Surfacing With Pearls

As a high-energy, firstborn, Capricorn, first-generation American with that immigrant mentality of working hard and growing up with a solid dose of the good ol’ Protestant work ethic, I have struggled with shifting from Doing to Being. To allowing things to take their natural course of fruition instead of feeling like I need to work harder to make things happen.

There are so many metaphors out there of how we destroy the very thing we are trying to grow by forcing it. For example,
the metaphor of blowing on the butterfly’s wings as it’s emerging from the chrysalis and killing it in the process.
Or, as is evident in one of my friends who has her own business. She has been wondering why she’s not getting more traction when she works six days a week, 18 hours a day. It’s clear to everyone around her that if she just relaxed a bit, she’d get better results, but she just keeps pushing on.
Years ago, when I was a parent educator, we talked about how it was important not to give something for your child to fight against, to push against. Allowing things to unfold as they naturally will has more power, time and again.

So, then I arrived at a crossroads in my life’s work, wondering, where is this going to take me? My knee-jerk response was to quick, do something!! But I was not so easily tricked this time! Instead of rushing off to “make something,” I stopped to listen. I went inward and did all those super-ninja spiritual and personal development tricks I teach all the time. I meditated, journaled, and relaxed into a season of quiet where I listened deeply.

There were times I felt lost in that Quiet, when I thought, “What the hell am I doing?” But gently, I would turn like the tide and rest in knowing I was just where I was supposed to be.

The one thing I did was stick like Gorilla Glue to my spiritual practices. I did not get out of bed before I did my affirmations, read my books, meditated, and journaled. And, I did not touch my phone or computer before I finished all of the above. I felt like I just needed to be on my side, like a dear friend would be. Cheering for me, consistently doing those little things that mean so much. When I felt scared or down, I would listen to or read inspirational material that I knew would get me back on track. You can’t will yourself to be positive. “I’m going to be happy dammit!” It has to be an inside job.

I listened to music that was positive, spent time outside, wrote lists of what I was grateful for. Anything I could get my hands on to keep me joyful.

And when I would feel the constriction of wory, like the metaphor for when we are meditating and we get Monkey-Brain, we are instructed to allow those thoughts to pass by as if we are on the river bank watching the occasional boat move by. “Goodbye thought, thanks for passing through.”

I knew my positive outlook, my trusting that it will all work out for the best, was what was going to be my path to the breakthrough.

This called for a level of trust deeper than what I have beckoned to before. During this season of rest and rejuvenation, I surfaced with pearls.

I came to understand my worthiness at a whole new level and an ability to feel secure in it. If I am worthy to give to others, and they are worthy and enjoy receiving from me, it is a short step to me being worthy. I could make that step.

I came to a new understanding of vulnerability and that I don’t need to feel vulnerable unless I am giving my power away to someone. Nope, not going to give away my power. I can be honest, loving, and wide open, but it’s fear that makes us vulnerable. I realized I could stay on the positive side of that equation: deep sharing without fear. This also calls me to a deeper level of honesty, with myself and others with whom I’m in relationship.

And, speaking of relationships, just like the de-clutter movement that says you should look at your possessions and ask if it brings you joy, well, I think that is a version of what we can do with our relationships too. Is this relationship bringing me joy? Now, I’m not saying we can be all joy all the time, but if there is a relationship that drains me and drags me down, or has no value, I have to ask myself, why? Why am I sticking around?

I learned to trust God/Spirit/the Universe at a new level (yet again! Geez!) And, as a recovering people-pleaser and Doer, I am learning what My Desires are and how to live into them. Not bad work! Of course, these issues have been bubbling below the surface for years, and like water’s affect on rocks, the layers are being swept away and the Truth is surfacing.

Photo and content © Copyright 2019. Blessed Journey Blog. All Rights Reserved.

Choosing Between Two Commitments

IMG_2915Have you ever had that experience where you are pulled in two different directions? Where you have agreed to, perhaps, volunteer to lead a day at the soup kitchen or you have a big work deadline, and your child’s team makes the playoffs and their game is at the same time.

A while back I had an experience that shifted my world view. I am someone who, once I make a commitment, I stick to it. If I tell you I’m going to do something, I will do it.

Over the years, I often felt the tension between a commitment to an entity outside of myself (work, community, charity) and my own or my loved ones’ needs. I realized that I would sometimes sacrifice my loved one or myself for my commitment to another entity.

Through the years, I became more aware of this disconnect. I worked to have fewer commitments, to have less on the calendar, to allow for more empty space.

The big shift happened one time when my daughter was visiting me. We were supposed to have some friends over one evening. My daughter came to me that afternoon. She was really burned out and needed some down time. She just didn’t have the energy to be social.

In the old days, I would never have cancelled the dinner plans. I would have wanted us to muscle on and put on a brave face. “We wouldn’t want to offend our friends.”

But, this time, I asked myself, what was most important? What was the goal here? It became perfectly clear. I called the friends and cancelled.

WOW! That was a first!

The reward was my daughter felt heard. We both relaxed and had a lovely low-key evening on the patio, talking for hours. The evening was a gift.

This was a lesson for me. The world did not shatter or fall apart. I was not deemed a “bad” person. And both my daughter and I felt tended to and fed.

Instead, I learned to stay focused on what was truly most important. Sometimes it’s not clear and there are ramifications for our actions. But asking the question, “What is most important?” helps guide the ship.

Photo and content © Copyright 2018. Blessed Journey Blog. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

One Thing At A Time

ant

“Just focus on one thing at a time. The data clearly shows that we can’t multitask and do things well. Just do one thing and do it well.”

Lordy, I’ve been telling my clients this for years. Heck, I’ve been telling myself this for years! And it is such strong, beneficial advice. And it’s true that we can’t multitask without losing like 37% of our brain’s bandwidth! (According to the American Psychological Association) No wonder we feel scattered!

But how do we do this?

I recently had those tiny little ants crop up in my house. Again.

This is not the first time they have appeared, so I wondered to myself, what is the Universe trying to get me to pay attention to? What do ants make me think of?

Well, they are busy. They are super busy, but each one has one duty and that’s why they are so effective! For instance, the queen does one thing: lay eggs. That’s it. She is not foraging for food or anything else. The survival of the colony depends on her doing her one thing.

But, as a human, I often struggle with the how. How do I tend to the different aspects of life that I want to nourish?

There’s the physical part: Am I getting my walk or hike in today? Do I have healthy, yummy food in the house to eat? Have I gone food shopping for that food?

There’s the spiritual aspect: Am I meditating? Am I feeding and being fed by my spiritual community? Am I going to Meetng? Am I involved in the life of the Meeting?

There’s the social part: Am I tending to my friendships that feed me? Am I involved in the life of my community and building it?

You get the point. There are so many facets to a healthy life that need tending. How does one balance them all? If one is out of whack, they all are. If I am working out like crazy and eating great food, but I am not in a job where I feel valued, that is going to affect me in all the other areas.

So how do we balance it all out?

I am no expert, but I suspect at least part of the answer is time, space, and presence.

To not fill my schedule so full that I am constantly chasing time, so there is space in my calendar to just be and to allow myself to hear that still, small voice from within that is always guiding me. And, in doing one thing at a time, I can be fully present to it and do that one thing well.

Thank you little ants, for the reminder that a mountain can only be climbed one step at a time. And, the call to relish that step, and the next one, and the next is what life is about.

Photo and content © Copyright 2018. Blessed Journey Blog. All Rights Reserved.