Don't Let The Crazy In

There are moments of realization and understanding that come to us every day.  Are you listening?

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A friend was visiting my house recently during my end of day dinner and activity rush and as if the balancing act of visiting with her while fielding questions from my kids and also trying to get food on the table wasn’t enough, the phone rang.  I looked at her and we both laughed and she said, “your house is nuts!” I quickly agreed, but added that I used to have to remind myself to breathe at the end of the day because the pace was so fast that I would literally forget to breathe.  Now that my post-cancer life has once again returned to this active pace with the five of us sometimes going in different directions, things are just as busy as before, but I don’t ever forget to breathe.    

This doesn’t feel like that place of serenity and calm that I was shooting for, but you know what?  This is real life and I think that remembering to breathe is a huge accomplishment.  The tools I’ve been creating and surrounding myself with opportunities to slow down or reminding myself to pause for a sunset or to take 5 extra minutes before I rush out the door in the morning has created this space for me to breathe every day. It’s not always at the same time and it’s not something planned or scheduled, but the practice has ensured that it just happens organically.

In diets we all understand the difference between a diet and a lifestyle change.  A mindfulness shift is very similar.  It’s when you practice and practice and then one day you realize it has become a part of you.  You no longer have to work so hard because you do it naturally.  Now, I don’t know that anyone can really fully arrive at a place of pure serenity. There is always a deeper connection you can strive for, but knowing what connection you are trying to make and recognizing progress means you are already reaping the benefits of your mindfulness practice.

In a class I attend it was noted that a practice is something we need to do every day.  At first this sounded pretty intimidating.  Much like exercising every day is a hard commitment to make even though we enjoy how we feel afterwards and we want to experience all the benefits of such a practice. I asked myself, “Can I really take on another thing that I have to do every day?!”  Well that right there is the answer.  NO.  I say no because mindfulness shouldn’t be something we HAVE to do.  In fact, it is something that just happens.  We are aware of our surroundings.  We are aware of the temperature or the feelings of a friend who is going through a difficult time.  We are aware of our to-do list and our social commitments.  Mindfulness is something we do every day so it is not something we need to create.  It is not a big chore that we need to check off on our list.  It’s a state of being.  We can choose that state of being and continue to work towards a place that makes us feel happy and whole and of course grounded in our beliefs.  With this in mind an everyday practice would look different for everyone.  There is no road map.  There is no magic number of minutes to meditate.  There is no book that will give you the answers and so on.  Everything you need to know resides within you.  The answers are for you to uncover. Every day we can live with the intention of learning mindfulness to allow us to experience peace and forgiveness, love and joy, and all the other beautiful things that should be a part of our existence.

If you are reading this than you are already open to exploring these parts of yourself.  Stay curious. Continue seeking and surrounding yourself with positive energy whether you find it in your family rituals, in a yoga class, during meditation, at a church service, with a friend or in all of these place or any where else you may find it.  Continue seeking out these places and people and beliefs that bring you peace and make you feel grounded and whole.

The world around you may be crazy, but you don’t have to be.

With Love,

Tosha

 

Calming the Beast

I’ve been doing some work to understand this giant concept of ego and how it stands in our way of realizing our true selves. I had a breakthrough this morning! How is it that I can share my story with you? I consider myself to be a pretty private person, but here I am writing a blog about inner conflicts and the struggle to hold onto inner peace in my life. I can tell you these things because I have separated my story from my being.  I am not my story.  My story is things that happen to me and around me. My story even includes reactions from my ego and how that controls parts of my life. My story is not me.  It is not the essence of me. Therefore I can share it with you because my story has been stripped away from my ego. On that note, I have not been sharing as much with you lately. I’ve been caught up in the hamster wheel that I’d so tried to avoid. I’ve been fighting against it but I think I need to learn to accept it. This is part of my story but it’s an external part of my story.  I still have the true me tucked inside. I can incorporate this hamster wheel activity into my life and still maintain my connection to the source.

