Change, Choice, Courage, friendship, Growth, Relationships, Truth, Uncategorized

Having Hard Conversations

I am with a friend this week and a hard conversation comes up.  If you are in the US you know we having a lot of division regarding the killing of blacks by police. That is a stark statement, but that is what is happening. So people are lining up and taking sides. And we have peacemakers who say #lovematters or #alllivesmatter. But it does seem we called upon to choose a side. That is a problem for me. I know there is good and bad in each segment of the population. I can’t really choose to support one side over another.

But apparently my friend could, as she came down on the side of the police. And she made some racist statements and then ended it by saying “well, I am a bigot” in this offhand manner. I know I was supposed to laugh it off, I know I was supposed to ignore the statement. I know she expected me to support her or at least not call her out. Sigh.

These are the hard conversations, when it is your friend, your family, someone you want to have  a continued relationship with. It is easy online to stand up for what you believe. It is easy when you are in company of like minded people to stand up for what you believe. It is easy when you are disguised behind a keyboard to stand up for what you believe. It is hard when you are one on one with a friend and you have to say “well I am not a bigot, and this is why”

But I did it. If I am going to present myself as a person who does believe that all lives have value and that we have a problem with racism in our country, then I have to stand up and say that. Am I willing to risk being uncomfortable or offending a friend?  Are my beliefs worth that?  Yes. Am I willing to say I feel differently than you, I believe you are wrong? Well I guess I am.

speak the truth

So we had a conversation and I saw some of where she was coming from.  Her experience with a black person (beyond superficial) was not a good one. It was traumatic for her, and the police were her angels. And from that place she built a belief system on who is right and who is wrong. And the police came out on top.

I know what she went through was hard, and she struggles with it to this day. But I have a different experience. I have a close long term relationship with a black man . I have friends who are black. I am able to hear and see some of their struggles first hand. And I shared that with her. Maybe, just maybe, she saw some common humanity in all of our struggles. Maybe.

But this is what I know. My job is to speak my truth, even when it is uncomfortable. My job is to back up my thoughts with my words. Even when I don’t want to . It is not enough to stay quiet anymore. It is not enough to not “rock the boat”. That is how we got in this mess. It is not about being loud or forcing my ideas and beliefs on someone else.  I can speak respectfully, I can listen to the other side and I can learn from a different point of view.

But I will not be quiet anymore just to keep someone comfortable. I will speak my piece and call out racism, homophobia, misogyny or any other belief that keeps people down. If you are uncomfortable with that, I am not even sorry.  Because it is when we are uncomfortable we know we have work to do.

So speak up,  have those hard conversations. That is how we will make the changes we all want and need in our lives. Stand up for what you believe and do it with Love. Be willing to be the one who opens the conversations. Be Brave.

Namaste

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Choice, Daily Life, Growth, Inspiration, Relationships, Uncategorized

Letting Life Unfold

I am getting better at this, letting life unfold. But wow, it is hard.

Just like everyone at any given moment in my life, I have a lot of balls in the air. Most are not even related to each other. They are unsettled and undecided.  Who knows how everything is going to shake out. And it is hard for me to not start grabbing the balls and placing them where I want them.  And why shouldn’t I?

Well, for one thing that takes a lot of energy. Moving those balls around, convincing other people this is where they should be. Watching them in case one starts to roll. Feeling responsible that they are all well cared for and in good shape. This is a lot of work. And I am missing the moment and joys of today with all that rushing around.

And then what if the balls I am taking are not even mine? That is important to know, is this mine?  Just because something is in my field of vision does not make it mine. I have to be conscious of that and not take over what belongs to someone else. Here is a little example I have right now. My beloved friend is going through a break up. It is hers. I can be supportive, I can offer a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen with and a caring heart. But that is it. What they do with it, not my call. The lessons they learn, not mine. So as close as my friend is to me,  I am an observer in this.

Here is another, I am looking for a new position.  I work in an agency that has opportunities within my division and beyond. So I have spread my wings, took the tests and am interviewing in a few different areas. I want to take this ball and move it the way I want it to go. But I cannot see beyond the immediate moment right now, and I need to allow for the bigger picture to unfold. So I just move through it. I take the situations placed before me and do my best. I try to stay in a place of ease and grace. I stay with the knowledge that all of this leads me to my good and I need not rearrange the balls. Let life unfold.

