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Archive for the month “January, 2014”

Daily Ground- – -January 31

First – unclench your fists. The hardest part of praying is letting go of our resentments, bitterness, and anger–and that means not holding back from God. – – -Henri Nouwen

The other morning I awoke and was disappointed because my plans were ruined. It’s never good to be grumpy before you leave the sheets. There were some unexpected weather related delays, and something I was planning on attending was cancelled. As I began my daily devotions of prayer, mediation, and writing, I noticed my jaw was tight and my fists were clenched.

I walked away knowing I had to let go.

I opened the curtains and looked outside. Another frigid morning. I took a deep breath in, and continued looking. It was beautiful outside. The blue sky. The snow covered ground. The red cardinal.

I relaxed. The fists opened. The jaw loosened.  I returned to my morning devotions. I let go. I started my day over.

Peace.

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Daily Ground – – – January 30

Look for common ground; relate, don’t compare.

Terminal uniqueness is awful.  It causes such loneliness. When I have thoughts of not being enough – not feminine enough, or masculine enough, or young enough, or old enough, or not a good enough employee, or spouse or friend, or mother, I will ask God to remind me that most human beings have these same thoughts.  I will remember that I am enough. My thoughts don’t define me.

If I can’t remember that I am enough, I will listen to my trusted, spiritual friends to hear the truth about me. I am loved, I am enough. I am similar to most other human beings in my doubting. Some days it’s best to listen to friends.

You are loved, you are enough, you are similar to most other human beings in your doubting.

Peace.

Daily Ground – – -January 29

The longest journey is from my head to my heart.

I know a lot.  I still get stuck in the knowing instead of the living. I know that I should listen more and talk less. I know that often when I get angry or scared or frustrated, I have a tendency to run from those feelings. I run by talking. Passionately talking. This passionate talking can at times be mistaken for yelling or judging others.

I know that none of this stuff is very important stuff. It is simply something in me that comes up and makes me feel uncomfortable, and for some reason I can’t just sit with it. So recently I’ve been sitting with this in meditation, therefore it is in my awareness.  Now after I do my passionate talking/yelling, the awareness is in my face and it hurts! I walk away saying to myself, “What the heck did you do that for? Aren’t you trying to commit to listen more and talk less? Why can’t you control your actions?”

This is the first step in the incredibly long journey from my head to my heart. Awareness. Knowing does very little to change me. I need to practice.  I can’t think my way into right living. I have to live my way into right thinking.

Peace.

Daily Ground – – -January 28

We are so unused to emotion that we mistake any depth of feeling for sadness, any sense of the unknown for fear, and any sense of peace for boredom – – -Mark Nepo

This past October, I walked out onto the deck with a cup of coffee and experienced the sun a little lower in the sky, the leaves dark red, and a chill in the air. It was beautiful. I recall feeling heavy hearted. Heavy. Grounded. Intense. I just sat there.

For a brief moment I mistook this feeling for depression or sadness. I had recently come out of several dark years and I was afraid the recent reprieve was over. As I continued to sit, I realized this was simply a feeling. A deep, intense feeling.

I’ve often been moved to tears by beauty.  I’ve often felt heavy with strong emotion – even joy.  So I sat and simply felt. I sat until I was okay with what I was feeling. I didn’t label myself dark or depressed or weird because of the way I experience beauty or love or pain or Autumn. Then I got up. I got another cup of coffee and began the day.

Peace.

Daily Ground – – -January 27

There’s no place like a death bed, except a birth bed. And in a certain way the death bed is a kind of birth bed. – – John O’Donohue

I recently came across a video where John O’Donohue, writer, poet, spiritual teacher said this.  I said the same thing when I left the death bed of my father. I remember leaving on that April day, walking into the glorious sunshine and wondering how the world was going on as if nothing awesome had just happened. Awesome: causing feelings of fear and wonder: causing feelings of awe, Merriam Webster. Yes – it was awesome.

I was struck that it was a similar feeling when my first child was born.  It was so miraculous as if my world had shifted so, and I truly lost my footing.  Yet the rest of the world was so unaware of any of this.

I’m now more used to death beds. I don’t feel so afraid of death.  I’m amazed how many of my contemporaries – or anyone for that matter – finds it so difficult to talk about death.  We are all going to die. Everyone we know is going to die. It will hurt to grieve. I don’t know yet if it will hurt to die. I do know my mom questioned this on her own death bed, and I couldn’t answer her.

I’ve heard this: “We will all die, but we don’t know the hour of death. So do what is important now!” Basically, I want to live like I know I am dying as opposed to pretending that death is too difficult to face or deal with or talk about.  I want to live because I know I am going to die. Waking up to this fact has been one of the best blessings.  I’ve been privileged to be at the death bed. Go if you can. It is awesome.

