A Girl and a Deer: Cultivating Patience

deerfriend

 

Who can wait quietly while the mud settles?

Who can remain still until the moment of action?

Observers of the Tao do not seek fulfillment.

Not seeking fulfillment, they are not swayed by desire for change.

-Tao Te Ching, Verse 15

 

 


One late summer day last year, I had a profound experience involving one of our deer friends. We typically get a few deer-friend visitors every day, and we go out and feed them some flavored corn or an apple. There have been many times I have sat by them and watched them crunch and munch. And I’ve taken lots of pictures from all angles. Yet, that one day, something shifted in me.

There was one lone visitor that day, and I chose to go out to feed her. After pouring some flavored corn into the usual spot right outside the garage in our backyard, she immediately starting making her way down the hill. Fluffy tail happily flicking, she took a few steps, stopped, watched me, and repeated until she felt uncomfortable coming any closer. I showed respect and chose to head back to the house. When I started to head down the stairs back toward the house, she came a bit closer to the food pile. I took two steps, she took two steps. I paused, she paused. An invisible magnet between us.

I changed my mind, and chose to crouch down on the grass when she approached the corn and began to eat. We were about 5 feet apart. Pretty soon, a cloud of gnats congregated around my head and executed their usual routine of bouncing off my face and aiming for the eyes. My legs began to feel uncomfortable due to the way I was crouching. These are the things that normally would have prompted me to get up and go in. Yet this time, I took note of those thoughts, and just let them go by. I wanted to enjoy being in the presence of this beautiful creature. And I did just that. I sat still. Quietly. Focused on my breathing, my energy. I listened to her breathing in and out with small snorts as she crunched on the corn…little bits falling from her mouth or getting stuck on her nose every now and again. Her large, deep eyes looked up at me from time to time, and when I made eye contact, I made sure I held the space of calm and peace so she’d feel it, too. As I looked at her eyes, I noticed her forehead and all the little bugs that were taking advantage there. I saw her long lashes and for the first time, noticed that her pupils were rectangular! I never knew! In this moment, I truly felt I was bonding with the deer; we were one. I sat there for maybe five minutes soaking up the blissful feeling. My wooded surroundings faded, and it was just the deer and I living in harmony. I made sure I thanked her both silently, and out loud.

Eventually I had to get up and go inside. When I stood up, she backed up a bit and then when I made my way down, she decided to head back up into the woods. When I got back in, I suddenly felt different- a sudden shift. Before I knew it, I was crying as I told Dave about the experience. He told me he was watching and didn’t want to disturb me. At first, I wasn’t sure why I was crying…was it the energy? The bond? I think it was both. Yet more importantly, it was my realization that I had been completely, wholeheartedly mindful and…patient.

20171018_103112

Patience doesn’t come naturally for me. I’ve been exploring my impatience lately, contemplating its roots in my childhood. Perhaps it’s because of being an only child? I’d often spend a lot of time in my head, and then suddenly want interaction. I’d go ask my dad if we could do something…go outside and play catch, go for a bike ride, play a game…anything! If he was hesitant, soon the asking turned to begging (with a hint of annoyed whining). Not having a lot of friends to just call up or walk to their house compounded the issue. And let’s not forget there were countless days I’d be sitting at a table next to a bar, or just down my aunt’s house wondering when it was time to leave, not understanding the concept of consuming alcohol. (Like, just chug it! Come on! I want to go and do something and I don’t want to do anything alone!)

I asked my Gram recently if I was exceptionally impatient when I was little, and she animatedly told a story about how I couldn’t stand losing a game like the classic Chutes and Ladders or Old Maid, and how I’d stomp my feet and tell her mid-game it’s not fair. Got it Gram. Thanks for the reminder.

As an adult, in the past four years or so, my deeper impatience would kick in when considering my purpose and comparing myself to Dave and Dave’s friends who of course are very much 10+ years older than me. Their skills, talents, etc. outnumber mine like tenfold. Naturally, I want to hurry up and be like them! I want all the skills! Yesterday.

When I really think about it, actually it’s pretty obvious, that I’ve come a long way since moving in with Dave and starting to discover myself. It’s been a process, as it should be, everything in its own timing. I have learned more than I ever thought I would. I have a skill that I turned into a job that I love and am consistently making money with. Everyday! And with that, I am still searching for another skill, something in the metaphysical realm that I potentially turn into a service for others. This desire probably has been arising more strongly at this point because a) I feel I have hit this personal plateau of inner transformation and b) I am constantly surrounded by people who have numerous skills and have created one or more businesses out of them.

