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Teenage Head vs. Buddha

be here nowMy sweetie and I are not of the same vintage. We often find ourselves WTF’ing about our friends’ antics, and our choices of entertainment .Yet we persevere, giggle, and learn A LOT.

It was this past weekend at a Teenage Head concert that most of my Buddhist training came back to me. Present moment? Pul-eaze, these folks were hanging on to the past harder than me hanging on to my only child’s innocence.

The present moment was nowhere to be found. Hanging on to beer bottles like the social-teddy-bear-comfort-of-underage-drinkers, fifty and sixty-somethings duded themselves up in outfits that should never, ever, be seen in public. Ever.

Were they having fun, or out there hoping to have the same kind of fun that they organically experienced in their youth? It’s a spiderweb issue, never really to be dissected.

I’ve had the good fortune of being exposed to trauma and crisis. Yes, I did say good fortune. I say that because I’ve witnessed true grace under presssure. Whatever the age or stage, it takes grace to transition to another phase with success and with some modicum of fabulousness.

Which brings me to the crux of what I’ve been thinking about lately; how to remain happy in the present moment, and continue to be spontaneous even as fear disguises itself as good sense and responsibility.

It’s tough. “We get cautious“, my gal-pal said to me during a conversation about how we’re feeling ‘old’.  Just yesterday I was stretched out in a worn blue gown that ties at the back on the pale green sheets of a gurney, being told about parts of my internal organs that were not healthy.

edith-piaf-non-je-ne-regrette-rien-columbia-8I regret nothing; The crazy nights out, my falling in and out of love,  career changes, my devotion to my kiddo, and especially my larger-than-life-sometimes-too-much-for-you personality.

What I do regret though is the caution that has gotten comfy and is taking up space in my psyche.

So, I hope to find joy in new places, experiences and acquaintances, that maybe, just maybe will scare me a little bit.

I beg of you. Let the 80’s hair, leather and old artists go. rade it in for the some half-shaved version  of the now, more sassy leather, and support new artisits. Find something new and fresh. Live in the present moment. Allow your body and your soul to mellow and change. Rejoice in your softening.Read new authors, go see new plays, listen to live music written and performed by kids who could be your own, paint your living room red, learn to code….

Whatever you do, do it with all of your heart, and laugh. Laugh a lot.

 

 

 

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So You’ve Got a Secret?

 

"Secrets are made to be found out with time." ~Charles Sanford~
“Secrets are made to be found out with time.”
~Charles Sanford~

Secrets are a harbour of power and potential. They are often described as juicy, scandalous or dark.

Secrets are little bits of knowledge that either peck at you mercilessly from the inside out, leaving you tingling to whisper their power into someone’s ear, or they settle, into your soul like germinating seeds, ready to send their vines outward to blossom.

I’ve got a secret my darlings. Yes, indeed I do. It’s not the kind that’s eating me up from the inside out.

No sweeties, sorry to disappoint. I’ve gotten past having to tame those kind of secrets.

The secret that I have is settled in around my bones like a nice warm duvet.  Not to hot, and not too cold. Just right.

It’s blissfully mine, and mine alone.

Every once in a while I take it out and play with it. Examine it. Take in its good side, it’s challenging side, and then tuck it back in where it belongs.

Secrets lose their energy when spoken. The power of their impact ripples outward, stealing the sizzle from the original ball of wonder, and bleeding it out along the path of least resistance.

No longer a secret, the energy stuns and then is, simply forgotten.

When you keep something to yourself, your own secret, it can keep you smiling on a rainy day, get you up in the morning when you’d rather pull the covers over your head, and carry you through challenging times with challenging people.

I have a secret. I hope you do too.

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Shame & Should; What to do with Shame, Guilt and Fear

SHAME
SHAME (Photo credit: BlueRobot)

I’ve felt uber-connected in some parts of my life lately. I have a blessed abundance of friendship, of caring friends whom, without their support the last few months, I would have dipped more deeply into some mindless-emotion-numbing habit.It’s true what they say about doing something kind for others. It really does make you feel better. Kindness is a kind of tonic that multiplies in efficacy. It benefits not only the beneficiary, but the donor.

That’s all well and great. Happiness, contentment, lack of longing, healthy, forgiving expectation. Aren’t they all terrific emotions? Sure my sweet little peach-pies. It’s all bliss and toothy grins.

But last night I had a different kind of conversation. A long conversation, about emotions much less pleasant. What about shame, guilt, fear, anger and addiction ?

They all suck. Quite often when someone is feeling these emotions, well-meaning friends offer advice about what you, ‘should’ do to cure the feeling. Should, has no place in a conversation with yourself or anyone else when these emotions are playing with your heart and mind.

Shame, guilt, fear and anger deserve our attention equally, if not more so, than the feel-good emotions we strive to cling to day after day, and moment-to-moment. After all, it’s human nature to run these bad-boy emotions out of our life. Why? Because they hurt. A punch to the solar plexus is much more tolerable than carrying the weight of negative emotion.

So, last night, during a conversation that was meant to encourage another person to seize the day and make the most out of life, even after crisis and loss, I revisited some of the indiscretions of my past. It was painful, for me and I’m not sure I made my point. I babbled well though, I’m good at that.

Experience comes from making mistakes, and let’s just say, I’ve had a world of experience my darlings. Although my decision-making, especially regarding personal relationships, has been much more healthy during the past few years, I alone know the truth about how I came to this place of strength and personal integrity.

I arrived at this place through much pain, loss and suffering. I had to learn painful emotional lessons over and over in order to make a change. An important part of ‘learning the lesson’ was forgiving myself and allowing myself to be loved, to believe in all of the things my heart ever ached for, and (gasp) to be vulnerable enough to trust other people who, being human and all, have also made shameful, guilt-provoking mistakes in their own lives.

So, it was not easy to disclose some of my more painful memories of indiscretion last night over a glass of wine and some food. It was much easier after the second glass of wine, but I digress

Still, I woke up this morning wanting to pull the covers over my head and stay there until someone noticed a funny smell in the hallway and broke in to investigate.

Being vulnerable, being open, being honest, can be very painful, especially if you think it was pointless.

My hope was to help a friend realize that we all make mistakes. We’re all assholes sometime, and it’s ok, as long as we learn and change for the better because of it. Life goes on even when you don’t want to wake up in the morning. If you don’t learn from your mistakes, forgive yourself and everyone else, there is no redemption. There is no spiritual growth, and you perpetuate pain and suffering. Your remain, simply, and plainly, an asshole.

So life isn’t what you expected. You screwed up. Tuck the lesson in your pocket and carry on hoping, with faith, and believing in love. Forgive yourself, give up on battering your ego to the ground with negative self-talk, and let the life you always wanted take root.

Oh yah, and don’t judge me because I don’t feel guilty or ashamed any more.

Earlier this weekend a friend told me about some advice that was given to her when life presented a challenge. “The fork in the road”, dilemma over what to do next. A man gave her some advice, ” You don’t stand there looking at the fork. You pick up the fork and go looking for your next meal.”

Trust me, when you pick up the fork, you’ll know exactly the kind of life you’re craving.

Link to a blog about sexuality and shame; http://markandrewalward.blogspot.ca/2013/01/marks-sermon-on-mount-reflections-on-my.html