Friday, March 27, 2009

This Week's Life Lesson No. 2: Self-kindness-acceptance-care

It's been a week rich in gifts of all kinds. Some of them have been absolutely yummy, and others are still bitter in my mouth. Let me write my way through the maze of mind-racing thoughts and hope for some clarity. Bear with me.

The gift of grumpiness. The kids have been sick. Again. I have been sick with them. Again. Sleep has not been on my side. The little one has been clingy and needy. I have had spurts of calm and humor peppered in between the prevailing sense of impatience and grumpiness. I have noticed myself ready to snap at the kids and partner. How on earth can grumpiness be a gift? Not sure. I know the kids certainly don't see it that way! So, I ask myself how can I just accept myself in this state, albeit undesireable? I am just asking.

The gift of fatigue. I know I have neglected my basic needs: nutrition, rest, exercise, prayer, and mind-stimulation. Any wonder I am tired and impatient. I could easily have gone through the days repeating a familiar mantra "I am tired. I am tired." Instead, I decided to "play" with a question and shared the process with a supportive friend. We held the intention to ask ourselves throughout the day, "what do I most need to do for me right now?" We listened to ourselves, and answered the call. This has been an experiment in self-kindness-care. And, it reaped benefits. I got a massage this week. I ate salads all week. I abstained from gluten and dairy. I rested to breathe for a few minutes. I found ways to get solitude. I decluttered. I made some long overdue calls. I gave and received support. I noticed the fatigue but I was not debilitated by it. After all, is that not self-care?

The gift of making mistakes. I made a couple of significant errors this week. Call them lapses in judgement or mindlessness or plain ego. I am hard on myself. Often when I mess up, I play the scenario in my mind over and over again, and experience the humiliation or embarassment over and over again. This means that what might be a minor error turns into a huge blunder for me. This week, when I noticed that I was about to enter the "make a blunder out of an error" pit, I asked myself how I could practice self-kindness. I even reached out to someone else to play with this question with me. We just asked.

In the midst of what could be a fog of grumpy fatigued blunder, I was gifted opportunities to practice more self-kindness-acceptance-care. It was quite a week. I know I am harping on this, but sometimes all it takes is asking a question. Ask and ye shall receive (kindness-acceptance-care, that is). Ask with someone and ye might receive even more.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

This Week's Life Lesson/ Message from the Universe No. 1: Detachment

This week has been rich in numerous life lessons. I tuned in as the Universe sent me some very clear messages about myself and my life. Changes to be made, and others being made.

Lesson/ Message number 1: Detachment. Letting Go so I can Give More.
The Baha'i New Year and first day of Spring. I am ready for a fantastic day with the family. As I rushed to get the children ready and out the door for a long Saturday of fun-filled activities, I lost my engagement ring. We needed to get to swimming class, the library, a Baha'i New Year brunch, Andre 3000's show at the Theatre, and dinner with Friends... I am in auto-pilot mode. I get the kids dressed (up), pack the swim things, get them breakfast and snacks for the car ride, shower, and then strapped into the car. There are three trips back into the house - more diapers. New stockings. Oh, and something else... In the midst of all this, I lose my ring. I back-tracked, spent five minutes in and around the house searching for it. And then, I chose to head out anyway. I decided that the ring would not keep us all from our exciting day. I did my best to be present, and just stay in the moment instead of worrying about a "thing" to which I am deeply attached. This ring has been on me for over ten years. I can honestly say that I am not attached to much "stuff" but this is one of the material things that I would truly hate to lose.

Rewind to the night before. After the kids were in bed, I sat on the couch with my partner, and we tuned into some mindless television while we planned for the weekend festivities. I stumbled upon a not-so-mindless 20/20 show about "families on the edge." Twenty minutes of hearing about homeless families, teens stressed out by their families' financial woes, the economic "crisis" was all I could handle. As I tend to do sometimes, I owned their suffering to the point of physically experiencing pain. My stomach hurt, and my heart ached. I switched off the television, went upstairs to my bed and kneeled down in fervent prayer. "God, help me give more. Help me share myself. Help me feel less burdened by my privilege. Show me ways to give to others in need. Show me how to serve the world better. Show me how to alleviate the pain and suffering of this life for more people."

And, then I wake up the next morning to lose my engagement ring for the first time since I was gifted it. Hmmmm.... message from the Universe? Prayers answered? Despite doing my very best to stay in the moment to enjoy all the "highs" of the day - the swim class, the brunch, the show, friends, children playing - the "low" of losing the ring nagged at me all day. I realized the timing was not coincidental. There was a lesson in this, and I searched for it.

