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Archive for the ‘Finding Your Center’ Category

Blog

I have been blogging a ‘Word of the Week’ for some time.  There are days when the effort is very satisfying, if not bordering on being down right enjoyable.   My writing has tightened up and the discipline of getting something out every Monday morning is good for me.

Recently I have been made aware that not everyone receives my blog on a regular basis.  I write it and trust the delivery system to get it to you.  I confess to being unhappy about that and bewildered by the mechanisms that enable me to share the ‘Word of the Week’ with you.

Changes are coming in the not too distant future which will, to as great a degree as is possible in an imperfect world, get this blog to everyone on a consistent basis.

My profound thanks for your patience, feedback and great support!

Summer

Thursday marks the beginning of summer.  The Solstice occurs at 10:04 PDT.  In a world gone techno it  receives  little attention.

The Ancients of many Cultures went to great lengths to record the changing seasons.    Sacred and celebratory rituals surrounding these events were common.  We  do celebrate these events; summer BBQ’s and winter New Year celebrations are two modern examples.

Yet, humans are increasingly unaware of their relevance to our physical and spiritual existence.  The Sun, the Moon, and the witness of the Stars continue their influence.

I invite you to take a moment (or two) Thursday to acknowledge the wonder of the Universe.

Renewal

My Mother said I was always a ‘high energy’ person.    At the time her comment really surprised me.  It also gave me a valuable insight into myself.

Recently I had one of those days.  I awoke at 1:30 am and did not go back to sleep.  My first client was by phone at 5:00 am.  A few chores, then off to my office by 8:30.  I finished my last consult at 7: 20 pm.  I was really tired; stupid tired.  The half hour drive home was a foggy one and it wasn’t because of the weather.

At home, I was too tired to eat, too tired to talk, too tired to think.  Sleep mercifully embraced me around 9:30 that evening.

Awaking to a new day, I was still a little tired and I had several hours of work ahead of me.  I plunged in at 7:30,  finished by 1:30.   Then turned my attention to renewal.  One of the most difficult and challenging lessons of my life has been to refresh, replenish, renew.

I rested and meditated for an hour.  Big return for small investment; one I was never willing to make because I always believed I didn’t have time.  I learned  to sit still.  A tremendous act of discipline that has paid rich dividends.

Work-mode switched off,  I went into my garden, not to work but to enjoy.  Then into the kitchen (one of my favorite meditation places) prepping for BBQ dinner with focused ease.  By 3:00 my energetic tank was full.

I am so grateful to have learned the lesson of renewal.

Sacrifice

Beyond the BBQ’s, social gatherings and other community events occurring on Memorial Day is  honoring sacrifice.  Honoring  those throughout our Nation’s history who have paid the ultimate price and given their lives in service to us and their country.

I feel it is also important to acknowledge the sacrifice of the uncountable number of families who have given their all in support of their loved ones.

On this special day, regardless of your feelings about war, I invite you to take a few minutes to acknowledge and honor all those who have made this most precious sacrifice.

Fortitude

The word this week was suggested by a loyal follower of this Blog and it really resonated with me.

I don’t hear the word often and not clear about its meaning, I consulted my 1950 unabridged Webster as well as my Merriam-Webster (New Edition).  The definition of fortitude in my handy Merriam-Webster is, “strength of mind that enables one to meet danger or bear pain or adversity with courage.” A good, solid definition.

The meaning of fortitude in the unabridged Webster is very similar but expands by adding, “…to encounter danger with coolness and courage or to bear pain or adversity without murmuring or depression or despondency, patient courage”.  This further definition certainly reflects the zeitgeist of the 1950s.  And perhaps accounts for why it is not often used in contemporary vocabulary.  Has fortitude  been replaced by pharmaceuticals and therapeutic processes?  Perhaps.

The root of the word fortitude is from the Latin fortis, which means ‘strong’, ‘powerful’.  Knowing the origin of a word deepens meaning.   To be courageous in the face of adversity requires strength.  To overcome adversity is empowering.

 

 

 

Optimism

The very word triggers awareness of its opposite.  Optimism and pessimism.  Two vastly different ways of viewing the world; two vastly different ways of experiencing life.

Optimists expect the best possible outcomes, Pessimists the worst.  Both  are active voices  in our internal dialogue.  The dominant voice, the one we entertain at length, has a very powerful influence on our overall well-being.

The classic glass half full, glass half empty analogy demonstrates this well.  Glass half full is a thankfully sufficient attitude.  A glass half empty is a woefully insufficient attitude.

