Friday’s Focus—Setting the Timer

All good things in moderation. How about all things in moderation? Good is subjective. It’s good to have a job but if you’re working 10 to 12 hours a day, unless you’re throughly in love with what you’re doing, it’s not so good. If it’s not our jobs, many of us find ourselves giving to our spouses, our children, our families, our committees,  and our friends. Did I miss anyone? Oh, yeah. When do we give to ourselves?

Commitment is commendable but so often, and so quickly, we find ourselves chasing our own tail and living in fear of making sure we did what we were supposed to and make sure all angles are covered.

Each one of us has a personal motivation for doing what we do and for however long and hard we choose to do them. Typically, the urgency and frenetic energy of the “hamster on a wheel life” starts to feel like the norm and anything otherwise can tend to make us feel lost or like we’re missing or forgetting something.

I think we all know on a root level when we are doing too much and become out of balance. Once we see it, it becomes a matter of taking our attention deeper and consciously setting the timer to approach whatever we’re doing in a manner more aligned with balance of anything that’s been missing (or been pushed out).

It’s not just important but imperative to our mental health (which influences our physical health) to find that benchmark within us and understand the driving force behind what is creating the one-sidedness and drive.

The realization came for me as an almost physical click. Sitting quietly one day, my monkey mind was incessantly chattering away as it swung from thought to thought “And then this [inhale] but then what if [exhale] oh yeah and then that [inhale]…” when suddenly I felt a tug in my solar plexus and a loud “NO” reverberate through me.

I was done. Cooked. In all of its frenetic energy that monkey ripped away a veil that had been covering what I finally recognized as feelings of fear I was using as my drive: fear of missing something, and then the deeper dirt-honest fear of not being good enough and making mistakes.

So, now what? So now I set the timer. Some time for this. Some time for that. Like a New Year’s resolution, it’s so easy to set an intention, but it’s another to put it into action. Recognizing and understanding motivations is a great start. To make any sort of difference though, we need to go the next step and put the intentions into action.

No matter how good we are at our jobs, at our roles of parent or spouse, it’s impossible to cover all angles all of the time and make sure that something isn’t overlooked there, or a skinned knee is missed here. Sometimes we need to set a timer on our overload of one-sidedness. Making a mistake is not a taboo. Wearing a band-aid is not the end of the world. You’ll live. We don’t need a permission slip from anyone else but ourselves. And admittedly, sometimes that’s the hardest permission to get.

#takingitdeeper

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Friday’s Focus—Retrograde

It’s been quiet on the front of lilypadheart and Friday Focus and for that I apologize. These last few weeks have been a cauldron of computer issues, delays, lack of communication and when there was some, it was miscommunication. Problems would not go away and there were days (there still are) where I feel wrapped in a sticky web that I can’t shake off. You know when you have that one piece of tape or plastic that attaches to you by static and no mater how much you try, you can’t get it off? It just moves from one part of your hand to another? Yeah. It’s been like that.

Is it just having a bad day (okay, a string of bad days)? Is it just bad luck? Is it Mercury in Retrograde being it’s worse bad-ass self than ever? A lot of people I talk to are going through the same thing right now. In the past, I would lightly, almost jokingly, attribute these life hiccups to Mercury being in Retrograde but this time, I’m not joking when I say it because there is definitely something in the air. This is the second Mercury Retrograde this year and it’s been the worst one I can remember. Or maybe it’s just that there’s more at stake and going on right now and so more things can get out of whack.

If you Google Mercury Retrograde 2016, you’ll get 1,610,000 hits. Mercury Retrograde alone will bring you even more information and opinions with 2, 070,000 hits. There’s a lot being said out there about it, and now of course, you can add today’s post (Hit 1,610,001). So, what can I say that will make any dent to what is already out there? Just to add my personal learning perspective in that the one thing these last few weeks have taught me is to be more flexible, and I have been; stretching beyond limits more than I thought was possible or I was capable of.

