Eye of the Beholder


I began meditating consistently two years ago to protect myself from the possibility of prison due to involuntary manslaughter…or maybe even justifiable homicide. When I was growing up, I wanted to be a vigilante ~ or perhaps more (like the commercial) The Fist of Goodness, balancing the scales of Truth, Justice, and the American Way It Oughta Be.

For some reason, while I didn’t do very well at standing up for myself, I was awesome at championing others. This would frequently lead to my desire to verbally level the playing field, with my actions following closely behind my desire. I was a super hero for the underdog, but sometimes (probably wanting a noble purpose for my temper) I jumped in too soon, and on the wrong side of goodness, breaking my own heart in disappointment when I realized I’d been duped.

I went from a job two years ago that was so pleasant, and not at all taxing, back into the management arena I’d hoped to never experience again. Being not at all the same person I’d been my first trip through, I had somehow lost my tolerance for what I considered stupidity, poor planning, lack of leadership, and my most frequent thought was:

“Oh. My. God. , are you SHITTING me?”.

I went from La La Stepford happiness into my version of Children of the Corn, or Silent Rage, or hey~Linda Blair spitting pea soup all over the place.

Kids, it was not pretty. I knew I was making myself sick; I was letting circumstances poison and rot my thinking, and in desperation signed up for a 21 day online meditation course. I began to meditate like medicine, the nitro pill that kept the heart attack from killing me, the counselor that helped me begin the day calm enough not to blow by the end of it…usually, and somewhere along the way I was able to see myself before I reacted to circumstances around me.

I began writing again as an outlet for survival purposes, and yoga kept me from twisting heads off in my mind.

I had accidentally created a momentary pause button between my first thought of what needed to happen~and what I actually chose to do. It was amazing.

I realized I wasn’t the evil twin sister I appeared to be, neither was I the white robed bodhisattva I yearned to be. I was a multi-faceted blend of all the parts it took for me to be me. I was the watcher of my ego, anger, and angst. I was the witness to my level of integrity high or low, my compassion or lack of, my judgment or acceptance of myself or whatever existed in my world at any given time.

I was the Beholder, and in the eye of the Beholder, all parts of me were valid, vibrant, and vital. All sides of me, no matter how it looked through the mirror darkly, were to be held, loved and listened to. All of me has something to say, something to share, something to teach.

I learned through the silence of meditation, and the momentary pause of the Beholder, that my Shadow is just as important as my Shine. If I let go of the reactivity and see what the triggers have to show me, then they become gifts of wisdom, yes? And if I hold my anger close like a beloved child and listen to what it says, in what wondrous ways will I change?

Do I still have moments I want to be the Fist of Goodness? Yes, yes I do. But if I throw in the Bodhisattva and a pinch of Jester, I just may have a winner~in the Eye of the Beholder.

Behold your own magnificent self.

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Back to the Dark Side


Today started out wonderfully, I woke up early enough to begin my first of 21 consistent mornings of yoga before meditation.

Those were the two wonderful things. The rest of this day has been a bit of a struggle with familiar irritations, and reactions. My ego saying “yeah, I’m right, and I will obliterate you with it!”. I wrestled with these things, but as of this moment haven’t allowed my feelings to negatively affect my behavior. I’m pretty black and blue on the inside though. Ha, ha?

Health insurance rates doubling for my people at work, a variety of ridiculous crap to address  after taking a day off Friday, a rare headache, some personal sadness with co-workers, and then the super effort required to keep myself in line when I perceive  repeated attempts of others to brow beat, manipulate and control people I love. I am doing my level best to change my perception to “repeated cries for love, attention, and self-esteem boost”.

I’m not there yet. But I am behaving as if I am so I don’t have to regret anything I put into play before I gain some truth and settle back into my heart.

Everybody has the occasional off day, but it feels like a hair shirt to me after a long stretch of balance. Tomorrow is a new day, and I can forgive myself for my insides without having to apologize for my behavior outside. This will be a red-letter event for sure.

I used to think (and sometimes still do) that it takes stepping up in the face of, the courage to confront, willingness to wield the mighty sword of justice to kick butt and take names to truly be a person of strength.

