If I dig deep enough – all the way to the very core of my inquiry, a big part of my quest is about making sense of it all.
Searching for the answers I seek, I have a difficult time understanding that not everything in life is logical. Most of it is a mystery and yes, it is with a great sense of gratitude that I respect that there are miracles happening every single moment of my life. However, I am also hardwired to remain cynical about the magic and skeptical about letting go and giving into the mystery of life unfolding as it should be. Letting go of not being able to control more of my life.
Most of life actually is quite chaotic and a huge mystery. Our desire to apply logic only fools us and typically it is for self-preservation. Read: Five Logical Fallacies That Make You Wrong More Than You Think
and most of what I try to control, including people I love, only holds me back from opening my heart to something bigger, stronger and more fearless that I can ever be.
Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what’s next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little.
The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark. – Agnes de Mille.
I have always felt very uncomfortable the moment I began to feel even slightly comfortable. Some of my dearest friends have called me out on this. They say I have “commitment issues”. Maybe. Who knows. I just like the momentum of daring, trying, risking – smartly. Exposing myself and my mind to something new.
Today’s post is a passage taken from week seven “Recovering a Sense of Connection” from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
The passage below resonated with me. Why? Because I fool myself daily because while I think I am taking risks, I am not taking big enough risks. The type that will catapult me to the next level of living adventurously. Here we go. Let me know if this rings true with you as well.
We’ve all heard that the unexamined life is not worth living but consider too that the unlived life is not worth examining. The success of a creative recovery hinges on our ability to move out of the head and into action. This brings us squarely to risk. Most of us are practiced at talking ourselves out of risk. We are skilled speculators on the probable pain of self-exposure.
“I’ll look like an idiot,” we say, conjuring images of our first acting class, our first hobbled short story, our terrible drawings. Part of the game here is lining up the masters and measuring our baby steps against their perfected craft. We don’t compare our student films to George Luca’s student films. Instead, we compare them to Star Wars.
We deny that in order to do something well we must first be willing to do it badly. Instead, we opt for setting our limits at the point where we feel stifled, smothered, despairing, bored. But yes, we do feel safe. And safety is a very expensive illusion.
In order to risk, we must jettison our accepted limits. We must break through “I can’t because. . .” Because I am too old; too broke; too shy; too proud? Self-defended? Timorous?
Usually when we say we can’t do something, what we mean is that we won’t do something unless we can guarantee that we’ll do it perfectly.
It’s pretty damn simple really. It all boils down to how we experience our lives. How alive we are in the moment. How we show up.
How we experience life depends on how conscious we truly are.
The question is, how deeply awake we are as we experience our life. If we were radically honest with ourselves and woke up enough to notice, we’d admit that the majority of us are just sleepwalking children.
Everything we do is so habitual. Well, at least for me.
The God You Would Like to Believe In
Into the sixth week of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and I am actually realizing that what we really want to do is what we are really meant to do and that the notion of striving, sweating, clinging, falling and staying small is just a terrible idea.
The notion that there really isn’t enough time in our days to do the things we want to do is ridiculous. In the “Recovering A Sense of Abundance” practice, Julia has us writing and thinking about the God consciousness that has remained unexamined since our early childhood. A God that will hold back anything from us is absurd. This includes the freedom for us to let go and live the creative lives we were meant to live.
She inspires us to awaken to our creative and generous genius God who wants us to have fulfilling, enjoyable and creative work. We are the ones who deny ourselves the luxury of designing a new life for ourselves. We do that. Not God. Now let’s get out of our way, shall we?
Embracing Great Souls & Wacky Assholes
I give my husband the credit for turning me on to this video from philosopher Tim Freke this morning. I am so glad I remained open (yet stubbornly so) to get back in bed to watch Tim explain how to become more deeply awake to our breautifully complex humanness and to our lives.
It’s remarkable how with a simple new thought, we can create a tremendously different new world for ourselves. It’s about waking up from this numbness we call normal. Waking up to our oneness and celebrating our individuality.
