Fullness Of Self

stand-aloneFeeling alone while with another is loneliness at its worst. In those times something was not right outside of me, but also very much within. In every case a portion of the incompleteness was from being with the wrong person while the one I yearned for was far away. Sometime the “other one” was fabrication hope conjured in my imagination. And right there is a clue to what was going on then.

My loneliness for a long while was actually feeling lonely for “me”. Having become so well-practiced at running from myself it took an extended period of heightened loneliness to see that I could never be content with anyone until I was at peace with myself.

Then came the years of isolating and keeping others at a distance; a sentence of sorts I judged myself needy of. The tonic served to be a good cure in the long run. However there was an unhealthy aspect that self-imposed sentence. In time I came to see I was punishing myself for the pain I had caused others and came to self-forgiveness that healed me.

That was then, and this is now. The lonely depths I experienced were the most difficult days I have experienced. I spent my time in the shadowed valley of loneliness and learned well that it was an emptiness within that ailed me most. Being able to feel loneliness has not completely left me, but now I have a healthy strength to bear it when it comes to call on the more rare occasions it appears. Today within I am whole. I love who I am, imperfections and all (the majority of the time at least!).

Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness. Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill that space. An intelligent, sensitive person is the exception, the very great exception. If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you’ll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way. From “White Oleander” by Janet Finch

Only in recent years was I even capable of loving as a man should be able to love. My experience in arriving here, allows me able to care with a depth that would be beyond what most might know. Ironically that gift came from great loneliness. I am grateful for the fullness of self I feel today and grateful for the pain that taught me how to be that way.

I’m here.
I love you.
I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long,
I will stay with you.
There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love.
I will protect you until you die,
and after your death I will still protect you.
I am stronger than Depression
and I am braver than Loneliness
and nothing will ever exhaust me.
From “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert

Five Senses Of Gratitude

02 see Gratuita-de-alta-definici-n-eye-shocking-beautiful-sight-wallpaper - CopyI have eyes that can see…

01 Hear Waterfall-Wallpaper-hd-wallpaper-1920x1200-5-50613c7abdce3-2138 - Copy

And ears that can hear…

04 smell Naked-Bread-V-Tag

A nose that can smell…

05 two-hands-touching-620x348

Hands that can touch…

03 taste Food Wallpaper-3

And a mouth that can taste.

With such simple, but so very important abilities I am blessed and express my gratitude to the world here. I do not take them for granted.

Adapted from “The Rose Garden” by the Persian poet Sa’di

Some of us don’t know how well we have it
In this land of ours of good and plenty
While many say and think that their life is unfit
While their souls and stomachs are never empty.

I once cried out for a new pair of shoes
Until I saw a man who had no feet
Then I heard a child cry for food that she refused
Then I saw another child that had nothing to eat.

I once saw a man whom had everything
Then I saw a another man who had nothing at all
Then that homeless man to God he did sing
While the man with everything was afraid to fall.

I once knew of a woman who pitied her life
Screaming out that no one had it as worse as her
Then I read of a woman whom died from her own knife
But of her own problems to no one did she say a word.

I never had any holes in any of my pockets
Then once I saw a man carrying change in a can
Then I thought about mans own work dockets
I then realized, how lucky that I truly am.

“Lucky I Am” by Randy McClave

Like Friction On the Strings

gmajphotoWhen life seems to have possibility, the present has so much more meaning. I know that psychologists and philosophers say the present moment being lived in is where I should be centered. For the most part I am. However, it’s deeply meaningful how much accepting the real possibilities of life ahead brightens today. The point is not to get stuck there too far ahead of myself.

Certainly to spend too much time daydreaming moves me out of the present and falling head first into “future tripping”. Yet, thinking about what might be and the many branches life might take helps me to make good choices when I come to forks in the road.

Life is painful and messed up. It gets complicated at the worst of times, and sometimes you have no idea where to go or what to do. Lots of times people just let themselves get lost, dropping into a wide open, huge abyss. But that’s why we have to keep trying. We have to push through all that hurts us, work past all our memories that are haunting us. Sometimes the things that hurt us are the things that make us strongest. A life without experience, in my opinion, is no life at all. And that’s why I tell everyone that, even when it hurts, never stop yourself from living. Alysha Speer

Unlike getting lost driving when one can do a u-turn and get back on the intended course, life is lived forward only. The best I can do if a bad choice is made is take a detour and attempt to get back headed in the direction I first intended; or pick a new heading. Sometimes getting lost is how I have discovered myself.  Many of the greatest discoveries about myself have come from a period outside of my comfort zone when I was completely lost and even out of control.

