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Archive for May, 2008

Got some news today that a situation I’m enjoying in my life will probably end in about a month. I won’t go into detail except to make two observations:

  1. Going into it, I was aware of the possibility that it could end soon. So I chose to be present and enjoy every moment as much as I could. I am grateful for that choice.
  2. It would be so easy to create a “poor me” story around this, tie it to other experiences in my past, and project a negative future that includes more of “the same.” Instead, I choose to continue to be present and enjoy every moment as much as I can.

The reality is that every situation ends or changes, and many of the most enjoyable ones do so sooner than we think they will.

What I’ve learned from this experience is how un-devastating change can be when I know I’ve been present. There is no regret, only gratitude.

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When I feel like I “can’t deal” with facing things I don’t want to face — uncertainty, choices I know are good for me but scare me, taking action on big goals outside my comfort zone, etc. — I hide in two different places:

  1. I escape — Whether it’s into a movie, or a beer, or an activity with a friend, I will distract myself to avoid facing something
  2. I get busy — I’ll cram so much into my life that I just “don’t have time” to deal with anything else

My preferred hiding spot can change from day to day. And it can also vary in degree.

Here’s what the recipe tends to look like:

  1. I feel an anxiety, a nervous physical energy combined with a kind of circular thinking/questioning — “I don’t know what to do. How am I going to do this? It’s not going to work out…”
  2. I rationalize that I need (or even more insidiously, deserve) a break to “clear my head.”
  3. Alternatively, I convince myself that there are other things that need to get done before I start, like cleaning the dishes or doing the laundry or clearing my email inbox.
  4. I promise myself that tomorrow will be a big day for me and I’ll make a lot of progress.
  5. I hide in the activity of escaping or being busy

The reason this is coming up today is because I felt some anxiety this afternoon, and as the recipe began, I recognized it and said, “Screw this.”

I do not choose that recipe. A friend reminded me last night of two guiding questions from Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations with God:

  • Is this who I am?
  • What would love do right now?

My answers to those questions have nothing to do with hiding. Who I am is a person who honors my feelings by facing them, not running from them. And love would accept the anxiety and seek to understand it, not hide from it.

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I’ve been sleeping less each night in the past 3 weeks than I’m used to (and doing more while awake), and I’m seeing how much more difficult it is to stay centered and be peaceful and joyful when my body is tired.

Not that I’ve become some flighty and negative jerk. 🙂 Just that peace and joy require more attention.

The answer may be more sleep or better nutrition or more regular exercise. The important lesson here for me is to honor my body’s needs because that influences my emotional and spiritual experience of life.

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When I talk about me being peace, it doesn’t mean that I don’t feel emotions like fear, doubt, anxiety, etc.

I do feel them. Especially now with all of the changes and new experiences I described the other day.

The difference is that I’m aware of the emotion as an emotion and not who I am. I don’t lose myself in it the way I have in the past.

This is very different than what I imagined “being peace” was. I thought it meant being the strong but flexible tree that bends with the wind yet is unphased by the chaos around it. That tree does exist, but it’s a deep inner experience. My mind and body still experience all of the storms that come with being human.

So in a way, things are exactly the same and completely different. And I love it.

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Today I threw a big pile of papers into the recycling bin.

What makes that meaningful to me is that this was a pile of papers I’ve had sitting next to my desk for over a year. In it were countless business ideas, notes, plans, etc. which I’ve been telling myself “I’ll get to someday.”

It’s been a nagging weight I’ve dragged with me in everything I do. Each of those pieces of paper created a trajectory into the future; a sequence of action steps implied by each note; a future outcome that I expected to grow from every seed.

All of which were blinding me to the vast openness of possibility before me. What I mean by that is this: I am here right now with an unwritten future before me. I can take a step in any direction. But the past can bias you (if you let it) towards a given possibility just out of momentum and not because that possibility is the best choice.

Clearing out that pile of papers feels like it’s opened me to greater possibility, choice, and action.

I’ve practiced clearing before, and I feel like I’ve taken it to a deeper level. Yeah, baby!

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After over 5 months of consecutive daily posts, I’ve posted twice in the past two weeks.

The uncertainty in my life has increased more in these two weeks than I could have imagined when I began these 100 Days of Peace in Uncertainty:

  • My best friend died.
  • I’m in that exciting, yet uncertain beginning stage of a new relationship.
  • I’m a week into a 5-week “job” caring for my two nieces 9 hours a day, 4 days a week.
  • And my coaching business is at a critical juncture between what was and who knows what will be.

And I realized a few days ago that I’m so present being peace in the face of all of this uncertainty that I haven’t had many moments to reflect on that process let alone write about it in this blog.

My intention is to be more consistent in these next couple of weeks. This is a unique time (hopefully) in my life with all that is converging, and I intend to include time for reflection and sharing what I’m learning.

When I began these 100 Days, my relationship with uncertainty was mostly a negative one. I’m finding in recent days that’s not the case. Uncertainty simply is. Can it be that I’m okay with uncertainty? If so, it wasn’t some big epiphany. It was like a seed sprouting beneath the ground for weeks and months that is perhaps now beginning to break the surface…

Thank you to everyone who holds me in their loving energy through this process. You rock!!

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From the song Some Things Are Not As They Seem by Scott Foster:

It was early morning when they told me you were gone
Through a glassy-eyed expression, nothing left to say
As I washed my hands of the grief I felt a sinking in my heart
Still can’t help to feel losing you is so unreal

Felt like giving up
When a voice spoke inside of me

Some things are not as they seem
Some things are not as they appear to be
What you thought might be a tragedy
Is really a message from above down to you
Shining down on you

At about 7 AM on Saturday, I learned that my best friend, Scott Foster, had died.

Life has never seemed more uncertain to me than it does now. There are moments of love, moments of sadness, moments of joy, and moments of fear. There always were, but now I feel them more acutely.

Scott’s gift to me is an example of a person who lives his life as fully as he can. His lesson is to be totally present in whatever you are experiencing, feeling, and doing. In this way, he’s helping me be at peace through all of the emotions of the past several days.

I encourage you to get to know Scott through his music:

http://www.myspace.com/scottfostertribute

I love you, Scott.

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