How to Have A REALLY Good Day
Keep it simple. If you want to have a good day, do some good. Take a good nap. Read a good book. Make a good meal. Have a good call. Watch a good movie. Workout Good. Have good sex. Have a good cry. You see all that good adds up.
More stoic wisdom from Ryan Holiday’s The Daily Stoic 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance and the Art of Living.
Here’s a Damn Good Recipe for Failure & Unhappiness, for a life of misery.
Be self-righteous, wallow in self-pity, drown the day in fear and complacency. Look at your life and others with anxiety, jealousy, and hatred.
Now here’s a More Delicious Recipe for Harmony, Peace & Happiness, for an extraordinary life.
Take it on the chin. Be flexible, resilient, forgive more. Work smart and hard and always look at life with confidence and gratitude.
The Waking by Theodore Roethke
When life feels like . . . .
Repeat this little prayer. . .
Right now I am frustrated because I am not taking better care of myself. Which got me wondering about the payoffs I experience for staying stuck in my progress. For not waking up more and doing what needs to be done to change what I don’t like about my life.
Dig deep for the payoffs for not moving towards your goals today. Ask yourself some BIG questions.
- What am I avoiding? Hard work maybe? Self-discipline? A little pain now for bigger gains later?
- Who am I punishing by staying this way?
- Am I avoiding the true expression of my emotions? Are they too frightening to feel?
- What if I am waiting for a guaranteed miracle? Who will bring it to me?
- Perhaps being stuck is really manipulating myself and others?
- Maybe I am looking for special attention? Wallowing in self-pity?
- What will I miss most if I do succeed?
Understand the difference between I will try and I will find a way “Results are a function of your commitment. Most people are unaware that where they are is exactly where they want to be.”
So why did I start this blog in the first place? I started because I knew I had to grow. I knew I had to grow emotionally, spiritually, professionally and physically. I knew that if I didn’t grow and change and adapt, I would be stuck.
I don’t want to be stuck and I don’t want to stay the same. It’s not serving me well.
At each level of your life, the world demands a different you. A better you. The more (healthy) risks you take in life, the more life asks of you. Life asks for an improved version of you. What does that look like? It looks like YOU with more skills, more love, more patience and more self-awareness. Not just a new wardrobe.
Growing and moving in this positive direction requires that you adopt a proactive mindset. Stephen Covey’s Proactive vs. Reactive language choices. From “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People“.
There is something remarkable about growing better each day and discovering parts of yourself you never knew existed. This won’t happen if you aren’t willing to try new things, meet new people and put yourself out there.
Learn and read and watch inspiring people. Visit inspiring places. This starts with a wish list. I urge you to write down ten things you wish you were doing right now. Trips you wanted to take, classes you wanted to attend, movies you wanted to see, books, etc. It all starts with a desire.
Learn and read and watch inspiring people. Trust me, if you listen attentively enough, everyone is inspiring in some way, shape or form. Some may inspire you to change your attitude because you don’t like the way they behave. Yup. Even some of the most negative people in your life are teaching you something.
Turning Things Inside Out
Sometimes it is a good idea to take a look at your negative emotions and try to turn them inside out. Ask yourself what’s good about constantly being worried and afraid? Maybe it’s saving you from taking too big of a risk, like living beyond your means right now? The fear is real. Don’t negate that. But remember to find out why.
Ask yourself what’s good about feeling like you may become irrelevant? Maybe that’s you telling you to start learning new skills.
Ask yourself why you are so mad and frustrated that you still haven’t lost those sticky, pudgy 15 pounds? Maybe that’s you really telling you to become more disciplined with your life. To be more proactive rather than reactive about your life.
Growing With Your Pain
I am learning so much from Pema Chodron (she is a very wise Buddhist nun). I carry this little book with me wherever I go. It fits in my purse and I read her wise advice throughout the day.
