WEIGHING WORDS

When it comes to writing for my blog, I sometimes feel stymied – thinking about the subject that is my interest, well, everything that can (or should) be said, seems to have been.

Meditation is my interest, passion more likely.  And, often, I see that treated as the latest hip, slick and cool thing to do, or to claim one is involved in.  There are all kinds of challenges, retreats, spas, etc., all having the latest take on meditation and very, very expensive -guessing here that this would be the benchmark for how valuable it is – not to me.

Nothing wrong with making a living, but it does seem, to me, these days that every idea, every word that comes out of anyone’s mouth is fodder for a new enterprise.  The first consideration – how much can we charge, how much would people tolerate paying?  How and to whom do we market?  It sickens me.  I see meditation often marketed as an opportunity for greater prosperity – do this, this way and you’ll be a millionaire in a month.  Oh, please.

What about, learn to think, learn to think for yourself what your own thoughts truly are and feel better.  What if learning to think and know your own thoughts allowed you to be more at ease in yourself and in your relationships.  What if you had more of you, a deeper, more centered you in all areas of your life.  That’s the meditation I’m talking about.  I have no concern or intention to turn anyone into a millionaire. Billionaire is the target now, isn’t it?

It’s a simple process, a simple truth – doesn’t require a commitment to a lifelong guru, surrendering your will or identity to another person, which I AM NOT a fan of AT ALL.  For me, meditation was the open door.  It was my way to living a full, open life.  I had great difficulty coping with, let alone trying to conquer, chronic pain.  I didn’t want the current western medical model:  antidepressants, muscle relaxants, anti-anxiety drugs, etc.  I wanted a clear, strong, creative mind.  I didn’t want to watch $$ flying out the window pursuing every silly, snake oil idea out there.

I found meditation.  Practiced, studied, practiced, took classes online, went to classes, studied some more, practiced, read every book I could find and got results.  My results were surprising to me, initially.  The first, I realized I was experiencing moments of inner peace – I hadn’t had that before.  And, then stringing together, more and more spaces of time spent in true happiness – regardless of my current environment or situation.  I just felt enough, equal to the challenge, whatever it might be.  I lost my worry.  I became better at planning, but lost my worry.  I’m not looking for him, either. . .

Anxiety was the next to lose it’s grip.  Oh there still may be triggers, but they don’t get a hold anymore.  They are recognized for what they are, and seem to fade out.  How does that help chronic pain?  Well, my pain did not go away.  But, I have more energy and more ability to manage the pain.  It is there, I’m aware of it, I don’t deny it, but it’s just there period, that’s all.  It is a reality, just like having blue eyes – but you don’t spend all day thinking about your eyes.  I have more success planning and using my energy to its best effort.

I see so much potential for meditation – of course, there have been many cultures who have known this for thousands of years.  I want to see schools able to offer meditation – it’s good for any person, and I think would be excellent for the bullying problem – bullies and the bullied, alike.  I’m not teaching a system, a religion, or even a philosophy – My goal is to teach others what I have learned:  Your mind is your own, and the thoughts you hold are there because YOU thought them, and decided to keep them and make them your subject – it is that simple.  Learn to know your own mind.  Learn who you want to be.  Learn why you allow some thoughts to continue and whether that is useful to you, or not.  Learn that you can change at any moment, and then change again.

So, let’s weigh our words.  Let’s look at the profit in our words as the ‘prophet’ in our words first.  Weigh them in your mind, are they useful?  Are they helpful?  What feeling do they promote?  It’s up to you.  Thanks so much for reading.  Lilie

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WHAT DO YOU KNOW?

Yesterday, I checked email, looked at facebook, got caught up on internet stuff, and I looked at a political comment made on a site, I won’t mention which one.  It started out ok.  Then, of course, it turned into personal attacks.  I was just about to start tapping in a comment, and caught myself.   Hmm.  What’s this about?  We don’t know these candidates.  If you met them, you don’t know them – you just met them PERIOD.  So, why the personal remarks? You may have an impression of someone, but that’s not knowing them.

