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


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      What if…

      Madison Street Festival 2009

      “What if…

      We stopped waiting for permission to be content and started working towards it?

      We spent less time thinking of what we can’t do and more time just doing things that make us come alive?

      We focused on loving ourselves first instead of trying to find love through others?

      We didn’t think it was bad when we felt down but instead recognized that it’s part of the ebb and flow of life?

      We believed that each person we met could change the world?

      We used the resources we have wisely rather than trying to get more of what we don’t need?

      We remembered the good things as much as we remember the bad things?

      We cried when we needed to and asked for help without feeling small?

      We looked at ways we could help other people instead of ways they can help us?

      We worried less and loved more?

      We thought about possibilities instead of necessities?…

      We spent the time we spend researching celebrities and athletes figuring out what makes our kids tick?

      We enjoyed success of others as much as we enjoy our own success?

      We stopped praying for solutions to problems we’ve caused and start fixing them ourselves?

      We believed the only way to get the Good Stuff of human life is to help others get it first?

      We believed that people would manifest the best parts of themselves if they had the opportunity to do so?

      We’re more powerful than we’ll ever understand?…” ~Excerpts from: Productive Flourishings and Productive Flourishings

      And my own two cents:

      We filled our lives with uplifting news?

      We quit making assumptions and tried to be more empathetic?

      We saw ourselves and everyone around us as our 5 year old selves?

      We could believe in the integrity of others’ beliefs,  instead of needing to be right?

      We didn’t let the past define today?

      What if…

      Namaste,

      ~me

      Its NOT Personal

      My FaceBook Bumper Sticker

      Strange as it may seem, I still hope for the best, even though the best,
      like an interesting piece of mail, so rarely arrives … and even when it does it can be lost so easily.” ~  Lemony Snicket, The Beatrice Letter

      Continue reading

      Perseverance IS a Lesson

      Earlier today, I had the opportunity to discuss the topic of navigating when life throws you a curve ball. Perseverance was brought up. Hindsight offering a better perspective than the current reality could was also mentioned. For me, that’s what I call my learning “curve” in life.

      Life's PathIf I look back on the moments in my life, I can see those curves in the road. Blind curves that I couldn’t see until I was swinging wide to the right or left. You know. The moments when I think, “This changes everything” or “I can’t see my way out”. Its that free-fall feeling; an anxiety and fear driven uncertainty of what the outcome will be, because I can’t even imagine how it could possibly EVER work out! But it ends up working out in a way that wasn’t even a blip on my imaginary horizon and infinitely better than anything that I could come up with in my catastrophizing “what if“s! Besides, what am I guaranteed besides THIS moment, really?!

      If I’m not experiencing highs and lows in life, then I’m a flat line – and everybody knows a flat line means I’m dead! There are those things that can make me lose all perspective – things that I cannot possibly wrap my finite brain around. I just have to have faith that something good will come of it all. More times than not I’m left with faith being the only alternative, with the understanding that when I’ve moved out of and past “IT”, that I can look back with those high definition hindsight goggles and SEE what lesson there was in it all. I mean, if I’m not learning something from all these mistakes then what’s it all for?

      My quote of the day comes today from Angie. Throwing her two cents in, she said,

      Sometimes there isn’t any lesson … sometimes the only lesson is perseverance.

      That has been pinging around my mind all day! Because there are those events in life that I look back on – look for the lesson – and have to acknowledge that while I believe there are no mistakes in life, I may just have to wait until I’m done here to understand why some things happen. And maybe the only gain is a little bit more faith. 🙂

      I’m still here, which means that the next time I get thrown a curve, I remember that while I may not see the solution, I DO remember this feeling from that last curve and hey! I survived that, didn’t I? Each night is followed by day…each down by an up…and as long as I’m breathing in and out, my life will continue to ebb and flow. 