So here’s where the universe is nudging me; patience has to kick in. Here’s where I feel I’m supposed to be meditating more, being still, silent, searching for whatever answers are within me. Yet another step along the path of growing, developing, transforming. In essence, there’s never really a plateau. Life is about the journey, not the destination. There’s nowhere to get to and nothing to be. We need to just…be!

And so, right now, I am creating that possibility of being patient. In all situations. No matter the circumstances. Without excuses. I know my mind and my body will thank me for it! And I know I’ll be able to tune in to nature with brighter clarity and discover.

When you get to the top of the mountain, keep climbing!

Advertisements

Innocence

Related image

What is innocence?

Innocence is childhood. Purity in forms intangible, but always perceived and shown through smiling eyes and dancing feet. Innocence is running and jumping just for the pure exhilaration, without caution, just to feel the air rushing through your lungs, your life force pumping rapidly, and your muscles tingling.

Innocence is seeing everyone, everything without meaning, attachments, past notions, beliefs, pre-designed dreams. We sleep in a state not unlike this, and upon waking, we shift to the mechanical thoughts that endlessly grind as we walk, drive, talk to and meet people.

Innocence is imagination. No limits. Literally imagining anything as possible and truly believing that it can be real beyond a doubt.

Innocence is discovery. The pure exhilaration of finding something previously unknown, and looking at it with a gleam in the eye, and figuring it out or just appreciating it with a slow touch. We rush too much today.

Innocence is nature. Nature does not judge. Nature does not act according to others. Nature lives in its own purity. Nature just is. Innocence is being fully aware inside of nature. Keeping close, physically, and mentally the eternal bond.

Innocence is happiness. True happiness. A state where we feel no burden, no sadness, no guilt, no anger. Peace. Innocence is peace. To be still and feel the peace within is to capture innocence.

Innocence is Love. Love in its purest form. A soul connection in pure bliss and light.

Innocence is strength. Confidence. To be true to oneself, wholly, in integrity, according to the universal laws, and your own.

We are all born with purity. A crystal clear glass of water. How does our water become muddy? Thick with discernment and scrutiny? Why do many seem to lose their innocence not long after childhood? Why do we completely forget about it, let it slip through our fingers, our hearts?

Is it due to selfishness? We want all the physical pleasures this world can offer, and once freed from parental ties that were tight for many years, society seems to give the green light for freedom of any action, no matter the consequences- because in those minds, there are none.

Physical pleasures are false freedom. You are not truly free or gaining anything. They are ways to avoid reality, the innocence that’s always inside. It is when you reach a point of alignment between your heart, spirit, and mind that you can truly be free. We do not need any outside stimulation to become who we already are. We wouldn’t deprive ourselves of that natural, sustaining lifeforce that flows around us always in us if we were aligned.

Sometimes, when certain words are spoken to us at a young age, we create harsh self-judgments, and judgments about the world that we don’t let go of until much later in life. It is freeing to let go of those words from the past, as they are only words- literal sounds from your body with meaning that was created by a human mind.

The universe is our guide. Part of us. Our very being is made up of the same matter that the planets, stars, and sun are made out of. How thrilling it is to be alive! To experience our time here on our tiny planet we call home. We’re all here to figure it out. To coexist and learn. We are here to learn what we may have not learnt in a previous life. What we accomplish here, we carry forward after death. We were put here, born here for a reason. We all have our own unique skills which were designed to entwine with others in order to make life enjoyable. If we choose to not work closely with others, then why not spend time in adoration of life itself? The very fact that we can breathe, and see, and speak? Even if we cannot. There are other senses to explore. Our subconscious already has the answers to any question that may arise.

Let us not question too deeply, as we will be sucked into the quicksand called debate. Let us not go so fast that we do not take time to sit and experience. And let us not be idle for too long, as our sedentariness could be desensitizing. There is always a balance to be had. In life. In mind. In body, and in spirit. Find the balance within. Do not wrestle inner wisdom. Let it well up and overflow. Do not doubt, cause yourself unnecessary stress. Do not give the body what it doesn’t want, what your mind thinks it wants.

