|Posted on November 14, 2012 at 8:16 AM||comments (108)|
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!
|Posted on November 11, 2012 at 9:05 AM||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.
|Posted on October 16, 2012 at 9:25 AM||comments (88)|
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
|Posted on October 11, 2012 at 8:17 AM||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.
|Posted on October 7, 2012 at 9:20 AM||comments (26)|
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.
|Posted on October 2, 2012 at 9:10 AM||comments (35)|
A quote for the day, what are your thoughts...?