Change, Daily Life, Gratitude, Honesty, Inspiration, Relationships, Self, Spirit, The Past

Tradition and Letting Go

We are winding up the holiday season and I have been thinking on tradition lately.  What works, what doesn’t, why it so important to us, and how to let go of it.  So lately, I keep bumping up against tradition, my friends share their traditions, my family talks about ours, it seems to be very prevalent right now. And so many things have changed that I don’t even know which traditions are left. Is that good or bad?

Let’s just talk Christmas for a minute.  Traditionally my family celebrates on Christmas eve.  My family gathers, we eat and exchange gifts.  I do love that tradition (so I guess I have one), but the feel of that has changed over the years.  My family is small, we have no children, the excitement level is way calmer.  But we love each other and we want that sharing to happen.  However, all the traditional food we used to make for the dinner, gone.  This year we had Mexican food, it was wonderful.  Easy, everyone loves it and its healthy.  Is it a new tradition? Maybe….. I know we had fun, I know we laughed, I know we shared gifts and love with each other.  I know it felt good to all of us to share balance

the evening.  I think that was enough. We are evolved into a new way of coming together.  All we really want is to be together.

Everything changes with time, and traditions can either be a beautiful coming together or a expectation that no longer serves our well being.  When tradition changes to expectation or obligation, we need to make an adjustment.  As beautiful as some of traditions are sometimes holding them up is forced and feels sad to me. My holiday season is totally different than 20 years ago.  And I had expectations on how I wanted that to play out in my life. My family was supposed to be bigger, I was supposed to have grandchildren, I was supposed to have a partner, we are all supposed to share large Christmas Eve’s and Christmas day dinner. Traditional dishes, Grandma’s stuffing, my other Grandmas duck. The smells filling the house.  Much singing, cooking, laughter, all of that was supposed to happen every year.  It would be tradition.

Fast  forward to my life now.  Every year my sister and I go to this little lighted parade.  This year for some reason she did not go.  I went with other friends, had fun, enjoyed myself. At first I said to myself  “but we always go”, then I realized things change.  I can change with it and have fun, or I can be miserable.  Maybe we will get back to it and this will be the year we didn’t go. Or maybe that is just over and I can make it into something new that fits my life now. On my sisters birthday this year we baked cookies for Christmas.  That could be a nice new tradition, or maybe it was simply the perfect day, a one time thing.  I can be okay with that.  Traditions are built around time and circumstance.  Last  year a friend of mine and I spent part of New Years day walking out at the lake.  This year we plan to do the same.  Is this becoming tradition?  Maybe.  If we are still doing it in 5 years, then yes, this is our tradition. But if in 5 years one of us has moved,  circumstances have changed, whatever, that does not take away from this time. We should both be celebrating the New Year in the new way, while still remembering and honoring our times together.

“Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.― Gustav Mahler

So tradition is a lovely way of remembering the past, the places and people that brought us to today. And I love those feelings. The remembering keeps me connected to not only myself, but where I came from.  Honoring traditions is one way of doing that.   I want that for myself, my son, my family, my friends, my world.   But I want more.  I want to love today, just as it is.  I do not want to sit in tattered memories and worn traditions that only make me feel sad and lacking.  I want to remember my past and carry it into my future.  I want to celebrate today and make new traditions (or not) that fuel the life I live today.  I cannot live my life around outdated traditions that just don’t fit. And I don’t want that for those I love.  This is my life, not the remnants of anyone else’s.  I get to choose what I bring in.  I get to make my own traditions, and I get to let them go when the right time comes
“The human soul can always use a new tradition. Sometimes we require them.”
Yesterday, (Christmas day,) I sat on a rock for an hour listening to a guy play his guitar and sing out to the water. I was all alone, it was totally random, I can never repeat that moment, and I was absolutely at peace.  I felt connected to Spirit, to all those who have passed.  I felt such love for my people and my world. I was whole, perfect and complete in that moment.  I could have been elsewhere, (upholding tradition)  I was invited places, but followed my desires and found a perfect moment.  My wish is that others had that moment in their own ways.
So don’t do anything that feels forced.  Don’t say :well I have to, we have always done it this way”. No you don’t have to.  You get to choose what works for you now, without guilt. If someone says “well we have always done it this way,it is tradition” ask yourself this:
Does it feel good?
Does it feel right?
Do I want this?
Does this have meaning for me?
If you are not answering yes, then maybe it is time to rethink the act.
This is your life, live it.  Take the traditions that work for you and celebrate the hell out of them. Honor old traditions as it feels right for you, and make new traditions. But be ready to shift when life calls you elsewhere.  Life is going to change, be ready. Embrace it. don’t sit sad and alone because things are different.  Get out there and live.  We are the past, the present and the future in one breath.  We are one with the whole, and that includes time. But here in our humanness we have today.  And it is ours, so make it your own, dance your dance, sing your song and live with joy.  May all the traditions you choose to keep bring you joy, peace and a sense of rightness within your world.
Namaste
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Courage, Daily Life, Gratitude, Honesty, Love, Self, Soul, Spirit

