In the evolution of the self, it seems that the first thing to creating change begins in the NOTICING. Noticing when we react, noticing when we feel something different, noticing when our interactions become strained, etc….
As we come to a close in the first week of our exploration about REACTION versus CHOICE at The Beingness Project – it is wonderful to be reminded of how simple it can be. It all begins with Noticing! Then with a long deep slow breath we can recognize what is going on, stop it, and make an aware choice.
This is an empowering simple life changing action – Notice – Breathe – Choose – Journey with Us!
This week at The Beingness Project we have been digging into REACTION versus CHOOSING how we want to feel, engage, and BE in our life. It is so powerful to notice how often we react versus choosing how we want to be engaged in life.
I am graced with an incredible family, however, there are times that I catch myself falling flat on my face in pure intense REACTION mode! Ugh..! Once I step away, breathe, and reflect, I become aware of how I took the situation into places it did not need to go.
What wonderful opportunities to learn, grow and choose something different!!
It has been a long time since I let words flow upon this page, for I have been working hard to find the courage to create and share what comes from my heart and soul. I have been blessed with such a glorious life journey, full of immense diversity, incredible people, and grand life lessons. Today’s entry is to thank you for journeying with me, for supporting, encouraging and enhancing my world/life.
Today I come to the page in innocent nakedness, exploring the dream state of my night and courageously choosing to put forth that which gurgles up without critic or editor.
All my life I have experienced “strange dreaming”, when I ask others if they get this type of dream, they say NO with furrowed brow and questioning eyes. I receive word(s), verses, lyrics, poems or cut out figures in construction paper, all in simplistic static images with no movie reel. Some examples of these dreams are:
Song lyrics I don’t remember listening to.
Single words written in white chalk on a blackboard.
Repeating bible verses even though I have never read the bible.
Construction paper figures ripped into form that move simplistically across a white background.
Poems chanting on repeat until I wake.
I do not get these types of dreams often, however when I do, I pay attention.
In late December 2018 I was visited by a dream that has now revisited me two more times, so it must be important. It has become a mantra in my waking mind, impacting my daily thoughts and choices. I woke to the repetition of William Shakespeare’s famous soliloquy by Hamlet, “To be, or not to be, that is the question.” I cannot tell you how many years it has been since I was gifted to watch or read the play “Hamlet”, likely it was when my son who is now twenty was cast as King Claudius in elementary school.
In the speech Hamlet is exploring living or dying, choosing life or death. “To be, or not to be…” It is a very powerful speech – Shakespeare Soliloquy.
As I woke to the repeating lines, my groggy brain searched for why? I did feel it strike a chord in me as I looked to the approaching New Year. Every day, every moment is an opportunity “To be, or not to be.” For me it poked powerfully at my desires to BE true to my passions, dreams and purpose. To BE open to the grace and miracles of everyday. To BE present with myself and others. To BE a safe place for those seeking to BE authentic. Choosing to BE, a pure and simple state. A state void of judgment, comparison, questioning, criticism, expectation, perceived “wrong, right, good, bad…”. BEING…
I explored the speech intensely and intimately upon waking that early morning in December. I then placed it in my memory bank alongside all the other dreams that have played in my night stage. However, like a ghost, it has returned two nights in a row to haunt my sleep. The night before last it wove itself with the teaching to “TO BE” true to my dreams, to not give up, to keep stepping with faith. Last night it elected to be a different thread in the tapestry of “TO BE”, this time it spoke to me of love. The pure BEINGNESS of love, its constant presence and flow. As I wiped my tired eyes at 3:00am, my mind shot from Shakespeare’s soliloquy to a poem I had spontaneously written in December, (PDF 12-24-2018 Love as word…) exploring why we have attachments and expectations wrapped around love, for in truth love has NONE
I chuckle at the wisdom of unexpected messages. Grateful for their nudge and teachings. This repetitive “To Be” mantra connects powerfully with my present life, for I have been working on a project “The Beingness Project”, which you shall soon be privy. It is my hope that you will join me for the journey into “Being,” coming home to the simple truth that you have always been ENOUGH, that being HAPPY and CONTENT is a moment to moment choice and that LOVE is ever present.
Today I explore one of the most famous quotes by Thoreau, one that never fails to hit me with its validity and deep truth. I write this post during the rising Holiday buzz in the United States, a time in which I experience more stress, more worry, and more exhaustion from those around me; an intense chaotic rush and push. What always strikes my curiosity is the proportion of people who DO because they “HAVE TO”,which makes me ponder why we have chosen to create such intensity under the guise of “celebration and love”???