In The Original Angel Cards Book, Kathy Tyler & Joy Drake state that “Optimism is an expression of faith in action.”

Cultivating an attitude of optimism is striving to keep positive;  putting our focus on what we have and not on what we don’t have.

 

 

Courage

Courage is the ability to conquer fear; to confront danger, despair, pain and uncertainty.

Physical courage is required when facing the above, and, for most of us, death or the threat of death.  Moral courage is ‘acting rightly’, especially in the face of opposition, popular opinion and/or peer pressure.

Ernest Hemingway defined courage as “grace under pressure’.  Maya Angelou said, “Courage is the most important of the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.  You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion and the Tin Man muster their courage, individually and collectively, to overcome their predicaments and follow the Yellow Brick Road.  Arriving at Oz they discover the splendid truth; that courage resides within each of them.

Daily living requires courage.  At times, just the act of getting out of bed and facing the day is valorous.  Overcoming trauma, difficult childhood, striving to become independent and authentic all demand courage.

This week I invite you to reflect on your personal courage.  Own the integrity, dignity and resilience that naturally arise from the practice of this essential virtue.

 

Fear

Fear: an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by expectation or awareness of danger”  Merriam-Webster (2004).

Body sensations of fear serve to warn us away from physical danger.  So to, the emotional sensations of fear; and we often experience them simultaneously.

It is the ‘expectation’ of fear that is my focus this week.    All of us entertain the big fears: health; money; food; shelter; work; relationship and death.  We also spend valuable time and energy worrying about little fears:  how we look; being accepted; doing well at everything; saying the perfect words; and being judged.

In Smile at Fear, Chogyam Trungpa says, “Fear is nervousness; fear is anxiety; fear is a sense of inadequacy, a feeling that we may not be able to deal with the challenges of everyday life at all.”   He invites us to study our fear. Where is it coming from?  How is it manifesting?  To become fearless we must understand our fear.

Spirituality & Health/May-June 2011 published ‘Five Insights For Fearless Living’ by Jeff Golliher from his work, Moving Through Fear: Cultivating the 7 Spiritual Instincts for a Fearless Life  (March 2011).

One: Don’t empower fear;  Two:  Challenge and move through our deepest fear to find freedom;  Three:  Cultivate and strengthen our spirit;  Four: Mastering one fear will loosen the power of all the others;  Five: “Two questions – ‘How can we move through our fear?’ and ‘How can we become who we are meant to be?’ – are, for all practical purposes, one and the same.”

Fear, like other emotions, comes and goes as it pleases.  Overcoming fear is work; a process, not an event.  Becoming fearless is an exceedingly worthwhile practice.

 

Worry

We all worry.  Relationships,  money,  health,  the future, the past, all are great fodder for worry.

The minutia of daily living piles  more fodder into the trough of worry.  How we look, are we on time, did we say the right or the wrong thing?   Should, could, must, have-to, what if, maybe and fear run amok in our minds. 

Chronic worry is unhealthy.  Recent research at Purdue and Harvard Universities as well as study results published in the British Medical Journal, all point out the mild to serious effects worry has on our health.

Don’t worry, be mindful.  Stay present.  Not easily done, but well worth the effort as peace of mind and better health are tangible rewards.  Become pro-active!  Visualize a Guardian at the door of your mind marked WORRY.  The perfect Sentry, vigilant and tireless at denying worry entranceChange the ‘should’, ‘must’ and ‘have to’ words into choice words–I ‘want to’,  I ‘will’, I ‘choose to’.  Choice words are empowering.

Life is full of randomness and uncertainty.  Stop worry from robbing you of enjoyment and vital energy.  Energy more profitably spent managing life’s vicissitudes.

 

 

 

 

Garden

I am a gardener.  As I mature my fancy turns from vegetables to flowers predominately.  For the past 8 years my well-shaded yard has been an intense task-master.   I am finally succeeding.

My diligent efforts to grow garden fresh tomatoes, lush strawberries and spicy jalapeno have given way to weekly trips to the local Farmer’s Market.  Too many trees make for too small yields.

Many of my favorite flowers have also been shelved in favor of low light, little or no sun varieties.   Repeatedly visiting the low light section of the Western Garden Book and re-reading relative issues of Garden Gate magazine, coupled with trial and error plantings, and I am finally having some real success.

Part of that accomplishment is acceptance.  Accepting that my beloved Geraniums blossoms but a little.  Relishing the sparse blooming Hydrangea and Roses.  Accepting the garden on its terms and not  imposing my will.

Learning to listen to the garden and work in harmony with its nature is a  very productive meditation.