Change, Daily Life, friendship, Gratitude, Inspiration, Love, Relationships, Self

We Have to Love What Is

We have to love what is.  We have to. I  will say it again, We have to love what is.  If we want to be happy, if we want to have joy, if we want to have peace, we have to love what is. We awaken each day and are presented with our life.  We get to choose how we spend that day.  Because the day is, what the day is. Our lives have taken us down many paths, we have wandered through people, places, events, circumstances and they have all brought us to this moment. And we waken to it. And it is ours to live it as we choose.

And where we go from there is what defines us.  Here is what is for sure, life is going to change. It could be subtle and slow, it could be overnight, it could come in like tidal wave. And sometimes the change is hard to love, even impossible in that moment.  But there always another piece of life to love even in the midst of grief or disaster.

For instance, when I lost my home that was hard to love. I had to watch my son move out on his own under less than ideal circumstances. I had to hand over keys to a home I had married in, raised my child, and pretty much grown up there. It was my grandmothers house before me.  So how to love anything about that?  Well I get to see my son grow into a man.  He takes care of himself, supports himself, he is building his life.  He was stuck before, now he is growing. For myself, that house was draining me.  It was too much for me, too large. I did not have money to keep it up as it needed. The house took all of my energy and money. So for me, my life is easier. I have much less responsibilities and headaches. I have time now to look around and see what else I want in my life.  I feel less stressed, less burdened and way more free. So everything has shifted, I know now that was a gift of growth for my son and myself.

But back to today and loving what is.  If we close our eyes to the joys of today because we are missing the past or uncomfortable with the present we cheat ourselves.   We have to live in today, and we have to love today, just as it is.  Say yesterday was this beautiful blue sky day you spent in joy.  That is awesome, but it is done. Now today, the sky is grey. Love the grey day.  Don’t miss today because we are looking backwards. Take the joys of yesterday, and the sorrows, and the lessons and move into today and love what is.  This is our gift of today, there is always something to love.

“You don’t get to vote on what is.
Have you noticed?”

~ Byron Katie ~

Life is going to happen, it is going to take weird and confusing twists and turns.  As I said in my last post I did not think my life was headed in this direction. I can sit in the past and be sad that people I love have passed on, or I can celebrate that so many people I love are here and welcome my love. I can mourn lost relationships and have a pity party, or I can be ready  for  the next amazing relationship  headed my way and be happy that I am open for that.  I can be sad that my sister has been through hell physically. or I can be so very amazed at how strong she is and inspired by her fight to have her life back.  I can feel lonely that my friend moved away, or I can love her so much that I am happy she is happy. I can accept that in today’s world distance means nothing, and that the love does not change.   I can look around and see all the amazing people at my fingertips, friends and family that I can reach out and hug. They are here today, Love what is.  I can feel a longing for a time when I lived with my son, his girlfriend and our dogs.  It was a perfect moment and a gift. Or I can see that he is stronger, smarter, more confident and that she is in a loving relationships and so very happy. And they both still love me and want me in their lives. How about I  be happy with that? How about I love what is.

My life is not perfect, but I am damn well going to love it anyway.  I am going to love what I have today, I going to love whatever is coming my way. I am going to enjoy each piece, each step of the journey, each lesson, each joy, every gift.  Because I don’t want to waste my days, I want them to spent in love and joy and peace and laughter. I know that is a tall order,. I know I will trip up and that is fine, I will love that part also. And then I will stand up and remember who I am and why I am here. And that is to be Love

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Change, Daily Life, Gratitude, Inspiration, Love, Relationships, Spirit

Everything Changed, and I Don’t Have a Plan

That time of the year that brings out the best and worst in me.  Because as much as I am about light, joy, love, tucked away inside are pockets of sadness, fear and loneliness.  And holidays exacerbate that.  Those places of pain keep floating up.  They come up when I am alone, they come up through music, they come up when a harsh headline catches my eye, when I waken and see that I am alone.  I am fragile this time of year.

Perhaps it is autumn.  The very brilliance of nature displayed before my eyes every day.  And yet the earth is giving her last beauty before shutting down for the winter.  The days are shorter and home calls everyone sooner.  I miss living with a family.  I feel that more in the fall and winter.  My father’s favorite time of year was Fall.  He died Nov 6, 1997.  I miss him every day, but most especially right now.  My mother,  she received her cancer diagnosis the week after Thanksgiving 3 years ago. November is hard for me.

