We all have those experiences with another human that have hurt our feelings, made us feel angry, royally pissed off, sad, knocked off center, unappreciated, embarrassed. For some of us, it fed our belief that we aren’t good enough, smart enough, skinny enough….We attached an emotion to that experience and added dislike, hate, anger, irritation to our list of how we feel about someone….or physical feelings of nausea, headache, stomach pain as a result of the emotional pain we felt.
We start when we are young…I remember being on an elementary school field trip to the Science Center in the 60’s. I was wearing a green and yellow cotton straight dress with a matching belt…a girl in my class told me she didn’t like the color and hated the belt. From that moment on I watched my reflection in the windows we passed and realized in my adolescent mind that she didn’t like the belt because in the window reflection, it made me “look fat”. I took the belt off and after that day refused to wear the dress again. It began a life long habit of body shaming myself and being judgmental of others because I had been emotionally injured in 5th grade.
At this point and age, I realize that I’ve accumulated a lot of emotional garbage and damage and each time I react by saying something hurtful, thinking judgmental thoughts or by being unkind, I’m only really just reliving the experience I had in elementary school when someone didn’t like the belt on my green and yellow dress. I’ve found that these judgmental thoughts, the jealous comments, the unkind words that come out of my mouth are just a result of a story I tell myself about something that happened in my past that I relive again and again….not the actual event but how that event made me feel. I know that by shutting down that non-stop voice narrating my life from behind the scenes, I am a nicer, kinder more loving person.
Hanging at eye level out my kitchen window is this shriveled leaf still attached to its branch. It has survived several windy autumn days, thunderstorms, gentle rain, sleet and a significant snow storm and still remains today while, again, snow flakes fall all around.
Occasionally it will flutter with a breeze but continues to hang secure to its branch refusing to give up…its not time for it to release and softly drift to the ground to join the other leaves. It is a quiet reminder for me about the simplicity of life in nature…
A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine announced that he was taking off for Florida for a few weeks. I had 3 thoughts.
- He is an integral part of a spirit book class I attend on Thursdays and I thought…bummer.
- Wow that sounds really fun….this will be the second winter that thoughts of escaping the cold will be foiled because of things happening in my life. O’ POOR ME
- Why would he want to go in January…why not wait until February…February always sucks!
Today as I sit here watching the snow fall over already ice covered streets I had an “ah ha” moment.
My threefold thought process didn’t occur because of Randy’s trip to Florida in January. It occurred because it triggered me to past life disappointments that were very real, emotions were attached to these disappointments and in all likelihood I had wallowed in them.
- I will miss his input in group was a genuine feeling.
- These “things” holding me back from taking off for a week are all in my mind and are only based in fear aka I shouldn’t, I couldn’t, what would, what if.
He should go in February is nothing but my ego jumping in saying that Randy is wrong and I am right….plain and simple….February is the month to escape…my rules
So today on Randy’s birthday that he is spending walking barefoot on a beach in Florida, I’m watching the snow fall, I have an opportunity to spend a day with myself reading, crafting, crocheting and realizing right here, right now that I am content and I am thankful because I am loved and I am blessed!
Until next time….
I find my living in the moment mind amongst the rubble of life by simply realizing what is happening right now…at this moment full stop. Using this mind certainly does not happen easily in our instant gratification world. Simply, it is the mind that must be used to heal the angst and the pain we allow to control our lives every second of the day.
Here’s the on-line instruction manual with directions for how to use this peaceful other mind: ask yourself what is happening right now…right this moment! Interpreted….If I’m not thinking and living the past while constantly being triggered to react to present moments by how I felt when…what someone said …. what someone did TO me… how I felt about the last conversation or the last person I encountered. Or the future…what I have to do today while at work…the stress of grocery shopping or meal preparation … how am I going to lose weight…OMG I have to do this or that. Nope…right now in this moment. In this once in a lifetime present moment, if the mental chatter stopped, if the stories we tell ourselves stopped, right now WITHOUT all of the fears we carry…with this breath I’m breathing is everything ok? Quite frankly, I am seldom able to live here in this moment all day long because, of course, I have figured out an excuse..I have 60 plus years of habitual thinking and over thinking to stop and like everyone else, I have that persistent, incessant talker sitting on my shoulder distracting me.
But what I have found is once I find the discipline to quiet my mind, I realize that my anxiety, my angst, my fears are not from things happening in the present. They are the thoughts of my past or fears of my perceived future. There is absolutely nothing I can do about the past…it’s done and gone unless I keep my version of it alive in my mind…and the future hasn’t happen…I really have no control of the future in spite of my obsessive thinking that I can control it.
