“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” Thich Nhat Hanh
We really are creatures of habit, aren’t we? Even if those habits are somewhat detrimental to our well being. Even if those habits prevent us from growing more fully into who it is we know we were created to become.
Habits are familiar. They become part of our identity. What is known and accepted comes with it’s own sense of predictability which creates a sense of safety, even if that safety feels uncomfortable and often empty.
But, for some, it’s better than the fear inherent with what’s unknown.
Burnt toast isn’t ideal, but if it’s all you’ve known, it’s just easier to simply settle and keep eating it, even if better options are readily available.
I’ve had my share of life’s burnt toast. Of settling for less than in the presence of abundant alternatives. The acceptance of my Continue reading “Maybe It’s Time To Stop Eating Burnt Toast?” →
I’m not sure how much I’ve spent on books. I’ve got lots of them. Bookcases full of them. Many inspiring and informative books filled with great insights and ideas. Many of those books I’ve started and, well, not quite finished. Usually because I found yet another book which caught my distracted eye.
Audiobooks and podcasts? Yup, I enjoy plenty of those as well.
Sometimes I feel like a collector of wisdom, a curator of knowledge, especially in the area of personal growth. Like I’m creating a library of incredible knowledge with the power to change the trajectory of my life.
If I actually did more than simply collect and consume information.
Collecting knowledge feels like you’re doing something. Like, you’re making progress, getting yourself prepared to someday Continue reading “A Fully Lived Life Is Much Better” →
It’s not as glamorous as you may think, getting up at 4:30 AM. But I’m trying to convince myself that I’m a runner, and runners run. For me, the most consistently convenient time to run starts, unfortunately, at 4:30 AM.
Get up. Stretch what needs to be stretched. Get dressed. Reflective outer layer and a headlamp strapped to my head.
As a runner, I’ll be the first to admit I’m not that good at running, even though I’ve been doing it for several years. I’m slow, I fatigue easily, and I know I will be sore enough to last me for the next two days.
One thing I’ve become quite good at, though, is showing up.
Running is more about my relationship with myself. About the commitments I make to myself and my willingness to keep them. Continue reading “The Paradox Of Hating The Things You Love To Do” →
Cranes from dollar bills. Flowers from straw wrappers. Give my daughter something to fold and she probably will. It’s quite a joy watching her create something beautiful from something ordinary.
My origami skills, I’m afraid, leave a great deal to be desired. Although I do feel like I’ve been the one who has been folded.
Life has a way of doing that to us, it’s own version of origami, often folding us without us even being aware we’re being folded. Folded by the critical comments, unhealthy actions, and toxic opinions of others, especially in the formative years of our own self identity. Such folding impacts our experience and expectations, time often turning those folds into deep creases, continuously pressed even deeper into our psyche, reinforcing who it is we tell ourselves we are.
I’ve been folded and contorted into neither a crane nor a flower. I am just me, my final shape yet to be clearly defined. But folding is always a part of our evolution.
My journey into better understanding life and, in particular, my life has been a meandering maze of diving more deeply into me. Yes, I’ve been folded and molded and shaped into who I am today. But is who I am today who I was actually created to be? Like, are the labels and traditions and limitations I’ve accepted as true not actually the truth inherent with my creation?
Questioning something as significant as your identity involves a process of self awareness and examination. Sort of origami in Continue reading “The Surprising Benefits Of Staring At The Sun” →
For the world to change. For the right time. For someone to share the experience with.
Waiting for what is to be something other than it actually was.
I was an experienced waiter. Over the decades I could find a great many reasons why waiting was better than actually doing. My ever-expanding list of things I told myself I wanted to experience was, well, ever expanding. Talking about climbing a mountain was always easier than actually doing so. Especially when you’re quite adept at “justifying” your own personal stagnation.
“Someday” became quite comfortable.
At some point I grew tired of my own BS. I grew tired of my own voice telling me “someday”. I finally challenged myself to Continue reading “The Healthy Discomfort of Personal Accountability” →
Something was missing.
I’ve made my Turkey Chili & Beans for years. After countless tweaks and adjustments, the recipe has evolved into a family favorite. Always yummy all the time.
But this time it was off. It just didn’t have the flavor it was supposed to have.
That’s what happens when you forget to add the spices.
I had pre-portioned out the blend of cumin, cilantro, chili powder, and turmeric and set them aside, waiting for the right time to add them to the simmering pot. Apparently I forgot to add them in, and the result was rather bland.
