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Katie Jensen

PeaceRme

The name reflects the dialectic of peace

Hard and soft

Peace and Army

There cab be no peace...

Without peace within

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Acceptance and Weight Loss

Posted on May 31, 2015 at 11:48 AM Comments comments (66)

"If you put your hand into a fire, does anyone have to tell you to move it? Do you have to decide? No: When your hand starts to burn, it moves. You don’t have to direct it; the hand moves itself. In the same way, once you understand, through inquiry, that an untrue thought causes suffering, you move away from it." Byron Katie 


This has been one of the most influential changes in my life. Started years ago in 1994. It has not erased every problem in my life but practicing a non judgmental stance has been part of the solution to almost every problem I have ever had. "You cannot change what you don't accept." I spent the last 2 years working on acceptance of myself, my weight and my relationship with food. I once lost 100 lbs because I quit eating for 3 months. But I knew nothing really about myself and food at the time. This time, instead of focusing on weight loss (not in the here and now, future oriented eating, instead of here and now eating) I have spent my time focused on awareness. How my body really feels. Food is not my enemy. My body is not my enemy. If I hate the way I look or feel, I am out of sync with reality. I am judging and evaluating instead of observing and accepting what is. I accepted how I felt and through acceptance...this has been the crazy part, change happened. When the tears came and my judgements about myself and food, about my body, about feeling safe in the world, we're finally addressed with truth, changes began to occur smoothly and easily. Love and caring, self nurturing replaced denial. I didn't have to do anything but accept the truth about my relationship with food. And for many this is the hardest truth to accept. Dieting only covers up and hides the truth. There is only one true path to weight loss. It is acceptance and love. And, this is the way out of every compulsive behavior. We must stop judging. We must decide to put truth before all else. We will never have a perfect relationship with truth because the truth, like God, is not always within our grasp. But seeking truth...is a choice. If we are burdened by judgments, taught to us as children and followed blindly through life, the results of these judgments will be present in our outcomes. You can look at these judgment because they are entwined and part of every perceived problem. They become part of what happens to us in life. If our map is flawed with respect to the truth, we end up in places we did not intend to go. 

How do we learn to replace reality with these flawed maps? Why would we believe things that are not true? This affliction related to the truth is born out of a paradigm of power and control. Power and control is the root of our problem with truth. Power and control is circumventing the truth with man or human made made punishments. It's a way that we impose our reality on others to control them. The result is, a distortion of truth. Power and control is imposing your reality on someone else in an effort to control them. When someone imposes their reality on you through yelling, punishment, pain and anguish interpretations of what is happening become distorted. The laws of nature are replaced by will. That's why we are always trying to use will power, instead of acceptance. We internalize the power and control. This is how we are taught will power. We learn to control our world instead of accepting and living in congruence with the way the world is. Self will run riot. Yes!! We are taught self will run riot through the use of power and control. And when we replace self will, the distortions of power and control, with truth and acceptance of what is....we can finally see the solution to our problems. We finally can see the path to peace, we can see that there is truly only one solution. The only solution is to live in harmony with truth. God is truth and the truth sets us free. The minute you replace self will, imposed judgments with the the truth...that is the minute you begin to change. One more thought before I end my Sunday morning stream of consciousness. This is why, love is so powerful. This is why love will always trump and trounce power and control. Love is acceptance. It is the bond, within the truth. If both truth and love exist in harmony...if we maintain constant contact with that which truly controls our behavior (the universe, biology, physics or God that is represented in truth) our outcomes can only be more universally effective. Our lives are a constant dance with what we truly can control (our search for truth) and that which we cannot control. Truth and love go together and when in harmony can change us in the most harmonious and congruent ways.
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Love Intention: 2015

Posted on January 2, 2015 at 11:14 AM Comments comments (66)
New Years 2015
 
 
It's been a while since I wrote a blog. Feeling rusty today. It's officially 2015. The holiday trappings are all put away in storage, ready for next year. So much ahead. Trying to stay in the moment.
 
I'd like to set an intention for myself. I read somewhere that the components of effective meditation were the following: intention, attention and non judgment.  A little mixology here, mixing some 12 steps in with meditation, but I do believe also "what you focus on grows". So, I am completely in on the idea that my direction is determined by where I put my energy. In fact, I have experienced this in my life. Each time there has a purposeful change in focus, it has felt like a miracle. Transformation. Suddenly, the picture of the hag is gone, and there is instead of beautiful new picture full of promise, and due diligence. (always that accountability piece, the thing I must do differently).
 
