If we grasp too tightly we just might leave a mark and the mark we leave behind may be more than just our fingerprints, it might be our freedom.
Grasping is a form of emotional masochism. The dictionary’s definition of emotional masochism says that I find some strange or subtle pleasure in the act. At the moment, I don’t feel a sense of “pleasure” in the process, well at least none that I recall as I ponder this definition. As I read a little further it says the act may involve a sense of familiarity or self-justification. Bingo! Now, this sounds familiar, ha. In hindsight, there has not been a time where I experienced lasting happiness while grasping at anything, in fact, it was just the opposite. Grasping only led to physical and emotional pain and yet I seem to be drawn to the payoff of this Bingo game of familiarity and or self-justification because I keep playing. Grasping resembles a vampire, it will eventually suck the life out of you.
Do you know how they catch monkey’s in other countries? They dig a hole and fill it with peanuts or a banana. The hole is big enough for a monkey to insert his empty hand but once he grabs the food he is unable to release his hand from the trap because he refuses to let go of his bonanza.
How often do we cling to things thinking it will be the one thing that will make us happy? If we let go of our grip we can enjoy what we have, our freedom to make a wiser decision.
Today I get to practice not getting myself stuck in the trap of short term happiness. Wish me luck. I am trying not to justify why I feel the need to consume the entire bag of mini dark chocolate bars in the fridge when I already had one.
Do you ever feel that you have buried yourself under the labels you have used to define who you are? I was out taking a walk, I came upon this tree, and thought how, at times, I feel like this tree.
If I am wanting to create change, how could I possibly do that if I am ladened by the trammel. If I am doing that to myself, I am doing it to others as well. If I see someone who is careless, annoying, pessimistic, self-centered and or worthless, I will never be able to see what lies underneath these labels I attached to them. I am contributing to their confinement.
I remember a time in my life when I was at an all time low. I felt like I didn’t have anything to offer. I was confessing to a friend that I needed people around me who I deemed to have prestige. I felt they made me look important. My friend looked at me and said, I wish you could see what I see in you. You have so much to offer but you bury yourself under all this fear of not being good enough. It was like she peeled back the debris of mental flogging long enough for me to get a glimpse of what was possible.
You have the potential to set yourself and others free.
There are a plethora of bumper stickers that give your mind permission to be somewhere else. In this current state, we are asked to “stay home.”
I will be the first to admit that being where I am has been a challenging order. Now that I think about it, this is not a new conundrum. I remember a day having a fun-filled agenda.
going to an art walk
attending a Yoga class
taking a bike ride
visiting a friend
going to a concert
Yet, while being involved in one activity, I already anticipated the arrival of the next one. My mind was never fully present. I couldn’t figure out why, if all my activities were ones I enjoyed, what was causing my mind to want to be somewhere else? hmm?
Now, having no work to go to, and no events planned outside the home, I still jump ahead, dreaming of what I will be doing when I am no longer sequestered at home. Why am I so restless? Will my mind ever be content, not if I always yearn to be somewhere else. So what is wrong with where I am; good, bad, or indifferent? At least now I have one less obstacle in my way of discovering this riddle, set aside for me by the government. Who would have thought my intervention would have been invoked by the government, go figure.
The practice of Yoga imparts many parallels with the process of life. While trying to get myself into a “pretzel,” I recognized a metaphor. In reality, we don’t actually try to get ourselves into binds, we just do it, and then wonder how we are going to get ourselves out of them. For example: like spending more money then we have in our bank account or quitting a job without having another one lined up. These two examples are easier getting into than getting out of. Contrary to life, it’s more of a challenge getting into a yoga bind then to extricate yourself out of one.
The bind is never the goal of your pose or your state of affairs. The goal is learning to assess, discern, and respect where you are, and choosing to go no further then where you are capable of going in that given moment. It’s a mental balance of learning how to “tame the ego.” If you chose to be preemptive, physical injury and mental anguish can be alleviated. Getting “into a bind” has its benefits and so does getting out of one.
Physically, the twisting of the body aids in massaging your organs and digestive tract. It also helps with flexibility. Off the mat, being able to ask yourself questions as to what led you “into the bind” can give you insight into preventing another reoccurrence. It helps you to see an alternative perspective.
While hiking in the Coconino forest in Arizona, I ran into this stump displayingreminders of transition;
From something alive to now dead
From something that had a purpose to something that has lost its purpose.
From something that was once in one piece to something that now is broken.
From something that had perfect form to something where the form is now bent.
From something that was once clean, and shiny to something now dirty, and dingy.
What do we do when things are in transition; when we have a job that no longer brings us satisfaction, when our health starts to wane or when a relationship is on the rocks? How often do we try and hang on to the old form and think we can get by. The reality we currently live in will never look like it’s previous form. It’s like shoving a square peg into a round hole. We must let go of what was and except what is and find the vibrance in our current reality. Transition from the familiar to the unfamiliar requires taking one step; make a call, gather information, schedule an appointment or have a conversation.
To live our passion we must be willing to step into the transition.A transition from living to exist to existing to live.It means giving up the familiar and moving into the unfamiliar.It means being open to possibilities instead of being paralyzed by fear of the unknown.
Let change be the catalyst to living your passion not the fear that kept you from it.
My volunteer experience in building the largest Kadampa International Retreat Center in the US.
Seasoned meditators have a way of dealing with life like non other I have ever experienced. Their “feathers don’t get ruffled” when things go awry or not as planned.
I have witnessed this on several occasions.