      Reminds me of a post I wrote almost 7 years ago on my first blog entitled “Snow Globe Effect Perspective

      I am one of those people,
      when someone begins to speak
      mentally “see” my own version of the subject matter.
      (I hope other people do that too)
      So what?” you may wonder.
      Recently, I was privileged to be in the company of others
      who were discussing the topic of perspectives.
      Snow Globe PerspectiveMy internal theater screen flickered to life
      filling my head with a image of myself,
      in the center of a snowglobe.
      “Snow” was swirling and circling my head.
      I could not see beyond it to the world that lies through the glass.
      My perspective and vantage point were snowblind
      Now the bitch of it is
      I’M the one who shook the freakin globe!
      I could hear a faint familiar voice,
      “…our troubles, we think, are of our own making…”
      Yeah,yeah,yeah.
      Creating blizzards of emotional chaos
      Seems to be a natural gift I have been bestowed with.
      Getting out of the way of The Source,
      Trusting that It knows the way
      out of the blinding storms I create in my little world,
      Allowing myself to be led
      Despite the fear of the unknown
      Confidence that all is as it should be
      and will be
      And capitulating to this certainty
      That is SO hard!
      The thematic lesson that keeps thrusting itself into my path?
      FAITH
      Should be simple, right?
      Experience has taught me time and time again
      No matter how much “snow” blinds me…
      No matter how much I want to manipulate my way into it…
      No matter how much I fight…
      or conversely want to give in-just give up…
      If I just wait-
      If I just be still and have FAITH
      It always turns out better than I could fathom
      Life comes back to me higher
      than the limits of my imagination
      Only, being in the middle of that snowglobe,
      I can’t SEE that
      until the I can look back in hindsight.
      To sum it up in one neat lil package:
      “…cause I gotta have Faith, Faith, Faith…”
      ::SIGH::
      ~Me

      Namaste,

      ~me

      I’d Be a Cat

      smalltuck

      A long time ago, there was a forum where friends would post random bits of hard-earned wisdom, motivational quotes, rants about things they couldn’t do anything about, hope, sadness, and all the colors in between.

      One of the more engaging and humorous activities was to answer “What type of animal would you be?”

      Here are some of the responses and my answer (after spending WAY too much time researching and thinking!):

      The first She Said:

      Hey, I was just thinking…(i know very dangerous)  But anyway….

      If we had to be an animal what would we all see ourselves as?

      I know that my perception of others is different from my perception of myself.  So I thought for a minute …………….I would best describe myself as an ostrich. I can get mad and spit on someone/ I can run pretty fast/ and I can bury my head in the sand when I get scared or don’t want to face it.

      Let’s hear what you guys see yourselves as! (Just a fun thing)

      *He said: “a bear…….kind of slow, kind of, well, rounded, like to hibernate, kind of furry, but have the capability to turn into a pretty different animal altogether if my tractor is cranked…….i give good hug, though……”

      She Said: :A chameleon. Do reptiles count? LOL”

      Another She said: “Oh wow!! Played this game years ago … here was what I came up with and I think it still
      applies today:  A Dolphin… gets to play in the water all the time. They are flirtatious but fearful of new things and a bit shy around strangers but extremely bright and they fly with out leaving the earth…yeah. Given the chance I would wanna be a dolphin”

      *He thought about it and said: I think the question was “would” instead of “could”…. if it was “could”…..a cheetah……..what does the fast cat say? “mmeeEEEOOOoowww” as it flies past at 65 mph…..”

      Yet another She Said:a pink flamingo…”

      He #2 said: “An Eagle. Flying the skies at will, and swooping down on my next unsuspecting victim…”

      He #3 said: “Ummm……I’d be the Cat in the Hat….”

      He #4 said: “An elephant. Think about it…”

      He #5 said: “A falcon— anyone that knows me knows why—-Love to touch the clouds. Leonardo DeVinci said it best– ‘When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward. For there you have been, and there you will always long to be.’ “

      Another She chimed in with: “I’m not sure I’ve evolved up to the animal kingdom yet. Maybe I’d be a zuchini…”

      He #6 said:Yesterday, during another session of junior golf (when does school start!) I watched a dog who is owned by one of the families who has a child in my junior golf program. He had a blast yesterday (my perception). On what I observed I would have liked to be him yesterday:
      As he ran around people petted him just as long as  he wanted to put up with it,

      when a bird or rabbitt or another roving rodent ran by he chased it with reckless abandon,

      when he was hot or thirsty he ran to any one of the lakes and plunged in without a care,

      when he was tired he camped out on the porch surrounding the club,

      and whether hungry on not people were always tring to feed him.