The spices made up such a small percentage of all the ingredients, yet their absence made such a huge impact on the entire dish.
Little things certainly do make a big difference.
And in life.
Things like love, compassion, and kindness, three of life’s most important spices. Their absence will also make a huge impact. Yet their presence has the power to change the world.
Your world. My world. The entire world.
When life feels a bit bland, when it feels like something is missing, maybe that’s the time to add a bit of love, kindness, and Continue reading “A Teaspoon Of Love, Compassion, and Kindness?” →
So here I am. Sitting behind the wheel of my life. The ultimate road trip. There is no final destination entered into the GPS because, well, life simply doesn’t work that way. You know where you started, you know where you are, you may even know where you want to go, yet life has a way of unfolding so you’re just never 100% sure of exactly where you’re going.
Who’s with me on this ride of my life?
All of the different versions of me.
The different versions of me? Sure. There’s the Optimist Me. The Uncertain Me. The Fearful Me. The highly-caffeinated Excitable Me. The Grateful Me. The Regretful Me. The Deeply Introspective and Spiritual Me. The Overwhelmed Me. The Unworthy Me.
Lots of different parts of Me.
Each of these parts of me has their own unique voice, their own unique perspective shaped by environment and experience. Certain voices, though, were not always welcomed at the table. I worked hard to keep some of them repressed. When certain parts of you are silenced and ignored by you it creates a fertile breeding ground for your own inner civil war.
Life has been a non-linear meandering journey of learning and unlearning, of trying to understand and to be understood. Of trying Continue reading “Ending The Inner Battle Against Myself” →
It probably would never work.
My idea for a new holiday.
It would be like Valentine’s Day, but the focus wouldn’t be on expressing our love towards a significant other.
It would be on expressing our love towards our significant self.
It often feels so much easier to extend love outward than it does inward, doesn’t it? To shower others with the cards and the candy and the flowers and the fancy dinners. But to shower our self with such objects of affection?
It’s too bad. Because we are equally worthy to receive from ourself the same love we are far more comfortable giving to others.
Perhaps when asking others to be your Valentine, maybe you could ask yourself as well?
Self love is never optional.
Photo by DESIGNECOLOGIST on Unsplash
It was anything but a graceful fall from grace. On some level I knew it was supposed to happen. So, on a different level I made it happen.
I was playing well above my head and my head knew it. I had climbed a bit too high on the corporate ladder, higher than I felt I should have. So I did what I needed to do to keep me aligned with the vision I had created for myself by my self.
We often blame self sabotage as the reason we crash and burn, how we at times seemingly act in ways which undermine what we feel are our best efforts to grow and change. Career, diet, and relationships are all prime ares where despite our best efforts we end up working against ourselves.
In order to keep ourself our self.
Do we really see ourself as being that successful? Of being in that great physical shape? Of being in a healthy relationship?
No, it’s not really sabotage. All we are doing is self regulating, returning to who it is we believe ourselves to be. Realigning with that all-powerful inner vision which controls and regulates what we subconsciously feel is possible for us. We get what we expect Continue reading “Self Image And The Validity Of Limitations” →
Perhaps your mind is like my mind?
My ever-distracted and noisy mind. Like an ultra-hyper new puppy. Like a sleep-deprived kid on a sugar high the day after Halloween bouncing off the walls.
And I’m supposed to be able to control that?
No wonder I sucked at meditation.
Maybe what sucked was my understanding of meditation.
I’d gotten quite consistent with my meditation practice. Showing up daily is kind of important if we hope to get better at doing just about anything. I’d set my timer, sit on my meditation bench, close my eyes, focus on my breath, and waited in silence for my own version of enlightenment to overtake me and bring me peace.
Instead my peace was consistently interrupted as those random thoughts relentlessly popped into my mind. “Did I pay the insurance?” “Why does my knee hurt?” “Why do these thoughts keep showing up?” As one would fade away another showed up close behind. Like a parade, a seemingly never-ending parade of thoughts doing all they could do to prevent peace from finding me.
I was wrong about meditation. I thought it was supposed to help me control my mind. I thought it was about creating the mental and emotional toughness to suppress and silence the noise in my head.
Sitting on my meditation bench each morning, I now fully expect my mind to be anything but quiet, especially initially.
But the important lesson is in the noise itself.
As I observe the active patterns of my thoughts, I am reminded of their impermanence. No matter how loudly they may scream, no Continue reading “Controlling The Uncontrollable Mind” →