Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Beautiful, yet empty

Many times we find ourselves in a relationship that somehow is exactly the opposite of what we had expected. It is at the point of this realization that we may find our emotions at their highest; anger, jealousy, mistrust, sadness, etc.

When I was a little girl, I went with my Mother and Father to a local department store. The store was decorated for the upcoming Holiday season, and being a child I was amazed. The lights, the reindeer, the glitter; but my eyes were fixed, my heart swelled and my mind was overcome with wonder as I saw the presents under the large pine. So many presents, more than I had ever seen. What a wonderful sight! The colors, the sizes, the ribbons, all of these wonders overwhelmed my young eyes. I can remember my Father telling me the beautiful boxes were just a display, they weren't for anyone in particular. It was just to look at.... Those words stuck with me throughout the day.

When I arrived home, I told my older sister about the display. Being the oldest and so much wiser, she grandly explained that display meant they were empty boxes, wrapped up all pretty, and put under the store's tree. To this day, I can remember the feeling of disappointment that entered my heart and mind after finding out this hard truth. In my child's mind, I had built a reality where somewhere, a little boy or girl was going to have those sparkling presents on Christmas morning. They would wake up to a mound of gifts so bright and large that the star on top their tree would be hidden. That child would open one after the other to find all the treasures they had ever dreamed of possessing. In my child's mind, if that could happen, well, I just might be that child! To find that the gift was empty, well, it crushed not only my dream, but my feelings as well... I was sad, angry, and I now mistrusted what I had seen with my very own eyes. I felt stupid and I felt as empty as those boxes.

As a child I saw a bright and shiny, beautifully wrapped present. It was good. I immediately wanted it. Not even having a clue as to what it was, I drew my own dream of what it could be, I set my thinking to the fact that it must be a wonderous gift.... My reality turned an empty box into a shiny bicycle in the blink of an eye.

We do this now as adults, with our interpretations of relationships, thoughts, and actions. We meet a new person, we see a beautiful home, beautiful face, clothes, etc... We begin to believe the object is good, because the appearance is appealing to our eyes. We crave, or covet a relationship with this person or object, we begin to see what we need to see to keep to our dream, or belief of that person/object. At some point in the future, we see that the beauty we first saw has faded, the glitter or shine has dulled, and we can no longer hide the emptiness that is inherent to all things. We begin to see that this person/object is not living up to our dream. We begin to see their actions and their very being as a way to cause us pain. We cannot understand how they became this, how they changed so much. Yes, change has happened, glitter fades, but our pain originates in our perception. We percieved what we desired to see. And when our perception could no longer hold the dream, we suddenly are plunged into the reality of our relationship. Reality is change, in every moment. To say you or it has changed, is speaking of an obvious, a rule so to speak- All Things Change. By casting blame onto the object, rather than truly accepting the reality of the object, we set ourselves up for further suffering. We must accept what is, as it is, in this moment without expectation.

Today, try your best to appreciate all things as they truly are, do not wrap them in pretty paper and illusions. Do not allow yourself to impose what you believe "it" is as reality. Take a moment to truly look, examine, and discern the true nature, let go of your expectations.... Just for a moment, accept the "display" is beautiful, yet empty, allow it to be just as it is and love it for that alone.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Dirty Words.....

Sitting back, my mind wandered to a day more than 20 years past. I was sitting on a cement porch step, the sun was setting and my children were playing in the yard with their cousins. One by one they were taking turns on a slide and see saw. I was amazed at their kindness and respect for each other.

In the blink of an eye, I was thoroughly perplexed when my oldest became agitated with his cousin. All had been so peaceful, so almost perfect. When I suddenly heard the dreaded four letter word growled by my oldest and repeated by the pack... Hate. I thought of what I had heard other parents say to their children when they cursed or used inappropriate words. Surely, there had to be a better way than, "If you say that word again, I'm going to wash your mouth out with soap!" I wanted my children to choose a better way because they understood, not because they were following blindly out of fear.

At that moment I stood, slowly walked over to a hushed and expectant group. I began explaining to toddlers and preschoolers why that word was not to be used. Well, the cousins ran off to their parents, and my daughter fell quickly to sleep on my lap. This lesson apparently was just for me and my boy.

My son and I sat beside each other on that cement step as the stars began to twinkle. I was mulling how to explain to such a little one why some words just shouldn't be used. I can only guess that he was thinking, but it may have been "the more time that went by, the less likely he was going to be in trouble for hurting his cousin..."

I finally settled on the simplest answer I could give. This is what I told him.

"Some words, like Hate, are dirty. They make our mouths unclean and then little boys can't give kisses to their Momma's. So, you see son, we need to be careful what words we use. A word like Hate, well, its the same as the curse words. They make our kisses dirty and are hearts hurt."

It was enough for my pre-schooler. He swiped a few times at his lips with the back of his little hand; even going so far as to brushing his teeth. Then with big eyes, he looked up at me and said, "Momma, my mouth's clean now, can I have a kiss?"

I raised my children with this truth. We started out slow, with words like hurt and dirty. We progressed as they grew to more defining words such as negative, judgmental, and cruel. But the basic example of that night still held true. Our words can and do impact our love. They can create and magnify love, or they can rip away and cause untold suffering and pain.

Our words can hurt others and our selves so terribly. They can leave scars and sickness inside so deep that we forget they are there. The act of speaking words of hurt, does not only pain the one we speak to, but creates the same scarring inside ourselves. We act out those pains, scars and hurts by hurting others before they hurt us, we carry the weight of those words and our relationships reflect our pain.

I taught my children that a small word of praise, encouragement or simple kindness can do just as much wondrous good for everyone. It simply HEALS. Simply being kind was the religion my children were raised in. And it simply is what brings love light and laughter to our days.

So, today, if you find words of anger or judgement flowing forward, wipe the back of your hand across your lips and choose to smile instead.....

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Today, step away from yourself and look for your unconscious habits.
Find them one by one and release them by undoing.
It may be as simple as hitting the snooze button two or three or four times...
It may be as complicated starting your day with a mental inventory of what you must do just to stay above the wave one more day...
Whatever you find, un-do it.
Start your day on the first buzzzzz.
Start everyday with an inventory of your blessings.

Do it different today....

Trying to change is often a hard won accomplishment. No matter what we are attempting to recreate, it is often a task that either feels as if we must move a mountain, or give up what we have grown so fond of... The key to beginning, is to begin small.

In my past I often dreamed or longed for a life that wasn't burdened with material, health or relationship struggles. I often thought, "I would give anything just to be healthy, happy, and living in peace". One moment, l I found myself making one small change. I choose to not rush, not hurry, not to feel pressured to be somewhere or do something other than what was happening in that moment. I choose to focus my attention on the moment at hand, to make the most of it, be at my best, and to take the time I needed to be in that moment for as long as I needed to accomplish my task.

This relatively simple choice became complicated very quickly. Others expectations, random events, on and on small and large boulders appeared on my path. I found the key to maintaining this change, was to not become entangled in the outside my control obstacles. I simply was in the moment, and all else would need to fall into line.

This change didn't create a me that did not recognize or respect others "timetables" but it did help create a perspective where a traffic jam wasn't the end of the world, where I was able to finish a project and feel accomplished, where I took the moments to listen to my child and to truly interact... It created a new perspective for me, where I can now see that the most important "do-ings" are the "be-ings" of my moments...

It may start as simply as a new way to get to work, smiling at the receptionist, eating lunch not at your desk but in the park, walking home from the daycare and talking, turning off the TV and picking up a pen, just getting through or really getting involved.....

One small conscious choice can change everything.....