While I am not immune to enjoying presents, or the joy of watching other people receive gifts, I am more deeply touched by sharing time with others, by making sincere connection in the present moment. Like Thoreau, I grow more and more quiet as I come home to the pure joy, love, grace and gentle beingness which resides within. I experience immense pleasure in watching a sunrise, observing others in playful connection, witnessing the pure presence of a dog who is not burdened with yesterday or worried about tomorrow. I love taking a long deep slow breath to grind chaos down, to bring the moment into full view with soft openness. I did this the other day in a very busy large store. I watched everyone zoom here and there, standing in lines with their phones in hand, plopping things into their carts, all while maintaining an isolation that kept them from making eye contact with anyone else. In my bubble of quietness I felt the energy of those who passed me, as I inhaled and exhaled I wished all a quiet slowing down, a moment to be, an acceptance of the grace which always is…
We are taught to go after our goals, tackle the “to do” list, jump through the hoops of success defined by societal standards. We measure ourselves against our neighbor, colleagues, leaders and government. Judging not only others, but most cruelly ourselves. As I expand into the infinite peace, love, and joy which is ever present, I find myself more and more quiet, detaching from outside stuff, letting go of busy doing-ness, questioning with honesty “why” I am choosing to do something.
Today, I am going to leave you with the wisdom from Thoreau and Einstein, both of whom could see what was.
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.” ~ Thoreau
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” ~ Albert Einstein
“A stereotyped but unconscious despairs is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for that comes after work.” ~ Thoreau
“Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.” ~ Albert Einstein
“It is never too late to give up our prejudices. No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof. What everybody echoes or in silence passes by as true today may turn out to be falsehood to-morrow, mere smoke of opinion…” ~ Thoreau
“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” ~ Albert Einstein
(I wish to thank the person who gifted my river walk yesterday with these fun ornaments.)
“As we see ourselves, so we are…”The power we truly have to be happy, peaceful, loving, and so much more, begins with our own inner thoughts.Again, this is not a new concept or teaching, it goes back throughout time, shared in many different languages and cultures.
Here is Thoreau’s wisdom from over a hundred and seventy years ago (written in Walden) –
“It is hard to have a Southern overseer; it is worse to have a Northern one; but worst of all when you are the slave-driver of yourself.”
“Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion. What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate.”
I simply ask you, “Do you say things to yourself that you would never say to a friend?” I must ask you, why? To learn from what we consider to be mistakes is one thing, to torment and criticize the self on a daily basis is another.
As Thoreau points out, we are the ones to choose how we step forth. If you hate your job and have been unhappy for years, why would you not look for something else? If your relationship has been bitter and struggling for years, why would you not take action to create change. Are you waiting for the fairy godmother, a twist of fate,or someone else to make it better???
When I purview my life, the common denominator that is in every scene is ME. Thus, my life is a reflection of my choices and way of being with the world around me. I cannot blame another for what is. It does me no good to sit in the pit of victim. Nor does it serve to wait for the stars to align in hopes that all will change.
Three words I often hear and have begun to investigate are – Hope, But, and Should. They are crippling, limiting words, mere excuses to not change. “Hope” is a hollow word, it paralyzes unless there is action taken.“I hope my boss notices my hard work…, I hope that I meet someone who will love me…, I hope that someday I can….” It screams of something that might become, a mere whisper that limits full expression. “But” is an excuse and word used to stay stuck. “I would love to do that, but…. I would quit my job, but…” What are you afraid of, why tell yourself one thing, only to immediately contradict. “Should”, king of all words that keep us on a treadmill of mediocrity. “I should clean the house…, I should go to the party…, I should stay at this job…” Really? I agree with Tony Robbins, “Shoulding all over yourself,” serves no one, especially you. Would a flower say, “I hope I bloom today.., I should bloom today, but…” The words you say to yourself and others have impact. Notice how often you say hope, but, and should. Then become aware of how you use them, what do they say to you and others.
There is also the perspective of how you choose to feel, maybe you do not enjoy your work colleague, what would happen if you decided to always treat them with kindness and take nothing they say personal? Traffic is backed up, you grow agitated – how does that chosen feeling serve you? In all moments, you are at choice with HOW YOU FEEL. You are the one who decides to REACT. No one is making you feel anything.