      And at the end of the day he was seen trotting home to a family who is known to all of us at work to love this dog dearly. His name(and this is true I swear) is “Run-a-round” and it would have been a great day to be a dog in the country.”

      So what would I be?  Hmmm… here’s what I said:

      “After much thought (WAAAAY too much, but thats another post!) … I think I must be just simple house cat:
      they can spaz out but land on their feet, always appearing to have MEANT to spaz out…
      they spend most of their time stretching and napping either by a fire or in a sunbeam…
      they cannot HELP but investigate the why’s of the world with their curiosity…
      they purr when they are content and happy…
      they can love you, and you them, but remain independent by the same measure…
      they are quiet and padded, stealthily prowling through life…
      they can be playful with the proper motivation,but deadly serious when tracking…

      MOST of all, they have the proverbial “nine lives” with which to screw up!

      😛 meow. 😀

      ~me

      On the Topic of Friendships

      Everyone on this Earth has people. Some have more people than others, some prefer more solitude than company. But I suspect that the vast majority of souls breathing in and out on this Earth have at least some people.

      They say you can choose your friends, but not your family. I started thinking about all the people I’ve known in my lifetime who I have called friends. And that got me to wondering what it is about some people that makes them friends – how you can meet someone for the first time and feel as though you’ve known them all your life or know someone all your life and never really feel that close to them. Why do some “stick” (for lack of a better word) and some fall by the wayside? Why can I walk into a room full of people – strangers to me – and feel a sense of familiarity about one, but not the other, without knowing them at all? And why are some still there after 36 years and some gone after only a few seasons?

      SOooo…I sent out an email several years ago to see what my friends thought it was all about. Below is a condensed version (because I seem to surround myself with people like me who love words – imagine that!) of thier thoughts on the subject. (As an aside? Some are the very same people whose paths diverged and continued in a different direction as mine – I rarely, if ever, talk to or see them anymore.)

      Peace,

      ~me Solitary Comforts

      She Said:

      I suppose I’ve had a lot of friends over the years, many of whom have come and gone. When I was single I had friends who had common interests and were in similar situations and have not been able to keep up with them. As my life situation has changed (marriage, house, child), my time is more limited and I find that I am only keeping up with those with whom I have a real connection. They are supportive, loyal friends who are easy to talk to. And if time passes and we haven’t spoken for a while, we can always just pick up right where we left off. I’m not sure why there are some people you can do that with and others you can’t. I think that somehow we just connect with certain people, understand where they’re coming from and not others. Not sure what makes that connection happen with some people and not others. I guess some people are just kindred spirits.

      He Said:

      I find questions like this to be an examination of motives, fears, selfishness,and intentions.

      I have meet over the years thousand of people which I have had friendship and relations. They have been from all around the country and the world. I have been very blessed and fortunate to have had contact with all of them.

      Most of the relationships (and when I refer to relationships, I mean friendships) have been lasting, but not very intimate. Some were with people I would see almost everyday and some with people that would only be in town for a month at a time… I grew up in a resort area where families would come to town every year for a certain period of time for their family vacations. Let me simplify this: I have had lots of friends through out the years.

      Now you can see, without going into the whole of the inventory, the searching that I have had to do in trying to answer this question. The answer is simple: I just don’t really know!!!!

      … Looking back the people that were the closest or have remained in my heart the most have been people that I shared some form of growth with. Whether it was spiritual, psychological, educational, or physical, some sort of growth was there. Sharing of myself was a great key to this… And the wheel goes round …

      She Said:

      I’ll tell you one thing your email did for me: it made me call up my dear friends and so was able to talk to them all in a day!

      She Said:

      Hmmm…this may be a coffee vapor topic. Isn’t it interesting? You always seem to be surrounded by people, friends, but don’t feel a connection? Quite frankly, I think this is typical and common. We have a small circle of “friends” and a larger circle of “companions”. But I think how you FEEL about those people makes the difference on which side you are on.

      Ask yourself, “would (blank) do anything I asked if I needed to?”. I think you may have more “friends” than you know.

