A Child’s Temper Tantrum Doesn’t Throw Me Off Course Today

Meditation

Meditation was introduced to me by a former roommate who practiced it at the kitchen table while staring into a candle.  I walked in on him one day and interrupted him out of his “trance.”  “Oh, I’m sorry,” I declared as I put my groceries away.  “I didn’t mean to interrupt.”  He was not angry or annoyed with me.  We spoke a bit about the practice and I became curious.  That week I went online and discovered there was a Monday night sitting group, just downtown.  I decided to check it out.  During this time, I was searching for something more spiritually enriching and sustaining, but I did not know what that could be, so I was open to everything.

Upon entering the room, there was a place to remove my shoes, so I gladly took mine off and walked into a very quiet space where the lights were dim and people were already sitting in the lotus position with their eyes closed.  The room was small and appeared to be the nursery of the church.  Chairs were spread about, but most people were sitting on pillows.  The main person sat in the front of the room cross-legged and peaceful with a pillow beneath him, beads around his neck and a singing bowl before him.  I found my place quickly, grabbed a pillow and took the position.  The most interesting thing to me at the time, was how natural the lotus position appears.  Just seeing people sitting this way with slight smiles upon their faces, with their eyes closed in silence, seemed like the most natural thing I’d ever seen human being do.  I wondered why meditation was never practiced in my own religion.  This whole experience was the most sacred thing I’d ever walked into.  It was so incredibly still and it simply felt right.

There are many ways to meditate, and I walked into the room without a clue as to what I was supposed to do while I sat there.  This was a half hour sitting.  I crossed my legs, closed my eyes and laid my arms along my legs.  Within ten minutes my feet were falling asleep and my mind was a whirlwind of thoughts.  I wondered how long it was going to take me to be like those other people who sat completely still without fidgeting.  This was not as easy as it looked, but it still felt “right” and I continued going to that sitting.  Throughout the next few years, I went to Buddhist temples on Thursday evenings for sittings, and read about meditation practices.  I spent time sitting at beaches on the Bay, where I lived, each morning and eventually found myself sitting quietly at home, on buses and on BART more often than not.  My mind was slowing down, and even during meditation moments when it was busy, I learned to watch my thoughts rather than identify with them, or to get caught up into them.

In treatment, we meditated almost every evening and I really looked forward to that time of stillness.  It brought me into a centered space of simply being aware of what was happening for me.  If anger was part of my experience, I didn’t judge it.  Instead I would allow it to flow through me, or to stir within me.  Sometimes, like this morning, no emotions came up for me, but I found myself having a difficult time sitting still.  My body wants to do other things than sit there quietly.  My mind tells me that I should be writing, or outside running.  Without judgment of the inner stirring, I sit for twenty minutes at a time and simply get a glimpse into my own inner happenings.

Prayer is a practice I’ve been doing since I can remember.  Meditation is something I learned as a young adult.  Both are incredibly powerful practices.  During one practice, I am offering my own voice to my higher power.  During the meditation practice, I am becoming acquainted with my inner dialogue.  I get a glance into my emotions, my thoughts and my body.  This is so important – to be acquainted with myself; to understand what is moving around and what stirs within me.  It is good to center myself inside my body so that I can go out and greet the world in a stance of awareness.  Many times we begin the day in a rush and don’t have a chance to gather ourselves and to enter into our day with an intention to remain centered.  Other people’s energies take over our peace of mind.  The busyness of work overwhelms our being.  Unexpected occurrences throw us off, but beginning our day with a quiet sitting eradicates the experience of getting sucked into the chaos.  I wish I would have a learned this as a child.  I always wondered how people could remain at peace with so much going on in the world.

Breathing is another thing I must remind myself to do.  I tend to take shallow breaths and to rush through my life.  This last year, I’ve been paying more attention to my breathing.  When I feel overwhelmed, instead of react right away, I try to breathe in and out to slow myself down.  When I pay attention to my breath, everything outside of me becomes less disturbing.  As I am writing this, I’m hearing a child screaming and crying, so I’m practicing that breathing thing, and it immediately takes my mind off of the annoyed feeling I’m having and brings me right back to center.

I used to be very curious about people who walked around so centered, joyful and undisturbed.  Now I understand that they must have mediated.  They were acquainted with themselves enough to remain in alignment with who they were, on a very deep level.  Prayer is an offering to something outside of yourself, while meditation is an offering unto yourself. 

Well, that kid is still crying and throwing a bit of a temper tantrum, but I am finding myself smiling.  I’m so glad I took the time to meditate this morning and to center myself in my body.  Each day brings up new emotions, new experiences and unexpected details.  Meditation keeps me centered and in a place of constant serenity. I highly recommend it for anyone who hasn’t tried it.

Turning Chaos Into Harmony

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In Jr. High I took a Home Economic class with a very intense teacher.  She was half my size and intimidated the hell out of me.  We made our own dresses which we were supposed to model in front of the school and I ended up sewing the upper arm hole shut so that I couldn’t attach the sleeve, or even slide my hand through.  The teacher fixed it for me by tearing out the thread with a little tool that I cannot recall the name of today.  When we baked muffins, I used two cups of baking powder instead of two tablespoons of baking soda.  This was all occurring while I was impressing my creative writing teacher, along with making lead roles in the skits and plays we performed in drama.  Home Economics and Biology were not my cup of tea, but obviously I excelled in the creative arts.  During this time of my life I became very depressed and withdrawn because I felt lost.  

When I wore my homemade dress in front of my schoolmates, I was happy that all the holes and seams were in the correct places, but the dress itself was a little Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz-ish, minus the pleats, and it was a much more novice version.  I chucked that dress in the garbage after wearing it once.  I didn’t want the reminder of my failure as a seamstress.  In retrospect it was a good experience because it taught me something about myself.  I wasn’t interested in sewing or baking.  To this day, I do not enjoy either of those things, unless I’m eating the cookie dough during the baking process.  In that class, I got a D, which is one notch above failing.  I’m certain my teacher would have given me an F, except that she didn’t want to have to deal with me again the following year. 

