The Rhythm of Life

In yoga, movements are measured by breath. Breathe in as you raise your arms, breathe out as you fold forward. Yoga is not about bending your body into a pretzel so you can impress someone. Yoga is feeling the flow and the rhythm of life. It brings rhythm to your thoughts, emotions, and body. The tide flows in and the tide flows out. The sun rises then sets. This rhythm changes the perspective of life if you let it.

This flow of life contrasts starkly against the rush of life around me. Yesterday, I watched a young motorcyclist weave in and out of traffic on a busy highway going at least 85 mph. No helmet. No protective gear. Just his ball cap shoved on backwards, young and careless. I’m sounding old now, but from my perspective, life is short enough. As I waited for my traffic light to turn green earlier today, the traffic rushed by me. I wanted to get out of everyone’s way and hole up in my home. I used to shop late at night. Groceries are so much easier to buy when no one else is around. Late at night life is quiet and life slows down. Here’s a couple of verses from a favorite song,

And when my mind is free
You know your melody can move me
And when I’m feelin’ blue
The guitars come through to soothe me

Thanks for the joy you’ve given me
I want you to know that I believe in your song
And rhythm, and rhyme, and harmony
You helped me along, you’re makin’ me strong – lyrics “Drift Away” Uncle Kracker

I think we sometimes miss the point of why we do things. For example, I write for the pleasure as I’ve before stated. I love the sound of words and the process of stating something clearly. It’s a thrill to say it just the way you mean it. It’s the process. Writing fiction is daunting, but the pleasure of watching your characters come to life is worth the push through. Inch by inch and row by row.

It’s not always the fastest who wins the race, or the strongest who wins the war, so slow down.

 

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In This Light

Before you repaint your living room, my advice is to always get a big enough sample to try out on the real wall at home. When I was redecorating my home, I picked out many different colors and had difficulty deciding. And some of the colors I’d picked, thinking they would be just right, weren’t just right. In the light of my home they all grayed out. I have a lot of Oak and Elm trees outside my window filtering the light, leaving my place with a bit of a dark look. I like it because for me it’s relaxing, but for picking out colors it’s tedious. I finally chose a Cornbread Yellow and yes, it seems incredibly bright in the store, but not on my walls. It’s sunny. Cheerful.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
People, including myself, say often, “I would never do that” or “It won’t happen to me.” *cough* Like picking out a swatch of paint to repaint their place, they are looking from their own perspective and critiquing. And somehow if they do get in a similar circumstance they start justifying their actions. Well, I had to divorce, punch them in the face, have an affair or run the red light, and in their current situation they’re probably right. They didn’t intend to hurt anyone. It just happened. Their perspective and lighting changed.

“When a problem is disturbing you, don’t ask, “What should I do about it?” Ask, “What part of me is being disturbed by this?”
― Michael SingerThe Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

Walk a mile in my shoes.
In my city there’s a rapist and he’s already molested six women. This shit scares me. Friday night I started researching security measures and decided I wasn’t up for my usual jogging bit. I thought I’d wait until I get some personal protection and maybe run in a more public place. Precautions. Sensible and methodical. Or so it seemed. I sat on my couch Friday night in a total panic, feeling waves of terror go through me. In the daylight, when morning came, I rethought some of my decisions. I’m overreacting and being completely silly or so I thought in the light of day. At this moment, as I’m typing this, I know that both of these are right. I’m both terrified and calm. And I want the security system which I used to bash and think was silly. I need it because part of me is afraid.
If you’re struggling with an emotion or a decision, try looking from someone else’s perspective. It won’t change how you feel immediately but it can help you understand why you are feeling what you feel. Then just feel it.

Recommended Read: The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer

Teach Your Children Well

Do you remember the Miracle-Gro® commercial where the gardeners compared tomato plants? One used Miracle-Gro® soil and the other used ordinary dirt? Our children are like that. By chance, if a kid is lucky he might grow up fine without parental intervention, but give a child what he needs and he can thrive. Guidance and opportunity.

There’s been a controversy for years between genetics versus environment. But in my opinion, you can take any child and put them in a healthy environment and it won’t make him Einstein. You can take an Einstein and put him anywhere and he will probably still be a genius. But most of us are somewhere in between. A smart kid without guidance can only go so far. Give her education, nutrition, and opportunity and she might be sitting alongside a few Einsteins herself.