It made me think, again.  What in this speaks to me?  Well, it’s about that ‘person I want to be’ thing.  What do I want out of a president, a leader?  Honor, courage, wisdom, patience, compassion.  And, on my part, the recognition that a person can possess those qualities, and they are still human – still have frailties, faults and are subject to making mistakes.  Also my responsibility:  pay attention to the best of my ability, research and understand issues important to self and others, and choose the one I feel best qualifies to address those concerns.  I don’t need to argue, or force my opinion, I have the right to read, listen and vote – those will do.  Things that I am passionate about, I can give money or time; I can volunteer; I can be creative in my ways of expressing support.  And, still I don’t have to call anyone names, degrade or abuse anyone’s reputation – I will make a difference and pass on something better.  What affects one area of your life, encroaches on others.
As always, thanks for stopping by.  May your needs be met, may you be the one who meets another’s need.  Lilie

A LITTLE RAMBLING

We have certainly had news at our house this week.  I’ll bet there are others who have also had their challenges.

My husband is doing well.  It is nice to be able to talk openly about his MS now.  It is good for him, as well.  The heat is very hard on him and, as a carpenter, that wasn’t going to make it anymore.  So, he’s looking forward.  My husband has always been quite an inspiration to me.  He doesn’t think negatively.  It isn’t that he thinks positively (and here I’m laughing a bit).  Skip just doesn’t think negatively.  His positivity isn’t a reorientation of his thinking, it is the way he has always looked at life.

In 30 years, we have had joys and sorrows.  Skip seems to look at all the same way – with hope.  It’s what is of the moment; and he knows that moment changes.  He’s been a person courageous and willing to change, willing to adapt.  A hard worker and appreciative of his woodworking skill, he has used that well.

I believe the most important thing I have learned (and continue learning) from Skip is forgiveness.  Again, not a reorientation of his thinking; it wouldn’t occur to him to hang onto something about someone.    A well-grounded understanding of human nature, and not much ruffles feathers.  I had to learn that, practice it.

‘Lightening up’ in our thinking, being that mindful observer – taking a step back, assessing before making the decision how, or if, to act, that’s what makes the difference.  The old adage, “sleep on it”, very good advice when possible.  Thinking, contemplating, patience.  Taking oneself out of that reactive, defensive posture, so that you may see clearly your opportunities and choices, and not be so invested in what someone else has done or said, but in the person you have decided (daily) to be.  Then, your thoughts and actions become habitually directed toward that goal.  This is what I see in my husband.  The ability to maintain his center, and from that forgiveness just follows.

Each day I’m thinking of those who thoughtfully visit, and hoping that your needs are met, that your present moments are those of  hope.  Thank you for stopping by.  Lilie

WHEN IT’S TIME TO GO

Today, my husband retired.  He’s a few years short of retirement, but he has MS.  I haven’t been able to tell anyone outside of family and some very close friends because he would have lost his job.  He is in good health, has been on MS meds now for about five years, (has been diagnosed for 20) but he worked in construction and doesn’t need to be doing that any longer.  So, it’s a time of transition at our house.  Fortunately, we have each other and some good tools we’ve both learned.

It’s a time of excitement; it’s scary and there is some sadness.  We think of all others in similar situations and we send our intentions for all to have their needs met.  And, it is our intention that we may always be ready to meet the needs of others in whatever way we can.

We are very grateful for all we have:  friendship, love and support – particularly.

May you be well.   Thanks for stopping by.  Lilie

ALL THE STITCHES LINE UP

Again, thank you to those folks who hang in there with me.  The heat has definitely affected me this year, I bet many of you can say the same.  I have to blog when I can and take time out from the blogosphere to regain momentum.

While resting this time, I worked on a shawl that I had been knitting.  I came to a place where the stitches were no longer correct.  I worked the pattern, over and over.  Then, I remembered that definition of insanity:  You know, the “doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result”,  well, that was me.  But, sometimes we do need to review.  We need to go over the steps, see where the pattern is.  Finally, I had to disregard the pattern and just look at what the stitches were intended to accomplish.  I followed that, built my own pattern and it came out correctly, voila shawl done!

We have to follow a path, review, pay close attention to where the patterns are, and what we expect to find in them.  In this instance, I wanted a shawl that had a certain type of stitching.   I got that, but I had to re-think, reorganize and examine.  I decided what was important about the project and how best to arrive at the desired result.  I had to stop trusting the written instructions and work on experience and intuition.

