The Most Important Valentine Of All

The Most Important Valentine Of All

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?

Probably not.

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

Self Image And The Validity Of Limitations

Self Image And The Validity Of Limitations

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”

Controlling The Uncontrollable Mind

Controlling The Uncontrollable Mind

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”

Or Will You Be Just Another Year Older?

Or Will You Be Just Another Year Older?

One year from today is going to happen.

A lot can happen in the next 365 days. Or, nothing can happen in the next 365 days.

Those hopes and dreams, that big idea, the goals and intentions?

The person you tell yourself you want to become?

Not gonna happen on their own.

Time really doesn’t care what you do with it. It doesn’t care about those hopes and dreams and the person you tell yourself you want to become.

One year from today you can be one year closer to living a life more aligned with your purpose and vision. Or you can remain dormant and wonder where the hell the past year went.

One year from today, will you be more than just another year older?

Photo by Kate Williams on Unsplash

The Power of Surrender and Release

The Power of Surrender and Release

A beach day in January.

It’s my annual tradition.

East Beach in Westport. Around the the start of a new year I make my way here. Only at low tide will this beach reveal the limited amount of sand which exists on this narrow stretch of shore. This beach is mostly rocks and stones, each uniquely shaped and weathered by the power of the crashing waves they are constantly subjected to.

I come here to release. To release the things I choose not to carry with me into a new year. Emotional things. Like anger, doubt, fear, resentment, hurt, regret, frustration, bitterness…

Self awareness is a wonderful gift. Over the years I’ve gotten quite good at knowing me and accepting me. Compassionately. There is no good, bad, nor ugly. There just is. I’ve learned to just be aware of what I’m feeling and not judging myself for feeling what I feel. I know what I am carrying within me, and when I decide I don’t want to carry that emotional heaviness any longer I come here.

To throw it away.

Literally.

My “methodology” is rather crude and simple. A stone and a Sharpie. As I walk on the rocky shore I simply pick up a stone, Continue reading “The Power of Surrender and Release”

But, Why?

But, Why?

New year. New goals. New intentions.

Old results?

I tend to take my new years quite seriously. As someone who has often meandered aimlessly in life, it was only recently that I started taking the gift of time quite seriously. I’ve wasted a lot of time in life trying to figure out what to do with the time I’ve been given to live my life.

Through the years I’ve refined my system of getting ready for a new year. I gather the hopes and dreams and wishes, compile lists of things I tell myself I want to do and experience, both personally and professionally. And then I ask myself one question for each of these items.

“Why?”

If I can’t find a good reason why I should commit to a goal I know that I probably shouldn’t. It won’t end well.

Knowing me, I need to understand the motivation behind the desire. If I tell myself I want to run my first marathon, I’ve learned to Continue reading “But, Why?”

Owning The Emptiness and The Permission To Grieve

Owning The Emptiness and The Permission To Grieve

Who knew that turkey gravy could be an emotional trigger?

My mom elevated turkey gravy to unprecedented levels. Flour, drippings, a little bit of this, a little bit of that. Pure magic.

I could drink her gravy by the bowl.

These days, making the gravy is my responsibility. Even with the same ingredients, try as I might I’ve yet to replicate her level of mastery. Maybe it’s a Mom thing?

This past Thanksgiving was the second one without Mom. She had long retired from cooking on Thanksgiving, but now she is no longer at the table with us.

I always think of her when I make the gravy. I can still see her at the stove with the metal whisk in her hand effortlessly beating the ingredients into a cohesive submission as the flames danced up the sides of the sauce pan. Not a measuring spoon in sight. She just knew.

It’s always an emotional time for me.

It’s a process, grieving is. A personal process. A non-linear often unpredictable process, often without an end date.

Often processed alone.

There is no one “right” way to grieve. No one “right” way to get to the other side of the pain. I’m not even sure if there is another side to get to.

Often we don’t understand why the hurt still hurts, why the emptiness still feels so empty. Especially when we try to convince Continue reading “Owning The Emptiness and The Permission To Grieve”

Do You Want More Of What You’re Feeling?

Do You Want More Of What You’re Feeling?

10:01 AM.

The iPhone vibrates.

It’s a message.

From me.

To me.

“Do you want more of what you’re feeling?”

I schedule this to happen three times per day. And each time the alarm goes off, this question appears on my screen.

“Do you want more of what you’re feeling?”

It’s become an important question I ask of myself.

In order for me to know the honest answer to this question, I must stop for a moment and notice what I am actually feeling.

How am I doing? Happy? Sad? Angry? Indifferent? Stressed? Peaceful? Anxious?

Before I started asking myself this question, for the most part I never really knew how I was doing. The days would sort of run their course, meandering through various emotional and vibrational peaks and valleys, with me obliviously reacting to it all.

Feelings are important barometers because we tend to get more of what we are feeling. Angry Pete would find more things to be angry about, and the Peaceful Pete would effortlessly find more peace. Feelings have their own energetic vibration, and in a world greatly influenced by energetic vibration we get back more of what we are radiating outward.

