Friday’s Focus—Again

It’s been some time since I’ve been here last. Did you miss me? I did! Literally. Things have been so hectic with the selling and moving from our home to not only a new house but a new state,  I feel as though I lost myself in the process. Everything was put on hold that didn’t have to do with the day job, lawyers, bankers, or real estate agents. The only writing I was doing were checks and emails. Subjects of blogs and short stories swirled in my head borne out of people we met and circumstances but there they stayed, behind the wall of my mind and never making it beyond the thought, “Oh, I should write about that.” It’s time to breathe life into those stories and writings again.

Last night, I decided enough was enough and sat down to the keyboard to let my fingers do the walking so my mind can do the talking, and well, here we are. Again. Still feeling my sea legs in the new place, I look for corners and spaces as new homes for my yoga mat and books. Settling into a daily routine of day job mixed in with the new neighborhood sounds will take awhile, but in the meantime, I’m growing accustomed to the sounds of hammers and saws sprinkled with a few swear words from my husband, which has actually been helpful to use as a gauge on how well (?) repairs have been going!

This move is the cap of what has been a fierce 8 months (actually the last 3 years) of continuous major life events. Feeling tense and uptight had become very familiar feelings for me. Sitting within these new four walls, with the dust settling and the boxes slowly being unpacked, I can still feel the anxiety continue to surround me, which is exactly what I had wanted to change. “Maybe it’s too soon,” I tell myself. “I need to give myself time to slow the twitching and unwind from the hectic pace,” I add.

Almost as a ready response, I hear the words “no matter where you go, there you are” echo through my head and immediately recognize the truth in it. No matter where you go—house, hut, country, or planet you move or travel to, if the changes you seek aren’t made within, it won’t matter what zip code you land in.

I knew better than to expect a complete whoosh of having all my problems disappear as I watched the tail lights of the moving truck leave, but I guess to be honest, on some deep level, I must have expected it to happen all the same.

How we experience things all comes from our perspective, and if our perspective, our basic way of seeing something, doesn’t change, our experiences and our views will continue to be more of the same. This week, as I get myself back into my writing, and once again set my sight on the changes I want to make within (and without), I’m consciously refining my perspective of what each day can bring. This is not about seeing the world through rose-colored glasses but rather taking off those glasses to get a clearer and more honest view. One of the simplest and most profound ways of doing this is by intention, which is something we can all do.

Even if you don’t have any plans of moving or traveling any time soon, you can still set your intention and perspective anew each day and welcome yourself home.

IMG_1904#takingitdeeper

 

Friday’s Focus—Whispers and Shouts

This is something I wrote and posted two years ago and I was reminded of it again in our house hunting. The original piece is about how everyone and everything has a story, whether it’s vocalized or not and houses carry stories too. Each house, each home carries the energy of its occupants. There’s so much you can tell at a glance, but it’s the empty ones….ah, those are the ones whose stories fire up the imagination of what was…and what could be again.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

We all have them.

Even if you say you don’t have a story, that’s still a story.

So tell me a story. Not just a story. Your story. Not just your story. Your truth.

We tell stories to each other to makes each other feel less alone, to feel less afraid. Some of us tell stories because we are proud and we want to share. We are all storytellers on some level—if not with our words, then with our actions or in our being. We are even storytellers by our silence.

Our stories tell us by the way we hold our head high (or low), and the laugh lines and crows feet that map our joys and sorrows. If there is Botox there instead, then I can still see your story in your eyes. Do you meet mine or would you rather gaze to the distance or to the floor?

There is a story in your hair—the length, the color, and whether it covers your face to further conceal your mask or do you wear it swept back daring the world to gaze at your features as you stare back?

Your chin tells me a story. Is it jutted out in defiance and pride or does it tremble in fear or sadness?

Your shoulders tell me a story. Are they rounded as if you try to hide your existence or are they rolled back, your chest and heart open and wide?

The jewelry you wear tells me stories. Do you shine and glitter like a thousand lights in a chandelier, or do you carry bells on your fingers and toes to dance to as you walk into a room?

