Morning story; enjoying the process

She woke up to Beethoven, the soothing yet startling strains of the woodwinds unraveling the edges of her sleep. The violas and cellos continued the unwinding, and suddenly, she was up. She checked in with herself. She knew she wanted pancakes.

Downstairs, she pet her beautiful dog. She put on water to boil for coffee and melted butter for the ‘cakes. She let herself out to pee, as well as her dog, and marveled again at the April warmth and the earliness of the light.

She decided to eat each pancake as it came off the pan, to save time, she thought, but also because she didn’t want to wait. She listened to a story about people wanting to see their loved ones’ bodies after they had died, and then a story about a man whose mother was having a heart attack and how he managed his mentally ill brother. It was time to make a smoothie. She got blueberry juice on her knuckles from the freezer bag, creating a nasty faux bruise.

She got in the car with her dog and her things and drove to the trailhead for a quick walk. The dog needed to get out the wiggles. She thought about being enough, she looked at the different colors in the spruce trees, and she wondered when these trails would inevitably become a swamp, impassable until next winter. She turned around earlier than normal to give herself enough time to get to school.

The drive was a treat; dry roads. She arrived to animal quarters at 7:50 am and learned that her help that morning wasn’t needed.

There is a certain feeling she gets when she has planned a plan and that plan is cancelled. It’s like floating. It’s like a balloon released from a child’s hand.

She goes back to her office, in the quiet, empty building. It’s been a hard couple of days for her. It often feels like her days are hard. Her friend last night told her she wasn’t too much, but she feels like that. Anyone who touches her will eventually hear the stories of feeling lost, feeling afraid, feeling sad.

But, she remembers, this blog is called Positive Affirmations for Women. So, she wants to leave whoever is reading this with a positive idea, one that connects with her little morning story. Keep on trying. Keep on trying to find lasting peace and happiness within your heart. Remember those who love and support you. Find safety in their embraces and in their words. Keep getting outside and be there, really be there. Enjoy the process.

Three of ’em

Listen to your being. It is continuously giving you hints; it is a still, small voice. It does not shout at you, that is true. And if you are a little silent you will start feeling your way. Be the person you are. Never try to be another, and you will become mature. Maturity is accepting the responsibility of being oneself, whatsoever the cost. Risking all to be oneself, that’s what maturity is all about.

Drop the idea of becoming someone, because you are already a masterpiece. You cannot be improved. You have only to come to it, to know it, to realize it.

That is the simple secret of happiness. Whatever you are doing, don’t let past move your mind; don’t let future disturb you. Because the past is no more, and the future is not yet. To live in the memories, to live in the imagination, is to live in the non-existential. And when you are living in the non-existential, you are missing that which is existential. Naturally you will be miserable, because you will miss your whole life.

(Osho)

The basic point of it all

Pema Chödrön:

The basic point of it [meditation] all is just to learn to be extremely honest and also wholehearted about what exists in your mind – thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, the whole thing that adds up to what we call “me” or “I”.

Nobody else can really begin to sort out for you what to accept and what to reject in terms of what wakes you up and what makes you fall asleep. Non one else can really sort out for you what to accept – what opens up your world – and what to reject – what seems to keep you going round and round in some kind of repetitive misery…

…Because we are decent, basically good people, we ourselves can sort out what to accept and what to reject. We can discern what will make us complete, sane, grown-up people, and what – if we are too involved in it – will keep us children forever.

This is the process of making friends with ourselves and with our world. It involves not just the parts we like, but the whole picture, because it all has a lot to teach us.

From The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving-Kindness.

Photo credit.

Perfect in my imperfect perfection

A human life can be difficult to organize into neat patterns.

However, one aspect of my life I find quite easy to cleanly delineate. I see a reliable, undeniable pattern in which I experience a profound level of peace, ease, and self-gentleness for a time before an experience comes along that tips me off the cliff into deep darkness. This does not correlate neatly with my monthly cycle. Besides the inevitability of the fall, there is little rhyme or reason to timing or what kind of experience will cause the shift. I am not a moderate person in this way.

I felt myself coming out of a deep darkness yesterday evening. Besides patiently waiting it out, there is little I can do in terms of self-care to crawl up the cliff and back to the meadow. It is like every deep darkness comes to me so I can learn something about human beings, about myself, about wise living. This time, my lesson was regarding imperfection.

My desire to be perfect is nearly all-encompassing. I desire even to be perfect in my imperfections, as if I had intentionally planned out all the yucky stuff in my life and nothing about me is an accident (is anything an accident?).

