The Purpose of Life is to Grow

The Purpose of Life is to Grow

Once upon a time, there were kings who wore bold crowns and royal robes that draped their bodies, dragging behind them as they walked the halls of their castles. You knew them by their clothing. They commanded armies of men, hundreds or thousand strong, ready to go war, freely spilling their blood. Uniforms carefully delineated with certain colors and styles. Everyone in their place.  Genghis Khan anyone?

Crowns, Hats, & Applause

We still have crowns, hats, and applause to show us where we stand in the line of royalty. Just look around and it’s usually not too difficult to tell. The difference now is you now decide if you care enough to listen. There’s a falseness to most applause. The cheer is meant to herd you in the direction that pleases someone else. It doesn’t take me to the top of the mountain that I’m trying to climb. So boo or cheer all you want. I’m not a rebel in black or cute little girl in pink either. Check out I’m Not Good. Just a person with a vision.

Life is a series of false horizons

“But Life in general is just a series of false horizons and you never really feel like you got it all under control…. specially when you’re in an uncertain entrepreneurial career…. you really just don’t know what’s next….”Ed Helms – Off Camera

Here are a couple of things I found interesting from a recent podcast, The Keys To Exponential Personal and Professional Growth with Salim Ismail:

  • The purpose of life is to grow
  • Life at its core level is just a process

Are you feeling lost in your life?  Remember your purpose. Even if it’s just a small step, start going in that direction again. I once heard a writer say, he didn’t mind if he hadn’t made it to the big times yet, as long as each choice he made brought him in closer to his goal.

Keep looking up and have a great week everyone!

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Wait..Don’t Stop Trying

unwindingDo you meditate and think, I’m just not really good at this? Your mind drifts off and you think about the movie you’d really like to be watching. Might as well be sitting on the couch watching television. Right? Not quite. I was listening to a podcast earlier which isn’t quite related, but did make me think of this, and yes, I’ll explain.

Saints and Prophets

We love our gurus. Pedestals and high statues. India is well known for putting their spiritualists at quite an exalted status. But there are those in other parts of the world that do the same. I’ve heard many in my culture talk about how wonderful Mrs. Smith or Brown is. She never says a bad word about anyone. She goes to church every week and prays an hour a day. Blah, blah, blah. This is usually followed with a self-depreciating, I’m just not that good of a person. If you come to that conclusion, you’ve missed the point.

Games

Most of us grow up living life as if it’s a game. Level up. Goals to beat. Lives to live. School, job, marriage, children, etc. Somewhere in there, we throw in vacations as bonus runs, just for fun, and we call it a good game. If we think we need extra life points, we go to a doctor, a priest, or even a yoga studio. Some of us have gotten into meditation thinking we can add even more health points. There’s some talk that it can give you some super powers, or have you heard? Yeah, be careful with that one.

We aren’t going anywhere

The point is, we in the western philosophy are goal seekers. We want a prize. We get a trainer to get the abs, so we can get the girl, or am I wrong? Let’s get this straight. I meditate to remember myself. Me. To clear away the clutter of everyone else. I can do this by journaling if I wish. I could go for a long walk in the park instead. Anything away from structure and demands. Drawing, painting, sailing, biking, tanning. So if today my mind wanders a bit, it’s okay. In it’s wandering, it allows me the freedom to release and let go. I relax. Then, I return to myself once again, and slip out of the coils that the choke hold of daily life had held me in. And it feels so good to be me again.

The book, Death on Diamond Mountain, is just a glimpse into one of those moments when things go wrong. Take a glimpse. If you’re a Plus member of Mysterious Universe or you want to be they give you an interview with the author. Quite a trip, but it’s not about the meditation that I’m talking about. Peace be with you and Namaste. 

I’m Pressing Restart

Over the last few years I’ve discarded obligations and reorganized my life. A lot of these things happen because of age. It’s natural. Just like a snake sheds his skin or a tree loses its leaves, people change their habits. It doesn’t mean we’re fickle. We grow. We change. If I can’t do something anymore, I know that it’s time to let someone else do it. Mostly though, I’ve made a conscious decision to change my focus in this part of my life. In the past, I’ve been helpful. I’ve been nice. And somewhere deep inside of me it seems as if I’ve tried to make up for some unknown mistake or atrocity, which I can’t remember committing from my past. It’s as if I’m afraid of being selfish even. Whatever it is, real or imagined, it doesn’t matter, I’m moving on. Nice is too flimsy.