I’m interested in the stories of your hands and the babies and lovers they held in sickness, health, passion, and love.

Your scars and tattoos even share. They tell me one story while your piercings scream another.

I’m interested in the stories in between your stories; the pauses and the sighs in between your words because they speak just as loudly and sometimes louder. Come closer and whisper to me your secret, whisper to me your story and I’ll tell you mine and then we’ll whisper them into the wind. It doesn’t matter if you are a boy or a girl or a man or a woman.

The young have stories called dreams and the old have stories they call memories. Let’s use our imaginations and listen to the stories of the trees and birds and the lions and monkeys and then we’ll tell them to the stars and the moon and the sun until we are one big story with a thousand different voices, a thousand different names, a thousand different experiences and yet, somehow, some way, all one.

So take off your mask and let your shadow step forward, because I can already see your story whether you tell me or not but I want to hear it come from you.

#takingitdeeper

IMG_0536

Now.

Every single one of us.
Has something to say.
It’s not just a story.
It’s their story.
It’s your story.
It’s your time to tell it.
It’s your time to write it.
To draw it.
To sing it.
To be it.
Will you?
Or.
Will you let it remain.
In your mind.
In your soul.
As a thought.
As a desire.
As a dream.
Let’s make it so.
And be.
Who we have been.
Dreaming ourselves to be.

#taingitdeeper

Friday’s Focus—Keep Your Monkey to Yourself

Don’t invite other people’s monkey’s to your circus. In other words, don’t let other people’s attitudes affect your day. I woke up early this morning to get some coffee at a local popular cafe, which at 7:20 a.m. was already filling up with tourists. I exchanged a bit of chitchat with the girls behind the counter and moved on to the next table for the milk and lids.

I stayed near the edge of the wall to keep the majority of the table available to the other patrons. As I searched the canisters for the soy milk, I had no idea that this guy had come up on my right and in the 12 inches of space I left between me and the wall, had put his coffee down. It wasn’t until my elbow made contact and I heard a “grff.” that I realized someone was there.

Startled, I looked over and saw that I had knocked this guy’s hand enough to spill a little of the coffee he had, on the table. I quickly gave him a once-over to make sure nothing was spilled on his light-colored clothing (which, thankfully, was not). As I profusely apologized, I caught the micro-moment of annoyance on his face. That nailed me. He was not very friendly about the mishap but brushed it off saying it was alright and reached beyond me for some napkins. I gathered my things and ducked out of the cafe feeling bad and well, like an idiot.

It was not my fault that this guy found the smallest nook to be able to place his coffee’s down without even saying “excuse me” or anything else to alert me that he was there. What happened was exactly why I chose that end of the table and left the rest of the table open and available.

I came to realize that whatever was behind that micro-moment really had nothing to do with me. I don’t know what was going on with him or what monkey’s were in his circus but I was damned if I was going allow his attitude to ruin my day when I really did nothing wrong. It could have been so easy to let this morning’s exchange fester and turn into a full-blown, “I’m such an idiot, I should have known someone was going to try and squeeze into that space,” but I refuse to take on whatever he was dishing out.

I wanted to share this experience in today’s Focus as a reminder that not everyone’s attitude and annoyance have to do with you. Each one of us has our own story and circus, and it’s enough to deal with our own monkey’s without taking on someone else’s.

#takingitdeeper

Friday’s Focus—Admitting

The other day, Jill, a friend of my family, had called me in tears saying that she couldn’t do it anymore. She couldn’t handle the pressures of her current work situation and didn’t know what to do about it.

She had never said anything like this to me before and though we were friendly enough with each other and spoke often about what was happening in our lives there was still always that separation between us, so I was especially caught off guard by the brutal honesty of her call. She was given a three week work assignment that exposed her to levels of business dealings and decision makings she didn’t have a lot of previous experience with. I knew that on one hand she was excited at the prospect of being trusted but on the other, nervous about how it would all work out. The time came and there were the normal blips that happened and she was handling things well enough to keep things moving. But then the call came.

