Mindful Journeys

“Sometimes a journey takes us to a place we have never been before. That place may not be on a map. It may be in our hearts.” Faye Hager

Recently, I have discovered a new type of journey. It does not involve going to a physical destination. I may not even move from my spot where I am standing. Actually, I may be pacing, or I may be rocking-I seldom just stand. It is an emotional journey. I believe emotions are linked to our minds, so it is a mental/spiritual/emotional journey. And that adventure all takes place deep inside of me: me-myself-and I. We have to find our way through it.

I wish I could tell you THE magic formula. I can’t. But I can share some things that help me move from:

anger—-to forgiveness

sadness—to hope

grief—-to acceptance

A book can be written on the process-and may be…perhaps I will call it the “Misery Index”. But I will just list a few of the things that help me transform my thinking.

Talk-don’t keep things inside. If you don’t have someone to talk to-talk to yourself

Keep Busy–don’t sit idle and fret. Get out. There is fresh energy outside yourself.

laugher- great therapy. If you can’t laugh, see a show that can bring out laugher.

accept emotions-don’t bury them. They will get stuck in some deep dark grave in your heart.

At the end of the day, if I can change the way I am thinking about something, I can change the way I feel about it. It may not happen in one day. I may have to fake it till I make it, but I will get there.

sunrise

“Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.” Samuel Smiles

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/fake/

 

Decisions, Decisions!

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” Lao Tzu

Clarity is a valued commodity. How many times do I wish I could look up in the sky, or down on the street and see sentences written by my future of exactly what I should be doing. I have never seen it, and it is not from a lack of trying!

Sometimes I am faced with a clear decision which must be made. I weigh the pros and the cons, discuss with friends, and seek ethereal guidance. I realize that the point of absolute certainty may never arrive, so I make the decision based on the facts I have at hand.

Other times, the need for a decision is not so clear. It isn’t that I must make a decision, it is if I WANT to make a decision. Wanting to make a decision changes things by choice. Sometimes other people are affected by that choice. If others would be unhappy with my selected choice, it could seem that I was callous to their feelings.

Yet,I believe that there are natural ‘change point’ times in a person’s life. Somehow your soul lets you know that it is time for a change. You don’t mean anyone ill will. You don’t mean for your decision to have any negative impact on anyone else. But you know that the time is right for you to make a change.

Such has happened in my life over the last few months. I have been at my current job for 13 years. I like who I work with, and I like what I do. Yet, when I read Steve Jobs tip: “For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself, if today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been NO for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” I knew that his sentiment rang true for me.

I studied to be a nurse. I moved into the administrative role for the last many years. I have decided to return to working with patients. I will be directing a research department and working with the physicians and patients who come seeking clinical trials. Our first clinical trial is for patients who have had surgery for melanoma. Melanoma is not the most prevalent skin cancer, but it is one of the most progressive. We are working with a company to develop a vaccine to prevent re-occurance of the melanoma.

I am certain that when I look into the mirror in the mornings, there will be days that I wish I wasn’t going to spend my day at work. But if I have to work, I am pretty certain that when I look into the hopeful eyes of a patient who is seeking medical advances for such devastating diseases, that I will be grateful that my days of working will be in an effort to help those who so  desperately need help.

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/decisions-decisions/

 

Disequilibrium

“Disequilibrium brings change.” I am not sure who said it first. My mother? My sister? I don’t remember. I just remember how true it seems and how often I say it.

I love the days that run smoothly. All the planets seem aligned and peacefully in place. I feel a harmony of my soul and my contribution to my environment. I feel a strong sense of purpose and direction. There seems to be a balance in my spiritual core.

Then there comes a day when things just don’t seem to go as well. It isn’t in the realm of mistakes or problems. It is deeper. My core is alert, not at peace. Things around me seem out of sorts. I may laugh and ask if the planets are out of alignment or if there is a full moon. My sense of direction is confused because I am confronted with many choices-all of which could bring on changes in my life and in the lives of others. Perhaps others around me are making those choices and those actions affect me; yet I cannot control those decisions.

My first instinct is to feel some concern. I sense that things are happening around me that I do not control. Perhaps I have to admit to being somewhat of a control freak. I will say I don’t think so, but my core will laugh at me. I do like to know what is going on, where I am headed and how I plan to get there. I am chagrined with ‘loose ends’. I have to spend a lot of energy letting those loose ends stay flying frantically around out there is space. I want so badly to tie them down. Tie them together. Tie them to a new item. Anything that has to do with closing the open loop.

But my second, more spiritual self, tells me to sit quietly. Let those loose ends fly. Do not be troubled by them. They are not my responsibility and the item that will meet that loose end is coming in due time.

Recently I have sensed great disequilibrium. All around me are new choices. Close to me are changes. Several people I love are preparing to pass on to their next journey.

While I don’t know the full meaning of why the disequilibrium is occurring; I have learned my lesson to listen. Be still and pay attention to what I am supposed to hear. Disequilibrium means change. The change will occur, I don’t make it happen. I just listen for the whisper of my journey’s direction and join it.