My intention this year is love. I have focused on peace for so many years and in many ways have found my way there enough times that there now is a well worn groove in my brain for that path. I don't always land first on the path. Sometimes I still land in fear, where there is no real threat, and therefore, no real solution.  But when I land in that place, I know the feeling of sinking, of chaos, and I am grateful for it. I then am able to find my way back to peace.
 
So a quick review of the last year first. I learned so much about myself and peace. I was fortified more than ever in the idea that knowing my own reactions and regulating them, is the only valid and consistent path to peace. In my consultation group, this was reinforced on several different occasions. It was very hard work. It was emotional and painful. It wasn't a "breeze" and I am learning to embrace the struggle. The more I embrace the struggle, the less aware of the struggle I am.
 
Now to love. In the last year, I have really come to the conclusion, that I cannot have inner peace without recognizing fully the pain and opposition in my relationship with food and my body. I have always known this and have had this awareness many times, but this last year has produced real changes in my behavior and my thinking. In the last year, there has been a big shift in my paradigm on this one. My continued mindfulness of whether or not I am interacting with my body in a loving way, has proven to be very effective in decreasing my hunger, increasing my love of healthy whole foods, becoming more of aware of my desire to move.
 
I have realized in the last few months, how the last 20 years have been a re enactment of my life with PTSD. It created a huge block between me and my body, that I thought I had resolved during my early 30's. During that time, I had lost over a hundred pounds. Exercised daily and felt so alive. Every time, I have gone through something traumatic, my relationship with alcoholism, my relationship with men, my relationship with exes, my relationship with illness. Ugh...so much of my same patterns to sludge through. But truth is I have made lots of progress over the years. There is peace in my life. I can find that path now, when I need it. And for that I am grateful.
 
Turning to love. Now it's time for me to focus on loving. Loving intentions and loving actions. My focus for this year is on mindfulness and accountability. Matching my behavior with my words. This has popped into awareness and clarity in my focus on peace. So this year, here's to love.
 
It's changing how I eat, my appetite, what I am hungry for, and how I move. I crave water (meaning I am now aware of thirst and can separate it from hunger). I am trying to make sure that I have clean water, and healthy foods at work. (nuts, fruits, oatmeal) I bought a gym membership. Things have changed and will continue to change. Oh, and I have lost about 40 lbs. One day at a time, non judgmentally. That is how I am doing this. I recoil at the "old ways" and I will have to watch my judgments. I slip too, and it has taken a long time for me to see what I see today.  I see them and see me and I get irritated sometimes. I want to believe in magic cures, or fragmented truths, the security of black and white thinking. I am tempted by the "old world ways". Instead though, I radically accept most of the time, the truths about food. Consciousness has occurred. I am conscious and fully awake with food today, one day at a time.  And if I string together enough days to actually lose more weight, then this is what will happen. If not, I know that every day, every minute that I am mindful, is going to be more effective, than my unconsciousness. And so I move forward in consciousness and love to myself...and making decision about food that are loving to me, to the family and to the universe.
 
So, good bye to diets, and black and white thinking around food. I am going to continue on my path to apply a non judgmental stance, attention on love, and mindfulness of this interplay over the next year.
 
I am grateful for any and all changes in this regard. God is truth and the truth will set me free.
 
Love to all of you who might read this. Hope you will love yourself and examine the dark corners of your mind for areas to shine a light. Hope you will shine that light without fear of shame. Hope if shame exists you will know what to do with it, what to make of it. Hope you will focus on effectiveness over shame (that binds you). Hope that you will move with the spirit in truth and fly on the wings of peace that have been provided through the course of existence. Paths that have existed for literally thousands of years.  Love and peace to you all as we embark on the next year.
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Conflict

Posted on December 28, 2012 at 2:30 PM Comments comments (23)
Nothing makes the heart ache more quickly or consistently than conflict with the people you care for and love. Some of us, have learned to ignore the pain of conflict, to pretend it doesn't exist. Others of us, have learned to call it out, confront it, speak our minds.  Most of us, however, have learned some combination of silence, suppression, and confrontation.
 