Relationships…..this is where I really want to push. And it is the one area that I need to use the most restraint. Because really, a job, housing, a purchase, a decision on education or travel, that is all about me. And if I screw it up, I am the one who gets the lessons. But relationships, I am not in control here. I do not get to decide how someone reacts, what they want, and how they show up in my life. But if I can let life unfold the relationship, in whatever form it takes, it will be authentic. And that is what I truly want.

“As someone who has faced as much disappointment as most people, I’ve come to trust not that events will always unfold exactly as I want, but that I will be fine either way.”

Marianne Williamson

I do have to be responsible and accountable. I can’t just do nothing. I have to be an active participant in my life .I set the context for what I want in my life and I let it unfold.  I have keep my eyes and my heart open and act accordingly. But I don’t need to be stressed or worried. I can remember this is not all on me, it is me with God.

So I am going to sit back and let life lead the way. I am going to stay in a place of trust that all good comes my way and I need not push it. Life is to be enjoyed and there are wonders around every corner.  This is a wonderful amazing journey and I want to be open to where ever it leads. By following my intuition and my heart, and having trust in the Divine,  I can enjoy the ride.

Namaste

 

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Balance, Choice, Daily Life, Growth, Inspiration, life, Soul

Drink From Your Glass

Is the glass half full or half empty?  That has been the eternal question.  Your perception of the glass has been used to judge your general attitude for life. Or at least at that moment in your life.

So the other day, someone asked me that question, and I paused for a moment to think. To really give an honest answer and what came up for me, is it doesn’t matter. Because the glass is refillable.  So I can drink from the glass,  I can empty the glass and then fill it back up.

Life isn’t always a full glass.  If the glass is a metaphor for life, well then we need to use the stuff inside.  If we just left  the glass sitting there, full, it would, in time, become stagnant, stale, unused, not enjoyed.  Whether it is love, or money, or energy, or time.  Whatever that glass is representing needs to be used. And then guess what, we can fill it up again.

So I say drink from the glass, use everything you can.  Don’t watch the levels, know there is always more available to you.  In this abundant universe there is always more. Believe in this abundance, believe you can always fill your glass.  You don’t have to hoard your time, love, energy, wealth.  You don’t have to keep your glass full, drink from it, drink from life.  And then fill it back up.

Namaste

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attachment, Change, Freedom, Growth, Inspiration, Lessons, Uncategorized

Don’t Settle for Less Than What Loves Me and Grows Me

It feels like I am ready to let go of some things: some people, some dreams, some ideas, some hopes, just let go. I know I cannot move forward while hanging on to what does not work. Whether a relationship, a friendship, a job, it is time to let go.

I can honor the past and the lessons without living in them. I can appreciate the times with people and not try to drag them into the present. The lesson I get every day is you must move forward. In some form or another that comes up every single day.

Quit trying to make outgrown ideas fit.  Quit trying to mold relationships into something they are not. Let go of the dream that is not working for me. Let go of the idea if I don’t hold onto to what I have now I will have nothing.  Be brave, step forward. Not just in a place where I am loved, but in places I am not.  When people show me where they stand, believe them and move on. Don’t settle for less than what loves me and grows me.

And it seems some things in my life lately have a new lesson around them.  Telling me loud and clear it is time to make a change.  I have started with baby steps. I have started saying no when I need to. I am trying to speak the truth in a friendship of long standing that has been unbalanced and unhealthy for me. I have let go of strings that kept me attached to a past romance when I was still longing for more.  Honestly, this scares me, what if I end up without my friends, without romance?

Sometimes I feel like I am called to walk alone and I really really don’t want to do that. I really want connection beyond the surface.  But the more life goes on and more I lay my head down alone every night, the dream dies a little. Still, I cannot settle. My heart, my soul calls out for something real, something beyond what I have known. I keep thinking if I clear the path that love, that experience will find its way to me. If I keep the path cluttered up with diversions and things outgrown how will the new come in?

And so I let go, a little more all the time. I watch myself become peeled down, stripped away, with less connection and a little adrift.  But I also feel free and ready.  I am trying to not push the river, but to let it flow. I am trying to let life find me and not have an agenda around that. I am trying to lean in and breathe. I am trying to be okay with not knowing, not designing, not manipulating the path, but just walking it.

Attachment is so hard. If I were to choose what my lesson in this life is, it has been letting go of attachments.  It has taken the deaths of my parents, my grandparents, loss of a home, pets, friendships, divorce to push me down this path. And those are the big ones.  When I struggle with letting go, I remember all these that I have survived. If I could survive the death of my dad and leaving a 20 year marriage, I can change jobs.  If I can watch my mom pass away and hand over the keys to my home, I can let go of a guy who doesn’t want me. If I can release my child into the world as a adult, if I can stand there and watch my dog pass away, I make another home if that is what is needed.  If I can sing my grandmother onto the other side, I can fucking do anything. Let me remember how strong I am, Let me only accept my greater good.  When the lesson appears, learn it, and let it go.

