Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Walk A Labyrinth

Recently I walked a labyrinth for the third time, and as before, it was a memorable experience. Some people use the walk for clearing the mind and centering. Others enter with a concern or question. I had just one question. I asked my inner Voice to tell me what I need to know, and the answers I received were right on, enlightening and meaningful. I came out feeling more at peace and with renewed direction in my life. Fifteen of us walked the labyrinth together, each in our own quiet space, and each with our own unique experience, yet bonding together in this experience. I'm now looking forward to my next walk.

Labyrinths have been around in every religious tradition for over 4 thousand years, and can be found all over the world. They may look like a maze, but they're not. A maze is built with dead ends to confuse and test. Labyrinths are usually in the form of a circle with a clear, purposeful path winding from the outer edge to the center and returning on the same path, with each person walking at their own pace. They're made in different designs, and the one I walked is the same as one of the most famous built into the floor of the Chartres Cathedral in France in the early 13th century. The labyrinth walk facilitator has walked the one in France and uses this design for her walks. Labyrinths are used for prayer, meditation, centering, relaxation, problem solving, enlightenment, direction, etc. Today, in our stressed world, there's a renewal of their use as a spiritual tool.

There are also smaller labyrinths to sit on your lap and walk with your fingers. They're made in a variety of materials, such as metal and different types of wood. I've looked at some on the internet, and I plan to get one. I also want to make one in my back yard. How wonderful to walk barefooted on the earth and feel earth energy beneath my feet.

If you don't know about labyrinths and/or have never walked one, you might want to research them and find one to walk. I'm just learning they're becoming more available in our chaotic world as our need for peace and direction in our life increases. Once you walk the labyrinth, you'll want to walk again.

I wish you peaceful walks along your journey.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

You And Me or The Machines

As our world changes, the way in which we relate to each other is also changing. Oftentimes we use emails, texts and social media to exchange information about each other, and we don't seem to use as much personal contact as in the past. Personally sharing experiences with others is being replaced with information about them. The time we do spend together is often interrupted by the machines we find so important in our lives. And an emotional distancing seems to be emerging. I'm not saying this is good or bad, but it's something to think about.

Some people can't stand to ever be alone, while others need some alone time each day. I'm in the latter category. But our changing culture is determined to put us all in one category--more robot than social being. I suppose robots can meet on a material level, but then what happens to the being inside?

As life unfolds, we each choose the kind of memories we take with us. I find that my dearest memories involve shared experiences and feelings more than information. Yesterday, I experienced what will be one of my dearest memories, and it brought a deeper awareness of how I want to live my life. I belong to a writer's group, and each year we celebrate what we have accomplished together in the past year. We invite friends and family, enjoy a wonderful lunch, and each of the thirteen group members reads or acts out something they have written. I acted out my story in a southern dialect with a costume, including a straw hat and pigtails. We shared sad, serious and funny stories with some tears and some laughs. The point is, we shared from our hearts, and love flowed among us. As time passes, I may not remember everything about each person, but the feelings will never leave me.

Use machines. Play with machines. They're part of our present life. But machines come and go. Souls are forever. Let's not forget who we really are. Remember what it feels like to hold a child's hand, hug a friend, say "I love you" to that special person--or even stroke a faithful pet. Life is a series of choices. As the years of your life pass, what will be your memories? The time to create those memories is now.

I wish you many beautiful memories.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Course Of Action

During the past week, while recuperating from a cold/flu bug, I thought about all the times in the past when one of those bumps on the road of life suddenly attacked without warning--one of those situations that nullifies your plans, and you're forced to regroup. Like when you're ready for work and discover your car has a flat, or you receive a notice saying you didn't pay your mortgage, and you know you did, or you forgot to register your kid for summer camp, or a sudden illness puts you down for a while, etc--nothing earth shaking, but definitely needing attention.

What do you do when something like this hits? Sometimes the first thought is to panic and begin playing "what if?" What if I'm late for work; what if this ruins my credit; what if my kid thinks I forgot because I don't care. My first thought with the cold/flu bug was, what if I get really sick and can't take care of myself.

Overreaction? Of course, but it's what we do when we live on autopilot. Looking back, it's what I've done many times, and I feel a little foolish for it. My mother used to say, "Don't make mountains out of molehills." But for most of my life I did it anyway. I'm glad I finally decided to take another look at how I respond to life's bumps, big ones and little ones, and find new ways to cope, at least most of the time. I'm still working on it, but like everything else, learning is part of the journey. For me, the past week was another learning experience.

