The bliss of Getting to Source

The bliss of Getting to Source

I was raised to have faith that were was something deeper to life, something beyond the physical senses. I had faith there was a deeper point to all our existence. Many of us are raised to have this kind of faith.

It wasn’t until my oldest daughter was born and I held her for those first precious moments, that faith turned to knowing. I looked into those wide eyes and saw the Source. I saw the Universe reflected back to me, God’s love in all its mystical beauty and astounding truth. In that all-too-brief moment I went from believing in a greater source to knowing it was there.

This was the inspiration for Rule #1 (Get to Source) in 10 Little Rules for a Blissy Life. But what does that look like in practical terms?

Some get to their spiritual source through prayer or religious devotions. Others get there through meditation, writing, painting, music, walking on the woods, even weeding the garden. It doesn’t matter how you get there. Just take some time, even a few minutes each day, to shut out the physical and turn your focus on the bigger picture.

When we do, we begin to feel more connected to the whole. We feel less alone. From here, we start to embrace our existence as a vital part of the whole.

Having faith is a powerful thing. Your faith, combined with this deep knowing, amplifies that power in incredible ways. When we are intentional about getting to source every day, that power starts to manifest in entirely new ways.

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The ego, the soul and the social stream

The ego, the soul and the social stream

Social media.

Love it, hate it, need it, avoid it — we are all on there for various personal, social and professional reasons. And yeah, it’s got its challenges.

Making peace with this reality is neither easy nor quick, and lately it’s been top of mind for me as I go through my work day.

A couple days ago I made a comment on a friend’s post. He was really upset about something going on in the “larger” world — I could tell because of the giant black letters against a blood red background. I may not catch every nuance, but this one was pretty unmistakable.

And I believed he was wrong in how he was looking at the issue. I posted a civil response with my point of view, coming from my 20 years in the online publishing industry.

He deleted the comment, and made a comment about his right to do so. Okay.

At first my ego said “Ha! He knows I’m right; that’s why he deleted my comment.” Then I backed away, gave my ego a gentle but firm hug, and whispered “time out” in her ear.

I browsed through his timeline, reading some of the news sources he shared, trying to gain an understanding of where he was coming from with his opinions. Gradually I began to see what scared him — I could see where the fears were, and how they were being amplified. And I began to realize that his fears — loss of freedom, control, livelihood, ideals — aren’t that far from mine. In fact, they come down to fairly common fears and anxieties we all experience on one level or another.

The only apparent difference? The reasons — the people and policies that are exacerbating these fears in each of us.

In the larger dialogue, these differences can seem vast and insurmountable. But in that personal moment, the commonality of our human anxiety was what struck home. From that point of view, our differences didn’t seem that far off at all.

We all have a circle of immediate influence — in that circle, we can do good, do harm, make change or support the status quo. And then there’s the larger circle, in which we have a voice, sometimes a powerful voice, but changes comes more slowly.

And then there’s the social circle, in which we all have a voice but it often does little to advance our own intentions. It’s just adding noise.

Beyond making our own voice heard, however, is another powerful agent for change. Listening. Trying to truly discover where the other person is coming from, their fears, their motivations and intentions. It’s not easy to go there; but it’s critical if we expect to find long-lasting solutions to the problems that plague us.

 

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Fix Her Crown

Fix Her Crown

When I ran across this image in my feed the other day, I shared it without hesitation.

With all the negativity in the world, we need more focus on the positive, the lifting up, the heartfelt good.

Later the next day, I found my self scrolling the #PermitPatty feed on Twitter, seeing all the nasty things being said about the white woman who called the cops because a young girl of color was selling water to raise money for a trip.

I wrote — then deleted — at least five different tweets offering my snark to the mix. I never posted any of them. Not because I support what she did — I certainly do not. FFS I was selling handmade tissue paper flowers on the side of the road alongside my lemonade stand before this woman was even born. Let the kid sell and don’t be a jerk.

Regardless, I resisted the temptation to chime in and add my voice to the drubbing. Then I started thinking about this image again. Breaking it down, a simple platitude with many layers of meaning.

