The Leaf

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…

namaste

The instruction manual for the other mind

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.

namaste

Get off that anxiety train

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…..

Or I’m blinded by the steam escaping from my head

I started off my Morning Pages arguing the woulda, shoulda, coulda theory of my life. I think I’m still following “someone” else’s rules…rules that have a home in my ego….rules that I haven’t seen to fit to challenge with the board of directors in my brain!

Today is not the first day I’ve argued that I am very content sitting on the deck, drinking my coffee, plotting death to the cicadas having the intention that I will do nothing today other than read and make notes (bulletpoint notes) about How do I go about killing cicadas).

VS

OMG someday I will be 80 (insert number) and I won’t be able to get around as well and I will regret the decision I made on August 9 2019 at 0900 to just do nothing…what is wrong with me that I don’t want to do anything…everyone else is out there living productive lives and here I sit on my deck doing nothing!

There is a heepa lotta attachment here to shoulda! Then…I thought….I read a lot of books and attend classes each week on changing my thinking….quieting ego thinking and making decisions through the divine spirit in me….keeping my vibrations high, the value of meditating….and I can’t make peace with myself to be content right now…just being in the moment? Right here….right now!

I may just be overthinking…spending too much time outside my head and letting my ego cause me to be off center and causing the energy I’m using on something that doesn’t even deserve a conversation blind me by the steam this useless activity is creating.

Until next time….

The thing about Birthdays

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….

So..after all these years I’m not lonely?

That needle in a haystack…that feeling of loneliness that is like a thread with no knot that pulls through the eye of the needle?

I can’t really say I never recognized the loneliness…I know it has always been there but I’ve always given it a different name and excuse…but today, TODAY I had one of those revelations that will change me.

As an only child with older parents and with the only first cousins living 2 1\2 hours away with the youngest first cousin being 11 years my senior, I didn’t have the Facebook shared idyllic family….about siblings and cousins…but I had the absolute best neighborhood to grow up in. While so many of those neighborhood friends had siblings to share the disappointment of the street lights coming on in the summer signaling time to call it a day, for the most part I went in the house alone. But because I had Lennie (whose siblings were older and out of the house) and other neighbor kids my age, I didn’t really feel I was missing anything. The first holiday that I remembered I was a lonely, only child was when my bff roommate went camping on the 4th of July in the late 70s and I didn’t have the energy or the confidence to find something to do without her. I felt like everyone else had a fallback…there was always a sibling to glob onto.

I surrounded myself with friends who became family during my adult years. I married into a large family that I didn’t fit into when I thought a large family would be the answer to my loneliness! But, I always enjoyed deep and fulfilling friendships….unlike many of my sibling rich friends who are recovering from their own painful broken relationships with family.

It didn’t hit me until this morning that the silent grudge I held against my parents for not providing me with a perfect sibling nor the loneliness that I was positive I alone owned was all in my head…ego..totally controlled by what I THOUGHT was missing because I made it a thing! Had this life role I’m living played out differently, would I still feel lonely if I had blood siblings rather than my chosen friends who became family? I’m going to post this blog and then take a moment to breath into the reality that I am loved, I am exactly what I am supposed to be in this moment..because this is all there is…right here and right now.

Until next time….

Tripping over the stones

Where I am in my life, tripping over things is okay….the best way I can explain being okay with tripping is it doesn’t hurt as much as falling down or falling over the cliff. I have been on a path of self discovery for many years….mainly because I didn’t like to spend time with myself and my negative thoughts and I knew there was something I didn’t understand about life and living…..I knew that an inner peace was achievable and the journey was not going to be easy. I guess what I didn’t really realize that I would have to take this journey one step at a time rather than trudging up the hill in an hour or a day. It started when I was about 25 and I’m closing in on 62 and every single day I learn a new way of thinking, a new way of being….a new way to live life. It’s like the picture slide projector from the 60s…we would have our pictures developed into little squares with cardboard surround and we would put those in a Kodak projector shining on a white wall or screen and one by one we would view these pictures with a click of a button.

Sometimes a very slow process because if you clicked too fast, the machine would jam. Sometimes we would linger on a certain picture in order to remark about it, reminisce about a memory associated with it or attempt to figure out exactly why we took the picture.

We all start on the road from a different intersection and we meet others at different Crossroads. Sometimes we choose to walk along with them other times we choose to continue alone…..but the bottom line is we must keep moving…up that hill even if we fall down and if we go over the cliff?? Well, it’s a long way back up to where we were but with skinned knees and injured pride, we will know what to watch for as we continue.

Until next time….