That’s a huge topic to explore but the source is wherever you spiritual connection is tied to. Do you nurture a connection to a higher self, to God, to the moon and stars? Whatever that connection is for you is important to maintain and develop. It is so much bigger than the hamster wheel of our lives.  

The ego however is a tough beast to calm. I just began reading Eckhardt Tolle’s, "A New Earth". In the very first chapter he says that ego is like darkness and you cannot win against it. The only power you have over ego is light.  Our light is our essence, our spiritual consciousness. This we must nurture in order to allow ourselves to shine brighter. We must nurture our light to shine brighter in order to overshadow ego. This takes a level of commitment, but staying rooted in something bigger makes it so much easier to quiet the ego. Where to begin? Check yourself a few times today.  Are you doing something to appease your ego or are you doing something to shine your light? Don’t be hard on yourself because we all have ego and we can never shed that completely, but be aware of which has more influence in your life? Ego or Consciousness?     

I’ve just realized that it’s about co-existing and it’s calmed the urge to give in and give up.  I cannot win against ego but I can shine my light brighter. I hope you will too. This world needs us to shine.  

With Love,

Tosha

 

Neglect?

I did a guided meditation this morning on gratitude.  Somewhere near the middle the voice told us to be  grateful for our inner child and to send love to our inner child.  At this point I began to cry.  I didn’t think I was that connected to the style meditation I was listening to, but he obviously hit a nerve.  

My inner child was crying for love and support.  

That poor child always has to take the backseat, speak only when spoken too and all of that.  Real children have a way of getting noticed. They get our attention to show us they know how to do a cartwheel or they got an A on a homework assignment. They ask for our praise if they aren’t receiving enough and they ask for our love and attention when they need or want it. As we grow this child learns to be more reserved, to need less praise and love everyday because adults have responsibilities and there are expectations.

Most of us have joked at one point in time about our husband wanting a gold star for emptying the dishwasher or making the bed or some other chore we see as ordinary and not worthy of appreciation. This is their inner child speaking out and asking to be fed. Maybe we all need some more celebrating!

When I used to think about nurturing my inner child I thought about swinging on the swingset with my kids, creating or singing at the top of my lungs and maybe even doing a silly little dance step.  Simply playing.  But I never thought to tell my inner child that I love her.  I never thought to say to her, I know it’s been a long day and you’re tired.  It’s ok to cry.  It’s ok to be a little selfish for a while.  You have healing to do and you need this time to gather your strength so you can come back out and play with us.

I think it’s time to honor, nurture and love this child within me, but how do I even talk to her? How do I give her a voice? Just starting with acknowledging she is in there can make a huge difference. Thinking of her as a real child that happens to live inside of me can make a huge difference. Journaling the words you need to hear can make a huge difference. Meditating and honoring her accomplishments and sending her love can make a huge difference. There are many ways to honor this child, but they all start with acknowledging her.

I hope you will take a minute to tune into your heart and ask that child within you how he/she is doing and really listen to the answer. When you have the answer I think you will know what to do with it. We aren’t whole unless we honor all the parts of our being. And just like real children when we are not nurtured the way that we need to be we may act out. We may be sad, get in a fight, or in trouble because that child is in need and is unable to have those needs fulfilled. You wouldn’t dream of neglecting any other child. Why would you neglect your own?  

With love,

Tosha  

 

Who's in Charge?

“Who is in charge of this?” he said, pointing to his head and looking at me directly in the eyes.  OUCH.  I think he just nailed it. 