Thoreau’s words reverberate – “What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate.” Self criticism and judgment only harm. You would never speak to a friend that way, say such things to your lover, child, or stranger on the street. Why do you use such verbose unkind words to the self? Looking in the mirror the dialogue rambles. Is it positive, loving comments? When something doesn’t work out the way you thought it should, what do you say to yourself?
In my life, I find that every day gives me opportunities to take things that happen negatively or I can look at how they might be happening to teach me something; gracing me with the awareness that I decide how I feel in any given moment.I look back to the day I was let go from my job two years ago, a mixture of emotions flooded my being. I knew I was at choice to let fear and self-criticism rule, or I could choose to see how it all might be helping me to step in the direction my heart and soul beckoned. In reflection it has been completely the latter. It helped me to break the cycle of working a dead end job, spurred me to find the courage to start my business and to take action daily towards doing what I love. In hindsight it has been one of the best things to happen to me. It spurred me to be here with you today, sharing my passion to write and connect with others.
Today I share with you an Invitation versus a pondering –
For the next week focus on sharing positive kind supportive things to yourself. If you are courageous enough, say positive things about yourself, to yourself in the mirror. Do it with sincerity and presence.
When you hear yourself saying negative “opinions” about yourself, STOP! Take a deep long slow breath and CHANGE the internal dialogue to something positive. Be patient, you have been berating yourself for years – you are working to build a new muscle.
If you are interested to learn more about how negative self-talk impacts your life check out some of these videos:
Is there anyone out there who can relate to the words written about life in 1845-1847 by Henry David Thoreau?
“Most men, even in this comparatively free country, through mere ignorance and mistake, are so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them.”
“He has no time to be anything but a machine.”
“…, trying to get into business and trying to get out of debt, a very ancient slough…”
“…; making yourselves sick, that you may lay up something against a sick day, something to be tucked away in an old chest, or in a stocking behind the plastering, or, more safely, in the brick bank; no matter where, no matter how much or how little.”
Today I watch and observe the same. People wake up sleep deprived to an alarm that insists they step back on the treadmill. They prepare themselves for a day at work, commuting idling behind stop light after stoplight. Hurry to work, spend more time there than with your family, commute back home to share what little energy and presence you have left. Hit repeat the next morning… Living for the weekends and days off.
Now this would not sadden me, if I saw happy people. If I experienced people excited to “go to work”, witnessing joy and passion. In the thirty seven years I have been working across the grand diversity of thirty different jobs, it has been my experience that happiness is not what greets me when I enter the door to my workplace. The negativity vibrates off the walls like a slap in the face. My colleagues count the hours until the day is done, they groan about the meetings and lament the shortcomings of those in charge.
Humans are not robots. We are fueled by emotions, desires, passions, and the ultimate wish to love and be loved; celebrating in the interconnectedness of friends, family, community.In our world presently not only do most people robotically go through their day, they sit behind a machine that is completely detached and void of fulfilling any of their internal needs.This rectangular box dictates the day’s progression. It has become a physical extension of our body and sadly how we stay connected to others versus sharing time in person.
Thoreau stated clearly, “He has no time to be anything but a machine.” I wonder what he would say now about all of us? Yikes! If he found himself shaking his head one hundred and seventy three years ago, I fear his whole being would go into shock today.
What might change if we started to show up differently? I might not enjoy my present employment, however, the day will be more fulfilling if I shift my attitude and become aware of how I can serve and be positively present with those around me. I do experience that positive behavior can be as contagious as negative.
Today’s Exploration –
Are you happy with your life?
Do you go through the motions of your day like a machine?
What “finer fruits” are you missing out on in your daily life, that you can choose to start noticing?
If you are not happy, what are some small steps today that you can choose to shift things?
What if every time you found yourself complaining, you caught yourself and changed it to a positive thought?
In closing, I wish to invite you to “try out” how just changing your mindset can hugely impact your experiences and thus your life. YOU choose how you feel, NO ONE makes you feel anything.
The first blog entry for “My Walden” came directly from the first page of Thoreau’s reflections, midway into his second paragraph in the first chapter “Economy”. This second post which I hope you will truly take the time to explore, comes from paragraph three and four, ahhh… the incredible teachings, that like history we perpetuate and hit repeat.
Thoreau’s words –
“I have travelled a good deal in Concord; and everywhere, in shops, and offices, and fields, the inhabitants have appeared to me to be doing penance in a thousand remarkable ways.”
“I see young men, my townsmen, whose misfortune it is to have inherited farms, houses, barns, cattle, and farming tools; for these are more easily acquired than got rid of. Better if they had been born in the open pasture and suckled by a wolf, that they might have seen with clearer eyes what field they were called to labor in.”