The journey of self discovery…

My strong suit is not in making decisions.  Let me back up…30 years as a 911 dispatcher forced me to make split second 911 decisions…so it isn’t that.  I can make decisions on the spot with little forethought or available information…decisions that must be made NOW.  I, most generally, have no problem making buying decisions but frequently I’m guilted with buyers remorse.  But ask me to make a decision about other life questions like where I want to eat dinner and I teeter totter.

So, last week when I sent text messages to a few friends to tell them I was thinking about a trip back to Des Moines and could we get together, I thought to myself…where did that come from.  One minute I was watching TV and the next minute I was texting…no forethought and no regret.  The next few days were full of excitement and anticipation…no second thoughts, no worry, no concern about leaving him at home alone for 4 days.  I was going!

The journey was just what I needed for my soul.  I felt cleansed.  I lined up my schedule, packed my bags, backed out of the driveway and found myself in the moment, depending on myself, clearing my head and taking a huge leap into the unknown.  I didn’t bog myself down with my typical should I Do this or should I do that.  I enjoyed me.  I let the trees and fields of nature and the bright blue sky frame my experience.  I sang at the top of my lungs, I drove the speed limit, I drank copious amounts of coffee.  With each friend visit I lived in the moment…I didn’t prepare…I relaxed….I listened and I talked.  I had a wonderful time with myself.  Another huge step in my journey to self discovery.

Living in the moment

I’m confident that the more I’m able to process the quietness of my soul, the easier it will be for me to shut it down and appreciate the individual moments.  Each time I realize I have too many thoughts deflecting peace of mind, the quicker I seem to be able to shut it down!  It happened this afternoon driving Detroit to Toledo.  I found myself peaking at natures beauty of the fall tree colors but was interrupted thinking about the weekend…planning..thinking about the return trip on Sunday and then I was able to stop!



No way could my camera pick up the beauty but my soul soaked it in.

We had dinner at a sweet little local Italian restaurant tonight with Corey, Tracy and Erin…missing our girl, Mary Beth!  It is going to be a wonderful weekend full of conversation and love!  I have chosen beautiful friends.

Until next time…..

I drank coffee through a paper towel

Not so many years ago, I woke up crabby every morning.  Okay…let me start again because I still do.

Not so many years ago, when the first thing went wrong in my day…wrong meaning not in line with my planned schedule of how I should feel or what I should do or what happens to me, I would have a more pessimistic attitude that – well that just figures…that is my life.  Encased in anxiety, hatred, self doubt and no particular self esteem I could grab ahold of…I went from minute to minute wondering what other crap I was going to have to endure before I could go to bed at night and wake up and start the sad, sad next day again.  I was always contemplating tomorrow…because tomorrow would always be better than today..and then of course I was disappointed yet again.    My hair cut didn’t make me more attractive, I failed at the plan to diet with my first slice of toast or 2 bowls of sugar cereal or cake from the night before.  Each day was a disappointment and if there was real joy…I knew I should feel it…but couldn’t.

I used to provide all kinds of lip service to anyone who would listen about how we have to live in the moment.  Now is now.  yesterday is yesterday and we have no idea what will happen tomorrow.  I believed it…but I didn’t live it.  Then as we prepared for my retirement, I knew in order to save myself..I had to make a clean break and start all over.  It was very scary, it is something I had never done before – just thinking of myself, it was emotional, it was labor intensive, did I mention it was exhilarating.  It was really May 6th 2013 when we bought a house in Missouri – and the next day my daughter gave birth to Jaxon that I started to live and I knew that I just needed to make it through another few months and then I would start to really live…I would be retired.

It’s true.  It happened.  It’s not for everyone.  But I had to put the past and the ghosts behind me and start afresh.

I changed my perspective…I live in the moment.  The kidney cancer diagnosis was a huge reminder that we have no idea what is going to happen tomorrow.  I’m still growing.  My daughter helps me fine tune what actually living in the moment is all about.  A cool breeze blowing over me can bring peace and help me relax.  I have choices now…I don’t live by other people’s rules and standards.  I have finally found peace…I feel that way but I don’t think I have truly found complete inner peace.  It is a process.  I know than when I truly find complete inner peace, it will be time to die.  Because my sole personal accomplishment will be met.  It’s a process.

oh…and about the paper towel in the coffee.  When I rinsed out my coffee vessel the other night, I stuck a paper towel inside, put the lid back on and turned it upside down to alert me that there was a paper towel wadded up inside.  Yesterday morning, I took the lid off and made my dark french roast Kuerig cup of coffee…it was deslish.  I was shocked last night when I rinsed out my coffee cup and out dropped a brown, coffee soaked paper towel…that’s all.  Just reminded me that insignificant things happen every day…things that might irritate us…the first thing in the morning that goes wrong does not have anything to do with what is going to happen for the rest of the day….thats what I have learned by striving to live in the moment.

Until next time….