World Weariness

Yes, that describes this particular story I am in right now. Getting caught up in the story of ‘me’ness. These posts are more long winded when Im in the ‘me’ story, but here it is anyway…telling a story to arise out of the story.

Been submerging in silence and space and nature a lot daily and also in vastly increased and contrasting worldly activity and work tasks. So many new clients, projects to manage, getting the money in, the men, things going very wrong, designs, details, cad technicians, other designer, changes of details, texts, emails, calls, visits, meetings here. A lot has been going ‘wrong’ recently. Usually its once in a while and gets swallowed up in my calm approach but many things happening at once, sigh, well….

I have found the mood to be getting more grumpy and exasperated. When too many things don’t go right and require more and more time and attention. Then I lose consciousness of the backdrop of spaciousness in which the activity takes place, and turn my sight to the details where I get lost and emotionally involved. I have been getting annoyed here and there with clients and the guys. Ruminating too much over what is not going right. It is tiring to engage at this level. It can happen in an instant too. Remembering takes constant vigilance and practicing being present.

I watch the mind when I indulge like this, how strange to witness that part of me enjoys this conflict and drama. It has been starved and getting a chance to be back there is like a feast. Of blood and gore though.

Need little self coaching here. What can I do to help redress the balance and invite myself to remember the spacious backdrop that is me and all of us and everything? So notes to self-

  • The practices of exercising more vigorously and more often – it is helping greatly to be physically fitter and I have much more energy – the days of deep fatigue seem long gone now. And the body is losing weight – its been dropping off lately and Im on a BMI of 25 now so don’t need to go any further unless it feel right….Im feeling good for it, so each day continue going to the gym and encourage the body a little further each time as it feels right, it can take a little muscle burn on the weight machine or another 5 minutes brisk walking, then the swim then the jacuzzi to rest the muscles. This is self kindness in action.
  • Continue the evening park walks. Last might I was out there after 10pm, still light, submerged in damp after rain aromas, flowers, mud, lush greenery, birdsong – its therapeutic reminder that I am part of a bigger picture than my little daily worldly concerns that blow so out of proportion regularly, perspective restoration.
  • Be honest when anger arises, when impatience arrives and see the fear, the perfectionist tendencies, the poor me, the wanting someone to rescue me, feeling weak, feeling lost, feeling alone, boredom, the jealousy and envy, the desire and longing, the cowardice. It is okay to acknowledge those things, it won’t destroy anything, it will only expand the idea of ‘me’ out to include and ever widening everything. Nothing left out. It is all in there and none of it diminishes me or makes me a ‘bad’ person. These qualities are all have fear at their root and can be soothed. Allow them to come up and cuddle them when they arise. Smile at them. The more I can acknowledge the wider I become, and meeting them with compassion makes me less judgemental of everyone for displaying these qualities.
  • Remembering consciously what is going right, in small and big ways. My son is happy and thriving living independently in Spain and enjoying and learning and so wise for his age and having fun. Friends and family are largely happy and healthy. I have a nice safe quiet house in a good area that is inexpensive. The massive park with fields and a river, a pond, horses cows and wildlife and woods is less than a mile away. I have wonderful shops nearby that supply my every need. I have enough money to buy what I need and want. I have nobody in my life Im in conflict with. I have a mindfulness at my fingertips all day long to help me remember. I love my mindfulness class on a Wednesday evening. I have space and freedom to be myself.
  • Allowing encouraging thoughts that acknowledge what is being done well, that I am managing to carry the responsibility I have chosen to take on, that my skills and talents are appreciated. This is a little antidote to the fearful thoughts of self doubt that arise. Its a gratitude list really, thanking myself and life for the support.
  • Acknowledging that antidotes are on another level not required, and that all is rigpa, the stress, the temper tantrums, the cool breeze and birdsong, the bills arriving, the gardens, and that it is all perfect and does not require changing just an adjustment in my relationship to them all.
  • Finding ways to be kind and generous even in small ways, a smile to a stranger, little visits to relatives nursing a dying father, a hello to a friendly dog, asking the woman at the check out what kind of day she is having, complimenting a neighbour on how she looks – sharing reminds me and others that we are not separate and that life supports us. 