Message I received: Be more detached. Let go of material attachments so that I can do all this more and better. Let go so that I can live with an open mind, hand and heart. Detachment is not about not caring for anything or anyone. It is about letting go so that you can care more. Paradoxical? Maybe. I get it. I am stepping out to let go of what I can so that I can give more freely.

What can you choose to let go of now? How will it serve you (and others) to do this?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Forward

Spring is here. It is also the Iranian and Baha'i New Year. It's a new day... Naw-Ruz in Farsi.

Forget January 1st. Every year, sundown on March 20th marks a new beginning for me.

I really do feel a spring in my step today. I feel my energy shifting, and notice myself flowing... because I am asking myself what new beginnings I want to create now.

Just asking the question, and shifting awareness, is a gift. I am holding on to the idea that new beginnings are possible any time we choose them -- not just on the first day of spring, but any time. Oh, the possibilities. I spring forward just thinking about them!

Without even intending to, I took abundant action on my to do's ... talk about unstuckification...
Sometimes, all it takes is asking myself a question.

I am curious. What new beginnings would you choose today?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Musings on "to do" to "ta da"

I am still playing with this idea. How to get into ta da mode when all I can think is... oh so much to do!

This experiment started not just due to my stuck-ification so to speak but because someone recently pointed out to me how difficult it is for her to complete seemingly simple tasks. For instance, making doctors appointments, paying bills, buying groceries, doing laundry, cleaning out a drawer or returning a call might be "simple" to do's. These do seem like simple and contained tasks. Most people would say, just take care of it. What's the big deal? And yet, for many of us, these are places we get stuck. If these are hard, then can you imagine how more complex tasks like filling out taxes, applying for a job, planning an overseas trip, or marketing a business are super daunting?

I pride myself in being action oriented. I really do think of myself as a take-charge and take care of business kinda person. I am. Most of the time. But, if I were to delve into my list of to do's that have been on my to do's for a good long while, I would be the arch-procrastinator for sure. Here is a small sampling: make dental appointments for the whole family, buy plane tickets to Botswana, revise the monthly budget, clean out the garage, sort through and donate old clothing, re-organize my closet, clear my desk, read a book for a book club, revise my web site... You get the idea.

Here is what shifting perspective from to do to ta da does for this list. I stop beating myself up about why I haven't done these things. Instead, I play with options. I practice patience with myself. Oy! And, I hold the intention to get to all of them -- in time. Does this get things done? Not yet. However, it sure makes me feel less bogged down.

My thought for today on this experiment -- shifting perspective helps shift energy. Instead of being bogged down, I allow myself to flow...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Back to the Blog...

Truth is that like many other things in my life in recent weeks, the blog has felt like yet another "to do." So, it has not been done.

I have been wondering why I have not blogged in so long. I have been composing entries in my head, but just have not made it back to the writing board so to speak. Every day finds me wondering why. I think it has to do with the state of mind-being that has me uncertain about life. And, yes, I admit it. Uncertain about me. I am questioning myself. Who am I, really? What am I meant to be doing? What do I truly want? How am I going to get it? Where do I need to focus my time and energy? All this questioning, albeit vital to my journey, gets me in a funk.

I am not really sure how to characterize my current state of mind and being. Am I uncertain? Distracted? Lacking focus? Pondering? Stewing? Frustrated? Ambivalent? Grumpy? Unwell? Busy? Yes, all of that and more. I am going about living my life, mindfully seeking out enjoyment, fulfillment, comfort and purpose. There have been days when I have indeed come out of my uncertain questioning mode to get things done. I have continued to honor my commitments, and even make new ones. So it would not be true to say that I am stuck. But, I have been feeling stuck.

How to get unstuck? Last week, I decided that I was going to play with turning to do's into ta da's. That experiment worked for me. It allowed me to just flow, and get things done in a spirit of fun and play so things that were on my "to do's" did not feel like such a burden. I made some decisions that I had been stuck on. I even made travel plans. I reached out to people who I need to reconnect with. I took care of paper-work. I put an end to a two-year long saga with a non-profit organization. I gave of myself freely and generously. I even did my own (Oprah inspired) Big Give. Decluttered my work and home life. I enjoyed myself in the process.

Not all days or weeks are like that. But, just shifting my perspective to "ta da" was hugely rewarding. I am doing this more and more when I notice that I am feeling weighed down by what is on my plate (and my mind).

I just say it's time to play, and show up. Like I just did on the blog. I think it works. Try it!