satisfaction in trusting the instinctive thinking and having it turn out well. Deliberate thinking might have kept me away from yoga teacher training, what with the cost, time away, my age and physical shape, and so on. But it was something I really wanted to do, and I followed my instinct, and truly it sustained me through the grueling training. Nine years later I have joyfully completed many hundreds of hours of teaching.
    A Libra always seeking balance,

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

September 15--Self-Harmony

You are only afraid if you are not in harmony with yourself.  --Hermann Hesse

    As synchronicity would have it, I just did the Wholehearted Inventory on Brene Brown's website. The results give a very clear indication of what harmony and disharmony with oneself are:

Harmony vs. Disharmony:
Authenticity vs. concern for what others think
Self-compassion vs. perfectionism
Resilient spirit vs. numbing and powerlessness
Gratitude and joy vs. scarcity and fear
Creativity vs. comparison
Play and rest vs. exhaustion and productivity as self-worth
Calm and still vs. anxiety as a lifestyle
Meaningful work vs. self-doubt and "supposed to"
Laughter, song, dance vs. being cool and in control
Clear and committed values vs. undefined values

    As one who has done a lot of work in 60+ years on being in harmony with myself, I can say that it is a lot more fun and rewarding to hang out on the Harmony side. I am rarely afraid, to refer to Hesse's quote. 
    Looking at the Disharmony side, I would have to say that's where my mother lived. She set a strong example of self-disharmony for me, and I've worked hard to move to the Harmony side of life. This is one of those instances where a bad example can be a good thing. Finding harmony within myself has generated great compassion for my mother and her struggles. 
    Hanging on the Harmony side,

Alan Seeger Natural Area, Central Pennsylvania
One of my favorite spots on Planet Earth

Monday, September 14, 2020

September 14--Get a Life

Don't get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.  --Dolly Parton

    One thing I dearly appreciate about the pandemic experience is that it brought our insane level of busyness to a grinding halt. Given the enormous change in options for spending our time, we have had to choose, actually choose, what we want to do with our time, rather than be driven on "busyness autopilot." We've had the opportunity to consciously "make a life." 
    I mourn for those whose way of making a living went away or was severely diminished. I know it is challenging for a family to be together 24/7. Juggling kids, (at-home) school and work is even more of a challenge than before the pandemic. Throw the prospect of severe illness in there, and you have a very messy life-soup. 
    Yet there is still the opportunity to make a life. New options for learning, developing a new hobby, deepening relationships with those we live with, creating healthier eating and movement habits--all these things contribute to making a life. That we always have a choice has become apparent during the past few months, and this is a gloriously empowering realization. We've also learned that one's level of busyness is not a measure of successful living. 
    Life is good!

                                       Women's Leaf Jump Long Sleeve Crusher Vee

Sunday, September 13, 2020

September 13--Sense of Humor

Laugh at the things that hurt you just to keep yourself in balance, just to keep the world from running you plumb crazy.  --Ken Kesey

    I'd say a sense of humor is very critical these days in the new world of pandemic. Besides the actual illness itself, there are a multitude of things that can hurt us--corruption, riots, fires, endless disaster news, rampant lies, shootings--a seemingly endless list of things that could run us plumb crazy if we let them.
    It is no small challenge to laugh at the things that hurt us. If we do, however, we avoid collecting the heavy baggage of anger, resentment and desire for revenge. It may take passage of time and/or lots of forgiveness work for us to be able to laugh about some hurts.
    Laughing at what hurts us is one means of not taking things personally, again, a lofty but worthwhile goal. Behaviors of others are about them, not about me. (See the September 11 post for more on this topic.) Being able to take all things lightly is a mighty fine position of personal power. 
    Still practicing,
Laugh it Up | fuchsia blue