I’m learning to sit tight and hang on. These days I’ve never felt more challenged (or exhausted) from the constant barrage of problems and delays, with past haunts and issues rearing their heads. Some days it seems impossible that one more thing can go wrong (but it does) and I don’t know if it’s because of the Retrograde or not (but I can’t ignore the coincidence). The last weeks have been an uphill battling resolving past matters and new ones in a David and Goliath kind of way. I know this is true for many of you and I hear it from other people I know going through the same thing (small solace in that—it’s not just me!). It’s hard, but if we can grab a moment to catch our breath, we can see that this is the perfect time to look back on our actions with a new perspective and turn a new face toward healing and cleaning things up.

I believe that a positive spin to the effects of Mercury in Retrograde is to let it be our teacher. Just when we think we are pushed to the edge of what we can take, MR takes that line in the sand and moves it just a bit more out of reach; pushing  us to  go beyond any limits we have set for ourselves—physically and emotionally.

There is a moving box in my living room that has “Fragile” stamped across it. It’s been there for a while but it wasn’t until the other day when I realized the sidewalk oracle-message of it and how it perfectly captured how I was feeling. Though I may feel fragile right now, I know I am stronger than that. We are all stronger than we think we are despite how fragile we may feel on the inside.

May 22, the last day of Mercury in Retrograde for this month, can’t come fast enough, but with an eye toward the calendar, and a little bit of extra flexibility, humor, and patience we can make it through and come out the other side, ready to greet the next one with minimal scrapes and a new perspective.

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#takingitdeeper

Friday’s Focus—Spinning Tops

The more I have to move the more I want to sit.

The more I get a chance to sit, the more I want to move.

There are days, on the outside I sit still, while inside a storm rages and fireworks explode.

Then there are days, on the outside I move with the frenetic energy of a thousand whirling dervishes while on the inside, there is nothing but silence.

If I allow it, I know that the two energies will merge and become a pulse, creating its own heartbeat, and then, if I surrender, I will have no choice but to move to the beat of the syncopation.

The waves of energies are too strong to withstand, or is it me too weak to stop them?

In the end, there is no other choice but to breathe into my heart, into the center of the storm, and let this new heartbeat lead me to a place.

To live with only one or the other is merely existing. It is half-living to be in either all movement or no movement at all.

Stillness within movement; peace within action.

I can still feel the tension between the ebb and flow
of
tightness and looseness
and
looseness and tightness

and the force of those currents ready to pull me away in either direction.

These are forces within each one of us. You can feel it too, if you give it half a chance.

Nature even knows this. Even when a river is frozen, the water below still flows and the hurricane, destroyer that it is and yet beautiful in its fearsomeness, holds a center of calm.

When you find that moment, when you feel that kiss from God and the bliss of the perfection of balance, let the world wait. Succumb to the flow and sway in the rhythm of what for many of us, seems elusive but is not impossible.

#takingitdeeper

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Friday’s Focus—Knowing Nothing

They say, in life, you never stop learning. I remember my father even telling me that as a kid. I can’t imagine going through my days in a stagnant haze of knowledge that doesn’t change, and sometimes (it seems) life gives you a crash course on learning where it’s sink or swim, kiddo; let’s see what ya got kind of thing. When that happens, you can run but you can’t hide. There is no amount of distraction/destruction of your choice and, there is no sandbox deep enough to keep your head buried in, to keep up a denial for very long. Lately it seems as if there are problems and glitches everywhere, and it’s not just me feeling this way. So many people I talk to have been having their share of issues, trials, and personal crises.

For many people, dealing with now daily stresses has become one hour at a time instead of one day at a time. My husband and I have a running quip: “What do you know?” “I know nothing.” No one has all the answers though many think they do. When I say, “I know nothing,” I mean it as an open, palms-up approach to things that keeps me spiritually honest and humanly humble. In the grand scheme of things, the things that really matter, I really don’t know anything, but I’ve learned and what I see is a lot:

Flowers will still grow through cracks in a sidewalk.

Nothing lasts forever but plastic bags and roaches.

Reactions and anger are really fueled by fear.

There are good people still around and sometimes in the most unlikeliest places and guises.

Standing up for yourself and what you believe in takes a certain amount of courage that we must each learn to cultivate in ourselves. No one else can do it for you–nor should they.

It still matters to be nice.

