The Longer I Hold It

635891798176670878-1214980745_GlassThis story has made the rounds on the internet for a while now, but it’s meaningful enough to pass along again.

A speaker walked around a room full of people while teaching about stress management.

To begin he grabbed a glass of water and raised it above his head as if he was going to propose a toast, and instantly everyone expected they’d be asked if the glass was half empty or half full as part of the lesson. Instead, with a smile on his face, he asked “How heavy is this glass of water?”

From those attending came answers “6 ounces” and “10 ounces” but he shrugged them off.

He replied, “The actual weight doesn’t matter. What really matters is how long I’ve been holding it. If I hold it for just a minute it feels very light. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a whole day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. Any longer than that and I will be very tempted to give up and drop it. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”

Those in the room were all blown away by the simplicity yet truth of this lesson.

However, the speaker continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like this glass of water. Carry them for only a short while and they’re manageable. Worry about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if we think about them all day long, or longer, we can begin to feel paralyzed and hopeless – incapable of concentrating or focusing on anything else.”

The speaker added, “It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses whenever possible. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night. This can certainly be easier said than done in some cases, but in many cases it’s actually quite easy if we’re mindful about it”.

If the problem can be solved why worry?
If the problem cannot be solved
worrying will do you no good.
Śāntideva

Posted in Letting Go, Life, Wisdom | Tagged , ,

Desire Demands Its Own Attainment

opposing-forcesOur desires and aversions are mercurial rulers. They demand to be pleased. Desire commands us to run off and get what we want. Aversion insists that we must avoid the things that repel us.

Typically, when we don’t get what we want, we are disappointed, and when we get what we don’t want, we are distressed.

If, then, you avoid only those undesirable things that are contrary to your natural well-being and are within your control, you won’t ever incur anything you truly don’t want. However, if you try to avoid inevitabilities such as sickness, death, or misfortune, over which you have no real control, you will make yourself and others around you suffer.

Desire and aversion, through powerful, are but habits. And we can train ourselves to have better habits. Restrain the habit of being repelled by all those things that aren’t within your control, and focus instead on combating things within your power that are not good for you.

Do your best to rein in your desire. For if you desire something that isn’t within your own control, disappointment will surely follow; meanwhile, you will be neglecting the very things that are within your control that are worthy of desire.

Of course, there are times when for practical reasons, you must go after one thing, or shun another, but do so with grace, finesse, and flexibility. From Epictetus: The Art of Living by Sharon Lebell

Do not spoil what you have
by desiring what you have not;
remember that what you now have
was once among the things you only hoped for.
Epicurus

Posted in Beyond the obvious, Embracing life, Life as it really is | Tagged , ,

Know What You Can Control and What you Can’t

epictetus Screen-Shot-2015-09-28-at-10.37.30-AMMany believe the “Serenity Prayer”, of which a portion is used in 12 step meetings, was generally based on the writings of Roman stoic philosopher Epictetus. Here’s a translated section of one of his dialogues that shows that Epictetus’s thoughts could have been on the mind of Reinhold Niebuhr when he wrote the “Serenity Prayer”.

Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not. It is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what you can and can’t control that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible.

Within our control are our own opinions, aspirations, desires, and the things that repel us. These areas are quite rightly our concern, because they are directly subject to our influence. We always have a choice about the contents and character of our inner lives.

Outside our control, however, are such things as what kind of body we have, whether we’re born into wealth or strike it rich, how we are regarded by others, and our status in society. We must remember that those things are externals and are therefore not our concern. Trying to control or to change what we can’t only results in torment.

Remember: The things within our power are naturally at our disposal, free from any restraint or hindrance; but those things outside our power are weak, dependent, or determined by the whims and actions of others. Remember, too, that if you think that you have free rein over things that are naturally beyond your control, of if you attempt to adopt the affairs of others as your own, your pursuits will be thwarted and you will become a frustrated, anxious and fault-finding person. (From the “Art of Living” Epictetus interpretation by Sharon Lebell)

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.
Full version of the “Serenity Prayer” by Reinhold Niebuhr

People are not disturbed by things,
but by the views they take of them.
Epictetus

Posted in Seeing 'what is', What really matters, Wisdom | Tagged , ,

My Sweet Wild Woman: The Reason you Haven’t yet found Love.

Change her to him and this could be about a woman or a man. Wild Woman then becomes Wild Man and within that I find a good bit of myself in this article from elephantjournal.com.
http://www.elephantjournal.com/2016/06/my-sweet-wild-woman-the-reason-you-havent-yet-found-love/

image151Dear sweet wild woman,

It all comes down to that magical moment when you meet someone who is brave enough to love you just as you are.

Perhaps you will meet this wild-eyed warrior over sweet tumblers of whiskey, or possibly over a chance encounter when the local barista mistakes your double tall with his mocha grande.