      Being a friend also takes work. I know that I can call you…to ask various and sundry things… but I also know that you work two jobs and have two school age kids. You know that I am the mother of two school age kids and the director of a brand new center, but you also know that you can count on me as Emergency contact for your school age kids. Our friendship remains intact, while the time we spend together is virtually non-existant due to circumstances – the places where we are in our lives. Sometime in the future, you may be at a different PLACE with your relationships with “companions” so that they become friends.

      But now I feel that I’ve gotten off on a tangent – what was the question again? …

      I think a soulmate-type persona would be someone who challenges you to be better; who knows your weaknesses and looks beyond them; who is on the same “level” as you in life and therefore wants to move onward and upward with you; someone you can be completely honest with without fear.

      She Said:

      Oh God,L! What you’re going to get here is misspelled honest-as-i-can-get stream of consciousness.

      People I have as friends (can count on one hand) and those I want for friends (quite a few more) are:

      • people who love me (and treat me like they do)
      • people who want what I want (helping me to justify my wants)
      • people who have what I want (and are willin to share it with me)
      • people who let me do things for them (even if they don’t particularly want it done)
      • people who encourage me to do things I would never take on myself (no matter how much I whine)

      In short, mostly folks that I think have something for ME.

      But every now and then, and you touched on it, there’s someone I run across for which none of these things seem to apply—perfect stranger, nobody special, nothing in common really—it just seems that I’ve either known them BEFORE or God WANTS me to know them. And I’m drawn. Past that, I try to be liked, and if I think it might be taking, then I try to be a good friend (but I’m still just a beginner.)

      Thanks for the mail. It’s nice to know that maybe I’m not the only one.

      She Said:

      Wow.You don’t want much do you?

      How do I define friendship?  What attracted me to those people?  Because I waited so long to get and stay sober nearly all of my friendships are of 6 years or less variety. and I don’t know what it is other than to describe it as a chemical spark or Providence stepping in if you will and saying “Yes, (my child), this one.”

      She Said:

      Thanks for asking.

      I think shared experiences and a desire to stay connected with that person because of what they “bring to the table” starts friendships.

      When a person is open with another person, acts friendly/nice/kind, or performs acts of kindness and thoughfulness and respect, the relationship grows and becomes more cemented.  Over time, this forms a bond of friendship.

      If the other person in the relationship doesn’t offend or hurt the other, then the relationship will continue on. When one offends the other, the friendship can be salvaged by forgiveness, which may or may not be asked for by the one who did the offending. If the “offending party” asks for forgiveness, then it’s more likely that the relationship continues.

      I also think some people start off with a bond that is there at the instant of initial meeting, as if they know that they are supposed to be friends. I don’t really know why this automatic attraction is there. It has happened to me, and it’s as if something in someone’s personality and even appearance attracts the other person. I don’t know if it’s the other person smiling, being open thru words or body language, or that person being interested in knowing me, or what (maybe all of that & more); but there’s an element of attractiveness that is somewhat irresistible and probably Divine that’s present.

      HE Said:

      This is definitely an intriguing question or group of wanderings that have made me think heavily about people in my life past present and future. I’m not sure where I’m gonna end up with this but here goes…

      When I started to think about what makes a friend or what brings “friends” together, I became a little sad. I thought, as you did, about how few there really were. About just how small the number of people in my life that are true friends that as you put it have “stuck”. I can definitely count them on one hand and that probably is a little bit of over kill.

      I guess I would first have to make a feeble attempt at defining what a “true” friend is. I guess this is ultimately subjective and individual as each person is sure to cherish certain traits or characteristics or values or virtues or whatever you choose to call it more than others.

      But, I do believe there are some “universal absolutes” we all recognize as admirable qualities of character and these would probably be good places to start. Things like honesty, loyalty, courage, intelligence, humor as well as other different abilities are all desired attributes of our acquaintances, but as far as people we choose to be close to us and confide our closest secrets to and actually let become part of our families this is not always enough.

      My idea of what a “friend” is has changed drastically as of late. Not too long ago I surrounded myself with people like me – scared, confused little children who had little knowledge of real life but pretended to know it all. I thought I had the best friends in the world, and thought I was the best friend I could be. “Ride ‘til we die!” A bunch of little thugs well on their way to the grave or the cell block (a lot of my so called friends are exactly in those places).

