Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Power of Awareness

Provoking change is not always necessary, staying aware of ourselves is more important.

I just read those words in my daily message regarding my Enneagram (personality) type.

Last night, at my AWOLmeeting, it was announced that a couple members had left. One was a late entry to the group so her absense wasn't surprising but the other one was a surprise. She was a strong member, bright and smiling, long in sobriety and acted as our treasurer. It was mentioned later by one of the moderators that she didn't feel safe.

I get that. If it weren't emphasized in the beginning of this 26 week exercise how important that we be committed to attending and finishing. It is important for the group vigor that we know we can count on each other to hang in and hang on.

It is not a meeting that I sit there in contentment. Physically, I'm tired from the day, it feels like my heart is beating about forty beats a minute and that only half of that is reaching my brain. I struggle to keep up with what we are reading and try to come up with something cogent and on topic to contribute. In that context, it does feel unsafe. We are all struggling with that and so there is a stilted feel to it, intimacy is not inherent in that process. I feel like I am doing a slow treading of water in that my feet don't have the security of touching ground and I am certainly not swimming either.

That feels unsafe to me. I usually know what to say. I am used to (care taking) sharing in a warm, engaging manner and receiving it back. So, the all important me is not happy. I am used to a level of ease that in this twelfth week isn't there. It ain't happening for me.

What is key for me is that I don't blame the meeting. And I don't blame myself for feeling lost. I am reminded of the desert mothers and fathers that slogged it out for decades. I do not have to sacrifice in the way they did but I can put up with feelings of boredom and insecurity. I can have faith that I am in a space, a place that invites sacred health and guidance. I do not have to be amused!

So, I will miss her bright shiny presence and mourn that I will not receive the gifts of getting to know her better. But. I did get a gift from her, nonetheless.

We have people put in our life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. That's what's good about today!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

You Are Loved, You Are Loved, Relax.

I utter the words to my dogs this morning from 900 miles away. My little terrier whom I think of as 'Edward ScissorsTeeth' has woken to an empty house this morning. It is empty of me, her all powerful, holy one. I, too, woke up at our time, 4:45 when the night is still dark.

She is my nervous dog child who chews upholstery, wallboards, curtains when afraid.

So , I send her the words of comfort above. The very words that I, myself, need to hear. My dawn is lonely too but the world is in its orbit and all is well. That's what good about today.

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Daily Reprieve

A reprieve from the delusion of separateness and self centeredness is given if I attend to my spiritual condition. This does not only mean that I use prayer and meditation but that I welcome the stranger and love my neighbor in all their varied splendor.

That's what good about today.

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Moment of Silence

For Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass, this date in 1938 when Jewish shops and synagogues were destroyed by Nazis who beat and killed many while Protestant and Catholic Churches held silence. The Jews were forced to clean up the destruction and were barred from hospital care.

Another moment of silence for the survivors of this and other atrocities, that they have comfort and live in safety.

A third moment of silence for the 20,000 citizens of Mexico who are missing, that they have left this insanely cruel world and that their survivors find resolution, comforted by their faith.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

What's Good About Today

Mind . . . . I got so nervous about having a new friend over for lunch that I didn't know what to do with myself. I ran out to the store to buy food that I really didn't need. I was trying to clean the house and rake the yard simultaneously!

Body . . . . I realized that I was flitting around so much because I was deeply tired from yesterday so I laid down for an hour before lunch.

Heart . . . . I had a phone call from someone I spoke to yesterday who had a profoundly meaningful reaction to something I told her and wanted me to know how much it meant to her. She was able to surrender and get some peace for herself.

Soul . . . . By the end of the day, my home and yard were in orderly shape, I was energized from a woods walk new to me with my friend and all 4 dogs and I sat back knowing that I had used this day well. It started and will end with prayer, in between it included a big dose of nature and sweetness.

That is what was good about today.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Magic of 7, Part 2; Let Me Know if This Speaks to You

I am lucky as I have a natural affinity for tossing things out. If the world can be divided between those who save things and those who don't accumulate 'stuff' then I have always been in the latter category. That said, in American culture we are susceptible to 'the creep' .

The creep comes in on little feet. It creeps in by way of mail offers that look too interesting to throw out, a couple good buys, some silly gifts received, books that are only touched by a dust rag.  It's not much until multiplied by weeks and months. You know what I am talking about.

So, I rooted out bags, over weeks, of clothing and holiday decorations and tax returns from the 1990s and books and gift soaps and Chia pets that have never been hydrated. It didn't happen overnight. There were some areas that I heavily resisted. I think that the best possible advice is to pack stuff in a box if you are undecided and look at it again in a few weeks.

That worked wonderfully for me with a box of clothes. When I looked it over again I found that the items meant nothing to me and I promptly donated them. Regarding simplification in clothes I will claim what I call the New England clause; it's darned difficult simplifying to 7 when one considers the seasonal weather range of 100 degrees, slush, drought so I am still figuring it out.

I knew that for a simple woman I had accumulated more pairs of shoes than I have owned at any other given time. The count was 22 pairs of assorted footwear, I think I got it down to 15 but if subject to an audit I might blush. That's where the reality and the attachment delusion get mushy for me. I am lucky to work in a casual environment so any thing goes. BUT, what if I need this or that, I can admit that I seldom wear the crocs but maybe next summer. Maybe, maybe, maybe I will need it.

Sigh. I can only say that life has gotten immeasurably simpler and better since I cut down my 'needs', I feel less weighted down. As fall has turned into winter, there have been some exchanges and I am pretty content. I have at least 7 jackets and coats to choose from and I will look at that. It comes down to what actually gets used and that is where I will answer to reality rather than perception.

The truth sets me free of burden, that's what's good about today.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Magic Number of 7

As always, when I speak to an audience I say what I need to hear. For the last couple months I have been paring away what  no longer interests me. I don't remember what initially sparked my interest but I googled the term minimalization and I was off and running.

It helped that in my monastic journey I was in quandary (I could claim quandary as my home town) and it happened that the next topic for me to digest was poverty.  As I looked at blogs about simplification I came across Jen Hatmakers book called 7:A Mutiny Against  Excess. To keep it short, she narrowed food choices, available clothing etc to 7 items for a month.

So, my food list was eggs, whole wheat bread, greens, apples, peanut butter, milk and dark chocolate. I count coffee, olive oil, salt and pepper as free and necessary ingredients. Amnesia similar to forgetting pain after childbirth prohibits me from remembering if it was difficult in the beginning. I have kept to the regimen more or less since. I find it to be very satisfactory in two major respects.

The first is that it has measurably increased my free time. The simplicity of food shopping, prep and cleanup is incredible. I stick to choices that support what is locally available in season in my New England area and I can easily afford organic choices with such a short shopping list.

Which brings me to the second satisfaction. I can align my eating habits to the vast majority of those in the world limited in choice and ability to store  foodstuffs for 'tomorrow'. I eat a day at a time what is available. I bring this up because I saw Ann Voskamp's photos of African children with big smiles eating big plates of rice and beans. I thought to myself that I would have needed to save some of it for tomorrow. How do you do that in most homes of the world that are rough shelter! Where is their refrigerator, Carol?

So, I pay homage as I eat a few bits of this and that. Simple food that sustains me, made with my hands. And my life feels fuller for having stripped away some excess. Do I eat differently at parties? You betcha, I test this and that but my appetite stays right sized and doesn't lead me around like it used to.

That's what's good about today!