We are our own destruction. Inviting sickness and disease with our clouded thoughts. Nothing has to be hard. What we think, we create. Return to innocence. Meditate on the feeling of purity. Remember a time when you felt completely carefree, happy, childlike. Really relive the experience. Become that person again. Filled with wonder, and awe.

Here is a favorite quote of mine, beautifully spoken at the end of a brilliant, musical masterpiece of an album called, “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” by Nightwish:

“We are going to die. And that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die, because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place, but who will never in fact never see the light of day, outnumber the sand grains of the Sahara. Those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds, it is you and I in our ordinariness that are here. We privileged few who won the lottery of birth against all odds…how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state…from which the vast majority have never stirred.”

Image result for universe

 

Lessons from the Labyrinth

20180318_150017No, not David Bowie. I mean a real labyrinth. I have never walked a labyrinth until a couple weeks ago. Dave and I traveled down to Virginia Beach for an archaeology presentation. We couldn’t have gone there without visiting the all-magical Edgar Cacye A.R.E. center. (Association for Research and Enlightenment). We had first gone there back in October for a conference on ancient mysteries. It was truly one of the most enlightening experiences I’ve ever had. The place, the people, the conference itself…everything was drenched in high vibrational ecstasy. It’s hard to explain…there’s a lot to it actually- all based upon Edgar Cayce’s philosophies 20180318_145924and readings he did for people back in the early 1900’s. He is regarded as one of the most influential psychics of all time. When he did readings for people he diagnosed them and helped them with existing illnesses by prescribing many holistic, natural remedies. (Many of which you can find today!) The center itself is a mini campus…a main building, and the converted hospital where Cayce worked which is now a spa and café with a gorgeous wrap around porch that overlooks the main area and out to the ocean. And there’s another building that is a massage school. Tucked in between the buildings is a lovely bamboo garden— towering bamboo with small pathways winding through with small offerings of bird houses and stones scattered throughout. Right by the entrance to the garden is a beautiful pond area that you can walk through and stop and sit by. Look at the gorgeous flowers flowing over the stone wall, or observe some koi fish carelessly swimming through their own world.

And then there’s the labyrinth! You can’t miss it. It’s the first thing you see as you walk (if you choose to) up the set of stairs from the main building to the café. The sight of it, just aesthetically, is beautiful, reverent. It’s based of the Chartres Labyrinth in a cathedral in France. It’s like a portal unto itself. While sitting in the café, I’ve noticed people walk up and around the labyrinth so as not to disrupt the energies therein. And it’s just a simple stone pattern embedded in the earth. Yet so symbolic. Back in October, I didn’t walk it as I wasn’t sure of its purpose. So, this time around, with the absence of crowds of people, I chose to. I asked Dave what it was all about. He explained that it’s a tool for mediation. That as you focus on following the path, you can get lost in your own mind just being mindful of the path. He also said that as you walk and notice your thoughts, they can mirror your life. There were little suggestions on a handout at the center, and it said that you can enter with an intention or a question to be answered. As you walked, your answer would come from within. In the center was a pair of dolphins in the shape of a yin and yang symbol. Once there, you can pause, focus on your experience and then exit the same way you entered. When I did it, I chose to walk straight out rather than repeat the path.

I walked the labyrinth twice. The first time just to see what it was like. The first time I noticed all kinds of things…my mind wandering…looking at the path, how it was designed…I began to wonder why the design was the way it was…I was noticing how some stretches looked almost linear, and then I’d end up in a totally different place, and end up looking either ahead or back. When I told Dave, he suggested that I do these things in life like I did walking the labyrinth. I began to see some truth there.

The second time was much more profound.

I chose to ask a question. I had been dealing with a pretty heavy friendship struggle the previous week, which ended up bleeding into the beginning of our trip. Often, I have immense trouble letting go of personal struggles, especially with close friends. So, I asked, “what can I do that will help me deal with this particular situation with my friends?” As I began to walk and weave, my answer came almost instantaneously.

“Give what’s missing. Give even when you do not receive.”

I pondered for a bit. Kept thinking, and then it dawned on me that I felt that Love, compassion and peace were missing. So, I thought, I could give that. Either directly or indirectly. My thoughts eventually drifted to some of our holistic friends that we often see at the expos. There are some inspiring, powerful women in that group. I pictured them. I asked, what would they do in a situation like this? I couldn’t picture them being angry. I couldn’t picture them being sad. All I could picture is peace. They are peace. They are love. They would give that no matter what the situation. They would not be troubled. Truly a lesson I could use!