In the Silence I Find Myself

It is in the silent spot I can hear myself think. The sweet sweet sound of silence is so hard to find these days.  I know when I awaken I have a moment of silence.  I may hear the sounds of nature, perhaps rain or a bird. or the occasional car go by, but mostly it is a silent moment to start the day.

What I know is in those quiet moments what is most weighing on my mind appears.  If I wake up and something comes immediately to mind I know it is something I need to take care of.  It can be anything from a person, to finances, maybe something broken, anything. If it finds me in the silence I have to deal with it.  I can hide behind noise during the day.  I can block out the problems with music, tv, voices, the sounds of life.  But I cannot block out the silence.  And in the silence my soul speaks.

The best days are like today.  I awaken and hear the silence, no words coming from my mind. I let the morning come to me, unfold around me. I have a moment for gratitude, I have a moment for peace.  I embrace the quiet of the morning, I drink it in. Gradually the “have to’s” arrive, but nothing weighing. I have to pee, the coffee smells good, life is calling. And I let the silence go.

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.

I need this in my life.  I am calmest and most at peace when I have silence commonly in my life.  I can find it outdoors, walking the trails, by the lake.  I can hear the wind, the call of the geese and singing of the birds.  I hear a rustle in the trees but these sounds magnify the silence and make it beautiful. But mostly I can hear my thoughts, my prayers, my problems, my answers, and my dreams.

It is in the silence I find the motivation to go on.  To engage with the world. I can come into the world, and it’s noise, whole and calm,  maneuvering through all it needs of me.  The other day I was in line just ordering a sandwich and simultaneously 3 people were talking to me.  All about different topics. It was a little whirlwind of words.  And so I stood there for a just a second, and then said “I can only have one conversation at a time”. Took a breathe and handled them, one at a time. My point is I came into that place whole and centered.  And because I have those resources within me I can handle the chaos.

I find that the world is noisy, loud, demanding.  Cell phones, Ipods, traffic, horns, voices, canned music, tv, office machinery, everything is designed to grab us and take our attention. And people, we have so many people now.  I live in a small town and sometimes feel the crowding of people all in the same space.  When I am in the city, at some point, I am just overwhelmed with the amount of people and the noise.  I need to be back home.

So in the middle of all this how do we hold our center?  Because life is going to happen and we better be ready.  I have to go to work,. I have people I love needing my attention.  I have friends who contact me, want to talk, connect. I like social media, I want to engage.  I like music, tv and the radio.  I want to have all of these in my life. They keep me juicy, they keep me engaged and alive. And yet, it can be really draining and overwhelming.

I could meditate every day, but I don’t.  I have not found that sweet spot where it fits naturally into my life.  So I search for those natural moments of calm and peace and silence.  I find it when I awaken, and I listen to my thoughts.  I find it when I come home before the evening takes over, and I breathe for a minute.  I find it when I walk in nature,  hearing the sounds of Spirit through the trees and in the flapping of the birds wings. I  find answers in the silence.  I find it in those pauses of conversation, those comfortable silences.  I find it driving when I can get lost in my thoughts.  I find it exercising, when I can use the music as a background and let my mind rest. And sometimes silence comes as a gift.  When I am worn out, when things are difficult, when I am scared or lonely.  A moment of silence blesses me and carries me.  It lets me rest, it gives me peace, it fills my soul.

So for the silent moments that come your way, treasure them.  They are a gift that can soothe your soul, ease your mind and set you free.