So here is to moving forward (again). I am more than sure I am not done with clinging to what has past but each time I let go I get stronger. Here is to living for today and welcoming the future.

Namaste

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attachment, Change, Daily Life, Freedom, Growth, Release

What’s in Your Vacuum?

When  a lesson is needed, it shows up. The trick is to see it. Because lessons,  they hide in the most unexpected areas.

Yesterday I am vacuuming.  My vacuum is less than 3 years old. And it is doing an adequate job, but I am struggling a little. Going over and over the same spot.  It was not picking up like it should. Whats wrong here vacuum?  So then I think, oh Sandy, when was the last time you dumped the canister. Yes, it full, very full.

How often do I clear out emotional trash, but not get rid of it?  I hide it, tucked away, just kind of hanging on to it. And then when something new comes up and I need to clear that, there is little room for movement.  Old wounds, old emotions are still cluttering up my mind and my heart.  I thought I cleared it, I thought I moved on, but maybe it is still in the vacuum canister.

As I am cleaning out the canister some of the dirt spilled on the kitchen floor.  And I am looking at that, almost looking to see if I need to save anything. Did an earring get in there, a penny? Really, let it go.  Honestly I decided months ago that it wasn’t worth keeping, why am I still sifting through it.

So I really let the dirt go. And then I thought, this is like my life. All the stuff I have processed again and again, but held onto, let it go.  Don’t save the dirt of my life to sift back through later. Make it disappear.  I am done looking backwards, I am done trying to make a different ending to something that is over. I am done trying to rewrite the stories.  I am done holding on to anger or pain. I am done trying to learn the same lesson multiple times. I am done.

And when I thought my vacuum was cleared there was a bunch debris up in another section (please don’t judge me).  So then I think, more hidden dirt.  And I clear that out, realizing that some stuff is really deep. It doesn’t want to leave. That even though it is dirt, it is my dirt, and can I really let go?

I think that our dirt can be really powerful. Overcoming an addiction, for instance, is painful, but moves us forward.  Letting relationships go when they are done (my big issue) is one of the biggest ways to grow. Overcoming fears, changing our minds, learning to trust,  loving ourselves, all of these things are started when we move our dirt around.

It is hard to grow when we are clogged up. For instance, if I have a fear of changing my housing, then I to deal with what is real today. But what comes up for me is “I am losing another home”. Remember when my house was foreclosed on…. remember how bad I felt, what a failure I felt like, how sad I was. None of that has anything to do with today, but holding on is keeping me stuck. Because instead of being optimistic about change or realistic about my circumstances, I slip back in past. I need to dump the dirt. I need to say “that was hard and painful, but it is done” I don’t have to carry those feeling into my current circumstance.

There are always lessons on the way.  There are always opportunities for growth.  And some of it will be painful and need to be looked at. And we need room for that.  A fresh clean vacuum. So in the memory box put your lessons, put your “well I’m not doing that again”. put your treasures, the things that helped you become the person you are. You will need those things.

But as for the dirt, clean out the vacuum, clear out the closet, clean out under the sink. Where ever you discarded your emotional trash, throw it away.  Make room for more.  Because more will come, that is life. Be ready, make room,  and then let it go..

Namaste

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Choice, Daily Life, daily practice, Growth, Inspiration, Religion, Spirit

Spiritual? Religious? Do We Have to Choose?

I keep hearing this comment and question.  Are you spiritual or are you religious? Like you must be one or the other.  This is a question Oprah likes to ask a lot on Super Soul Sunday of her guests.  Most of them say spiritual. But what I think is there is room for both, inside me, at the same time.

We were in a discussion in class last night regarding practice and devotion.  How do you see that differently? Is it different? And for me what came up was spiritual vs religious. I cannot separate the two, I need both.

For me spiritual is how I live my life. It is the inner work that I do. It is my personal connection to something greater than myself. It is in the decisions I make, it is in how I view myself and others. When I decide I want more love in my life and so I stay in a place of love, that is Spirit.  When I realize I am judging someone else, and stop, that is Spiritual. When I sit out in nature and listen to the call of the birds, that is Spiritual. When I read a book that moves me to tears, that is Spiritual. When I say I want peace and joy in my life and go out with the faith it is already so, that is Spiritual. So spiritual, for me, is my personal daily connection to God (or whatever your name is) and how I take that into my world.