The thing that I don’t enjoy about baking and sewing is that it creates a big mess, and I have a difficult time looking past the mess in order to create a masterpiece out of the chaos.  This week as I was moving, I took things really slowly, only moving a carload per day, as not to overwhelm myself.  I do not own a lot of “things” because I don’t like the burden of having them.  If I decide to move to Greece on a whim to write a book in a window overlooking the Mediterranean sea for a year, I don’t want to have to deal with a bunch of “stuff.”  I just want to get on a plane and go.  My daughter, on the other hand, doesn’t get rid of anything.  When I opened the door to her bedroom one afternoon last week, a rush of panic took over my sanity.  That evening I ended up eating a ton of chocolate candy for dinner, and then headed to two AA meetings.  It was just too much for me to take in.

Lucky for me I have a former boyfriend who knows how to place things in boxes without having an emotional breakdown.  The next day I came back to a very clean and organized bedroom.  Everything was taken off the walls and neatly rolled up into boxes.  Toys and books were neatly compiled and I was off the hook.  (Sigh of relief inserted here).  All I had to do was move those boxes into my car and sweep the floor up afterward.  I was a little disturbed at how easily my ex cleaned up the disastrous room.  He did it in one evening.  I’m certain that it would have taken me at least two or three days, and I would have been cramming M&M’s down my throat in the meantime, or chewing through packs and packs and gum just to withhold an impending panic attack. 

The really ironic thing is that the packing for me was way more intensely difficult than the move itself, or the breakup.  I understand that there are greater things awaiting me when I let go of burdensome relationships and hefty rent payments, but it is terrifying for me to clean out a dirty refrigerator.  On another level, I am extremely comfortable organizing my random thoughts into words on a computer screen, and I enjoy the process of putting on a performance in front of an audience, although both of these things are tedious and time consuming endeavors.  I am not a chef, or a very good housekeeper.  If my kids need something sewn, I would rather toss the item of clothing into the garbage can and go shopping for a replacement.  I am actually envious of people like my ex, who know how to focus on one thing at a time rather than overwhelm themselves in the details.  I’m quite the opposite.  I focus on the bigger picture, but get very overwhelmed with the small details during the process of getting there.

So how do I go about my life without feeling incomplete?  I can beat myself up all day long for not being a detail oriented person, or I can accept this about myself and focus on my assets, which is making things happen.  I’m an artist.  I envision end results.  I put things out in the universe and watch them come into fruition.  I don’t get hung up on people, places and things.  I’m good at helping others understand their soul journey.  I definitely understand my own.  I can interpret dreams. As a mom, I’m very accepting of my children.  I am more of a guide than a dictator.  I laugh more than I yell.  Although I’m not the best housekeeper, I certainly know how to make a place feel like a home. Wow, these are all positive things that I can say about myself.  Why do I stand back and beat myself up for what I consider “flaws?”  There has to be people like me in the world, and there has to be those who know how to turn some thread and material into a lovely costume.  Together, our contrasts and differences create a beautiful tapestry throughout the planet.  This is why it is so important to stop comparing yourself to others.  You have a purpose here.  You are a light to others through your dynamic gifts and talents.  Focus on those things and learn to connect with others who compliment you by doing what you are not exactly good at. 

I think it’s incredibly amazing that the world is made up with so many different people who all make up the wholeness of the planet.  We have doctors and teachers, musicians and speakers.  We have givers and helpers, lovers and wise leaders.  No one holds all of these gifts in one package.  We all came here to offer something to the world in order to create a harmonious planet.  Sadly this is not how it exactly works out, but it isn’t up to me to worry about what other people are doing, and what they aren’t doing.  It is up to me to stop beating myself up for not being a good baker, and to focus on my writing instead.  If I have a difficult time packing because it overwhelms me, I should feel confident enough to ask for help from someone who doesn’t find it overwhelming.  If I can’t bake a cake for a party, I should offer another service, like making the invitations.  We are all in this together, and rather than envy the soccer mom who is a dynamic organizer, I should do what I know how to do, which is coaching the team. 

I wrote this today because I’ve been annoyed that I couldn’t clean that room without melting down, when I should be pleased with myself for being brave enough to make an enormous change in my life to benefit my children and my own well-being.  Life is not easy, but it is more difficult when you focus on the negative, instead of seeing the big picture, or realizing your own worth.  I’m not a detail oriented person by nature, but I can write a manuscript no problem.  We all have something that we excel in.  This is where we should place our focus.  This is what we should offer to the world.  Simply do your part.  Then and only then, will we discover harmony in the midst of universal chaos. Like they told us in drama class, “There are no small roles…”

http://www.amazon.com/DEVILS-ALTAR-Addiction-Awakening-ebook/dp/B00FO72854/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404057542&sr=1-1&keywords=the+devil%27s+altar

Replacing Consumption with Patience

Patience

It is said that people can’t truly change.  I know people who fully buy into this concept.  And it is true to some degree.  People’s personalities don’t change.  My friends from high school still have the same mannerisms as they did in their youth, and when we all get together, it’s basically the same group of people laughing at each other for being so individually predictable.  People do transform, however when they decide to take the Hero’s Journey.  Transformation occurs when someone intentionally sheds their old ways, habits, ideas and belief systems because their life simply isn’t working for them.  It is a difficult endeavor, but once the transformation occurs, there is an obvious shift in the person’s demeanor.  They walk in the wholeness of themselves and appear lighter – less weighed down.  For me, I’ve noticed that I laugh a lot more now, and emotions flow through me much quicker.  I don’t hold onto anger for very long.  My daughter has even told me that it is “weird” to watch me when I get mad because one minute I will express anger and the next I’m talking about how beautiful the sunset is.  She literally observes me flow through difficult emotions in minutes, whereas before, I would wallow in them for hours or days even.

