W.W.F.D.?

Stepping Out, by ~Teshah on DeviantArt

Why is it so hard to let go of the insecurities we wrap ourselves in and step up to Life?

I can only speak for myself, of course, but it must be a somewhat common weakness among we humans to untangle ourselves from the comfort zone of familiar defenses and trust that there will be something solid underneath our soul’s feet when we do. There are literally tomes written throughout our recorded history and across a variety of cultures – from religious teachings…to fundamentals taught in preschool… to lifetimes of research in psychology – all consistently telling me that the struggle is universal.  In the hearts and souls of men and women. Or at least those who own up to it being a struggle.

Now, I realize that everything I’m saying is just my opinion. That’s alright. This is my place to throw it out there and just by the sheer act of doing so, things change. In this little life’s heart and soul anyway. 😉

I think there is always room for growth. I say it here often enough, don’t I?

I am constantly given opportunities, in ways obvious and subtle. What I do with those opportunities (note: usually the mistakes I make and hopefully learn from!),  now THOSE are the touchstones that propel me forward.

I claim that I look for these opportunities, pray for them even! And when Grace grants me these situations, what do I do? *Ahem* I move gracefully through stumble over myself and react instead of respond, using the same old unconscious, self-protective, puny finite child-like measures instead of trusting an Infinite way towards growth.  And when I keep doing what I’ve always done, I’ll keep getting what I’ve always got. ::Sigh:: I-n-s-a-n-i-t-y! With chagrin, I try to use hindsight in an effort to learn a better way.

One of the promises I have heard literally thousands of times is that,

“we will intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle us. We suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”

This promise has shown itself to be true in a myriad of different ways and places in my life. When I keep practicing stepping out and up, of letting go of expectations and all it’s micro-managing, and invite the Divine to orchestrate the outcomes, over time it BECOMES almost intuitive.

I sincerely believe that I can (to borrow from Gandhi) be the Love I want to see in the world. So in situations and interactions where I feel overwhelmed or unclear, instead of falling back into an automatic reactionary stance, I have to consciously seek a Higher ground. Those reactions, while having served a vital purpose during a time in my life, have become a stumbling blocks on the road to being that evidence of Love in the world.

Drawing from the collective experiences of others, I can strive for better:

  • Looking at my motives: what is it I’m expecting?
  • Prefacing each moment with: what good will come of it?
  • Tapping into the moments of clarity experienced by people who inspire me:
    • May I become at all times, both now and forever
      a protector for those without protection
      a guide for those who have lost their way
      a ship for those with oceans to cross
      a bridge for those with rivers to cross
      a sanctuary for those in danger
      a lamp for those without light
      a place of refuge for those who lack shelter
      and a servant to all in need.
      ” (Buddhist Prayer of Peace)
      AND
      Begin to see yourself as connected to every person you encounter (Dr. Wayne Dyer)

    OR

    What if Love were always moving through me? (Don Miguel Ruiz)

      In the words of St. Francis of Assisi (my patron saint,no less), aka:

      What Would Francis Do?

      Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
      Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
      where there is injury, pardon;
      where there is doubt, faith;
      where there is despair, hope;
      where there is darkness, light;
      where there is sadness, joy;

      O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
      to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive;
      it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
      and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

      It seems to me that maybe … just maybe… to foster intuitive strength, I need to be more consciously aware of where I hesitate to move forward with these principles in mind. Huh. Recognize and acknowledge that fear of stepping out of my comfortable place onto unknown ground and then ask for Divine guidance. Ask myself “WWFD“, praying for the strength to then DO it. And to continue to do it with the peace in knowing that I am where I’m meant to be.

      Maybe if I tatooed WWFD? onto my wrist to remind me until it becomes in line with intuition? Maybe it can eventually evolve into my own automatic response. Stranger things have happened!

      What about you? What are some tools you have that help you keep in line with Grace?

      Namaste,

      ~me


      “…growing up in front of you…

      She is turning into herself in these little ways.  She is like stepping into the garden every day, when you know something is new, different from the day before.  That’s how children are, growing up in front of you the way they do.  Sometimes its a barely noticeable thing, like a stem that’s slightly taller.  Sometimes it’s a blossom that’s burst forth, obvious as a Vegas showgirl. WOW, you think. I’d better not miss a day. I’d better be here.

