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Making Peace with What Is

“Today I will accept people, situations, and events as they occur. This means I will know that this moment is as it should be, because the whole universe is as it should be.” ~Deepak Chopra

Sometimes it’s hard to think that everything is as it should be, especially when it doesn’t feel very good. We think: how is it possible that this was supposed to happen?! But we remember that change is ultimately positive as it leads to action, evolution, and growth.

Childbirth is physically painful, but look at the end result. Education or learning a new skill can be mentally taxing, but look at the reward. A major life crisis beyond our control can be an emotionally draining struggle, but look at how we are shaped by it.

We are forced out of the routine and into a pin-pointed focus of survival of some kind.We can learn to accept each new situation as something that was supposed to happen. This does not mean, of course, that we lie down and allow it if we see a way to improve it. Accepting life as it is does not mean being a martyr. It does mean not struggling against it in the moment.

We can pause, breathe, and from that non-resistant stance, decide what our response will be. If it is beyond our control, we can choose to go with it and let it be, let it find its own outcome. But if we can affect a change for the better, we can accept what happened and then make our move…or not.

For my guided meditation on Problem Solving, click Here.

Adapted from my other blog site, Words of Wisdom.

Cognitive Dissonance

“Wisdom is tolerance of cognitive dissonance.”  ~Robert Thurman

Lexico.com gives this definition of “cognitive dissonance:” the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.

I had a dream last night that I was to take dictation from a classmate when they call, type it up, and hand it in when I get to class because they are unable to go. This may have been a message from my Spirit Guides to “take dictation” from them.

Over the past several months, I had been extremely irritated by two family members. Different issues, but my ruminations about both were the same. How do I deal with their constant negativity and critique of me? Not blatant critique, but subtle and underhanded, the kind of criticism that’s not obvious at first, but over time erodes my tolerance of their every word.

The most recent exchange drove me to block one of them on Gmail–which I had to google having never done that before. But, immediately afterward I questioned myself. Did I overreact? Am I a bad person? Isn’t the answer always Love? Love thine enemy? But how do I weigh Love and care of myself against Love of their “lost” souls? Shouldn’t I protect myself from constant attack or at least take a respite from my inner work? Is it wrong to evade self-reflection about what each of them is showing me about myself: old hurts that I’m tired of feeling?

A messy scene. My baggage clashes with their baggage. A jumble of backpacks and suitcases thrown open with our contents strewn about and mixed up until I can’t tell whose stuff is whose. This is the only time I wish my baggage would get lost or sent to Hawaii or Curaçao so I could go there to claim it!

They’ve both burned bridges with other people: friends and family. It’s not just me. They both thrive on conflict. They seem to get pleasure out of stirring the pot and inviting arguments for argument’s sake over politics or over…any subject will do.

So, no. It’s not wrong for me to disengage from petty unwinnable arguments with people who believe only they are right. They don’t like to be wrong. They prefer to prevail. I believe they’d make great lawyers if it weren’t for an over-inflated sense of entitlement in one, and alcoholism in the other.

I don’t enjoy being wrong either, but I am open to other opinions and discussions to reach a new understanding. I draw the line at personal attacks that buzz in like haloed hornets with smiles sweet enough to boil my blood. I am more than willing to let down my guard if/when they stop giving me reasons to keep it up.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep my distance. From here, far away from the flying barbs, I can try to find in my heart an iota of Love and compassion for them at some point. I can ponder–or not–what might have made them like this. I can dwell on truths about myself.

            Dear Self:

            Remember that how others treat you is telling of who they are, not an indicator of who you are. It’s ok to take a respite from the battle. It’s ok to feel anger, hurt, and rage. No, you are not a bad person, and, dear one, neither are they. It’s just a clash of baggage.

            Take all the time you need to return to your own peace of mind. Once there, you can choose to allow your heart and Higher Self to sense compassion. You can’t change others, you can only change your response to them. But do know that All are Loved.

P.S. So, yeah. A few days after originally posting this, I opened the book by Gay Hendricks titled, The Big Leap. My mind was far away from the issue of this post. I opened to a random page using both thumbs, as I often do when I feel a message is there for me. Reading the passage felt like hearing musical dissonance resolve into harmony:

“If we’re in the grip of worrying while someone around us isn’t, we seem to have an almost uncontrollable urge to criticize that person until he or she jumps into the stream of negativity with us.”

Ahh…so that’s what’s going on. This message from my Spirit Guides answered my original question: How do I deal with their constant negativity and critique of me?

Answer: With understanding and compassion.

Insomnia allows for answers.

“There are twelve hours in the day, and about fifty in the night.” ~ Marie de Rabutin-Chantal

It was my third night in a row of insomnia. My brain was latched onto a problem that had persisted over months of back and forth, leaving me feeling out of control, overwhelmed, and unable to let go. In my view, it was taking too long to resolve and I had very little control over the issue. It felt like the slow, painful removal of a very large bandaid.

The “witching hour” seemed to always be 3 a.m. Each night I tried to concentrate on my breathing, change my focus, practice conscious relaxation, but none of those worked. I couldn’t release the buzz in my brain or my limbs. The haunting hovered in my head.

It is suggested that when you can’t fall back to sleep, you should get out of bed and do something with low-lighting that avoids looking at screens. I went downstairs to listen to a guided relaxation, but even that didn’t help. I came back upstairs feeling helpless and out of control. I begged my Spirit Guides for help. Please show me a sign that you are listening.