Who is in charge of my head???  It should be obvious, "I AM", but quite frankly, I don't know who has been steering the ship lately.  The kids are home for the summer which means I am less structured, but also busier tending to needs, breaking up fights, rushing off to doctor appointments etc.  When there is downtime, my favorite hobby is letting my brain bounce all over the placeMy best visual for this is when I go online to look something up, maybe something as mundane as a phone number.  Next thing I know I have opened up web pages on summer vacation ideas, recipes to make for dinner, recipes to save for later, project ideas to do with the kids, Facebook and three of my email accounts.  So the screen shows all these tabs activated.  I only use the computer as a description, because my brain actually has many more tabs activated than the computer.  After being "on" all day it feels good to let my brain just drift and wander, but that question WHO IS IN CHARGE OF THIS, hit me hard.

I am in charge of it and no matter how good it feels to unwind this way at the end of the day it isn't getting me anywhere.  In fact, it is adding to the feeling of chaos because I've just added a million things to my mental list.  My goal is a more intentional life and this mindlessness is in direct opposition to my desires.  Summertime is a rare opportunity to have this sort of break and down time and I will never have another summer quite like this one. Understanding is the first step to making a change and getting back to my wellness basics will help me strengthen the muscles that help me live more intentionally.  I consider my wellness basics to be quite simply mindfulness.  Instead of letting my mind wander, I need to strengthen the ability to keep my mind calm.  It's strange that it takes more energy to think nothing, but if you have ever tried you know it isn't easy.  The thing is that whether you sit in centering prayer or silence just listening to your breathing, the act helps to slow down the chaos of the day. 

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It is hard to see how one act can affect the other, isn't it?  How does a few minutes of meditation in the morning make my busy day of appointments any easier?  There are many books on this and many explanations, but let's just try seeing how it works for us and maybe the explanation won't really matter.  There are many forms of quieting the mind and we'll be exploring them here at ZenDitty in the next few weeks.  For now, enjoy your summer, don't change anything, just observe "Who is in Charge?" and check back in to ZenDitty so we can continue to work this muscle and live intentionally and with great joy.  

With Love,

Tosha

*I love this app for meditation or yoga.  Think fitbit for meditation and connect with me @ZenDitty!  The app is "Insight Timer" available for both Android and IOS.

Detached

I can center myself in my world.  I can sit in quiet meditation with my intentions set on my place in society.  I can calculate where and what I should be.  Or I can sit in contemplative meditation and center myself with my true self, my higher being or with a higher power separate from myself.  What’s the difference?  When I let my “world” be my higher power I am giving power to a system of beliefs shared among the people in my circles.  When I center myself with a higher power I am absolved from the restraints and demands of our societies and clear out so much clutter in my head.  This approach allows more clarity.  It’s the difference between prioritizing what matters right now and what matters most.  When we learn to connect with a higher power we begin to experience an easier existence.  One where our power comes from the source and our motives are pure.

Similarly, I can detach with anger or I can detach with love.  We all have or have had people in our lives that are not healthy for us for a variety of reasons.  They may make us question ourselves.  They may not understand us and may even judge us.  They may be caught in a downward spiral in their own life and the energy they share extinguishes our own lights.  Detaching may seem counterintuitive to sharing our lights and offering love and kindness, and it is, if you detach with anger.  The motive of our hearts affects every cell in our bodies.  By centering ourselves in a higher power and not in our superficial existence allows our motives to come from a pure place.  A place where there is a bigger picture.  Our decisions aren’t so much for selfish reasons, but because we are called to do more, to be more in this world.  We cannot live out our purpose if we allow these relationships to continue. So we detach with love.  With love we step away and keep a protective distance.  The energy around us has not been disturbed, but rather it has been restored.  With this restored energy there is room for new relationships and situations to enter our lives and perhaps even a rekindling of an old one.    Life is a journey we may not always have control over, but our centering force keeps us grounded and true to ourselves and our purpose.

When we keep these things in line, we avoid the downward spiral that stems from unfortunate events.  When we keep centered within our own beings, we are empowered to continue down our paths without fear.  We continue down this path with light loads because our burdens are few.  Practice kindness, forgiveness and centering for yourself and watch your world unfold.

With Love,

Tosha