A short exercise to bring my mind to a screeching halt is to STOP! Take 3 deep breaths and say to myself….3 things I see right now, 3 things I hear right now and reach out and touch three things I can feel right now. If I practice this every time I am aware of anxiety, irritation, dislike or fear, soon I realize that what is going on right this minute is just fine…is peaceful and this is where I’m going to live….but just like having a push ups goal, it takes practice.
The difference in the thought process and the decisions I make in my life are based solely on which brain I’m using. Oh….and I certainly don’t speak from a tone of arrogance here…I don’t share this because I always listen to the right brain…but I’m speaking from hours and hours of study….I eventually figure it out and know the difference in which brain I’m thinking WITH. Kind of comes down to my “knowing” brain just knows that I ended that last sentence with a preposition. As soon as I typed it, I knew it was going to be the last word in the sentence and I knew that grammatically there was “someone” out there who learned the old school rigid rules about prepositions and would think…she just ended that sentence in a preposition “tsk”.
….and then she/he might really examine my other sentences like…OMG she just started that sentence with and…then…same person might go back to a time in school when they learned about past participles or prepositions or to spelling tests and perhaps compare themselves to a sibling who could do difficult math in their head or remember when they used to get in trouble for day dreaming and by the time that whole thought process was over, this person felt like a total failure….all over a preposition trigger. This person who first noticed the idiot woman’s blog that ends her sentences in a preposition just triggered a lengthy egoic or “personal” mind process that left them feeling inferior or insecure and in all probability introduced a mindset of being snippy with someone..sent them to the kitchen to eat their insecurity away or had them ordering something on Amazon to make themselves feel better.
This is just one of the minds we think with. The mind of fear. After many years of driving accident free, one traffic accident-fender bender might have you afraid to drive on the interstate. Having a cancer diagnosis upon returning from a long trip out of the country might have you afraid to travel again, an early life of worry about not having money to feed the kids might have you fearing poverty even with a bank or mattress full of money. The egoic mind. The mind that you fear with, compare yourself to others with, feel insecure with…the mind that provides a free-of-charge little voice on your shoulder that chatters incessantly through out your day telling you that you are not ok.
There is another mind…
For the last couple of years, I’ve immersed myself in the study of learning to live in the moment. The past is done. There is nothing that can change it…and the past we recall is our illusion of events and interestingly, every time we try to bring the past back in our thoughts, its probably not the same memory from the last time we thought about it. Regardless…it is the past. It is not who we are or what we are right this moment. The future we agonize over and plan down to the last detail is also an illusion. I’m not referring to the weekly calendar or event future, I’m speaking of the worry and planning of our lives such as what happens if I run out of money, what happens if I get sick, What happens if we lose the house, what happens if all the chickens die…FEAR OF THE FUTURE…These thoughts are just a destructive cycle in our thinking that keep us from living right now.
How many times do we miss what is going on in the pleasant, present moment because we are focused on something from our past or fear of what might happen in the future (usually won’t happen in the future). I’m learning to recognize when I have these life robbing thoughts. I recognize when I’m starting to feel anxiety about “something” and to just STOP and get off that thought train. What are 3 things I see right now, 3 things I hear right now, 3 things I can physically feel right now. This exercise which might take 10 seconds will bring me back to where I am right here and right now.
My anxiety, morbid thinking, fear of the unknown and anger about the past is becoming less likely to ruin my day.
This has been a “lesson” I wanted to share today because I woke up with some fear based thinking and writing it down always helps me to retain the information!
Until next time…..
In my spiritual journey, I find there are so many topics, themes, opinions, beliefs that are universal among new thought books/authors, teachers and gurus. As I have drilled down on these topics, I have found that this stuff makes total sense as opposed to the fundamental beliefs of the preachers, teachers, opinionated male dominant hierarchy teachings that have been used to control the multitudes for thousands of years. The bottom line is that we…as in everything on this planet…are connected. Each human being is connected as one and is reliant on all of nature to keep the balance. Everything is connected.
All of our angst, feelings of superiority, insecurity and hate…everything that isn’t love…is fear. And fear comes from that little voice in our head that is constantly talking to us…we can call that little voice…the ego. All of our fear thoughts originate from stories we tell ourselves. I’m ugly, I don’t fit in because I have a big nose, I don’t like someone because they looked at me a certain way…on and on and on. These stories we tell ourselves are not the result of what someone has DONE to us but actually is that “something” buried deep within us. So we revolt. Often, those things about ourselves that we recognize and “don’t like” are exactly the behaviors in someone else that causes us to be locked and loaded when triggered into an angry response and behavior. A simple example…the friend who thinks they will be safe from everything by having rules for everything….built in protection…if I can control it with rules, it can’t hurt me. If this friends behavior crosses your invisible line of acceptance of your rules and he/she irritates you, is it because you have very fixed rules for the perception of safety and you are triggered. The friend that doesn’t wear makeup….do you judge her because you are insecure about the way you look and never leave the house unless embellished? Is she wrong or do you need to examine the insecurity within yourself that she triggers? In general we judge or dislike someone who brings out the insecurities we are hiding.
