This Is Not the End, Merely A Fork in the Road…

fork in the road

Do you hear that? It is the sound of Christmas Carols and snow lightly falling across the hard, frozen ground. Winter has hit us, and fast, here in the mountains, and I did not see it coming. As a matter of fact, the last time I really remember stopping to look around, it was July.

It was July 1st to be exact, and we were all starting down a new path that was bright, green and full of life. Now, here we are nearly at the end of that path, and while it should still seem the same, I bet we are all looking at bare trees, gray skies and dormant nature. But that’s ok. It’s all about perspective, right? Because deep down, when this journey started six months ago, our visual senses may have told us that the view was bright and sunny on the outside, but inside I fear that maybe the bare path was where we really starting off.

Yet, over the last six months, those who have been walking this path have filled it with life… using their thoughts, vibrations, energies and intentions… causing enormous growth for each and every one of us. Feels good, right?

Right… so why stop here? Why limit ourselves to the list of goals that was set forth this past July. Life is all about the journey, because once you get there, what else is there to do but set your sights on another task or goal? Here’s my intention… to keep this community and vision going. To keep utilizing our group of enlighteners to help hold each other up, open each other’s minds to new ideas, thoughts and ways of growing that we may have never considered before.

round one,… complete

The first round of this challenge wasn’t exactly what I imagined it to be. Initially I imagined this as an experiement where maybe those who chose to participate would make a list of things they wanted to do. Over the course of six months, we could chip away at the goals, one by one crossing them off our lists.

Instead, what I found instead was a group of like minded people who wanted a place to discuss the hard times… a place where they know, no matter what confession they made, what thought passed through their minds, or what difficult circumstances were currently happening… they could stop by that page and receive a kind word, a prayer, or just a place to vent that is unbiased, and non-judgemental. A place where they could get support to live life a different way.

Goals were met, new challenges were placed. Some shared their experiences from the first post, some maybe only followed along silently. Whatever your roll was in this first incarnation of the challenge, I want to say thank you. Thank you for being brave enough to try something new, with people who may be complete strangers.

round two… starting again.

If you played along from July to December, maybe you will continue on the path with us from January to June. I know that the current challenge is not yet over, but that doesn’t mean we can’t plan ahead. Oddly enough, that philosophy is a bit out of line with my general thinking of, “Be Present. Be Here, in the now”, I can’t deny a little preparation is a bad thing.

While you are finishing up any of the goals you presented yourself in the first phase, go back and see which ones you haven’t completed. Reevaluate. Take some time to reflect on what you have learned, not only about life, but about yourself. Contine to carve out time for yourself to have these “zenful” moments of self-reflection. They will be crucial going forward.

dive deeper… think bigger.

Don’t let complancancy take over. Don’t get stuck in a rut. Let’s use this Challenge to our advantage. This time around, each week I would like to present a task for the those participating. It may be something simple and fun, or deep and even a bit difficult. A couple things you might find handy to keep close by – a notebook or journal, post-it-notes, and an open mind. The last one being of utmost importance.

Come stop by the Facebook Group where we really do most of our sharing, or, feel free to connect with everyone through this site. We have also started a Pintrest board for inspirational quotes, recipes, or really anything that may serve as a helpful tool for the Challenge.

A great man once said, “We are all just spirits, having a human experience.” Why not join our group and connect with other kindred spirits on the same journey as you are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I “Like” You, Do You “Favorite” Me?

I had a sad moment today when I realized that I have not been enough of a friend to some people. Thanks to social media, we are more connected than ever to a variety of people from all moments in our lives. My whopping 107 facebook friends includes people I have know for more than twenty years, and some I have actually never met. We’ve all come together in this virtual place to share our lives, pictures, happy and sad moments. We all comment, or like these moments, but rarely do I see more than a surface connection being made.