First — be the one who lifts people up. This is always good advice. Yet there’s a sad blow back to doing this in our current climate, where it seems everyone assumes you’re on one side or the other based on one comment. If I said something as simple as “we don’t know the whole story,” (which, face it, we NEVER do unless we are personally and directly involved, and even then, it’s sketchy), I’d be labeled a supporter of her ugly behavior.

Seems we are only “allowed” to lift someone up when we agree with their political/social/whatever view … or risk alienating others or being labelled incorrectly. Gross.

Second — don’t tell the world her tiara was crooked. This is for the ego. Lifting up for love’s sake, not for that “I did a good thing” moment. This is an eternal struggle, isn’t it? This woman clearly had her crown on too tight or something — does she have someone in her life to help her adjust? I sure hope so, or else all the hate flowing her way is only going to solidify her fears and support harsher actions.

Our crowns slip occasionally. Our tiaras get dusty. I’m grateful for my friends who quietly help me set things right.

 

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On Rituals … and the Value of Temporary Chaos

On Rituals … and the Value of Temporary Chaos

Rule #9 in 10 Little Rules for a Blissy Life is “Make Life a Ritual.”

There is a certain comfort in routine. The morning cup of coffee is a perfect example. While some view it as a chore or a necessity, I see it as a way to reconnect to the waking world.

So much of our lives rush by in a blur. We find ourselves doing the same things over and over again, like dropping the kids off at school, or tossing a load of laundry into the washer, dashing off emails to the clients, or paying the bills. It’s too easy to become automated, almost unthinking, as we scurry through our lives.

One way to bring more connection into my life has been through rituals. Growing up Catholic, we had plenty of proscribed rituals. Tuna noodle casserole became a Friday staple during lent. Even stopping for donuts after Sunday Mass, which explains my ongoing craving for a good jelly bismark one day a week.

I have found new joy in recognizing and celebrating the rituals in my life. Making the bed is now an opportunity to bring my bedroom back to a state of beauty, and prepare the space for another restful night. Checking the mail is gives me just a minute or two to think of someone I’d like to hear from, and plan to write or email them. Cooking dinner goes from being a chore to celebrating a healthy offering for my body.

But what happens when change interrupts our rituals?

The last two weeks have been all about chaos — sorting, packing, storing, selling our home and moving in with a friend while our new home is under construction. The comforting rituals are turned on their heads. And with it, my sense of balance. It’s no wonder I’ve had vertigo in the mornings, as my physical body expresses what’s in my heart and mind.

Yet overturning the familiar is where we find new joy. Creating new order out of the chaos — even though I know this too is temporary — restores my balance while allowing me to be open to new experiences.

My latest ritual? Morning coffee on the dock, feeding the baby turtles at my friend Melissa’s beautiful home. Who knew watching tiny little shell kids bob for food could be such bliss?

I may be out of my element, but that’s no reason to be out of my mind.

 

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I’m good, thanks

I had a pretty great blog post all written and ready to publish. I’ll spare you the details, but this was the general gist….

via GIPHY

 

Personal development is a beautiful thing. I believe we are on this journey to continually learn from what we go through, to open our eyes to how we can be become even more. So I took my rant — it was a good once too, full of righteous indignation — and breathed some love in it. Then I erased it.

I’m letting my FFS moment go.  And I’m grateful for the person who triggered it. Because I got to learn something myself. And I got to step back from my judgment. So right on, you.

via GIPHY

Carry on.

Namaste.

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FFS, Have a Little Faith, Woman

FFS, Have a Little Faith, Woman

It’s not that hard.

We get what we put out there. Our external life echoes the thoughts we have running through our heads. If our thoughts are chaotic and uncontrolled, we get chaos. If our thoughts are fear-based, we get a life filled with anxious moments. If we have a million conflicting dreams and desires, we experience unfilled wishes. And if our thoughts are calm and centered? Yep, we find our lives are calm, more in control, and we are better able to cope.

Of course that doesn’t mean bad things won’t happen. Parents will get sick; kids will have crises; partners will flip out and leave; houses will burn down — literally or figuratively. These things will continue to happen — but our experience of those things will be vastly different, depending on the state of our inner mind.

