Monthly Archives: November 2014

Two black guys, me, a buck and a tank of gas.

The other day I was at a stop light.  I happened to be about 3 cars back from the light and I saw someone at the corner who had a sign “Will work for food.” He was Black.  His color only matters because of what comes next.

I noticed that one person got out of his car to give money and the other rolled down his window.  I can see both are men and both are black.  There are other cars there too – nice cars.  These two guys didn’t have those kind of nice cars (relative, of course).  I rolled down my window and held out some money.  The man came to my car, took the money and said “G-d bless you.”  Frankly, I can use all the g-d blessings I can get right now.

I wondered why the two black guys gave money but the two BMW’s and the Lexis didn’t.  Look, I know this is sometimes a racket.  And, I know sometimes we’re paying for an addiction.  And this is not about the cost of our cars or the color of our skin.  This is just me making an observation with no agenda or judgment.

The light turned and we all pulled forward. The car with one of the guys in it pulled over a block later at a gas station.   So I pulled over too.  I got out of my car just as the guy was going into the building to buy his gas.  I followed him in.  In the register line I saw him counting bills for his gas.  Looked like $7 and some change.

I said (to the guy with his baggy pants to his knees and tattoos on his arms), “Hey, I noticed you gave that guy at the corner some money. That was nice of you.”  He turned around and for a split second I wondered if I really should have opened my mouth.

He stared at me for a second and then smiled.  “Yea, I can’t stand seeing my brothers on the street.  That used to be me.  Homeless.  No money and when I had some, I was just buying something bad. Maybe it’ll make some difference for him. Maybe not. But I’m doin’ something.”

“That’s really cool,” I said.  “You made my day.”  He nodded and walked out.  I gave the guy at the register my card and bought my new friend $30 in gas.  As I walked out and got in my car I heard the loud-speaker tell him “that woman” just gave him $30 in gas.

He was right, it did feel good to do something.  Life’s full of surprises, don’t you think?

Have an amazing Wednesday.

I used to call it a failure (and I used to think I was a failure too).

When everything is flowing the way we think it should, we think we’re living in harmony with the universe. But when things aren’t going well we think that the world is not fair.  We’re angry, frustrated and wonder, “Why me?”  Yet, here’s the thing: when you lose the job you thought was so great or the relationship you thought you would have forever ends, it’s important to listen to what is happening and actually experience it rather than just avoid the pain.

It’s in those moments that we’re supposed to take the time to explore our feelings and experience the moment.  But we often try to avoid the pain by doing other things — like shopping, eating, drinking or justifying the pain by saying,”Well, it was just meant to be.”  And maybe this latter statement is true. But if we don’t look at our perceived failures or the pain that comes from just being in this world, we’ll have a hard time getting closer to who we really are or want to be.

Failure is a subjective term. If we have very rigid ideas of what it means to succeed, we will be disappointed.  One thing I know for sure:  nothing is certain and there will be failure.

Plus, I think there’s value in failure.  As the Dalai Lama said, “Sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.”  I certainly think this is true for me given my recent “failures.”

There are many statistics about companies that eventually succeeded after abundant failures.  This is also true for personal success.  Coming back from a disappointment and moving forward will always bring joy and a sense of satisfaction … really of success.

Let’s be empowered, not paralyzed, by failure.  Those “failures” are an opportunity to see deeper into ourselves.  My difficulties have always brought pain and sorrow and growth and color and joy to my life.

Friends, I think this is the grace of our existence.  The ability to make mistakes, experience pain and difficulty and try it all over again.  I’m embracing my failures right now.  And I’ve got a lot of them!  I hope you can embrace yours too.

Have a great day!

 

My tapes (and yours).

Fear has controlled me.  It has kept me frozen in one place.  It’s kept me in unhappy relationships and frankly, it’s sometimes stopped me from living my dreams.  I’ve allowed it to control my decisions, to choose my directions, I’ve almost made it a person – sitting right next to me.  Have you seen the movie – The Bird Man?  His fear, his ego – spoke louder to him than those who loved him.

While with age, I’ve finally been able to identify it, I’m still not always able to deal with it.   I’m a work in process.

I’ve tried lots of things – meditation, therapy, (drinking 🙂 ), etc., but these things don’t help me face those fears.  Plus, fear can move from the mental to the physical – making us feel sick, becoming compulsive about things, spending too much money, cheating,  ….  You know what I’m talking about.

Why do we let something that’s not really us, control our actions?  I don’t have an answer.  I just know a few things:

First, we are solely responsible for the thoughts our minds produce. While we can’t stop our minds completely, we can (and should) control them and create the message we should be hearing.

Second, we can hit the “stop” button at any time.  I’ve been working on taking a deep breath and hitting “delete” literally and figuratively.  Sometimes our thoughts want to drag us away – but we often forget that we have all the power.