Every star in the sky and every drop of water in the oceans yields in own mysteries that will take lifetimes to discover but is fascinating to behold in the meantime.

We have have become dehumanized in taking care of each other.

It’s okay to cry.

It’s okay to be angry.

We can’t forget that there are actually flesh and blood people with names and personalities behind each set of paperwork on a desk and every screen name.

Sometimes all it takes is one good cup of coffee to hit that re-set button.

Sometimes strangers are kinder than the people we know.

It’s always on the days you’re running late that either (a) you spill your coffee [on you]; (b) your kids tell you (of course mentioning it for the first time) that their school project is due that day; (c) your pet had an “accident” in the house (and you stepped in it); (d) you forgot your password to your computer and now it’s locked you out; (e) all of the above.

What have you learned today?

#takingitdeeper

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Friday’s Focus—Balance

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. And Jane a frazzled mom. And Steve a stressed out commuter. And Becky an exhausted caretaker.

It’s a tough thing these days to keep our lives in balance with so many responsibilities, and though the intention is there, the follow-through can be hard. It’s easy to become so focused on keeping our heads down and marching one foot in front of the other just to survive the day, that we tend to lose balance by losing ourselves in working too hard to keep everything (and everyone else) together.

Take some time out today and this weekend to do something to bring some balance back into your life and your daily routine. Even if it’s  a start with 5 minutes of stopping and looking out the window or closing your eyes and taking some deep breaths.

Have a great weekend!

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

From Where I Sit

I’ve been feeling very restless the last few weeks. Most likely because the intensity of my day job has substantially increased recently and I have been tethered to the computer daily, mired in the learning curve of java, html, and creating Web pages in a deeper level than I ever knew, or care to, for that matter.

I sit in my home office, surrounded by monitors and keyboards, and after hours of intense focus of staring at the computer screen, sometimes I need to look at something more 3D, so I’ll look out of the one window that is in the room. From where I sit, I can just see the top of the garage roof and an audience of trees behind it. The view is especially lovely when it snows or rains.

My eyes follow the raindrops or the snowflakes as they cascade from the sky and turn the tree tops into white-laced forests or drooping branches, saturated with moisture. If it’s a clear day then I watch the clouds parade by. And if I tilt my head just right (or slink down in my chair, just so), the roof disappears and all I see are the trees and it’s then that I imagine myself  in a place far, far away.

When I feel particularly antsy, I get up and walk to my living room window where, now in the winter, I can see the lake across the way through the bare branches. Sometimes I can’t resist the lure of leaning on crossed arms against the sill, with my forehead pressed against the glass and just watch the play of the sun on the water, letting it mesmerize me and lull me into a quiet space of prayer and meditation.

As a yoga teacher, I learned that yoga lives just as much off the mat as it does on. Some say more so—doing asanas doesn’t make the world go around but following the wisdom of the teachings of Yoga does. As a Shamanic practitioner, I learned the importance, and yes, I’m going to say necessity, of reaching out and connecting to the energies of nature and the Universe; our ancestors, guides and teachers is essential if we are to grow individually and collectively as a human race and maintain and sustain a thread of creativity, abundance, and positivity. Some days, I’ll admit, it is an effort—yogically and shamanically but it’s an effort that is worth making.

I can’t let my days be completely ruled by fear and obligations of unknown and yet to be learned work skills. Yes, I need the work—I have bills to pay like everyone one else. But I see clearly now, more than ever, that when we allow one thing, one aspect of our lives to overrule and push out everything else that is a part of who we are, a disconnect happens and we get into trouble and the restlessness, feelings of unworthiness, insecurity, and general unhappiness kick in. I can’t keep going like that. I won’t. It’s time to get reacquainted with balance again.

I will still do what is asked of me and fulfill my obligations but on new terms.  I am actively rededicating myself to my practices and bringing them off the mat and into the world and I am birthing it with drumming, and rattling and dancing with the ancestors.

There is always so much to do, places to go, people to see—an abundance of distractions and with only so many hours and energy to do it all, I will let my window gazing—arms folded on the sill and forehead against the glass if need be, to lead me into the prayers and meditations and practices that will get me there. Back to balance, back to home.