In the past few months, I have had some very personal moments of ups and downs, and have went to facebook or other social site to share these only to stop myself. Realizing that no one would really give a shit or I would come off as whining, or boastful. Either of which would never be the intention. Sure, most of these moments are shared within my family and inner circle of friends, but to put them out in the cybersphere was too much of a gamble for me and my (most times fragile) psyche. Besides, maybe my FB friends don’t want to talk about MY spiritual growth or MY spiritual journey. So I write them here because, while the initial reason for this blog was to talk about my adventures in starting my own business, it has morphed into so much more.

For anyone that really knows me, they know that my spiritual growth and path through life has been a hard fought one to find. Even now, while I am finally on the path that I feel is right for me, I am running into downed trees and enormous overgrowth that I have to fight my way through. But when I am able to, the most glorious sight always lies on the other side. A bright, beautiful, flourishing path that I am happy to be traveling on. In other words, a light at the end of the tunnel. Its hard to NOT want to tell everyone all the time how to live, especially when you’ve found a way that makes life better overall. And this is something I want to shout to all my social media friends, all the time. Mostly when I see one of them is suffering in some way.

I have two friends in particular that I see struggle with one aspect or another. I read their posts, and my heart breaks for them because I want to be able to help. I want to reach out and say, “Don’t worry! It will be fine!” “Life has a plan,” “It’s you’re path”. But, let’s be honest. When you’re feeling low, isn’t that the last thing you really want to hear? I know that’s how I feel. Sometimes those word of encouragement ring empty, false… and when they come from someone you ‘kinda’ know, or maybe haven’t seen in a long while, they are just words with no real emotional backing. I was one of those people; offering sentiment because I thought it would help. Making myself feel better because I reached out, but then I could turn off the computer and go about my day. However, after encountering one person in particular, I knew that wasn’t enough.

When I first saw her posts earlier this fall, I knew there had to be something more I could do. While I had only met this person one time, I felt a great connection with them. I felt their suffering through the computer and knew that I could do something. I reached out to them through private message, and over the past couple months, I feel like I have gained a soul mate and co-conspirator to life’s mysteries. I hope for the end of their suffering during every meditation. I always try to keep them present in my positive thoughts and energies. And even though some time has passed since our last “chat” I know that we will always be connected.

SCUOp

No one should ever feel alone. It’s probably one of the hardest feelings to fight through. Doesn’t matter if you are surrounded by family and friends. If you don’t feel that connection to someone… that there is someone who TRULY understands the space where your heart and head resides… I think it makes it more difficult to pick yourself back up and move on. Even though I know in my heart I am never really alone, my head doesn’t always believe it. It is getting less and less frequent, and this is something I want to share with these friends. But, maybe they don’t want to hear it right now. I know I don’t when I am living in that space. But when you are ready, I am here to talk if that is what you want to do.

Another day, another rambling post. I guess the closest thing to a point I am trying to make is this: If you see someone’s struggling on a social media site or even in face to face life, don’t be afraid to really give of yourself. You may not have to utter a single word. Just listen. Maybe you have the best advice in the world because you went through just this thing in particular. Keep it to yourself for now. Just be there. Give them your full attention. Wait until they finish. Let them cry it out. Just be there.

I recently finished an amazing book called “Life’s That Way” by Jim Beaver. In a heartbreaking tale of loss, his message rang out loud and clear… don’t offer thoughts or comments that will make you comfortable in an uncomfortable situation. Just be there to offer a tender touch, an empathetic ear or a loving smile. Don’t be afraid to be uncomfortable or awkward. Giving someone your undivided attention, is one of the best and most important gifts of friendship you can give.

Namaste to you all. May your path be filled with less and less obstacles on your journey to the light.

