Friday, April 29, 2016

Pass

I'll give you a pass but you must figure out how to learn from it.

   I love the zoo near my home. I provide a yearly pass to my grandchildren. It allows three families free access anytime they want to go. For some of my grandchildren a trip happens once a year but others go every week. The animals are always the same. Those that go once a year feel like they see everything and truly enjoy the day with amazing, exotic creatures. The family that goes every week learns details missed by the less frequent visitors. They learn about animal habits, how the seasons affect behavior, who the trainers are, and how the babies grow from week to week.


  I feel that way about my life. I have a free pass. Days pass one by one and I choose whether I learn and grow or whether I let time go by, unconsciously. I'd like to know my fellow travelers. What they do, how they think, and how they respond to this amazing mortal life, really interests me. 

My pass will expire some time soon. I hope to be alive every day.


  I write on Fridays with a large group who inspire me. Only five minutes and without much thought to perfection. I write, prompted by one word that sends my thoughts to the keyboard and hopefully make sense.




Monday, April 25, 2016

Mindful Monday- Great Expectations

 
 Self-compassion
The expectations kill me. 


                           


    Yesterday we attended our grandson's baptism. As I arrived I noticed gifts on a table and on people's chairs. Gasp! Was I expected to provide another gift? I felt the pressure and immediately afterward the resistance. My boy had already been gifted and even though I knew it, I felt that I should look like a generous grandmother. What are the rules of proper grandmothering? Am I doing a good enough job? If there were rules would I still feel resistance to keeping all THE RULES?
    My mother sent her grandchildren a card and money year after year. Then one year she forgot my daughter. She was getting older and well, it slipped her mind. I feel badly that we remember her slip up more than we remember the years of sweet cards signed in her broken English.
   I choose to be kind to myself and believe that I am doing the best that I can. I gifted a perfect present to my grandson and we had time together to enjoy it. Giving another one at his event would not provide a nurturing experience; it would only satisfy my need to have other's approval.
   The key learnings from this month of self-compassion are:

  1. I make mistakes. I disappoint. 
  2. I am a generous person and try to meet the needs I see around me.
  3. I would like to believe that people are doing the best they can with what they have.
  4. If I believe others are doing the best they can then I can except that I am doing the best that I can with what I have.
               If you want to learn more about self-compassion Kristen Neff has a wonderful website.


April was a month to explore self-compassion. You can read more about my Year of Mindfulness here.
   

Friday, April 22, 2016

Unity

  You can walk smoothly together only if you synchronize your steps. If your brother has a long stride you may have to do two or more steps to keep up. But, once you find the number of extra steps to take, the rough becomes smooth and a unity is discovered.  

 My brothers were all twelve years old and older. It felt like being raised alone. These brothers, two of which have passed away, were bright, adventuresome, and super hard working. I admired them but felt unconnected. When I hit thirty they started to change their perspective of me as a little sister. 

    My last surviving brother and I spent some days together this week. Our relationship seemed to have a unity which satisfied my "little sister" feelings. We worked on a piano teaching broadcast together, we talked for hours, we sang together and found a new song that strengthened our spirit, and I found in his nature a gentle vulnerability which  I had never fully appreciated. 

    Because of his age we were out of step for much of our life. On this visit we found a sychroncity which made it possible to understand one another.






  I write on Fridays with a large group who inspire me. Only five minutes and without much thought to perfection. I write, prompted by one word that sends my thoughts to the keyboard and hopefully make sense.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Writing For Others


                    "We are wired for telling stories."

  
   There are writers out there in Blog Land who draw me in and hold me captive. They speak with a voice that rings true and clear. Helen is such a writer. I met her while writing with the Five Minute Friday crowd. She has a Wednesday series on Contentment. I was a guest contributor yesterday. Check out I Will Bloom.



Monday, April 18, 2016

Mindful Monday- Sending Loving Kindness

"So, the atonement of Jesus Christ
applies to sins but doesn't apply to putting yourself down? How could there be a worse sin than that?"
M. Catherine Thomas


Mistakenly, I grew up feeling that I had to be my own worst critic. It was vanity to think well of myself and certainly I could be self-deceived if I thought I was gifted or talented. In a way there was evil in considering the good in myself. Turning outwards was more righteous. With all this lifting of others, I was still judgmental of my friends and comparison robbed me of joy. My daughter introduced me to the concept of self-compassion. Sending lovingkindness to myself seemed silly and simplistic at first.
Yet, as I sat the morning, the words, "May I be safe.", "May I be healthy", May I be peaceful", warmed and comforted me. It was natural to extend myself to those in my family, and community, and then to those who I felt separated from when I started by addressing my own needs first.  



There is nothing darker than speaking evil of yourself and nothing more bitter than feeling worthless

1- We have to become aware of all the subtle and overt ways we judge ourself and others (both of these coming from the same faulty thinking);
2- We have to replace the tired old tapes with a new kind of thinking and energy, a truer kind-a thinking we listen and listen and listen to while we let all the old falsehoods fall away, as we unveil our true self and discover the life we will be led to live.

If you want to learn more about self-compassion Kristen Neff has a wonderful website.


April is a month to explore self-compassion. You can read more about my Year of Mindfulness here.


Friday, April 15, 2016

The Easy Way


Sometimes the easy way is just letting my emotions walk all over my sensitive spirit

I feel scared, I feel rejected, I feel lonely, I feel small, I feel unmotivated, I feel despair. I feel and feel and feel.

Sitting with these oversized emotions is not easy. How easy would it be to off-load them onto another human being. 
You made me do it. You are to blame. You need to change. You need to help me.




    The harder path is to sit with them, quietly. Let the emotions play out on the stage of my mind without attachment. I am not my emotions. They come and, blessedly, they go.  My spirit can be spacious enough to hold these walking boots until they melt into the soft moccasins which carry me through this mortal life. 

I feel Him whisper that I have been so wrong. The easeful way is through Him. Let him abide in me.



  I write on Fridays with a large group who inspire me. Only five minutes and without much thought to perfection. I write, prompted by one word that sends my thoughts to the keyboard and hopefully make sense.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A Map Of Spiritual Development

"Even "grown-ups" can continue to evolve more complex mental systems, analogous to the transformation from childhood to adolescence, enabling a more responsible, less egocentric grasp of reality."
Robert Keagan

Could it be true? Could I become more spiritually grown up? This map is very general but it encourages me. I see that these stages are fluid and we move in and out of them as we experience life.



  1. The Concrete Stage- Everything in life relates to "me" and "mine". We are not able to be empathetic with those outside of our own group
  2. The Abstract Operations Stage- Our conscious begins to expand. Still, we are intolerant of opinions counter to our own and we become defensive. Not able to put ourselves in another's shoes. Our self-worth is equated with achievement. We try to meet other's expectations and are untrue to our own.



3. The Content Aware Stage- We become aware of the unreliable nature of our own thoughts. We begin to get some distance from our own thoughts and the content of our mind. We start to tune into the wisdom of our body and learn to understand our emotions. We start to gather knowledge from more than just our rational mind.
4. The Construct Aware Stage- We become aware that our own perceptions and world view are only partial views of things as they really are. We value intuition and spiritual promptings more. We start to see that things are right as they are and that everything has been provided for us. 
5- The Unitive Stage- We profoundly experience the interconnectedness of all things. We feel a vaster reality. Losing the sense of being a separate self, we are in the present moment. Our perspective of the trials of life change.  

Keagan, among several other modern psychologists. reports that continual development to higher stages of human capacity is especially likely when supported by appropriate life practices.

What could those be?