Now I know how much strength it takes to stand firm, speak the truth with dignity and grace, and be willing to be kind and forgiving to myself and others.  Unfortunately for me today, I have a lifetime of the last paragraph, and these new perceptions are brand new. So quite honestly, I have seriously pulled muscles withholding that which I must not bestow on others.

I am building my character, and it is painful pulling back from the Dark Side, but it is worth it. It will be. Tomorrow.

 

Witness Your Life


I learned a new word in this morning’s meditation. Recapitulation. I was like “what??”, but then it was defined , and my “deer in the headlights” look  went away so I could carry on with my journey. I do come to my altar every morning with an open mind, but I have moments where I think I may not get what I need when I open my heart. Isn’t that silly after all I’ve learned so far? I guess I will always have moments when I slip too easily into convenient habits of thinking that perpetuate weak living. May they be few and far between.

So I recapitulated my morning from the time I woke up to the moment I sat down to meditate. I hadn’t been up very long, so in a few minutes I was able to picture myself and everything I did without judging. Such a simple practice taught me something~I wasted most of my time dealing with the results of my behavior the night before! That’s not what I need at all! I picked up, put away, finished and trashed as was needed. No, no, no.

I understand that recapitulation is what we should do right before we sleep. A quick five minute run-through of our day so we can decide if that’s what we choose to keep doing, or to choose another way that better serves us. In my case, a two minute mental visual of an hour of my day taught me that I needed to re-evaluate my focus and put a new plan into play.

Being a Silent Witness to my behavior uncovered the sorry fact that I am handicapping myself. I am not serving myself well, or giving myself what I need to be at my highest potential for the day.

Because I’m a fledgling, a lotus just beginning to rise to the sun, I really need all the help I can give myself at any given moment. Mornings are critical to me~I cannot allow myself to sabotage them, and therefore the rest of my day.

I want my every morning to fuel my heart; to carry me through my day with grace. My mornings need to do for  me what the sunrise does to beautify  the morning sky, and revive and rejuvenate me like the breath of God breezes through the leaves on the trees.

That may sound like a tall order, but it’s not. I can make that happen. I just have to do it on purpose. It seems to me that the greatest lessons in meditation are to be aware of  NOW, calmly look around and evaluate what works and what doesn’t, and live my life on purpose. This makes sense to me, since I have always felt that I was an accident or incident waiting to happen, at the mercy of powers beyond my control. There are so many things, most things, that are out of my control, but I don’t have to be. I do have the ability to be who I am, react how I choose, and plan according to my priorities. Learning to review my day before I sleep is an excellent tool to do that, so I’m excited to see where I go from here.

This practice is where I’ll find my time for morning yoga, and more time for meditation, and the quiet drinking of my tea with my pups laying beside me as I sit on the porch watching the sun rise, and the flowers bloom, and the breezes blow.

May all who read this choose to live your moments in ways that truly matter to you!

Silent Rage vs. Meditation


I am uplifted, absolutely lit up, with the symbolism of the violin in my guided meditation this morning.  That the ability to create something beautiful requires “a balance between flexibility and measured tension, like the strings of a violin. If they are strung too tightly~they snap, but when the tuning is balanced, the violin can endure massive force, and produce the most powerful, and tender music. “.

This is an exquisite portrayal of the changes I feel inside since I’ve begun a committed practice of meditation. I was more frequently than not on the verge of snapping. Internally, within both heart and mind, and externally in reaction to people or situations. I didn’t realize how miserable I was in letting my thoughts and behavior be directed by circumstance. I didn’t  admit to myself that my ego was running me, that I allowed the moods of those around me to determine my own. I had become so high-strung that I could not help but notice it in myself. My internal anger at everything was growing faster than my ability to restrain my volatility.

I am so grateful for the relief, the quietness, the peace of mind that I have experienced since beginning this morning meditation practice. I have a sense of ease, acceptance, joy, and am even excited when I wake up knowing that I am changing from the inside out. Instead of a vision of endless monotony, I feel a sense of adventure in finding the guts to do something everyday to step toward my goal of  writing for a living~no matter how small my effort.

I have no idea how I tricked myself  into conforming to the status quo, to minimizing myself and my dreams into hobbies I didn’t have time to pursue.  I don’t know when or how I became so angry, resentful, and cold. I only know it was a god-awful feeling, and I am not going back there. Ever.