I kept walking, a slower, rhythmic pace, feeling more peaceful as I went. Confident that I could let go of my fears of losing friends, fear of judgment. I wouldn’t want to give fear, I would want to give peace. By the time I reached the center, I was almost in a trance. I focused on the dolphins. Yin and yang. Light and dark. In all of us. A balance.

I left the labyrinth feeling like I gained something that I didn’t have before. I left, and sat down on a flat stone on the outside while Dave walked it in its entirety. He wanted to walk it alone to get the most out of the experience.

When we finished, we walked to the ocean to let it cleanse us. We walked along the edge of the waves swelling and overtaking the anemone covered sand. Dave took off his shoes to feel the cold waters. I walked further inward. I touched the water, felt its chill reach into me, then flow outward- taking my fears with it.

I’m very happy I gave it a try. It’s super simple. Yet surprisingly profound. I would love to walk one more frequently. There’s a piece of land in a small patch of woods next to our house…perhaps we can create our own. In the meantime, I’ll hang on to my experience near the great blue. Until we meet again.

 

Chatres-Labyrinth-candle-lit   chartres_jeff_wp5f6a33f51

Connecting Thought: Unmasked Identity

In my previous post, I mentioned complete connection with everyone and everything. Right after writing, my boyfriend sent me a link which introduced a term to go along with that feeling! Samadhi. A Hindu word meaning seeing with equality. It’s tied in with yoga practice, and can also apply to everyday living. I found a short article online which has a section that sums it up wonderfully:

“Instead of attaching to happiness or a sensation of ‘bliss’, Samadhi is about seeing life and reality for exactly what it is, without our thoughts, emotions, likes, dislikes, pleasure and pain fluctuating and governing it. Not necessarily a state of feeling or being, or a fixed way of thinking; just pure ‘I – am – ness’.”

I can SO identify with this. Ever since participating in the Landmark Forum, and the Advanced Course, along with many seminars, I have been practicing this. It does not come naturally. I’m still in the process of training my brain to recognize and acknowledge instead of react and feel.

Just this morning, I had an incident come up with Dave where feelings and reactions bubbled up as he spoke. What was missing for me was just being…pure listening. He even admitted all he wanted to do was share something with me. Not debate it, not ask me to solve anything…just to share what he was thinking and how his sleep was affected by some thoughts.

So, what happened was- Dave spoke to me of how he lied awake during the night. I made his words mean things like, he’s keeping the past in the present. He won’t let go. He can’t just get over it…etc. When those thoughts clouded my thinking, my being shifted dramatically. I was not Love, Peace, and Togetherness. I was creating a boundary in myself before he was even finished talking. Which then created unnecessary arguing after, and feelings of sadness, and guilt.

I took our incident this morning as an opportunity for connection and self-realization.

To continue to fulfill my main concern- Peace, Love, and Togetherness.

When I stopped analyzing, feeling and judging, both himself and myself, I was able to disconnect from those feelings in order to connect to Dave and truly understand him. Immediately, I felt relieved. It was as if a literal switch was flipped to put a stopper in my flow of consciousness. And yet, I could acknowledge that I am still not fully letting go. And I am noticing what is blocking me, and what fears are holding me back.

It’s in this noticing, without judgment, that I will be able to completely connect with Dave to get complete on an important issue from years ago. I can be in the space of pure peace, which, I dunno about you, but to me feels 100% better than being in the space of defensiveness and anger. I can literally feel a difference between the two. It’s as if I’ve literally separated the two things and set them down in front of me.

Like two colored balls of the same size. One red, and one blue. Say, the red one is a bit heavier than the blue. I can now, from the outside, not only see the difference between the two, I can also feel it. The red one feels heavy. It wouldn’t work for me to carry it around with me all day. The blue one is light. It would work to carry that one.

It takes effort to be angry, and in conflict. And much energy. The body rejects it, defends it, and when it does, it hurts. Back pain, headaches, stomach issues…you name it. Pain arises from actually trying to keep those behaviors in place. Yuck!