“Why should they begin digging their graves as soon as they are born?”
“But men labor under mistake. The better part of the man is soon plowed into the soil for compost. …laying up treasures which moth and rust will corrupt and thieves break through and steal. It is a fool’s life, as they will find when they get to the end of it, if not before.”
As I sit here quietly on the deck of “My Walden”, I am blessed to observe the playful shenanigans of two squirrels, a floating duck on a glass still pond and the chatting walkers’ across the way who absorb a wee bit of nature while they mosey.The sun plays peek a boo through the clouds and the buzz of distant traffic reminds me that a very chaotic world exists beyond my sanctuary.
In the times of Thoreau and today, to be a land owner is celebrated; to “own” your home, property, a piece of the planet. I used to “own” a small morsel of land that cradled a little home. Of course I did not “own” it, the bank did and when the crash of 2008-2009 blazed through, I lost it.
At times I miss that place, however I am clear, it is not so much the home or the land I miss, it is the memories created there. The time shared with others, the experiences and rituals established with neighbors. “Losing it all” has given a perspective from which to reflect and explore. Is home ownership all that it is marketed to be? Hmmm.., I am not so sure, for one can easily become slave to the home, its upkeep and maintenance, the time and separation it creates from others. As Thoreau so wisely stated, is your home a place of celebration or penance? When you are lying on your death bed, will it be the home you remember and cherish, or will it be the times shared with others inside those walls that comfort you during your last breaths?
I am most certainly not against home/land ownership, I do however wish to question how your time is spent within the walls of such ownership. Does it line up with your passions, your dreams, your desires? Does it gift you with freedom to play, to connect, to be with those you love, doing what you love? Or does it begin the downslide to the digging of your grave? Is it a noose or wings?
We supposedly live in the “Land of the Free”, yet all around me I observe like Thoreau a people doing penance. Living life for the tomorrows which never come. Waiting until…!! Then they find themselves alone, broke, and lying in a bed of regret. I continue to be grateful for the wisdom I gleaned from the patients I cared for in a nursing home during my early twenties. The stories they shared highlighted for me what was most important – the connection with others and living a life filled with passion and faith. There is value in learning from what resides in our rearview mirror, however, be careful that your history does not become your limiting belief/story. Celebrating our present moments with complete awareness guides us into our tomorrows full of inspired dreams.
For me, this is an eloquent dance. Like standing on the peak of a mountain you have climbed. You can see the trail you journeyed, as you stand celebrating the panoramic view before you. Looking out you can see all the possibilities, which way shall you go, what path will lead you to what comes next, what beckons you…
Today’s Pondering – Assess your present reality
Are you living a life full of passion, joy, love, and co-creating?
Are you burdened by the things you own, are they the ball and chain that keeps you stuck?
Are you waiting for tomorrow, or “when I have…” I will do this and go for that?
In closing I can say with certainty that we all have a few things in common – we were born, we will die, we all have 24 hours each day and our personal quality of life is directly tied to the choices we make in our present moments.
Today is a wonderful day to start fresh upon this page. To begin a new journey of sharing and exploring. It is Thanksgiving Day in the United States, a holiday I have always struggled with. Even as a young person, I thought it strange we celebrated a day hallmarking gratitude for the Native American helping the white settler to survive, only to then massacre and destroy their way of life. Hmmm…, just one of those historical things I have pondered.
Over the years as I have asked people why do we teach history, I always get the rote reply, “We teach history, so we will not repeat our mistakes.”.I actually have to laugh at this response, for look around, read the paper (does anyone do this anymore?) or watch the news (I must admit, I do not and have not watched the news for at least 20 years) – we repeat history ALL the time. Year after year, century after century, civilization after civilization. This new journey on my blog is going to be a reflective exploration of “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau, an autobiographical story that poignantly exposes the repetition of history and the games we play.
So let’s start at the very beginning – “A very good place to start…” as Julie Andrews so graciously shares in her song “Do, Re, Me…” from “Sound of Music” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jp0opnxQ4rY). In the opening chapter, “Economy” Thoreau introduces himself and the book. He states, “In most books, the I, or first person, is omitted; in this it will be retained; that, in respect to egotism, is the main difference. We commonly do not remember that it is, after all, always the fist person that is speaking. I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well. Unfortunately, I am confined to this theme by the narrowness of my experience.”