I think living with chronic pain is like that, as well.  We need wise counsel, information and education to form a plan.  And, we need to learn when to make adjustments, what to keep and what to discard.  It’s a process, doesn’t stay the same for long.  It’s been an ongoing lesson in learning how to trust myself.  Learning how to trust myself – even when I’m wrong.  Yes, even when I’m wrong – that I will see I’ve been wrong; be willing to admit I’m wrong (regardless of ego-attachment involved), and that I will regain a path toward positive result.  It’s easy to trust ourselves when the instructions are clear and correct.  It isn’t as easy, when the instructions don’t give the result expected and we must find our own way through.  Trusting ourselves in difficulty, that’s the challenge.  That’s the one I’m presenting to you.  What will you do when your plan goes off course?  Fight it,  or find it?  Here’s that choice thing again.  You can trust yourself in uncertainty just as you can when all the stitches line up.  You have to choose to find it.

I hope you’re taking care, staying as cool as you can.  Thanks for stopping by.  Lilie

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

What about you?  Do you do what I do?

See, I’m asking you here to work on suspending judgment in order to be a mindful observer – get the facts, then make a decision.  Help the world’s people out a little, hold on and think it through.  That includes about you.  I’m asking that.  So, do I do it?

I’ve been the worst critic of myself; the worst judge.  Now, being a critic is not a negative thing.  In writing, you want a critic – someone with a keen eye who observes and comments, in order to help you improve.  If you are that kind of critic of yourself, well good.  I wasn’t.

When we keep that bitter gall pent up against ourselves, it comes out in other places, toward others.   What you teach your brain, it does.  It doesn’t distinguish, you do.  Your mind does.  You must teach your brain about that judgment thing.

We don’t want to live ‘anything goes’ lives devoid of conscience.   We want to feel that ‘ouch’ and smarting feeling when we hurt someone with our words or actions.  We want to be compassionate folk in our thoughts, words and actions.  We want to be fair in our dealings with others.  How to do it?

This is what I am practicing:  In my meditation, I take my time to get quiet inside (you don’t have to throw all thought out of your mind, you can’t), And, I watch my thoughts.  I watch my thought processes.   I reframe them in the light of truth, as I can best define that in my experience.  I observe where I have not been the person I am working toward.  Rather than harshly condemning myself for my mistakes or missteps, I ask myself some questions:  1) How have my words or actions served to lessen suffering?  2) How have my words or actions promoted the transmission of knowledge for self and/or others?  3) How have my words or actions promoted goodwill?   4) If  it has been necessary, how have my words or actions, respectfully, defended self or others?

If my thoughts, words,  or actions have skipped the mindful observer’s approach and moved into mouth-over-mind-now-insert-foot mode, here’s an opportunity to train my brain toward better habits, toward leading the life I expect from myself.   Begin the practice of humility.  I need to say, “I’m sorry.”  PERIOD.  Unvarnished – just I’m sorry.   Best said in person, if at all possible.  But, say it.  Know why you are saying it, so that you will make the changes necessary.   We can put this into practice in all ares of our lives.  Humility does not mean weakness.  I think of it as the ability to withstand anything, and doing it truthfully.  I think of it as encouraging strength.  When you practice humility to the point that it is part of you, that’s an indomitable spirit.  A person who accepts his/her imperfections is indomitable.  A person who seeks to see his/her life truthfully is indomitable.  You can handle the embarrassment of having to apologize.  If you really don’t like that, that’s incentive to change.  You don’t have to apologize so often that way.

You can’t make another sorry for what they may have thought, done or said to you.  Don’t bother.  Again, use your mindful observer.   Consider the person, circumstances, and action first.  Is this habitual on the part of this person?  Then, perhaps it isn’t, at this time, a relationship to invest in.   Is this what happens to all of us:  Some days you’re the person who is the jerk, somedays the other guy is?  If that’s it, you have some choices:  You can let it go.  Or, you can breathe, get calm, reason and speak.  Say what you feel.  You can do that respectfully.  Then, breathe, calm, think and decide.   You can change that decision, as you move on.