    “The world you see is just a movie in your mind.
    Rocks dont see it.
    Bless and sit down.
    Forgive and forget.
    Practice kindness all day to everybody
    and you will realize you’re already
    in heaven now.
    That’s the story.
    That’s the message.
    Nobody understands it,
    nobody listens, they’re
    all running around like chickens with heads cut
    off. I will try to teach it but it will
    be in vain, s’why I’ll
    end up in a shack
    praying and being
    cool and singing
    by my woodstove
    making pancakes.”

    —Jack Kerouac, excerpt from a letter to his first wife, Edith

 

“If there is peace in your mind you will find peace with everybody. If your mind is agitated you will find agitation everywhere. So first find peace within and you will see this inner peace reflected everywhere else. You are this peace. You are happiness, find out. Where else will you find peace if not within you?” ~ Papaji ~

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Invited Resistence

I think I just did by writing that last post about how easy it is to make healthy choices! 

Since I wrote it I have been assaulted by every affliction under the sun, from irritation and anger to anxiety and self doubt and melancholy. Mostly the thoughts have been a very me centred last 12 hours. Me me me me me. All about me and my concerns. My loneliness. My fear. My irritation. My hard time. 

The very opposite of the spontaneous creative feeling that comes with forgetting the self. How to be with this suffering? Well self compassion of course! I turn towards the pain and angst and I send it love. I allow it, embrace it, stay with the feeling physically and soothe it like a baby crying. 

Sinking more deeply into the freedom that is our natural state, tends to arouse that which stands in its way. It all pops up to be addressed. So hello anger fear and irritation, sadness self doubt and the rest of the gang. There there, it is okay. 

This too shall pass. Afflictions are also part of Rigpa, I’m learning that they can come and go without causing much distress if I don’t make a meal of them. 

Bedtime, it’s 11.30pm and Rush are on the radio. A fine end to the day. 

Self sabotage to a Healthy Choices

How is it that am I enjoying and managing to sustain this new exercise regime, and healthy eating, and being generally caring towards myself ?

It doesn’t even feel like a ‘me’ is present making it happen most of the time, it just seems to be occurring effortlessly and I find the activity taking place because it just feels right. At other times I feel the regressive pull back to old ways creep in and I have to push myself a bit to finish the swim or the walk. I do this gently and if I do drop out, I forgive quickly and move on.

This is very different from how I have spent much of my life, it isn’t something I ‘should’ be doing and I’m not, or something I need to try and discipline myself to do. This is what it felt like in the past so I could never sustain such good intentions. It always seemed to require such effort and I wasn’t fully aligned with the intention anyway. Rubbishing myself felt more natural !

There was an conflict of goals taking place that I was unaware of. On the one hand I wanted to be good to myself, and yet I did not feel worthy of the good things in life so I kept undoing any good by making unhealthy choices of behaviour, habits and the company I kept.

An inner turning around had to occur before the new healthy behaviour could feel natural and become integrated into daily life. It had to stop feeling like an ‘effort’ and instead to feel natural. It felt like an effort before because I was moving forward with a foot on the brake.

Why did the idea of self compassion feel so uncomfortable and so scary? I had to answer this honestly and thoroughly.

It required looking at the ways I was sabotaging myself and why I was doing it. I discovered beliefs I was harbouring that stood in the way of being kind to myself. I discovered where many of the beliefs came from too.

Once I had named the beliefs, I found I was largely released from their grip. As I practiced self compassion, it started to feel more natural. When resistance occurred I would identify honestly what it was. It could be a sense of not feeling safe due to the unfamiliarity, it could be a habitual belief that I don’t deserve happiness…I responded with kindness and compassion to whatever arose.

I am still practicing this today. When I feel anxiety, anger or sadness, I turn to my body. Where in my body do I feel this feeling, I ask. I then turn toward the feeling and embrace it warmly like a loving parent. I visualise taking it in my arms and rocking it gently.