“You’re reaching out
And no one hears you cry
You’re freaking out again
‘Cause all your fears
Remind you another dream has come undone
You feel so small and lost like you’re the only one
You wanna scream ’cause you’re
You want somebody, just anybody
To lay their hands on your soul tonight
You want a reason to keep believin’
That someday you’re gonna see the light
You’re in the dark
There’s no one left to call
And sleep’s your only friend
Well even sleep
Can’t hide you from all those tears
And all the pain and all the days
You wasted pushin’ them away
It’s your life, it’s time you face it ”
― David Archuleta

Feeling desperate enough to take a pointed look at my behavior has brought great rewards. The lessons were learned not because I wanted to. There simply was no other choice. With one way out it’s easy to choose that direction. When discomfort and sadness have been strong enough is when I stepped up to face my wrong turns and mistakes.

I am grateful for the grief and sadness of my life for within has been my most prolific teacher. And there I have also gotten the clearest look forward at life’s possibilities. Discomfort has a way of clearing one’s “windshield” forward.

Pain is the greatest of teachers. It makes me look up from wallowing in my own junk. Like friction on the strings toughens a guitar player’s finger tips, I have been made strong.

If you feel lost, disappointed, hesitant,
or weak, return to yourself, to who you are,
here and now and when you get there,
you will discover yourself,
like a lotus flower in full bloom,
even in a muddy pond, beautiful and strong.
From “The Secret Life Of Water” by Masaru Emoto

Getting Back Up

There comes a time

Living is not nearly as complicated as I frequently have made it to be. Once the self-created gray began to clear my true needs, wants and desires were no longer obscured. Life is simple. It really is. It’s just very, very difficult at times. Acceptance of that simplicity and coming to know “love is all that really matters” have been the largest two nuggets of wisdom that have come my way. Never more do I frequently make life complicated in ways it is not. I live. I love and am loved. I am happy. I am grateful.

Life is simple.
Everything happens for you,
not to you.
Everything happens
at exactly the right moment,
neither too soon nor too late.
You don’t have to like it…
it’s just easier if you do.
Byron Katie

Jumping To Conclusions

Dont-Judge-a-Book-By-Its-CoverRecently I caught myself red-handed with a large case of mistaken impression. My first thoughts about someone turned out to be negative for no reason or fact. The judge and jury in my mind went to work and jumped to a completely wrong conclusion. Simply I added 2 plus 2 and came up with a total of 13. Wrong… wrong!

Jumping to conclusions is a type of negative thinking pattern, known as cognitive distortions. Cognitive distortions are habitual and faulty ways of thinking that are common among people who struggle with depression and anxiety. Theories of cognitive therapy claim that we are what we think we are. When a person is jumping to conclusions, they are drawing negative conclusions with little or no evidence to their assumptions.

Jumping to conclusions can occur in two ways: mind-reading and fortune-telling. When a person is “mind-reading” they are assuming that others are negatively evaluating them or have bad intentions for them. When a person is “fortune-telling,” they are predicting a negative future outcome or deciding that situations will turn out for the worst before the situation has even occurred. http://panicdisorder.about.com/od/livingwithpd/tp/Jumping-To-Conclusions.htm

There’s a song that says “…it ain’t necessarily so,” and it certainly isn’t. How often we accept someone’s casual remarks as fact. Even appearances can be misleading. But knowing this, we still have a tendency to take a threat and build a yard of cloth.

It makes all the different in the world what we believe. To simply accept an opinion, even our own when hastily formed indicates a lack of sound thought.

We sometimes have the failing of believing everything we hear. But it is far wiser to know, with certainty, the facts about a teaching by looking at its followers.

The eyes and ears of our hearts and spirits are often more accurate in determining right from wrong than we can expect from normal hearing and seeing. From the book “Think On These Things” by Joyce Sequichie Hifler

A simple case of judging a book by its cover; of jumping to conclusions, then realizing it was a wake up call. The message received was to remain a humble student of life. No matter how wise I become I am still very much human and possibly fallible at every turn. Seeking knowledge and working to be a better person, will never bring anything even close to perfection. Sometimes I become a little too self-impressed. I am grateful for the reminder from the school of life.

Good judgment comes from bad experience.
most of that comes from bad judgment.
Tara Daniels

Let Life Dream You

let-life-dream-you1“Stop Dreaming”. You’re not likely to find those two words in pretty script on some inspirational poster hanging in a CEO’s suburban office. You wouldn’t say those two words to your kids. But what if you were supposed to be doing something more beautiful than you ever could have imagined, something bigger than you ever could have dreamed? What if you only had to let go of your (and your parents’, your culture’s, your religion’s, your everything’s) preconceived notion of success to make room for a life lived truer and deeper? What if you stopped dreaming, let go, and let life dream you?

