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.
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!
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
Today let me carve out time – time out of my busy schedule to nurture my soul. To do the real living. Not just the busy work.
Let me not rush into another day without taking moments for myself. Time to meditate, move and to feel my wild heart beating.
Let me remember to acknowledge that this day is another chance to create something valuable for the world.
Let me take all of my worries and turn them into wonder, so I may creatively transform my concerns into care. When I worry about having enough money, energy, health or friends, may I learn how to generate new ways of seeing my problems and new ideas to design a life that heals myself and others. Today I will strive to see and to know that nothing lies beyond my capabilities if it is a must.
I know that I will sometimes fail, but failure offers insights that are invaluable to my growth.
How to use fear before it uses you – Anthony Robbins
Today let me generate new, fresh ideas to solve my problems and to create something better, something brand new. Ideas that are useful, helpful and brilliant that will help not only me, but others who are trying to make their way in this world while becoming better versions of themselves. I must remember, no ideas is so big that I can not take the first step.
The Ultimate Guide to Becoming an Idea Machine by James Altucher
Becoming better starts with taking care of me. Nurturing my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
10 Ways I Can Nurture Myself Today
- Set reminders on my smartphone to stop during the day to stand up and stretch.
- Forgive someone who has caused me pain.
- Listen to an inspiring podcast from Tara Brach.
- Remember to eat a light, low-carb, healthy lunch.
- Stay thankful for everything I already have.
- Go for a long walk when the rain lets up.
- Call my husband and laugh for five minutes on the phone.
- Pray a little each hour while asking for guidance and humility.
- Take care of a nagging problem. Deal with it head on.
- Discover new music while having dinner.
Oh to be Anti-fragile to be a part of Things that Gain from Disorder
Each day I remember to nurture and care for myself, I get one step closer to becoming a stronger version of myself than yesterday. Some nurturing things will work better than others. It really is a matter of trial and error and protecting myself from getting stuck, transforming when necessary but keeping a sense of broad freedom and opportunism.
Experimenting with new ways of living by trial and error = freedom.
Reclaiming my Personal Power
The black swan is a graceful reminder to move from any position where you feel powerless and at the mercy of external forces; it is time to reclaim your personal power.
Cherish My Unlovable Parts. Turn them around. Realize how many of my bad thoughts and actions can really be useful.
- Obsessive worrying demonstrates that I actually care.
- When channeled correctly, my panic-like anxiety is like a fiery ball of glorious energy.
- My anger and frustration is simply a hidden desire to make life better.
- My apparent laziness and constant shortcutting is really a search for a more efficient and productive way to create.
- Wanting to do it all while feeling confused in simply my inner child looking for guidance while letting the world know, I want to contribute.
- The resentment and rage I sometimes have can be directed into a forceful power of purpose.
This morning I imagined what the 80 year old version of myself would tell me, if I asked her, “What do I do now?” “What should I focus on?”
What wisdom would she have, nearing the end of her life? What would she have focused on today?
She’d tell me to bike more, write more, film everything. Tell everyone I love how much I love them. Hug more, kiss more. Squeeze them tight. Use my creativity to connect with those I love and those I will love in the future. Arms and heart wide open, she would tell me to vulnerably step into the world and be me.
She’d tell me to fuck fear. Let go of the negative thoughts. Skin the skeptic. Look for the beauty in all. There are so many good people to love, sweet creatures to care for and wonderous places to inspire. Find them. Get out today and connect on purpose. Smile, it’s a great heart opener. It’s your super power. Laugh. Enjoy life to the fullest each moment. Find your tribe. Seek out those who inspire you and meet them with open arms. Exercise. Move your body. Play outdoors.
Seek what you want to find. Chase what makes your heart beat. What makes your heart pound out loud. Friends, food, books, music, work. Go out there and get it all.
Be thoughtful and intentional about everything you do. Your writing, your film, your drawing. Do it on purpose and with a purpose.
Think first, but don’t regret anything. Try not to hurt anyone, including yourself. No time for that. Problems will come and go. It always works out in the end. Stop getting so angry and frustrated. Sail through the storms. There is no time to waste.
Life is a banquet. There is so much to choose from. Taste it all.
Visit friends, follow the inspiring, touch and taste everything that draws you in – that pulls you closer. Feed your curiosity.
Let go of control. Just love.
A few months ago I began stripping away all that no longer serves me in my life. What is that suppose to mean? Without boundaries, I let way too much in and life got way too crazy. I was tired, pulled in a million directions and honestly, I allowed it. Frankly, I didn’t know how to say no.
I said yes to everything and everyone. It’s not a good idea. Well sometimes, in the beginning saying yes is good, like when you are building a career, but too much yessing can lead to real chaos and letting people down, including yourself.
I am moving towards a minimalist lifestyle that will give me the freedom to go and do what I want without the burden of having so much to take care of, including a house too big, a life too wide open and the collection of twenty years of unnecessary, unwanted “things”. Things I don’t use, wear or want any longer.
