Saturday, October 11, 2008

Being Aware and Mindful

I love hiking and being outdoors. While I really love beautiful places I've never seen, and trails to hike that remind me of being a kid and exploring, I am also happy just walking outside in my neighborhood. There is something about taking the time to be outside and observe what is there, that takes me off the hamster wheel of doing doing doing. Instead of noticing my email alert telling me I have a new email, I can notice flocks of birds flying in formation, notice the songs they sing, notice the wild turkeys that show up where I live. In giving myself the time to notice these little things outside myself, I can also notice what happens inside myself - the thoughts and the 'monkey mind' disappear and my planning mind has an opportunity to take over.

I think walking, just the forward movement allows my planning mind to help me move forward too. I sort through things and come up with the most amazing and creative ideas!

Yesterday as I was out walking while the wind was blowing fiercely, I was thinking of the metaphor of life that presented to me -- circumstances can make me feel like I'm being pushed against and I might need to struggle a bit to push back, but I won't get pushed over, I will keep walking and I can stand strong inside my own strength.

Just some things to ponder. This weekend if you feel stuck in a problem, frustrated or just bored, take a walk outside and see what you notice. See what messages nature might provide for you.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Dealing with Stress in Turbulent Times

I'm pretty sure no matter who you are, what your business/job might be, or what your "portfolio" looks like, it's hard not to get a bit stressed with what is going on right now. That is all we hear on the news and all that the papers have to offer. I don't get the paper anymore, but on my walk this morning, walking past one on a driveway I saw the headline, something about "country seized with fear". Oh my gosh I thought, is that ever a way to create your reality NOT based on what I want my reality to be. The reality is, the more we focus on what is wrong, the more that is what we notice, and the more we are plugged into the ugly feelings and the more that is what we get. You Law of Attraction student got that right?

I know we need to take care of ourselves financially and be prudent and smart. But the more this fear grips us as a nation, the more that is what we will have and live in -- FEAR

So here are my tips for dealing with this hard to avoid stuff.

1. Take care of yourself. That should always be number 1 on your list. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself economically, whatever that may be. Consult someone who you trust on issues related to your financial picture if it will make you feel better. Do what you need to do. Then LET IT GO.

2. Limit the exposure you have to the news - papers, news on TV and discussions with people in your life. I like to listen to NPR while driving. It gives me the highlights, as well as some good in depth news, but there is variety, and it's not all what's wrong or bad. I don't generally watch the news on TV -- the debates lately, but that's it. I don't need the constant droning in my brain about all that is bad. Inform yourself, and then focus your attention elsewhere.

3. With regard to limiting discussions with people in your life, just notice when people are going on with the "isn't it awful?" dialog. It is easy to get caught up in this dialog and not good for you. Notice how you start to become angry or worried and tense up as the conversation escalates. When you notice this and your response to it, change the subject to something more pleasant or walk away. This behavior doesn't mean we are avoiding reality. It means we are choosing to focus on what is working while handling what isn't quiety.

4. Find time for fun. Getting worried about money or other concerns robs us of our ability to be our natural fun and playful selves . We need time for fun, alone or with others. Do something that makes you feel good everyday. Read a funny book. Watch a funny movie. Laugh with friends. Dance. Watch kittens, puppies or little children playing. They haven't forgotten how to have fun.

5. Breathe. Take time to be still. If we are always going and moving and doing, we don't have time to relax and find our center, that place where we can connect with our authentic self and remember who we are. A few minutes of stillness everyday does wonders.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Transitioning through life's stuck places

It's October and here in California it's barely starting to feel like fall. The leaves are turning colors that make me say ahhh...In the park behind our house so many leaves have fallen off the trees that I find myself wanting to go back there and run through the leaves, pick them up and throw them in the air, stomp on them and hear them crunch, roll in them. Sound fun? It does to me, but I was kind of hoping for a small child or at least equally child-like adult to do it with me so that children playing back there don't feel afraid of what that white haired lady is up to.

I love fall, and really, when I think of it, I always feel ready to welcome the new season. I look forward to the joys that each season offers and feel ready for it when it comes. Why can't I be quite that way when it comes to changes in my life? I know that fall must occur to make room for winter, which while it is cold and wet and not my favorite season, there is also a wonderful depth to it, the darkness of winter that allows us to go within, to be more still and to nurture ourselves and others. While I may miss the warmth of summer, I don't think, "gee is fall really the right choice? Shouldn't we go back to summer when things were warm and sunny?"

There is a holding onto that occurs with life changes. We look back, and say - should I have done that? Was that really the right/best choice? I want to be able to welcome the seasons of my life in the same way I welcome nature's seasons, to look at my changes and transitions and say, yes, I am ready and welcoming of this new phase of my life, bring it on. To let go completely of the old and embrace the new with open arms feels empowering, yet I know it is hard.

I have written here before about my challenges with letting go of my "children". Heck they are 23 and 26, hardly children but letting go of them has meant some suffering on my part. I think what it has taken for me is redefinning my relationships with them and experiencing them blossoming into something so much richer and wonderful. I know much of my looking back with sadness was the regret -- how I might have spent more time with them, worked less, been more patient, etc etc. I have learned to forgive myself; my children did. In fact, hearing them talk about their childhoods, they have happy memories, and feel they were parented well. What more could a parent want?

Now I can embrace what is now, no looking back but only looking forward in these ever evolving relationships I have with them. What seemed impossible only a few years ago is now reality. They have created their own lives as happy and independent adults. Watching them move through their lives with such integrity and maturity is so amazing and I will take that wonderful new season for them. Yes the summer of their lives was fun and cute, but this new season they are in -- is so awesome, and I am so proud of them. I can look forward to metaphorically playing in those leaves with them as they mature and share their experiences with me in a whole new way. I'm ready