I dreamed of being a successful singer-songwriter. I dreamed of playing to sold-out arenas and talking to Springsteen on the phone about summer plans. And I went after it. So many people carry the burdens of their ‘if onlys’ and ‘somedays’ when it comes to their dreams; they end up twenty years down the road thinking that if only they hadn’t gotten married, or had the baby, or whatever, they could have gone after their dream and had the life they imagined. I had no ‘if-only’s.’ No excuses, nothing holding me back. I went for it.

I spent over a decade of my life chasing the dream through dirty little clubs, where my feet would stick to the thin pool of beer and vodka residue on the floor. And I chased the dream down the interstate to the next town, passing the littered remains of those who came before me who chased their own dream, caught it, and got what they wanted. And found it wasn’t what they needed.

I know what it’s like, because somewhere out there on that road I caught my dream, too. And once I caught it, I held on fiercely, but it was like holding a fistful of sand: the tighter I closed my fingers, the emptier my hand became. Around that time I got a letter from a woman named Emily, which started me down my own path of letting go of my identity, my self, and what I thought was my dream. I wrote a song with a friend about her letter, and that song evolved into a project that has touched more lives than I could have ever imagined.

Every step of the way, I let go of the dream of being a singer-songwriter, of selling out arenas and making summer plans with Springsteen. I started writing songs for other people to sing, about other people’s stories, which made everything less and less about me at each turn.

And I got out of my own way and began to trust the process, which gave me the most amazing lightness of being. It was as if life started dreaming me, rather than me dreaming about life. Slowly, deeply, beautifully, something bigger started to happen. I had the opportunity to work with some Grammy-winning friends I’d been dreaming of collaborating with for a long time. We wrote songs about other peoples’ deeply moving letters, and have traveled around the world playing the songs their letters inspired.

I can tell you that the world will be no sadder and no less hopeful if you let go of your own dreams. Birthdays will not be cancelled. Why? Because when you let those dreams go, they don’t disappear. They don’t cease to exist, because energy can’t be destroyed… only transferred. Dreams are fluid, ever-changing scenes of hope on a movie screen in your mind, so let them move and dance and be themselves. Let your dreams float out into the ether and find their true home. They may come back to you in a more beautiful way than you ever could have imagined.

When I was 19, I heard a story about an old man on his deathbed. As he took his final breaths, the old man grabbed the hand closest to him and said ‘I have lived my spring, my summer, and my autumn. Now I enter my winter, having never sung my song, because I have spent my seasons stringing and re-stringing my instrument.’

To me, that story is about sacrificing the present for a future that doesn’t exist yet, a future that may never come, when something beautiful could be made right now. The world needs your skill and passion and talent, and it needs you to do the best you can today. The rest will take care of itself. Today is what matters the most, not someday. The old man was waiting on someday, and never got to sing his song. You have your own song to sing. Stop dreaming about life. Let go, let life dream you, and sing. Taken from an article posted on February 12th, 2013 by Alex Woodward http://inspiyr.com/let-life-dream-you/

Thank you for the inspiration Alex. I am deeply grateful for your thoughts that showed up just when I needed them.

It is a risk to live fully.
Yet a much graver risk not to.
Brandon A. Trean

Celebrate Your Differentness

Odd Man out series - Reasoning Questions and AnswersIf you have been beat down long enough, believing in yourself can seem impossible. When you have had people in your life who do not lift you up, you pretty much take over for them when they are not there. You proceed to discount your skills and abilities based on what other people have said. You are doing a great disservice to yourself and giving your power to someone else. To reach your goals in this life, believing in yourself is extremely important if you want to get anywhere. Those assumptions about who you are become a way of life. You will stay stuck in these patterns until you change the way you think.

Here are some simple ways to start learning how to believe in you:

1) Try Even When You Still Think You Can’t Do It
Because you have a pattern of not believing in yourself, this will take a little work. Make a vow to yourself today that you will try your best at any opportunity that comes your way. It does not matter if you have fallen on your face before or whether you think it’s even possible. The important thing is to pledge to yourself that you will try no matter what the outcome may be. The worst thing to do to yourself is to assume you can’t do it before even trying. Tell yourself right now that any effort to do better is not a waste of your precious time.

2) Establish Evidence For The Assumptions
Get some paper and start a list. List every one of those things you really believe about yourself and your abilities or the lack of them. List them whether they are large or small. Once you have that list go through each assumption and examine it. Ask yourself, “Is this true? What is the proof?” Then go and do whatever it is you feel you cannot. It does not matter if you do it better than anyone else. It only matters that you DO.

