Friday, December 21, 2007


Being between jobs gives me a new perspective on things. For instance, I don't think so much in terms of M-F and weekends so much as I think in terms of when my husband will and won't be home. Or, I think in terms of what things I'm better at during the morning vs. the afternoon or evening. Today has been an interesting day in that I keep having to remind myself for many people it's the eve of a vacation, whether it is just 4 days long or they don't go back to work until the 2nd of January. My physical therapist's office was mostly empty and there was a spirit of camaraderie in the air, a sense of, "we're all experiencing this together," and I felt a little out of place in it. Sure, I'm leaving for a week myself tomorrow -- my husband and I are heading to Connecticut to spend the week with family -- but I'm not on "vacation" from anything. Then again, I've been working incredibly hard the past few weeks. Not in a traditional sense, sure, but does that make me any less deserving of a vacation?

The interesting thing is, I don't really want a vacation. I've been trying to figure out how I can keep doing my work -- my meditation, my writing, my exercises -- while I'm on this trip. My days will be full of last-minute shopping, gift wrapping, and visits with family and friends, which makes me wonder if I should adopt a schedule more like I'm working a full-time job, where I'm up at 5:30 to ensure I have time do what I need to do and still get out the door by 7:30 or 8:00. In the past traveling was an excuse for me to blow everything off, from my diet and exercise to meditation -- I even read a different caliber book when I travel. But I feel called to do the opposite this time, to challenge myself to truly incorporate this work I'm doing into my life in such a way that it sticks even when I am on the road. This may be easier said than done, seeing as how things slipped this week due to time-sensitive holiday tasks and I haven't even left California yet, but I like the idea of shifting my expectations for this journey, inside and out. I'd like to be centered and strong in my sense of self, able to go with the flow and relax and have fun while still being productive. My work enables this -- it may take up time itself, but it makes up for it in spades throughout the day.

So, wish me luck in my endeavors and with my trip. I'll bring back a snowball for you. Namaste.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Great expectations

This week has been an emotional week for me. It could be that I'm PMing, although I suspect that just magnifies things. I think the real culprit here is expectations. I've been on a spiritual path for over 15 years now, and while I have grown and changed significantly throughout that time, one thing that has not changed is the high expectations I have for myself, and as a result for others. If anything, it has just gotten worse. Instead of focusing on how far I've come, on how much more love and joy and peace I have in my life, I often focus on the old patterns that still come up for me, on how my buttons are still pushable, on the ways in which I am still flawed.

I had an experience this week where someone pushed my buttons and I ended up bawling my eyes out. I knew that the situation had nothing to do with me really, that they were just looking for someone to lash out at and I was there, but it still hurt like the dickens and brought up all sorts of self-worth (and self-doubt) issues. The good news is that instead of sinking into a depression over it, like I might have done in the past, I worked myself out of it, turned it around and got myself back into a happy, peaceful place. I'm patting myself on the back for it now mostly because all I could think about yesterday was how I'd let my buttons get pushed in the first place. Today I am choosing to give myself a break, to recognize how the way I responded still changed an old pattern and how much better my day ended up because of it. Kudos to me.

The other thing I'm recognizing today as I consider that situation is how it was the expectations I'd set for the other person that ended up making me feel so blue. Instead of just letting them be them, I had hoped for, wished for, prayed for something different. When the same ol', same ol' came up instead, I let myself be hurt by it. There are other people in my life that when they make the same mistakes over and over again, all I can do is laugh (in a "what can you do?" kind of way). Partially because if you don't laugh, you cry. And partially because I recognize that this is part of who they are, and until they recognize for themselves that the pattern isn't working, it isn't going to change.

So now my challenge to myself (and to anyone else who cares to join me) is to find a way to apply that perception shift across the board. Our loved ones have their flaws, but we love them anyway. Let's not set expectations for them that they cannot meet. Instead, let's try to see their true spirit through those flaws, and love them for that. And love ourselves in the process too. Namaste.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Holiday request

Today has been a bit of a crazy day. Throughout it, I kept being reminded of a single thought: if the holidays make you crazy, do everyone around you a favor and take a few moments to breathe. There is no real need for you to lash out, to be stressy, to worry, or to take things out on your follow shoppers or the clerk who is trying to check you out. Yes, it can be overwhelming, but it can also be fun. And even if you can't find the fun in it right now, please please please, try to find the peace.