Prompting me to check in with me shows me the path I am on. Most times I do want more of what I’m feeling. Occasionally, though, this momentary look into myself tells me that no, I don’t want more of what I’m feeling. Without judging myself harshly if I find myself misaligned from how I want to feel. I notice. I investigate. I adjust, if I desire to. It’s usually a quick process, but there are times when I need to go deeper and stay with the unwanted feelings, try and understand why they are there, and lovingly Continue reading “Do You Want More Of What You’re Feeling?”

Embracing The Silence Of An Emotional Winter

Embracing The Silence Of An Emotional Winter

So quiet you can hear it.

Silence.

It’s the start of November which means here in New England winter and it’s own version of silence is but a few weeks away. I don’t have a favorite season, but I’ve come to appreciate the lessons each season has to teach us.

The seasons of life each come with their own lessons as well.

Especially winter.

More specifically, emotional winters. When your own world grows coldly silent, even isolated…when familiar voices and noises go somewhat dormant. Life wants your full attention and temporarily removes the comfortable distractions in order to do so.

I would often resist these emotional winters. I didn’t ask for them, I certainly didn’t like them, and I had no idea why they were happening. Loneliness wasn’t something I was looking for. When I’ve been receptive during these barren times of my life, though, Continue reading “Embracing The Silence Of An Emotional Winter”

100,000 Ways To Love Yourself

100,000 Ways To Love Yourself

I used to be quite good at letting myself down. Promises and commitments made to others were always easier to keep than the promises and commitments I would make to myself. 

I’ve often heard that you can’t love others until you learn how to love yourself. Yet some of the kindest, most compassionate and loving people I know often struggle with treating themselves the way they so instinctively treat others.

Much of this stems from a distorted sense of worth and self-image. For those, we see them so differently from the way they see themselves. It feels like something a great many have quietly struggled with in differing degrees. I know I’ve had my challenges. We know who we really are, we tell ourself, and often we struggle showering the person who we tell ourselves we are with the same kindness and compassion we freely give away to others.

For me, not keeping commitments to myself was one of my ways of not showing myself the love. It was my way of subconsciously me keeping me more like I’ve always been. Setting goals and actually accomplishing them would make me a different person, different from the person I’ve always accepted myself to be. Letting myself down was just my way of self-regulating and keeping me who it was I told myself I was.

Five years ago I presented myself with a challenge. A challenge of commitment. A challenge of commitment to myself. Something simple. Something I would always have time to do. Something I knew I could perform which meant that the only reason why didn’t do it was because I chose not to.

Push ups.

Every day.

Equal in number to my age.

For five years.

100,000 push ups.

I wasn’t good at push ups. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do 50+ push ups all at once. I’d certainly have to break it up into several sessions per day. But this was the challenge I presented myself with. I called myself out. If I couldn’t find the time to do my push ups every day, why would I think I’d be able to keep any other more meaningful and significant commitments in my life? Like, Pete, if you can’t do this, don’t waste any more time thinking that you’ll ever be anything more than you already are. 

And with that, I started. It wasn’t easy at first, but I kept with it. I kept track of my progress on the whiteboard I have at home. The number of consecutive days and the total number of push ups completed. The entire family knew of my commitment and now they could graphically see if I was actually keeping my commitment to myself.

It was a significant test for me to learn about keeping commitments made to myself. A test that would tell me about who I really was. A test that would tell my family about who I really was.

Five years later? 100,000 push ups completed. The only thing that temporarily interrupted my consecutive days streak was a debilitating case of sciatica which rendered me physically useless. I’d accomplished 1,438 consecutive days of push ups before my injury. But I was back at it as soon as I was able to move again, doing extra push ups each day to get me back on track.

Sure, there were days I didn’t feel like doing them. There were days I had gone to bed only to realize I had yet to do my push ups that day. So I got out of bed and hit the floor to do them. Even the day of my knee surgery I made sure I did my push ups before going to the hospital and was able to prop myself up in a manner that allowed me to do them during my recovery. Without missing a day.

Because I promised myself I would.

Commitment and disciple aren’t glamorous. But they are the cornerstone of building anything worth building. Especially when it comes to building a healthier relationship with yourself.

My relationship with me has, in fact, changed. I was quite accomplished at telling myself what I was going to do and never quite actually doing it. Now, there is a much healthier level of self respect. I undertook a five year commitment and completed the task. I kept my word to me, 100,000 times, and with that I learned that I could trust me. With me. Something I had a difficult time doing previously.

It was a significant step in my growing more into who it was I was created to be. Possibilities now feel far more possible.

I still do my daily push ups. It’s simply become a daily habit. It serves as a reminder of the impact taking small consistent steps in your own direction can have in building a new identity about who you believe yourself to be and being worthy of the corresponding self love that comes with it.

That wasn’t my intention.

But that has been the outcome.

What about you? How is your relationship with you? Perhaps there’s one thing you can challenge yourself to do for you to improve your relationship with you?