Saturday, October 23, 2010

Trust the process

"If you are falling...dive!" ~~~ Joseph Campbell

Sometimes inspiration comes from the most unexpected places...

I took part in a workshop tonight, led by my friend, Debbie Taitel ( The workshop included a walking meditation around a labyrinth nearby. I have never walked a labyrinth before and was looking forward to the experience. About 2/3rds of the way through the process, I heard the Joseph Campbell quote (above) clearly in my head. It was repeated several times...almost like a mantra.

I was reminded of that old childhood game ( I think I may have mentioned this in a previous post), where one person stands with their back to another and, as a test of trust, falls backwards into the second person's arms. I mentioned to a friend who was also at the workshop that, several years ago, a co-worker and I used to play this game during the slow periods on Sundays at the store where we worked. He would sometimes wait until the last possible moment to catch me, and every time that happened, I would giggle like crazy. I think part of it was nervous laughter and part was sheer relief; I trusted him and knew he wouldn't let me fall, so there was a feeling of safety combined with the fear.

Campbell's quote reminds me to embrace the process...and jump right in! Change is scary and exciting and exhilarating...all at the same time. I have had enough experience to know that, a force greater than myself has always taken care of me, even when the outcome isn't exactly what I hoped for. It just reminds me that I don't have access to the bigger picture and what I think I want is not always what's best for me.
So, if you've already started the process of change, why not jump in with both feet? It's scary anyway, right?
Now, that's not to say, do something reckless...take the necessary precautions, do your homework, think things through, talk it over with a trusted friend. But at some point, you have to take action.

A wise friend once told me, "Life is not a dress rehearsal."
Live your life, really live it!

Dive right in...and enjoy!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Inner wisdom

"Love life. Engage in it. Give it all you've got. Love it with a passion because life truly does give back, many times over, what you put into it."
Maya Angelou

One of my favorite things about writing this blog is the opportunity I have to reflect on my life from a more objective, thoughtful place. I don't know about you but, sometimes, when I'm in the middle of a 'situation' (aka opportunity for growth), I am unable to see the positive aspects of it. When the 'situation' is particularly uncomfortable, the only thing I am usually able to focus on is the discomfort. However, I have learned that the typical outcome of these periods of discomfort is a growth spurt that propels me into a better place, with the perspective that only comes from having been through the experience. Sometimes I don't even realize that I've gotten to that new place until I think about where I've been.
This year has been full of new experiences. I have made uncharacteristically 'bold' changes in my work life and have learned to take more risks. I am learning to listen to my heart more, because some decisions cannot be made based on logic alone. I am also learning to trust my 'gut', because I have found that instinct is often a darn good resource that is not used nearly enough. In the past, when confronted with a big (and sometimes not so big) decision, I would analyze and re-analyze my options, going round and round in my head until I was mentally drained. I thought this was the rational way to go about these things but really, I was compulsively obsessing and fearful of making a mistake. My obsession was blocking the inner guidance that I could have been utilizing, had I been able to see it.
That's one of the things I have learned: we each have an internal "GPS" that can guide us through some of life's more precarious situations. Too often it's hidden behind a lifetime of clutter: all those "should've, could've, would've"s and "what-if"s that keep us stuck. Sometimes it's hidden so deeply that something as innocuous as choosing from a menu can seem overwhelming! There are many ways to access this guidance but the key component, for me at least, is the ability to listen for the answer. Asking for guidance, through prayer or meditation or whatever method works best for you is only half of the equation...what good is asking the question if you are unable to hear the answer? That's the part that I've been working on this year, although I didn't realize it at first. Sometimes guidance is clever like just sneaks up on you. Sometimes the key to unlocking it is just being willing to listen.

Monday, October 4, 2010


"The root of joy is gratefulness...It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful."

Monday morning...beginning of a new week, full of things to do. I have an unusually full "To Do" list and a limited time to get everything accomplished. Suffice it to say, I woke up feeling a bit overwhelmed!

Thankfully, in the midst of a conversation, I had a moment of clarity, in which I remembered how wonderful and full my life is, right at this moment. I was granted a pause, some "breathing room," where I truly felt how fortunate I am...and I was filled with gratitude.
I mentioned this "revelation" to the person with whom I was speaking, and she observed that part of the blessing was the ability to recognize, in the moment, how grateful I am for my life. So many people, she continued, fail to realize and appreciate how beautiful their lives are until they reflect upon them at the end. She said that it was truly a gift to be able to appreciate one's live as it's being lived...I like that.

After the conversation, I reflected on how absolutely amazing my life is and how grateful I am for all of it.
That's not to say that it's perfect (far from it!) or that there are some lessons that I would have preferred to learn in a less painful way, or even some parts I would have liked to skipped all together.
But the reality is, that each and every event, painful or wonderful, was necessary to get me to this exact moment...sitting on my couch, in my pajamas, cat by my side, typing these words.

I think it's important to acknowledge and cultivate's much easier to focus on the bad stuff. But really, is that how you want to spend your time? Thinking about what could go wrong, what you don't like about your life, complaining? I used to be that person...I have worked really hard to change that. It's not always easy, but I'm here to tell you, it makes life SO much sweeter!

So, thank you, dear readers, for giving me the opportunity to share these thoughts with you.

Friday, October 1, 2010

"Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable."

I am continually amazed by the notion that we are surrounded by miracles each and every day, if we are just willing to open our eyes to the possibility that they exist. I used to think that miracles only came in BIG packages: you know, the parting of the Red Sea, stuff like that.
What I have learned is that we are indeed surrounded by little, baby miracles each and every day...we just need to look for them.
Case in point: I have seen people make unbelievable changes in their lives, watched people survive tragic fact, I have had these things happen in my own life.

I often wonder how many little miracles I missed out on because I was looking for the ones with all the 'bells and whistles'? I have learned to appreciate the nuances of the miraculous...all the little subtle whispers that can slip by if you're not careful.
For me, gratitude is intrinsically connected to my ability to appreciate those little nuances. When I am truly grateful for my life as it is in this moment, somehow my vision changes. I have a clearer perspective on all the good that surrounds me.

There's a park not far from my home that is a favorite spot for all the nannies and dog owners in the neighborhood. Years ago, it used to be a favorite hang out for some unsavory characters. Now it is a lovely little haven in the middle of the city...beautifully landscaped, well even has a fountain!
When I am full of gratitude, walking through that park is blissful...when I'm not...well, let's just say, I am focusing on making my way around all the people who are "in my way".
For me, that's the miracle...same park, same people...but my attitude makes a world of difference on the way I experience them.

Have a fantastic weekend everyone...soak up all the miracles that surround you!