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—Disowning Illness

Words are power. Each word you think, each word you say has an energy and carries a vibration. In some cultures and tribes it is believed that negative thoughts directed at another person is the equivalent to throwing daggers at their etheric energy level, creating real-world illness and disharmony.

When we are ill, we don’t think twice about saying my ulcer, my depression, my diabetes, my cancer. We essentially lay ownership to the illness that is affecting our body and mind, identifying with it as being us. But the illness is not us. It is something that is happening to us and should be regarded as such and treated as something separate.

Instead of using “my” when describing an illness or medical situation, create some distance and instead try referring to it as the cells, the [insert name of disease], or this feeling. Give the energy of your attention, your words, and your thoughts to yourself and not to the malaise you may be dealing with.

When you identify with the self and not the illness or the diagnosis, it is in this space that healing can truly begin.

Have a good weekend!
Singing LiLoLa [Live, Love, Laugh] all the way…

 

Friday’s Focus—Set the Tone

There are few people I know, who jump out of bed each morning with a smile on their face and an eagerness to greet the day.

So for those of us who slap the alarm clock and greet the day with a grunt and an “Ugh, morning already?”, change tactics tomorrow and intentionally set the tone rather than letting the day set it for you.

When you wake up tomorrow, create the space from the first moment you wake for a positive day and that whatever comes, things will work out. (The slapping of the alarm clock is still allowed.)

You can make it happen—it’s possible!

Have a good weekend!

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

Doctor Doctor, Give Me the News–I Have a Bad Attitude

I have to say that though I understand, I don’t like the way some people wear their illnesses like a badge of honor. Having been diagnosed with an illness does not give someone carte blanche to be rude, brash, nor arrogant. Some people give off a sense of entitlement that somehow came along with their doctor’s prescription for treatment. A perfect example of this is a woman I met yesterday.

She was having her eighth and final chemotherapy treatment before going into surgery next month. From the moment she sat down in the waiting room and well into her treatment she did not stop talking about her illness, how she was going to cut people from her life because since being diagnosed they didn’t ask how she was doing. She even admitted that she stopped speaking to her son because he did not ask her soon enough (for her opinion) how she was feeling. They are still not speaking to this day. And yet, she kept saying what a happy person she is and has been through the entire treatment. She even went so far as to say, “I don’t like people who are not happy. What have they got to be unhappy about? I have cancer and I’m a happy person.” I bit my lip when I heard that and refused to look up from my iPad to even give any sort of acknowledgment to one of the most outrageous statements I’ve ever heard.

I believe that illnesses happen to not only get our attention to something that has gone remiss in the body, but also, sometimes, it is the universe’s way of forcing a redirect of our life. I’ve known people who hide behind their illnesses and use them as a way to get what they want from other people, via sympathy, or attention, and get out of doing things they don’t want to do. Maybe having a diagnosis and an illness is giving them a voice for the first time in their lives or perhaps, it is giving them justification for stepping back and away from jobs, people, friends, family–sometimes life itself. I get that. But my problem are with those people who feel entitled to bully because they wear the cape of cancer, or arthritis, or whatever.

While I admired this woman’s resiliency and her can-do attitude, she made me angry and sorry for her at the same time. Her energy of “Look at me and what I’m going through” was invasive and filled the room. Sometimes an illness is a wake up call for someone to find their own voice or empowerment, and sometimes people miss the message. I remember when I had cervical cancer many years ago, a month after I was diagnosed with anorexia. Feeling brazen, with both barrels loaded, early on, I was almost daring people and circumstances to contradict me because I was harboring feelings of “Oh yeah? Well I have cancer and anorexia, so I can do and say what I want. What are you going to do about it?” As shocked as I was to feel those things within myself, I quickly reigned them in and shook them off because they were ugly feelings of entitlement that I knew didn’t belong and definitely wasn’t who I really was. Thankfully with incredible support, I got over it—the illnesses and the attitude!

I applaud everyone who has beaten an illness or is fighting against one and I am sorry that people have to suffer, but it’s when people use that suffering or illness and turn it to a dishonest crutch or battering ram, I can’t help but feel sorry for them because people like that will never truly heal and are missing the whole point of what an illness can really teach them.