Proof of change is in the pudding.  I am not a naturally patient person.  I mean, addicts are not patient in general (duh).  We want everything NOW, and we want more of that everything as soon as possible.  When I wasn’t getting my way in life, I would rage.  If I had my mind set on something and for whatever reason, that something was taken from me, I would lose it.  The difference now is, I do not get my mind set on anything.  I can thank my treatment counsellors for helping me overcome my impatience.  They made us sit and sit and sit and sit and wait for hours.  They told us “no” when we expected a “yes.”  They switched things up when we got comfortable and if we got impatient with them, they had a bit of fun with that, which angered us.  That anger was purposely provoked.  It was the one emotion that we could not mask, so we had to sit through it because there was no other outlet, unless we wanted to be kicked out. Six months of hearing “no” and sitting through my anger was well-crafted to re-train me to navigate through life without expectation.

I change my mind quite often, which drives some people crazy. (I can dish it, but can’t take it).  I honestly feel that I was created this way in order to assist others in their own growth of not expecting things to be one way.  Since I’ve been back with my daughter, who is a naturally “fixed” person (which means she doesn’t appreciate sudden change), she has learned to roll through life with me.  Sometimes she resists, but more often than not I am witnessing a big shift in her entire way of being.  It is difficult for her to “let go” when she’s got her mind set on something, but she is a good negotiator so we have learned a manageable way to compromise her fixed way of thinking with my flightiness. 

When you learn to slow down and not to expect, and to be present – life flows much more smoothly.  Plans often change in life.  Things come up unexpectedly.  Traffic slows things down.  We do not always get what we want when we want it.  We must learn to roll with the punches, as they say.  Recovery has taught me this.  And if you knew me seven years ago and ran into me now, you would notice a big difference in my demeanor.  I’m lighter.  I don’t think much about outcome.  I don’t plan things down to the minor details.  I do not expect much, if anything at all, which opens up the space for me to be pleasantly surprised more often than not. 

Life happens and it is difficult to control how things occur, and when they occur.  Since I’ve replaced my need to consume my life with temporary pleasures, and replaced that inner void with patience, everything seems to work out just fine, and I am much happier.  Life unties it’s own knots when you let go of outcome.  And when you wait for something patiently (instead of tensing up), often there is a pleasant surprise awaiting.  I used to speed through life, and now I envision myself on a raft just floating along, enjoying the view, taking it all in and being grateful rather than expecting something more, or for it to happen at a certain time. I’m not 100% patient about everything, but overall, I would say that there is an obvious transformation.  

http://www.amazon.com/DEVILS-ALTAR-Addiction-Awakening-ebook/dp/B00FO72854/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403968657&sr=8-1&keywords=the+devil%27s+altar

“This Isn’t a F*cken Friends Episode!…”

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Those infamous words knocked me back into my seat as I sat in a circle with my recovery peers who all stared at me, shocked at the way I was being put in my place by the director of the program.  It was “Focus Group” which meant that we got to sit across from someone we wanted to confront.  This was a way to clear up tensions in a healthy manner, and to also point out behaviors in one another so that we could assist each other in changing the things that led us to drinking or using.  I was rarely focused on by any of my 40+ peers.  I had it all going on as if my shit didn’t stink.  What I didn’t realize was that my behavior of “looking good” and being everyone’s buddy was exactly what was going to kill me in my addiction.  This was pointed out by the counsellors, not my peers, because we were all too blind at the time to notice subtle behaviors, or to even relate perfectionistic traits as a revelation of a sneaky addict.  Yeah, I was one of those.

Humility was part of the process of changing our behaviors, but you cannot really get to a place of humility if you’re not aware of yourself.  So that’s how the director of the program saved my life in a sense.  After that dramatic session with my peers, another director walked into the evening house gathering and pointed at me.  She told the group that they were letting me “die” because they weren’t aware of how I navigated through the program like a little “honey bee.”  At first I was clueless as to what this even meant, but as time went on, I became aware of my own intensions to be everybody’s best friend, and how I buzzed past important things, including my assignments.  I knew how to get things done quickly without putting much effort into them.  Basically, I was living on the surface of my life to avoid difficult emotions.  Life to me was a checklist – “Get this done… CHECK!  Get that done… CHECK!”  I was driven to complete tasks as swiftly as possible and to make sure that everyone liked me in the meantime.

Laughing out loud right now at the thought of spending so much energy trying to please everyone.  Handing all of my assignments in on time was a way for me to get acceptance from my counsellors.  Like they even paid much attention to me when there were 40 of us addicts running around with minor dramas always occurring.  I was so self-centered, I swear to god.  When I left that sacred place, it was scary walking out into the real world where people are pretty much oblivious to their behaviors.  I recall thinking that I wish I could have focus group at work, or with my family.  It really did save my life and I was scared to not have that safety net of a group because I was still wobbly on my own two feet.  Luckily I continued going to groups and moved into a sober-living environment with many of my peers. The group I graduated with has been a very solid handful of people.  Most of us are doing very, very well.  We were really hard on each other too, but now there is nothing but love and support between us.  I know I can call any of my peers at any time and they would drop everything to be there for me.  I have needed some of them this very week, and four of them have immediately been there for me, even if it was merely words of encouragement after listening to my “drama” for the week.

There was a little upheaval this week with my ex and for the first time in a very long time, I felt extremely overwhelmed.  But that only lasted for a day.  I went through it, got sucked into it for a little while, and then stopped pointing my fingers and began looking at my part in the situation.  Once I did this, I stopped myself in my own tracks – almost as if I slammed myself into my own chair with awareness of my negative behaviors.  I felt ashamed, and scattered.  I took myself to three meetings and announced my “behaviors” to the group.  Afterward, I apologized to my former boyfriend.  I haven’t heard one apology from him, but that’s ok.  I’m not in this to even out the score.  My only obligation to my recovery is that I recognize my part in every situation and clear it up as soon as possible. 