In a conflict it means that another human being, who we may care about, may not see things the way we do. It may mean that they see the world differently, experience things differently. Live differently. This difference in perception may actually block us from getting something we want or it may only "seem" to block our way. It often causes some fear that we will not get what we want or need.  
 
In order for conflict to exist, we must believe on some level that the way another person is living, being...is wrong, and that the way they are, is hurting us. At the bottom of every conflict is the belief that something or someone should not be the way they are. In this sense, all conflict is willfulness. It is a refusal to accept humanity, people, life on life's terms. It's a refusal to accept the human being and all it's consequences as it is. This is not the same as accepting that everything is okay. Accepting what is, simply sets the true course, replacing the course we would wish to take, a course that is not reality and will only go in circles.
 
There have been many times in my life, when I felt a victim to someone else. I felt a victim to my ex husband, to banks, to my current husband, and to my employer. I felt wronged, misunderstood, unloved. Alone.
 
But as I worked my way through the truths of life...and began confronting my judgments for what they were, I found that everything was exactly the way it was meant to be. As I worked my way through the pain, I was able to see that it was always me that I was afraid to face. In every conflict, every ounce of my anger was some part of me that I did not want to see or did not want to have to change.
 
For years my mission has been "peace". My seeking peace is not because I am a "peaceful" person. I rebuke that notion with fierceness. Nope, I sought "peace" because I was a conflicted, angry person. Perhaps on some level I could see the futility of my rage, but I felt powerless at times to control it, or to change it. I didn't cause it entirely. I inherited it honestly enough, as we all do, but it was my job to fix it. This is why I am drawn to the concept of peace. This is why it is the essence of my life's work. Not because I have it easily or that I was "born" into it.
 
In my journey I had to admit to myself that I had rage. That I felt out of control at times, that I could identify far too well with those who I wanted to judge for their violence. I often talked about being a pacifist but have felt so conflicted at times with my own behavior.   I could see the sin of war, see the killing of babies, see the killing of wives and children as wrong, but could barely stop myself from wanting to run over my husband with the car one night during a fight.
 
I believed in my heart of hearts that yelling and screaming at children only contributes to more rage, less accountability and more fear. I know this to be true, but it wouldn't stop me from yelling at my children when I was in fear, or angry. I had a hard time, validating my own damage first, the damage I had done, and accepting the truth about the fear, that I was continuing to perpertuate as discipline.
 
At some point, in order to change, I had to learn to be accountable for all my buttons. All the issues that put me over the edge, all the ideas in my head that would convince me that I am right and humanity is wrong. It was so foreign a notion to me, that I would instead seek agreement or shared truths, without having to give up on my principles or morals. That in doing so, I would actually be living closer to my beliefs. It felt inauthentic at first. Why, the only way I could have "peace" would be to lie, or to be disingenuous. I would have to be "weak" and stop "fighting" for what is "right". This seemed a way I had lived most of my life and nothing at all new. I had no desire to follow through with this concept.
 
But what I have found, and continue to grapple with, by the way, is the idea that in order for me to transcend or transform my rage, I would first have to accept it. I would have to come face to face with every belief that sent me on a tirade and made me feel "entitled" or righteous. I would have to be willing to "see" the ideas that would feed my victim and send me into anger. I could not get to peace by pushing those ideas away because if I did that, as I had tried to do for many years, that anger, those ideas would just "pile up" and explode in some "surprise" that was uncontrolled and sometimes uncalled for by even myself. I had to "accept" the sometimes irrational things that I was telling myself about life. "It's not fair". "It's not right". "It's disrespectful". "It's rude". "It's mean". "It's wrong". "They are wrong".
 
The answer would not come from "pretending" I was at peace. Nor would it come from simply believing in "peace". "Peace" is not Santa Clause. What I learned was that I would have to "do" something to find it. And quite honestly, I still sometimes wonder if it's "worth" the work. Can't I just hold on to my resentments? Can't I just keep them running like a banner in my brain? Yes. I can. I can and I have. But what I have found is that I feel better when I don't. I feel better when I take the time to see the truth. It's like a breath of fresh air when I find it. My body relaxes. My mind quiets, the arguments and ruminations stop.
 
For instance, several years ago, I was laid off from my job. A job I had invested 12 years or more, of my life. It felt personal because much of the structure of this job had been created by me, had been my idea. In the end, my vision was rejected. At first I thought the things we all think "they will regret this". Or, "they will see they made a mistake". Or "what they choose to do, surely will not work". But of course, those thoughts only fueled a negative feeling inside of me, with the essence of that thinking being "they were wrong".
 
