Today I will be humble. I will be aware of my simultaneous significance and insignificance as a human being. I will be loving. I will greet others with the same respect and warmth I would hope to receive. I will be grateful. I will remember the interconnection of all things, the illusion of linear time, and the truth that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. I will know that all that once existed still exists in different form. I will feel safe in my body, trusting that the natural expression of my essence is the temporary role I am here to play. Whatever passions excite me, whatever delights my spirit, whatever leaves me with a peaceful sense of purpose, is the way in which I send out love to my environment. It is my unique contribution to the collective. I will be myself. I will walk the world with patience and with ease, knowing that wherever I wander I am home.
Spectrum Cable called me about 10 times in a week. I knew it was going to be a sales call, one in which a bored telemarketer reads from a script, trying to get me to upgrade my Internet-only service and buy something I don't need. I didn't want to deal with the scenario but after enough calls I finally answered, trying my best to actually connect to the human being on the line, even if they came across more like a robot. After making it clear I had no desire to get cable or a landline, I figured the call was over. But then she started up with another "Did you know..." and I stopped her before she could finish. "I don't want anything else! Unless I'm going to pay less for Internet, I'm really not interested." What I wanted was to get off the phone. I think we both did. The whole scenario just felt so fake and programmed. Before we could get off the call however, she finished that "did you know" sentence. And what I didn't know? Spectrum was giving their Internet customers free access to 1000's of streaming movies and TV shows. That's all she wanted to tell me. They were giving me a gift. Thanks, Spectrum.
I hung up feeling a bit foolish and embarrassed. It made me realize how often I anticipate the negative. It made me think- what if life keeps trying to give you gifts but you and your cynicism- your fearful expectations- keep swatting them away? What if there was something good here for you? What if you always just expected something good?
It's funny how we walk around this place often unaware of the roles we play for other people- the projections we embody, the reactions we provoke, the healings we inspire, and the ways in which we forever alter each other's self-conversations. We may not know the exact impact we have on each other's lives- we may not know how we help - but we can trust that we do. Just by being ourselves- our natural energetic presence. I like to think of this whenever I feel insignificant. I like to think of all the people out there who have no idea just how much they've helped me.
It takes real inner strength to love so boldly. To be vulnerable, authentic, and true. How very impressive it is to unapologetically wear your heart on your sleeve, to brazenly display it on your petals, to not hide it in the face of possible rejection. To be that unabashed and open? Wow. It takes real courage to lead with love. This flower gets it.
Today I will look in the mirror without criticizing my appearance; wishing this or that was smaller/bigger/tighter. I will not reject any reflection of this holy body, the current home of my soul. I will release myself from the clutches of popular opinion, remembering that trends are ever-changing, that standards can be optional, and that perspective is merely a choice. I will say goodbye to old habits of self-criticism. I will welcome the euphoria of self-approval and the personal power that can only come from self-appreciation. I will recognize the purpose in my uniqueness and the miraculous magic of the human form.
And I will revel in my freedom.
Old goal: to be happy all the time regardless of circumstances.
New goal: to be present and patient with whatever arises within me, to practice self-care over self-rejection, to no longer shame myself for any ugly or unpleasant thoughts and emotions, to not force a state of being that does not feel authentic or true, to sit with what is and to listen.
Old goal: happiness
New goal: freedom
Last night I had a dream that I was running down the street; trying to make my way to the house of a couple whose lifestyle I admire. I've never met them in real life, but have been so inspired by their story through their blogs and podcasts. It's almost as if discovering them two years ago allowed me to rediscover a part of myself and the kind of life I really want to live. And so somewhere along the way, they must have become a symbolic representation of the future I've been working towards. In the dream, I felt like I could not run fast enough. I kept trying to push myself harder, but my pace remained a steady jog, instead of a sprint. I heard some threatening noises coming from across the street. I just HAD to reach my destination. I bumped into other people who crossed my path. I kept going. Kept trying to increase my speed. I had to get there and quick! And then before I could even make it, I woke up.
Sometimes dreams can be the most precious gifts of self-awareness. To attach a sense of solace or personal fulfillment to a future destination or temporary object is to forget the significance of the daily journey. It is to miss out on all the potent opportunities to meet life fully, to free ourselves through presence and to evolve through self-acceptance. We may be putting so much pressure on ourselves to get THERE, yet it is only ever HERE - in surrender to the truth of the moment - that a deeper sense of personal peace, healing, love, and sustained fulfillment can be found. The desires we have for the future are necessary for direction, motivation, and positive action. Our goals keep us moving toward more experiences of freedom and of joy. Yet, it's only in the NOW, that we ever get to feel it.
Sometimes, mid-prance, my dog Remy will abruptly stop and sniff the air. Following her nose to the apparent source of her intoxication, she'll attempt to walk back the way we came, pulling me with her in the process. My usual response is, "come on, Rems. We move forward, not backward. You want treats? Let's get some treats!" This is always effective.
I actually use the same technique on myself, whenever I feel the pull to relive my past or replay my worst/greatest hits. Yes, the past was necessary. You wouldn't be where you are now without it. Yet, you do not need to go back there. You can't physically go back there. And would you really even want to? Thank the ground you've already covered. Feel the spot of earth that is currently beneath your feet. And walk in the direction of your future destination, where an infinity of possibilities - and treats - await you.
Did I make good choices? Did I take any new positive actions? Did I step in the direction of my desires? Was I honest with myself? Was I honest with others? Do the people that I love, know that I love them? Did I do the best that I could do?
Ok, then. Cool. Today was a good day. Today was a success. And even if it wasn't, even if I didn't get a passing grade, tomorrow I'll get another chance. Tomorrow I'll have another go.
