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Remain Present

Through all these times

I wondered about:

the wounds of my soul, all the mistakes, and all of the miracles.

Through the tears through the laughter along the wayside.

I obsessed I sighed.

And then

I began

to let it all go. finally letting go  and returning to the silence.

Over and over.

For it heals my soul.

I am certain this is not news to anyone that trying to live a philosophy or concept you believe in 100% can still be trying. For instance just the day to day logistics can try to get in the way, and old habits are hard to break even when you want to.

Some say Being Mindful of the Moment is just an expression, I disagree. It’s true I believe, mindful is a verb.

I often use to find myself feeling needy of knowing what tomorrow would bring. Today I know this is a feeling I do not have to react to, it is not my need to know what tomorrow will bring. Because in all honesty my future is not where I want to be. I want to be mindful of just this moment. I want to be fully present in the here and now.

But because often with that needing to know I could also make myself wicked crazy waiting for the answers.

I could.

I did.

For some time.

It has only been in the last decade of my life that the realization and wisdom came to me that fretting over what tomorrow or even hours from now will bring serves no rational purpose. Least of all it does not serves me. I’ve researched, studied, observed, absorbed, and experimented with ways to help myself remain mindful of “Staying in the Moment.” I needed some lessons, teachings, and even  some magic tricks that would help me remember to be mindful. It is too easy to fall back into old habits, old ways of thinking, even when we are trying to change our thinking to grow and enhance our life’s journey

Once I had some logistics in place, some ‘teachings’ I could grasp which allow me now to be gently reminded to remain in this moment; fostered by practicing these lessons daily.

First three and most important teachings:

1. Practice Self-Love.

2. Practice Self-Compassion

3. Practice Self-Forgiveness

Practicing even one of these teachings helped me remain grounded, to retain a balance in my small world in the beginning.  I say go slow. It was quite remarkable how when I chose just one teaching that seemed like magic in that it helped decrease my level of predilection for wanting (read need) to know what the future is going to bring. Just one practice.

How do we remain in the moment, to stay mindful of the here and the now? It’s the only space of time that matters. This time.. right now

In the spirit of this blog I’d like to share the teachings that work for me. My wish is that you are able to take something away, and please be welcome to leave something behind in your comment.

  • Personal – I wear or carry “totems” (an Native North American term) sometimes also referred to as prayer beads, worry stones, or even amulets. My affinity for doing so came from my youth. I found great comfort in a “smoothed by time” river rock in the shape of a flat heart.  I found beautiful comfort in holding its warm stone between my forefinger and thumb, or in the closed palm of my hand. I loved the connection with earth as a girl, I treasure it now as an adult woman.

  • On Mediation: I prefer to mediate regularly; typically it is once every day for at least 15-20 minutes. I found it is that regular practice of meditation that really starts to shape my mind and the way it works. I have heard that this has been backed up by the latest brain studies. I find it easier to maintain focus, have that stillness of mind I am looking for. Being mindful is becoming my norm.

  • Journaling: This is probably not a surprise to those of you who know a bit about me. Keeping a daily journal of my goals and my accomplishments while articulating (what I like to think are wise thoughts) into my way of living can be remarkably effective. Absolutely it’s a habit that requires practice. A lot of practice. Journaling at night when I can’t sleep and reviewing in the morning helps keep these teachings alive throughout the day.
  • Reminder Notes: By placing inspirational/motivational notes, and self-affirmations around my small world (as done even on this post) these become helpful reminders for staying grounded and not getting distracted. This can be favorite quote, important concept, notes from loved ones,  or even a short narrative or a poem. A personal favorite are two prayers sent from a very good friend who is one of my spiritual mentors.
  •  Mind-fullness Alarms:  I loved this teaching especially when I began my quest of mindfulness. Although I don’t do this as a norm anymore; setting alarms to go off at regular intervals throughout the day can be a very effective teaching to help kick-start good mindful habits. This is especially helpful when marathon writing by the way. Having that reminder alarm helps me to get out of my head for a time with regularity.  

It is also important I believe to note of what to be mindful of. Buddhists refer to this as the Right Thought and Right View. 

