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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Change, Community, Daily Life, kindness, Leadership

Shifting Consciousness, We Can Do This

We can change our world, one act, one thought at a time.  What we do and think and say and how we act, it matters. We can shift consciousness, and when enough of us do, we change not just our world, but the world at large.

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”
Mahatma Gandhi

I saw this in action the other day. It was not how it started nor my intention, but this is how it played out:

I see a man standing in a parking lot entry holding a sign asking for help. I watch him for awhile, no one stops but he stands there smiling anyway. He was presentable, his family was in a car next to where he was standing. I rarely do this, but I was moved to find out his story.

So I went up and talked to him for awhile. I asked questions, tried to see if I could help beyond a few dollars. We talked about jobs and housing. He is afraid to go to Social Services for help, he thinks they will take his children. We talked a lot.

But here is what I noticed. No had stopped to help him before. While I was standing talking to him 4 cars stopped and gave him money. One man handed him $20. He looked shocked , amazed and grateful. So I guess my point is that we can shift consciousness by being kind. By my standing there talking to this young man, people were moved to help. He became a person, not a threat or a stranger. The power of kindness can change the world.

So, shift in consciousness….not just mine but in that moment in time other humans shifted and were moved to act. They saw something differently and changed their response.  I saw it on a bigger scale when we had a huge fire in our neighboring county. People stepped up and gave like I have never seen happen in our community before.  It took on a life of its own until they asked everyone to stop bringing donations, as they were overfull. Everyone gave what they could of their time, treasure or talent.  It was beautiful to watch. I was and still am moved beyond words.

So how you live your life, how I live my life makes a difference. People see what we do, and it becomes safe for them to be giving, to be kind, to be open.  When we open our hearts to the world it is a little scary. We become vulnerable. What if people laugh at us, or think we are foolish?  What if we look weak?  What if people take advantage of us?

But hey, what if kindness is the new strong?  What if being vulnerable is the bravest thing you can do? What if we move beyond caring what people think? How about we pave a new path and shift consciousness? We can do this, one parking lot, one community at a time.  People are doing it everywhere all the time. I want to join those people.  I want the consciousness to be one of love, safety and abundance. That starts with my belief for myself and spreads through my world.

So however you want your world to be, than be that. Feed that which serves you best. People are watching, some are just waiting for someone to make the move, to have the belief. And then it becomes safe for them. So we get to be the trailblazers and we follow in the footsteps of amazing people. Let their footsteps not dissipate, but deepen them. Of course  Ghandi said it best

Be the change that you wish to see in the world.

You, me, us, we can shift the consciousness around us. We can create the energy we want by our thoughts and our actions.  Start believing you can make a difference and watch how it unfolds. Work with the Universe to create a world of kindness and love. Others will follow, just as we are.  Together we truly can make a difference, one kind act a time.

Namaste

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Change, Choice, Daily Life, family, home, intention

Who Is In Control Here? Me or the World?

Who is in control here, me or the world? To some extent the world I live in has set the pace for my life. But really, I chose that. I could live differently.  Right now, I choose to have housing, medical insurance, a vehicle etc. I have to pay for that. So I am employed and that sets much of the tone of my life.  I am expected to show up and put in a days work, 5 days a week. And you know what, I am okay with that. But some people choose differently and maybe I should I look at making a different choice.

I am looking at housing these days (yes again) and wondering can I go even smaller?  Would I be comfortable? Do I really need all this stuff? Right now I pay for storage each month.  To store furniture I don’t have room for. I could almost let it all go, except my dad built this beautiful china cabinet and I could never replace that. Still, I saw this studio apartment for rent and thought, maybe? After all, how much room do I need?  It’s not me that needs the room, but my stuff.  I am attached to my stuff.

And why am I attached to my stuff?  It is not expensive stuff.  Probably the value of all my furnishings, pots and pans, lamps, rugs etc is under 2k, way under. But I look around and here is my history. My mom had that vase, my grandmother had this table. I remember how I struggled to pay off the living room furniture. This picture over my chair came from my moms house,  the clock came from my dad. Over and over, this is my collection of my life. And I am attached to it. I have let go of the people through death or relocation or just the rhythm of my life, but their fingerprints are all around me.

I have seen this over and over, when going through and clearing out someone’s house after they pass. Their memories are everywhere.  What meant nothing to me, had a whole story for them. Why did my grandmother have vials of her fingernails stuffed away in drawers?  We will never know the answer to that.  My moms things…. I knew the stories of much of what was visible. But the handkerchief pressed away in a book or the old worn out pair of shoes she did not let go of, those were her memories. And they left with her.

It is said we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. And yes we do. Sometimes in a way that is global, people fought for freedom, civil right and women’s rights. We would not be where we are without all those who came before us. But personally we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. Good or bad, they set the tenor of our lives, at least the beginning.  Some of us became very strong through adversity. Some of us became very strong because we were believed in. We all had family and started out somewhere. And we carry that with us.

But back to the beginning, who is in control here? Do I want to live by default or choice?  I have a history and that is what it is. I cannot rewrite it or change.  But I can choose to bring along with me that which makes my life better. Because it was not all pretty, none of ours is.  I can take my mom’s strength and recognize how hard she fought in a world that seemed unloving to her. I can leave behind her criticism and disapproval of me. I can see just because someone else says I am clumsy (for instance) does not make it so. I can see myself as graceful and make that my truth.

So everyday is a choice and my daily choices add up to my life. I can choose how I see myself and that translates to how I move through the world and how others see me. I set the tone for my day by intention. Each morning I can intend to have a good day, or a peaceful day, or a day I feel strong. I can intend every day to live my best life. I can intend daily to be kind, to be loving,  to be a person others feel safe with. I can intend every day to find joy. I can be open everyday to all the Good life has to bring. I can intend to see myself as beautiful and valuable. I can set all these intentions and more because I get to choose how I react to how my life unfolds.

And so do you. This is your day, you week, your life. Honor those whose shoulders you stand on, but stand on your own two feet. Make your own choices, live your best life. See yourself for the beautiful human you are and get out there and let your light shine.

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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