Now, when we get really good at maintaining that mindful balance, we are able to focus our thoughts and intentions on what we truly want — far beyond just surviving the day, making it through the next crisis. We are able to spend time seeing the future we want for ourselves.

When we can do that, it suddenly becomes clear what step to take next. We take that step in trust, in faith, knowing that mistakes will be made (it’s how we learn), and setbacks may occur. But we move forward — in faith — knowing that how we experience our own lives it up to us. Entirely up to us.

Much love.

 

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Rare, pshaw. Hardly!

Rare, pshaw. Hardly!

According to Apfed, Eosinophilic Esophagitis, a RARE DISEASE, affects 1 in 2,000 people. So, in the city of Ann Arbor, MI, where there are approximately 121,000 people living, we can hypothesize that there could be 60 people, who have eoe, walking through that college town of only 28.7 square miles.

That is the most math I have done in quite a while, please don’t expect that of me again.

 

So what is my point with all of this?

My dudes (yes, I talk like this in real life and yupper, I am nearly 40), we’re not alone. None of us are. Last week, I received a message through one of my social media platforms. It made my day, that someone came to me with questions. This young lady was freshly diagnosed and, rightly so, was distressed. It was a relief to her to find our story and to find someone else with this link. Hank may be rare, but he isn’t the only one in the neighborhood! So, how do we go about finding others in our same boat?

Social Media: Through Instagram, you can find other families like mine. Families that document their daily lives and struggles, triumphs and wins. Head over to Facebook and not only can you also find us, you can join support boards that cover the world, your state or possibly your county, province or city. And if you can’t, you can start your own! Connect with these families, engage in conversation, ask questions. I have found that most people will answer your questions and lend support. So, ask away!

APFED.com: I love this group, here, you can find local, volunteer-led support groups. This page will also connect you with their online support group.

Your doctor: Who better to know of your local resources than the men and women who are helping you navigate this situation? Ask there for suggestions as well. The bonus here, is that they may be able to recommend a therapist for better one on one support.

I, personally, respond to all (appropriate) questions that are sent to me and usually have the time to dedicate for a conversation. I am not an expert and I don’t sugar coat our experiences. But I am also available for an extra shoulder.

 

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At the intersection of gratitude and want…

At the intersection of gratitude and want…

If we are truly grateful, can we want?

It’s on the top of my mind lately, as hubby and I go through the rigors of having our house on the market. It’s a great house, nothing wrong with it … and I truly am grateful that we’ve able to get here.

So why we are selling? If we are really grateful, can we still want something else?

I need to move to the beach. It’s been a dream since forever for me, and hubby is absolutely committed to helping make that dream come true. So we are selling, after just getting here two years ago.

All of this spins up guilt because … well … even after all these years of self-reflection, it appears that guilt is still my go-to place. Guilt that maybe I don’t appreciate what I have; will never be happy; will always be searching for something else; not satisfied.

And wow, writing that out, I can hear the voices from my past saying those exact things. “When I was your age…”  “When I was growing up…” “People in India would eat those carrots…. ”   “Be thankful you have shoes at all…”

The lack! Okay, I get it. Be thankful for what you have. And I truly am! Truly am grateful for what I have, who I’m with, where my life has brought me so far.

And still … I want to live on the beach. Need to get there before it’s “too late,” whatever that looks like.

Breathing in, I see how just writing this post can spin up anxiety and guilt. But I know that the world is FULL of options. And just because we choose something else doesn’t mean we no longer are grateful for what we chose last time. That’s nonsense.

I’m still grateful for the first house I ever owned, a 200-year-old “hobbit house” in rural upstate NY. Even now, seven homes later (some rented, some owned) I have gratitude for the time I spent there. Just as I will for this place, after we connect with the new owner.

What I realize now is eye-opening. I am grateful for each place, for the shelter provided, the experiences, the fun and the challenging times. That remains. And it’s the new experiences I crave, the next iteration of what I’ll learn and who I’ll become. So I can remain grateful — fully and eternally grateful — for each place while graciously letting it go.

Where are my flip flops?

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