Changing life one coffee shop at a time

There is often a huge crevice between expectations associated with our choices and Reality… Capital R – Reality. Simply put, I’m in the drive thru of my favorite coffee shop, waiting for my turn to order, I make a snap decision and choose to get a large calorie laden coffee with caffeine, sugar and real whipped cream rather than my usual healthier choice of a regular decaf brew. In that moment of choice, I may set into motion a day of regrets and negative self talk because of the one moment (monumental?) decision. I’m hung up on the little jagged edge in the crevice as the the self talk…the disappointment in my choice…. morphs into the inner voice screaming why did I do it and why do I always make the wrong choice….this negative self talk and self irritation continues on and on even into the next morning as I step on the scale, not knowing that this one little coffee choice may be forgotten, but has become a building block for the next second, day, year, lifetime.

Sounds a little over-dramatic that a cup of coffee could set your life on spin but how many times do we make a choice, a decision that seemed right in the moment, but find out as life happens that it might not have been the best decision…..but…..oh how we fear intentional change…we fear the unknown. Like the wrong career choice, the bad marriage, the wrong investment, the wrong doctor. These “moment” choices can set our life on a trajectory of angst, hardship, anger or mental self abuse? When, actually, in any moment, we can make a different choice. Life doesn’t happen to us…We choose in each moment and each breath! We can step back and ask ourselves….hmmmm, “How is that working for me?” and then make a change, or a different choice by ordering the planned regular decaf brew!

The way we view our life is one drama after another drama or a sitcom after sitcom or an entire How-to HGTV day perhaps seeing other colors to use as our background. The choices and decisions are ours to make. In my life I have lived many stories. I’ve told myself and edited narratives while identifying with each story while also including play by play -free of charge- to anyone who would listen. It’s not an easy habit to break, but I realized that I created the monsters and the beauty of realization is that as soon as I “open my eyes” the monsters disappear. Until I actually believe they are real, they do not belong to me!

Namaste

CLEANING OUT THE WOUND

A page from The Book of Awakening -Mark Nepo

“February 21. If I had experienced different things, I would have different things to say.

So often, I have felt troubled and guilty bearing witness to my pain, and yet, not to make things worse. Somehow, in saying just what Mother had done in her cruel need to be the center, or just what Father couldn’t do out of his fear of facing my mother; somehow, telling the truth as I know it makes me feel like a bad person – as if I’m making my pain up, as if I’m hurting others by saying bad things about them.

But the unshakable bottom of all this is that I’m not making things up. If I have unkind things to say, its because I’ve experienced unkind things. And so, my only guide in this witnessing is to be accurate and honest. While I am not a victim, I didn’t ask for certain shaping experiences to happen to me. I didn’t ask to be slapped or ridiculed as a boy or to be mistreated by lifelong friends later in life. In truth, If I had experienced different things, I would have different things to say.

What is most healing about bearing witness to things exactly as they are, including my own part in my pain, is that when the voice of the pain fits the pain, there is no room for distortion or illusion. In this way, truth becomes a clean bandage that heals, keeping dirt out of the wound.

To voice things as they are is the nearest medicine.”

Just because I’m breathing…

does not mean it is mine to do.

From an early age (childhood) I learned that I had responsibilities. Not for just cleaning out the dishwasher but to rinse the dirty dishes, load the dishwasher “correctly”, run the dishwasher, empty it and begin again. This duty was not totally my responsibility but a metaphor for my childhood. From an early age, I felt responsible for my mother’s happiness and if pledge and dusting the living room furniture every other day was what kept her mental health intact then that’s what I needed to do.

Fast forward 6 decades. I’m very responsible. I do what needs to be done. I people please. I consider myself an empath and wear other peoples moods and emotions under my own clothes. This is a curse or a gift depending on how I experience it in my life.

A coffee date with a couple of girlfriends (who are like my Siri navigation giving me options of which route to take) reminded me that I need to set boundaries. I need to listen within to navigate what is mine to do. What brings me joy and contentment? What causes me to want to run fast toward or away from experiences….and the best advice….to seek answers from my inner guides before I close my eyes to sleep. So many life decisions are made as we slumber, when the ego is asleep and the deep inner soul has peace and quiet to figure it out.

What is mine to do?

Namaste

Playing with building blocks

Recognizing the emotion. I remember myself and my history as having 3 recognizable emotions and I knew what to do with them…Sob/cry, let it all out laugh, and that feeling in my forehead of rage which I would not normally let out. Everything else (the initial build up) just felt like discomfort…and most of the time I was able to distract myself from that feeling by eating…yes eating….that always felt good….