While cleaning the kitchen, I knocked a glass salt shaker off a shelf, and it landed on top of a crystal goblet, spraying shards of glass all over the counter tops, and countless stacks of dishes. The only thing that could be done was to take everything off the shelves, and rewash them.It was fifteen minutes prior to everyone being finished with their shift.The entire kitchen came to help me clean, and wash the dishes. The only words spoken after I profusely apologized were “it’s ok we have all been there.”
Not one person is wearing ear phones to listen to music. Its not a rule, it’s just their desire to respectively and happily be present.
The start of each shift is honored by being on time and break times are never extended. If there task is not complete, they stay till it is finished.
I hear over and over again their only wish is to obtain a peaceful mind.
I have been to the kitchen, and I know what I want for breakfast.
Have you ever wanted to explore the inside of a cave?
I hadn’t because it was frickin’ scary to me.
I had heard that snakes and bats live there and most of all its really dark inside a cave! I am scared of snakes and bats, and I don’t like to be surrounded by the dark.
So not having any experience of being attacked by bats, bitten by snakes or being consumed by the dark, then what am I really afraid of?
Research shows, that often times, it’s because we are afraid of not having control over unknown circumstances.
Yeah, ok so now we are getting closer to the root of the fear. Let’s dig a little deeper.
I can now ask myself why losing control is something to be afraid of. Wow, that hit another trigger.
What happens then, if I feel like I have no control over my surroundings? I am left feeling vulnerable and powerless.
Ah, so herein lies the core of the problem.
So it’s really not about the snakes, bats and the dark, it’s that I am scared of feeling helpless and defenseless.
In this situation, I can see that fear itself is the only thing that is stopping me from entering the cave.
Who really is creating this fear? Muah!
As long as I think the cause of my fear stems from somewhere “out there,” I will never be able to fully experience my life.
The tool of digging beyond the surface of your perceived fear is to ask yourself, “Why am I afraid, and to keep asking until you get to the core. Most of the time it’s not initially what you think it is.
This practice has helped me get to the root of my fears, and overcome them.
Set yourself free by getting to the bottom of what really is making you afraid, and practice standing in front of your fear.
This video clip reminds me of my ill fated attempts to engage in conversation.I think it is funny now but it never use to be.
I tried everything to get people to talk to me.
Ask my children.I had a book I would pull out called “What If.” It had 4 questions to a page. I asked them to pick a page number, and a number on the page. I told them to open to that page, and to read and answer the question.
My kids hated that book!
Throughout my life my friends have thought they were talking to a two year old. My mother thought I was noisy. My father thought I asked to many damn questions, and many people who I wanted to know never got back with me.
It was always an attempt to start a conversation, and to get to know someone better.
Pursuing a legitimate give and take conversation was a challenge.
Trust me, a question is ok. A barrage is intimidating. Remember to be patient, wait, and in the silence they will come.
Scientists estimate that the probability of YOU being born as you are at the time you were born are 1 in 400 trillion.
Dr. Ali Binazir. M.D., M. Phil. used this example to demonstrate the odds of this highly unlikely event to occur. “Imagine there was one life preserver thrown somewhere in some ocean and there is exactly one turtle in all of these oceans, swimming underwater somewhere. The probability that you came about and exist today is the same as that turtle sticking its head out of the water – in the middle of that life preserver. On one try.
The odds of you being alive are basically zero!”
If you are wondering why you are here. If you haven’t found your passion. If you struggle thinking about your talents, ask your friends or family to help provide insight.
If you have asked yourself, what is it that I have to share that hasn’t already been done.
Remember this, you are uniquely you.
Whatever your passion, no one will deliver your message the way you will. Why, because it’s yours.
I have been speaking, and giving workshops since 2010. I have been blogging since 2015.
There has been times before, and after my decision to speak, and even throughout these last nine years that I have questioned my ability, my reason, my why.
On one of those occasions where I was second guessing on whether or not I should continue, I met an old acquaintance of mine who I hadn’t seen or talked to in years.
I asked how she was doing. She shared she had lost her job, had gone through severe
depression, become addicted to alcohol, and had gone through rehab. She said, I want to thank you. Your posts have helped me through some really hard times.
Everyone has a gift, and there is someone out there who is waiting for you to share yours. Someone who’s life will be inspired, moved or transformed by your story because you are 1 in 400 trillion
1 1/2 min. read
Practice Being Proud of Who You Are.
Being a perfectionist is hard work. I rarely let myself be seen by the public not working or achieving.
As a perfectionist, I have to put “a day off” in my calendar, and when I do there have been many times I never honored that entry.
To a perfectionist, it’s a job not to be one. It means one more thing on my to do list!
Today I am dropping the wall. Today, I am letting you know I am not perfect, and I do make mistakes.
I am letting you see, I am doing the best I can.
There are many days I am in the kitchen
Preparing food that supports my body. But there are some days it pains me to say, I am toast!
I am tired of trying to be perfect.
But I wouldn’t want you to see that “I failed” at being perfect.
Growing up, and well into my 40’s, I couldn’t remember a time, “I can’t make a mistake” was not my mantra.
Although, it’s not as bad as it once was, I am still aware of its existence…
-I am still “finishing” my book
-There are days I would prefer laying in bed scrolling through Facebook then get up, and potentially make a mistake.
-This blog has taken me two hours to write.
-Trying to be perfect has prevented me from being silly and having fun.
But I keep chipping away at the wall of perfectionism. I am letting you see me be silly, and I am admitting it took me two hours to write this blog but it used to take me fours hours to write a 1 1/2 minute read, and I am also letting you see days where “I feel I am making a mistake by eating my emotions.”
I am not perfect!
I am doing the best I can.
And it’s ok!