It was just one of those days when nothing was going right and whatever could go wrong did. Imagine weeks of Mercury Retrograde packed into a few hours! Situations and problems just exploded exponentially. The morning of the call, there were already problems brewing on the job but then, the personality of one particular employee, who was high-maintenance and had a combative nature was the factor that tipped Jill’s balance. Jill had taken this woman under her wing because she reminded Jill of her own mom, but this woman’s constant neediness and antagonistic behavior was becoming a real issue from increased confusion of early onset Alzheimer’s. Coupled with a series of problems that had come up that Thursday morning brought the frustrations of Jill’s new responsibilities to a peak. Her initial fear of not being able to do the job seemed to come to fruition and that morning brought her to the point of the phone call to me and the tears.

In truth, it was the first time that she was left with such enormous responsibility and for such a long time, and I think it would have been a challenge to many people with her experience. Listening to her talk, I didn’t judge her for how she was feeling because when I heard her say that she couldn’t do it all and didn’t know what to do or who to talk to, I heard myself in her voice and in her words and most deeply, I heard myself in her tears. How could I possibly judge her for something I knew only too well from experience, from words and tears I’ve cried myself?

I just listened and let her talk. I assured her that she was going to be alright and that all she could do, and all anyone could expect from her, was to do the best that she could. There’s no way that she would know all the answers to the situations that cropped up—how could she since she never dealt with them in that capacity before? I told her she did the right thing by walking away from an argument that was brewing. She was afraid of what she was going to say and so walked away to sit in her office to cool down and gather her thoughts. It was then that she called me. I was really surprised that it was me she reached out to, but I’m glad she did, because I completely understood every emotion she was going through.

The conversation with Jill was a good reminder about how important it is for each one of us to feel free to admit our fears and frustrations and honestly say, “I don’t know how to do this.” or “I can’t handle this.” It’s here in that mustard-seed moment that our true power comes in.

Each one of us has our own threshold of what we can handle or think we can handle and we do so in different ways. Some people dodge responsibilities when they feel they can’t handle them, others plow through them like a bull, and then there are those, who I think are the bravest of all, are honest with themselves and admit that it’s not working.

My mother used to say, “Don’t play hero,” meaning don’t be so full of bravado to think you can handle everything yourself. The real hero, as far as I’m concerned is the person who admits that they can’t do everything themselves and that they don’t know it all. And there’s no shame in that. Even just admitting it to yourself is an act of release that opens up space and energy in yourself, creating room to allow for growth.

Admitting that something is too much for you to handle is not a sign of weakness, insecurity, or immaturity as some would have you believe. I look at it as a sign of maturity, honesty, and integrity with yourself and it’s from that place, from that deep place of surrendering and acknowledging that you don’t know, don’t have all the answers, and don’t know what to do is when we grow our strongest self.

I am lucky in that I have someone in my life I have said the very same things to about situations I found myself in and I have had my days of being alone where the only thing I felt I could do was literally throw my hands in the air and cry out to an empty room, “I can’t do this!” Each time I did this, I grew. And I know Jill will too. And you, as you’re reading this thinking about your own situation that you’re wondering how you’re going to get through.

I hope this Friday’s Focus will take you to a place in yourself where you can find solace in knowing it’s okay to admit, even to yourself—when you’ve had enough and you don’t know what to do. It’s okay to admit that we don’t have all the answers. It doesn’t matter if it comes as a shout or a whisper, you’ll find that you can do whatever it is but you will do it to the best that you can and not to the expectations others had for you or the ones you may have placed on yourself.

Go and be your own hero today!

Friday’s Focus—Saying, “I’m Sorry”

Admitting you were wrong about something and then telling the other person you’re sorry, doesn’t make you weak or any less of a person or less of “a man”.

It can be scary to reveal our mistakes and fess up to actions or spoken words that don’t show us in our best light.

But at the same time, that vulnerability can make you stronger and deepen your relationship with the other person. Don’t let pride or ego stand in the way of taking things deeper with another person, including yourself.

Have a great weekend!

Friday’s Focus—Face the Fear

The immortal words of FDR says it all: “[The] only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Fear can make whatever we want or need to do seem larger and worse than it really is. Having a healthy sense of fear can be a life-saver, but when fear keeps you from moving forward or taking the next step, then it becomes more of a hinderance than a helper.