This is not habitual yet, I can still spend hours feeling anxious some days before I remember that I have this new tool available. But it is becoming more natural and I am remembering more often with practice.

I now feel that I have joined a new club of those in the world who are comfortable allowing in happiness, joy, comfort, ease, being relaxed, being safe from harm, and being financially secure. I still feel like a newcomer to this club, an imposter even at times when old self doubt arises, but I am getting used to it. Life has never felt so stable and peaceful 🙂

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Quiet Poise and Pondering

A glimpse of what stability feels and looks like recently. Smoothness. Not getting in my own way. Allowing the perfection to arise. Solutions to appear when required. Letting go of that which requires being let go of. A little zen moment here and there. Not wanting much, or expecting anything from life.

Came out of my solitude a couple of times over the last week, and both a chance to observe myself in company. Saw how relatively calm and stable I am now. It was noticed how calm I am and a couple of people approached to ask about mindfulness, which they had heard I was into. 

There is something lovely about holding back on trying too hard, when a lifetime of striving has been practiced. I was always wanting more more more, squeezing the magic out of many experiences with that approach. Now I expect little. I know hardly anything. I avoid vexatious people. Most people actually.

Having a little love affair on my own with the flowers, the birds the trees the river. The work too, the clients and their expectations, the money side. Spikes of anxiety arise. Sharpness becomes a felt bodily contraction, pain. I turn to it, and embrace it. Rock it gently in my arms.  I know how to deal with suffering now, it isn’t so scary.

Not feeling phased by shortages here and there, the odd mishap or accident, it all passes sooner rather than later anyway and its all fresh and new again. Moving on and moving on through.

The love affair with myself is finding new expression. Every day I am in the gym for an hour and a half working the weights and doing aerobic exercise, then a swim. A new hobby of upping the fitness, of looking after myself in a new way. Self compassion in another form. The result is greatly increased relaxation, energy levels and sleep. Simple.

It is a new wellbeing tool in my toolbox. And a new adventure!

Its a simple solitary un-needy life these days. Such a contrast to my drama queen tendencies of the past. I feel very little urge to be with anyone from my past. These relationships have such well worn rehearsed responses and expectations. It feel toxic while I learn these new ways of being. I maintain well wishes to them all though, no rejection required. We are all making our way in our own way.

Here is a short list of well being practices from the last week

  • I bought myself flowers last night, my favourite Freesias. Placed them near where I sleep so that I can enjoy the delightful aroma.
  • Doing the recommended 10,000 steps nearly every day (big rest on Sundays).
  • Bought dumb bells and doing exercises I looked up on Youtube
  • An evening walk every day, through the woods and flowers, up the river or through the walled garden. And in all weather, seeing the beauty of the rain too. Allowing my curiosity to change the route when it feels right
  • Just sitting outside for a few minutes just being. Resting.
  • Using the senses regularly through each day, grounding in the present. What do I smell, feel, hear, see.
  • Being okay with, not judging myself harshly for or hiding from – just observing the anger, irritation, impatience, nasty thoughts etc.
  • Doing what I want , trusting my promptings
  • Remembering to thank this body, for example, giving my feet a little rub.
  • Being extra kind to everyone, especially those I know need some friendship and company and encouragement. They benefit and I do too.
  • Eating freshly cooked food, lots of vegetables, buying organic a bit more. Taking a couple of vitamin supplements too at times, Vitamin D, Multivitamins.
  • Washing my bedding more often and enjoying the feeling of it and the increase in self care.
  • Feeling grateful, and remembering how great and how easy life is in so many ways, compared to 100 years ago, for example.

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Soothing and Inner Demons

And how easily invited in hell is. There I was lying, slipping slowly into awakeness at 6am and touched by the peace, the quiet, the infinite. Then the mind. It arrived announcing some problematic angle. Immediately anxious. No thank you, not right now, I say. Im not going on that train this morning, Im staying here. It is safe here without my fears.