Living inside of Love is natural. Your body will not argue with you, nor will your mind. Life and all activities in it become effortless. Even complications will come and go effortlessly when in a state of Peace and Love. A flow.

This I have experienced.

This I will continue to experience.

This journey, my Sadhana, will help me reach my full enlightenment.

chakras_consciousness


Samadhi Article

Book: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Unmasked Identity

 

 

 

Unmasked Identity

the-real-face

Are we really that separate from everyone else? From everything else? In a world where survival of the fittest sometimes applies, many live to do just that: survive. In doing so, they capture a false sense of individuality; they spend time developing a sense of self that on the outside appears to be a “one for all” mentality, yet on the inside is a “one for one” mentality. Those people may be giving, loving, caring…and if you look closely, there are conditions. Why? Well, the answer is simple and will always boil down to the same emotion: fear. They might say to themselves, “surely I can’t be as open to that person, as I am to this one. I have to protect myself. …This one will keep me safe. No problems will arise. But with that one, ooh, others may disagree, I will be discredited somehow…I’ll only let that one in so far…”

All of these conditions, based upon circumstances, create thick and heavy boundaries. When one is not willing to let go of their own, created fear, they cannot create the space for anything or anyone else to come in. No matter how loving that other person might be. Self-righteousness becomes a prime concern. And separation becomes apparent. Like the laws of quantum physics, those behaviors that create separation are then repeated and mirrored over and over again in every type of human relationship and perhaps throughout lifetimes.

These cycles can be broken.

When we realize our true self, and that we are connected to everyone else in a deep profound way, we can disappear those boundaries. When only Love is present, there is no room for fear; we are able to embrace others in a way that brings unity. Even if there are disagreements, and that person isn’t a perfect fit for your life, there can still be communication, conversation and connection. A healthy disconnection may happen, and that certainly works in many cases, yet the lines for real, non-reaction based communication are still available.

What’s missing in our society today is just that: connection. Many believe their sense of connection is tied to technology. Many believe it’s impossible. Many let fear block them. In reality, who we are is everyone else. We are the very essence of that person in fear, that person unwilling to communicate, or that person who is wide open and loving. We are the miracle of life that is contained in every organism that surrounds us. We are the soul, the God, the Creator of all. We are not separate! Once that can be realized, there would be no need for family feuds, broken friendships, and so forth. World leaders would be able to get along, have meetings where Love for others, for other countries, the people in them are the main concern.

We can all work together as the team that we are.

We can look into each other’s eyes and see the entire universe there before us. How breathtaking, how peaceful to know that! All fear, anger, resentment and resignation is pure illusion. Can you see yourself, your mother, your father, your friend in a stranger’s gaze? They are there. All there is to do is to open up to Love to see.

I took part in an extraordinarily powerful exercise recently in a weekend course. The exercise was simple: in silence, stand up and look into another person’s eyes. Just look. Notice feelings. Notice judgments. Then notice that connection. One girl that I connected with was a Chinese woman. She was beautiful. Her soul so vibrant. What I noticed initially when looking in her eyes was that she was very different than myself. From a completely different culture, with a different language, a different set of values. Her eyes physically were different than mine. A different shape and color. The color of her skin. The shape of her face. The color of her hair. All different.

And what was extraordinary in that moment that I noticed all of those things, I also noticed that she, too, just like me, was a soul. A soul that contained God, Love, Peace. I was able to quickly let go of all those differences. They vanished. Because they, too, are illusions. It was beautiful. Tears welled up while looking into her brown eyes. I was able to recognize everyone else I knew in her. Because she is me. I am her. We embraced deeply when it was time to return to our seats. I felt such a unique movement inside of me after that. My soul shifted. I had a spiritual experience unlike any other, yet I could say it was connected to other moments of spiritual awakening I’ve had. Suddenly, I felt deeply connected to the other ninety some people sharing space with me in that room. Even the ones I hadn’t spoken to. Stunning.

Then this morning, I had to laugh…I watched a short news clip about a death in a trailer park. A body was found in a burned shed. A man that was interviewed shrugged and said, “what do you expect? It’s a trailer park!” And you can tell he was totally unfazed by the death and perfectly content with the way things were, no matter how devastating. It’s actions and behaviors/beliefs as such that keep the current system of disconnection in place. If it’s expected that a certain place or type of people should be one way, and a large group agrees, then they will remain that way. No one should be any one way. Why in the world has it become okay to just go on living this way?!