I felt better when I got out of the drama and took some responsibility.  Last night, I ran into “him” and he was clearly uncomfortable.  He left the restaurant immediately after realizing he was uncomfortable.  I was not at all uncomfortable.  What I would love to tell him is that all of this turmoil coming up for him is simply a guiding light into himself.  It’s nothing more than emotional growth occurring.  Regardless of the obvious happenstance, and the “drama” surrounding me moving out and our breaking up, there is something much greater happening.  I don’t take much interest (any longer) in surface situations.  People are dramatic.  I’m even dramatic.  The daily dish comes and goes, but the real deal is what’s below the surface.  A year from now when we are both a little stronger from the situation, we will look back and see how much we changed because of our year long encounter.  When we met, the stars were in alignment.  Fireworks ignited.  We went into the relationship open hearted and confident.  Both of us knew that we might get hurt, but we were very ambitious because we were extremely aware of the yin and yang between us.  We knew that in harmony, we could be a dynamite couple.  It was difficult for us to keep that harmony, so there was a lot of conflict instead.  That ambition between us stretched us to the max, however, and this part of our experience (the turmoil) is merely growth occurring quickly.  That’s all it is, and I see it for what it is. 

Forget the scene, or the way things are playing out.  Look beyond them.  Life is not about the drama occurring – it’s truly about what is happening for you (emotions) during the experience.  I took a massive bite of humble pie this week.  It was bitter to the tongue, but sweet to my belly.  I’m in a much better place because I took some serious responsibility.  I’m not writing any of this stuff to pat myself on the back. I have such a long way to go, and there is still some wreckage to attend to. What I do understand in all of this, is that my former boyfriend was simply a player in my life to show me what I really need to work on in myself, and where I need to grow. For him, I was also a player in his life who stirred up a lot of things for him. When I met him, he talked about longing to be more flexible and easy going. When he met me, I spoke of wanting to keep growing as a person. I think we organically provided this for one another. He really opened my eyes to myself and I am growing greatly because of it. For this, I am incredibly grateful for him. He’s been a great teacher.

I can’t change some things that are occurring, or that have occurred, but I do know where I could have done better.  Progress… It’s funny – My former boyfriend used to call me “Phoebes.” This was his name for me. I’m going to miss that a lot, but this isn’t a Friends episode. The season has ended and life moves on. 

 

I’m Not Immune to the Savage

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I do recall

Those savage ways of the drunk

A clueless chap

Without regard to one thing or another

Except the next drink

Each moment to him

Was fleeting and shameless

So he got away with things

Without a conscience

Only concerned about the next drink

And when the drunk lost his way

He decided to replace the drink

With serenity

Something sustainable

Without the effect of malice

And it’s been several years

Without a drink

But once in a while that awful drunk

Of a person

Comes out to wreak a little havoc

In the midst of serenity

And serenity sees him clearly

Ashamed of this un-departed drifter

A jackal, a fool, a scarcity of a soul

Still a savage

Only without a drink

But there is a way to beat him

At his own awful game

Her name is humility

I embrace her this time

Rather than resist her

She is comforting

Although she comes across

As scolding

And I tuck her in my pocket

Declaring her as my hero

And the drunk as the villain

Reminding myself once again

That I’m not immune

I’m not immune

We move forward together

Humility and me

Facing the drunk

Then leaving him behind

Without a drink

Knowing that one day

We’ll unexpectedly meet again

Merely as a reminder

Of where I’ve been

To keep me grounded

In the moment

Rather than flailing through 

My life

Without  regard to my own precious

Vulnerability

 

 

 

 

Why Reach for the Stars When the Enjoyment is Standing in Awe of Their Brilliance?

Reaching for the stars

Acceptance is a garment of bravery.  It’s the cloak you must wear to in order to walk through your fears.  It’s important to know what you’re facing, and what you can and cannot do because disappointment is always waiting around the bend when expectations are high and results are low.  I’ve walked through my life with a fire under my feet and as I sit in my comfortable bed with a cup of coffee this morning, I realize that running as fast as I could didn’t get me very far in life.  I’m not anywhere near where I thought I would be at this age.  I’m the shortcut kind of gal and I enjoy a thrill every now and again (more often than not), but this is holding me back more than I realize.  I’m enjoying my life more than ever – that’s for certain, yet the things I was always reaching for are still out of grasp and somehow along my journey, I’ve taken to a more steady pace.  I woke up this morning with a massive cloud of acceptance enveloping me.  “What if I never achieve my goals in this lifetime?  What if thirty years from now I’m not much further along than I am today?  This is the reality of the world we live in.  Dreams are reachable, but not everyone reaches their ultimate dreams.  What if I am one of those people?”  I thought about this for a moment and then I understood that I could actually live with this.  The bottom line, is that I am doing exactly what I love doing, and if that isn’t enough, then life is passing me by at an increasing rate and I’m unaware of the world surrounding me, which is lush and quite abundant exactly as it is.

I’m of the understanding that life gives you what you can handle and nothing more.  Human beings can handle quite a lot, but we are all walking different paths in life.  If one of my main goals is to remain sober (which it is), then I need to understand that the universe will provide to me exactly what I need along this path of mine for me to remain in alignment with that goal.  If my goal this year is to connect with more people (which it is) then why would the universe separate me from the crowd?  I must know what I’m doing and where I’m going in order to understand what occurs for me as I walk through my life.  (I say “walk” because I’ve stopped running).  I’m even hiking now in the mornings more often than I sprint because there is something fulfilling in taking it all in as I’m exercising.  When I began running at age twenty-four, it was because I wanted to run away from my life.  I don’t have that mindset anymore.  I like where I am.  I’m learning about myself and honoring the casual pace of receiving what I need at the exact right time.  I don’t have to reach for the stars.  They are brilliant just as they are, and on a summer night, they are perfectly clear and abundant before me.  There are so many of them to behold.  If I’m only reaching for one of them, then I’m missing out on so many beautiful moments standing under the multitude of them.