I breath back into the utter tranquility, so comfortable and relaxed I don’t feel Im in a body. Sleeping naked has become a healthy habit. More animal like.

Been mired in stuff recently…one of those cycles when I can see my multiple character flaws and insanities and detestable qualities, all at once it seems. Im staying a little in the background as this takes place.

Okay so I can be cruel, vicious, hateful, revengeful, nasty, aggressive, cowardly, selfish, greedy, offensive, ugly, defensive. I could go on. And its all true, not that Id put them on a dating profile haha. I do have all these qualities in plentiful supply.

And there’s no avoiding anything on this path, got to look everywhere and face what is there. Without flinching. Well eventually maybe.

Yeah yeah I know I can also be kind, loving, helpful, generous, creative, enthusiastic, sincere, honest, and more. A mixed bag, its all in there, every human quality pretty much I think.

The trick is to be able to face all these things and not take it personally. So often ‘self esteem’ is dependent on us having a positive self image, remembering all the good in us and ignoring the less than palatable. Maybe some are nicer than me, purer, so they have fewer monsters to slay.

Did I say slay?! No no no, its a big hug all this hate and nasty greedy offensiveness benefits from. Admit. Embrace. Allow. Under absolutely all of it is one thing. Fear. What do you do with a kid who is scared? Embrace, listen and reassure. These are wayward kids inside. Part nature, part nurture. Mal-adaptions to a dangerous set of conditions in early life. And they are also wired into our brains as part of the biological inheritance.

If we are lucky we come from families who have the emotional intelligence and wisdom to teach us how to sooth the primitive fight flight responses our brain is triggered into. For most of us though from what I have observed, the parents can be a source of danger themselves and don’t teach soothing.

So we have to learn to sooth ourselves if we don’t want to spend our lives easily triggered by fear and in a stressed state regularly.

My mainstays of self therapy are

  • Very regular walks in nature, and that means nearly daily. I need topped up being around trees, feeling the breeze, smells of the changing season, the feeling of mud underfoot, the sound of the birds and the river.
  • Very regular exercise. Again daily is required for me. I have extended the morning swim these last weeks to include an hour fairly physical workout in the gym at the pool. Weight machines, rowing machine, treadmill and Im loving it.
  • Eating 95% healthy food. No biscuits, crisps, not much meat, very little bread.
  • No hanging out with negative people who focus on what they are angry about politically, or are mad and unstable, are on drugs or heavily boozy or are full of problems that never seem to be solved. Pretty much nobody it means for me lol.
  • No mind altering substances. Very important for me to find ways of soothing and relaxing that don’t involve the quick fix. They only take me back where I started and they don’t build resilience. I’m a very occasional drinker now, and my stability has benefitted tremendously.
  • Gratitude. If I remember, I like to think about what I am thankful for. I thank everything. I thank the tree and the birds (good for humility), thank the house, the people who built the roads I enjoy, this computer, the tea Im drinking, the people who picked it and so on. There’s so many, and its a beneficial place to focus attention.
  • Generosity. Give more a voice whispers. Why the heck not. I have found the more I give the more I get anyway in a metaphysical sense. And theres no separation between ‘us’ and ‘them’ anyway, and we are giving to ourselves.  It could be argued that the giver gets as much if not more than the getter. It cheers us all up too and is anti scarcity mentality, the universe provides. In a spirit of discernment too of course.

Pondering – being of social benefit.

Soul searching some more today with this glorious Sunday space. This is not very deep or anything, just a bit of unravelling.

Some emotions were triggered on holiday. It generated lots of ‘I’ ness, hurt and indignant emotions, defensiveness/ego. Thoughts about socialism and capitalism.