Everything has changed, and I don’t have a plan. All the ways I thought my life would go, this was not it. I never thought I would be alone so long. I have been divorced almost 20 years.  It was never my plan to stay single forever.  I have always been longing for that relationship that would enhance my life and take to the next level.  My fear is that I am running out of time.  I fear I will die without having ever been really loved.  I am not talking about family and friends. I know I am loved. But to have that sharing, loving, interpersonal relationship with one person, that is missing. It is like I go through the day and say nope not today. I go through the week, the month and the year, and say ‘not yet” keep waiting. Stay open, be available to what the Universe has in mind. But really this was not my plan.

I am in 50’s, my son is 36. I don’t have any grandchildren.  He gets to live exactly as he chooses, and I love him unconditionally. But this was not my plan.  By the time he decides to have children (if he does) I am afraid I will be too old for us to really fully enjoy each other.   I just thought there would be grandchildren in my life at some point.  It is another relationship that is missing from my life.

So I feel melancholy, wistful for the past, wishing the present was different.  I guess my biggest fear is that I am running out of time.  The months and years are passing, and I am getting older. And everything has changed, and I don’t have a plan. Do I just run with that?  Be okay with no plan, no goal, no agenda.

I am simply living my life everyday, as best I can. Is that enough?  Because right now I am kind of living on faith.  Faith that at some point all of this will make sense.  Faith that this path with all of it’s twists and turns. the sunny and dark spots is leading somewhere. Faith that somehow all my lessons and growth are steering toward that time in my life when I can say “yes, this was where the path was taking me, I am home” .

I did an online search to see if anyone else supported not having a goal or a plan.  This is the only thing  I found..

Effort within the mind further limits the mind, because effort implies struggle towards a goal and when you have a goal, a purpose, an end in view, you have placed a limit on the mind.”
― Bruce LeeTao of Jeet Kune Do

Everyone else thinks you need a goal, a plan, an agenda to move you forward in life.  I like the Bruce Lee one, I like not placing limits.  I want to be open to the Universe and whatever path It takes down.  But then, we are back to faith. I know things are going to change in my life.  I know at some point I will live somewhere else. I know my son will fall in love and have babies.  I know a new relationship will come in my life. I will make new friends, have new experiences, say goodbye to people, places…..  I don’t have a plan for of any this.  Is that okay?

In my faith, Centers for Spiritual Living, we recognize that we are God manifesting on earth.  That everything is God, everyone, every being, no exceptions.  We all walk through life made up of the same substance that God is. And we know that we work together with God to manifest the state of being we find ourselves in.  We understand it is God working through us to experience life on this plane and it is God’s great pleasure for us to live in joy.

And that is my faith.  And that is what carries me through the dark sides of my life.  I know experiencing these feelings, sharing them, living them helps me to grow and be more humble and compassionate. Talking about my fears brings them to the light. I don’t have to hide away and feel different and alone.

I know I have been blessed, so very blessed.  I grew up knowing love, I have been able to bear and love a child.  I have loved in many different ways, friends, lovers, pets, family, nature, God.  I am way ahead of so many people. And I know this, every single day.

But I am human and complex and my pain and fear is valid also. I don’t have to be homeless, battered, disabled or the many other states that people struggle through to have my feelings.  I get to have my feelings. I get to have my dark places.  I get to be lonely, I get to be wistful, but I don’t get to stay there.  I remember who I am and why I am on this path.  And when my step falters, I pause and feel my feelings,then I  take a deep breath, and say “This too, is God”

And so it is…….

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Daily Life, Gratitude, Inspiration, Relationships, Self, Spirit

What am I Spending my Time On?

How are you spending your time? How am I spending my time? I have been learning lessons along the way from sister while she goes through her rehabilitation to regain her life. I am her greatest supporter and cheerleader.  I also watch her carefully for bumps in the road that she might not see coming. She is in the thick of it and I am outside so I have a different perspective. And what I know is her resources, both physical and mental, are limited. And how she uses her resources (energy, time, thoughts, habits) are going to determine the quality of her life to come.