Distraught, I lay on the couch, my cat gently snoring on the floor beneath me. Ah! Petting animals is supposed to lower blood pressure. I reached down and pet him for a bit, still feeling lost.

On the coffee table I spied a book that I had taken off the shelf a few weeks earlier: How to Be an Adult by David Richo. I picked it up thinking it might be a useful distraction. Or, there may be a message in there for me that I am supposed to read.

With the book closed in my hands, and both thumbs resting on the pages, I randomly opened to a page that I sensed I was supposed to read. On the right side was a new chapter about adult relationships. Whatever, I thought. That’s not where the problem is. That’s where I get the most support.

On the opposite page, was the following quote:

What is hard to appreciate, when terror shapes a catastrophic gap, is that blankness can be a Fertile Void. The Fertile Void is the existential metaphor for giving up the familiar supports of the present and trusting the momentum of life to produce new opportunities and vistas.” Erving and Miriam Polster, Gestalt Therapy Integrated

It exactly matched what I needed to hear. Therein was my answer and the sign I had asked for. I felt a release of tension, a letting go. It helped me sleep.

When we’re in the throes of uncertainty about how to get through a difficult period, the best solution is to relax into the unknown by giving over our trust to a Higher Power that all things will work out in their own time with an often better than expected ending.

The “Fertile Void” is that gap of not knowing, that place of hanging in limbo in the present where things beyond our control–and out of our view–are being orchestrated.

(If you suffer from insomnia, my guided meditation for sleep may help.)

Dragonfly Wings

“Dragonflies are reminders that we are light and we can reflect light in powerful ways if we choose to do so.” ~ Robyn Nola

Three dragonflies caught my attention recently. One was staring me in the face as I raised the bedroom shade to let in sunlight one morning, unable to move from its spread-eagle position, caught in a perfectly woven spider web against the screen.

One landed on my husband’s pointer finger as he was holding our one-year old granddaughter.

One stood atop an ornate wrought iron fence in the shade as I strolled by on a sunny July morning.  “Write about me,” he said.

Dragonfly wings are translucent, so delicate, and vulnerable. Have you noticed? If these friendly insects are lucky enough to live out their short six-month lives–most die tragically young, caught by predators– their wings face the daily risk of damage, or of being caught in a hungry spider’s web. Luckily, some are still able to fly and catch food even if a wing is damaged or missing.

Our wings are delicate and vulnerable, too, or so we perceive them to be. We believe our ability to fly, to soar is damaged, hindered by our past, caught in the web of injustices and hurt, by flawed parents or an unenlightened society. Some of us, frozen with fear, flutter in the breeze as we choose to stay stuck in the gummy net of early childhood experiences.

But we are not physically stuck. That would be weird! We are mentally, emotionally, and/or psychologically stuck. I know! That seems worse in a way, doesn’t it? We point to our broken, tattered wings and blame others, giving away our power without realizing it.

What do we gain from staying stuck? Perhaps an excuse not to face fears, not to feel grief or pain, not to grow and expand into the being we started out as. We choose instead to stay in our uncomfortable “comfort zone.”

A diamond doesn’t get to become a diamond by lying like a lump of coal, doing nothing, binge-watching Netflix, scrolling for hours on Facebook to see who ate what on which day and where. No. A diamond must endure a lot of pressure and come out of it strong enough to cut glass ceilings and become a reflector of light.

Break free of your past. It may have shaped you, but it does not define you. Obstacles were placed before you for a reason, so that you would rise up and share your knowledge with the world about overcoming adversity in what ever way feels best to you.

“Take these broken wings and learn to fly,” wrote Paul McCartney. Learn to be a reflector of light.

It’s the thought that counts.

Today I’ve decided to watch my diet of thoughts more than my diet of food.

While vacationing in Curacao this past May, I noticed something: my recent chronic physical symptoms of seeming ph imbalance, i.e. sores in my mouth from an excess of sugar or salt, candida build up at the corners of my lips, and a looming threat of a yeast infection. I know…TMI! No, that’s not a disease, that’s Too Much Information! Ok, then look away. Go check Facebook and stop reading! I’m trying to work something out here! 😛

So, at this all-inclusive resort that I was lucky enough to afford, I was drinking alcohol (sugar) every day, inviting carbs (sugar) back into my diet, and practicing leniency when asked, “Would you like to see the dessert menu?” (more sugar)

My ph should have gone further out of whack, but it didn’t. I had a higher tolerance for “bad” foods. What was different?

My thoughts. My thoughts were different. I was in my tropical, seaside, pina-colada-induced, feet up, no obligations, stress-free element of bliss and joy.

The build-up of stress from the past six months had taken its toll: full-time job while enrolled in two classes for credit towards a degree; daughter going through the rigors of a double mastectomy, chemo and radiation; my car breaking down and draining my bank account; my cat being diagnosed with diabetes and needing twice-daily insulin shots, not to mention mounting vet bills.

My life as a sad country song had become a broken record! Something had to give!

Ok, back to the scene of a tropical vacation paradise. Ahhhh… So, yeah. Being in joy for a week cleared up all the physical symptoms that stress had compounded.

Moral of the story, if there is one: If you can’t fly off to your place of paradise…Be very strict about eating healthy food when stressed out to maintain ph balance in your body, even though we are biologically driven to reach for comfort food in those times.

Be just as strict with your diet of thoughts.

This means: battle stress by releasing worry thoughts. There are infinite possibilities for how things turn out and we don’t know until we know, so be a ninja warrior about keeping your thoughts in the present moment where your power is. Be a warrior, not a worrier.