Friday’s Focus—Getting Up, Showing Up, and Doing It All Over Again

This week has left me feeling more stressed than usual and I found myself sitting down to my computer every morning filled with dread and ending the day feeling completely drained to the point of answering my husband’s questions in one-syllabic grunts. But then this morning I finished reading a book by Michael Singer called, The Surrender Experiment in which he talks about surrendering to what life is asking each one of us and to look at our lives not as what we want out of life, but rather what is life asking of us.

Near the end of the book, he says “It was not my responsibility to find out what is binding me; that was life’s job. My responsibility was to willingly let go of whatever was brought up within me.”

Wow.

This week in particular had been a struggle for me as a new level of challenges popped up at every turn. Stress begat stress and by the end of Thursday evening, I found myself feeling feverish, achy, and with a sore throat. I was stressing myself into illness.

I already knew from early in the day Monday, that this week wasn’t going to be easy but I tried to keep in mind  Singer’s words about questioning what it was that life wanted from me and not what I wanted out of life. Though it wasn’t always easy, there was a freshness to the approach that appealed to me and my curiosity of where things  could go.

Each day, I showed up and did the best that I could give and knew how to do, and in that I could take solace in and pride. My job is not brain surgery and no one’s life is at stake but I have a high ethic in everything I do and what is expected of me as an employee, daughter, and even my personal expectations of myself. In hindsight to this past week though, it turned out to be more than I could give. Was I seeking perfection? Maybe, as I tend to lean toward that, but it took my body to feel like it was breaking down to really bring it home the stress that I had put on myself. Instead of building on yesterdays gains, I was building upon yesterdays fears and losses as I perceived them. This is how disease and depression grows giving way to a loss of hope.

“My responsibility was to willingly let go of whatever was brought up within me.”

Yes.

Every day I get up, show up, and do it over again the next day. But today was different. Today I showed up with a renewed determination and focus of letting go of whatever is being brought up in me from what’s going on in my life. Surrender. This act, in of itself, is asked of me and each of us every day. It’s not something you do once and you’re done.  Life is continually upping the ante and asking for us to do things that oftentimes we don’t feel we can handle. We can fight life and our situations or we can surrender.

But doesn’t surrendering mean giving up? Giving up what we think we want, yes. Giving up on opportunities that life presents to us, no. It’s surrendering to the energy of the flow of allowing ourselves to end up wherever we need to be. In other words, getting out of our own way. The only control we really have is over our own reactions and so all we can do—the best thing that we can do—is to surrender. Again and again and again and again. Singer calls this the journey beyond ourselves, and what a ride it is.

I don’t know for sure what life is asking from me, but I do know, that at the very minimum, it’s asking me for an open heart, a curious soul, a creative mind, and a clean body. And that, my friends, is what today’s Friday’s Focus is about and what every day hereafter is about, not just for me but for each of us.

Taking it deeper…

Friday’s Focus—Muting the Volume

Recently, while watching TV in the evenings, my husband would hit the mute button whenever commercials rolled around. He said he had been feeling bombarded in listening and watching them; almost like an assault on the senses. Commercials seem to have become a larger part of any given TV program, sometimes more so than the TV program itself and unless you’re watching the Superbowl specifically for the commercials and looking to be purposely entertained, the amount of ads on TV have increased.

We are being bombarded with not so subtle messages of “Buy this now,” which ultimately translates into “You’re not one of us and won’t be happy until you buy/wear/smell like/look like/eat like this”. The latest trend is actually products selling experiences, so adding on to “You’re not one of us until…”, is the message “You won’t experience this adventure/joy/family closeness/intimacy…” until you buy this.

Commercials never really bothered me and so I went along with my husband, gently reminding him to unmute when the program came back on because we would usually end up in conversation during the break.

Now, let’s roll forward to a few days later when I was watching TV by myself.  I left the commercials on and I found myself really paying attention to the volume, the colors, and the messages, and I began to understand where my husband was coming from. Out of curiosity and as a personal experiment, I voluntarily started to mute the volume during commercials.

What surprised me the most, was how much I recognized the constant chatter of the commercials as being very much like that constant chatter in my head. My monkey mind was on TV! With the volume off, I felt my body relax and my shoulders drop. With the volume on again, even if for a favorite show, I became acutely aware of  how “tight” my body felt and how my energy shifted into a higher gear.

In no time, I became more aware and conscious of my personal energy and the energy in a room when the TV was on and when it was off. The difference was palpable enough for me to start thinking about the connection on muting the TV volume and muting the chatter of my monkey mind. If only it were so easy to still that voice in our heads and put the busy mind on mute. Of course, it can be done but it’s a constant effort and conscious work in meditation, going inward, and being fully present within ourselves. A lifetime’s work for sure.

Muting the chatter on TV has led to an awareness of my own inner chatter. I have become much more present to the energies and sounds of silence.

So if you’re a TV watcher, I’d like to offer you this experiment. The next time you find yourself in front of the TV, hit the mute button during the commercials and see if you notice any difference in how you feel, physically and emotionally. It may take a few days, but note any energetic changes to your body and the difference in input with the volume on and off, and eventually with the TV on or off.