Why do I choose such a simplistic, “unimportant” point to begin this narrative journey? My why, zeroes in on the serious sincere truth that the only person we can truly “talk about” is the “I”.We do not tread in any other persons moccasins, so why do we pretend to know, make assumptions, waste time in gossip and hyperbole about anyone? Everything around us barrages us from a perspective that we “KNOW” another, that our way is better, that there is a “right or wrong” way to live. It is my experience that we pretend to know and understand another culture and people without ever going there, without ever being able to embody their way of life.So.., think about the beautiful pure simplicity of this statement from Thoreau – “I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else home I knew as well.”
What would the world be like if we stayed true to this? If we spoke and lived from the “I”? Never assuming or putting onto another our beliefs, expectations, or attachments? What might unfold if we stopped judging without knowing? If we stopped assuming and pretending we know without asking?
This blog is about ME, about my reflective exploration of the world through my eyes. I cannot begin to imagine, nor understand your world, for I do not journey within your beating heart, warm breath, or synopsizing brain. I can only inquire, open the door to learning and hearing about another’s experience and perspective. I know in my heart and soul that all I wish for in this glorious world is for each being to find the immense joy, peace, and love that resides within. How? Well that is an individual odyssey.
I shall conclude today’s little pondering with a challenge for you, one that I give myself over and over and over again, for it bashes up against our human domesticated nature, live today from the “I”.
Communicate with others from your “I” place. (Example – “I feel sad when there is no time to be together. I hear that you do not wish to go with me, when you say you are busy. Etc…) This is a journey in owning your “feelings” without blame and victimhood.
Listen from your “I” place, free of judgment, expectation, attachment, or assumption. This will take awareness and practice.
If you do not understand something, brave the opportunity to inquire, to ask, to desire to see from another perspective.
As you observe outside of yourself, can you step away from your place of judgment to view and experience without attachment?
Have fun with this, it just might change your experience of yourself and others. I would love to hear how your experience with “I” goes.
As a Transformational Coach and Facilitator I am always struck by how many people want overnight change without the daily work. Over a lifetime we settle into habits and patterns, often reactionary behaviors to the world that “domesticates” and trains us to be this or that according to the doctrines of our family, government, society, etc…
Thirty years ago when I decided that I did not like the body of the woman in the mirror, I made a powerful decision to change it. I knew that losing forty-five pounds or more was not going to happen overnight. I was keenly aware that I would have to make conscious choices everyday to support my goal to be healthy, vibrant, active and physically fit. I started a food journal, clipping images that inspired me to keep going as I wrote down what I ingested everyday. I ordered my weights and books to learn how to shape the figure I wanted for myself. (Below image taken a couple months ago)
Six days of every week I stood before the mirror determined to create change. I started out with tiny 2 pound weights and jogging in intervals to build up my stamina. I got rid of all the junk food in my home, filling my cupboards and refrigerator with healthy options. As the weeks went by I witnessed the transformation. I did all of this in the home of my great grandma who I was taking care of during the last months of her life. She would watch me, shaking her head at my craziness, for women were not “supposed” to do that, especially in work out clothes that exposed so much skin. I did not care what anyone thought, I knew what I wanted and everyday I was at choice to make it happen.
I share this story because “change” happens day by day, moment by moment – it arises and becomes through the small and large choices we make daily. I have gotten up in the wee hours of the morning to journal for over twenty-five years. When my children were young I would find myself with cup of tea and pen in hand at three or four in the morning. People think I am nuts, yet it is this choice and so many other daily practices that keep me aligned with my life vision, healthy body, mind and spirit.
Do the BIG decisions impact life, absolutely! However, I find most people underestimate the immense power of the daily little choices that change us on a cellular level. If you want to transform your life, it often begins with small action steps – working out 3-5 days of the week, making healthy food choices, meditating, journaling, reading, learning and taking action every day.
A healthy muscular body does not become overnight, so why do people believe that negative patterns will quickly change without daily work and attention? Think about someone you admire and respect, what are their daily practices? All of the mentors, teachers and role models I look up to “practice what they preach”, they daily take action towards embodying what they believe is possible to live a dynamic happy fulfilled life. I know from my own life experience that little daily choices create a foundation from which all things become.
Don’t take my word for it, begin tomorrow with one small change that you do everyday for thirty days. At the end of the thirty days reflect, how do you feel, what changes happened, did it positively effect your life??? I know for me the “little things” I choose to do daily create the ripple effect in my life, expanding it evermore into my glorious tomorrows…