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Archive for January, 2009

For my meditation this morning, I used a CD on attracting love that I borrowed from a friend. During the guided section, I was instructed to open a door and let in the woman I loved and who loves me. I was guided through three different situations in which she and I would experience loving each other and enjoying each other.

I was instructed to make one of those situations be about deep trust between us. For some reason, I started to imagine that this woman owned a snake. Now, ever since I was a kid, I’ve had a very intense phobia about snakes. So I started to feel all of that fear and anxiety in connection to this woman.

Pretty interesting, right?

I’ve known for some time that safety and trust are incredibly important to me. And when I have that in a relationship (romantic or platonic), I recognize it and appreciate it. But I had NO idea there was this intense kind of fear associated with it. No idea, none. In fact, it’s so surprising to me that part of me wants to discount this experience as random or perhaps having a different meaning.

But in a strange way, it makes sense. My most recent romantic relationship was with a woman who not only was planning to move 1000 miles away, but she had defined her priorities in such a way that made it impossible for us to have a long-term relationship. If I do have this deep fear around trust and safety, it makes sense I’d choose to be with someone who was unavailable, and therefore not a risk.

This insight is brand spanking new to me, so I’m still in the awareness and inquiry stage. As I understand it more, I’m sure I’ll talk about it in my posts.

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Last night as I was driving to my weekly Power of Now discussion group, I was feeling anxious about money. So I spoke to her:

“Money, I do trust you, and I know that you care about me. But it’s challenging to remember that and not get caught up in the uncertainty. What can I do?”

Show me how much you can create with the resources you have, and then I will give you more, she replied.

And it hit me. I have a life that many people dream of. I run my own business, I set my own schedule. And the big insight was this: I’m single without children, and this is an advantage. Typically, I see that as a negative. But given that reality, there is much I can do with it.

For example, two of my main focuses at this stage of my life are writing my book and practicing inner peace. There are few people whose lives are better suited to these things than me. Yet if you listen to me, I talk about how I don’t have time for them. If I don’t have time for them, who the hell does?

My life is perfect in that context. And that’s all reality is…context, perspective. It’s time for me to appreciate how perfect my life is, embrace the resources I have, and create.

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This week I had two people drop out of my Peaceful Productivity Group coaching program. This was a bit discouraging because the group was already smaller than I’d envisioned. But I had an experience that cast some light on this issue and helped me turn my energy around.

My apartment is at the end of a long hallway. I noticed how one of the lights in the hallway was out. It created this noticeably dark area. “What a shame,” I thought. “One of the lights is out. They should fix that.”

And for some reason my focus went to the lights that were still lit, probably a dozen of them, which surprised me. Why hadn’t I noticed there were so many lights in the hallway? Every day, they are all there, functioning properly, yet invisible to me. Only when one goes out do I notice them.

Then I noticed that there are no windows in the hallway. So without those lights, the hallway would be completely pitch black. It would be pretty tricky for me to find my way to my apartment. Even just one or two lights would be all I would need.

So I found myself for the first time appreciating all of the lights in the hallway.

And I chose to apply this perspective to my group. Appreciate who is there. Serve the people in front of me, and don’t worry about the others. Appreciate the light in my life.

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Earlier today, I had a momentary thought to check to see if there was a Thursday night yoga class at the studio I used to go to here in town. The thought was quickly forgotten.

Later around 6 PM or so, I decided I wanted to go out somewhere and do something that would make me feel really alive. I took a shower, and in the shower I remembered the yoga idea. I quickly jumped online to see if there was a class and there was, perfectly timed.

I hadn’t been to this yoga studio in about a year. When the teacher of the class I took stopped teaching there, I stopped going. Asha was her name, and she and I stayed friends and saw each other every once in a while. This whole week, I found myself thinking about her and wanting to see her again. That may have been what put the yoga idea into my mind, I don’t know.

So I get to the studio, and there are two other students there plus the instructor, a woman I’ve never met before. The instructor is still dressed in her winter coat and talking to one of the students. I’m not really listening, but I hear, “Blah blah blah Asha blah blah.” Asha?

I ask what they’re talking about and it turns out that the class instructor can’t teach tonight, so she called Asha to substitute for her! How weird! This is my first time back to the studio in a year, and Asha (who doesn’t normally teach there anymore) is going to be teaching the class!

After the class, Asha and I spoke and it turns out that she was as excited to see me in class as I was to see her. She wasn’t looking forward to teaching and was doing it to help out her friend, but when she walked in she said I was like a beacon of light.

As surprised as I was by the coincidence, I wasn’t really surprised. There are connections between people, some stronger than others. And I’ve felt a pretty strong one between Asha and I for a while now.

Using “feeling alive” as my compass seems to be aligned with these connections. It will be fun to see what else happens in the days and weeks to come.