They were not wrong. Peace comes when I accept that my vision was not for them. It's not for everyone. It is my life purpose, but it may not be shared by anyone BUT me. I don't have to convince the world. I just need to follow my purpose. Years later in a successful practice of my own, I have found this to be so true. My purpose was right for me. It's all mine. I don't need to convince anyone else. I share, about it, in case someone else sees the world the way I do. But if they don't, this is okay. I get to follow my passion regardless of what others want to do. No one can stop me. It was my fear, that I couldn't do it alone, that made me work so hard, for so many years to get others to see what I saw. I don't have to wear myself out that way anymore.
 
The same holds true for me in my personal life with my husband and with my kids, and friends. It doesn't matter if they share my vision. It doesn't matter if they see life the way I do. There is joy in seeing all their shades of life. I may not agree with all of them all the time, but I might find parts, or parcles of their truth that affirm my own truth. If my kids don't want to clean their room, I am more successful as a parent when I "see" why. And when I also "see" why it helps to have a clean room. When I understand the kernal of truth in both sides. There is peace. My husband who yells out of fear that they won't do what he wants them to do one day, does not understand why they do what I say. Today I know that when they follow my lead, it is because I am leading by my own behavior, and because I accept the truth of both sides. Sometimes they are tired, uninspired. Sometimes they like to have a clean room. We negotiate on this truth.
 
Another example from my life is that my husband is a very anxious man. Angry, full of fear about what tomorrow and life will bring. How can I get joy when I am with someone so full of fear? That same fear creeps up on me from time to time...and he, his behavior, his fear affirms exactly what fear does to me. I see it in him. It helped me change my parenting. It helped me be more of who I wanted to be. He is a blessing in my life, not a curse. Not a punishment. He is the colors of the world that help me see myself. Just because he is feeling negative, does not mean that I have to feel the same way, no, in fact, it helps me stand more firmly in my reality with compassion for his.
 
Conflict, anger, is an opportunity to face some part of yourself and realign it with reality. I have found that I cannot skip the work of this by ignoring my anger, or refusing to face myself and my judgments. I can only be free when I face those things I tell myself that fuel my anger. What is it I believe I have a "right" to be angry about. And does this anger serve to build me a better life? Is it valid? Or in believing that someone else causes my anger, am I disempowering myself, keeping myself from changing the one thing that would set me free?
 
I have found that when I am most angry it is because I am afraid to face a block in my own life. And my fear, not anger at another is really what keeps me from being all I can be, in this moment. My anger only serves to distract me from the job at hand. Many times, I fear that I am not "right" most often when I feel certain that I AM right!! I hate to find out that I may not hold the truth in the palm of my hands at all times. So scary to face this truth, for someone who used her brain to deal with the fears of life. I don't have to be right, I don't have to know everything, I don't have to blame others for my unhappiness, I can hold myself accountable and be a successful parent, entreprenuer and friend. I don't have to live my life the way others want me to live it. I don't have to be perfect. I can find peace in conflict, if I choose.
 
Blessings everyone...May you find the path to peace and the freedom that comes with it in this New Year.
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The Island

Posted on November 22, 2012 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (30)
There is a metaphor we use in our DBT groups, called the island. The island is basically a metaphor for disconnection. It is the physical and emotional act of  "not being present",  We can put ourselves "on the island" by being in our head, or getting drunk or buzzed, by isolating or by thinking that we have nothing in common with those around us. We can put ourselves "on the island" by thinking that others don't like us or love us. We can put ourselves on the island by judging ourselves for our clothes, our weight, our hair, our shoes, the food we brought. Being "on the island" is a form of self conciousness that prevents us from reaching out to others.
 
We put ourselves on the island often times as a learned behavior. Through criticism or projection, we have learned to focus on ourselves looking moment to moment to catch ourselves in the act of a mistake. We have learned to train our eyes for the thing that is "wrong" with us or with someone else. This act causes a disconnect with the present moment. It causes us to leave our own brain and begin skimming the brains of those around us...wondering if they are seeing our "wrongness" before we do. We must hurry to find it, before someone else points it out. In the end this is a coal fire of shame burning in the soul. The basic belief that on some level "there is something wrong with me", and I must maintain an appearance that all is well. This is a diconnect from authenticity from being connected and in the present. When we go to our heads with those thoughts about the outfit we have on, or the dish we brought wondering if it meets some magical standard, we are living in our heads, in a fairly land imagined, in a land of judgments and projects, an inaccurate map instead of the moment, the terrain of NOW!
 
