imitating dreams

Come on and take a walk with me–
imagine all the things you never dreamed you could be.
With all the versions of you tirelessly imitating,
come out at last and let the real you be free.

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All The Love In My Life

This morning shortly after arriving to work I became fixated on something my 8-year old made for me when he was in preschool. To think that that was just over 3 years ago is bizarre. On the one hand it feels like just yesterday. But on the other it’s as though it were so long ago. Who I was then, where I was, what I was doing was completely different. And in that time my son has grown in so many of his own brilliant ways most assuredly.

heart

What the message reminds me of is a lesson I have found myself sharing with my son over and over and over again. Because yes, there are times when I’ll catch him feeling sorry for himself; he feels he’s been cheated out of something that someone else got and he didn’t. And what I’ll tell him is how important it is to focus on what he has instead of what he hasn’t got. It’s amazing to watch those little wheels turning inside his head as a shift in perspective begins to take place on his face and in the way he proceeds with his life. He moves on. He gets over it. He learns to appreciate what he already has instead of clinging to feelings of jealousy and insecurity. He remembers the love in his life.  (And the ice cream I just treated him to perhaps!)

There is something for me to take away from this, too. How often have I pined away for a love that couldn’t be reciprocated? How often have I wallowed in sorrow, loneliness, and discontent?  Or wondered why other people get to fall in love and live happily ever after and I don’t?  All the while forgetting–even deliberately–that I am already surrounded by so much love in my life.  And who am I to expect more than what is already given me?

today’s quip

Let love be your only intention.

I suppose that’s not enough to be blog worthy perhaps. But it’s enough to fill your heart with an exuberance of warm fuzzies. And really, isn’t that what it’s all about? Life is hard.  We are all trying to overcome it in some way. Let the love in. Let the love out. Feel the warmness.

Q:What’s In a Name? A: A Chance For Freedom

“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names.” -Chinese proverb

How frustrating it is to have good intentions only to be misunderstood in the end. But sometimes the way we act, the things we do convey meanings we didn’t aim to project.  Through our behavior we communicate an unspokenness; a hidden truth to us; something buried so deep within that it often remains impenetrable even to ourselves.  And so it becomes easy to do things that are out of line with our true nature as long as there remains this part of ourselves longing to be named.

But it’s not enough to label a behavior as ‘good’ or ‘bad’; in fact, this is inimical.  As long as we carry on simply accepting certain conduct as acceptable or not acceptable, we cannot get to the nitty gritty of what our actions say about us in order to give a voice to all that we’ve been stifling throughout the course of our lives.  This state of reticence creates drama and problems for us.  It interferes with our ability to ask ourselves whether our behavior is in line with our core values.  In fact, it can even prevent us from being able to identify what our values are.

We all know the importance of naming.  There is a name for nearly everything under the sun.  Expectant parents can have discussions that go on for hours regarding nothing more than what to call their child who is about to enter the world.  Just think what would happen to that child’s sense of self if their parents simply chose not to name them.  I imagine it would be confusing, disparaging, and lead to a host of insecurities and personal dilemmas for that person.

It is equally important to give name to the motivations behind our actions, avoiding judgement in labels like ‘positive’ or ‘negative’.  We must really delve into the dark waters of our kaleidoscopic beings and ask ourselves those tough questions, such as: What or who does my behavior remind me of?  What was I feeling when I chose to do this or that?  Did my behavior feel like a choice?  What are my biggest fears, where did those fears stem from, and how might my behavior be simulating those fears?  What has brought me the most pain and suffering?  Have I recreated that pain and suffering in someone else’s life?  Forget right or wrong.  Forget good or bad.  This is you getting real with yourself.  This is you giving a name unto yourself, one that you have chosen for yourself.  Because once you can name the root of your pain, you can set yourself and those around you free from it.

 

 

 

 

Disappointment: A path to enlightenment

One thing that grows out of a relationship that has fallen apart is disappointment.  This is something I have been struggling a lot with as I continue to ask myself “Why… How did it all go wrong?”  I begin to doubt my self-worth and cling to the fear that I’ll never find someone to share my life, my dreams with.  I sense that there is something I’m missing amongst all of this disappointment; something that this experience is calling my attention to, but which I have yet to discover.

It’s easy to lose yourself, to forget what is most important when you devote so much of your time comparing yourself to others and vying for someone else’s approval.  But in a moment of clarity late last night a thought occurred to me: I will never be happy trying to fit into someone else’s mold.  All of this juxtaposing has made me miserable and hollow inside.  I can only live my life with genuine intent and authenticity and in so doing I will attract that which I hope to find.

… which brings me back to the issue of disappointment.  In my research this morning on how to start living a more authentic life I happened upon some words of wisdom from Phillip Moffitt, former CEO and Editor-in-chief of Esquire magazine who has since founded the Life Balance Institute and now teaches meditation (proof that anyone is capable of changing paths).  What he explains is that hope can often be false in the sense that it is merely a refusal to accept things as they are.

When you reject the moment that is arising just because it is unpleasant, you are rejecting the only moment you have in which to be alive, the only moment in which you can feel and act. If you are lost in disappointment about the future or the past, you are not fully and authentically present in the moment.”

Got it.  Less hope = Less disappointment.  I have been telling myself that where once I was a hopeless romantic, now I’m just hopeless.  So maybe that’s a good thing?

Or maybe… just maybe… it’s part of the natural order of things.   One of Buddha’s teachings is that we experience everything in terms of these Eight Worldly Concerns: gain and loss, praise and blame, pleasure and pain, happiness and unhappiness.  Buddha referred to these duos as the “terrible twins” because we cannot experience one without the other.  To every action there is a reaction.  What goes up must come down.  And as Moffitt reiterates, “One cannot be open to praise and not receive blame. One cannot experience pleasure and not feel pain. This is the nature of the reality that we know.”  Yes, I can see this.

Abandon all hope.  Accept that life is full of disappointments.  The only way to enlightenment is through our own personal hell.  And in that hell, we will experience moments of loss and despair, panic and confusion.  “Given that this is so, you can either live in denial of the truth of your experience or obsess on your pains and disappointments. Or you can consciously accept, even embrace life not working out and trust that in doing so you will discover meaning in your life.”  I sure hope so.

See more of what Phillip Moffitt has to say at: http://dharmawisdom.org/teachings/articles/living-disappointment#sthash.mJrrUDdx.dpuf