“Listen! When the lips are silent, the heart has a hundred tongues.” Rumi

 

Challenge of Change

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”  is the opening line in Charles Dickens’ “Tale of Two Cities”.

Odd as that may seem, it can be true.

Enrolling in college classes seems innocuous. People register for the class, they attend lectures, they make new friends and they learn. Thousands do it everyday. The level of involvement may vary. The interest level may fluctuate.

When I enrolled in my first college class, I was 26. I was a minister’s wife, and had two children. My daughter had undergone 11 surgeries. I had married right out of high school. My husband’s work took us to many states. Each move meant a whole new establishment of medical support. My life was wrapped around my husband, my children and my church. My scope of existence was lived in a glass bowl under the scrutiny of a thousand eyes that watched my every move.

When my children went to school, so did I. I enrolled in one class at the local community college. I fell in love with learning. I learned new things, and my world cracked open. It took me nine years to obtain my college degree. Beyond that degree, college taught me to seek; to question and research and to be open to the discovery.

Funny thing about a world that cracks open. The previous foundation for what I believed began to shake. The truths that were infallible became flawed. Going though a personal transformation was painful. There were many who did not want me to change. Ultimately, it resulted in the death of many friendships and of my long marriage. But it birthed me.

The decade of my 40’s was the best of times-as I became more at peace and in harmony with myself and my worldview, and it was the worse of times-as I had to say goodbye to the previous familiar way of life.

“Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but-I hope-into a better shape.” Charles Dickens in “Great Expectations”

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/an-extreme-tale/

Blind Sight

Watching “The Walking Dead” with my nephew. When the Zombies devoured the helpless horse-hands up, eyes covered, thoughts swarming in my head, “Why am I watching this?” Because I love my nephew, and he loves the show.

The reality is, I can get up and turn off the TV. The instant relief of a changed reality fills my room and calms my racing heart.

Much more troubling is the reality from which we cover our eyes. We don’t want to see it. If we see it, we may need to address it. Best we look away.

In different ways, we cover our eyes to our own reality. Knowing we should get away: from a relationship, a job, a lifestyle. So often our fear keeps our eyes covered. We are afraid to look.

Our reality is not so easily changed as clicking a switch on the remote. Yet, letting the scales fall from our eyes is the first step. Once seen, we can begin the journey of change.

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/cant-watch-this/

 

Not my Circus-Not my Monkeys

“Let it go.” me-Faye E Hager

Everyone says ‘let go’ in one way or another. Most of us get that concept. But how do we make it work? The greatest challenge I face when I am telling my self to let something go, is the fact that I care. I care about the person, the event, the situation. If I didn’t care, it would be a simple act to let go and walk away from the irritating situation.

But sometimes we cannot walk away from the situation, and we can not change the situation. Then what do people do? They are told to ‘let it go’. I tried to not care. I stuck my arm out in front of me, hand at a stop, to ward off the attachment. But I couldn’t make that invisible shield work.

Then one day I realized that I did not have to come to a point of not caring to let go. Connecting ‘not caring’ with ‘letting go’ was my mistake. I can care, and I can let go at the same time. Letting go for me does not mean I walk away from you, it means I let you experience your own journey.

I think we all have a purpose in living-a journey for life. If I step into yours, and try and change you or what you do, I could adversely affect your journey. Perhaps you are about to make a mistake. I can provide you with some words of advice. I could offer love and concern. But at the end of the day, it is your choice of what you do.

So when I heard the saying the other day, ‘not my monkeys, not my circus’ it seemed beautifully apropos. I have my own circus and the monkeys that I try to manage, and others have theirs. They may think I do crazy things, but I am doing the best I can. So are most people. They may make a decision that is different than the one I would make, but it is their circus. They can manage it the way they believe is best.

I don’t have to be in their circus. I can eat popcorn and watch the show.

I keep a little glass jar filled with pop corn kernels and tied with a ribbon at my desk. It reminds everyday that I don’t manage every show. I am not the director of every production. Sometimes I have to watch the show. I might as well eat some popcorn.

Power of belief

The current book I am reading, breaking the spell, discusses the power of a person’s belief. People will die for a belief. There are many who believe that what they believe in is absolute truth. Yet, I wonder about truth. I can not deny that there is some absolute truth. Gravity. We live on earth. Earth rotates around sun….although there was a time that the leaders believed that everything rotated around the earth. Some were punished for challenging that dogma. So even when a truth may be absolute, what we understand about that is limited and therefore must change overtime as we acquire new data. At least, if we allow ourselves to acquire new data.

It can be disturbing to allow new information into our lives. It can make our firm, rock, foundation feel rather shaky, slippery. We have been visiting the lake in Kentucky. It has rained non stop for two weeks. Yesterday two trees feel over from the saturated, muddy, slippery ground. Was it good they fell? The forest way to cleanse the weak or dead wood so the new could grow? I cannot know. But our environment can change us.

So, I sit here this morning with my cup of coffee, I hear the continued rain fall, and I think about beliefs. I think they are the basis for a philosophy. Perhaps they are a synonym for each other. Should they ever be like rock and seemingly in changeable or are they the water that can carve the rock? Who has the stronger power, the rock or the water?