So I say to her ” I know you are not hungry, but when you do eat make sure the food is healthy and good for you.”  ” I know you get tired, so spend your time on things that feed your soul, that make you happy.”  ” I know your mind can only absorb so much right now, so don’t take in information that will not help you heal and recover”.  And we work on that, making sure she uses her resources in a way that will support her recovery.

We all need to do this. I need to do this.  I have been down this road myself but my sister has reminded how important it is. How am I spending my time, and what am spending it on?  Does it make life better, does it make me happier, have more joy, more love, more peace, more growth?  And if does not, why am I doing it?  I don’t have to be in crisis to spend my time wisely and mindfully.

I know I have to go to work everyday to support myself.  I know that every day at work is not awesome. But I can still be awesome.  I don’t have to let my surroundings define me. It is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of stress and gossip that pervade my work place. But that is not me, and I can have a boundary around that.  And I actually do. Occasionally I slip into it. But I have to tell you I slip out it pretty fast.  I know that is not who I am. I know my basic purpose for being at work is financial. It enables me to live my life freely and without obligation.  But beyond I also know my purpose where ever I am is to be a loving presence. So yes, even though I spend 40 hours a week in an office and all that goes with that, it is my choice and a decision I have freely made.  I do not let my workplace define me.

So beyond the work week everything is my choice. I always can say yes or no. But I also know if something shows up in my life on some level I have invited that. Even if it is not comfortable or pretty or easy, it is still my lesson.  I can learn it now or it will just come back later.  The older I am the more I take the lesson now. Why not, I have to learn it to move forward.

And the older I am the more I know what I do not want in my life. I don’t want drama, I don’t want gossip, I don’t want negativity, I don’t want anger, I don’t want to be around people that will use me, I don’t want hatred.  And I don’t have much of that around me.  I see it, I read about it, I overhear it, but it does not come into my space very much. And I think that is because I have worked hard for the last few years on defining exactly what I do want in my life and spending my time watering those seeds.

So my life is good, I spend time making sure it stays that way. I spend time on things that feed my soul. I read inspirational writings, I spend time in nature, I spend time at church, I spend time with those I love, I spend time in prayer, I spend time in music,  I spend time in creating a safe haven to come home to. I spend time in my community. I make sure my family and friends know I love them.  I listen to them, I share with them. I also spend time on junk tv and on dirty jokes with my girlfriends. I spend time going to lunch or dinner, enjoying what world has to offer. I spend as much time as I can in laughter. I spend time taking photos of whatever moves my soul. I spend my time moving my body whether exercise, sex or a walk in nature. I enjoy my body, I feed it. I let it sing, I let dance, I let it live.

And that is what I spend my time on. And each of those things are choices I make day in and day out. I choose to spend my time on things that feed my soul.  I hope you do too. Life is fast and can change on a dime.  Don’t waste your minutes because they become your hours, and that becomes your life. Everyday you get to choose where you spend your time.

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Daily Life, friendship, Inspiration, Relationships, Self

Sharing our Stories

Are you listening to me?  I had this experience yesterday; an acquaintance asked how my sister was doing.   As I shared about her I could see he was not listening.  He looked engaged, his face was pointed at me, but something was off.  As soon as I finished my sentence he launched into a story about himself and an experience he had.  So really you just want to talk about yourself.  Do you ask me these questions as an opening for talking about yourself?  Do you even care or remember what I said? I don’t think so.

 Thing is, he is nice guy, he didn’t even see what he did.  He probably thinks we had a nice conversation.  His experience was so very different than mine.  And it happens all the time. While we are listening we are preparing our next thought, our response,our words.  And maybe we are missing some really important stuff.

Being heard is essential to our well being.  What happens when we feel heard?  We feel acknowledged, we know we matter, that what we think and say has substance and is important.  Important enough for someone to stop their own thoughts and listen to ours. It is validating. 

So why does this happen, where we jump forward in our thoughts before we hear out the other person?  I think one reason is that people want to share their stories. We want connection.  Long long ago we shared our stories, we shared our lives around the hearth, at the sewing tables, while preparing meals,  during long dark winters. People shared stories. That was how we learned our history and our life lessons.   That is innate in us, that need to communicate and be connected. Somehow we have lost those storytelling skills. But not the need for the storytelling. 