School shootings…same thing. Actions based on fear. A system that repeats itself, keeps particular behaviors in place, no space for transformation. The space is filled with debates, emotion and reaction ridden stories. No action for a different result.

We are disconnected from those that haven’t experienced connection.

Again, if we could just see ourselves in those that are being that way, we could find our true identity.

So many are not being what they truly believe in.

So many haven’t even discovered hat it is that they truly believe in! And it’s there, always. Inside.

They are being who they think they should be, or who they have been conditioned to be. Their beliefs are clouded by illusion.

They choose to follow illusion instead of their heart.

I believe we all have the power to identify our true concerns for ourselves and inherently others. I also believe that everyone’s could be similar if we felt connected. What would we be concerned for? Love, peace, happiness, togetherness, gratitude, joy. Actions are then produced in accordance with those concerns. Those concerns are not only for ourselves, but every other human being we share this planet with.

I am the possibility of Love, Peace and Togetherness. With this possibility, I will be those things. My being will shine with radiance that can transcend pain, suffering, and sadness. Love, Peace and Togetherness are instruments to shatter the illusions of the opposite. I say illusion because they are all created. Nothing happens to us. What we believe, we become. What we be, we see.

Let us gain control of ourselves, as a whole, a group, a community, a society, a world. We are all souls inhabiting these borrowed vehicles on this plane of existence. Take off the mask. Surely it must be heavy, a burden? Perhaps there are many masks…if so, begin to peel them away. What is behind them will be the most beautiful, shining soul you’ve ever encountered.

Dare to meet yourself.

Dare to create new possibilities.

Man’s true self is eternal,

yet he thinks, “I am this body, I will soon die.”

This false sense of self

is the cause of all his sorrow.

When a person does not identify himself with the body

tell me, what troubles could touch him?

One who sees himself as everything

is fit to be guardian of the world.

One who loves himself as everyone

is fit to be teacher of the world.

-Tao Te Ching, The Definitive Edition, Verse 13

Double rainbow in a meadow, Silt, Colorado, U.S.

Lighthearted Musings

20170224_142215It was 73 degrees out today…closing in on the end of February…a definite first for me in PA! I took the opportunity to go for a long walk with my Dave. We walked along a path carved out next to power lines that run for miles in two directions. Despite a lot of mud in some spots, it was the perfect hike. Once away from the road, just the sound of wind in the tall grass mixed with a few birds, and occasional trickling water sailed through the air.

It’s in moments like these I tend to feel completely at peace. Sometimes, it’s nice to just be. In the moment. Completely. Letting all worries melt away…letting go of the disheartening notions of the earth heating up more, and glaciers melting way up north. Letting go thoughts of those so-called leaders running the country…letting go of smaller worries…letting go of everything! It feels incredible to just appreciate the simple things…really see, and feel them for all of their simple beauties…

Leaving our trail of footprints in the mud as we held hands and walked. Picking up tiny pieces of white quartz in small streams crossing our path. Running my fingers through the cold water, grazing the soft, fine silt that rested in the bottom. Seeing mountains miles away from the top of the ridge, one mile from the road. Smelling sweet ferns, still shriveled, yet prevailing alongside the path. Molding reddish clay into a sphere, letting it dry on my hands. 20170224_141859Discovering princess pines popping up in the midst of purpled tea berry leaves, surrounded by moss. Feeling the sun’s warmth spread on my back through my t-shirt. Taking deep breaths of fresh air while observing the blue sky, winds pushing puffy clouds along.

Discovering an old spring house during our descent…wandering over through marshy grass…finding all the places where water was appearing, then disappearing again into the earth. Drinking from a pool of bubbling spring water a little further up, letting that 20170224_144728piece of nature, that moment become part of me. Stepping on deteriorated fallen trees, feeling the wood compress under my sneakers. Observing the peeled “eyes” in some trees where a foreign fungus had taken over. Looking up to find dozens of birch polypore’s poking out from a long deceased, branchless tree.  Seeing rocky, dried up trenches where water once flowed and connected to larger streams. Appreciating the bright green, plushy moss that crawled along the forest floor as we carefully made our way back to the car.