The illusion of the need to protect ourselves comes from a long history of experiences in our life that may have hurt our feelings, damage us physically/mentally and made us feel unsafe or not good enough. We attached emotion to those “things” and initiated protection alerts for our hearts. It all seems so complicated but is actually very simple. If it is not love based, it is fear based and we have the capacity to change the way we think.
I had one of those moments this morning…I liken it to a sparkling dust of wisdom falling from the sky and gently landing on my shoulder. It’s those ah ha moments that gently ring your bell of recognition and it feels like….like….a thunder shirt for a dog. It was just ANOTHER small glimpse of a moment that I’ve been able to see through the peep hole of who I am.
Quite a while ago I seized on the Maya Angelou quote, At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, but they will remember how you made them feel.
Jeff Foster, in the book Deepest Acceptance touched on removing the story you have told yourself about difficult people in your life and see them without your story, without your pain or whatever emotion you have attached to them. See them new and fresh…see them just as they are. I immediately looked in the corner and saw my memory image of my mother as just a person I did not know. I really looked at her…I understood the lesson.
…..and then this morning the little poof of sparkle. Yes, in fact, we can love everyone as human beings…as ourselves….even those folks that make themselves hard to love by their behavior…..I have to remove the story I tell myself about them…good or bad….by knowing how they made me feel. It is often nearly impossible to forget the event, to forget what they said, to forget how they literally crumbled your heart or your self esteem. The reason is the emotion I attached to them how they made me feel. I may not remember the story just right…I may not remember exactly what was said…I may not even remember why I can’t stand them…but I’m always attached to them by emotion…by the way they made me feels. Releasing the emotion may not be easy, but realizing that this is my story, my emotion, my path gives me ownership. I am seriously tired of all of the angst balled up in my chest because of my perceptions of past transgressions but I have the choice to close the door and not rent space to them in my head from this moment on.
Until next time….
Sometimes I feel like I’m on a horse with no reins. Mentally that is…it really isn’t possible for me to board a horse, get on a horse, mount a horse? The last time I threw my leg over a horse on a carousel at the carousel museum in Leavenworth, KS, I had that moment of terror….while actively mounting the fake horse….what if I can’t get on….but much, much worse…what if I can’t get off.
I am not a riding a horse person….flying across the meadow on a horse with no name seems like it would be terrifying …… although…it might be exactly what I need to do if:
My thoughts today as I realize mom has now been gone from this life for 10 years. There are just ashes left of the past I’ve left behind. It’s all happening right now. Everything else is an illusion…..just like the illusion of the future where I see myself riding a horse with no reins across the meadow. Just like control of the horse, I only have the illusion of control in my life.
Until next time….
- I could give up control physically and in my mind not try to control the outcome….ie. not worry about who will clean up the blood and carry me over the mountains to a hospital.
- Breath into my feelings of fear and realize that the outcome is only a scenario I’m playing out in my head based on all of the fear based thinking that has gone before as I’ve tried to prepare myself for every eventuality rather than just relaxing and being!
- Allow someone to help me rather than faking strong and overly competent as I’ve always done in the past. Residue from childhood of not having confidence that there were “people” to take care of me rather than me having to take care of them. *cough mother.
Welcome to my therapy session…With the exception of the boys-grand babies, every birthday that comes and goes, I feel a little lost….not because of everyone being a year older but birthday celebrations created by my mother are missing! I wish I could ask her why birthdays and holiday celebrations were so important to her and why she knocked herself out making everything special. Always a meal of favorite foods, a birthday cake and presents. When it came to him and the girls, I always felt she was stacking more work on me because I had to think and let her know, for each birthday, what I thought they would want the most! I, now, understand what that “burden” represented to me in our dysfunctional relationship! Was this the way she showed us love or was she playing out through us what she missed out on as a child because her mother died when she was still a child? As the matriarch of our family, have I dropped the ball? After my mother died and my girls moved around, I stopped feeling the need to make everyone’s birthday a national family holiday….does anyone else miss it? This is making me tear up and that’s how I know I must recognize the memories for what they are which is a destructive thought pattern of the past lubed up with feelings and emotions that are in the past. And the only reason they are bothering me today is because I’m not centered and I’m allowing these thoughts and emotions to appear as a reality now instead of living right here, right now…
I’m so thankful to my mentors….and it takes a chorus of them….to teach me….or perhaps learn with me…how to live our best life today…. This post all happened because I wished the husband Happy Birthday this morning! No celebration today because our Des Moines kids drove down yesterday to surprise him and we all did dinner together at his restaurant choice. It was fun! There was love! In my heart I realize that’s all that is important!
Until next time….