This very map, that we use in our heads, the one that causes us to disconnect from the moment in self conciousness, is also the very same map that causes you to isolate or disconect from someone else. We are projecting that map, looking through that template all times. We are seeing what we think of ourselves on the great silk screen of life looking through our lens at the judgments we have learned through out life.
 
Most of the time, the folks who surround us at the holidays are not dangerous criminals out to harm us. They do not by fact, need to isolated on an island for the safety of all. Even the worst drunk, will likely do no more than yell, or cuss, or stumble. Maybe the worst drunk will say offensive things, but yet, we are all safe. No harm. No damage but for our own reactions. This is how we put others on the island. We think. We use those same judgments that haunt us to label others. Well, maybe two years ago that relative said something hurtful to me. We hold the resentment as if it is happening now. We forget that time has gone by that we have all changed, each moment of every day. As long as our map of judgments is unrevised, we will project the same old circumstance on that relative. And we will respond to the past instead of the NOW.
 
How we live the NOW fully present, changes the next moment.
 
May you find this moment, the moment between your map of the world and what is, may you find true peace and love in that layer of reality today!!
 
Happy Thanksgiving!!!
 
Love you all!
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Conflict and Intimacy

Posted on November 14, 2012 at 8:16 AM Comments comments (108)
 
 
 
22301 438130522901140 17134322 n The dialectic of forgiveness
 
 
Thinking more...no one can stay centered all the time. We will all veer off that center point. If we fear conflict, we fear intimacy. If we fear peace, we fear intimacy. Real intimacy develops as we tolerate this dance of imperfection and humanness. It's like mindfulness. The work of mindfulness is not some perfect point of awareness that is maintained at full intensity at all times. It is the dance back and forth, that creates human awareness and perception. We are not perfect perceiving beings. And the most agregious errors in perception occur with the thought that we are without distortion, instead of the awareness that distortions in thinking and perceiving are a constant. In fact, this awareness has within it, the power to find forgiveness, peace and love. (oh how cliche'! in a time where righteousness and war are so popular, and love seems so powerless and silly).
 
The same is true for intimacy. It's the dance between distance and closeness.  It's not just the dervishes that whirl...we all whirl! For years of my practice in DBT, it seems impossible to find a place of perfect balance and stay there at all times. We all get hungry, angry, lonely and tired. We have our judgments and distortions. Some people hide those judgments, keep them to themselves, (unless they are surrounded by allies). Others let them rip, exposing them and even imposing them on all around them. Both ends are polar opposites and the dance goes back and forth between the extremes.
 
It is in our honest awareness of this dance that peace comes. That is the moment in time, when I no longer have to judge you for being off balance or "that one time when..." It's that moment when I can accept with clarity the truth that includes my own lack of balance at times. The times I have judged, thought ill of you, hated you, or cursed you under my breath. It is through acceptance that we notice the distance it causes. It is through awareness that we see how we create distance when we forget that this is a dance for all kind...not just some. It's not just "the crazy people who get off balance". It's not just the ones with mental illness who lose their balance, it's not just the "wrong" people, or the alcoholics, or the ones with autism or down's syndrome, or parkinson's or the "selfish and self centered". It's not just the bums in the park who have lost their way. It is me, when I judge you.
 
Nope. It's us, when we begin thinking that "others" are wrong. When we focus our judgments on them, when we lose the reality that our perceptions about how life should be are fraught with judgments and are as off balance as anyone with a mental disorder. The moment we think another human less than ourselves we have begun the lie. We have thrown ourselves off center. The moment we let anger and judgement move forward in condescension and rescue, the moment we move back in distance due to lies about how we cannot tolerate someone else, we have departed from center.
 
It's okay, it's alright. But coming home to love, acceptance and forgiveness is the dance. It's different that "tolerating" someone while hiding your true feelings. That's inauthentic, it's not comfortable, it eats away at the soul to be fake. It's not avoiding people or "putting them on the island of forsakeness". Nope. It's total acceptance of our humanness first our own, then theirs.
 
