October 23, 2012
Behold the gift of silence. It marks the spaces between our thoughts. It cleans the edges of our minds. It gives us room to breathe.
Martin Heidegger once said: “We make space inside ourselves so being can speak.”
But do we really? Many people struggle with silence, as if it is the absence of something, like air or water or food to eat. But silence is a necessary, yet sorely lacking part of our day. When we enter the silence, we are greeted with our inner core. For many, it is a sad sight to see. Ruins formed by neglect float on the inside. It is painful to observe how poorly fed our true selves have become.
For years you may have had the habit of filling your time with distraction, not wanting to look inside yourself for what will truly make you happy. Then one day your body, the emissary of all thought, finally strikes you down with an illness or malaise. You are forced to notice something is not right. It affects everything about you. Your body knows.
Or perhaps you have forged on as a result of your circumstances. You held on to a belief system so tightly, even as it strapped you into a straightjacket of your own making. You knew something wasn’t right, but you held on for dear life to the only thing you were taught was true.
Only, it turns out, it wasn’t.
Then you receive a wake-up call, as we all do, to what is really going on inside your soul. It cries out for the nourishment it needs so badly. Some of us have pretty strong pain points. We can go on for years without paying attention to the deep-seated pain caused by ignoring our truest reality. Others more attuned to themselves feel it much more quickly and take action right away.
Wherever you are on your journey, know that this is your life. There are no mistakes, just experiences that change your direction. We each have a personal bank account of time. The choice is ours as to how we spend it.
Bathe in the silence today. It will speak louder than any words you can tell yourself.
October 20, 2012
Going Slow means saying no.
But not always.
When we say “no” to certain opportunities, we are saying “yes” to the possibility of others. We are creating space for what is meant to come into our lives. But many of us fear that space, that moment of nothingness, that void in our hearts and souls that we feel compelled to fill with something, anything. Oftentimes we fill it with noise ~ whether it’s the TV, the radio or our own chatter.
Taking time to be quiet will give you the strength to get to “yes”.
The principles of “yes” do not mean you affirm everything everyone wants from you. Nor does it mean you are a yes man to anyone. It means you are standing firm in your power and in your belief in yourself. You are saying “yes” to the life you want to lead.
As I have often said, when we say “no” to someone or something, we are actually saying “yes” to ourselves. The first tenet in the principles of “yes” is to be clear about what is important to you.
- Name five things that have a priority in your life.
- List an action for each one that you can undertake to support that belief.
- If you can’t think of an action, reevaluate your list of priorities. Are you walking your talk or just paying lip service to those things? You may find you have entirely different priorities than you realized. Knowing this will help you get back into alignment with “yes”.
The second tenet of “yes” is to understand that even when we say “yes” to something, it may not turn out as we had planned. Maybe we say “yes” to a project that we think will be fulfilling, only to discover it wasn’t at all what it seemed. You may feel disappointed that things turned out that way, but in saying “yes,” you learned exactly what you needed to learn at that time. Trust that saying “yes” with conviction will lead you down the path you need to take, even if that path seems scary.
The third tenet of “yes” requires that you listen deeply to what you are affirming. Are you saying “yes” to the actual experience or are you saying “yes” to that pretty picture in your mind, painted with wild expectations? This tenet is based on the high involvement/low attachment idea. You are highly engaged in what you are doing without expectation that it will turn out at all.
Pretty Zen, huh?
The final tenet of “yes” is the contagion factor. When you smile out into the world with an aura of “yes”, others will notice and want to know where you got it. Glowing from the inside out, you can share your “yes” story with them.
Sharing your “yes” moments with others will make the world a better place. It will encourage them to do the same for themselves. Can you imagine a world in which we all dance to the rhythm of our personal “yes”? Oh, yeeeeeesssss!
October 19, 2012
It never ceases to amaze me how selective our memories can be. My best friend remembers things from our school days that I can’t even conjure up in a dream. I have no recollection whatsoever of some experiences, while she can’t remember other things I do. I am not certain whether it was our adolescent minds, not yet fully developed, that allowed for such lapses in our memories or if we are simply wiser today and carefully choose what to remember.
We place blinders on to filter information. Our world would otherwise be too overwhelming if we were to take in every nuance in our surroundings. But lifting the blinders, if only a little, would also widen our lens and our view of things.
They say we tend to get more narrow-minded as we get older. Our horizon shrinks, our attention span shortens. But what if we were committed to fully embrace every aspect of a moment as it is laid out in front of us instead of putting it through our translation machine of meaning-making nonsense? What if we were to take on the entirety of the experience, such as eating an ice cream cone on a sunny day, instead of checking our smartphone while we lick away at it? Would we have a different memory of it then?
There aren’t many things we do with a singular focus, except perhaps sleeping. Even then, our subconscious mind is active, feeding us dreams and processing data in its memory bank of time.
Dreams can be helpful for memory recall. I recently had a dream about an actual car accident I had ten years ago. In my dream, the car swerved toward another car. All I could think in my dreaming mind was :”This is it.” I had a similar thought in real life as the car turned 180 degrees one way, then bounced back in the other direction, but luckily there were no cars in sight. In my dream, I was ready to take on death with a singular beat. It was a moment of full acceptance of the experience.
In our dreams we are capable of doing things we can’t do in real life, such as fly. But the symbolic meaning behind the dreams, such as the one I had, can tell us a lot about what we are really thinking.
Pay attention to your dreams for they are the land mine of our memories. If you can’t remember your dreams, go to bed at night telling yourself you will remember at least one aspect of the next dream you have. As you wake up, write it down right away. After a time, you might start to be able to remember more. You might also start to see patterns.
In your waking moments, absorb the entirety of one experience today. It might not help you remember your dreams any better, but it will help you remember the life you lead.