It wasn’t until I learned and started applying “new thought” “Unity” principles to change the way I think that I began to notice the uneasiness that normally preceded one of the described emotions. The little tickle of laughter as I began to smile was easy because I could belt out a loud laugh that could be heard round the world (it used to embarrass me because it was loud). Second came recognizing the irritation and anger….that was also easy because I carried it around so often and for so long before it burst….but the uneasiness that would make me cry…that was different.

The uneasiness of violence (perhaps because of my mother and the yardstick), witnessing sadness in my beloveds and the world, witnessing murder and death of animals (this is actually the most difficult for me). This uneasiness I felt this morning watching the geese on the frozen pond and thinking…just stop….it’s time to go where it’s warmer…why won’t you go?

It brought that feeling of fear, uncertainty, grief, this doesn’t feel right to my heart. I snapped this picture, stepped back and was grateful that I was actually able to identify the feeling/emotion so that I could stand with it a moment and release it rather than letting it be the first block in the tower of emotional blocks that could/would stack up in my day until I burst free with sobbing, laughing or screaming about something that had nothing to do with anything!

If you are doing the work…working through habits and emotions…you are not alone….sometimes feelings hurt but ignoring them does not make them go away. Eventually they burst forward!

Namaste

MATH IS HARD….but so is life….

It seems I may have dumped a lot of something in my dream state last night…I woke up recognizing a clarity I have not had for the last few weeks…it’s not like I haven’t realized where my irritation, anger, judgement, hopelessness, and fear were percolating from…but, quite frankly, the more I rationalized and gave my thoughts a safe place to “think” the more miserable I was….and I knew it…I knew what was going on.

I don’t know if Albert Einstein actually said this but this life changing phrase was shared from someone’s consciousness and I am grateful!

A few years ago, I took a wild kinda route to changing my experience. I packed up and moved from everything I had ever known. I recognized I was circling the drain physically, mentally and spiritually a few years ago….and I also knew that if I continued struggling my way to air every single day…trying to make the same thinking work in a different way, I would succumb to becoming a lonely bitter old woman with negative, joyless and angry thought patterns just like my mother taught me. My breaking the glass to escape moment was not easy but I believe it was much easier than daily doing and thinking the same hateful, destructive thoughts. Fear of doing nothing finally became the worst possible life scenario.

If we are strong enough to get outside our head and breathe where we are planted….that does seem like the most comfortable route…but often that is not possible. The knowing is within…the solution is there and We know what the solution is….but the remedy of kicking away the blocks, of changing from the inside out can be daunting….until you know in that second that there really are no rules except of our own making and those rules manifest from fear that keeps us locked in and locked down.

namaste

Stop answering the same door

I don’t like where I live right now. For the most part I didn’t like where I lived before I moved here. There is an important unveiling happening in my soul as I put together this information this morning.

On a trip back to old home last week I was healed. There was comfort. I went to a concert in a beautiful outdoor setting beside a cornfield in Iowa. The venue is a local winery. The local cover band, Slipstream (that we have been following for many years) ALWAYS raises my spirits…with a mixture of their talent, the music they play and the energy they offer their audience to soak in. This time was especially perfect because I was surrounded by 3 of the 4 girlfriends who have been the love and emotional “tag team” in my life.

Returning to the place I now call home was kind of a downer…well, and a mild hangover from wine and pure joy. After a good night of sleep I woke this morning with a neon light flashing…ok…I get it….

It’s not the place I store my stuff, buy my groceries and pay my utility bills that is the real me. It is all in my heart where I feel my pain/dissatisfaction or love and joy…it’s the place in my soul where I release my expectations and irritations. It’s in me, it surrounds me, it is me just being. It’s not “adopting” the hatred, meanness and dysfunction. It’s recognizing what I don’t want to own and allow it to pass through…it’s all up to me to keep an open heart and release those fears and expectations of my personality which I have learned so well in 6 decades. I am here, I am free, I am.

Namaste

The challenge of “Z”

Back many zears ago when I was introduced to Scrabble…. I groaned when I pulled the letters Z and Q. In my head, I zhink ok…I’m zunk. At least if you picked up a U with a Q there was hope. One day after a particularly irritating game of X, Q and Z, I googled words that contain Z. Holy crap, Zman, you are valuable…not only are you worth 10 points on your own but together with z other letters, you, alone can contribute 30 points to a word on a TW block. Z very important to have.

