Resting with Whatever appears

Want to share a quick post on what I have I found to be an effective soothing excercise. The other day before I got in for a swim I positioned a chair at the end of the pool. I used it to remind me to rest, to allow what is occurring to just be there, to relax. Every time I swam towards the chair I said to myself

Relax with the thoughts coming up

Relax with the feeling of anger

Rest with the anxiety

Rest with the greed

Rest with the crazy thoughts

Rest with not being present

Rest with the situation right now

Rest with the guy splashing me as he passes

Rest with the nasty thoughts

Rest with the state of the world

Rest with all the feelings as they appear and disappear

Rest with the insecurity

Rest with the judgements

Just rest with whatever is occurring, the myriad of thoughts and feelings and sensations. The pleasant and the unpleasant.

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The portal

There is a portal I can go through any second of any day. It has taken me a lifetime to find it. It takes me from hell to heaven or heaven to hell. It is a tiny invisible switch, and it’s the realisation of a choice. The mind can create a perception of my life that makes me miserable and that focuses on what is not right, what needs improved, problems and complaints, personal defects, failures.
It can equally create a perception that life is full of miraculous wonders everywhere I look, including myself, my amazing progress and how far I and have developed and how humanity has come in the last 100 years. The support that I have, how fortunate I am to be in a safe secure area relatively free of violence and war, the abundance of opportunities we have at our fingertips, the excellent medical and education facilities. The list goes on, as does the list that can take me further into hell. 

I found myself slipping into hell this morning. A complaint from a client arrived, joined up with another thought of how things are not right, not working, are a failure, then to my inability to sort it, then a further turning towards deficits and problems, next thing I’m thinking I’m all alone and nobody cares! Just like that! My emotions felt dampened in response, and helped to create more of these thoughts once activated. 

Been reading recently that we are hard wired for perceiving problems, part of our primitive survival mechanism. I have certainly felt drawn towards that compulsively at times. I have a tendency towards unhappiness from early experiences. That just means I need to remind myself more often of the choice. Like I’m doing now. 

When I think about fully opening up to the joy, I notice that I am afraid of stepping fully in, there is a fear of loving everyone and everything unconditionally. I suppose I try to defend myself with negativity, it seems to put some distance between me and everything ‘out there’ (that could hurt me), it creates an illusion of separation, a mistaken idea of safety by keeping myself separate when I’m not really and can’t ever be separate from anyone or anything. 

Gusts of the unexpected

One minute it’s all down in the dumps next it’s encouraged and cheerful. I’m like a leaf on the wind blown about by adversity and good fortune. A client is happy or a client is not happy, this effects my mood. So much for equanimity. The Mindfulness App just popped up with “note the Mountain Within You” as I write this.

This is it. This is IT. Right now what is happening this second is it, in its mundane boring silent normalcy. Right now this very second as I take my breath. This is all there is, and how I am with it I decide. Is this moment Allowed to be in its miraculous unexpected creativitity or is it hell? It can be so many contrasting things and yet look exactly, the same from the outside.

What I’ve discovered is that it is more enjoyable when expectations are recognised and dropped. All ideas and beliefs of what it ‘should’ be like, what it should feel like. What I want, don’t want. Then I get in the way of being with it all as it comes and goes naturally. I’m more in touch with what is true on my own. 

It’s quite a juggling operation, to mingle with well known others who have those expectations, pretty much everybody except the odd drop out or poet. Got to pretend a bit when talking to them, play the part. And can easily find myself falling into the illusion of what I’m saying, believing the rubbish that comes out this lying mouth. It’s always only a minute particle of what is true, and it’s mostly cancelled out by something more true I’m not saying. Even worse, what I actually say very often is determined by what they expect. Their script. I’ve got next to no integrity haha. Yet increasingly I’m outrageously just myself when meeting strangers, new clients particularly, and loving the freedom after dropping caring what they think, caring if I get the job.

Finding the most balance here by being completely alone (never really am though really of course) largely, by hunting down the expectations I secretly harbour and saying bye to them. Joy in next to nothing. Which actually always seems to exceed any expectations I no longer had. Gusts of unexpected tiny little amazing gorgeous happenings take place that blow me away. Noticing some pattern on tree bark. The way the light hits the wall. The patina on the lock. The smell of Wisteria reaching my nose. Knowing the right thing to say at the right time. That only seems to happen when I don’t try. If I try to manipulate an outcome, then it’s hit or miss or just plain lame. Rehearsed rubbish. Not fresh unexpected and free.

For the magic to take place, for the Tao/Rigpa/the Force to move me completely into its choreography I need to not be there. Need to not be there! Stand aside, no personal goal in mind. It’s been a lifelong task learning how to stop being manipulative. Not to want anything when interacting. Though that is impossible too. We don’t want others to hurt or kill us! But not trying to squeeze a particular outcome is a tricky one to drop for me. To let go. Trust. Give up control.  Open to the unexpected. Leave the familiar scripts behind. Enjoying playing with this. So this week my homework is

– to stay quiet and listen and observe more when interacting with others, be there to serve the moment

– to watch the urge to take over and gain control of conversations

– to remain aware of the bodily sensations when interacting, where any anxiety is felt physically or excitement

– slow down, right down

– use all the senses

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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