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Archive for July, 2011

Running

Have you ever looked inside yourself found something you did not like and ran like hell? That’s what I found on my walk, a whole lot of denial and apparently an intellectual exercise routine. A few days later I was back in the familiar; I said something stupid and back to feeling miserable. I think the “powers that be” were trying to go down a new path, a more enlightened path, and I ran like a terrified little kid, (honestly, I think a kid would be braver) so they returned to their original way of making me aware; I say something stupid, feel bad and then learn a lesson. I think my stupid mouth is their way of getting my attention.

So this is the way it went; I felt bad, slowed myself down and remembered to live in the moment. I was on vacation and I did have every moment before me, but I was so busy planning and filling empty space I forgot to pay attention and enjoy it. So what happened? I shut my mouth, built a sandcastle with my daughter, went swimming with my son, and listened to my teenager. At the end of the day I pulled a chair onto the beach and watched the sun set over the hills with my children snuggling around me. I babysat a two-year old for about 20 minutes and ran all over the beach trying to prevent this very determined little boy from swimming in his pajamas. I realized I am way out of practice. I felt my lungs working overtime and my heart pumping and you know what? I felt alive. We counted boats and I remembered what I used to know about entertaining young children and knew it was in my blood. Some things you don’t ever forget. When his parents came back I snuggled with my youngest and felt her complete and utter exhaustion and together we walked back to the camper talking and laughing. I gave her a bath, tucked her in bed and sat in the silence feeling the energy move around me and through me. It took me a week and three days to wake up to reality. Now that I’m home it is that moment I remember most and treasure. Whenever I am stressed I will pull out the experience and reconnect to the peace I held in that instant. One of those rare and precious occasions I am completely at peace with who I am.

You would think being present would be easy. All you have to do is pay attention and experience what is happening around you. You don’t even have to enjoy it you just have to let yourself experience it. So why is it so damn difficult!???? I read a book on Buddhism; the whole book talked about waking up and seeing Reality. I finished the book. It didn’t help. I think I need to read it again. This is something that should be as easy as breathing. Why am I so busy that I run from today. Where am I going? And why am I putting so much effort in not taking myself with me? I feel the answers all right there in front of me, just out of reach. I can’t get to them. I need to stop running and let them come to me. Can I do that? Next lesson here I come. Is it ok if I run?

 

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Lost on Vacation

A few things have happened since I began this not so grand experiment only a few months ago.  I have actually been at a loss for words in a few conversations. Honestly that NEVER happens! I’d love to say I handled this odd occurrence with grace and wisdom but in reality I silently floundered in mild panic looking for words in my head that simply weren’t there, and for the first time in my life, never came.   Wow!  I hope to start listening when this happens again, maybe there’ll be a message.  I have also been working on noticing my behavior when I am around friends.  I am usually loud and try to be funny, in a word, obnoxious.  While I haven’t gotten those actions under control I am trying to pay attention to how I act and understand why I act this way.

In alignment with my last post I believe I am in the second part of my life, working toward at least the beginning of enlightenment. (ok, I’m hoping)  Something I realized about the camping trip is that the reason I felt so at peace was that I had been totally present during the experience.  I wasn’t thinking about where I wanted to be or what I could be doing, I just accepted where I was and took and responded to whatever came to me.  I need to work on being present.  For the next two weeks that is my goal.  To live in the moment, enjoy my children and the blessings that are prevalent in my life and even experience difficulty.  I need to acknowledge the energy people bring to me instead of planning the energy I intend to return.

One Week Later

It’s funny.  I can tell from my writing I’m sort of lost.  It’s like the auto pilot for being present has been turned off and I am existing through my vacation in a melancholy fog.  When did that happen?  I am lugging around a rock in my stomach and have only begun to realize it has been there for nearly a week.  This is what being in the beginning of a lesson feels like; blah, sad, not really sure of what I’m not getting and unfortunately not too exciting to write about.  I was sure my next post was going to be “it is easy to be present when you are on vacation” but you know what it isn’t.  I have had my days stretched out before me with options to do nothing, something or everything and for some strange reason something is not right.   I have not meditated, I have not really been alone with myself except for this moment and I think maybe I have been neglecting myself a little.  I think I need a meditative walk.  Spend a little quiet time with this person that only I know and see if I can get myself back on the proverbial track.  It’s time to practice a little quiet wisdom.

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My Three Masters

When I was a kid the hero question came up time and time again. “Who is your hero and why?” I would sit and stare at the question. A hero is a person who is admired, looked up to or considered to be the ideal. I had no hero. There was no one I looked up to. Every person is human with their own strengths and failings. Why would I look to someone else to find myself? (Yeah I was an odd introspective child)

As I got older the question continued, I managed to pull together three people I could write about. They all seemed to have pieces or aspects I was striving for. So whenever I was called to write a hero essay I would write about Jesus, Buddha and Mother Teresa. An interesting combination I admit and chosen not for the reasons most assume. I chose these three many years ago but very recently I came to realize, not only do these three have aspects I admire they appear to be the blueprint for my spirit life.

In the early part of my life my goal was to be a teacher, not just any teacher, an amazing teacher. I wanted to change the world one child at a time. As a kid I saw Jesus as a great teacher. He taught the masses with stories and patience, people flocked to listen to his words not because they had to but because they wanted to and his impact on this world is still strong. As a teacher he was my yardstick and although I would never reach his reported perfection I have always strived to “measure up” a little more each day.

My second choice, the Buddha is considered to be the first enlightened human. Man do I want to be enlightened. I would love to not worry and lament and suffer over what has happened, what will happen or what will not happen. I would love to approach life and others with a sense of peace and connection and I would love to be able to live in the moment instead of being in one moment and planning the next twenty or thirty moments at the same time. I want to find the peace that is within me. I stepped onto the path of enlightenment about five years ago. I am at least a million steps away.

My third and final master is Mother Teresa. No, I don’t aspire to run off to Calcutta and serve the poorest of the poor; I have responsibilities here but Mother Teresa had presence. People said that when they met Mother Teresa they could feel her love coming off her in waves. When she touched them it was like a lightning bolt of pure love and after a mere touch their lives were never the same. From across the room people would notice and benefit from her presence. I don’t claim to know the path of Mother Teresa but she is someone I admire. She knew herself, forged her place in this world and made the world better because she was in it. She was human and rose above her own wants and needs to become something so much more. If I live a thousand lifetimes she is who I aspire to be.

When I get spiritually lost I look to my three masters. I believe I have completed the first third. I am an extraordinary teacher, although I can’t take all the credit. I was born to teach. The skills would magically come to me whenever I found myself among children. I improved on this natural gift through education, desire, work, and experience and it has been a rewarding career even when I am only volunteering or subbing. The second third, enlightenment, is at its beginning; with my own soul searching, this blog and study, I am working toward living in the moment, appreciating everything around me and finding peace. If I keep pace I should be enlightened by the time I’m 80 but these things never go the way we think they will and I expect I’ll be 95 when I finally get close enough to merely recognize what I’m looking for. The last third, well…I’ll need a number of lifetimes to get there. Shrouded in fog, it’s a road sign that I hope will get clearer as I get closer, but like a runner eyeing the finish line, it’s there, guiding my choices, giving me the foundation to run upon and a goal to reach for.

It’s interesting how a simple essay question all those years ago highlighted the journey I would put myself on. Life is an amazing teacher and full of precious quiet wisdom.

 

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