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Change, Daily Life, Honesty, Inspiration, Self, Spirit

My Rumpled Life

My life is like a rumpled bed.  I came across those two words “rumpled bed” and wow, they fit.  Because my life is not messy, but it is rumpled.  You can tell someone lives here.  And I think that is kind of awesome. Nothing in my life is perfect, or calm, or smooth. I am rumpled.

So what does that mean to me?  Well most people don’t even see the rumples.  They are busy living their lives and look past my bumps and folds.  On the outside I look pretty together.  I have a responsible job, I support myself, my clothes match, I know how to present myself properly, I am fairly healthy, I have friends, a lover, I am on good terms with my family. It all looks good from the outside.

But if I pick it apart I am a little rumpled. Yes I have a good job, but I am stuck and not moving forward.  I know that is on me but apparently I don’t care enough to change it, so bumps there. Yes I support myself, but every single month I stretch the pennies to make it, and savings is joke at this point.  Lots of rumples there, but no one sees it. I look good, I have lots of clothes, I buy them at the thrift shops, more rumpledness.  My health is okay but I don’t go for checkups like I should.  And my weight, well, that plagues me. But if I dress appropriately and keep showing up for work and life, well then no one really notices.  But I am so very rumpled in this area. I will say family, friends, and lover, those are the smooth parts of my rumpled life but we do hit bumps.

She was made for untidy rooms and rumpled beds.”
Alexander McCall Smith, The Sunday Philosophy Club

Maybe that is me, because I like my life.   I don’t want a messy life, I have had that.  But I don’t want it all to be smooth sailing either.  Because it is the rumpledness that adds texture.  I have to look around for things.  I have to challenge myself. I have to work through my life; think, feel, experience it.  Right now my apartment is messy. I can look at it and see what needs to be picked up, dusted off, vacuumed.  And I will do that this morning.  When I come home later everything will be spiffy for a minute. But then I will fill it up again. And the cycle continues.  This is how I live my life.

So do we all live rumpled lives?  I think so, to different degrees.  Some lives are messy and mine has been at times. There is a lot of work there and once the messes were cleared I did not care to revisit it.  Those lessons were learned, though I am sure more mess will appear.  I am never done with my lessons.  But in my daily life, moving through my world,  I like It a rumpled, a little scattered.  Not quite in control.  Not quite as it appears to the world. We are human.  When we stop to smell the flowers we might get rained on.  When I see smooth sheets and a made bed I think it is there to be laid on and enjoyed.  Mess those sheets up.  Life is like that.  It is there to be lived, all the way.

I think rumpled is a synonym for opportunity to grow.  It means there is something in my world I can fix. I can make better, I can grow from. And that keeps my juicy, it keeps me engaged, it keeps me reaching and a little unsatisfied.  When I am hungry for something, when my soul calls for it, that is when I make the changes, that is when I smooth the sheets. That is when I feel most alive.  I never want my bed to be completely smooth, I always want something to be calling me to grow.

And I hope that is the same for you.  Whether you are rumpled everywhere or just a little, those are your places to look at.  Those are the sweet spots that take you to another level.  I don’t wish mess for you, mess is hard.  Mess happens when we ignore the rumples.  The rumples are our warning, our signal, our call to change.  May we always have a little bump in our road. And may it lift us higher.

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

Each Day is a Blessing

Yesterday I was blessed with a day I was not sure would ever come again. For years my sister and I have spent a day during the holiday season going out in the community and taking part in all it has to offer. Craft sales, bazaars, trolley rides, music, lights, truck parade. It has been “our” day. And it so easily could have been lost. For us, we had a real crisis visit us late last summer.  I watched her struggle to live, to talk, to walk, to come home, to understand what had happened, to rebuild her life, to regain joy, trust in the future and her foothold in the world. And none of us knew then, or even know now, where all of this eventually will end up.

But this is what I know today, yesterday I was blessed.  I spent the day in joy, i2014-12-06 18.02.07n love, in peace, in laughter, in song, In happiness. Here we are last night at the lighted truck parade (she is the blonde), a moment we were not   guaranteed to ever have again. Because there are no guarantees, and I really get that now.                                                                                                                                                                                        We have this moment, this day, right now as it is.  Do not let it slip by without some appreciation, some thankfulness.  It is the small things we will miss when life takes a different road.  The voice, the sound of laughter, the sharing of “our song”, someone saying “mom, or dad”. The shared meals, the easiness of simply loving someone and sharing life.