As things come together in my life, I’m reminded of concepts, rules, disciplines that I’ve learned and agreed to throughout the years. Some taught to me, other expected of me, many I agreed to due to manipulation but most of them adopted by me because of fear and control issues.

After a particularly emotional, healing and nurturing Love and Wellness Zoom meeting with several of my UVC peeps this afternoon, I came away knowing that I continue to fight/battle Z emotions. The destructive habits I have learned soooo well over the years keep me in my own misery. Releasing dreaded public tears, I felt my fear and anxiety washing away. As we said our “see”-you-laters, once again I learned that the Z’s in my life are valuable and there for a reason. I MUST learn to sit with them, feel them until “magically Z find its place on my spiritual scrabble board as I release zit.

Namaste

Finding my tribe

After a particularly emotional, loving and safe UVC Zoom group this morning, I spent some time in thoughtful meditation allowing the gratitude to settle in my bones.

In the 8 months since the COVID-19 virus was officially discovered (announced), we have all had to adapt to this new normal. We’ve been forced to slow down, pay attention and figure how to live 6 feet from each other. After the first few months or since the science based guidelines have been established…wash your hands, social distance and wear a mask…AND my personal rule DO NOT LET YOUR GUARD DOWN, I’ve not been overwhelmed by fear for myself. That’s not to say some days boredom hasn’t been an issue and often finding myself down in the rabbit hole with sadness and grief not being able to see my kids and grandkids. When our granddaughter was born at the end of March, not being able to see her in person brought me to my knees.

The bright light in this pandemic experience for Phil and me has been finding our balance on zoom outings with our tribe of friends at Unity Village Chapel. Meditations, prayer, arts and crafts, discussions with New Thought leaders. Book studies .. reading together and discussing, we meet for game nights, we talk, talk, talk. Just like the zoom gathering this morning…9 of us came together to discuss a food train for a Unity Village family with COVID, each of us sharing our personal pandemic feelings, fears, sadness and blessings. Supporting one another in Love and Wellness knowing that anyone in the group would wipe away the tears of another if we had been physically together.

It is not necessary to attend Unity Village Chapel or even live in the Kansas City area to find yourself in a “Brady Bunch”square most days of the week and especially Sunday mornings for the talk by Rev Erin and the after church discussion she hosts. All that is necessary is an internet signal along with a phone, tablet or computer. There is always room.

Namaste

It wasn’t wrong it just was

Yesterday I did this! I went for a walk around the pond and just kept following my feet down the path for about 1/2 a mile. It was warm when the sun would peek through, a fall breeze blowing fall leaves…I embraced the smells, the beauty, and wind blowing through my hair. The best part was I stopped several times…there was no destination, there was no goal. It just felt like a walk with my dad as I chatted with him and asked a lot of questions.

So many gifts he handed down to me. For a short time I found myself teary….why didn’t I get out of the house all summer and fall, why didn’t I ask my dad more questions, why didn’t I this and that!

Until I realized I just didn’t. The past is the past and I did exactly what felt right to me in the past. This is now and I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing right now. Each time I embrace the right now and let go of the shoulda, I find peace. This is also one of the shouldas that followed…why don’t I do “this” all the time? Because its just not what is right for me in that “all the time narrative” that I like to have preprinted for my life. Right now is right now.

I came back and jotted this haiku that had formed somewhere in my soul!

Guided by the light

I’m back on the road again

Embracing the light

Namaste

What is mine to do……

I put my right foot in, right foot out but it took me awhile to turn my thinking around this morning. I did not watch back to back election coverage last night….in fact I watched an old goodie “As time Goes By” on Britbox. I wondered if I was the only one chuckling through the hours while fear and uncertainty was overwhelming the nation. THEN I reasoned with myself that I should just check Twitter before I went to sleep just so I would know.

Know what?

Know what we have come to expect. A multitude of talking heads just talking and spewing like a grade school play ground….he said this, she said that….here’s what’s going to happen…no it is not. Nothing accomplished in my decision other than I was able to align myself with fear of the unknown and start down that well worn path of OMG how will we live through this if the right character isn’t leading our government.

What is mine to do? Where I see myself right now is living in the moment. This moment with a cat on my lap, drinking my coffee with the sunlight shining through the East window blinding me. Right this moment in my life am I ok? Not my thoughts and fears about the next moment and not my memories of the past…right this moment

Letting my emotions run wild with fear and anger over something I have no way of knowing or changing the outcome is useless. Right here and right now I must just experience this present moment knowing that the future moments will be lived and experienced as everything changes with each new breath.

Namaste