Are you feeling stuck? If you’ve found yourself in the middle of the road, and feel you’re not going anywhere, maybe it’s time to reevaluate what you wanted when you started walking. It’s possible you started strong, then lost your focus. Stop whatever you are doing and ask yourself, am I doing this because I want to do it? Or because I feel an obligation? If you want to do it, then keep on going. If you feel you should do it, it might be time to let someone else take over. Worthy causes need someone who can give to them passionately. That’s hard to do when you are not enjoying yourself.

What makes your heart sing? You’re going to make mistakes. You will look silly. People may even wonder if you’ve lost your mind, but that’s alright. You’re about to have some fun. I’m asking myself these same questions now.

For all of you who have matured and feel comfortable in your life…don’t get too comfy. Life is full of surprises and you never know what’s around the bend. If you want to keep your mind and heart healthy you need to think young. It could time for you to learn a new hobby or take up a new challenge. We want to stay unstuck throughout our lives. Stay nimble.

I want to start with some simple ground rules that apply to all of us;

  1. It’s time to get quiet and clear your head.
  2. Get an idea. Whatever brings you delight.
  3. Do what you value. If your heart isn’t in the work, you will have difficulty completing the task.
  4. Take one step towards that idea.
  5. Take the next step.
  6. At first don’t ask anyone’s opinion.
  7. If anyone wishes to give you advice tell them you will consider what they said and
  8. Just keep walking
  9. If no one supports you, support yourself
  10. Express yourself in some way, whether it’s with a sticker on your car or the shoes you wear.
  11. Read inspirational stories. They come in many forms; books, magazines and blogs. Feed yourself inspiration.
  12. If you’re feeling stuck, do one thing differently.

A book I just read: Success Through Stillness by Russell Simmons

 

I’m Not Abused, Really

I’m Not Abused, Really

Abuse is about being broken. It’s about seeing things askew. It’s like trying to put on your morning makeup while using a mirror from the fun house carnival. You just never get it right.

I just picked a bad time to ask….I should have waited.

If I’d been more polite to the officer, this wouldn’t have happened. (This is exactly what abuse feels like. Watch below how hopeless it is.)

Truth: No one deserves mistreatment. Ever.

Truthfully, once we see that the dress is really blue, it’s seen as truth thereafter.

Once a woman realizes that it’s alright to say no and that it’s alright to speak her opinion, it’s accepted by society as truth.

There are certain words that should not be used in condescension again.

Bitch. Slut. Whore. These are only some of the minor words that many women hear. I’ve had them used against me by men who’ve wanted to put me in my place. Or take me down a notch. Every time I think about the times it happened, I want to throw things. I want to jump up and down and stir up dust. I get angry. They couldn’t hit me, so a word was used instead. It didn’t work, because I’m fortunate–I know who I am, but not all women do. I hope the next generation gets a better grip on this and doesn’t feel the need to inflict pain to get their way.

The Dress – Why is so hard to see Black and Blue? Article – www.independent.co.uk/

 

Never Gentle

What in your life is needing attention? I’ve given attention to many different places. Family, work, my house, etc. The one place that most of us forget to give attention to, except maybe the scraps at the end of the day, is ourselves.Yes, we give ourselves sleep. Sometimes. Even then we cut that close. Do we really need the full eight hours? Food. Well, I ate something. I think.

Stop for a moment. Those things that need attention, if they’re anything like my cat, their cries are only going to get louder. You might as well deal with them now. And take care of yourself, always.

In a paraphrase from poem of Dylan Thomas, Jason Silva from Shots of Awe, which I’ve included below, says, “I will not go quietly into that good night, but rage against the dying of the light.” Whatever you decide to do with your life, realize that only you live it. Then really LIVE it.

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieve it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. – Dylan Thomas

Lost, Forgotten, Ignored? Does anyone care?

lost toyNo one wants to feel like the lost toy. Forgotten. We hate to be misunderstood. It hurts.

