Monday, June 27, 2011

If it Ain't Broke. . .

Growing up in a spiritual household my parents have been extolling the virtue of surrender for years. And by surrender I primarily mean “letting God and letting God” while still doing what I can, because after all God gave me hands to work, legs to move, stamina to act, and practical intelligence so I might as well make use of them! Anyway, as you know I launched a kickstarter campaign to raise money to get my book professionally copyedited, designed, and laid out. (And if you didn’t know, I launched a kickstarter campaign! The cutoff is Friday and $15 gets you a free copy of the book!)

I can say unequivocally this campaign has driven me NUTS. A few weeks ago I prayed for peace – and I meant it but there was still the element of control within me. I still wanted to influence the outcome. I still wanted to do everything in my power to make. it. happen. I joined twitter to start tweeting about my book using hashtags out the wazoo, I e-mailed friends and family, I posted it to facebook, I pinged complete strangers who I thought might be interested, I prayed (and prayed, and prayed), I tried the whole “Abraham Hicks deal” of feeling what it would be like to get my campaign successfully funded. I felt gratitude for all the contributions pouring in and felt what it be like to have more. Yes, it all worked to a degree, but you know, nothing does the trick like surrender. Honestly, all these methods may work for other people but time and again the universe has shown me I just need to SURRENDER.

Surrender is a recurring theme for me because it’s the antithesis of my personality, which is extremely controlling. I like to plan for everything. I’m the girl who carries around hand sanitizer just in case! So perhaps it makes sense the ultimate answer for me is always the complete opposite of my innate nature. As I type that a little voice whispers, “Surrender is your innate nature – your ego’s desire to control isn’t. That’s what you’re here to remember.” Perhaps that’s why the title of this post is, “If it ain’t broke. . .” because surrender works for me. It always has. So why do I keep trying other things first?!? Probably because in some ways (all ways?) surrender is the hardest thing for me.

I’m rambling a bit because, well, it’s 11:42 p.m. and I’m flying to the middle of the country tomorrow, but I guess I want to say I’d like surrender to be my first choice. Because when I surrendered this campaign, when I said to myself, “I let it go and let it flow. I let God take care of it,” in that moment, that very moment my future sister-in-law e-mailed me a blogpost she wrote mentioning my campaign, I had a new backer for my book, AND a complete stranger e-mailed me out of the blue and said, “Your story and book I feel will inspire others and touch lives in a positive way ... I feel it has that energy and I wish you the best of luck with it!” I know it was the exact moment I surrendered because I happened to glance at the clock when I did. I don’t know how many people will back my project or quite how this will all turn out but that’s the point of surrender – I’m turning it over to a power greater than myself to handle.

I dream of a world where we continue to use the tools that work for us. A world where we let go and let God. A world where we do our best and then turn over the consequences. A world where we accept there is only so much we can do and the rest is out of our hands. A world where we let whatever will be, be. In essence, a world where we learn the value of surrender.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

People DO Change

I hear (and read) the expression, “People don’t change” frequently and it baffles me. Because people do change. All the time. Heck, I’m a different person now than I was even a month ago. And not just me. There are gay characters on practically every television show that’s broadcast these days. There are homophobic dads out there that are now accepting their gay sons. There are states that accept gay marriage and civil unions. There are entire countries ok with people marrying whomever they want. And not just that, hell, Wal-Mart sells all natural products made by Clorox. Clorox, the makers of bleach. Sure, it was probably motivated by profits, but still, the fact I can even say that in the same breath is tremendous.

On an individual level there are people out there who are off drugs, or lost 300 pounds, or finally learned what it means to be compassionate. There are people who finally took down their walls and allowed love into their lives. People change ALL THE TIME. I think mostly what it comes down to though is “I” can’t get “you” to change. I think we say, “People don’t change” because it’s much easier to swallow our powerlessness over others. Because no matter how much I want, plead, or cajole I can’t force someone to change their behavior. But that doesn’t mean their behavior won’t change, it just won’t be because of me. Or them really.

Here’s a truth I’ve learned: “I” can’t ever change myself. If I could I’d be thinner/richer/smarter/prettier/whatever. If I could change me I would do so many things! My controlling nature would throw a parade because, “Yes! I can finally do everything I always wanted the way I wanted!” Here’s the miracle of my life today. I’m incredibly impatient (which I think we’ve established) and I resigned myself to being that way forever because, “People don’t change.” But then you know what? I started praying about it. I started praying for more patience so I could better show up for myself and others and it happened. When I went to visit my parents for Christmas I didn’t yell and stamp my feet urging them to hurry up. Instead I kept my mouth shut and just waited. I wasn’t even bothered by their lateness. Who was that? Not me. The change had to come from something outside of me. And I don’t necessarily mean just God or Higher Power. I’m talking about the little stuff that gets me out of my own headspace like serving someone else, or volunteering, or traveling to a foreign country. There has to be that room for expansion and growth.

I guess I’m saying I know another world is possible because another me, you, we is possible. I know another world is possible because we change all the time. We are each different today than we were five years ago. I know another world is in the making because we are not static creatures who engage in the same behavior over and over again. Sure, we might for a time, but eventually something gives. We expand. We wake up. We’re ever-so-slightly different than we were before. There’s no truth to the statement, “People don’t change.” It’s more accurate to say, “I can’t make you change.”