The lesson that comes up for me over and over is be grateful for today. Be grateful for this moment. Be grateful for the simple things.  Wake up and say “Thank you for today”.  Show compassion, people are struggling with hidden pain, sorrow and fear.  We are all human, we come from the same Stuff.  It is easy to give someone a smile, maybe that smile can change their day.  Maybe it is what they need to not give up. Be kind, show how much I care.  Be loving, don’t pass up the chance to give a hug or say I love you.

One thing I knew when my sister was in the hospital was that she knew how much she was loved by me. If the worst had happened I would not have had regrets on our relationship. But I can’t say that about everyone.  It is easy to get get caught up in the day, the week, or month.  Time goes by really fast so make each day, each moment count.  Reach out, don’t let people you love slip away.  In today’s world it easy to connect.  Yes, I would rather hear my son’s voice and feel his hug, but a text from him that says “I love you” feels so darn good. We have no excuse to be disconnected.  All the modern technology makes it easy.

So my yesterday was a gift. But so is today.  I cannot sit in yesterday, whether it was amazing or trying, it is over and the lesson mine to keep.  So I take that lesson and I move in today, with all of its unknown.  I have no idea where the day will take me.  It could a normal day to be grateful for, there could be unknown adventures and lessons waiting me.  It is important to treasure it and it all it brings. Be they lessons, delights, simple pleasures or adventures, the day awaits.  I will not waste it, because this I know, Time is precious, life is precious, I am precious and the Universe is ready, willing and available for me to join in and dance.

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Change, Courage, Daily Life, Honesty, Inspiration, Relationships, Self, The Past

Owning My Past

So I had an interesting experience a couple of weeks ago.  I was out visiting some friends and there was a person there who said he thought he knew me.  And as the evening ended I asked if he remembered where we had met. And he was cagey about it.  I said “in high school? college?” The way he looked at me it was like he thought he had secret knowledge about me, something I wouldn’t want shared. And he wouldn’t tell me.  So I moved on, said goodnight and left.

But here is the deal, I don’t care what you know, or even what you think you know.  Because I know it all, and I own it. You can’t say anything about me that is going to shock me.  Because I lived it. And I am not ashamed of anything. Was it my marriage?  I was not the best wife, I admit that. I was not anywhere near ready to be a wife.  Was it drugs?  I did my share of drugs, maybe your share too.  Was it sex?  I have slept with a lot of men, all of them willing. I am a sexual being and not ashamed of that.  What else?  Was I drunk?  Oh my gosh, I have spent nights on the bathroom floor. What else, was I rude, did I act out? Maybe, probably, I am no angel. Was it the  man I dated who was in prison?  It didn’t last long after he came out, it was an interesting 6 months, no shame here.  I learned a lot about what I don’t want.

My point is this, my past brought me to this point. I have learned lessons along the way, some the hard way. Many the hard way. But it is my past and you cannot use it against me.  I simply do not  care anymore to hide or pretend. I have lived too long and seen every single person I know fall down from time to time, and that includes me.  There is no shame in that. People will try to control us by presenting that they will “keep our secret”. The way out of that is to  graceown who we are, not have secrets and be willing to share our story. Or at least not hide it.

So Mr. whoever you were, you have nothing on me.  You cannot control or make me feel uncomfortable because you “know” something. I know everything, and I will share it all if circumstances warrant it.  If anyone wants to judge me by my past I probably don’t want to spend much time or energy on that person. No more games, no more pretending, no more hiding who I am. I am proud of who I am even if I am not proud of some of the missteps I have made.  Some of things that brought me to this point I would not do again. But I refuse to lie, pretend or be ashamed. Each step along the way has been a lesson and brought me to this point.  Shame holds us down, fear of discovery holds us down, guilt holds us down. Whatever happened, happened, It is done, learn and move forward.

I  want to know people that have a past to share.  Those are the ones with the stories that resonate with me. Show me your scars, show me how you survived, show me how strong you are.  Let’s not deny how we came to be here, strong, beautiful, survivors. Let’s own that and never ever let anyone hold how we came to be here over us. Never let anyone make us feel small or less than. Every step of the way, we walked this, it is ours, this is our story. And it is beautiful and valuable and we have something to share. So go out there and live your life, every piece of it has brought you to the place you are, and there is no shame in that. Love yourself, all of it, the good, the bad and the ugly, because truly,  It is all beautiful, it made you who you are.

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