Back when I was acting, I brought a "touched up" headshot into an audition. By "touched up" I mean completely airbrushed. My skin was perfect porcelain and there was not a wrinkle, line, or any evidence of sun damage on my face. After I read for the part, the casting director said, "Can I give you some advice? Get new headshots. This looks like your much younger sister or someone else. You've lived life. You've had experiences. This isn't you. We want to see you." As bluntly as it was put, I still appreciated the truth bomb.
What if all the wear and tear and wisdom that life has gifted you is what makes you interesting? What if it makes you you? What if you didn't need to be anyone else? What if you were perfect just as you are?
The time between crying "what was I thinking??" and laughing "what was I thinking!?!" gets shorter in length when you actually let yourself cry, laugh, and recognize that you were just doing the best you could as the person you were at that time.
We are constantly changing and growing in awareness. It's a lifelong process of education and evolution that we can choose to fight or embrace. Either way, it means that wherever you happen to be- it's temporary. And more than that, it means that whoever you happen to be- you are enough - just as you are right now.
What has come before is not always an indicator of what will be. Say thank you and goodbye to the ghosts of lessons learned, those phantoms of painful events haunting the hallways of your brain. There are people and experiences in your future that are not like the people and experiences of your past. You've been waiting for them to arrive, they've been waiting for you to be ready. They've been waiting for you to feel worthy. They've been waiting for you to believe they exist.
Look forward. Clear some space. Know you're deserving. Invite them in.
I was in Sprouts the other day and “My Favorite Things” from the Sound of Music soundtrack was playing, which is a pretty odd supermarket music choice, right? I thought so. Either way, I was really happy I heard it because it made me realize something: that song is pretty much THE answer. To EVERYTHING.
Ok. Not to everything. But possibly to every negative shift in mood. Every fearful reaction - thought or feeling.
“... I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so bad.”
Um yeah. Duh. When you focus on your favorite things or think of people that you appreciate and love, you don’t feel AS bad. It doesn’t mean that you ignore your emotional reaction or “spiritually bypass” your current circumstance, but you just don’t linger there in helpless identification too long.
It’s not that the shitty stuff that happened or the issue you are dealing with is going to go away but it definitely prevents the fear and negative momentum around it from growing. It raises your overall mood (energetic vibration) so that you can actually get space around whatever circumstance you’re in and view it with some distance. And more than that, you can be energetically open enough to receive solutions. Because as we know, solutions are never found at the same level as the problem. I mean, even Einstein said that.
And because our nervous system can’t tell the difference between something that we are actually presently experiencing and something we are just imagining or remembering as an experience - we can have the same emotional reaction to an actual event as to a memory or fantasy of an event. This is the reason why people say “think of your happy place” and it tends to work.
My Favorite Things. So simple and totally worth doing. I mean, isn’t that what we really all want anyways? To not feel so bad... or really, to feel good/better/happier?
Thanks, Sprouts and the musical theater lover who chooses your playlist.
Yesterday I asked my mother how she would feel if she had 60 million dollars. It wasn't a normal topic of conversation for our regular and very much cherished FaceTime chats, but somehow the concept of financial wealth came up and being curious, I asked her. Her response was just so genuine and beautiful. She paused and then quickly shook her head, as if having that much money was irrelevant or unimportant. "There are many ways to feel like you have millions. You can be rich in many ways." She warmly smiled back at me. And I knew exactly what she meant.
There was a beautiful plant that lived on my front steps. It was something I had inherited from the previous tenant but over the past few years I had adopted it and treated it as my own. It was in a bright blue pot which was the perfect compliment to the various succulents planted within it, as the colors were all quite vibrant including a particularly gorgeous bright red. I would charge my crystals in its soil during full moons. Even though I have little knowledge about plants or gardening, I really enjoyed watching it grow. It was the most eye pleasing spot on an otherwise uninteresting porch. It made me happy to see it.
This morning I came outside to find that this plant was gone. My first thought was "who the hell steals a plant?!" Maybe it was some intoxicated asshole thinking he or she was funny. Maybe it was someone who believes they have so little in their life that they need to take from others. And that sounds like a miserable existence. That sounds like punishment enough.
And while I'm sad that this beautiful object is gone, in truth it was never mine in the first place. Maybe nothing ever really is. I just got to enjoy it for awhile and give it some love. And in return, it gave me a little morning lesson in non-attachment. And forgiveness. So thank you, plant. I really hope your new "owner" treats you kindly.
I've started saying thank you to the subjects of my photographs. It happened organically one day and I later realized why. On some level it must have registered that these flowers and plants and places are always giving me gifts. Whether it's just a pretty picture to share, creative inspiration, or a much needed moment to sit in non-judgment, appreciation, and stillness - I always leave with something. And so, as you do when someone hands you a gift, I say thank you out of recognition and respect.
I've found that the more things I make sacred in my world, the more beautiful and magical the world truly becomes.
"When we walk on the earth with reverence, beauty will decide to trust us." - John O 'Donohue
This crew made me stop and take note. Omg gorgeousness.
Sometimes I can't believe how I walk in the world now. The things that jump out at me now versus then. My younger self would have completely ignored this beauty. She probably would have tossed her cigarette butt on this sidewalk in a frenzy of anxiety or a cloud of melancholy and sped off on her way to nowhere in particular. She had no idea what was right in front of her the whole time. Man, am I thankful for her. Without the dark we can't recognize the light. Contrast can be so vital to appreciation. The funny part is I'll probably say the same thing about me now in another 10 years.