The friend I was with questioned the social benefit of my business, and also called me right wing. So here were/are my responses with some questioning of the thoughts that led to the reactions and commentary in brackets

  • I felt misunderstood, (belief that he misunderstood me coming from my thoughts, it might not be true but my head decided that and I then had an emotional reaction to that belief) which is of course painful for anyone, and especially as my social group has dwindled so much recently (more ammunition from beliefs and thoughts to justify being upset/hurt or whatever) .
  • I feel even more alone when I believe I am misunderstood. (thoughts and beliefs again-I am not really alone, or I was always alone anyway depending on your perspective – but Im not actually any more or less alone)
  • And I ‘should’ be understood! (another belief to be questioned- nobody ‘should’ understand me?) I have shared so much and so intimately my thoughts and feelings and goals with this friend over decades. (a little more ammunition for justifying feeling hurt and defence of illusory ‘self’).

It touched a nerve about the whole subject of social benefit and what I feel my role in this is and how successfully I am fulfilling my goals.

I did the degree originally to make the place more beautiful for everyone, ended up by having a baby and started a business instead, and my clients are the very wealthy. So his comments alerted me to the fact that I am not exactly fulfilling my goals of making the place beautiful for everyone, the general public, rich and poor alike. (So my head jumped on that with the beliefs of failure to live up to my ideals and self criticism.

Then I started thinking about the benefits socially that take place as a result of this business in particular but small scale capitalism and trade in general. The employment provided, and with us the high pay rates, the care and investment in the employees. There’s the support of little local suppliers (I prefer to buy small and local), the excess money I can the poor with. I believe and carry out tithing, which is giving away 10% of excess income to local community projects. The fact that this money comes from the very wealthy is an added bonus, a bit Robin Hood without needing to steal. A little mini redistribution. The 100s of £s of tax and vat I raise for the public purse. So yes tales from a capitalist do-gooder here.

Okay so Im feeling fine about this. Im not feeling fine about the attitude of this friend, especially since he is on state benefits and this is the third holiday this year I have paid for. Harsh of me, yes? I don’t seem to get on with socialists these days.

Here’s my general take. I don’t usually talk about politics….I dislike how socialism (in particular) and capitalism seems to infantilise people and how socialists like to elevate the status of victim in society and how it requires blame and a persecutor. I think many of those in poverty and the socialists are locked into a drama. The drama that requires the victim, the rescuer and the persecutor. Its called the drama triangle and pervades our society in marriages, friendships, parent and child relationships. I dislike how capitalism is abused unlawfully by the government s giving special privileges to big business. How it encourages people to be greedy and ruthless.

I support policies that encourage taking personal responsibility. I think society at the moment does not encourage human adulthood as much as it could. I support the universal income as it would lift people out of scarcity and survival mode. I believe that people are creative and gregarious by nature and that when allowed to, they will find their passion and innate talent.

I like aspects of Libertarianism, it is anti war and anti interfering in the business of other countries. It is maximum freedom for the individual, decentralisation of power and a reduced government. This encourages personal responsibility. Which is what I am busy with mostly on these pages.

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Foggy Weather

Just back from a birthday in Budapest where the beauty, strangeness and warmth amazed and delighted. A welcome reprieve though not without its challenging moments. Before that a week long visit from a Serbian friend kept me fully busy. 

What can go wrong will go wrong is the theme at the moment it seems. Nature’s cycles of increase and decline.  

I have been experiencing many challenges and difficulties, all minor, but they all add up to stimulate the fears. It has been a time for staying quiet the last 2 weeks. 

Maintaining stable healthy habits helps get through the decline part of the cycle. Increased the exercise to include a proper workout in the gym each day before swimming and still doing a mile or two in the evenings too. Healthy food, and not too much, next to no drinking other than a night on holiday, and sugar levels kept low too. All helps to maintain some sort of sanity amid disruptive happenings. 

It is a valuable opportunity to be honest about what is going on with beliefs which are hooking up thoughts and emotions. I watch how I go up and down and round the roundabout with the experiences as they come and go. Encouraged, discouraged, up and down…they are kind of all the same anyway, temporary displays of dynamic energy. And completely valid and allowed too. Turning towards anxiety with tenderness, I apologise for rejecting it. Welcome I say, I hear you, let me be with you for a little while. It always helps to actually just be with a feeling, to pause the resistance. Kind of cradling them in my arms like a baby right now actually. Resting, soothing and allowing. This is in the park the other night. 

L