3) Recognize The Possibilities
A constant onslaught of self-defeating assumptions obviously puts you in the place of believing you cannot succeed. This goes back to the people in your life who have impressed their own beliefs on you. A silly bunch of girls in high school told you that you were fat and no one would ever want you. Guess what you have been doing since? Saying that same self-defeating comment to yourself. It is time to push beyond what you believe are your capabilities. This is a scary thought. It also will be a step in the direction of finding the belief in you. The assumptions you have about yourself may not be true. You have simply accepted these assumptions as truth without proof. Consider all the possibilities of each situation. Challenge the assumptions and have an open mind to the possibility that you could be wrong!

With every success, whether large or small, the belief in yourself will grow. That will be the push you need to keep stepping outside your comfort zone and attain the accomplishments you truly deserve. Robin Skeen http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/How_To_Believe_In_Yourself.html

As I read over Ms. Skeen’s article this morning, the aspects of it seemed so simple; easy even. At almost whiplash speed, my psyche responded “that’s not how it used to be!”. I am reminded there were many years when I was awful at disputing the BS I told myself about me. Now on the other side of such thinking (mostly anyway) it is shocking how stuck I was for so very long.

It’s said that if you speak something aloud for thirty days in a row you will begin to believe it. Scoff if you wish, but it’s true. The disbelieving judge within was in fact the source of the trouble I had seeing all the good in me. Once I began to argue for myself against my thinking, things began to change; slowly at first but rapidly over time. The majority I used to think about me turned out to be false and untrue. My gratitude abounds for knowing that now.

If you celebrate your differentness, the world will, too.
It believes exactly what you tell it…
through the words you use to describe yourself,
the actions you take to care for yourself,
and the choices you make to express yourself.
Tell the world you are one-of-a-kind creation
who came here to experience wonder and spread joy.
Expect to be accommodated.
Victoria Moran

Live In the Layers, Not On the Litter

59325Six hundred and fifty-seven days I have been here to post a thought, a photo or a borrowed contemplation about gratitude. Through business travel, vacations and even illness my faithfulness to my self-assigned daily task never wavered for over a year and nine months. Until yesterday… when travel problems invaded my unbroken string.

A return home from a business trip should have allowed arrival in my home city around 4pm, leaving close to eight hours to post a new installment of goodmorninggratitude. What happened instead was landing here at 2:30am the following morning after a long day of flight delays and cancellations. And so, I can not longer say “I haven’t missed a single day in almost two years”. And you know what? I am not bothered by it.

What I now realize is my goal of posting here each day had an element of “look at me”; “look what I can do” contained within. Yes, there was personal satisfaction to consistently post each day and that was the primary driving force (most of the time). But sometimes it was duty that brought words to my screen; that and little else. How long did I need to prove the point to myself that I could do this? A year? A year and a half? Even six months showed I could, but I became ‘hooked’ instead. The realities of life jumped up to teach me, with the greatest of intentions I had let my self assigned duty to post here become a ‘rut’; the very thing I was trying to avoid. As John Lennon wrote “Life is what happens, while you are making other plans”.

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being abides,
from which I struggle not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which the scavenger angels wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind,
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn.
I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered and I roamed through the wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice directed me:
-Live in the layers, not on the litter-
Though I lack the art to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations is already written.
I am not done with my changes.
From “The Collected Poems” by Stanley J. Kunitz

My unbroken string of posts is broken and that’s just fine! It doesn’t bother me although I would have thought it would. Instead, I get a sense of relief knowing that missing a day or two here and there is of no consequence. Another life lesson taught unexpectedly is the subject for my gratitude this morning.

Our brightest blazes of gladness
are commonly kindled
by unexpected sparks.
Samuel Johnson

Patient Teacher

forest starkIt has been said that life is the most patient teacher. You will be presented with the same experience over and over until you learn the best way to deal with the situation. This is not because life is cruel. Rather, it is because things have a way of coming back to haunt us when we don’t deal with them. One form of intelligence is the ability to learn from mistakes. When you are presented with a painful experience, take the time to think about how you can avoid it in the future.

Young, carefree, innocent
You sing, laugh and dance
Taking in all Gods’ glory
At every single chance.

Grown up
You ignore the wonders
that you cherished as a child
Gone is the carefree, honesty and mild.

You walk around with blinders on,
Into the race of money and greed.
Not caring who gets hurt
Just to fulfill your selfish needs.

Stepping over the line of morals
to have wealth and material things
Ignoring all Gods gifts
Like the first rain in Spring

Keep that little child inside!
Hold her close to your heart,
We’re only here for a brief time
Then with this world, we must part.
From “Carefree” by Nordica D. Lindgren

Some days to simply say “I am glad I’m alive” and mean it is the greatest gratitude I can express. “I’m glad I’m alive!”

Saying thank you is more than good manners.
It is good spirituality.
Alfred Painter