My ultimate dream was to be an author, and I am.  My main goal has always been that I would write, and I am.  My ego wants a lot more than this.  It wants the red carpet status, but that honor is never enough when one gets to that place.  As human beings, we always want more.  We are never satisfied.  Plenty of money is never enough.  Ridiculous amounts of fame segregates a person to where they can’t even walk around town in peace.  Being great in life is more about tapping into who you truly are, rather than being an icon.  The books I’ve written have moved only a few people that I know about, and if those few people’s lives were touched by my writing, then I wouldn’t call myself a failure.  I’m doing what I love and I love what I’m doing.  This is a pretty amazing accomplishment. I should feel proud, and I am.

This is my 100th blog on this site.  I began last August and here it is the end of June practically a year later.  I’ve grown so much over the past year.  I’ve become much more clear about my life, and I’ve slowed down to a pace where I can actually enjoy what I’m doing.  I’m in acceptance about a lot of things that I’ve resisted in the past.  I laugh a lot more and I have shed the skin of stressing out about everything.  It’s been an amazing year.   I fell madly in love, moved twice and broke up with a man I thought I would spend my life with, but I have not lost my balance during all of this.  This is more than I could say for myself just five years ago.  Back then, I would have been a train wreck (I WAS a train wreck).  Even during all the heartache, I’ve remained joyful.  That’s a pretty big deal.  No, it isn’t fame or wealth or travelling the world signing books for my fans.  It is much more than that.  It’s inner wealth.  It’s spiritual wealth.  It’s exactly where I yearned to be five years ago.  And here I am, right under all those marvelous stars, just standing in awe at the brilliance of my life. 

 

Beating Yourself Up Isn’t Going to Make Things Better

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I’ve been dreaming a lot about babies, and in these dreams I’m taking care of them.  I’m holding them closely and watching over them.  A great deal of love overflows from me onto these several babies that have made their sweet little appearances in my dreams.  I know that these children that I’ve been caring for represent my inner child.  The other day I was on a hike with a friend who told me when she takes care of her inner child, it keeps her from self-destructing.  I agree with her.  It’s that self-love that I refer to often.  We must treat ourselves with kindness, compassion and offer ourselves forgiveness when we make mistakes.  Instead of beat ourselves up for things that we aren’t good at, or for mistakes that we keep making, it is a good practice to recognize the mistake, or the lack of maturity and then to ask for guidance thereafter.  We must realize that life is all about learning experiences and growing, rather than seeing it as a series of “rights and wrongs” followed by rewards and punishments.

 I still think catch myself thinking that when I make mistakes that I’m entitling myself to some kind of punishment.  My mind sees karma as a cosmic lashing and sometimes I catch myself expecting the worst to happen to me because I managed to fail myself in certain aspects of my life.  My old way of thinking is that there is no mercy and that I’m due for a good universal whipping.  Although everything I need and all I could possibly want is being provided, I feel like the boogey man is right around the corner waiting to jump out and attack me, but this is not truly how things work, unless I want them to be this way.  If I continue thinking like this, I should expect something negative to occur.  The way we think delivers results.  If I keep beating myself up and expecting to be punished, of course I will draw that experience toward me.  Our thoughts have a magnetic pull, so we should understand that whatever we put out there will be drawn into our experience. 

I’ve made some mistakes over the past year and I’m quite aware of them.  My relationship gone bad is a direct result of not being financially responsible.  I can place blame here and there, and dissect this to where I’m less of the problem and he is more of the problem, but in recovery we learn to sweep up our side of the street.  In doing this, I realize that I took on way too much financial responsibility when I was barely on my own two feet.  How I managed to make ends meet each month is a mystery to me, but there was a lot of tension between my boyfriend and me, and most of it was due to lack having enough money.  Both of us were tight each month and a lot of fear came up for both of us.  I got to a point where I stopped fearing and just began accepting that I made a mistake.  When I got to this point of surrender, I stopped trying to beat the system and decided to make some cutbacks in my life.  I asked for guidance and also for some universal mercy.  What occurred is that the world opened up for me and I found a place to live within a week and a half of putting in “out there.”  When I ended the relationship, the fears really started grabbing at me.  They told me that I would end up homeless, or that I would never find a place to live within my budget.  I have hardly any furniture of my own, so another fear was that if I did find a place to live, I would be sleeping and sitting on the floor.  I have no dishes other than pots and pans.  Because I was financially stretched to the max each month, there was no way that I could go out and purchase these things.  So my fear told me to remain in a miserable relationship because without it, I would be pretty much living in a tent (or something).  On top of all of this, I was driving a car that I didn’t trust.  It got me to and from, but for how much longer – I didn’t know.  The bottom line was that I was basically living on the edge, and my fear told me that I had to stay in the relationship because I wasn’t secure without it, but I felt my inner child in such discord with the relationship, that I decided to take care of her first, so that’s where I surrendered, and offered myself a lot of compassion.  I know deep down that I was doing my best.  Sometimes my best falls short, but it is still my best, and I have to pat myself on the back for my ambition.

That fear is a piece of work – let me tell you.  Like I said, once I surrendered to that which I had no control, and put it out to receive something that I could manage, I was offered a wonderful place to live in a price range that I could afford.  When I walked into the apartment, there was a bed, a couch, a dining room table, cups, plates and a microwave.  All I had to buy were some utensils.  There was no deposit (WHAT?  HOW COULD THAT BE?).  This kind of arrangement is unheard of, but I didn’t worry about any of these things.  My first concern was taking care of that inner child.  What followed was that my entire being was taken care of.  In the middle of securing the new place to live, my parents got a new vehicle and put their very well-cared for car up for sale at a very low price.  I saw this as an opportunity to get out of my old car before it took a dump on me.  We made a deal and now I’m in a vehicle that I can trust.  When I woke up yesterday with my two children near me, I went outside and noticed that I get to see the sunrise every morning if I so choose.  I can walk outside onto my new deck and get that glorious morning view.  I wouldn’t call any of this “punishment.”