A Fugitive From My Feelings
Oh this whole emotional growth, this is a big one. A difficult, frustrating and challenging part of my growth. Something that gives me the feeling that I might just start having those frightening panic attacks again. Nooooooooooooo!!!!
Instinctively I KNOW that the doors to my life are going to bust wide open when I begin to start facing my feelings. I mean actually feeling them for the first time. You see, for most of my life, I was a fugitive from my feelings.
For those of you who are looking for alternative ways to feel fully alive and present in your life, yes 100% radically accepting life as it comes while putting your best vibes forward, I strongly, highly . . . no I URGE you to listen to Tara Brach’s podcast. Listen to any of them, but one of my recent favorites “Sure Heart’s Release”
I would love to know “What Are You Unwilling to Feel?” – comment below.
Until tomorrow . . . .
“If anyone can prove and show to me that I think and act in error, I will gladly change it – for I seek the truth, by which no one has ever been harmed. The one who is harmed is the one who abides in deceit and ignorance.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 6.21
Read: The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday
It is okay to change my mind today. I don’t need (or want) to always be right. Go ahead, prove my thinking wrong. Correct me. When I stand corrected, I change for the better, for resisting may only harm me.
If I am not changing, then I am not growing and isn’t growth the whole point? To slip into a better, bigger version of myself each day. Sometimes this requires a real change of mindset.
Sometimes, the script in our head runs on automatic for years, unquestioned, unchallenged. What if you flipped the script? What would it be like to challenge our thinking? Read: You’re One Moment Away From Being Who You Want to Be
We might neglect our future selves because of some failure of belief or imagination. – Dereck Parfit.
Surrender and Slow Down
Expect some pain today. When faced with problems during the day, I like to think of them as growing pains.
You see, the counter-intuitive (and funny) thing about embarking on the path of personal growth is that it’s not going to be all cake and cookies. Read: 7 Harsh Truths About Personal Growth.
However, whatever you do, don’t add to your pain and problems. Slow down, see life as it is, not worse than it is. Please don’t make it worse with a second arrow.
What’s a second arrow?
If we look at the way we move through the day, when something happens, when we have pain in our body, when somebody treats us in a way that feels disrespectful, when something goes wrong for someone we love, that’s the first arrow.
Our mind and body go into a reactivity that does not help to bring healing. We blame others, we blame ourselves. That’s the second arrow. – Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance.
What I’ve come to learn and accept is that there is always a solution of the highest good, but it may not be aligned with what we think we need. Our job is to surrender to the fact that the Universe has a plan far better than ours. I’ve found that the more I surrender to the Universe’s plan the easier it is to move through the discomfort of uncertainty. @ Read: The Universe Has Your Back
If you look at it this way, it becomes clear. If you don’t add value to another person’s existence, then you will not be missed when you are gone. Read: 13 Simple Ways You Can Have More Meaningful Conversations.
Understand the Payoff
of Putting Things Off
The payoff you get for procrastinating is that you don’t have to do the work. You don’t even have to try. It’s so much easier to stay the same, to stay small. Hell, you’re use to it. It’s comfortable. You may not like it that much, but it kind of works. You know what to expect from your day. The work is easy. You are complacent, but you can deal with that. That’s the payoff.
Once you begin to realize that doing the same things you always do will give you the same results you don’t want, then you realize the hard part is starting. You have to put in the effort and be okay with stumbling and bumbling around for a while. It’s like walking through a dank and dark tunnel without a torch. Starting something new is really hard and frightening sometimes.
The Temptation to Control and Repair Everything Around You
When life is uncertain – and when is it not really? – I feel the need to try to control the people around me. It gives me a false sense of security. If I can control what they do, then maybe I can control some of the results. The outcomes.
And we all know, no one really wants us to control them. So, this only has me feeling more frustrated. I am wasting all that control energy doing something that is absolutely frustrating. The only thing I can control is me and my attitude. I must be like water.
Go with the Flow
Try this. Empty your mind. Be formless, shapeless. Be water My Friend.
