Leading from stillness
I have long associated peace and stillness with inaction.
Central to my illusion is the separation of doing and being. I have often thought of them as binary to one another, but they are most certainly not.
I've been reading a book about how stillness creates energy and vitality. Yesterday I was challenged by a trusted mentor to lead from my stillness. Feels like I'm headed in a direction of more truth, more being and more doing.
Where might you lead from stillness?
“Be at peace.”
“HURRY UP AND DO!”
I remain still.
“FINE. DO NOTHING.”
“What a beautiful vision of what may come.”
“AHA! FOCUS ON THAT VISION AND DO NOTHING. YOU CAN'T LOSE!”
I remain still, but I will rise into mindful action before long.
I love food. I'm fortunate to have grown up with healthy food, so usually I eat well as an adult. But I also enjoy indulging in unhealthy food from time to time.
Diets generally involve restriction of amount or type of food. But I plan to start a diet where I commit to eat a certain amount of healthy food each week.
Like an extension of the old “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” wisdom; it will be a weekly amount of lean meat, vegetables, beans, and quinoa.
My intention is to center my diet on good food instead of restricting bad food. I think I'll call it my abundance diet.
Where are you restricting yourself from bad when you might center yourself in good instead?
Anger and Wisdom
Today I had to fire someone who was working for me on my house. He did a bad job, he worked slowly, he was dishonest, and he was unreliable. Firing him was clearly the right choice.
Yet my anger toward him brings me sadness and shame. Sadness that he doesn't have his life together. Shame that I feel angry over money and material things.
It was the right choice for me to listen to my anger and fire him fully. When he tried to create entanglements for future interactions I refused calmly, and I felt my anger appreciating that I listened.
What does your anger have to say? How can you get through the sadness and shame to hear angel's wisdom?
Late night energy
Ever since I was a child I have loved staying up as late as I can. There's something about staying awake that makes me feel alive. I see my young daughter fight off sleep and I'm tempted to cheer her on out of camaraderie.
At the same time I judge my late night sleep resistance to be juvenile and immature. Part of me believes I would be better off following Benjamin Franklins advice of early to bed and early to rise.
These opposing narratives push against one another as I blog instead of sleeping.
Where are your competing stories keeping you awake?
I have long enjoyed the hit of pride when I get validation from someone important to me. Who doesn't, right?
My parents have been visiting me in my home the past few days. This morning I chose to sleep in, and I felt a twinge of shame as I woke a few hours after my Mom and Dad.
But as I poured myself a cup of coffee, my Mom exclaimed joy at my long night of sleep. She expressed belief that I must have needed it. Suddenly I felt validated, even somehow proud, of my extended slumber.
Throughout this journey from shame to pride, where was I? Truth be told I wasn't shameful or prideful. Those feelings were both attached to external relationships and judgement of others. I know this in my mind, but the work is to integrate it into my moment to moment awareness. I can remind myself that I am whole.
Where are you seeking validation when you already know you are whole?
Counting and Calculating Meditation
I recently practiced seated meditation with an old friend, which was a shift from my usual guided meditation practice.
Right away I found myself counting seconds and calculating how far into the 30 minutes I had sat. It went something like this, “Ok I'm 10 seconds in... 10 times 6 is 60 seconds, which is a minute, 1 minute times 30 is the session, and 6 times 30 makes 180, so I must be about 0.5% complete!”
At 20 seconds I was 1% complete! Just 99 more 20 second meditations and I'll be done!
Somewhere around 2 minutes into the silence I started to see the silliness of these calculations.
Was I in a hurry? No.
Was I in need of a math exercise? No.
So why was I counting and calculating the time? I believe it to be an extension of my habits around counting and calculating my life. Growth models at work. Weights at the gym. Calories at lunch. The list goes on.
Luckily I was able to follow my awareness away from calculating and into a more peaceful state of seated meditation.
Where in your life would you most benefit from taking a break from calculating?
Stronger than that
“I know you're afraid of falling flat.
I know those walls up against your back.
I know there are those who see a crack.
I know that you're stronger than that.”
What would you do if you knew you were stronger than that?
Loss on loss
Almost a year ago to the day I lost something dear to me. Yesterday I lost something dear to me yet again.
I feel deep pain and sadness. Yet somehow I feel stronger now than I did a year ago. Perhaps like a weight lifter my capacity for losing without falling apart is now greater than ever.
What have you lost? How did it strengthen you?
Sleeping in my new home
My new home is a mess. There are boxes everywhere. The walls need paint and the floors need replacement.
Yet last night I slept there for the first time and it felt like my own. I could imagine the new colors and patterns, and most of all I could imagine it becoming more and more of a home as time passes.
It's easy for me to feel eager to “fix” the home, which feels like the opposite of appreciating it. Today I hope to be able to hold the appreciation for what I have alongside the desire to improve upon it. Suddenly I realize I'm talking about much more than my new home. :)
How can you fully hold both the appreciation for what you have in the present and the vision you have for the future?