Am I a Dog Growling over My Bowl?

When I am seething with jealousy and bitterness at someone who has what I want, I am like a dog growling over my bowl. I am thinking there is not enough to go around and I want what is mine.

I begrudge their good and…poison myself in the process.

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When I know scarcity is an illusion, that not a human soul can keep me from what is rightfully mine, I am then free to identify with the needs, wants, successes, and failures of others without comparing myself to them, resenting them, or being passive aggressive toward them by pretending to care.

The essence of cool and a cure for jealousy…believing there is no scarcity.

My heart is at your festival. – William Wordsworth

Petty, Pedantic, Preoccupied, Predictable, Powerless?

Sometimes the only thing that reminds me of the neglect of my plants are pathetic looking, drooping leaves. Then I run quickly to get the water. When my inner life needs nourishment there are also warning signs:

1) Preoccupation with my appearance

2) I become so pedantic and predictable that I bore people to death

3) I start being petty and argumentative

4) So preoccupied with my plans that I fail to appreciate things and people around me

5) A feeling of powerlessness and overwhelm

Activities, narcotics, people, food, and drink can only stop the “droop” temporarily. Real presence and energy comes from within.

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When It Is Good to Lower My Standards

It is not always a bad thing to lower my standards. It is a good thing to do when…

  • I have been too critical of myself (as I have aged, I’ve noticed that my appearance standards {ahem, obsessions} have not contributed to mental health)
  • I am too critical of others (my standards do the most harm when used to facilitate a feeling of superiority)
  • my standards were unreasonable (perfectionism) or alienated the people around me (self-righteous)
  • I based my self-worth on my standards (lack of awareness of how ridiculously messed up I am)
  • I bragged about or felt compelled to talk too much about my standards (insecure)

Or, prepare for the institution.

For Less-Opportunity Social Stratas

For those of us who were born without

For those of us who will die early

For those of us with disease or deformity

For those of us who never knew the “right people”

For those of us with low IQs

Who didn’t go to school

Or have a job

For those of us without a home, shoes, clean clothes

Or love

There is the equanimity of sun and rain

Earth’s free gift of light and water

And, yes, a path that leads to the finish line

Where we are welcomed with honor

Save Myself the Trouble

Last week, I was unhappy about the gaps in my schedule. This week I am so thankful the gaps came at a fortunate time. How many times must I be reminded that my ability to determine what is good and what is bad is faulty? How many times must I look back and say, “Wow, if I had only known?” before I will learn to hold off on judgment or despair?

In this case, I would have saved myself lots of trouble, worry, frustration, and wasted time and energy.

So, that said, I should start before I get any older, right?

What Have You Summoned?

Some people say that we have “summoned” whatever has come into our lives. And that made me so angry.

But, while passing the last aid station in a half-marathon, a volunteer asked if I needed anything. Because of pain from Plantar Facsiitis, I answered, “A new foot.” Two weeks later I broke my left tibia and fibula at the ankle. When I saw my foot hanging loose, I thought of that comment. It was the foot that I had disowned.

As my “new foot” (with two plates and ten screws) was healing, I was cautious to treat both feet with utmost respect.

Whether I “summoned” the break or not, I definitely have new appreciation for every bit of my body that I have often taken for granted.

Appreciation summons abundance.

Where Do You Live?

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“The words you speak become the house you live in.”  -Hafiz

In the past, when I wasn’t pleased with my situation, I thought that I had been a victim of a cruel fate, injustices, and others’ misjudgments. And, I seldom missed a chance to let everyone know about it. Now I realize:

  • my words were defining my experience.
  • many “injustices” I thought I suffered were self-inflicted. I was just clueless.
  • uncomfortable “accommodations” were part of the journey to appreciating the better ones to come.
  • happiness was always an inside job.

In the beginning was the word.

My words are the architect, the interior designer, and the realtor for the place I want to live.

It’s How You Look at It

“Not loneliness, but solitude. Not suffering, but endurance, the discovery of grim kinship with the rocks and sky. And the finding here of a harsh peace that would transcend bodily discomfort, a healing instead of the wounds of the soul.”

Diana Gabaldon (referring to Jamie Frazer from the Outlander series)

It’s fiction, although, through the character of Jamie Frazer, author Diana Gabaldon challenges us to strength, resilience, and patience in difficult circumstances.

I am not lonely. I am learning solitude.

I am not suffering. I am learning endurance and kinship with creation.

I am not wounded. I am learning a harsh peace that transcends pain and discomfort.

We can label this as way too unreal or romantic, or we can look and learn from countless men and women throughout history who have raised the bar by conquering their circumstances.

Do I need to list their names?

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Dig Deep or Just Go with It?

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Spouting simple answers has always come natural to me. I am on a remedial path now.

Journalist and self-described, “Industrious Optimist,” Lara Setrakian used this cartoon illustration in her TedTalk about improving the “adult education” that comes from news reporting, away from fear and simplicity toward the wholeness (or integrity) of complex truths.

Following the road less traveled, entering the narrow gate, education of the heart, enlightenment, and truth all depend upon the gravitas of love not dogma; giving the benefit of the doubt and resisting fiery indictments, ethnocentrism, and condemnations long enough to grasp the deep kinship we share with fellow residents at this very temporary, planetary address.

We all must decide. Go with the herd on the easy path, eventually terminating at the cliff, or take the longer, lonelier path and brave the uphill climb?

Beware of the Illusion

Beware of the illusion on those days when…

  • you feel too high or too low
  • it seems like you’ve finally got it all together
  • everything falls apart
  • you feel just a tad superior or inferior
  • it seems you never get a break
  • you’ve decided life is too much or not challenging enough

You have just bought into the illusion that life is conquerable and understandable, instead of a confounding mystery that defies your explanations. You have been taken to the cleaners by a life that will bring you what you need and not necessarily what you want. You have been duped by the illusion that life is about what you do and have, instead of about what you will learn and become inside.

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