Waking up this morning, I felt the pressures of what I’ve left behind in the wake of my moving forward.  There is an angry ex-boyfriend and some financial debt that I’ve got to face.  I can’t ignore that it’s there, and I’ve still got some moving to do.  I’ve got to sell my old car.  There are a lot of things I’ve got to manage in a short amount of time.  This is where I’m beating myself up a bit.  That anger from the ex weighs on me.  It makes me feel like I am walking around with rose-colored glasses while he’s hovering over me stating all these facts.  The truth is, I know that life is not about all these little dramas we create.  They aren’t about man’s idea of right and wrong or facts and fiction.  No matter what is occurring, it is never that black and white.  Beyond that which we can see is a whole universe that lies beneath.  If I’m following my path and when I’m aware of my emotions along that path, then I’m living more in reality than the person who is outside of me pointing out black and white.  The material world is a farce.  It’s a shell.  It’s easily manipulated.  When you follow that inner universe, the material world caves in and falls into place in such a way that is difficult to comprehend.  I’m not worried about the things my ex worries about.  I know what lies before me and what I must do.  I realize the mistakes I’ve made and I know exactly what I can handle and what I can’t handle.  I trust that as I keep moving forward and as I do the next right thing, all of that stuff that seems overwhelming will reveal itself to be minor in detail.  I know this because I’ve witnessed it over and over and over.

So I’m not thinking about or entertaining the idea of a boogey man around the corner any longer.  I’m just hanging out with the sunrise and grateful for the plates, the bed and the microwave.  The only thing I can offer my ex is a prayer that he will have everything in life that he desires, and that the world will open up for him as it did for me.  I have no hard feelings, or anger.  I absolutely did my best and that’s a great deal more than I’ve given in my addicted past.  I absolutely did my best.  This is the bottom line.  My best is not perfect.  My maturity is still on the awkward side of clumsy.  My life is still a series of learning experiences.  I’ve learned to give myself compassion and to offer myself love.  I forgive myself for the choices I made that were not the best choices.  I move forward.  I take care of business and I trust that my life will continue falling into place.  It’s not that difficult to trust when I’ve gotten so much proof of it.

That inner child is the most important thing to me now.  I understand that I am loved beyond measure, and provided for beyond my own capabilities or comprehension.  I know that I’m not perfect, but I am open to receiving guidance with much universal love and support.  Just like those little babies I’ve been taking care of in my dreams, I’m also being cared for.  We have to trust in this, and we must understand that mistakes are going to happen as life goes on, but we do not have to wallow in the mud with them.  We are allowed to fall short and to fail every now and then, but we must get back up and keep moving forward.  Life will fall into place for us.  Don’t allow your negative thoughts to hold you back from receiving all that is being offered to you. When you trust that your experience is simply one of learning and growing, you will be able to laugh at your shortcomings.  When you honor your inner child (or your divinity), you will discover that the physical world will honor you in return. And don’t forget that beautiful prayer, “God grant me the serenity…”

Being Stressed Out is a Choice We Make

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In review of my life, I don’t recall a time when I wasn’t stressed out about something or someone.  Everything needed to be done a certain way.  Money was tight and schedules were tight.  Cleaning up after my children was constant and it seemed like three meals a day was just too much to handle.  Do we really need to eat that often?  (Children are always hungry – even between meals).  I thought being stressed was perfectly normal and although I hated the tense way I felt, I didn’t think anything more of it except that life was stressful.  When I got to treatment and the same wave of tension overcame my experience, one of the counsellors said to me, “You’re stressed because that’s what you do.”  Period.  End of sentence.  Dreadlocks waving at me in the wake of her swagger.  This intuitive hippy/Yoda-like woman never explain anything after she dropped these simple statements like galactic facts.  She just left us with cliff-hangers that we had to grab onto and explore for ourselves.  I wasn’t into that at all, but when truth speaks, it shouts aloud in your gut, and when she said this to me, I knew that I was royally screwed until I understood what she meant.

Fine.  I know Miss-Yoda is right because she has a knack of knowing things that normal human beings can’t possibly comprehend.  What the hell is she talking about that I stress… because that’s what I do?  I looked around me and observed that most of the other clients weren’t stress-cases in their job functions like me.  I was alone in my stressed out way of being.  I wasn’t doing anything more than anyone else.  If anyone should be stressed, it should be the cooks in the kitchen, but they were always so calm and in the moment. 

I recall being stressed out whenever I had to plan a party for my children, or before holidays when I had to purchase and wrap presents.  Getting out the decorations overwhelmed me.  Christmas was always hell for me.  My ideal Christmas would be to jump on a cruise ship and run away from the ugly decorations and madness.  I literally hated that holiday.  It still gets to me a little bit because I feel like it comes too often.  Every other year would be ideal, but every twelve months is overkill if you ask me.  Anyway, the point is that I was always a stress-case whenever I had to plan anything that required a lot of money and wrapping and buying of decorations.  So I lived like this for several years, but I had a mother-in-law at the time that was ALWAYS busy and ALWAYS planning stuff.  She put on a party like she was filing her nails.  It came very naturally to her and she could pull stuff together in a moment’s notice, while she was laughing and enjoying herself.  In treatment, I recalled this about her and I KNEW that it WAS me who chose to be stressed out about things.  People plan and produce big happenings all the time without feeling overwhelmed.  What was I doing wrong?

It’s been three years, and I’ve practiced NOT stressing out like I’ve practiced NOT picking up alcohol.  Up until this very year, I struggled.  I literally walked around for years and years feeling like an anchor was buried between my shoulder blades.  Physical pain, headaches, sleeplessness over things I had no control over.  Life sometimes comes at you fast, especially when you do things on a whim like me (like moving in a weeks notice).  I had to learn how to Zen-out like Yoda and be present instead of worrying what could go wrong.  I think that’s what got to me the most – having anxiety about the lack of time, and knowing that it may not get done on time.  This was an illusion.  When you slow down, accept that there is a lot to do, but it doesn’t all have to be done this very second, there is plenty of time. Life eases up and you can simply do one thing at a time, and remain present in each moment as you are getting things done.