Religion, I thought I didn’t need it. I thought I could basically wing it. I’m all about God, I’m all about Love.  And that worked for a long time. But all the humanness became mixed up in that and I didn’t have structure to help me through the happenings of my life. Yes, it is fine to sit on a hilltop and feel the Grace of God. But now, I have to go down into the world and try to live my life with grace and ease.  And I need support around that.

So I get that through my church. I go almost every week. And I go because I need the lessons that give me support during the week.  I attend the Center for Spiritual Living, which is a Religious Science church. I found this belief system works for me. We do a lot of work around the here and now. You can look it up more if you like. I am not saying it is the only way, I am saying I have found this to work for me.

So religion, why do I go?  I need the structure around me.  I am reminded each week to do my daily practices. I am inspired by the lessons I hear. I am given tools to help me maneuver through my emotions. I am reminded over and over that I am worthy, that I am loved. There are classes to help deepen my knowledge, of both myself and the Creator. There are people who are like minded that remind me why I am Spiritual.

I know I need both. I think they go hand in hand. If I am simply religious and not taking that spiritual connection into my life, I am missing the whole point.  If I am spiritual, but not including religion, I am not grounded and supported enough to sustain it.

Am I spiritual?  Am I religious? I am both.   What I am is whole. I use everything available to stay that way. I can’t separate them and I don’t need to.  Why would I?  I have the best of both worlds.

Namaste

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Choice, Growth, Honesty, life, self love

Who is Setting My Pace?

Yesterday I did a 5K charity walk for cancer.  It was a color run and I had been looking forward to it for a couple of months.  Overall I had fun, I was with friends, there was music, people were throwing color on me, it is a good cause, the sun was shining, life was good.

But about halfway through I noticed it wasn’t as much fun. I was struggling to keep up to pace my friends had set. You should know I don’t even hit 5 foot, so really short legs. And I had to work hard to keep up with my friends who are taller, faster and younger. At the time I just went with it, but I noticed, wow, this is not as much fun as I thought it would be. And I started feeling bad about myself. Beating myself up a little for not being in great shape, being older.  I judged myself and came up short.

So later after we were done and recovered I had some time to think about how it went.  I realized my problem was that I allowed someone else to set my pace. The truth is I would have relaxed and enjoyed it more if I told my friends go ahead, I will see you at the finish line.  And why didn’t I? I’m not sure I know.

But think about this, how often do we let others set the pace for our lives?  What if we want to go slower? What if we are not concerned about keeping up?  It can be something as simple as a meal, do we hurry up so we don’t hold up others? I have done that, noticed I am lagging behind so hurry up and eat.  Meanwhile I lose the enjoyment of my food.  It happens in classes, it might be fast paced and perhaps we learn and absorb more slowly. But we hurry our pace to match others and miss things along the way. It can be a walk, that I was supposed to really enjoy, until I let someone else set my pace.

Or it can be the exact opposite.  How often am I moving quickly and have to slow my roll for the person in front of me?  Watching a slower eater finish the meal, when mentally I am done and out the door. Reading a book and waiting for a long time to discuss it because the other person is a slow reader.  So it is not about being fast or slow, it is about having our own pace and trying to match it out in the world with other humans. It is not always easy.

So am I willing to own my pace and be public about that? Well I guess I am going to have to be if I want to live my own life. I have to be willing to walk alone sometimes. I have to be willing to say, no you wait for me while I finish.   I have my own pace and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.  It is perfect just the way it is.

I think your pace, my pace, is our perfect rhythm.  It is how we step out into our world and each pace is unique. When I am slower at one thing, I am quicker at another. There is no one perfect measured step through life, but many steps and of a great variety. All are valuable, all are equally important.

Sometimes we alter our pace to share an experience with another. It is important to be sensitive and aware of others needs.  I want to share experiences with others so sometimes I have to bend and be flexible. And that is good, as long as it is done mindfully. Make that choice consciously. Do not live by default, do not get swept up in the moment and lose the choice. That is what happened to me yesterday. When it starts feeling wrong and uncomfortable, well then, we have to look at that and make a different choice.

I am going to be mindful of my pace. Am I moving through my experience in a way that feels comfortable and natural to me? If not, why and can I change that? In a world that works for everyone all paces should be welcome. So if you see me ambling on the road of life, while others rush by, know I am taking my time and setting my pace.

Namaste

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