Don’t let your fear and insecurities get in the way of whatever it is that’s been stopping you. Put all that energy of worrying about “what happens if…” to better use and see for yourself “what happens when“.

Remember, though there may be similarities, each person’s experience is their own, so don’t rely on what happened with other people and use that as an excuse for not stepping through your own fear.

Don’t be afraid—be curious!

Have a good weekend!
Keeping it light and singing LiLoLa [Live, Love, Laugh] all the way…

The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

Another morning and another blank page.

Another night I didn’t sleep well, with snatches of cat-nap dreams toying with my mind. Where does the dream and my conscious thought begin and end?

I think back to this time last year and I can’t help but feel haunted by the then, as-yet-year-filled challenges of doctors, estate disbursement from my father-in-law’s death, and family phone calls of drama and neediness on top of the normal hustle of just life.

To say I’m a little gun shy is an understatement as my husband is still not feeling well despite a clean bill of health. But chemicals are still chemicals and the re-introducement of them into his system from the preventative treatment drips has created an undercurrent of constant feelings of unwellness and in his words, feeling poisoned.

As the date of my husband’s first chemo anniversary approaches fast, I am facing my own health situation, the results of which I should know in another week or two. Looking at the possibility of a whole new round of health issues this Winter is weighing more heavily on me right now than I care to admit—or deal with. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

One way or another, I am confident that things will work out fine and these are just the ramblings of someone who needs to find the space to be the caregiver to the caregiver, whatever the results may be.

—  — —

I gaze at the stars and wish upon each one.

I watch the smoke rise from the fire and imagine that my prayers reach the ears of not just my God, but all that there is in the Highest Good.

I watch you sleep and I feel my heart swell with so much love I think it’s going to burst. I wanted to take away your pain, but I know that this is your road that you need to travel. This is your story to tell.

My road and my story are still being built and I can feel the pen on the paper and the bricks being laid one by one. I can’t see around the bend right now or what’s on the next page, so I sit in stillness and bide my time until the words and the landscape reveal themselves to me.

Friday’s Focus—Resistance: Get Over It

I just bought an elliptical and believe me, after the first 10 minutes of making deals with my body and God as I mentally searched the house for where I left my inhaler, I was ready to say “Screw this.” And I did. But not to the elliptical or to my new morning routine but to my resistance. I refused to give in. I slowed my pace, looked out the window, and let my mind wander to whatever it wanted to, to distract me and eventually I did it—I met the goal I made for myself this morning (yay me!).

The Friday Focus I wanted to share today is when your begin to feel the first strains of resistance in anything—it does not have to be relegated to a workout, try distracting yourself as you keep doing it. It’s like tricking your mind (squirrel) into not focusing (squirrel) on the matter at hand (squirrel) and before you know it (squirrel), you’re done. In time you’ll find that you may not need to distract yourself as much to get through whatever it is.

Break it down—not just one day, not just one hour, but one minute. Just get from here to there, and then maybe from there to over there. I promise you that the time will go much faster than you ever thought it would, and whatever it is may not have been so bad as you thought.

Have a great weekend!

Keeping it light and singing LiLoLa [Live, Love, Laugh] all the way…

Friday’s Focus—Be Still

You don’t have to wait for the craziness of the day to set in before you count to 10 to calm down and be still. Cultivating stillness is one habit you want to create and keep dipping in to every day.

So for today, this Friday’s Focus, right now if you can, stop whatever you are doing, let the sounds around you fade, lower your shoulders, rest your hands on top of your legs, close your eyes, and

with
each
in and out breath,
count to yourself
1 / breath
2 / breath
3 / breath
4 / breath
5 / breath
6 / breath
7 / breath
8 / breath
9 / breath
10 / breath

Let all thoughts go past without holding on. Feel the stillness in your body and in your mind.

Begin to wiggle your fingers and toes, start to move your body around again, gently open your eyes and SMILE 🙂

Have a great weekend!

Keeping it light and singing LiLoLa [Live, Love, Laugh] all the way…