In order to control myself I must first accept myself by going with and not against my nature. This is the true meaning of ‘Be water’. It is the complete and unconditional acceptance of the self. Where the self itself melts and becomes formless, fluid and flexible. When you attain that state, you are water!
Sunday seems like as good a day as any other to start thinking about ways I can strengthen my mind. To start with, I stumbled upon this smart list of brain training, mind-soothing exercises.
A Mind Clearing & Expanding List of Good Thinking Skills
The truth is, the quality of your mind determines the quality of your life.
I have to diligently guard what enters my mind. Note to self: stave off the temptation to randomly search YouTube. Consume Quality. Read and watch only quality books & films.
Don’t believe everything I think. Don’t hold onto every little thought. Release, and let it go. Meditation can help you with this.
Give my mind some well-earned rest. The importance of self-care.
Brighten my mind with hopeful, peaceful and positive thoughts. Training my mind to be calm and to ward off the alarming effects of long-term, chronic stress.
Focus on what I want, not what I don’t want. This ain’t easy. The mind always wants to go back to ruminating worry and concern.
Develop a healthy rule book for good thinking.
Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.
Understand & know what I value. Freedom, truth, a sense of security, peaceful living and love.
Take my mind on adventurous trips. Inspire it by doing more of what I enjoy.
Feed it good food. Each brain cell gets a boost from healthy nutrition.
And know that I have a choice – how I react to any given situation.
Avoid negative people, gossip, bullshitters and crazy makers at all costs. Like the plague.
Learn new skills. Study what I am curious about. Dabble.
Free my mind of unnecessary pain, guilt and fear. Ask questions instead. Stay curious. Continuously ask yourself, Why are you doing what your doing? Like right now, why are you reading this? I know why I am writing it. To help me become a better version of myself than I was yesterday.
Organize my surroundings. Remove what is useless. Declutter my life and my brain.
Most of us value intensity. Intensity makes us feel like we are busy, productive and important. Not. True. Slowdown.
Our breathing can shift our minds. Breathing to conserve my energy. Yes, there is a direct link between emotions and our breathing patterns.
Expand my mind in the great outdoors. Clear my mind.
Beware of Brutum Fulmen. Apparently coined by the Roman scholar Pliny the Elder, a brutum fulmen is a harmless or empty threat. It literally means “senseless thunderbolt.”
Lot’s of things in life are empty threats. Even those you scare yourself with – ignore them.
Trying to figure out why certain things happen in life is like attempting to piece together a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle while having only a few pieces of the puzzle in your possession.
You cannot fully understand the present situation using the logic of your finite mind. Just know that a bigger picture exists, even though it is not possible for you to see it at this time.
Trust, for all that is happening is an act of love; ultimately you will discover the blessing. Have patience! You will look back on this period of your life and be thankful for all this is occurring now. The Matrix card from The Magadalene Oracle
Respecting the “timeliness” of an action.
Welcome to “Indian Time.”’
It’s not easy to explain what Indian Time is. It’s more complicated than assuming everything will be late (though, that’s often a safe bet). I’ve heard Indian Time described as “the time it takes for moss to grow on a stone,” or as one elder put it “the time it takes to do things in a good way.”
It’s an enigmatic idea based on a uniquely cultural relationship with time. Simply put, things happen when they happen. There are not 24 hours in a day. Time is unlimited, impossible to cut up into chunks.
If something is to happen at 11 am, it might happen at 11:01 am or 12:26 or 1:11 pm. It will happen when it will happen. The universe has its own heartbeat, and who are we to speed it up or slow it down? To some, it’s an excuse to be late. To others, it’s a way to avoid ulcers.
“Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend – or a meaningful day.”
Every single moment gives us an opportunity, a choice. Close the gap of what you are capable of doing and what your actually doing. Be the best you, right now. How do we live consistently as the best version of ourselves? Read: The Rhythm of Life by Matthew Kelly