It isn’t about allowing people to treat you badly.  My experience has been, when I have been the ‘mindful observer’ of myself, I seem to have had a shift in the relationships I attract.  I feel more calm and happy, most of the time – even when things externally may not want to go along with that.  I find myself less and less subject to external events.  I find myself  less and less worried by the ‘what ifs’.  I believe I can handle what comes.  It’s in there.  I just need to be aware, to watch and know that I am able.  You are, too.

So, what about you?  What do you do?

Thanks so much for stopping by.   Thanks to the bloggers out there who are making such positive contributions to themselves and others.  Keep writing.   Lilie

WHAT’S YOUR HOPE?

The past few weeks have been busy in a learning sort of way.  I like that, even when that learning comes by sadness.  We need to know we can feel that, and make it known.

First, I noticed on my facebook page that someone had put up a message saying he/she was upset about people who abandon longtime pets at shelters; how cruel it is to leave a pet who has  been with you so long.  That touched my heart, and I felt sad about that, too.  Then, something happened –

When my friend, Jack, was dying, we went to visit him.  In the bed nearest the door was a man who had just been admitted to the care facility.  He was nearly blind, and this would be his last place.  We had brought our dog with us to visit Jack.  He liked her and she seemed to brighten him.   The man in the other bed wanted her to visit him, as well.  So we let her go over to him.  He said, “I had to leave my dog.  I had to leave him.”  He was trying not to cry.  I don’t think I’m going to forget hearing that.   The employee we spoke to said he had no one.  And, as obvious, the dog could not come with him.  We left shortly after that, I was having trouble not crying.   We had a 53 mile drive ahead of us, I cried most of the way home.  I’ve seen a lot in my life, and I don’t cry easily, even when I feel something deeply.  This, well. . .

Do you see the thread here?   So, it’s a good thing there are shelters.  I know, in another situation, an elderly woman had to go to an assisted living facility, her neighbor took her dog and he takes him to visit her.  He had a dog already, but he took this one and they both go with him everywhere.  You see, he saw that need and was in that moment to respond.  Let us hope we will have clear vision, and be in those moments so, when we are able, we will respond to need.  The many ways we can respond to suffering, when our minds are open.

Two things I learned from this:  How easy to judge when we aren’t exposed to a wider story.  How easy to miss a need to which we might have been able to respond.  Oh, that judging thing.  It sneaks up on us.  We have to keep learning and reinforcing, don’t we?  We have to teach others, too. We have to notice our thought life, continually.

Then, just recently, I had my moment of  being judgmental, in nearly the same way without even realizing it.   We are having fires in our area.  I had been listening to the radio about all the machinations that go with fires, including the fact that now animal rescue folks were having to get prepared to receive abandoned animals.  I came into a friend’s home loaded with outrage at people who abandon their animals in evacuation from a fire.  I was angry about that.  I wouldn’t do that.  My friend (she’s very wise) said to me that nobody wants to abandon their animals.  But, animals often run and hide when frightened.  They can’t always be found.  You have to make escape possible, and hope you will find them again.  It took my breath away – thinking about having to go through that – it took my breath away.  I thought about my situation.  I live in town, not out on a ranch, or remotely.  My dog isn’t out in our backyard without someone watching her.  She’s in the house quite often, right where I can easily reach her, but it could happen.

Do you see?  Suffering is already present, and we then add to it with judgment?  We must change.  I am thankful my friend was willing to answer my judgment with information.  It has heightened my awareness; not only to judgments and attitudes I hold, but to wanting to clear those so I can be more present to be of help, to know when I might offer, or respond to a need.

Last one, a person posted on facebook a derisive remark about  those on foodstamps, comparing them to the signs you see in national forests about not feeding the animals because they will become dependent.   That was sad.  I have known people who,  for many, many reasons,  wound up in need and had to rely on gov’t aid.  People whose family members became ill and they had to care for them; people who went back to school to get out of minimum wage jobs; people who had illnesses that became more prolonged than jobs or personal resources could tolerate.  Suffering upon suffering.  Let it not be.

These are my most fervent hopes:   that I will try to continually examine my thoughts;  be surrounded by folks who can “school” me;  that I’ll see and hear my judgmental self when she shows up, and get the point; that I’ll be willing to change; and, I’ll be open to seeing a need I might meet, when judgment has fallen away.

I know you must have hopes, too.

Thank you so much for stopping by.  Lilie