Saturday, May 29, 2010

Playing in the present

None of us can be in the present and the past at the same time, not even when we try to understand the things that happen to us. Close the door, change the record, clean the house. Stop being who you were, become who you are now.
~ Paulo Coelho

I'm watching my son as he rediscovers a toy. He's older now, more developed, and so the toy appeals to him in a new way. He's incredibly excited about it, as if it's a new plaything just given to him for his enjoyment today. Sometimes I simply marvel at him, at how everything is so new and exciting to him, even when it technically isn't. Each moment he experiences makes up such a huge percentage of his life-to-date, but that doesn't phase him; he is still completely present in each moment. But perhaps even more amazing is that he comes to each moment fresh. He has a memory -- that is evidenced by his surprise when something doesn't do what he expects it to -- but somehow he is still open to having a new experience.

I can learn so much from this little light who has chosen to grace my world. In these first ten months of his walking (now literally) this earth, most of the lessons have been about staying present. This fresh example is an especially vivid one for me today, because it is reminding me of how much baggage we bring into each situation we find ourselves in, and how rarely we are interacting with just that moment. There is so much freedom, so much JOY, in coming into the moment fresh and experiencing it for what it is.

This is especially important when we deal with other people, but oh so challenging. Can you imagine what it would be like if you interacted with your partner, your parent, your boss, your sibling as if experiencing them for the first time in each encounter? You could see them for who they are in that moment instead of whichever version of them you carry inside of you. It is so hard for us to let others be new, to change our image of them, but every day, every experience, changes us a little. Some experiences have larger and longer lasting effects than others. I know I'm still surprised by the changes I find in myself since becoming a mother, and probably more surprised by some of the things that haven't changed, but some of the things that are different about me today have subtler causes. I'm like a fine wine, mellowing with age. :)

I'm not completely sure what the takeaway here is for me today. Like most things, it isn't that this concept is new, but it feels more real, more accessible somehow. Perhaps the way that my son is my guide is by showing me things that I'm ready to (finally) learn. More likely, it's that my learning is cyclical, and I'm open to the next bit of opening up along my "staying present" axis. Whatever it is, I am ready to embrace another aspect of change in my life. As Heraclitus said, "Change is the only constant." And as I like to say, enjoy the ride. Namaste.

Photo: "Birthday Present," originally uploaded by Lachlan Hardy

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Soul Goes Dancing

Spring is here, and with it all the new beginnings that the buds on the trees offer. You can feel the energy shift in the air as people, responding to the earth's changes, begun to unfurl themselves. I stumbled across this gem of Rumi's this morning and it seemed so appropriate to how I'm feeling: "Nothing can stay bound or be imprisoned." Aaah . . .

The Soul Goes Dancing
~ by Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

Did you hear that winter’s over? The basil
and the carnations cannot control their

laughter. The nightingale, back from his
wandering, has been made singing master

over the birds. The trees reach out their
congratulations. The soul goes dancing

through the king’s doorway. Anemones blush
because they have seen the rose naked.

Spring, the only fair judge, walks in the
courtroom, and several December thieves steal

away, Last year’s miracles will soon be
forgotten. New creatures whirl in from non-

existence, galaxies scattered around their
feet. Have you met them? Do you hear the

bud of Jesus crooning in the cradle? A single
narcissus flower has been appointed Inspector

of Kingdoms. A feast is set. Listen: the
wind is pouring wine! Love used to hide

inside images: no more! The orchard hangs
out its lanterns. The dead come stumbling by

in shrouds. Nothing can stay bound or be
imprisoned. You say, “End this poem here,

and wait for what’s next.” I will. Poems
are rough notations for the music we are.


Photo: "Spring Blossoms," originally posted by Noel Zia Lee

Monday, March 1, 2010

Alan Cohen quote

Simply be who you are, do what you do best, be where you are called by joy, and let life work its magic on your behalf.
~ Alan Cohen

Creativity Explosion!

I just love how much my creative juices are flowing right now! The new year brought a bubbling up of ideas that hasn't really stopped. While I don't necessarily have time to act on these ideas, I'm still spending an hour or two a day nursing, which means me and the baby in a dark room with minimal stimulus -- ideal conditions for creative flow. I absolutely love being plugged in and just allowing things to flow out of me. It's almost like an idea faucet -- once the faucet is on, it flows all the time. I'm taking notes in meetings, when I get out of the shower, in the car. It's a beautiful thing!

The year kicked off with the idea for a book. And then another book. And then last week a third book came to the surface. When I set my goals for the first three months of the year, I included "complete book outline," thinking I knew what that meant. Well, I'm very excited to say that I have completed a book outline as of today -- just not the one I had in mind in January!

The great thing is I'm getting to practice what I preach. I may not have hours that I can sit down and "work on my book," but I do have a few minutes here and there to take notes. Sometimes those notes are really brief sketches so I will remember what I was thinking later. Other times they are full and complete paragraphs. In an amazingly short amount of time I've thoroughly sketched out what I'd like for this book to include, taking notes for each of the eight chapters, and even written a few paragraphs for most of the chapters. This it the ultimate in taking things one moment at a time, not getting caught up in what tomorrow will bring, and redefining what it means to get things done. Booyah!

Wish me luck on this new creative journey. I may not know exactly where it will lead, but I sure am having fun in the meantime! Namaste.

Photo: "Crayola Lincoln Logs," originally uploaded by laffy4k

Friday, January 29, 2010

Rumi quote

Don’t go off sightseeing.

The real journey is right here.
The great excursion starts

from exactly where you are.
You are the world.

You have everything you need.
You are the secret.

You are the wide opened.
Don’t look for the remedy for your troubles
outside yourself.

You are the medicine.
You are the cure for your own sorrow.

Lessons in expectation

Parenthood is most definitely the hardest best thing I've ever done. While I have never doubted my decision to become a mother, I have doubted just about every other decision I've made, whether it's about returning to work full-time, living in one of the most expensive places in the country, or even moving into a two-story townhouse. Wherever I am in time or place, I almost always can be thinking of at least one other thing that I'd either rather be doing or feel like I should be doing.

It's enough to drive me over the edge -- and it did this week. I completely lost it, sobbing hysterically for about twenty minutes and continuing to have bouts of weeping periodically throughout the day until the emotion had finished draining from my body. It was an incredibly freeing experience. I realized I had been carrying around with me all of these expectations -- mostly of myself -- and every time I didn't live up to one (which was practically constantly), it was adding a small burden. Those small burdens had multiplied until I was nearly crippled beneath their weight. The release of emotion enabled me to drop that weight, and it was like I was suddenly filled with helium -- I felt so light yesterday I was nearly giddy.

Nothing had changed in my external experience. If anything, yesterday was an even crazier day -- not only did I have back-to-back meetings, I had overlapping meetings, and a doctor's appointment that included my second blood-draw of the week. When I went to pick up a prescription last night, I found out I have a deductible on brand-name scrips, and I had to spend over $100 to get this one out of hock. My response? Laughter. I walked through the day so lightly that I actually enjoyed myself. I let go of my expectation that I would get anything done, and somehow found the time to be productive in the midst of all of the meetings.

I have to laugh at myself for how many times I've had to learn this lesson the hard way. But until I truly *get* it, I suspect it will continue to keep coming up. In the interim, I'm enjoying my newfound lightness, and the way it enables me to stay fully present in my time with my son. And nothing could be a greater gift than that.

Photo: "when expectations are reversed," originally uploaded by psyberartist