Maybe you have met him before, but now you have new eyes that time has moved mountains to create.

Whenever that magical moment arrives—you will know.

It was never about you being too much woman, my dear, but about you being too much for someone who didn’t yet realize that they were enough.

Because a man could never love a woman like you until he opens himself up to his own greatness. And I know you’ve cried bittersweet tears into your softly laid pillow each evening. When you meet the one who is brave enough to love you, you will be thankful that it never worked out with anyone else.

While you may have hard edges, it’s impossible not love a woman like you.
A woman who washes herself in the lemony essence of hope each morning as she clears her eyes from the mistakes of yesterday and readies herself to take on the challenges of a new day.

A woman who dances in the rain with stardust still sparkling upon her heels from the last time she dirtied herself with following the insanity of her dreams.
You’ve always known that you were meant for love and when you stumble upon the relaxed eyes of a man who just can’t seem to get enough, you will know that he possesses the courage that every other lover lacked.

Perhaps this man will not appear to be the warrior you seek, and maybe he is tarnished from all of the tears that he has shed along his journey, but the thing he will show you is the bravery of a man who never fears the intensity of your gaze.
All hasn’t been that your standards were too high, wondering why the glass slipper of the fairy tale never fit. It was about something more—it was about love.

And though you’ve had your fair share of heartbreak and tangled bitter ends, this man, the one who has the courage to offer his hand to you and accept whatever chaos you might bring into his life, will make it all worthwhile.

You will know the instant your fingertips touch his, dancing under the full honey moon to the melody of intoxicating possibility. You will suddenly know that it’s time to start looking for love in all the right places.

You’ve hit enough walls and felt the cold rush of air from doors being closed in your face, to understand that the only love you deserve is the one who will meet you halfway.

Because the only one who is brave enough to love a woman like you is also the only one who deserves your love.

You are unique and special in your thunderstorm of contradictions that drench the most unsuspecting souls. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

There is magic in the way that you take the mundane and transform it into something beautiful.

Your simple smile can make knees weak and hearts tremble, and it’s not your fault that every other man before this one was just too caught up to notice.

And you, my dear, in your fury of vulnerability and divine sensuality will always remain a mystery.

When you meet this man, his courageous heart will not be intimidated by your presence. In a world that seems to have lost sight of this value, some women are simply meant to be adored.

He may stumble at times, but that doesn’t mean that he isn’t worthy of your love.
No one is perfect. Gently remind him that even though mistakes cross both of your hearts, no one has ever deserved you more than him.

This love isn’t about looks, nor is it about being a good match. It comes down to this man staring down all the reasons why he shouldn’t be with you and instead focuses on the only reason why he should.

Because he’s never met a woman like you.

For some you are too much for some to take, but for him, you’ll be his sole reason to carry on. You inspire him to take small leaps of faith toward your love.
Because once in a while we meet someone who makes throw out the rule book for love.
You were born different into a world that celebrates similarities, and though it has been hard to honor your originality, when you meet this man you will finally understand why.

It’s never been about you being like everyone else, and it’s never been because you aren’t worthy of being loved.

Because all you ever needed, my sweet wild woman, is simply a man who is brave enough to love a woman like you. Author: Kate Rose Image: Pixoto Editors: Ashleigh Hitchcock; Emily Bartran

You’re going to have to date a few cowards
before you meet someone brave enough to love you.
R. H. Sin