The cure or the story? – Seth Godin

The plumber, the roofer and the electrician sell us a cure. They come to our house, fix the problem, and leave.

The consultant, the doctor (often) and the politician sell us the narrative. They don’t always change things, but they give us a story, a way to think about what’s happening. Often, that story helps us fix our problems on our own.

The best parents, of course, are in the story business. Teachers and bosses, too.

We need to encourage our girls to be smart, to be curious, to be strong, to change things, to ask questions and worry less about beauty and size 0 bodies.

Here’s a start:

Top Mighty Girl Books

 

You Can’t Bottle Beauty So Live Now

 

Beauty 6
Beauty 6 (Photo credit: Leah Makin Photography)

Why is it when I see beauty I think I need to own it? And when I think of owning something I become distressed because I can’t afford the object of beauty. So my faulty reasoning kicks in and tells me if I can’t own the beautiful object then I can’t enjoy the beauty. Not true.

I can still enjoy the beauty and the warm glow inside of me from seeing the beauty. Touching it. Smelling it. No one owns the sky and the clouds, but yet on a warm sunny day I feel the pleasure of the birds flying and the soft clouds floating.

Beauty can’t be contained. You can’t bottle it up and store some for later. It’s that moment. Only exactly that moment. Trying to describe the beautiful ruggedness of the Rocky Mountains and how the air is crisp in the morning when you climb the trails, is like trying to explain a joke. The punchline loses it’s punch. If I see something that I think is beautiful I have to stop at that moment and appreciate it. Someone beside me may see beauty also but I can’t explain the awe to them. Not with a thousand pictures. Take fewer pictures and live more moments.

When you call me close

to tell me

your body is not beautiful

I want to summon

the eyes and hidden mouths

of stone and light and water

to testify against you.- Leonard Cohen

 

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What’s Your Trigger Say About Your Beliefs?

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While driving home today I noticed two different people. A jogger waiting at the stoplight, ponytail swinging, matching shoes and outfit, then further along the way was a teen in dropped khaki pants, well, not fully dropped. No boxers were showing at least. Both of these styles can trigger either interest or anger. I’ve seen people go on full tirades about both styles. We all have our triggers and what really fascinates me is how obvious they seem to me. I wonder if everyone notices them. A coworker mentioned her young son’s crazy habit of making up words. It bothers her. It frustrates her. Why? They aren’t real words. So she corrects him. That bothers me because I know that he’s developing language skills. But I didn’t say anything because I’m practicing on being quiet and minding my own business. Here are some examples of things that set people off:

  • baggy pants
  • trash on the floor
  • interrupting a conversation
  • cutting in traffic
  • an unmade bed
  • white shoes after labor day
  • pantyhose and open toed shoes
  • watching TV all day
  • shyness 

Our inner rules guide us from birth to death on how we should dress and how we should act. If it’s something we’ve worked hard to master or it has value attached, it can trigger strong emotions. Most interesting is what our triggers say about our values. Take a look at behaviors that most consider good behaviors for example:

  • combing your hair
  • tucking in your shirt
  • washing your car
  • eating all of your food
  • reading a book
  • travelling the world
  • speaking a foreign language
  • outgoing

To the uniformed, those that do the first are bad people. Or in the least, they are considered sloppy, lazy, and worthless. The last group would be considered neat, tidy, and productive. Which ones trigger anger or pleasure in you? What value or belief is it reminding you of? I’m trying to be slower to judge and less quick to correct. For all I know the kid with the dragging pants is an excellent student with a scholarship to MIT and is just trying to fit in with the crowd.

Maybe it’s none of my business.

 

 

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Getting the Agoraphobia Out In the Open

I have a touch of agoraphobia. I think. I’m not sure if that’s what it would be called exactly, but I don’t like leaving home. I also don’t like being without my car. Home and car are security blankets. My vehicles of protection. Shelter. It’s a strange feeling. I don’t like crowds of people like carnivals and malls, but I see that as being different from my agoraphobia. Away from home feels unsafe. I’m not relaxed. Everything revolves around getting finished with whatever it is that’s keeping me away from my safe place and when I’m finished I can collapse in relief. I’m home. I’m not sure what causes this feeling.