As we move toward the holidays, this is a good time to examine the list of relatives, loved ones, that you may have "put on the island". The ones you distance from, the ones you may not wish to see or speak with, gather with and love. Who are they? And instead of making that list of judgments in your head about why they don't deserve your love, and instead of ignoring your true feelings so they sit on the shelf of your perception like righteous King babies of love, ask yourself how you are like the ones you dislike the most. Ask yourself if that list of judgments fits you in any way? Then forgive yourself for being human. Then love yourself for seeking truth. Then pat yourself on the back for seeking truth and authenticity, and then finally find yourself home...and in love with every person surrounding you.
 
Instead of just watching the whirling dervishes, just know you are always dancing with them whether you perceive it or not...then open your eyes and dance with all your heart!
 
 
 
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A cup of tea is medicine.

Posted on November 11, 2012 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (157)
It's November finally in Nebraska. The fall cold swooped out of Canada last night and brought a thin layer of ice to the deck. The roses on my mini rose tree are frozen this morning. Finally the end has come for the last little flowers blooming in the sun.
 
I have been very busy. Very grateful. But busy. When I get too busy I forget to breathe. I forget to pay attention. I end up on a treadmill of returning calls and e mails and lists in my head about what I should do next. All of this is sprinkled with anxiety as the holidays blare through the minutia of my day to scream "THERE IS SO MUCH MORE TO DO!!"
 
When I get like this, I know I am slipping away from mindfulness. I am drawn to a quick fix, a quick escape. A bite of this, a bite of that. Eat fast...hope that somewhere in that food there is an escape or some kind of sustenance for my soul when tiredness and numbness takes me over.
 
This morning, I went back to my basics. One, I crave my meditation this morning. I crave the quietness of a sunday morning. I am craving mindfulness. I want to be in my brain and body this morning to see what is really going on. To rally my forces as I contemplate this day. My basics? A cup of tea and a breath. I took a deep breath just now. I felt the back pain, the knee pain, the weirdness of my stomach from all the surgeries. My sinuses. I felt it all. I said "hello" and I made a commitment not to leave my body. Not right now. I stay.
 
While I was making my tea, I paid attention to the smells. I sniffed each flavor as I chose which tea would brew in my cup. Peach. It's always peach tea. Not always, sometimes I choose the dark English breakfast tea, but this morning it's peach. I boil the water and I pay close attention to the steam rising in my kitchen. I can feel the slight shift in humidity on this cold morning. I load the tea leaves into the bowl that will sit in my cup of hot water and turn it into a fragrant lovely drink. Thousands of years old this tradition. And this morning, I mindfully contemplate this tradition in so many different cultures. The tea of asia, England, Scotland, Ireland, America. The dialectic comes to mind. How simple to make a cup of tea, and yet, not simple to bring tea to my home. The planting, growing, and delivery of tea to my table. Complex. Simple and complex. Easy and hard. I send out an imaginary thank you to those who bent their backs to bring my tea.
 
As I bring the tea to my lips, the first thing I notice is the fragrance. The perfume of peach and the perfume of tea leaves. As I smell the tea my salivary glands react to the impending sip of delicious scented water. This morning, I pay attention. In connecting with my body, I notice that I am not hungry. I notice no stress. I notice achy muscles, and I thank them. I live with pain. It's only pain. No more, no less than any other day. Maybe less.
 
I look out at my oak tree whose orange leaves are fading to brown, but still after all that wind, full of leaves. I notice the marks on the oak from when we hung a hammock under the tree and I remember when my boys lived here and our first dog Molly getting caught in the tree. I remember laying on the hammock with 3 year old Bri and staring at the sky looking at stars. All in the marks on that tree.
 
I take another sip of tea and commit to peace in my heart. I am not going to feel like a victim today. I am not going to pay attention to the wrong doing of others, but instead to my reactions to the way the world is. I am going to commit to monitor my reactions for effectiveness. I am going to try to live connected to my body.
 
I don't know why I want to float away so badly at times. But the "why" does not matter. I can feel bad and guilty for all the ways I have fought with "now" but that would be living in the past and would not serve me in my endeavor today. So for today, I am going to stay in right now. I am going to sip each drink of tea and taste it. I am going to taste each morsel of food instead of focusing on the outcome of "getting the meal done". I am going to stay in this minute instead of worrying about each different part of this day.
 