      (Elizabeth Berg ~ Range of Motion)

      In the blink of an eye..

      2003

      2011

      Light the Sky

       

      “Even
      After
      All this time
      The Sun never says to the Earth,

      You owe me.

      Look
      What happens
      With a love like that,
      It lights the whole sky.”

      ~Hafiz

      Attention is Seeing

      Photo by L2B Photography ~ © 2010

      “The clouds began to gather in the morning, light, fleecy ones;

      they were gathering from different directions, mostly from south-west;

      the sun raced between them and shadows covered the land.


      “Towards the evening, the sky was dark and rain was in the air . . .

      it began to drizzle; it laid the all-prevading dust, washed the leaves clean and it brought that fragrance of rain on dry earth.

      It was a pleasant smell and the birds had taken shelter for the night . . .

      Attention is seeing. Seeing is an art as listening.

      But one hardly ever listens or sees; everyone is so occupied, so busy with the things that have to be done, with one’s joys, problems and tears.

      One has no time to see.

      But time does not give you sight; time hinders seeing, listening. Time is the space for experiencing and experience only dulls the mind and heart. The mind is filled and the heart has turned away and so there is no seeing.

      To see knowledge must be kept in the books and not in the mind; knowledge interprets, chooses, giving colour, opinion, weighing, criticising, choosing and then there is no seeing. When the mind is so crowded and the heart dull with sorrow, how can there be seeing? What you see is your own projections, your own desires, your own fears but you don’t see what is. It goes by and you are lost with your own toys.

      But when you do see, do listen, then that act is the miracle that transforms, that has emptied the mind and the heart of the past. You don’t have to do anything, thought is incapable of this miracle; then that seeing is love, as listening is. You cannot come by these through exertion, through the dullness of discipline, through any bargaining nor through the shock of unanswerable questions. There must be emptiness to see, to listen there must be a quietness.

      It was rather late in the night; lightning and rain were making great noise. Again, the brain was aware of the lightning, and the rain on the window, but it was motionless, astonishingly still, for that immensity was there with clarity and unapproachable strength.

      — J. Krishnamurti, Krishnamurti’s Notebook

      An Instrument of Peace

      Worth a repost, the following post came into my reader. Having to do with St. Francis’ prayer, it arrived at the perfect moment for me. =) Enjoy!

      Namaste,

      ~me

      (From Wayne Dyer’s website)

      Being Peace

      Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
      The Prayer of St. Francis

      You can become an instrument of peace in any given moment of your life by deciding that you are not going to use your mind for anything other than peaceful thoughts. This may sound extreme to you when you take into consideration all the difficult people you have to deal with, your financial picture, the illness of a close relative, the inconsiderate boss you must face, the taxes you owe, as well as outrageous traffic delays, and on and on. Try taking a breather from your habit of continuously looking for occasions to be non-peaceful. Go to that quiet, serene peaceful place within you that is covered by the outer layers of your material life. It is here that you know what being an instrument of peace means. Here, your emphasis is on giving, rather than receiving, peace.

      When you are an instrument of peace, you are not seeking anything, you are a peace provider. You do not seek peace by looking into the lives of others and wishing that they would change so that you could become more peaceful. Rather, you bring your own sense of calm to everyone you encounter. You do not go about viewing every circumstance of your life in terms of whether it meets with your standard of peace. Rather, you bring your peaceful countenance to the chaos you encounter and your presence soothes the outer turmoil. Even if the turmoil continues, you have the freedom to choose a peaceful thought, or to quietly remove yourself from the immediate scene. How do you do this? Repeat the words of St. Francis that appear above. Chaotic moments are times to remember that you will not gain your peace from anyone else and that you choose to bring peace to every life situation you encounter.

      The most important moments for cultivating this awareness are when you find yourself right smack in the middle of a tumultuous exchange, when someone is argumentative, surly, or irrational and you sense yourself falling into the pandemonium. Usually, in such moments your inclination is to blame all of the external forces for your absence of peace. Begin to look at these situations in a totally new way, one that will help you not only become a delivery person of calmness, but will make you a more reliable and steadfast instrument of peace.

      Every Day Another Opportunity

      What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.

      Pericles (via Angie at Pick My Brains Art)

      Wandering through my inbox, I found this quote from my good friend Angie. It was followed by a Google Reader feed that also addressed the question of what our purpose is here.  Things that keep popping up in my days I call my “theme” of the week/month/year. So my theme, it would seem, is what I’ve come to believe is what’s important to me and how I honor that principle.