I’m not scared when I’m away. I’m just uncomfortable. To me it’s like having shoes that are too tight. I walk just fine, but it would feel so much better without them on. Or it’s like going outside a sunny day. The glare of the sun in your eyes makes everything you do a bit more difficult. That’s the best way I can describe it. I can function and most would never know that I have an issue, unless I tell them. I really like being at home.

The definition of agoraphobia is a fear of being outside or otherwise being in a situation from which one either cannot escape or from which escaping would be difficult or humiliating.  – Medicinenet.com

This is funny but true:

Physical symptoms are rare because most people with agoraphobia avoid situations that they believe will trigger panic. – MedicalNewsToday.com 

This isn’t a topic I think about much, except it seems to be creeping in just a bit more all the time. When I was younger I had a lot of responsibilities. People to care for and obligations to keep. Now, it’s only me. I can do most of my shopping online. I pay my bills and compare prices online. The day I can work from home, I may be in trouble. This is one reason I like running. It gets me outside in the sunshine and fresh air.

I wonder if my neighbors think I’m a psychopath. I’ve lived here for over 5 years and still don’t know anyone’s name. We’ve talked. They’ve helped me dig my car out of the snow. I even almost proposed to one guy. I felt so grateful for his helping me get unstuck. I wonder what he’d have thought about that.

Just a note to all of my friends: As I get older, you may have to intervene. I don’t ask for much, but if you buy me a ticket to a Thirty Seconds To Mars concert, I will leave my house. Even in the ice and snow. Right Nicole and David?

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You Embarrass Me

I drew a monster. Such a cute monster. He looked like a puff ball with legs. His sleeves and leggings didn’t match. He was hiding his eyes too. His name is You Embarrass Me and he thinks I talk too much and help too much. He tells me I need to shut up. According to The Fluent Self, our monsters are really there to help us. They help us protect ourselves so we don’t get hurt. They curb our excesses. This morning I noticed You Embarrass Me. What does he want? I’m sorry little guy. I didn’t mean to embarrass you or to put you out front like that.

Why was I am embarrassed? I angered someone. I said the wrong thing. And it bothered me. Sometimes people push my buttons. Sometimes they rub my fur the wrong way. It’s going to happen and it’s not predictable. Sometimes I get over involved. I try to set things right, fix the problem and I make the situation worse. If I take a step back, everything calms down. I don’t have to change others, either their opinions or their lives. When I feel the unable to set things right, when I think someone sees my stumbling, my imperfections, I want to hide. Dig a hole and crawl into it. The urge to hide in shame because I goofed up once again, or I said something callous is so strong that I know You Embarrass Me is close at hand. At that moment, I know it’s time to stop. Sit down.

This was helpful for me, Seven Ways to Push Through Embarrassment.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Companionable

mskittyshoulder

My cat chose me. I hear they often do. We think we’re the ones to choose our companions but mostly they choose us. I’m thankful daily for her and her love. I’m thankful for all of my friends, even my non-furry ones.

Ms Kitty was the last one of her family and I swear she still has separation anxiety. Here on my shoulder or anywhere touching me is her preference. If I leave a room she follows. Maybe she’s afraid I’ll leave her. Maybe it’s just a cat thing.

I have my favorite cat, who is my paperweight, on my desk while I am writing. – Ray Bradbury

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/cat.html#hGp8FrVWqsDIA3Q1.99

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/06/28/weekly-photo-challenge-companionable/

Running a day in my shoes

I went running yesterday. It looks so easy when you see someone else doing it. Let’s just say I thought I was dying there for several minutes. I was only active for 30 minutes but the after-effects were felt for a couple of hours. It’s crazy because running, like other activities, seems so harmless and painless, until you’re running in your own shoes.

Reality check. I can give advice. Dish it out cold and with a full set of instructions. Because I know. Like saving money. At the end of the month I have big plans. I’m NOT going to spend money so freely the next month. I’m going to budget and put more into savings! That’s right about the time I get the clever idea that I will wash my car and my kitchen will stay clean. Yep, I have grandiose plans.

While I was going up the hill, I kept thinking, this is what it’s like when reality hits the road. It’s a good thing. It helps me to filter through my whims. I can decide what it is that I really want, not just the fun ideas from Pinterest or the things the commercials tell me I want. Reality checks help me see through the romanticized life.