I have a LOT to stress about today.  A LOT!  If I told you what was coming up for me, you would think I was insane for not being stressed out – but I’m not.  I’m completely aware of everything that sits before me, but I know what I can handle right this very moment and what I cannot handle right this very moment, so I balance that out, and I literally choose to not tense up about it.  It does not help me to be tense.  I serves absolutely no good purpose.  It just makes life much more difficult.  What I cannot handle, I announce to the universe (Dear God, I have a lot coming up for me that I can’t exactly handle all at once.  It’s a little too much for me, so I’m going to turn that stuff over to you.  Please help me manage my time and to enjoy each moment without worrying about the next.  Please provide me what I need when I need it, and please give me clarity in each moment so that I know what I’m supposed to be doing).  When I feel tired, I rest.  When I feel a bit overwhelmed, I take a little break.  It’s that simple.  You really don’t need to rush through things and pressure yourself.  It’s not necessary.

Since I’ve been practicing this calm way of being, I’ve had a lot of “stressful” situations come before me, and because I was aware of my decision to not be stressed, I understood that these were simply moments of truth.  I had to practice what I yearned to become.  So that’s what I’ve been doing and the last thing I’ve been buying into is that I need to stress out.  Stressing out does not make things any easier.  On the contrary.  I have this little voice inside of me that tells me if I don’t stress out, that I’m delusional.  I tell that little voice to go to hell.  I don’t have time for that gibberish.  Putting your body, mind and soul in that state of worry or pressure, is a terrible, terrible way to live.  It is a lie that you need to be stressed.  You don’t. 

I was the stress-out queen and now I am one of the calmest person I know.  I just don’t give into that part of myself anymore.  It’s dead to me.  Even when I was choosing the type of job I wanted last year, I avoided the ones that I knew would bring on too much stress.  I chose a job that was easy going, which paid the same.  If you choose not to be stressed, you will be surprised at how many more choices you get to make.  Life will provide what you request, especially if you are certain about what you want and what you don’t want.  You DO NOT have to settle.  Life will deliver exactly what you request if you put it out there and when you are clear about what you want.  It truly will. 

If something comes up now, I look at it in the face and deal with it right then and right there.  If I can put it off for a little while because it’s overwhelming, I do that too, knowing that I am going to have to face it sooner or later, but I don’t stress about it while I’m putting it off.  If it’s bugging me too much, then I deal with it immediately.  There are ways around stress.  You simply have to be aware of what is right in front of you and take charge of it.  Sometimes it’s a person that you know is going to blow up, so just prepare your mind and body to take that all in before it happens, and when it happens, there are no surprises.  Nothing like that can really kill you or truly hurt you anyway – we fear a ghost most of the time.  You can’t do what you can’t do, and in those moments, you’ve just got to suck it up and let the cards fall as they may.  Do your best, stay present and be aware of what is before you, but don’t allow it to take over your well-being.  Life is too short to stress out about something that won’t matter even one week from now.  Trust me – If I can overcome my own stressed out way of being, ANYONE can. 

Life is Like a Pizza Delivery Service – It Brings You Exactly What You Order

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Like many people, I used to think that life “happened” to me and that I was handed this random deck of cards that I was supposed to sort out and play according to certain rules in the game of life.  Always with a poker face, I rebelliously went against the flow of the game.  Sometimes I got a lucky hand while other times I had to fold.  I grew restless with the inconsistency and bored without direction.  If life simply happens to me, then I’d rather be dead.  This is unpredictable and scary.  It also makes me feel like I’m in a lottery and who wants to live in the land of hope throughout their lives?  With that kind of existence there comes a lot of disappointment.  There had to be a better way to live, and I had to be a lot more important than a number in a pool.  Being alive can’t be about waiting around.  It simply can’t.

Recovery took me right out of that game altogether.  I turned in my deck in and walked away from the table that dealt me my life.  It was time to create some kind of order in my existence because nothing was working for me.  I was acutely aware that something was amiss.  I attracted some things I wanted, while other things remained unreachable.  All this talk of the law of attraction excited me, and it definitely made sense when I saw that it was proven over and over.  It made sense because I’d experienced it to some degree, but I had to take it to the next level.  When I finally got myself healthy, and got to a point where I trusted myself to make good decisions for my life (a.k.a. self-love), I decided to practice this way of living.  How do I attract that which I want?  How do I create a life that I love living – that doesn’t just happen to me – that I can call my own?  We are made in the image of God.  God is the ultimate expressionist.  God creates – therefore I am the creator of my life.  And there is no right and wrong to how I choose to create, but how do I hone in on making my life a masterpiece instead of having random clumps of clay scattered about that are halfway molded?  How do I gather up everything I am and everything I have to create that masterpiece?  I’ll tell you – it takes a lot of fire.

First of all, the masterpiece isn’t outside of you.  It’s you.  So think of yourself as a piece of coal that must be put under pressure and heat in order to be purified into a diamond.  What happens when a diamond is revealed?  It is attractive, to say the very least, and this is relevant.  You become pure enough to attract, and what you attract is everything that you represent.  At this point of self-purification, when you’ve walked through your fear, climbed your mountains of doubt and have taken the volcanic heat of burning through all the layers of soot (a.k.a. labels, images, beliefs, opinions, attitudes, opposing behaviors, etc.), there you are left standing there in your wholeness.  There is nothing jading your lavishness and perfection.  The soul is shining through, and that powerful force inside of you is no longer obstructed by an ego.  The ego is there, but it is no longer in control.  Now it is of service to you because it is a terrific thinker, and you must think in order to create.  This is where things get exciting.