I called my doctor’s office this week. My neck was in a muscle spasm and my head was hurting. I’d actually left home from work early on Monday. So I called them in desperation. Could they help? The nurse called me back promptly, stating she’d get with the doctor then let me know. I waited. Monday evening I checked my phone. Tuesday morning, I took my time getting ready for work, dreading going in since I was still in pain, but I was still thinking the doctor’s office might call any minute. I checked my phone around noon and there was still no call. I don’t like being ignored. I’m not easily forgotten. Wednesday came, then Thursday, and finally Friday morning, which was when I spoke with the nurse. After all the waiting, I wondered if my doctor really reviewed my chart when she only upped my dosage of the same medication I’d already been taking.

There are misunderstandings.

Sometimes we don’t hear the full sentence. We often aren’t fully listening to the person talking, we just think we are. We hear the words, but we hear them with our perceptions. I’ve talked about this before in other posts. For more on this read, Flavors and Perspectives. I do this so much it embarrasses me. Note to self: Practice mindfulness. Recently I had an epiphany. When I was growing up, girls were becoming more independent, going to college and getting jobs. It was the beginning of the age of the working girl.

I graduated from high school in the early 80’s without any of these big plans. I’d had odd jobs. I wasn’t lazy and I never refused work if it was offered. What I had lacked was transportation. I don’t want to be down on my parents because everyone has their faults, as well as their charms. My parents are the steady type. They are there for you when you’re in need. You need new tires or your air conditioner is broken, they are the people who will help. There was always food on the table and a bed to sleep in. But I knew where I stood all of my life when it came time asking for the extra things. And I knew what those extra items consisted of. I didn’t ask to attend extra curricular activities in school.  I didn’t do band or sports. I rode the bus home from school. I did my homework. I colored in the lines. No nonsense. No useless activities. Why? Have you ever been on a highway that has the bumps on the side for when you veered off the road? It’s like being pulled feet first down a flight of stairs. That’s what it felt like asking for more.

I didn’t realize until recently that I’d been guilty of not only misreading my parents’ values, but also of ignoring their values. Maybe I never saw them at all. At that time, they had disregarded my requests for a car. Ignored. Said No. However you wish to phrase it. When I asked to work, which I did temporarily, it was received with a lot of complaining on my parents part. Remember the bumps on the side of the road? The job lasted for a few months until I got tired of hearing the complaining. For years I’d thought of myself as lazy after high school. I should have went to college, I kept thinking. But how could I have went to college, since I didn’t have a car? I should have gotten a job. Small towns. No transportation. Guilt. Shame. Misunderstanding. The circle of life.

My brother had mentioned my parents’ different values to me a few years before and I had forgotten until recently. Dad is old-fashioned. Women don’t need educated. Men do. Men work. Women stay at home and raise children. There wasn’t a reason for me to go to college or have a car. I knew that I wasn’t lazy. I had just misunderstood. It’s just taken me a bit longer to get where I wanted to be. My generation, the edge of change, often misunderstood our parents. Just as they

often misunderstood us and our need for independence and leaving their ways behind.

Strange abandoned house

I was watching some new videos on YouTube and found an entire channel devoted to urban exploration with abandoned houses. I’ve included one of the most interesting ones below. It’s short and quaint. WWI era house and supposedly left undisturbed. Check it out for yourself.

Urban Explorers can be found under the YouTube channel Seeker Stories

Overeager

I’ve been over-anticipating. I live in Oklahoma, not Minnesota. We have winter. We have snow and ice. This year it feels that Winter has dug in its toes and hung on. Our Dogwood trees are budding. The Daylight saving time changes this weekend. And still we had more ice and snow last week. I’ve had the urge to clean it all up. I replaced my car windshield which was broken from the sand and rocks from the road debris. And now I’m itching to clean my car. I even picked up a load of household cleaning supplies, ready to do a whirlwind of spring cleaning.

overeager – excessively eager; “overeager in his pursuit of the girl”

eager – having or showing keen interest or intense desire or impatient expectancy; “eager to learn”; “eager to travel abroad”; “eager for success”; “eager helpers”; “an eager look” – http://www.thefreedictionary.com/overeager

 

It seems I’ve been a bit preemptive on several things. I’ve been waiting for my oldest son to get back to the states so I could call him. It’s too expensive at overseas rates. I had text him, thinking he had already returned, only to receive a text in the middle of the night saying he was still away. I will wait. I was also thinking my favorite show, Game of Thrones, was back on in March. Nope. It comes on in April. So, still I will wait.