October 14, 2012
If I were a bird, I would slice the mist with my wings just to see what it felt like. On a morning like this one, it must be nice to be a bird. Birds don’t need to physically see where they are headed. They already know.
Even without wings, we can learn to fly if we have an inner vision. Much like our avian friends, we must learn to rely on our inner navigation system to move about the mist when things aren’t clearly laid out in front of us. The more we tune into our internal compass, the stronger our connection to that purpose becomes and the higher we can go. No amount of mind talk will get you to where you are meant to be. It is the heart and its innate wisdom that carries your secret map.
While life is indeed a mystery, we can more acutely interpret our experiences when attuned to the voice within. At first in a whisper, the voice will grow in strength when you feed it what it needs. It takes courage, trust, patience and love to do so.
I can promise you this: That voice will guide you, especially when you are in a fog. When you see with your heart, the beauty of your life is revealed.
Are you listening?
October 13, 2012
That last statement of the pitch was what really hit home. As a long-time blogger, I receive countless pitches from PR folks about their various products, causes and ideas. It is rare that I respond to one, mainly because a good story is really hard to find amongst the massive onslaught of commercialized messages.
But this one is a story worth telling.
It is a fact that when women are healthier, societies overall are healthier.
Global health advocate and former model Christy Turlington Burns is participating in the ING Marathon on November 4 along with Dexter’s Jennifer Carpenter, World Renowned Tattoo Artist Scott Campbell, The Smile Co-Owner Carlos Quirarte, Oiselle Founder/CEO Sally Bergesen and 45 other runners, to raise money and awareness for her non-profit organization, Every Mother Counts (EMC). To expand the reach of this effort, Every Mother Counts is calling on supporters everywhere to create their own team, and participate in a 5K run/walk in their town on November 4 while the EMC team hits the pavement in New York City.
Did you know that 5k is less than the average distance a pregnant woman in the developing world must travel to receive the basic health care she needs to deliver her baby?
Let’s face it. 5K is simply too far to walk for a woman who is 9 months pregnant, in labor, and has no access to transportation. By walking or running in communities across the country, Every Mother Counts aims to raise awareness of this simple but devastating barrier and empower people everywhere to get involved in helping women to overcome it.
How to join: It is as simple as grabbing a couple of friends and going for a 5K run/walk during the official ING New York City Marathon. Make a sign, tell friends on social media about your efforts. Then share your photos and stories with Every Mother Counts on our facebook page or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three additional ways to help support the un-official run:
1. Purchase the official Every Mother Counts marathon team shirt for your team and all proceeds will go to EMC. This year, team EMC will be outfitted by Oiselle, a growing women’s apparel company dedicated to female runners and EMC’s official athletic apparel sponsor. You can purchase team jerseys from the “EMC Collection,” on oiselle.com, and 40% of the proceeds will go to Every Mother Counts.
2. Join our Team by setting up your own CrowdRise page here and have friends and family sponsor your run by making donations through CrowdRise. All proceeds will go to EMC.
3. Please use Charity Miles, a free app that enables you to earn 25¢ per mile for Every Mother Counts, whenever you walk or run. It’s a free, easy way to raise both money and awareness for Every Mother Counts. And you can use it any time you walk or run— even if you’re not doing a full 5K. Please download the app to your iPhone or Android today. Every Mile Counts!
I’ve downloaded the app, which is based on your GPS so it is best to use outside (and not indoors where I tried to log exactly how much distance I run up and down the stairs all day).
You win through exercise. Pregnant women win through the help they need.
Let’s run/walk so others don’t have to.
October 12, 2012
It was not one of my finer moments. Eyeing the soft, dry grass, I knew it was a now-or-never moment to whip out the lawn mower for the final cut of the season.
In between phone calls, I raced around the house, collecting the extension cord and my tennis shoes for a quick jaunt around the yard with our electric mower. I read somewhere that grass clippings act as a natural fertilizer so I opted to mow without the clipping basket, making the mowing experience a tad louder and messier.
That’s when my neighbor decided to say hello through the hedge. In my breathlessness, I waved her off, although I hadn’t seen her all summer.
“Things to do!” I shouted over the mower’s drone.
“That’s right,” she said flatly. “You never have time.”
How could this be? Did I really give my retired neighbor the feeling I never have time for a chat over the fence? Did she feel slighted because I wouldn’t turn off my mower and have a gab in the light of the setting sun?
Maybe she heard the ticking of the clock in my cranium. I was busy and gave her the feeling she wasn’t important.
Back at the task, I sloppily pushed the mower around for a few minutes until our tiny lawn had been slaughtered into a diminutive version of itself.
As I flew back into the house, I caught the extension cord on the pedestal where my Buddha statue placidly rests. He tumbled to the ground, leaving a dent in the wood floor and shattering his right knee.
It was a sign that I needed to slow down. Now.
In that moment, I knew what I had to do. I headed back outside and called out to my neighbor.
“Where have you been, my friend?” I asked her calmly. She smiled. A warm exchange ensued. She suddenly felt heard, important, loved. It made me smile from the inside out.
I’m sorry, Buddha, for shattering your knee in the process. But since my mom saw the Dalai Lama live last night, I hope you’ll forgive me.
It’s a lesson I hope I’ve learned for the last time.
October 10, 2012
Nature, in all its beauty, waves a last goodbye before winter. As a harbinger of the coming cold, it bursts with color one last time. A sweet, yet sorrowful moment of another season departing. But as with everything, the seasons go full-circle.
What is dawn without the night? What is warmth without the cold? What is connection without moments of disconnection?
Nothing is ever lost. It merely transforms. As you enter a new phase in your life, remember there is a reason for every season. Beauty in all things, my friends.