We are all pieces of coal in the stages of being purified into diamonds.  That is what we came here in this human existence to become, but some people would rather remain underground in the mine shaft away from the heat of life.  Others choose purification, but can’t take the heat and it is a very slow process for them.  We all decide how much heat we can take, how conscious we are about our experience here and how far we want to go with the purification process.  Many people get comfortable when they are halfway there and that’s as far as they go.

The human soul without the soot of opinion, fear, doubt, malice, etc. is a magnetic force that can bring forth anything that it wants.  Because everything is connected on a universal scale, nothing is out of reach, but the bottom line is that you’ve got to be in alignment with who you are, which is that beautiful soul.  You can attract all sorts of things without being in alignment and through your ego, but for everything to make sense and to have a masterpiece of an existence, there has to be a purified human being – one who has taken the hero’s journey and died to their old ways and become the person that they were meant to be.  That may never happen in this lifetime, but as long as you are being present and taking charge of your life, the ability to create that which you truly want will be delivered.  When we are not aware of this, it occurs as well, but life seems random and that is because we are living a random existence.  You have to know who you are, what you want and where you are going in order to attract all that you need to get there.  And you must know exactly what you don’t want, just as much as you know what you do want.  Knowing what you don’t want is like removing layers of clay that don’t fit the mold.  It’s all part of the process to creating a masterpiece of a life.  Those extra clumps of clay serve a purpose too.  They teach you how to rid yourself of what doesn’t serve your creation.

In retrospect, I see that I attracted so many things into my life – men, material possessions, jobs and experiences, but they were not fulfilling because I had no intention in my life.  I was kind of just existing, hoping for something better and giving into temporary pleasures.  Nothing was truly random, but it felt like it was because I had no idea who I was or what I truly wanted for my life.  I kind of had an idea, but I didn’t have a vision.  It is so important to have a vision and to know what it’s going to take to bring it into fruition.  This will eliminate all the soot that obstructs the view of the spirit.

You put things out into the universe with your thoughts and your desires, but the soot either holds things back, or obstructs the desire of the soul, so life seems unpredictable, and sometimes callous toward you.  When that diamond begins shining through, you get a sense of clarity about why things happen and what they mean for you.  You understand that everything you encounter is of service to you in some way, even if it occurs simply to tell you that it’s not what you want.  It is all very relevant.  What you order is what you receive.  Placing blame on others for bad experiences is like walking around blindfolded.  We are all creators of our existence, and the people that come into your life are there because somehow you attracted them, or you attracted the experience to bring you toward purification.  Nothing is a waste, and once you decide to walk in this awareness, you will become the master of your life –  with a lot of help from your higher power.  It all works together as a whole.  You are part of that whole, not a number in a lottery, so remember this and allow it to work for you instead of against you.  Order exactly what you want, and enjoy every bite of your life!

 

 

The Winds of Change Are A-Blowin’ and I’m a Butterfly

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As summer kicks off and my life turns into a new direction (one that I couldn’t have predicted even a few weeks ago), my first instinct is to be excited, but my own body revolts in quiet disagreement.  It knows from experience that change is not as easy as my free-spirited self makes it seem.  Just last year I made one of the biggest changes of my life.  Everything that I desired was delivered to me into one dynamic package, and it was mind-blowing, but the actual change was overwhelming.  It took a few months to settle and depression was hanging out with me trying to grip me into its mighty claws.  I didn’t succumb, but it was all very unsettling in the beginning.  After a few months, life calmed down a bit and once the routine was simplified, there was harmony.

I dreamed last night of two fabulous and massive butterflies.  One was a brilliant monarch who kept coming back into my space to enlighten me with her beauty.  Her colors were marvelous and she made me feel alive.  Then there was another type of butterfly that looked more like a fairy.  She had what appeared to be crimson petals for wings.  They folded easily with the wind and below her body was a lavish extension of her wings.  They floated behind her and touched every leaf she passed as she fluttered through the trees.  I wondered if she was going to be caught up in the branches of the mighty tree, but she floated on without being held back by anything, even the leaves that seemed to entangle her as she moved through them gracefully.  Of course upon my awakening, I knew these two butterflies represented me.  Transformation.  Change.  Moving through life gracefully.  Illumination.  Carefreeness.  Life on life’s terms. The crimson wings represent being passionate.  I’m not getting snagged into the moments as I move along and follow my intuition. 

There are so many ways we move through life, and I do not think that any certain way we choose is right or wrong, but I do know that the way we choose to think while we navigate through life, determines the experience we will have.  As I embark on a new experience with my daughter, and include my son in what I desire for him as well, I have to ask myself what it is that I so deeply yearned for, and how I’m going to use this extra money which is suddenly coming to fruition?  How can I use my creativity in this experience, and what are my long term goals?  In the past, I would have dwindled the extra money away on clothes and conveniences, but now that I’m more mature, my thinking is that I need to invest it into something.  Debts will be paid, a vacation will be taken, but there has also got to be an investment of some sort, and because my daughter is a natural business woman, I have the chance to teach her something that will benefit her for the rest of her life by thinking outside the box of our smaller living space. I trust that this is a perfect opportunity to explore a home based business.  We will work together and create an income.  We will build a harmonious life together and no one will be there hovering over us when our dishes aren’t put away, or complaining about the cat who is licking himself and shedding on the bed.  We will be like two butterflies, free to move about our world and open to experiencing all that life has to offer us.  How can I not be excited?  We have just entered the land of opportunity.

There is great fear about things that I have no control over right now, and some things are happening a little too fast.  My body wants to panic, but my experienced soul tells it that everything will be ok – which is exactly how it has been so far.  Everything’s ok.  When you reach for your dreams, and focus on your well-being, all the little details that we often get hung up on, seem to work themselves out.  I’m choosing not to get tangled into the branches right now.  I’m moving through the leaves as they rustle all around my body, and floating along with this dynamic wind that is taking me above and beyond what my mind can fully comprehend at this moment.  The winds of change are a-blowin’ and I’m going with them.  I am so grateful today, and excited about where I’m being lovingly carried.