Sunday, January 29, 2012

Living up to your own expectations

This weekend I met a milestone. For several years I've needed to update my website. I really NEEDED to do it, and whenever I thought about it, I'd have the disappointed feeling that I hadn't completed that task yet. I vascillated between hiring somebody to do it and tackling it myself. Then I'd get caught up in a Catch-22 thinking about how low-tech I am, and at the same time thinking how I only need a simple website-- no bells and whistles.

To make this story shorter.... Yesterday I sat down and did it. I woke up with the intention of making a link on one page work. When I shut down my laptop at 2:30 a.m., I'd actually revised all the pages to the extent that I don't have to cringe when I think of someone accessing the site. It's not perfect, but it's functional.

Grown daughter captured me with my brain in full web-building mode.

Months ago I mentioned how much we can actually accomplish for our jobs-- when somebody is paying us to do something that actually meets THEIR goals. What was so disappointing for me was knowing that when I really focus and give something my best shot, I can really get a job done and meet other people's expectations.

But I couldn't seem to harness that kind of energy to meet my own goal.

So after spending all those hours with technical support and taking notes and refreshing and downloading and linking and on and on..... I feel like I've reached some new place in my own development. I got in that zone that folks talk about when you know you're in flow and you're doing what you're supposed to. The Secret,  Wayne Dyer, Stuart Wilde, Deepak Chopra, and probably all the motivators make reference to it. And it was different from my writing zone-- because writing is something I really just love to do. But... (and here's my tip).... there are things that we don't actually love to do, but we want to accomplish them. We want very much to get to the other side of some gateway task that leads to more .... More what? More of something we want.. whatever that may be.

So I just want to encourage you to set the intention and stay in your (metaphorical) seat until you get it done. What a great feeling!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

You can go home again.

Whenever I go back to the small town in which I spent nine childhood years, my heart swells from the feeling of connection. When I visit, I attend the same church I did with my grandmother. Back then-- decades and decades ago, the church was filled with her sisters and cousins and their families, and dozens of friends. Now their descendants-- nieces, nephews, grand- and  great-grand, even greatgreatgrand descendants-- are in the choir and among the congregation.
When I sat in the church today, I reflected on how much I know about these people. I've known them all my life. I always visit and catch up on what's going on with this one or that one. All of us have had smooth and bumpy spots. Some tragedies, some victories.

Today I understood that the connections are more important than the details. People in small communities can fall from grace under the watchful eyes of neighbors, relatives, friends. They can bounce back, and fall in step, and learn firsthand that life is about forgiveness, support, renewal, and humanity.

Those of us who have moved away from such tightknit communities of connection can forget that mistakes and bad choices are notches on our timeline, but they don't define us for long..... UNLESS we punish ourselves in our minds over and over and over. Holding on to our unhappy memories and judging ourselves will hold us prisoner long after the world has forgotten and moved on with the business of living.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Finding the Middle Way

I notice that young people speak in hyperbole a lot. “That is awesome!” or “I was so pissed off!” or "I can’t stand this!” or “I had this amazing .......!” or “It was #%!#*! awful!” Most times, what they’re talking about isn’t THAT big a deal.
If you’re young and reading this, my advice is to take it down a notch. Too much emotion is the stuff of which nervous breakdowns are made. I do believe that a lot of mood swings and depression are fueled by exaggeration at both ends.  Highs too high, and lows too low.
In your daily life, find the middle way. The middle way is about expecting life to have its ups and downs, and taking them in stride.  It’s accepting things for what they are without overemphasizing a lot of it. Realize that most of what goes on is just what life is all about. That way, when something truly amazing happens, you can appreciate it. And when something is truly devastating, it won’t take you out.

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Monday, January 2, 2012

Eckhart Tolle: "The opposite of life is not death. The opposite of death is birth. Life has no opposite."

Eckhart Tolle (by now you know he's one of my favorites) wrote, "The opposite of life is not death. The opposite of death is birth. Life has no opposite."
I like that as a quote for starting my year. There are so many implications. I can go really really deep when it comes to energy and life cycles and such.
But I won't do that now. Too much said is usually too much said.
So on this second day of an exciting new year, I will accept this quote as a mandate to really live this life that I have. There's no diminishing of life as we age. We are simply having a life...the one we are making-- either consciously or unconsciously.
 That's my tip--  Let's be as conscious as possible about what we do with LIFE. Let's not drag through our days clinging to beliefs that we haven't examined for ages. Let's not assume that because something didn't work six months ago means that it won't work now. .Let's process our circumstances in ways that resonate with possibility and light-heartedness.
And let's raise our expectations and believe we can create the best, unique, most soul-satisfying lives we can. Not as dictated by society or tradition or the community or the culture, but as dictated by the tiny, vibrant place within that's counting on us to get the most out of this journey. 
I will continue to contemplate on "Life has no opposite."
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