The first response should be to stop, step back, and gauge the size of the mountain. How big is it really? It might be just a little hill to step over. Size up the situation, and then create a plan. Ask, "How big is it, then what can I do about it? What are the consequences if I can't fix it? Where can I find help if I need it? Etc.

If the problem is the result of your own mistake, never condemn yourself. If you do that, you're adding a second problem to the one you already have. Punishing yourself, even in your thoughts, does nothing beneficial. So don't do it.

Take life as it comes, and meet each day knowing you have what it takes to handle whatever comes up. Enjoy your journey and go with the flow. And don't forget to smell the flowers along the way.

I wish you little hills instead of mountains.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Time Out

I had a blog subject in mind for today, but the monster flu bug attacked me before I could put my thoughts on paper. So here I sit waiting to see who gets the best of this conflict--me or the bug. A long time ago, I got a flu shot, and then got so sick with the flu I couldn't get out of bed. So no flu shots since. Maybe I should have reconsidered it this year.

I rarely get stuff from bugs like most people. On a daily basis I deal with a variety of chronic illnesses. And while you never get used to these things, I've learned to cope. I take one day at a time, use self-talk, meditate, and allow myself some time to experience my feelings instead of fighting them. But my chronic illnesses is another story. For now, I'm dealing with something I rarely experience, so I'm feeling my way along.

I haven't been to see a doctor. They usually prescribe an antibiotic for everything, including viruses. But antibiotics don't touch a virus, so what's the point--except maybe to contribute to our health system's profits. Illness is the most profitable business in our country--I read it's more profitable than oil.

Anyway, I went to the health food store and got some olive leaf extract, extra vitamin C, and zinc lozenges. Also got some ibuprofen for the pain, extra tissues for whatever comes up and green tea with lots of honey. I thought about making hot toddies with the honey, but I don't drink anymore, so the honey is okay just in the tea.

Well, now the flu bug seems to be weakening, so I'll probably win this battle. I'm so weak though, it will take a while for me to go through a normal day--one in which I cook food, and get hungry enough to eat it. One in which I don't lay in bed coughing, moaning, aching, not sleeping, and feeling like I'd have to die to feel better. And saying, "This too shall pass."

Sorry about today. But on the other hand, maybe I needed to vent. So thank you for listening. Also, everything is in Divine Order, so maybe some of you are also suffering with the flu and need support. If so, hang in there. It really does pass. I know it's not much comfort to say that challenges make us stronger. But look back at some of yours, even the small ones, and see the strength you gained from some of them. And know you will get through each challenge as it comes.

Love yourself. You're worth it.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

You Have A Gift

Everyone is gifted, but some people never open their package. Unknown

When we were created, each of us was given a gift--something we could express in our lives. But I've found that many people, perhaps most, will tell you they have nothing special to express. They think being gifted means standing out in a crowd. But gifts come in all sizes, shapes, descriptions, qualities, etc. And each person has a gift like no other. Music or writing may come under the same genre, but each song or text is unique. And no two people have the same smile.

When I was a child, there was a man in our neighborhood who made people happy fixing their bicycles, just because he enjoyed making them happy. There was a woman who made cookies for the children. Now I know someone who is wheelchair bound, and she's known for smiling and waving at just about everyone. Many gifts are subtle and go unnoticed as gifts, but they're felt in the lives they touch.

I used to be one of those people who saw nothing special about what I did. Now I remember when I was raising my children doing waitress work, many of my customers shared their problems with me. I listened and offered encouragement. Then at age 47, I went back to school and became a psychotherapist, still listening and encouraging. It never seemed like a gift to me. It was just what I did. Then when I retired it dawned on me that maybe that was my gift, and I could still listen and encourage.

The greatest gift is a portion of thyself. Ralph Waldo Emerson

What is your gift? You don't have one? Of course you do. Maybe you, like others, just haven't looked closely enough. Look again at what you do and how you do it. Notice your habits and what you do without thinking about it. What do you do well? Is there something you haven't been aware of? Its just part of who you are. Ask your inner Voice to show you what you have been given and to guide you in using it.

You're more beautiful than you know. Let your life express your gift. It will come back to you and warm your heart.

I wish you many blessings.