I know many people who say that they can’t meditate—mainly because they can’t sit still, but I believe a large part is also because of how difficult it can be to turn down our own inner volume, to the point of muting the chatter. If you don’t know what you’re supposed to feel you might not know what to look for, so I think by doing this exercise with the TV is a great way to start to become aware of the subtle energies around us and inside us and get us on our way to putting that monkey mind chatter into cancellation with no new series premier this fall.

Taking it deeper….

Have a great weekend!

Friday’s Focus—It Doesn’t Cost a Dime But It’s Priceless

We all like to receive complements and acknowledgment of a job well done, but more often than not, it’s phone calls to business providers or managers with complaints about lousy service or a bad job that gets us to pick up the phone.

Yes, providers should be made aware of service that’s less than stellar, but how often have you reached out to tell a manager about good service you received? It can be as easy as writing a positive review on a Website such as Yelp or Travel Advisor or you can take it one step further and make a phone call or send a letter to the company itself.

A word of kindness and acknowledgment goes a long way. It’s a golden trifecta: The boss will feel good about having someone on their team whom they can feel confident in; the person whom you called about will most likely be told of the complement and can boost self-esteem; and you will feel good about sharing something positive about someone else.

Small things like this doesn’t cost you anything but time, and the investment of the effort can be priceless for the person on the other end.

Taking things deeper….

#service #self-esteem #encouragement #business

Midnight Awakenings

The dogs are barking,
The rabbit came back,
And the fox is on the run.

The sentry caws from his post
On high
Until the shaking of the branches
Launches him into flight.

The cacophony of unrest reverberates
In my eyes and ears and has
Awakened both feather and fur
As the clouds wrap the night in its mist.

My toes tap tap tap
To the drip plip drip
Of the raindrops from the spout in the garden.

Am I dancing with an angel or the devil
In disguise?
The exquisite beating of my heart
Aches with love and devotion
Ever since I laid eyes on you.

The mid-night is velvet and its
Moon nestled like a pearl in a bed of starry lace.

In grace, you absolve me and finally forgiven,
I lay my hand in yours and I rest my
soul in the solace of your faith.

#poetry #love #mysticism #God #religion #faith

Friday’s Focus—Keeping Prescriptions in Perspective

According to a study by the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation, the total number of prescription drugs filled in the United States alone for the calendar year 2014 was 4,002,661,750 and according to Medscape Medical News the nation’s most prescribed drug is Synthroid (levothyroxine) used to treat hypothyroidism, while the antipsychotic Abilify (aripiprazole), an add-on treatment for adults with depression, had the highest sales.

Western medicine definitely has its place in our health system but I don’t believe it should be the only treatment in our health care system. The use of prescription pills to treat, modify, and control ailments has become the easy go-to for doctors and patients to treat physical and mental problems without much thought given to the underlying symptoms that created the ailment in the first place. But it’s more than that. While many doctors are loose with their prescription pads, we should also consider the patient—us—who have given up our power and in the trust we have given to our modern doctors, blindly take these pills. The same pills that so often do more harm than good with side effects that are often worse than the illness it’s supposed to control or cure!

I’ve seen this happen especially with older adults. The older someone gets, the more prescription bottles line the bathroom shelves. Are they all necessary? Maybe, maybe not. And what happens when the combination of some of those pills create additional side effects that need more medicine to treat them? It just adds another bottle to the shelf.

As prescription use and abuse continues to rise each year, it’s more important than ever to take back control over our choices and our bodies and open our minds to educate ourselves on other ways of healing  (note, I am not saying cure but that can happen) with a more wholesome approach of well-rounded health support that includes dietary changes, movement, and other medicinal opportunities such as Ayurvedic and acupuncture and accupressure. There are certainly things such as hereditary and environmental factors that would be harder to change for a person’s health diagnosis but there are many health issues that can be controlled by ways other than Western medicine alone.

I am not saying that medicines are bad. Quite the opposite. Modern medicine has improved and even saved lives but we have come to a point where we’ve given up our choices and are relying solely on prescription medicines to make us feel better and treat illnesses rather than taking the time to address underlying health issues that are the incubus for what we are feeling. This goes for doctors and patients alike. Using medicine in conjunction with a more natural approach can reduce the amount of time we are on prescription drugs, which in turn reduces the number of side effects endured.

Prescriptions are great. They help and are at times, an absolute necessity to get a body back into a healthy state. But they also should be kept in prescriptive. There are wonderful doctors and nurses out there in the various fields of medicine, but I think we forget that they are human, too, and not all-knowing gods in white coats and stethoscope. And in reality, there are some who are too quick to write a script rather than initiate a deeper look as to the causes of illnesses. On the other hand, we, as their patients have to take things deeper and refocus on our own health and what may be causing our illness rather than focusing exclusively on what the doctor said. I strongly believe in getting a medical diagnosis if you’re feeling unwell, however, it’s what happens after that and what we do with that diagnosis is up to us—how much control are we willing to give to the drug companies and what we are wiling to change to feel better, which in turn will give us a better quality  of life?

Faith is a wonderful thing but not when it is blind. We have become a society that too easily settles for Big Pharma. I have seen first hand what happens when we settle for what we’re told and I’ve seen first hand when control over our bodies is taken back into our own hands.

Friday’s Focus, and in fact, an everyday focus is to keep our prescription in perspective.

Keep taking it deeper!