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Maya Angelou

So we are all out here trying to tell our story, in a fast paced electronic world. I am sitting here alone in my apartment typing my story to share with you.  Things have changed so much, our world has both grown and shrunk.  But we still need that human connection, hearing the voice, seeing their eyes, sharing laughter and smiles one to one.  Yesterday I was with my sister and I had something to tell her but we busy at that moment.  So I said ” oh it’s a whole story” and her response was ” great I like stories”.  Yes we like to share our stories, but we need to listen to the stories being offered to us. 

Because that is the other part, we are so darn busy.  My life is simple and I am busy.  Life gets busy, all kinds of things fills our days:  raising families, working, maybe 2 jobs, doing volunteer work, have a scheduled workout routine, finding time for friends, being involved the church, being a caretaker, a million things make up the tapestry of our lives. Listen?  For that we have to slow down. We have to make time. We have to. 

I know to have anything manifest in my life I have to become that thing.  If I want love, I must be love. If I want peace, I have to be in a place of peace,   Want joy? Be joy. So if I want you to listen to my story, I have to listen to yours.  And as always,  it starts with me. I have to put out the energy for it to return to me. I want to be heard,. I want to tell my story.  I want you to listen to me, acknowledge me, actually hear me. So I am going to go out in the world and listen the stories.  Really hear them.  To not think about how I want to respond, what I am going to say.  But listen, and then take a breath and say to the person, thank you for sharing your story. I have learned something from you.  I appreciate you trusting me with your story.  And then, when the time is right, I know I can share my story and really be heard.

“In those moments when we tell stories together,
we are most truly human and most genuinely ourselves.”
Jeannine Pasini Beekman

Namaste

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Daily Life, Self, Spirit

Everyone is Beautiful (when you look with love)

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart. – Helen Keller

I am at a dinner a couple of weeks ago and my friend leans over and says “look at Mary, she is so beautiful tonight”. And she was. And I looked around again and there were all of these beautiful people,. The light was shining through them.  So I say to my friend ” I think the more we love people, they more beautiful they become”

That’s it, it is love, compassion, sharing, bonding, seeing the light in someone, It is not about mainstream beauty.  I have to tell you we are not necessarily beautiful people.  Take us apart piece by piece, we are regular humans, Someone has a big nose, someone has a crooked mouth, bad skin, the list goes on. Does not matter, they are beautiful to me when I look with loving eyes.

Take my son, he is not tall, dark and handsome, the society requirements for beauty in a man.  He is so beautiful to me. When I see him love fills my heart.  I only see this beautiful person who I love. I see his smile, I see his intelligence, I see his struggle to make in this world and still believe that life is good,  I see the love and respect he gives me and he is so fucking beautiful to me. His friends know his beauty, his family knows this, those that love him know this.

I guess beauty has changed for me, evolved.  I look at my sister, in her 50’s, lines, scars, some gray, life has left a mark on her but when she smiles or laughs, or touches me lovingly she is oh my gosh, so beautiful. My friends, when their faces light to see me, they are beautiful.  When someone shares their story and lessons with me they are beautiful. When I see someone overcome a challenge they are beautiful.  When I see that  the light of love fills someones heart, they are beautiful. When joy fills someone, and a smile splits their face open, they are beautiful. Even when tragedy hits, and the tears flow, they are beautiful in their honesty and their humanity.

I look at myself, I have lines in my face, I sag in places, my hair would be gray if I did not dye it. I have scars, my hands show the time I have spent here. Life, also, has left it’s mark on me, and I am more beautiful than I ever have been. And that is because now I look at myself with love.  I appreciate all I have been through.  Those struggles have made me strong,have made me loving.  Those lines I have are born from living life, from worrying about people I love, from thinking a new thought and from smiling and laughing, And I have earned every single one of them. I am done picking myself apart,  because if I only see beauty when I look with love, then it must be the same for you.  And If you are not looking at me with love, then that is your work to do, not mine.

Today in my world it is a beautiful blue sky day and I am going to enjoy every minute of it.  Autumn is here and the changing colors are brilliant, the air is crisp and the world is calling me to come out and play in it beauty.  But even in the dead of winter we can find beauty, in the rain slicked streets, children splashing in the puddle, the frost from our breath as we hurry home to warmth.  The purity of the snow, the fog settling in.  As long as we live from the heart and keep our eyes open we will find beauty in every step of our day.

Have a beautiful day

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