If you know me personally, you probably know that I meditate regularly and take my practice very seriously. It is my life’s largest treasure. This effort brings me enormous benefit, but it can also hinder me in some ways, at least until I realize that I’m self-hindering and learn from that experience as well. Because the practice is fairly demanding, I find myself trying to attain perfection in my practice. Never missing a sitting, never opening my eyes or moving while sitting, tailoring my daily schedule to sitting, dedicated sobriety, a strong desire to “do it all myself,” etc. I was sitting last night with a new friend and this hideous monster from the deep darkness I had been calmly staring in the face for five days softened and melted into a voice reminding me that I can be imperfect. I can make goals that I immediately give up on. I can make the same unhelpful decisions on the daily until I breathe my last. I can engage in laziness against my better judgment. I can be a mediocre friend, coworker, gardener, and bicyclist. I can let myself be afraid and not expect that to ever turn into bravery. Life still proceeds without my permission. I am still lovable.

Perhaps that is actually my greatest desire, to be lovable. It’s okay to forget that I am lovable, it’s okay for you to forget, because you will remember. Even if it’s only the sudden sun on your face after a day of rain, you will be reminded that you are loved. Enjoy the light, observe the dark. Every moment is a precious jewel of discovery.

Photo courtesy of scottishnativewoods.blogspot.com.

See how far.

See how far Love can take you today.

Ask: can I accept even this about myself?

Let your Love for yourself shine and bathe all those who behold you.

It can feel heavy when you realize that what you hold as true was misguided.

Let the past slide off you like February rain on slick duck feathers.

Ask yourself: what is wise?

“Should” is confusing.

Place volition on the shelf above action.

If you can’t sleep at 4:30 am, it’s a beautiful thing to get up and take a bubble bath.

If you get distracted at work, it’s a beautiful thing to write lovely words to interested readers.

If you eat seven cookies, it’s a beautiful thing to eat seven more.

If you feel lonely and scared, it’s a beautiful thing to fall into your old coping mechanisms.

If you try seeing the beautiful in everything, you eventually won’t have to try.

What are you waiting for?

Who is going to live your life for you?

This is it!

SH.

“SH” stands for Self-Hate.

df4e0e86047465ca8cdf1cb5a19f8270SH is like death to your naturally vibrant flowery self.

SH is extremely prevalent in our world. Nearly everyone you meet or see runs on SH to some degree. Just watch your mind for one day, or perhaps even five minutes. How many thoughts that traipse across the expanse of your mind are criticism-based? Or, how often do you hear your friends put themselves down? Tell themselves they’re stupid? That they don’t deserve this or that?

You might discover, like I’ve been the past few weeks, that my actions are mostly based around self-criticism, either set up in my past or more recently created. From how I dress to how I eat to how I structure my day, I feel like I ride a train fueled by SH that has, up until now, had plenty of dirty coal to run on until I die.

Yet, as I investigate all of this, I’m beginning to recognize deeper and more cleverly buried voices of SH and I know I have the ability to air this all out and begin a life of self-love (SL).

Imagine living just one day without criticizing ANYTHING you choose to do. You might, like me, find that you are indulging quite a bit. You might, like me, feel floaty and a bit scared at the freedom and expansiveness of a life without SH. You might, like me, find sadness that you and so many you know are operating through SH.

SH can look like this:

Guilt. Like when you go to your favorite coffeeshop and get coffee and a cookie even though sugar is poison and coffee is death to your adrenals and so instead of enjoying your morning treat you guilt your way through eat bite/sip. As if a healthy dose of guilt makes up for it.

Making yourself do anything. Like when you get home from an incredible day of backcountry skiing and you’re exhausted yet you try and be productive because all these obligations are coming up and you need to be prepared. And so you…

…blame yourself for not being productive enough and that’s why your life isn’t what it could be so you feel guilty.

Play the comparison game. Like when you’re at work and your beautiful coworker with flawless skin and no unusual body hair talks about all of her dates and how is she ever going to choose between all these men and you think, well, it’s easy to have lots of dates if you don’t have pimples and unusual body hair.

Self-love can look like this:

Acceptance of your decisions, no matter whatLike when you, for the millionth time, get second helpings of whatever even though you’re full and everyone else at the dinner table served themselves these really acceptable, manageable portions and second helpings is like a light year from their imaginings and then you eat your second helping and feel a little sick afterward.

Greeting yourself with love. Like when you wake up in the morning and the first thing you do is definitely not meditate even though you know it’s like cool, healing water to the soul and instead you make coffee immediately and feel your adrenals cringe.

Do nothing when you should be doing everything. Like when you’ve committed to yourself that you should practice violin more to be a more reliable section leader to your symphony mates and the last thing you want to do in the universe is practice even though you have a totally free evening so instead you make a big bowl of popcorn and eat it like a ravenous wolf and go to bed at 9:00.

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It takes immense amounts of courage to practice SL and identify and banish SH. The courage it takes to be yourself in a world that is almost completely saturated on hiding our true faces almost seems otherworldly. Yet you may realize that a life lived completely in SL is the only sane way to live one’s life. It will all still happen: all of your dreams will still come true, you will still be beautiful, all the love you could ever need will arrive, all of the happiness you never imagined will infuse your life, in the absence of SH. This is all very radical.

Take the risk. Can you consistently ask yourself the question, “Can I love even this?” Challenge yourself.