Blessings as you find the joy in each moment.
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Birthdays and Velveteen Rabbits

Posted on October 16, 2012 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (89)
A few words on my birthday:
 
I love this quote from the Velveteen rabbit. In those few paragraphs below are perhaps the most important lessons about love. What's funny to me, is how my ideas about love have changed since I was young. It strikes me that this quote that used to make me sad, now makes me happy. See the quote below.
 
I am sitting in the dark, long before the sun has risen, listening to 70's music. The songs from my youth. Back when love was about "being loved", "adored". "Touch me in the moring". Oh the angst of love. Hoping someone thought I was attractive, smart, funny. Just trying so desperately to tread water and find my way. Back then, love was about defining myself as worthy. If someone would just love me, like it says in that song, want me, then maybe I would be a "real person".
 
What has made me real, isn't having a cushy easy life. Or being "well loved" (though I have been blessed).  I am no longer waiting for the world to hand me a sign that says that I am brilliant, funny, sexy, or important. And that feels so much better. I don't have a boss to please anymore. I am no longer trying to figure out ways to get my vision validated. I don't have an administrator to persuade. I don't even have to persuade my clients because they see it working in their own lives.
 
I just wish that the 15 year old Katie that was filled with so much anxiety about being good enough, would have known that all those fears wouldn't make me safer in life.  If I had known then, that real love doesn't judge an extra pound, that my husband wasn't going to wake up one day and turn down sex because of a scar, or because of a stretch mark, or that real love doesn't die just because of a temper tantrum, or that real love doesn't drown because someone  gets attracted to someone else.  Real love is so much more resilient than all that. The only thing that can kill real love is fear. And it takes an awful lot of fear to make that happen. All those cheesy verses about how love is forgiveness, that used to meet my heart with coldness and boredom turn out to be so freakin' (and those who know me, know that freakin' is not what I just said) true!
 
Carrying anger, being the biggest victim, puts a damper on your life. It makes ME miserable. But where there is love, once you have learned how to stoke the fires of love, once you have learned how to feed your love with the presence of something greater than yourself, there too, is an endless supply.
 
The doubt creeps in, but today I know how to shoo it away. The anger creeps in, but today I know how to smile it away. The sadness comes over me, but I know how to let it wash over me like a wave. I know today that pushing grief away only makes it stronger. That trying to be strong only makes you weak. That hating only closes your mind to love and that anger rarely serves to build a better life. I have learned that saying these trite sentences does nothing to change these truths. The only thing that works to fill a heart with love is to DO love.  
 
I can still find hours here and there to spend suffering about the affairs of the world. When I get sick and tired, when I fall asleep at my wheel of life, when I spiral into that bitchy whining that feels like a warm bed on a rainy day but then I pay the consequence as we all do. I suffer needlessly about the "unfairness of this or that". 
 
When I take stock today, I am mostly grateful. Crazily, I can find gratitude for the extra weight that forces me to be more mindful of my eating every day to the stretch marks that brought me the greatest miracles of life. From my journals filled with story after story of how I was wronged by "HIM" and the following awareness that I don't have even a page written about the miracles of loving my husband.  And finally gratitude for the days I prayed to a scary God who would punish me for not spending enough time on my knees to my current God of understanding, who wants only to use me as a conduit of love, which allows me a constant contact and presence with love.
 
There are triggers that remind me of that old katie, who needed to be respected, admired, loved, appreciated, care about and important. Sometimes I still take up her causes, and fight her battles, defend her old beliefs. But less today. Today I get to spend my life teaching others how to remove the obstacles to love. Today I get to help others find the thoughts that blind them to the love harvest that already exists. It doesn't matter who gets voted in as president, it doesn't matter if I get rich or limp along. All that matters is that each day, I am wearing down with the love of life. Each day I get more and more "real".
 
Here's the quote I promised:
 
“Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'

'Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit.

'Sometimes,' said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 'When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.'

'Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,' he asked, 'or bit by bit?'

'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.”
Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
 
 
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Peace in politics, politics in peace? YES.

Posted on October 11, 2012 at 8:17 AM Comments comments (46)
As the political waters churn, as people you love turn into rabid emotionally dysregulated perveyors of fear, know this. Truth, will be what it is regardless of what happens politically. Truth. No one knows for certain what tomorrow will bring. We are all guessing about who or what idea will make things better in the future. This is why politics elicits such emotion. It elicits emotion because we are all having to make a "judgment" based on our best information about what this choice or that choice will do to tomorrow.
 