I dream of a world where we celebrate the growth we all go through. A world where we recognize the beauty and the magic in life. A world where we see how those around us do indeed change and we marvel at the difference. A world where we allow ourselves and each other to show up in new and inspiring ways. A world where we recognize things are ever-changing, ourselves included.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Internal Peace

Years ago when someone said to me, “More than anything I just want to feel at peace,” my immediate reaction was, “Pssshaw. Peace? I don’t want to feel at peace! I want _______.” I wanted what I wanted. None of this “peace” business. Give me a great body, clear skin, a full bank account, a loving boyfriend, and a nice place to live and then maybe we can talk about peace.

What’s funny is peace is all I want these days too. I want to be even keel, not obsessing, worrying, or acting compulsively. That’s how I define peace. A sense of calmness, being unperturbed despite the hullabaloo taking place around me. Internal peace is feeling everything will be ok no matter the outcome. My friend B would call that “unconditional serenity.” Yeah. That’s what I want. Serenity without conditions.

I bring this up because when I launched my kickstarter campaign I was in a right state – obsessing over how much I had left to go, worrying I won’t make it, compulsively checking and sending my email. And now? Of course I care, of course I’m still taking action, of course I’m still encouraging folks to donate, but honestly, I’d rather feel at peace about it. And not just my kickstarter campaign, but my entire life. I’d rather just trust it will turn out the way it’s supposed to. And I don’t have to worry about the future because I’m not in the future, I’m in the present. And for today I have enough money in the bank and my kickstarter campaign is 41% funded. So you know what? We’re all good. Not only that, it’s out of my hands.

That’s the truth of it. I’m not in control of pretty much anything except my own thoughts and actions. I do not control whether people donate. I do not control whether I get more freelance work. All I control are my thoughts – which are that the universe supports and loves me – and my actions – which are I will continue to email people and continue to look for freelancing work. The end results are not up to me.

The thoughts though. Oh my goodness the thoughts. I’ve had to tell myself over and over again the universe supports and loves me. And the campaign will either be successful or it won’t. Because the truth is I don’t like stewing in the same pattern of, “Will it be successful? Should I email more people? Who should I contact? Who should I not contact? Will you give me money? How about you? What about your friends?” I’m still going to email folks but it doesn’t have to be a constant barrage of “Will we make it? Will we make it?” Dear Lord, just give me peace!

So that’s what I’m praying for. For my higher power to take this from me. To allow me to be of service. To allow me to get out of my own head. I’m praying for trust and faith in the universe. I’m praying to know that no matter what happens to recognize it’s in my best interest. I’m praying for clear guidance and for the obsession to lift. And I pray for other people as well.

I dream of a world where we all know the exquisite experience of internal peace. A world where we all ask for peace in any situation because we know we have the power to do so. A world where we trust ourselves and we trust the universe. A world where we allow the universe to flow through us and around us. A world where we live in peace.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Generosity of Spirit

This week I’ve been amazed by the generosity of spirit my book Just a Girl From Kansas has received. (For those of you who don’t know, I started a kickstarter campaign to raise the funds so I can professionally edit, design, and lay out the book.) I am so touched by just how much people have donated to the project. It’s only been five days and we already have more than $1,400. I’ve opened my inbox day after day and found donations ranging anywhere from $5 to $150.

This experience has shown me people are kind and generous. That they want to support friends and strangers. That we don’t live in a world where we pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps because there are so many people ready and willing to lend their support. That support, that generosity, is a precious gift and it tends to create more of it.

On Saturday I had to add money to my transit card and shuffling around the fare machine was a disheveled man asking for change so he could get to South Hayward, a stop in the East Bay. I get asked for money all the time because, well, I live in downtown San Francisco, and normally I hand out food. But this man requested something so specific, and I felt so grateful for all the generosity I’ve experienced thus far, that I said to the man, “I won’t give you the money but I’ll buy you a ticket.” At first I was startled at my response but a split second later, I realized, “Yeah, that’s exactly what I want to do.” I didn’t want to give him money in case his request was a ruse to buy drugs so I bought the ticket myself. I know the $4.90 I spent is nothing compared to the $5,000 I’m asking of others, but the sentiment is the same.

In this moment I’m at a loss for words, but what it comes down to is I’m so grateful. Grateful people are donating. Grateful people are willing to support this project, my heart and soul’s work. Grateful I don’t have to do it alone. That’s the biggest one. I’m grateful I don’t have to be the one to come up with the cash. I’m grateful I’m not the one who has to figure it out, or sell my worldly possessions, or win the lottery. Because the support is there for me. And not just for me, for everyone. The universe loves and supports us and the way that happens is through other people. Other people will show up in our lives to give and that in turn prompts us to do the same. I’m not alone in this world. I’m walking along with other people who are helping to carry my load, and I theirs. All together we make our burdens a little lighter and that is mostly what touches my heart.

I dream of a world where we continue to support one another. A world where we continue to be generous with our time, money, and skills. A world where help those around us because we know many hands make light work. A world where we allow the universe to support and love us in the guise of other people.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

We Interrupt This Blogpost. . .

Hello! So I’ve been talking about my book, Just a Girl From Kansas for months and months. Well, I finally launched a kickstarter campaign so I can actually get it published!

For those of you who don’t know, Kickstarter is an all or nothing fundraising platform. So that means I either raise all $5k by July 1st or I don’t see a dime. So when I say to you, “Every little bit counts,” I really mean it! The other cool thing about kickstarter is along with your donation you get a backer reward like a signed copy of the book or a handwritten thank you. If you would consider donating even a little bit I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you so much!