      Every moment in my day is an opportunity to try a different way of thinking. To truly SEE with the eyes of gratitude. Each moment offers me a choice – in how I  respond and act, words I choose, etc.  But also and just as important to this soul is choosing the myriad of little, seemingly trivial choices: which thoughts to listen to, choosing to make eye contact with a stranger and smile, choosing what’s more important in a situation, or choosing my motives.

      Consciousness is a requirement. I find that when I’m not practicing gratitude, my actions all become rote. I sleepwalk through so many things, so many opportunities that would be lost without making a decision to pay attention to each of the individual moments I’m given.  And at the end of the day I take stock of what would be left behind in that day, should it have been my last.

      • Where was I Love?
      • When did I choose forgiveness?
      • When did I offer charity, even if I wasn’t really feeling like it?
      • Did I offer hope?
      • Did I uplift people in my world that day?

      “Everybody knows they’re going to die, but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently…

      ‘So we kid ourselves about death’

      ‘Yes, but there’s a better approach. To know you’re going to die and be prepared for it at any time. That’s better. That way you can be actually be more involved in your life while you’re living.

      Every day, have a little bird on your shoulder that asks, ‘Is today the day? Am I ready? Am I doing all I need to do? Am I being the person I want to be?‘ … The truth is, once you learn how to die, you learn how to live…

      Most of us walk around as if we’re sleepwalking. We really don’t experience the world fully because we’re half asleep, doing things we automatically think we have to do…

      Learn how to die, and you learn how to live.'” – Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom

      If we really had that little bird on our shoulder asking us throughout our day if we are ready to die today, we would find gratitude and so much opportunity in every moment. We would appreciate every sunset, every drive or walk,  every phone call from our parents or siblings, every chat with our friends, every taste we experienced through all of our senses, and so on. Urgency, significance, and passion would electrify every moment.

      We would remember how significant each human experience is and pinch ourselves regularly as a reminder to appreciate these moments. Every day and every situation and every event would be meaningful and memorable down to the most routine of things.

      I choose to imagine that little bird on my shoulder, though some days I’d just as soon he fly away and find some other shoulder to perch upon! But when I’m honest with myself, in my heart of hearts, I like to keep it there as a reminder to stay conscious and present. For its in learning how to die, that I learn how to live.

      Namaste,
      ~me

      New Year!

      “We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.

      Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential.”

      Ellen Goodman

      It really has it been THAT long since I’ve posted! Wow. Seriously, wow. So much for posting as things come up. I can only sheepishly offer the pathetic excuse of the holidaze. It is what it is and regardless…I’m back for the moment. 😀

      I read the quote above on New Year’s Day and I tried it on for size.  It fit. Like a glove. I never really thought of a new year as anything but a new beginning and a chance to improve upon past years. Not in a bar-too-high way. More in a I-probably-COULD-get-up-30-minutes-earlier sort of way.

      I know I try not to “should” all over myself. Doesn’t really do alot of good, other than make me feel like I’m just not cutting it.

      So in the spirit of the quote, I’ll look for the potential. It’s all about perspectives anyway, isn’t it?

      The pipe freezing and water damage to my side of the master closet and down the garage wall?

      Its an opportunity to clear out my closet and reorganize the garage (who knows? maybe even make it clear enough to put a CAR into! I dream big!)

      The news at Christmas that a close family member has a incurable disease and a very short time left?

      Its an opportunity to count each day as a gift and appreciate the things I am ABLE to do – then go out and try and use those abilities to help other people.

      Do you see what I mean? I really do believe that everything and everyone has flaws and cracks and brokeness – its what we DO with these things that makes our lives and situations for the good or not.

      So I resolve this new year to be more lenient with myself and with others – to find the potential in each and every “bad” thing that happens. Because seeing life as a series of tragedies and drama, without realizing that at the heart of anything is the potential for unimaginably great things is not a life I want to live.  And why not start looking at things differently THIS year? THIS day?

      (As a side note, this also alleviates my need to “vow” to do better at posting every day! How about instead I will try and enjoy each and every moment life has and when I can, I’ll come and share it?  Yes. I think I like this new way of things!)

      Namaste,

      ~me