And while I wait I will leave you with this,

The Darkness

The journey into the darkness has been long and cruel, and you have gone deep into it. – A Return to Love, Marian Williamson (also an excerpt from A Course in Miracles)

I’ll remember that Spring is coming.

 

One Foot in Front of the Other

janetkwest

English: Fog in Wayanad

No one looks at the middle. We see beginnings and we see endings, but it’s the stuff in the middle that really counts. Without the actual journey there would be no adventure. It’s the best part of the story. Yes, the warrior’s calling is exciting. The moment of realization, that mission to complete, gives you a burst of energy. And the promise of the happily ever after keeps us going. But we all know where the true tale is. The place in the middle. It reminds me of the classical poem, Ithaca.

When you start on your journey to Ithaca,
then pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
-K. P. Kavafis (C. P. Cavafy), translation by Rae Dalven

I have the bad habit of forgetting about the journey and just remembering the result that I want. Even thinking that I’ve messed up, when really I just need to…

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Live Today

English: Black Patent Leather Fetish Shoes 197...

I was reading in a recent More Magazine about how I can add this vest over an ordinary casual/evening dress and make into a work-appropriate dress. Ideas sprouted, budded, and bloomed in my head. How clever, almost, because I had a similar vest and a somewhat similar dress and there was absolutely no freakin’ way that the dress hanging on my door, waiting to be worn, was going out the doorway, on my body. At least not on Monday morning. The light was too bright and the office is the wrong place.

It’s funny how you can sell an idea in a magazine and it seems glossy, perfect, beautiful. It’s like selling an idea in a fancy restaurant. Or convincing someone of marriage. The ring is  beautiful. The diamond sparkles. The jeweler takes it out of the show case and the lights hit the cut stone at fracture the light. The girlfriend gasps and the crowd smiles. Yes, she’ll marry you. Who could say no to that? Until 2 years later? Or 1 year? It’s not that either of you have changed. She’s not a monster and neither are you. Both of you are just as beautiful as before.

If you want the dress, if you want the ring, put it in the right light is all I’m saying. I love a good romance and I can fall for them myself and I have. I’ve said too many times, With this car, I’ll keep it spotless. This time, I will vacuum it every weekend. It won’t go a year without waxing it. Right? We make promises. We dream. And we know it will be exactly like we picture. But it won’t.

Dis-contentment is the space between reality and fantasy. We are standing in our jeans and T-shirt with mud on our boots and hanging on our closet door, gathering the dust of neglect is the little black dress we swore we’d wear. There underneath are the shiny black patent leather heels. They are so pretty. You want to wear them, but when? It’s Monday morning and you’re off to work as a veterinary, helping another horse or cow give birth.

Where are you now? What you are doing, right at this very minute, is important. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Do it as if you were walking the red carpet. As if you were the president making a critical speech to the nation. Live today.

 

Expectations vs Reality

Expectations vs Reality

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “Maybe,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “Maybe,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “Maybe,” said the farmer.

Expectations are just that, expectations. They aren’t promises or guarantees. We assume we know how life will go. I have heard that women tend towards forecasting in relationships more so than men. We meet a man, and in our mind we’ve got our house picked out along with the names of the two adorable children we will have. When the relationship crashes, we wonder what went wrong. Maybe nothing went wrong. It could be that it wasn’t as perfect as we’d thought. It’s difficult to process the difference between our imaginary relationship or imaginary job versus the one that really exists. We need to be careful to pay attention to what really is happening around us, then we approach life face to face.  Where were you looking when the roof caved in? Did you notice the first drops of rain? Or the buckets on the floor to catch the dripping roof leak? Maybe you were were visualizing life in another town.

So what are we to do? I love to redecorate my house in my mind and our imagination has its purpose. How would we ever make any progress, whether scientific or mathematically? Visualization gives us our map of how it could be. We need to remember where we are right now.

Avoiding magical thinking

But while your intent is pure and your goal is to create magic, the most common mistake is to believe that the marketplace will agree with your good intent and support you. More specifically, that media intermediaries will clearly, loudly and accurately tell your story, that this story will be heard by an eager and interested public and that the public will take action (three strikes).

Or, more tempting, that ten people will tell ten people to the eighth power, leading to truly exponential growth (some day). Because right now, you’ve told ten people and they have told no one…

Only count on things that have happened before, a funnel you can buy and time you can afford to invest. Anything more than that is a nice bonus. – Seth’s blog