20170224_145122Take in the beauty that surrounds you every single day. If you don’t think there is any, take a look. Take a closer look. You will find it. It’s in every step you take…within every knotty tree you see…upon every smooth stone you turn over in your hands. The presence of God is woven into every atom, and particle that makes up nature.

Feel revived and fully alive.

20170224_144600

Creating Healthy Boundaries

Image result for chinese symbol for balance with english

“When confrontation arises, we face it without aggression. When someone opposes us, we do not give in to anger. We view no one as a competitor because we do not seek our own way.

We know our strengths and we know our weaknesses. We use them each for benefit. We are not trying to fix ourselves or others so we move naturally and easily along our path.” –Tao Te Ching (translation of verse 68)*

Sometimes, you just gotta walk away. Take a deep breath, and take some steps back. Are you dealing with someone that you still want in your life but your relationship isn’t quite meshing? Have you been trying to convince them of a point of view, an attitude, a new way of being, a belief? There are times when no matter how many words you say, conversations (or arguments) you have, a person will not change their view. And that’s okay! Instead of getting stuck with spinning tires, lay off the gas, and turn the motor off! Breathe. I’ve been learning and practicing this essential trick for the past few months with my family.

Here’s a secret to letting go: realize it’s not the person that you are walking away from- it’s their behavior. I struggled with that concept for a long time until Dave led me to a personal epiphany. So many times people are quick to judge. Quick to doom a situation. Quick to give up and think that they have to get rid of the person that they are in conflict with. Yep, that’s where I was! In my mind, I was never going to have my family back, because they will never change, and the only solution to heal the pain then was to detach completely. And that felt pretty crappy. I still yearned to talk to my family and remain in close connection.

I had to give up what was in my way since they weren’t willing to give up what’s in their way.

It didn’t take me long to drop all my “nevers”. Why worry about some invisible future that may or may not happen? I held onto my mindset of being in the now. Right now. No other moment. Not in the past or the future. Eckhart Tolle sums it up quite well- “What a liberation to realize that the ‘voice in my head’ is not who I am. ‘Who am I, then?’ The one who sees that.”

Sometimes it’s crazy hard to let go, and just be in the present moment. Therefore, it’s even more difficult to create those healthy boundaries! Typically, you remain trapped on the hamster wheel, spinning faster, and faster, (coming up with more and more arguments as to why “you’re right”) and eventually, your legs run out of stamina and you’re flung off and splattered against a wall- defeated.

If you’re truly dealing with someone you authentically care about, show them! The greatest gift you could give them is a boundary! With a boundary, you can still communicate. In my case, the boundary was not physically seeing my parents because they refuse to acknowledge Dave. That hurts both of us. Yet, I created the possibility of still being as close, and loving as I can to them. I call my mom often, and we chat for hours! We haven’t exchanged gifts in about 3 years…last year was the first! I could speak with my dad more easily, too. What it boils down to, is that I can just be myself.

After all, when you’re just yourself, your completely honest self who’s not trying to resist, not trying to change, or feed into drama or create it, who could hurt you?

Beauty reigns in simplicity. It all starts with a conversation. Talk to the person you care about that you feel you have to create a boundary with. Stand firm in your belief. If the other person becomes angry, or sad, remember to not take it personally. They have a right to their feelings, too! It’s also healthy to let them express everything they need to. There will come a point in the conversation when those options are exhausted. There will be an energy shift where you feel a mutual understanding being reached. This is a good place to end the conversation peacefully. Express your care, and love for that person, and hopefully they will return it back. After this, all following conversations should be easy.

How can these boundaries be overcome if one person isn’t willing to budge, yet continues to be civil and close, but distantly?

I’ve come to believe, with Dave’s insight, that if the person in opposition truly cares, and feels that they want to reestablish a connection, or mend some aspects of the relationship- they will. They will be the one to come to you to mend some broken fences. (I have yet to experience that, fully.) But! I am happy to say that that has happened with an Aunt of mine. Dave and I are becoming closer with her, and the feeling is amazing!

Pro Tip: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT ever blame the person that you’re upset with. When you blame someone, you make them wrong. In situations like these, no one is right or wrong. Keep that in mind when attempting to work it out.

Hold a space in your mind, in your heart. Your boundaries won’t last forever, but in the meantime, they will be healthy!


 

*Image result for a path and a practice by william martinQuote taken from one of my favorite, most influential books- A Path and a Practice by William Martin.