I started by cleaning out twenty years of clutter in the attic. It was exhausting and energizing at the same time. While I am not one to hold on to things, like memorabilia, my daughters had piles and piles of grammar and high school “stuff” they had collected throughout the years up there. I even made it a moment. I asked them all to come over for a memory lane party. They laughed at old love letters, praised their early art work and cringed at their eighth grade diaries. They didn’t want the stuff either. The memories they decided to keep are tucked away in the corners of their mind or on Instagram. The rest they let go of along time ago.
Clearing away the clutter for me also involves displacing anything and anyone (eew, that sounds harsh) that is no longer useful, helpful, valuable or lovable in my life. You see, I began to feel like others were pushing and pulling me in too many different directions, while my priorities were left on the back burner. I am now older and wiser and know that whatever time I have left on this planet, I would like to deliberately create some moments of creativity and adventure before it’s too late.
So what am I going to trim down, clean up, give away and simply remove from my life?
Frumpy Frocks & Spontaneous Purchases. Starting with my closet, shoes, sweaters, shirts, bags, dresses and worn out jeans that I have not even touched in six months or more. Good will and good riddance. I want to create a really fun “uniform” to wear. Something I don’t have to think about. That’s one less decision in the day.
Space Fillers & Dust Collectors. Souvenirs, books, artwork and other knick knacks that are no longer aesthetically pleasing to me. If it does not spark joy, I just don’t want it. I haven’t read Marie’s book and I won’t. The sparking joy was my review take away. It makes sense.
Crazy Makers. People that require special handling, those that need kid gloves and jokers that confuse me. Anyone that I find annoying or that appears to be even relatively unstable. You know, I have been a magnet for the crazy makers for many years. This also includes anyone who bores me, those that aren’t original, open-minded or interesting or genuinely fun to be around. The self-absorbed, stuck or painfully sad. Anyone I don’t have a true kindred enthusiasm for or feel I can growth with as I adventure on. Yeah, they’re gone.
Obsessive Worrying & Ruminating Thoughts. Negative thoughts that clutter my mind, that make me feel less than I really am. Small thoughts. Sad thoughts. Critical, mean self-talk. No more worrying, because, “Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want.” Read on: 12 Toxic Thoughts You Need to Drop for a Better Life
Shitty Projects & Confused Corporates. Work that feels stupid, repetitive and ridiculous. People that go round and round because they don’t have a blueprint. Working with incompetent people. Things I just don’t want to do that I don’t have to do.
Excess – too many of any one thing. Rooms in my house, blankets on my bed, uncomfortable chairs, hard pillows, greased-bottom pots, scratched pans, broken cups and any sticky old debt on the credit cards. Oh to simplify and simply live with just what I need.
Random Files & Duplicate Photos. Files on my computer, my “filled-to-the-brim” email inboxes, old notes, usb drives with old brochures and dead campaigns, duplicate photos, and old contacts in my phone. People that I no longer talk to.
Crackers, Chips & Junky Food. Food and drink that makes me feel sluggish, fat and tired. Nah. Doesn’t serve me well at all. I never understood why they called it comfort food, expect for warm dishes of mac and cheese or mashed potatoes.
Time & Energy Wasters along with Old Fears & Everyday Frustrations. Good bye time, energy and money wasting activities. Waiting on lines, calling customer service, meetings in person that could have been Skype-d. Drives to stores when Amazon delivers. Anything that makes me feel like I need to be doing something else while I am doing that. Like commuting.
Mediocre Netflix Series & Silly Youtubers No, I just can’t. This is no way to fall asleep at night. I no longer enjoy watching crappy HBO shows just because everyone else is binging on them.
Bad habits. Yeah, like relaxing with two glasses of wine before I go to sleep. Fading into Facebook as my head hits the pillow. Any excuse not to work out. Answering the phone most of the time. Being too nice and polite to time suckers. Being neurotic while calling, emailing and texting the same message to one person.
Packing My Schedule. Yes, I am clearing out the calendar and filling it up with dates I save in the future for things I want to do. Wrapping up old projects and getting rid of the guilt. End commitments with a clear conscience.
One of the most difficult clutter to clear is that which we think we are suppose to keep. The inherited heirlooms, the mementos, the sentimental shit. I don’t make photo prints of photos any more, so shouldn’t I just digitize the old ones?
My new mantra everything should have value. When we begin to desire to clear out the old and useless, we are getting ready to heal, grow and begin a new. Getting clear about what you do want is a process of trial and error.
When you’re stuck in a state of ambivalence, you must do whatever it takes to break the impasse.
I am concerned about filling it all up again. I am a big believer that new habits must replace old ones in order to grow.
I will watch the slow the accumulation of possessions, for to live is to create and consume. It cannot be avoided – especially in our society and culture. But if the influx of possessions into our homes can be slowed, clutter can be managed efficiently.
To slow the accumulation of things in our homes, we need to change our mindset and begin evaluating our purchases differently. Realize that your purchases cost far more than the price on the sticker. Each one will also require time, energy, and effort once they enter your home. Before making a purchase, begin asking yourself these questions:
- Is this item really needed?
- Do I have a place to store this when I get it home? Do I want to lug it around with me?
- How much extra work will this possession add to my life?
- Am I buying it for the right reasons?