Posted in Life, Love, Romantic relationships | Tagged , ,

Rules for Love

2 beautiful-flowers-in-pairs-900-2

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/11/55-rules-for-love/

1. When it arrives, cherish it.

2. Whatever you accept, you will get.

3. Understand that love is a mirror—it will show us who we are if we allow it to.

4. Only we can make ourselves happy, it is not the other person’s responsibility.

5. Don’t say words with the intent to hurt.

6. Accept and forgive easily.

7. Don’t be scared to disagree, it is healthy.

8. Never be too busy for each other.

9. Do not punish.

10. Accept honest criticism, it is good for us.

11. Admit when you are wrong, quickly.

12. Support each other when the going gets tough.

13. Live in the moment—be present.

14. Leave the past where it belongs.

15. Leave drama out of it.

16. Don’t try to control.

17. Allow a small amount of jealousy.

18. Don’t use comparisons.

19. Celebrate differences.

20. Communicate openly and honestly.

21. Listen very carefully.

22. Don’t judge.

23. Don’t manipulate to get results.

24. Learn and grow.

25. Don’t try to change each other.

26. Don’t condemn each other’s family and friends.

27. Lines, flaws and imperfections are beautiful.

28. Trust your instincts, but don’t be paranoid.

29. Don’t compromise your morals and values and don’t expect them to either.

30. Instead of power, aim for balance.

31. Space is needed to breathe and to grow.

32. Accept that you are both unique—never compare.

33. Have fun, laugh and play—a lot.

34. Be each other’s best friend.

35. Don’t play mind games.

36. Do not carelessly throw away love.

37. Don’t waste energy with negative thoughts.

38. Compliment often.

39. Discover each other.

 40. Be attentive and understand what’s not said.

41. Do at least one romantic and thoughtful thing every day.

42. Take picnics and sleep under the stars.

43. Don’t just speak about it, show love.

44. Walk together, cook together, bathe together, read together.

45. Do not be afraid, love requires surrender.

46. Be loyal and faithful.

47. Trust.

48. Be grateful.

49. Fluidity is good, accept change.

50. Don’t sleep on a fight.

51. Don’t cling to it, know when to let go.

52. Discover what turns you both on and explore it.

53. Make love, but also f*ck (regularly).

54. Give and receive without measure.

55. Never gamble with what you can’t afford to lose.

 

Being deeply loved by someone
gives you strength,
while loving someone deeply
gives you courage.
Lao Tzu

Posted in Life as it really is, Love, Romantic relationships | Tagged , ,

The Only Safety

resilience-dandelion-through-asphalt

“Allow”

By Danna Faulds

There is no controlling life.

Try corralling a lightning bolt,

containing a tornado.  Dam a

stream and it will create a new

channel.  Resist, and the tide

will sweep you off your feet.

Allow, and grace will carry

you to higher ground.  The only

safety lies in letting it all in –

the wild and the weak; fear,

fantasies, failures and success.

When loss rips off the doors of

the heart, or sadness veils your

vision with despair, practice

becomes simply bearing the truth.

In the choice to let go of your

known way of being, the whole

world is revealed to your new eyes.

From “Go In and In: Poems From the Heart of Yoga” by Danna Faulds

People don’t resist change.
They resist being changed.
Peter M. Senge

Posted in Beyond the obvious, Embracing life, Good Advice, Life | Tagged , ,

Romance is Empty. I Want to Taste Real Love.

6940148192_c86fa810cd_zI love romance.

I will always love romance.

A cheek to cheek tango wearing nothing but moonlight while stepping on a soft mountain of rose petals is pretty much what I’d rather be doing at all times.

The sweeping breathlessness, the fluttering hearts, the sweaty crescendo of kisses.

Mmm!

It all goes straight to my head like cheap champagne, making my face flush, knees shake.

But, delectable as it is, romance served alone is ultimately empty.

Almost anyone can lure us in with a box of dark chocolate truffles, an adoring compliment and a blossoming bouquet of red roses.

But, love—juicy, pure, real love—is something entirely different.

I did not always know this.

I used to be a romance-junkie, a red-lipstick wearing thrill-seeker, a high-heeled pleasure addict.

I chased after lovers like it was my full-time job.

I chased so hard for so long that I lost myself.

I traveled to the depths of despair and buried my soul in blankets of worthlessness and self-hatred.

I thought I might never make it out alive.

Finally, after far too many years, I had enough.

So I set myself on fire and sat in the scorching flames of transformation.

And, I transformed.

I became courageous enough to taste what I had always truly wanted—real love.

I sank my hungry teeth into it, and the juicy, nourishing nectar filled my mouth.

Warmth spread throughout my limbs and I saw real love.

I saw what it is.

And I saw what it isn’t.

I saw that real love is not a bouquet of red roses, a sweet kiss, a mind game, a glass of extra-bubbly champagne, a flirty e-mail, or a sexy glance.

No.

Real love is raw, pure and breathtaking in its simplicity.

It’s a spiritual adventure, a f*cking crazy journey, a completely transformative experience.

Real love dives deep, looks directly into your soul, sees exactly who you are—and wouldn’t change a damn thing.

It cherishes the deliciousness of every perfectly imperfect part of you.

Because mostly, it just wants to gaze into your eyes and kiss your soul.

And never stop kissing your soul.

It wants to ask, “How are you?” and listen to every single syllable of the long-winded answer.

It wants to know your secrets and your shame, gently peeling back each shiny layer to get to your core.

Oh, how it longs to peak at your luscious core.

Real love grabs on fiercely and holds you hard as f*ck, but is wildly unafraid to set you free.

It’s intensely compassionate, unfreezing even the most stubborn icicles in your heart.

It helps you heal without even trying.

It has the courageousness of a brave soldier and the softness of a nurturing mother.

Real love takes a shit with the door wide open.

It forces you out of hiding.

Because the things you used to hide are the things it admires the most.

Real love bleeds truth, honesty and talks about the things you’re too scared to talk about.

But, most of all,

Real love doesn’t walk off into the sunset, it walks directly into your life.

I will always adore romance.