Saturday, September 12, 2020

September 12--Artful Living

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on. 
--Havelock Ellis

    We have an excellent example of this in our breath. We take it in, we let it go. We can hold our breath for just a little while, then discomfort forces its release. It's a natural rhythm, and a good example for us to note. 
    I remind myself of the wise words of one of my mentors: Everything has a lifespan. We tend to resist letting go of long-held, dear-to-our-hearts people, places and circumstances, because letting go puts us in the unknown territory of Changeland. One of the most challenging and ongoing "letting go" experiences for me has been letting go of my sons, who are both successful adults. Mothering is a tough thing to back away from after it has been 100% of life for so many years. 
    Letting go and holding on applies to beliefs, too. Humans are known to cling to beliefs that don't serve us. These may have come from parents, school, religion, authority figures, and so on. It's often easier to hold on than to think for ourselves and make changes. I held on to the belief for years that I could somehow magically on my own control my addiction. I say with the gratitude of hindsight that I finally let go of that conviction and found recovery. 
    There has been a lot of letting go during this pandemic time. I've learned to live without eating out, traveling, swimming (3-months without), hugs, seeing my students, sons and friends in-person, and TV sports. Yet life has gone on. Practicing the art of living, I've replaced those things with other satisfying activities and a lot of Zoom. It is all working for now. 
    It's a good habit to consider where holding on is not helping. Less baggage is a good thing. 
    Feeling lighter,

Friday, September 11, 2020

September 11--Be Selective

The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook.  --William James

    These are wise words indeed. A friend several times has reminded me, on the topic of forgiveness, that if we don't get offended, there's nothing to forgive. Granted, that may be easier said than done. It's helpful to remember that every situation is neutral. It's our perception and reaction that bring in any emotional upheaval, and we can choose our perception and reaction. The more we can overlook, the more peaceful we remain. 
    I have a lofty goal of remembering that what others do is about them, not me, and we are each doing our best in any given moment. We can't completely know another person, even those closest to us, so we don't know exactly where they are coming from, their triggers, hurts and so on. When I happen to be a target of someone's poor behavior, I strive to see it as I just happened to be in the "wrong place at the wrong time." 
    I can too easily get into the emotional charge of self-righteous anger. That's my excellent indicator that I am not overlooking properly. There's virtually nothing outside of me that I can control, so it behooves me to consistently practice overlooking. 
    Let us not, however, overlook injustice in its many forms. That is not a wise practice, as we are seeing so clearly now in our country. 
    Appreciating free will,

Thursday, September 10, 2020

September 10--Most of the Time

If you are good life is good.  --Roald Dahl

    I'd say, most of the time. I say that being in the midst of much-anticipated plans that have suddenly (overnight) gone down the drain. That's quite common in this interesting year of 2020, but very distressing nonetheless. 
    Roald Dahl was one of my sons' favorite authors when they were young and I was reading to them on a nightly basis. I especially remember "The BFG." That stands for Big Friendly Giant. 
    Working on the "life is good" part,

The Big Friendly Giant

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

September 9--What is Balance Anyway?

There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.  --Alain de Botton

    What is work-life balance anyway? Spending equal time at work and not at work? Never thinking about work when you are not there? Those are impossible. Work-life balance suggests that work is work and life is play, or not work. But life can be a lot of work! What is balance to one person could seem like chaos to another.
    Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life. Big life events do that--going to college, leaving home, falling in love, getting married, having children, raising children, maintaining health, choosing and/or switching careers, retirement--to name a few. All these are worth fighting for. These upheavals are what make life worth living. 
    Balance is overrated 😊,

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

September 8--Necessary Opposites

What is joy without sorrow? What is success without failure? What is a win without a loss? What is health without illness? You have to experience each if you are to appreciate the other.  --Mark Twain

    I'm a parent, and one of the most challenging things I've had to do in that role is to see my children pass through sorrow, failure, loss and illness. As synchronicity would have it, I was also given this quote today:
To rescue people from the natural consequences of their behavior is to render them powerless.
--Henry Cloud
    It is by passing through all those "negatives" of life that we learn. We learn to feel. We learn to solve problems. We learn empathy. We learn kindness. We build courage. We uncover our power. We come to deeply appreciate the "positives" of life. 
    I have personally experienced sorrow, failure, loss and illness. It's impossible to live for several decades and not experience those. While painful at the time, each one has enriched my life in the long run. I appreciate the opposites so much more, and I know that I have the power within me to survive and thrive afterward. 
    Strong in joy and sorrow,
Yin Yang Vector - Download Free Vectors, Clipart Graphics & Vector Art