Staying Present in a Constantly Moving World

“Life is a mystery. You cannot understand it unless you surrender, for your intellect cannot grasp its expansive and infinite nature, its real meaning and fullness. Bow down low and be humble; then you will know life’s meaning.” ~ Amma

Meditation

Oh boy, if I could figure out the way to do that on a more consistent basis, life would be so much easier. But, that’s the point isn’t it? If life was easy, how would we grow and learn and evolve if there were no road blocks to cause us to think about solving the problem of getting around it. Most days, I’m able to keep my truths alive, bright and present. I know that being in the present is where I belong. Not stressing about the future or harping over the past. I’ve lived that way for far too long and now that I have had the experience of living present and in the moment, I like who I am way better. My kids like me better.

Today is a day though that the state of our current life situation is muddled with mistakes of the past jeopardizing our future. In such a case I am finding great difficulty maintaining the present mindset. I feel that weight slowly creeping back into its cozy place on my shoulders. My body tense and anxious; my mind unsettled and unfocused. The amount of responsibilities and obligations I have set for myself currently seem like an insurmountable force, and I doubt in my ability to get it all done while still maintaining a peaceful, clear, focused state of mind.

Breathe.

Breath is a great tool. You think you’re doing it but really, your’re not. It’s an automatic action for your body to perform. When I feel the spiral downward igniting. I stop. Breathe. I let my physical self regulate the breath in and out, it calms the mind and allows me to focus on what’s important. I remember that it was my past actions that put me where I sit now, in the throws of anxiety and frustration. I imagine my ultimate goal in the future, free of these burdens. I see myself in the happiest place I can imagine, doing something I’ve waited for, for a very long time. I come back to the present and decide what it is that will get me from here to there.

Breathe.

Focus. Determination. Balance. Patience. These are the skills I personally need to hone to get to that peaceful place. Focus on the day’s tasks and responsibilities. Be determined to work with the tools I have presently and not be resentful of the tools that I do not possess. Balance my wants and desires with what is necessary to get through the day. Take small moments for myself to stay present and mindful of what is going on around me. Patience to keep traveling my path and that it takes me where I want it to.

Breathe. Believe.

To Live Life...

Take time to remember yourself. A moment here, or there. Don’t be hard on yourself, even when the evil little voice tells you to. I have this mantra I repeat when that weight begins to take its toll, and somehow it works (most of the time). I am not a slave to the past, but an advocate for a better future.

Lightening of the Load

“Hold the light. Keep it all inside. Keep up the fight. Now that there is an end in sight. Treading water. Can’t hold on much longer till my hand goes under.”

 
Keeping the Buddha Path
 
Today was an up and down kinda day. Details aren’t important, just know it was a good news/bad news kinda day. So, as I sit here with my tired eyes starring at a blank screen, my head spinning in a mountain of decisions, and my 17 year old Beagle barking his sharp bark, I ask for some guidance. I look into that part of myself that believes in the faith of what is meant to be will be. I use my thoughts and my energy to ask for patience to get through the situation, and strength to carry the weight of its outcome. As I quiet my mind, and press play on the new Newton Faulkner album I’ve been dying to listen too, the words above are the first I hear.
 
I’ve always had this thing with music. When I feel I need guidance, direction… just some help, it is a place that I derive that from. All my inspiration comes from music. Every story I write starts with a particular album or playlist. Every time I have felt my faith weaken, lyrics pop up when I least expect it to help guide me back to the path. Even now, when I feel low, afraid and uncertain, I can find comfort and faith in the music.
 
There is one artist in particular that I made a connection with. I believe, wholeheartedly, that finding him and diving into his music saved my sanity at a time when I questioned it the most. Yeah, I’m gettin’ real now folks. There was a very crappy time, and this guy… well, saved me. Ok, so not in the literal sense, but I would most definitely feel a huge hole in my life without his music.
 

 
Granted, this is just a taste of Matthew Good. This one, Born Losers, is far and away my favorite, but a lot of his songs go deeper. On my worst days, I play a few selections from his catalog and something about it just helps me reset and move on. I don’t know… maybe it is just the fact that knowing someone else out there thinks/feels/experiences the same things I do allows me to feel a little less alone in those moments.
 
What music is it that gets you, affects you, moves you, motivates you, inspires you?