We are all guessing. We are all making a judgment based on our biases and beliefs about what "might" happen in the future. We all like to believe we have a handle on the truth. (I am especially fond of that feeling, at times). But freedom comes from knowing that this is an illusion. Not one of us knows truth in its entirety. Not one of us knows what tomorrow will bring. We have fear, that if this one or that one, does this or that...we will be adversely affected. Surely we have experience with this from the past. Our experiences may not be shared with other. We may have different angles and perceptions, priorities and consequences.
 
The thought that keeps me calm is that truth is like the earth, like the universe, the stars and the moon. It may alter ever slightly over time, but it is constant...in it's presence in our lives. We can't know all of it, we never will, and in many circumstances we must simply trust it. That doesn't mean we shouldn't vote, or speak our own truth. It means that we can honor our truth and that of others. We don't have to speak our truth as if it's the only reality or the only angle. We can each do our part toward peace, by recognizing one simple truth. We cannot know for certain what is "right" or "meant to be". We can only know our biases, wants and desires, our fears and our guesses.
 
It helps me when I realize that my strong feelings are such because I cannot know for certain. When I know something for certain, the angst is gone. The need to push my perception on others disappears because I know it is what it is. When I am uncertain, I am fearful others don't see what I see, or experience what I experience. I want to share my perspective. When I push my experience as if it's the only truth, the only angle, I lapse into a type of dishonesty, a lack of clarity, a lack of the big picture. My reality is only a tiny corner, a simple guess, a theory about what "should" be.
 
Go speak gently to one another. Speak with the knowlege that you cannot know the future. You cannot know what is right for the world. You cannot know with certainty how things should be. Then share your opinions but seek truth in the words of those who oppose you, seek your own truth, speak your own truth and live gently with the ambiguity that you do not know what turn the world "should" take.
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Easy Like Sunday morning.

Posted on October 7, 2012 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (26)
This is where I go in my head, to find peace, to find my sanity. It's Sunday morning at our house. Family time. But right now, everyone is asleep. This is my favorite time of the day. Bo Diddley the Enlish Bull Dog is sitting beside me creating war games in his mind about the squirrels and letting out an occasional bark as he contemplates the reality of the battle ahead. Smooth Jazz is on the t.v digital station. NO ADS!! I love digital music. My husband is sleeping in for the first time in over 3 weeks. It makes me happy. He is soooo tired. The kids are both sound asleep as well. The house is quiet and the sun is peeking through the leaves.
 
I notice that the oaks in back and front yard are still green but for a few changed leaves that imeediately when to brown. The bulk of those great trees have not turned yet. They are always so late in the year. They don't give those leaves up too easily. These are the moments that can pass you by, if you don't take them by the ears, grab them, open them, and LOVE THEM.
 
Yep, if we want love, we have to love. Love is not something we get. It is something we are. We don't wait to love until that one day when something is all perfect with the world. No we harvest love. We find our way through each day looking for this or that to nourish our soul. We love our way through the day by paying attention to the details of living. By paying attention to all the ways that world, universe, God, supports our very life. We find gratefulness for all that we love.
 
So as I write, I look out to the deck, the deck!!! I love our deck. My husband and kids built it. It's large and sits perched under a pine tree canopy. It is perfect really. I see lots of fancier decks. I could compare with my brain. Or I could set in motion a cascade of chemicals in my brain that will sustain and lift my mood. Instead of comparing, or noticing the dog poop or where the dog has worn a path, I notice it's beauty. Our little woodsy back yard and deck make me sooo happy. Pine cones litter the deck this time of year, and I think of the holidays and I notice the thought that soon winter snow will cover it. Then I come back to now. No need to think of snow at this moment, or I will miss this very moment. The birds are chirping, the sun is angling and snaking it's way through the trees. It's still, no breeze moving the leaves...well maybe a tiny jiggle of leaves here and there.
 
In this moment, right now, there is no stress. No bad thing is happening to me or my family. My heart literally fills full of joy. To the brim. This will sustain me as the kids get up and begin making their noises for the day. This will sustain me when my husband awakes and growls about the chores ahead. So I will stay in this moment, and fill my cup.
 
Next, I will make a mindful cup of tea...love to you all...this is how we do it.
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Thought for the day

Posted on October 2, 2012 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (35)
A quote for the day, what are your thoughts...?
 
 
 
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