Monday, September 7, 2020

September 7--Happy Now

Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.  
--Guillaume Apollinaire

    This quote makes me smile. The macrocosm, the big picture, what we are all here for seems to be the pursuit of happiness. I believe we came here to figure out what makes us happy. We came here to enjoy, not to suffer. We can, however, get quite caught up in following paths that we think lead to happiness only to find that they are dead-ends. Some of those paths could be fame, riches, the big house, a corner office or luxury vehicles. There's nothing wrong with any of those, it's just that they are often not the happiness pinnacle we anticipate. 
    The "pursuit of happiness" is a future-oriented thing--someday I'll get it. To "just be happy" requires centering in the present moment. It's a state of contentment with what I have, what I do, how my relationships are, and being at peace with my inner state. Can I be happy all the time? Probably not, life happens to distract me from the present. But no matter how difficult the present circumstance may be, if I can take a deep breath and be present, I recognize that I do have solutions and the resources to implement them. That makes for happiness. 
    All is well,

[Addendum to yesterday's post on Self-Care: "Loving yourself... does not mean being self-absorbed or narcissistic or disregarding others. Rather it means welcoming yourself as the most honored guest in your own heart, a guest worthy of respect, a lovable companion." --Margot Anand]

Tie-Dyed Smiley Face - Smiley Face - Sticker | TeePublic
Couldn't resist!!!

Sunday, September 6, 2020

September 6--Self-Care

Lend yourself to others, but give yourself to yourself.  --Michel de Montaigne

    I want to scream every time I hear someone (especially a woman) say self-care is selfish. Fortunately that belief seems to be going by the wayside, but not quickly enough for me. Those who say self-care is selfish are busy giving themselves away to others and depleting themselves to empty. Resentment often follows.
    "Give yourself to yourself" means to take care of yourself on every level. On the physical level, that includes nutritious food, exercise, pampering, and supportive health care. Emotionally, one needs to recognize, feel and release emotions. Mental self-care requires us to keep learning and growing, keeping the mind stimulated and focusing on the positive. Spiritual care involves a variety of practices that remind us that there is something bigger than us in charge, we are a part of it, and we can rely on it. 
    With good self-care in place, giving yourself to yourself, then there is a healthy, whole, "full-tank" person to lend to others. Because you have given yourself to yourself, you can then share your best with others, rather than a depleted, weary, resentful self. Good self-care is a win-win for all. 
    Good self-care enables us to know ourselves better, understand our likes and dislikes, know our limits, and be comfortable in our own skin. It feels good. 
    Feelin' good,

Saturday, September 5, 2020

September 5--Still and Alive

You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and vibrantly alive in repose. 
--Indira Gandhi

    From my perspective, this quote is about mindfulness. Paying attention. Focusing on what I'm doing right now. 
    "Still in the midst of activity" happens for me when I'm absorbed in what I'm doing. An example would be drawing a barn quilt pattern or crocheting or even golfing. I'm completely into the activity and not thinking about other things, like what I'm going to do next. This becomes a challenge when I'm doing something mundane like washing dishes. It's easy to let the mind wander and not pay attention to the dish, the ability to wash it, and the resources (warm water, soap, sink) to do it. See--you don't think about that stuff when doing the dishes, do you? Tasks like that can become an annoyance rather than an opportunity to recognize the routine blessings of life. 
    "Vibrantly alive in repose"... hmmm... When I'm relaxing, not doing anything, this is the time to be most aware of myself, my thoughts, my internal state. Open to the divinity within me, paying attention to that "still, small voice" within. "Vibrantly alive" means maintaining and sending out a positive vibration, which I seek to do most of the time. As a yoga instructor, I think of savasana at the end of the practice, wherein one lies still for a few minutes, vibrantly alive in repose, energized from the practice. I feel vibrantly alive yet very peaceful. It's a precious time to focus within.

Friday, September 4, 2020

September 4--Continuous Blessings

When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place. 
--C. S. Lewis

    It's the ebb and flow of life. The challenge is to release the focus on the lost blessing (allowing time for grieving if need be), and to be open to the replacing blessing. 
    I worked for over six years as a finance manager for a church. We had an outstanding staff that worked together in a spectacular fashion. I loved the job. I could not wait to get to work. It is truly awesome to have that feeling relative to one's job. Well, as is typical with churches, there was a change in senior pastor, and the new pastor and I were like gasoline and a lighted match together. It wasn't long before I was going home in tears nearly every day. Finally, after about eight months of that, I resigned, without another job lined up. It was crushing to go from so much joy at work to so much misery.
    By then, I had renewed aspirations of self-employment. I was studying to be a spiritual living coach and initiating a writing habit. Long story short, I completed the coaching course, wrote my first book, and went on to become a yoga instructor. I am happily self-employed with a flexible schedule that I love. Who knew all these blessings would come from the lost blessing of the church job?
    Whatever "it" is, "it" is probably not the worst that could happen. It's the stepping stone to the next blessing. 
    Keeping the faith,

