Today was a fabulously trouble-free day. Simple pleasures and productivity met as I showed up for myself and others, gave and received, checked a few to do’s off the list and took a stroll in the sun. The majority of the thoughts I was entertaining were encouraging, or at least neutral, and I felt gratefully at peace. It was a full day, no problems in sight.
Then, all of a sudden, things came crashing down. My muscles and head started aching, I discovered a drenched kitchen floor and cracked pipe under the sink, a full bottle of shampoo dropped on my toe, then came the conditioner. The phone started ringing, the dog barked at what, I cannot tell you, and I felt overwhelmed. My thoughts took a turn and I was questioning whether I am, in fact, doing enough, if everything is okay. The inner critic was well energized and giving me her three cents. The calm and content was out of sight and I wanted it back. Now. Initially bummed and discouraged, then I remembered one of my tools, a technique that brings me back to center anytime and anywhere. I went back to basics.
First, I stopped. Right there in the kitchen amidst the water, ringing and barking, I took a long, slow, deep breath.
Then, I asked what to do next. “Put a bucket under the sink” was the guidance, so I followed it; Simple, straightforward, helpful.
Next, I checked in with my body. What did I need right then and there? Was I hungry? Was I angry? Was I lonely? Was I tired? (HALT) Check & check. I was hungry and tired. So, before anything else was addressed, I made a snack and sat down to eat it. By now, the phone had stopped ringing, the dog was sitting by my side, and my mind was quieter. Yes, the floor was wet. Yes, there was a mess. Did I like it? No.
But how important was it really? [A life saver question I ask often] A wet floor stays wet for a few more minutes or I rejuvenate a body and mind that work for me twenty four seven? Did I want to prioritize cleaning it up and put off the basics of self-care? Yes. Instead, I added my name to the top of the to do list! In ten minutes or less, the things to tend to were all addressed. I checked in with the thoughts and questioned their validity. I reminded the inner critic that she is safe and I am in charge. No need to worry, inner critic, seriously. I said a few affirmations, slowly and genuinely, feeling them soothe my sore spots with each word. I drank a glass of water and took some vitamin C. I sat in silence and let the food fill me, rubbing my feet gently and intently. I took a time out and returned to a place of peaceful presence. When I got up, the wet floor was no big deal. In less than ten minutes! The situation hadn’t changed, my perspective had. Checking myself changed everything.
Have you had one of these moments, or maybe a few? What if you checked yourself more often? How might your perspective and experience change?
Give it a try and get back to basics.
Don't you notice a difference in your state of mind, body and perspective already?!
Go ahead, check yourself!
Here's to you,
Whether I think I am prepared for something or not, life brings it. In the past month, I have had many encounters with unexpected memories and recollections, synchronicities and surprises, challenges and quantum leaps. What I have concluded, yet again, is that when something is in front of me (or within me for that matter), I am ready for it. If it is happening, I am ready and able to meet it. No exceptions.
This belief has been tested and strengthened preceding and following my recent trip to Thailand. Lingering doubt that I can handle all that comes was squashed in one challenging, emotional, surreal and liberating afternoon this week. Within the course of five hours, I found a planner from high school, empty ring boxes, a wedding invitation, the declaration of love heart pendant from my first beau, and a journal with reflections and confessions on years’ worth of experience. In this same afternoon, I drove past a great love I had not seen or spoken to for some time on my way from the market. Reminders of love, life, change and turbulent growing opportunities kept presenting themselves. This was a day! Why is it that all of this comes at once, like a line of dominoes, one leads to the other and to yet another. What led me to be ready for all this so close together? Was this a call to reflect or let go, or both? Thoughts paraded with banners reading “this is too much!” while emotions beamed with shades of vulnerability, sadness, nostalgia, playfulness and honor. The one question I asked in the midst of these thoughts and emotions brought me back to serenity and curiosity:
What is the gift here?
This question itself changes the terrain from panic from the past to peace in the present. I remember a lot. Sometimes this feels like a blessing. Sometimes it does not. The reminders of connection I have shared in previous chapters of my life called me to choose; follow the path of emotions and thought or pave another way. Acknowledging my readiness to handle, survive and even thrive in any circumstance opens me to experience the magic, gift and growth in it. By the end of this particularly memory packed afternoon, I had shed a few tears, chuckled a few laughs, and landed in immense gratitude. I have expressed love freely and received caring passionately in relationships. I still do, now more than ever, with myself. Ready or not… Ready or not!