A perfect marriage is one of those things. I knew of a couple which from all appearances were wonderful together. Both entrepreneurs and similar lifestyles. They traveled worldwide together. It all seemed so beautifully romantic and perfect. But it wasn’t  They are now going their separate ways. If you are working on a marriage and both parties are cooperative you can come to a workable solution. You live and alter your expectations continually until you have a realistic livable life.

Life feels different when you’re stepping out to do your version. No matter how many books and videos you’ve seen it never feels like you think it should. You may know how you want it to look. As you walk out your front door, when you are out there alone, you can feel naked and vulnerable. It seems everyone is looking at you and judging you. All of your doubts are exposed and your ineptness is showing. But it’s not. Truly other people rarely notice your flaws in the way that you do. Mostly we rarely notice anyone but ourselves. When we do see them, we see them as “that other person” and we get back to our own life. 

There’s a reality check in actually doing an activity. So as I was walking up the hill struggling to get my breath, cars passed and kept on driving. I continued on in my introspective way, knowing what it feels like to begin running. To begin a process and work it through. No one was critiquing my stance or pace. I was simply someone walking up a steep hill. I do enjoy the running, just not the wheezing and the hills. I will look for some alternate running places and maybe invest in some better shoes. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=reality%20check

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Your Drama is Spinning

Drama is fun. If you’ve ever been in the middle of a big, chaotic ball of drama you know what I mean. The person at the center of the drama gets tons of attention. The people surrounding her act as her courtiers, fanning, patting and all the little comforts necessary. We all have times that this is necessary, but there are those that create it. Maybe it’s not intentional, but they created it nonetheless.

Have you ever noticed the lull after the big holiday season? Or maybe after the sports season? It’s difficult to know what to do. No rush. No big fire to put out. It’s been said that the hardest times are during the holidays. That’s true if a loved one is no longer with you. For the rest of the population, the highest suicide rates are after the holidays. In January.

Why is that? Why is the let down after the chaos so difficult to cope with? You’ve just made it through all the rush and energy zapping events and now there’s a feeling of disappointment. We’ve used up all of our energy and there’s no outside event demanding our attention. We were probably running on pure adrenaline for days already then we stop. You would think you would be relieved, but no our mind is using its balancing methods to support the previous vigor.  It’s been called Dynamic Equilibrium. The body needs stability and our entire system tries to keep up the same weight, the same speed.

This is what It was like before I made boundaries. Here are some things that help me cope. These are some tools to let life flow more moderately.

Your voice. Saying no or speaking up is difficult, but it’s a necessary tool in many situations. There are things to consider before speaking. Would it serve me better to leave the situation, or to let someone know that something is wrong? Such as Thelma, your best friend, talks nonstop and rarely filters when she’s talking. Part of the reason you love her so much is her outgoing personality. There are days that her talking gives you a headache. So the two of you have planned to travel to the beach this weekend. You’ll be in the car for several hours. What should you do? Tell her to limit her talking or just don’t go? Tough call.

Your mobility.  Walk away. Distance yourself from the chaos. Sometimes you don’t have control of the environment around you. Once I was out with a guy friend. We were going to cook so I didn’t eat before I went. I was hungry and looking forward to some time together. He wanted to stop over and check on an older friend of his. The older man’s health wasn’t great. I was thinking 30 minutes and we’ll be out of there. No, not 30. 45 minutes were creeping into an hour. I felt bored, hungry and impatient. And feeling sick from not eating. But I sat there. Didn’t say anything. It was close to 2 hours before we left and I was angry. Afterwards, I knew how I should have handled it. I should have politely told him that I was going to run an errand, stopped and ate a taco or burger and came back later. I would have been happy and taken care of myself. Yes, it was rude of him to visit with these people for so long when we had earlier plans, but I can’t control other people. What I do have is the ability to get my keys and take care of myself.

Your environment. Surround yourself with your stuff. What makes you happy? Hot tea at noon? Snacks? Can you listen to music? Make your personal space like your home. Claim your space as much as you can. Pick out your major purchases for your own convenience. Dependability is very important to me. I like a car that can respond quickly. So I bought something with a certified warranty. It cost a bit more but for my peace of mind, it was worth it. I extended the loan period to cover the monthly fee which goes against all of the advice I’ve ever received, but the alternative was to get a car that I wouldn’t trust. Worry is my flaw. Being single in a large city, means I have a little backup. No spouse to call to take me to work or repair my vehicle on the weekend. So AAA is my back up. I’ve arranged my life to fit my needs.