Of course, suffering and pain is inevitable and sometimes it will take every ounce of energy to not react to the messages we are hearing in our brain.  Sometimes, we will just get lost in our thoughts and we just can’t beat ourselves up about it.  Nothing is perfect.

The point here is that I’ve stayed in bad situations because of tapes I was playing – “I’m not good enough.”  “This is as good as I deserve.”  Had I really listened to the truth of the situation, of the importance of being honest with myself, I would have changed directions long before I did.  But, my tapes were on max volume and I just must not have been ready.

All I know is this:  the more I practice, the better I get at turning down the volume.  Maybe I’ve not shut it off completely (and I likely never will), but at least I can identify it.

The greater part of human pain is unnecessary. It is self-created as long as the unobserved mind runs your life. Eckhart Tolle

Friends, let’s not let it run our lives.  Give it a shot with me.  How bad can it be? Look, even if it hurts, we know it’s hurting for all the right reasons.

Please be safe today.  XO

A run by myself – (fill in “run” with any other activity … except sex).

For the last six months or so, I’ve not wanted to run alone.  I guess I needed the chatter of my friends, keeping me from thinking too much about the stuff going on in my life.  But Wednesday, I decided it was time to try a run by myself.  After all, it’s just me.  I used to love taking a run by myself.  Time to think, regroup, recenter.

As I started to run, my first thought was, “I wish I had headphones.”    It reminded me of the line from Gwendolen, in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Ernest, who said, “I never travel without my diary.  One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”  What is so difficult about just running without anything but me?

History is filled with stories of amazing people who spent significant time alone – in reflection and working on their lives, thoughts and dreams.  But not in our world.  We’re just not used to being totally alone.

Maybe we (read: me) are afraid of our thoughts …  our tapes.  Maybe our (read: my) thoughts are not all golden and happy or productive or even important.  But, what’s wrong with that?  I’m not perfect and I’m not pretending to be.

As I was running, I decided to listen to what was around me: the sound of my jacket rustling.  My breathing.  The gentle rain as I looked through my wet glasses.  Then I stopped.  Not because I was tired, but because I realized I was crying.  It hit me how fortunate I was to be in that spot, in the rain at that very moment — all by myself.  I was overwhelmed with the good fortune I have to be here, not in Syria.  How beautiful the gray, cloudy, rainy day was.  How did I get so lucky to have so much in my life – even when my tapes say something is missing?

Let’s not to waste the opportunity of that rare and precious commodity – being alone – even if it’s just a split second in your mind.  I anticipate I will have much more time alone when my kids leave and I’ll manage that when I get there.  But for now, the small amount of alone time I have provides me with an opportunity to accept myself as I am, wherever I am in my journey.

And friends, let’s not forget that in the end, we eventually meet all life’s greatest tests by working on them internally – and alone.

Have an amazing weekend!

 

The things I know for sure.

In my recent life transition, I’ve had to look at the things in my life that are the constants.  Those things I know for sure (the good and the not-so-good) and understand how they play into my life.

This is what I know for sure (today):

1. I can always find a reason to smile.  I’ve had some moments lately where I didn’t feel like smiling.  But, I’ve found that in those moments, if we take one second to be thankful for something right in front of our face (even a cup of java), we can find a reason to smile.  Do it.

2. I’m going to be ok.  There is no question that whatever the trial of the moment, we will be ok.  Things will work out.  Just find a way to know that and it will help you get to the next day, and the next, and the next.  You will be ok each of those days.  I promise.

3. There will be a reason to cry. Pain is inevitable.  But, when one door closes, another one always (and I mean always) opens.  Allow the first one to close.  If you don’t, nothing else will open.

4. I have the energy to change directions.  We attract what we are.  I know someone who is always fighting with other people.  It’s been his life.  I tried to understand it, to support it – but I couldn’t.  Unless he changes his energy (which he can) – that will be his life.  Draw the positive energy you want in your life by finding it in yourself.  It is there!

5. There will always be something “better.”  There’s always something cooler, more exciting.  A new house.  New clothes.  A new “person.”  But “better” is a state of mind.  Some of the happiest people I know have the least amount of “stuff.”  They work through their s*** not run from it.  Think about it.

6. Time keeps marching on.  I was talking with someone recently who just retired.  He said it was the best time of his life!  Cool! Love the time/place you’re in. A new one (whether you like it or not) is around the corner.

7. I will always feel fear and love.  In some ways, they are intertwined.  We have fear inside us.  Fear of failure.  Fear of loneliness.  Fear that we’re not good enough.  But we’ll also always feel love.  When you are feeling fearful about a situation – find the love in it.  Actually, find the love in you — it will eliminate the fear.

I really could go on and on (thank g-d I have a blog!).  But, the key message for me (and us) today is that life is ever-changing and never certain.  What we want and love one minute is gone the next.  But, what we can count on is our inner peace, positive energy and our love.  Give that out, my friends. Give it to the world and watch what comes back to you.

Have an amazing start to the week! XO

 

 

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