      I remember one Sunday after drinking all day at Hooters me and a couple of my guy friends and one girl friend decide it would be a great idea to do a beer run – long story short it went really wrong and wound up being armed robbery. They got caught a few days later but they never gave me or the girl up to the police although we were there, it was my car, and I was driving (which no doubt would have lightened their sentence). That was my idea of what friends were. That was loyalty! They spent time in prison “for me” and never once used my guilt against me. I thought those were true friends.

      How wrong was I? True friends would have never been accomplices to my crime in the first place. My true friends in those times were the ones who tried to help me and keep me from doing such things and I eventually pushed them away by continuing to behave the way I did and treating them the way I did by manipulating them and using them.

      But I digress… I have established that essentially I have no idea what makes a friend a friend, but I am either attempting to discover this for myself or b.s.’ing you and myself into believing I know something I don’t, so bear with me.

      I have begun to see what being a “friend” is, and it isn’t always what one would think. It isn’t always nice or pretty or polite or even fun. I have found that for me the ones that I have chosen to stick and that have likewise chosen me to stick care less about the superficial b.s. that so many think is important and truly care more about the welfare or each other. They don’t mind hurting one another if it will be for the best. Honesty is what the relationship must rely upon. There has to be ultimate comfort and candidness. You need to feel like you can say anything without losing your friend.

      Now don’t get me wrong – there has to be some way of meeting, someway of getting together, a common ground, like interests. But after all of that, the ones that remain and become eternal and become like family are the ones who for lack of better language can get under the surface of you and you of them. It has to mutual and it has to be real. You have to share each others’ soul in a matter of speaking.

      I don’t know if you understand what I’m saying or if I even understand it. I just know that I never made a real connection with another person before in my life until I got sober (including family). I wasn’t capable. I didn’t know how. I was ill equipped. Now I’m fully capable because of a spiritual connection. The connections I’ve made recently are tremendous and although only a few, I’m sure, will stand the test of time, I am grateful to be able to make them none the less, because even though they may not be of the permanent variety, they are real and I get to participate fully, which is new for me. Thanks for such a thought provoking subject.

      Peace.

      Positives From a Negative

      Echoes from past postings. I like to pull conversations and words up from some of the past postings on another website, where I had some fundamentally simple concept THWACK me on the forehead until I said, “Ohhhh….” and a lightbulb went off. An epiphany, if you will. 🙂

      (in response to some much needed advice and support while recouping from a setback in life)

      December 9,2004

      I appreciate, again, all the positive energies flowing my way. I have decided that if there is an immediate lesson to be learned from the events of the recent past, its that I have some REALLY REALLY WONDERFUL people in my life!!!

      And that maybe, despite my self-deluding perceptions to the contrary, I apparently DO what I have been taught over the years by you guys.

      I know in the grand scheme of things that its just a “thing” …something that will offer me that 20/20 hindsight one day. BUT…I have to say this and then let it go:

      being able to vent, getting some solid (sometimes too specific…BE NICE!) input,

      spending more time with other recovering people,

      allowing myself to be the one who needed instead of meeting needs,

      realizing who doesnt just talk the talk…

      all of these positives came from a single negative.

      I have run the gamut today from being ok…to spending a good chunk of the day really, really down and subject to sudden bouts of tears…to self-righteous indignation…to overwhelming fear of uncertainty…to this.

      And right now, in THIS moment, I am peacefully sad. I’m sad because there are always 2 sides to every story and there isn’t a doubt in my mind that right now I am sitting in a much more peaceful place than some are.

      I am blessed and grateful for the opportunities. I try to make sure that those in my life know that and I wish that everyone could somehow receive all that and more.

      Maybe I was just in the way of something that is so BIG it can’t be seen by we mere mortals! Just a small role in the big picture. And though I know everything can change in a single minute, my heart is heavier than you guys know …for the WASTE of it all!!

      THAT is what upsets me the most – I don’t burn bridges, as a rule…one of the silly little rules that I live by. But I am powerless to stop others from destruction on anybody’s bridge once it has been marked for demolition and events set in motion.

      So tonite as I lay my head down,
      I am grateful.
      I am awed.
      I am emotionally exhausted by the day.
      I am grieving the loss – of unknown possibilities.
      I am humbled.
      I am, at least for this moment in time,
      at peace.