I will take care to respect myself and my gifts. I’ll become more flexible in my heart and in my thinking. I will honor differences between myself and others~in fact, I will celebrate them! I will encourage others, “give heart to” those who dare to do what they love, and I will encourage myself.

As I say every morning after meditation, I will honor the light in me, and recognize and honor the light in others, understanding it is the same Divine Light in all of us.

Life is awesome.

Soul Question: Who Am I?


This morning during my guided meditation, I was following my breath, sinking into the calm that has become so critical to my day, when something happened that I didn’t expect. My inner vision was guided down a long hallway to an elevator where I pushed the button and stepped inside when the doors opened for me. I was hurtled towards the roof at such high-speed that when the elevator stopped, my feet actually left the floor a little. When the door opened, I was on the roof top of the highest building on the highest mountain in the world. All I saw was a sign that asked “Who Are You?”.

It took a moment for me to realize that tears were just falling from my closed eyes and I was trying unsuccessfully to wipe them away repeatedly. Who am I? I have struggled so much with that question. Yes, I am a wife, daughter, mother, friend, sister. Those are only parts of me I extend into the world. Who am I? A lover of my family, animals, yoga, reading and beautiful jewelry. Those are my relationships, my hobbies, my activities, my responsibilities.  They are all descriptors of me at different times, but those things are not me.  My body, skinny or not so much, my hair, my abilities or lack of~none of these are Who I Am.

Several thoughts came to me over the next few moments. I am God’s poet. I am a unique creation of God, an expression of Love through the written word (in my case) so I can pass on the love, joy, light, hope and healing given to me.

I am not God any more than all those parts of who I am are really Who I Am. None of us ARE God, but each one of us are created to be a descriptor of  Who God Is.  We are God’s expressions of  musical, physical, artistic, written, philosophical, healing, and pure Spirit.

Just as I marvel at times when I read something I have written, and it has a pure note of truth in it, I imagine God looks at each of us at different times and marvels at the pure note of Truth in the Divine creation of us.

I am going to do my utmost to be that Expression, not waste the Divine Effort, and be the Pure Note of Truth I was created to be.  Even if I fail at times, won’t it be amazing what I’ll achieve? Won’t the effort and the journey itself be a wonderful adventure?

Who Am I? I trust the Divine Universe to give me the answer, to handle the details, all I have to do is the work.

A 21 Day Meditation Report


It is my perplexing discovery that the more time I spend every morning in the stillness of my body, and the quieting of my mind-the more of myself I become. That may not make sense to very many people, but this is my blog, and my thoughts will come out as they will.

I have been, until the past 30 days, one of “those people” who say they meditate but really mean they listen to meditations on their iPod while they put their make-up on and curl their hair. That’s right, I’ll admit it right here. The funny thing is that even that half-hearted effort at meditation made a significant difference in my daily attitude and behavior.

So, for some reason. I decided to actually DO a free 21 day meditation challenge offered by Oprah and Deepak Chopra. Just for kicks, to see if I would actually keep my word to myself.  After the first three days I was hooked. It only took 10-15 minutes of my morning, but when I was  ready for work I would sit in front of my window altar (that I have also used half-heartedly until now), ; light three candles and put my head phones on and sit in stillness until the steadying of the flames mirrored the quieting of my thoughts.

Some mornings I felt strong, some more tender, some just sweet and grateful. But the most important thing is that I felt peace. True, deep, resonating peace wove itself throughout every resulting state of mind. I appreciated the gift of my body more, my relationships strong or not, my breath, a moment, and always the split seconds of  total understanding that I wish I could hold onto, but takes so much practice to master (at least for me).

It gave me grace at work. I have become  a very volatile person  over the years, and I’ve been so tired of struggling with myself over this issue, that the relief I found due to my time spent meditating was immeasurable.  I am less angry, judgmental, and harsh. I am much calmer, kinder, and more efficient-to my surprise.  My evenings with my husband are more enjoyable, as is my time alone. Could that mean that I had reached the point where I couldn’t even stand myself? That is a distinct probability.

I urge everyone to give it a try. Just 21 days will make a difference to you. I promise. =)