Peace.

Daily Ground – – – January 26

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”

― Thích Nhất Hạnh

So many of us spend  energy trying to be something we are not. At delusional times in my life I even convinced myself that I was doing or being something for myself when in reality I was trying to be something for someone else’s approval.

Today my goal is to know myself, and then to accept who I am and am not.  When I can create space between myself and others, I don’t depend on others’ judgment of me to make me whole or content.

Peace.

Daily Ground- – -January 25

“Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
― Margery WilliamsThe Velveteen Rabbit

Most of us are afraid to be “real!”  We work diligently to keep our hair colored, our skin taut, and our faces smooth and wrinkle- less.   I wish people could see themselves through the eyes of a loved one. The beauty of friendship and kindness, their ability to be honest and available – these things are real! They aren’t ugly because of their wrinkles or grey hair, or cellulite – these things make us real!  No matter how hard we try – if we live long enough – we will all be “real” someday. . .if we are lucky.

Peace.

 

Daily Ground – – -January 24

Wise beyond her years.

I wonder if this is a complement? From what I’ve seen, wisdom comes from living, and living comes with pain. If someone is “wise beyond his or her years,” this most likely means they’ve earned the wisdom through some painful life lessons.

When I was younger, I moved through some painful things into the light in my mid 20’s. I chose a different way of life after my current chosen path had beaten me pretty badly. This brought with it some wisdom. Because the light of my new path was so delicious and warm, I didn’t fear the darkness in the same way anymore.  I actually welcomed it. I had learned intuitively that if I made it through the pain and lessons that life threw at me, the light would be warm and delicious.

I lived in this cycle for many years.  Eventually I hit some darkness that beat me so badly, I almost wished I could succumb to it as opposed to walking through to the other side.  It took years to get through.  I got a little gun-shy. Where I had previously welcomed darkness thinking it always led to the light, I now accepted it, knowing it was a part of life. A path most of us wind up on even if we try to avoid it. You can’t avoid life, and you can’t avoid death, but these cycles are easier to get through if I don’t struggle. And now – I’m blessed with wisdom.

Peace.

Daily Ground- – -January 23

If I tell you, “You are beautiful,” does that make you feel good? If I tell you, “I hate your shirt,” does that make you feel sad?  Although it is difficult, I’ve learned that if I become attached to the world’s compliments and successes, I will become attached to the world’s insults and failures. Both are sure to come. If I am grounded in myself – who I am in this moment, then what the world thinks of me can’t make me feel better or worse in this moment.

When people compliment or insult me – it has much more to do with them, than it does with me! It is something in them that causes them to give an insult or compliment. In reality I have no business caring about it one way or the other.

Sounds good but it takes practice, practice, practice.

Peace.

Daily Ground – – -January 22

The more I write, the more I read.  I’ve recently stumbled upon several readings that could all be titled Letting Go.  I thought it may be nice to list a few things I have let go of rather than focusing on things I still need to let go of. So here is a list of 5 things I’ve let go of through faith and prayer and meditation.

1. I’ve let go of the social constructs of parenting.  It’s definitely not one size fits all.  My children are unique, and if I tried to parent them both the same way, the results would have been devastating.  I certainly didn’t intend to parent them in the same way our parents’ parented us – that was a long time ago in a very different world.

2. I’ve let go of the idea that just because I really love the city, I don’t necessarily need to sell my home (that will be paid off when I’m 65) in order to live closer to the city.  I can just drive there and hang out, and then drive back home.

3. I’ve let go of the idea that just because we can’t afford to put our children through college, it doesn’t mean we “don’t have anything for them!”  I said this out loud recently – “I feel so guilty that my kids have to take their own loans for college; I have nothing for them.” When I heard that, I was reminded that money isn’t everything. We’ve given them love, support, encouragement, and the freedom to be themselves. If we hadn’t given them those things – the money may not have mattered anyway.

4. I’ve let go of the idea that buying a new outfit will make me feel better.  It just doesn’t! Or it may for a moment, but if I don’t have the money, it makes me feel worse.  Even if I have the money, I eventually feel stupid for buying something I really do not need. My mantra lately is: “You have enough – wear what you have!”

5. I’ve let go of the idea that I am somehow responsible for your feelings. You are absolutely responsible for your feelings.   I can’t make you love me or anything else, and I can’t make you hate me or anything else – that is up to you.

Although I’ve let go, I’m still human, and feelings may still arise around some of these things now and again. For the most part however, I’ve changed some thinking and feelings around these things, so even when they arise, I’m able to pause, and with a whole lot of faith, and a little bit of luck. . .I let go . . . again.

Your turn! What is on your list?

Peace.

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