Thursday, September 3, 2020

September 3--Rich Opportunity

It is perfectly true, as philosophers say, that life must be understood backwards. But they forget the other proposition, that it must be lived forwards. 
--Soren Kierkegaard

    We learn from the past, let it go, and use it to expand our wisdom, i.e. live forward. That's a successful mode of living. 
    Speaking of philosophers, I share this from my daily meditation from the Center for Action and Contemplation:
The term “perennial philosophy”. . . refers to a fourfold realization: (1) there is only one Reality (call it, among other names, God, Mother, Tao, Allah, Dharmakaya, Brahman, or Great Spirit) that is the source and substance of all creation; (2) that while each of us is a manifestation of this Reality, most of us identify with something much smaller, that is, our culturally conditioned individual ego; (3) that this identification with the smaller self gives rise to needless anxiety, unnecessary suffering, and cross-cultural competition and violence; and (4) that peace, compassion, and justice naturally replace anxiety, needless suffering, competition, and violence when we realize our true nature as a manifestation of this singular Reality. The great sages and mystics of every civilization throughout human history have taught these truths in the language of their time and culture.  --Rabbi Rami Shapiro
    Let us recognize where we've come from, let us recognize who we truly are, and let us use this knowledge and the awakening of 2020 to live forward in peace, compassion and justice. This is the sacred calling of our time. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

September 2--Take a Nap

Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon. 
--Charles M. Schulz

    Schulz created one of my favorite comic strips, "Peanuts." An extraordinary amount of life and wisdom passed through those comics over the years. The quote above pretty well sums it up. 
    Learn from yesterday... We can make the best of what's happened to us, forgive and make amends if needed, let emotions flow, and move on. Or we can pack our grudges and resentments into an nice big heavy suitcase and drag them around for a long time. You decide.
    Live for today... Today is all we have. It can be "best day yet," wherein we serenely complete the next thing right in front of us, aware and enjoying our relationships and our place in the world. Or we can spend today wishing we were somewhere else, doing something else, dissatisfied with life. You decide. 
    Look to tomorrow... We can look ahead with joyful anticipation, expecting life to continue to get better and better. We can make plans for future fun and create new ways to enjoy life here on our magnificent Earth. Or we can dread waking up in the morning to face another day of the same old ugliness, personally and throughout the world. You decide. 
    Rest this afternoon... Leave it to Schulz to encourage us to take a nap. We can take a mental and physical break from it all, and awaken with an improved attitude. Or we can push on through life and exhaust ourselves. You decide. 
    Napping is my favorite hobby. Yes, I consider it a hobby. I LOVE to sleep. My nap is my "stop the world, I'm getting off" time. Unless I'm working full-time at my tax job, I rarely miss a nap. I plan my schedule around my nap time. I'm serious! Napping is that important to me. 

Being a lover of baseball... 

Peanuts Comic Strip for July 14, 1999

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

September 1--BalancE

Life is about balance. The good and the bad. The highs and the lows. The pina and the colada.  --Ellen DeGeneres

    I'm a Libra. Balance is everything. I even teach the Melt Method, which is all about the body's balance system. Just the idea of balance is comforting to me, maybe because in my early years, there was so little of it in my young life. 
    It is now September on the calendar. This month in the past has been particularly UN-balanced for me. My mom and dad both died on September 24, 21 years apart. (How's that for a bizarre coincidence?!?!) My biggest health challenges to date have been in September. Plenty of good stuff has happened in September, too, but I'm still just a little wary of this month. 
    As long as we are in human form, we'll be seeing opposites. I believe that's one of the challenges we elect to take on to come here--learning to handle opposites. It is in developing that skill that we truly become alive. We can't know great joy unless we've known great sadness. Illness makes us appreciate vibrant health. Stress and anger make us reach for inner peace. Experiencing and witnessing cruelty, abuse and nastiness causes us to be more kind. The presence of Spirit within us always seeks to bring us back to center. 
    On an even keel, for now,

Top Ten Tips For A Balanced Lifestyle - Key Person of Influence