Sunday, April 27, 2014

It's Not So Serious

I take life very seriously (I also take myself seriously). I get caught up in the drama of what’s happening, the upheaval, the “what’s next.” I surround myself with light-hearted, playful people to remind myself life is more comedic than I make it out to be.

A while back, this great picture circulated around facebook:

Kermit the frog, don't take life so seriously.
You're so right Kermit.

Yeah. We’re not going to get out alive anyway, so why take everything so seriously? It’s not going to matter in the end. Sometimes I feel like I’m getting tossed about by the ocean’s currents, flailing this way and that, but instead of thrashing about, I’d prefer to dive deep, to not be so affected by the waves.

A meditation I’ve been doing lately is a mountain meditation where I imagine myself as a mountain and then think about all the weather patterns a mountain experiences. Does a mountain disintegrate because of a thunderstorm? Because the wind is howling? No. And the weather pattern passes. It’s the same with the majority of life’s problems. They seem major! Life-changing! Dramatic! But really they’re not so serious.

A friend and I recounted a story of how several years ago we were called demons in human form. The person we relayed this story to said, “Oh really? How lovely. What kind of demon?” Instead of being outraged on our behalf, he took away the power of the insult by trivializing it because obviously my friend and I aren’t demons in human form so why not play with it?

There’s an expression I think about a lot: “If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.” So often I cry, but I’d much rather laugh. Life is so much more enjoyable that way, don’t you think?

I dream of a world where we take ourselves and our lives less seriously. A world where we play more. A world where we laugh more. A world where we are less affected by the events of the day or week. A world where we remember things are not as dramatic as they may seem.

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

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Hope for the Future

On Thursday, I walked through the intersection where I was hit by a car for the very first time since the accident. Up until Thursday I walked by the site (as in, on the other side of the street) but never through the site. As I approached the exact intersection, I felt a whisper of anxiety and that was it. No panic, no becoming paralyzed. I faced my fear head on and I walked through it. In addition to feeling proud of myself, I was reminded how the things that bugged me months ago no longer bug me. How my problems of yesterday (so to speak) are no longer problems today, and this gives me hope for the future.

So often I get stuck in “forever” thinking. As in, if things are like this now, they’ll be like this forevaaaa. Especially in the moments where I have anxiety or depression or fear, it’s a challenge to remind myself, “This too shall pass,” because to me, it seems like the situation or feeling is interminable. I’m starting to disengage from this as I remember the only truth about a thought is it’s a thought, and now I think I’m taking it a step further by having hope life will get better.

I like this picture because I think it conveys both hope and the future.

I am indeed still planning for joy, and a part of that is employing some perspective because things change all the time. Problems get solved, new circumstances arise, and life goes on.

I want things to get better now, but as a friend keeps reminding me, “We look at our watches and God looks at the calendar,” as in things do change, but not necessarily on my timeline. That’s true. I’ve seen lots of changes in myself and my friends, but it has taken time. I have a friend who in her 20s barely made enough money to support herself, and now in her 30s she’s an entrepreneur and recently returned from a trip to Bali. Jeremy Renner was a makeup artist before he became a movie star.

Things change and they often change for the better. I need to keep reminding myself of that, keep holding onto hope for the future, because otherwise I’ll dissolve into a tear-stricken, soppy mess. A friend posted a picture on facebook about a month ago (that I can no longer find) that said something like, "Suicide may keep things from getting worse, but it also prevents them from getting better." I’m not suicidal, but I appreciated the statement because, yeah, there’s always hope things will get better and I’m seeing more and more evidence that they do.

I dream of a world where we all hold onto our hope for the future. A world where we remember the things that troubled us in the past no longer trouble us now and it’s likely the trend will continue. A world where we look on the bright side of life.

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

Sunday, April 13, 2014

We Are Not What We Think

A million years ago I saw a refrigerator magnet that said, “You are what you think so choose your thoughts wisely!” I obviously agree with this sentiment – up to a point. A very wise friend said to me once, “The only true thing about a thought is that it’s a thought.” Yes.

I can get very attached to my thoughts, especially the negative ones. I can start to believe the ugly voices in my mind and it’s not always so easy to flip them to positive ones. Sometimes it’s easier to remember I am not what I think and I am not what I identify with. Giving myself some distance allows me to feel better because it’s true – I am not my thoughts, I am beyond my thoughts.

The point of the meditation I practice is to remind myself I am an expression of an infinite loving consciousness – I’m trying to reach a point beyond thought, beyond drama, beyond anything other than pure and perfect love. So no, I am not the insecure child within me, I am not the drama queen, I am not the writer, I am not any of the labels I adhere to because ultimately I am beyond them, I am more than them.

I really can’t express that in words because who I am is also beyond words, so instead I will leave you with a picture as a reminder. Whenever I look at images of space I am reminded I am more than this body, this mind, this life. I am that.

Horse head nebula
Horse head nebula region. This really needs to be viewed on a full screen.

I dream of a world where we remember we are not our thoughts. A world where we detach from our mind’s dramas. A world where we frequently put ourselves in a place beyond words and beyond time. A world where we feel with utmost certainty who and what we really are.

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

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Plan for Joy

A few weeks ago I listened to a radio show by Radleigh Valentine and he said on average people laugh 15 times a day. Fifteen times! And then he asked, “Do you remember if you laughed at all yesterday?” He pointed out it’s easy to remember the unpleasant things – the times we’re sad or scared or anxious – but the joyful times, the laughing times, are easier to forget. He encouraged his listeners to take note of when they laugh, to see if it adds up to 15 times. And then he said something really interesting: Plan for joy.

archangel uriel sun card
Radleigh does angel tarot and he suggested printing out this card as a reminder to plan for joy.
 When he said, “Plan for joy” I wanted to pause his radio show so I could take that in. It hasn’t occurred to me lately I would need to plan for joy – I assumed joy would sort of happen if I bumbled around in my life. But you know? That’s not true – I mean, sure, I stumble across joy every once and a while like an adventurer coming into a clearing – but it wasn’t necessarily something I planned for. I assumed I’d experience joy once my life was peachy keen – when my financial situation improved, the love of my life came along, etc. I think you know this already, but joy is the quiet moments, the small events that we may not remember long after they happen. It’s having a friend call you up spontaneously asking to hang out. It’s laughing along with a television show. It’s finding out the book you put on hold at the library has become available.

Joy can be spontaneous but it can also be planned and that’s what struck me the most about Radleigh’s show. In an interesting juxtaposition, I had a powerful therapy session this week. I went from fearful, anxious, and insecure in one moment to laughing, goofy, and joyful in the next. My therapist had me remember a moment I felt joyful, loved, appreciated and embody it. Notice what colors I associated with the experience and then she asked me if a movement or sound accompanied it. It did – joy for me looks like strutting with my toes flexed and my heels out singing along to “Let’s go fly a kite” or Life of Brian’s “Always look on the bright side of life.”

What amazes me is no matter how icky I feel, strutting around my cottage and singing “Always look on the bright side of life,” automatically puts a smile on my face and lifts my mood. I can be melodramatic and get caught up in what’s wrong with my life. Lately, like I wrote on my birthday, I’m noticing what’s right. I’m seeking joy even in the midst of the things I do not like. And I’m remembering joy is not winning the lottery or buying a new car, it’s humming to myself while I walk, it’s remembering all the times I laughed yesterday, it’s making an active effort to improve my mood because I am planning for joy.

I dream of a world where we remember we can access joy at any time. A world where we all have that one song that brings a smile to our face. A world where we remember the times we laugh. A world where we not only experience joy, but we plan for it.

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