Your turn: If you’re human, something is showing up in your life, internally or externally, that has you questioning your capability or the outcome. Right? Perhaps some fear crops up when you think about that family dinner or missing the deadline for FedEx to deliver by Christmas.
Find or create some space to be reflective for a few minutes.
Take a seat, take a walk, take a bath and bring this situation to mind.
Notice what emotions and thoughts rise as you do. Remember to breathe, allowing any sensations to rise and fall in their own way. What surfaces is presenting itself to change, why not let it?!
Now ask “What is the gift here for me?” Take a few long, deep breaths and open to what you hear, see, smell and taste. If there were a gift, what could it be? If there were many gifts, how might they be showing up? Play with this, allowing the sensations to transform into guideposts for where you are headed.
I believe in you, you are ready.
So… what do you want? My guess is a gift. Who doesn’t love a present from time to time?
With Blessings & So Much Gratitude,
This article is featured in Simply...Woman Magazine at http://www.simplywoman.com/ready-or-not-life-is-coming/
It is a new year.
The 2013 calendars have been recycled, the 365 days of memories are either tucked away for safe keeping or being turned over for transforming.
This is a time of making resolutions for many of us. I have being hearing all sorts of resolutions: “I will quit smoking (again),” “I will forget about him/her and find someone new,” “I will lose the ten pounds I gained last year,” “I will not eat sugar (really)” “I will be more present.”
Resolutions might work well for some people, that is if you are one of those people who truly thrives in this tradition. I am not one of these people. Resolutions equal pressure in my world.
Instead of making resolutions at the turn of the year, I choose to live one day at a time, to the best of my ability, according to what I value. I set intention regularly and check in with the progress and my own process as I go.
I prioritize what lights me up while honoring that which grounds me.
More than anything, I practice:
I find this to be such a relief.
No pressure to get the list written and plans made immediately; this means less momentum is generated for inadvertently beating myself up when life happens and the path takes a turn unexpectedly. Conscious connection with my wants, values, needs, desires, dreams and inner wisdom keeps me on my path. Honestly looking within and aligning with what I want to experience on a daily basis is a discipline and an art.
Resolving to do something extends focus into the future, often highlighting that it wasn't done in the past. Being in the moment requires practice and commitment. Goals have their place, don’t get me wrong, but they are not the most critical part of the process. The outcome will be what it is. I don’t have ultimate control over outcomes. On the other hand, the steps taken between point A, B, C and D are mine to choose. I do have power here as I navigate the path.
I’ve gotten ahead of myself though!
Here’s a bit of my process: Before I can identify what goals I will set, I get clear on what values are driving me right now. This is where the four arts come in, they help me to evaluate! A value is anything that is vital for me to have, or be surrounded by, in order to live in a way that helps me to thrive. Vital values will meet the very things I am passionate about. What makes your top ten values list? Intuitively go through this list and mark the words that call to you.
When you’ve gone through for the first time, stop, breathe in an out deeply and slowly a few times, then pick up that pen again and go back through the words you’ve marked. Whittle down the list to those that are really important to you, the “deal breakers” if you will. These aspects of daily living, these values, are the 'musts' for your fulfilling life, this year.
In becoming more clear about what matters to you, a natural flow and rhythm will evolve and unfold. Clarity paves the way for everyday miracles. Now that your values have been identified, start surrounding yourself with those things. If beauty made your list, fill that polka dot vase with flowers or gather branches or sea glass, and put them somewhere you’ll see them often. If artistic expression was a top ten, pull out the paint brushes, colored pencils or that collage project. Whatever you value, prioritize it. It doesn’t take a lot to have a big impact. Just a few minutes a day dedicated to what makes your life experience meaningful will have a domino effect on your mood, mindset and the people around you. Bring more of these life enhancing qualities into every day experiences, claim your moments. Align with what you value and see how your experiences start to change. Resolutions become unnecessary when your values are being honored and lived out.
Smiling + ready for what's coming,
As an advocate of Reinvention + Recovery, I work with clients to achieve balance, alignment and purpose in all areas