I'm keeping it short and sweet today. Namaste. And hey, happy holidays (emphasis on the happy).

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Thoreau Quote

I have learned this at least by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

~Henry David Thoreau

The old man is snoring

There's something really peaceful about waking up and hearing the rain pitterpattering outside your window. Of course, it's peaceful in the way that it makes you want to just roll over and go right back to sleep. It's almost 10 and I'm still struggling against the urge to curl back up under the covers. Not necessarily to sleep, but perhaps with a good book and a nice cup of tea. If I had a fireplace, I'd really be in trouble.

But instead, it is December 18th, and with long-distance relatives, I should probably be wrapping up some of my Christmas shopping today. Productivity and rain don't go hand in hand, but I am an evolved being who can go against her primal urges. Or something like that. That word "should" is a sticky one. I strongly believe that doing things because we "should" do them leaves us often doing them for the wrong reasons. "Should" implies that there are expectations we are attempting to live up to, quite often our own, but that we don't really want to be doing these things. So I have to ask myself, do I really feel like I "should" finish up that Christmas shopping today?

When I look at it a little more closely, I see a few things going on here. First, there's the "should" of buying presents. The good news is, I really like to give things. I get a lot of joy out of giving. Especially when you get to give something that either you really like (ideally that they like too) or that they've really been wanting. There's warm-and-fuzziness in that. My ideas this year run the full gamut of things I'm really excited to be giving to things that the person really needs that aren't really very exciting to things that just express that I was thinking of them. You win some, you lose some. But overall I'm feeling pretty good about the gift-giving piece. Then there's the "should" of the timing. That really just comes from living 3,000 miles away from your family and having been on the receiving end of late, well, everything. I know I like to have things to open on the day of the gift-giving occasion, whatever it may be, and therefore I strive to get things to people on time. And energetically it feels good to follow the golden rule and do for others what you'd like to have others do for you. The last piece of the "should" is about finishing up today specifically, and that's a little more nebulous. I think it has something to do with not spending more on the shipping than you do on the presents. The truth is, I may have already missed the window on that, who knows. But I do know that I will feel better when everything is safely making its way east.

So I feel much more contented about the whole thing when I realize that there's no "should" about it -- I want to wrap things up today because it will make me feel good to do so. And if I don't, well, there's always tomorrow.

Monday, December 17, 2007

My two cents

I've been talking about blogging on and off for years, but there was always something I needed to do first. Getting wise enough to have something to say. Needing to find the time. Building out my own website so I could have the blog be on that. But something an interesting man I met at dinner last week said made me realize that those excuses just weren't cutting it any more. So here I am, with all of my imperfections, learning how to fly with the rest of the flock, just out here sharing my thoughts.

It seems to me this time of year that there's an overwhelming amount of angst about. I know this isn't exactly a novel observation, but it hits me in the gut every year, even when I think I'm prepared for it. The holidays are steeped in expectation, and many of those expectations are negative ones. I believe that what we put out there comes back to us, so if we have negative expectations for how the holidays will be, then that's how they'll turn out. Those presents we're working so hard to buy will be unappreciated. Nothing you do will be good enough for your parents. The traffic in the parking lots will be awful. Just writing about it makes me shudder and want to do a little dance to get it all off of me before it soaks in.

My goal for this holiday season is to take each day as it comes. To focus on the love I feel for all of my family and friends. To know that yes, I am writing 100 holiday cards and yes, that feels like a lot, but I truly am blessed to have such an expansive group of family and friends that I want to share with this time of year. For me, it isn't about what this season represents or doesn't represent -- it's about taking the opportunity at any point in the year to experience your life in its present moment and to share your love with your world.

That's my two cents for the day. Namaste.