But, real, pure, juicy love is worth a thousand violin sonatas and starry-eyed kisses.

Real love is raw and satisfying.

Real love is real.

And, more than anything, I want real.

Author: Sarah Harvey – Editor: Travis May – Photo: Juliana Coutinho http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/02/romance-is-empty-i-want-to-taste-real-love/

 

Posted in Hopes and Dreams, Life, Love, Romantic relationships | Tagged , ,

Make the Darkness Part

If you had a person in your life
treating you the way you treat yourself,
you would have gotten rid of them a long time ago…
Cheri Huber

Posted in Living life well, Self Awareness, What really matters | Tagged , ,

Look Closer

old manI came across this on-line and knew nothing of its authenticity. So I did a little research and found generally the free form poem is considered a “hoax” and not necessarily written by a “cranky old man”. Regardless of who wrote it and why, there is wisdom contained within. As one transitioning from the late fall to the early winter season of life I was touched by the realities highlighted many old-timers have quietly thought and felt.

Amongst his belongings, the memories of an entire life, they found this poem:

What do you see nurses? What do you see? What are you thinking, when you look at me? A cranky old man, not very wise, What are you thinking, when you look at me? A cranky old man, not very wise, Uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes? Who dribbles his food and makes no reply. When you say in a loud voice, “I do wish you’d try!” Who seems not to notice, the things that you do. And forever is losing… a sock or a shoe? Who, resisting or not lets you do as you will, With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill? Is that what you’re thinking? Is that what you see? Then open you eyes, nurse.

You’re not looking at me. I’ll tell you who I am, as I sit here so still, As I do at your bidding, as I eat at your will. I’m a small child of 10, with a father and mother, Brothers and sisters, who love one another. A young boy of sixteen, with wings on his feet Dreaming that soon now, a lover he’ll meet. A groom soon at twenty, my heart gives a leap, Remembering the vows, that I promised to keep. At 25, now I have young of my own, Who need me to guide, and a secure happy home.

A man of thirty, my young now grown fast, Bound to each other, with ties that should last. At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone, But my woman is beside me, to see that I don’t mourn. At fifty once more, babies play ’round my knee, Again we know children, my loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me, my wife is now dead. I look at the future, I shudder with dread. For my young are all rearing young of their own, And I think of the years, and the love that I’ve known. I’m now an old man, and nature is cruel, It’s jest to make old age look like a fool.

The body, it crumbles, grace and vigor depart, There is now a stone, where once I had a heart. But inside this old carcass a young man still dwells, and now and again, my battered heart swells. I remember the joys, I remember the pain, And I’m loving and living, life over again.I think of the years, all too few, gone too fast, And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.

So open your eyes, people, open and see: Not a cranky old man, Look closer, see ME!

I wept for relationships not possible
due to denial and dreams locked
in the back of people’s minds,
all of the bits of life
that lay dormant until
the babblings of televisions
and nursing homes sweep them away.
It makes me wonder how many of the dreams
we had originally have already been forgotten.
Christopher Hawke

Posted in Aging, Alone, Life | Tagged , ,

Love Set On Fire

waterandfire

How deliciously torturous it is to burn brightly with romantic love for another human being. How humbly satisfying it is when that person is on fire for you at the same time in the same way.

Far beyond companionship, physical attraction, and infatuation there is a rare and elusive kind of love that makes mortal cravings, needs and desires secondary.

The only thing predictable about such an extraordinary love is it’s unpredictability. You may seek and want it, but no amount of looking will lead you to its discovery.

Instead of searching for that fire between two souls to find you, live your life in a meaningful way true to your self. No matter how old you are… grow up, get healthy, and be true to your ideals without expecting perfection. Get the upper hand on your demons, and live with kindness and gratitude.

Don’t get bogged down in over-work, constant activity, partially fulfilling relationships, broken marriages and hollow flings because such behaviors steal your time and blind you emotionally and spiritually. Live with intention and let go of what does not fit you.

Pay attention. Step past your fears. Accept that you will never be completely ready, but do the best (truly best) you can to grow and improve. Be open and aware for the rare chance of a mutual love set on fire or it will go unnoticed. It’s momentary appearance will be ill-timed. You won’t even be aware of it.

If you’re capable of loving with your entire being then just maybe you’ll be looking in the proper direction to notice the arrival of a momentary spark that sets the same lasting flame in your heart and another.

The best love is the kind that awakens the soul
and makes us reach for more,
that plants a fire in our hearts
and brings peace to our minds.
Nicholas Sparks

True love is not a strong, fiery, impetuous passion.
It is, on the contrary, an element calm and deep.
It looks beyond mere externals,
and is attracted by qualities alone.
It is wise and discriminating,
and its devotion is real and abiding.
Ellen G. White

Posted in Life