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Last night I was reading the book Callings by Gregg Levoy and came upon this quote by Joseph Campbell:

People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive…of the rapture of being alive.

This is HUGE for me. I started to notice this past year how challenging it is for me to define my purpose or meaning for being here. Sure, I can write mission statements that sound great and feel pretty good, but it always feels…not quite right.

That’s because the idea of purpose or meaning is just that, an idea. It’s intellectual and lives in the head. What was missing for me was the feeling.

Coming at this from the perspective of “being alive” really opens it up for me. It’s a much clearer compass by which I can steer. It takes the question out of the head and into the body.

For example, I played with my youngest niece in the snow tonight. Coming from the perspective of purpose or meaning, it’s challenging for me to figure out how that fits in. I can do it by connecting the dots that connecting with family is a microcosm for the larger world family we belong to, and also for the greater connection of the Oneness of everything. Neat little intellectual concept that gets me there. But when I come at it from the perspective of being alive or feeling alive, it’s obvious. Of course, I’ll play with my niece in the snow. Playing makes me feel alive. It’s no more complicated than that.

I feel like I now have a much more direct doorway to peace, connection, joy, and spirit.

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This morning I encountered this quote by Ross Jeffries: “What you believe is possible for yourself, what you believe you deserve at the deepest levels determines which future you’re going to experience. And then that future reaches back through time and shapes you and molds you into being the kind of person who’s ready for it the day you meet it.”

Just this past Tuesday I was talking to a friend about a similar message expressed by Richard Bach in his book, One. In that book, the characters met future and past selves, people who they were becoming and who were becoming them.

About a year ago, I wrote a post about a time when I’d stand in front of the mirror and imagine talking to my future self. He did reach back through time, encouraging me to be who he knew I was, until the day we met and became one.

I think we tend to look outside of ourselves for proof of who we are — income, love, respect, possessions. At least that’s my tendency. But there’s two problems with that. First, there are many forces that influence those things besides who we are, so they are not reliable indicators. Second, our thirst for more of those things can blind us to the abundance we do have.

I opened myself last year to the possibility of being the husband to an amazing woman and the father to an amazing daughter. And because those relationships did not unfold in the way I envisioned, I took it as proof that there’s something wrong with me.

Worse, I’ve started to create negative fantasies about how I’m not good enough to care for my nieces (i.e. I don’t earn enough, don’t have a house, don’t have health insurance) if something ever happened to their parents. (There’s a story why my mind went there, but I’m not going to get into it.)

Deep inside, I know I’m whole and complete and perfect. Yet I carry beliefs, thoughts, feelings, fantasies, memories, stories, and perspectives that tell me I’m not.

What baggage must I let go of to allow that beautiful person I am to shine more brightly?

These 100 Days of Peace in Relationships have led me to that question, and to the understanding that all of my relationships with others are mirrors of my relationship with myself. That voice in my head that can say kind words to me, cruel words to me, or simply be quiet and let me be.

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This is the final day in my 100 Days of Peace in Relationships. It was a wonderfully revealing exploration for me that looked nothing like I thought it would when I began it! I’ll reflect on it in more detail tomorrow.

Today I want to write about a dream I had last night. I was trying to take photographs of family members at some kind of a family gathering, and I was not having much success. Children would not smile or look at the camera, people would move in and out of frame. It was frustrating because I felt powerless to accomplish my goal.

When I woke up, I recognized it immediately as one of my “impotence dreams.” These are a repeating kind of dream in which I have some goal (typically something mundane like finding a room in a building, or in this case taking photographs), but I am unable to achieve that goal no matter how hard I try.

I haven’t had one of these dreams (or I haven’t remembered one) in at least several months, maybe longer.

I’m pretty sure it’s related to a conversation I had yesterday in which I now see I was looking for some acknowledgment and instead I felt unacknowledged. It reminds me of when I would come home with a 98 out of 100 on a test and my father would ask me what happened to the other two points.

So I’ve come to see how important it is for me to acknowledge myself, and to ask for acknowledgment from others, for my progress and growth. I’ve also become aware of how sensitive I am to advice (no matter how well intended) when I don’t feel acknowledged. I take the advice as an implicit accusation that I’m not good enough.

There’s nothing wrong with someone wanting to help me figure out how I can do better. I am so grateful for all of the amazing people in my life who care enough about me to want to push me to grow. And there’s an important context for that: I recognize that because I can lose sight of the acknowledgment part so easily, it helps to have other people to remind me before they give me advice.

Which is probably a great segue to my reflections on these 100 Days. Like I said, they unfolded much differently than I intended, and I want to acknowledge myself (and ask for acknowledgment from YOU) for everything I learned and all the ways I’ve grown, instead of focusing on what I didn’t or how I haven’t.

In short, I ROCK!!!!!!! More tomorrow…

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