 Things that consume us during the day, like anger, fear, worry, or frustration, comes from unwise or misguided perspectives. Having a wider & more open mind to other perspectives than our own is a big help. I heard once about a very effective practice of referring to the issues of certain circumstances in our life as “third-world problems”. This is short-hand for a reminder that while dealing with issues we think are monumental, we might instead be mindful that there are people in our world who don’t have access to enough to eat.

It is all about perspectives.

And how we think.

 Can this kind of daily practice of mindfulness achieve a state of bliss In The Moment?

For thousands of years, practitioners have reported greater happiness and tranquility when we are able to stay In The Moment’ 

 So….I think… I shall stay right here in this moment….this here and now – and absorb it for all its worth. 

And this moment in time? 

Priceless!

 

©ttaylor2017 (original version 2013)

Gently 

Where an ember of a spark remains blow gently.

Where love whispers to the heart listen gently.

Where truth points to the soul tread gently.

Wbere passion ignites spontaneity create gently.

ttaylor2017

The Coming Years 

The gift during those coming years would be seen as having to find a way she could live for herself. 

There would be no one who would challenge her. 

No one challenging that bewildering empty persistence with which men and women tell themselves they have a right to impose a private will upon one another.

Giving up the cruel agenda in a brief moment of illumination.
All Rights Reserved:

 ttaylor2017

Sitting On The Fence

I can fake a smile.

I can pretend that I’m okay…

but I’m only in denial.

My hearts been chained.

sitting on the fence

Time doesn’t always look you in the face. Quite often time is what holds us in the balance of our choices. 

Do you ever wonder why we do some things in our lives over and over despite knowing it will not result in any different outcome? Repeatedly, every time?  Probably results that we know do not serve us.

Decisions for me were times in my life when I struggled. There were these inevitable arguments between my instincts and life’s external/internal expectations. The arguments would paralyze me. Not making any decision is A decision, a decision to remain stuck. That thing we call “time” ran on while I chose to remain behind. My choice had been to remain stuck in the same place because I was stranded in the balance of not deciding. I’m certain I don’t need to explain the pathology behind my chronic indecisiveness to most, nor explain the certain kind of bliss of not taking any ownership for making a decision. If I didn’t decide I couldn’t be blamed. Right?

Denial feels like a wonderful thing….for a awhile. Denial helps support indecisiveness in multitude of ways. Repeating not making decisions was not serving me, it was actually just another form of denial.

When finally I found I could no longer fake the smiles I began to make decisions that started to unchain my heart. Shame began to fall away.

Transparency Time.

I knew things were off for a long time, I mean 10 plus years of a “longtime.” Those misguided notions I chose to let my heart ignore. All that was off in my life; it all began to mess with my emotional intelligence, and this finally messed with my spiritual health, which in turn messed with my physical health.

To be as transparent about this “longtime” as I can let me say I had found the only way to cope with all that I was denying was to get numb. Because I was dealing with physical health issues I had convinced myself I needed pharmaceutical medications to function mentally and physically. With hindsight the truth is the medications helped me stay in denial, it helped me to remain numb to the pain, both physical and mental. This treatment modality helped me stay stuck. So much in denial was I that it took major life alterations for myself to begin to feel again.

Which meant having to make decisions.

Some extremely frightening decisions had to be made by myself if I ever intended to expect different results; if I ever expected a resemblance of emotional and physical health again.What I had been doing by doing nothing certainly was not working except to keep me stuck. Time didn’t stick though and I was losing a lot of it. Too much of it.

A decision had to be made. Decisions had to become part of my game plan. Denial was no longer working. Faking a smile was no longer getting me by.

NOT making a decision WAS a decision. One that in time I could no longer live with.

Deciding to make major lifestyle changes was frightening but staying stuck was scaring me more.

I began the long task of excavating myself to discover what it was that wasn’t working for me and I made drastic changes.

The first one I made was possibly the most important change. I changed my habit of over-thinking everything, every step, every move. I made a vow to begin the change and decided to listen to my instincts while learning to trust them versus the dwelling of second guessing.

Making decisions about everything from my marital status, removing toxic medications and toxic relationships were the most difficult choices to make for this lady who typically found it a struggle to decide what to take out of the freezer for dinner. Don’t believe it if you are told an “old Lady” can’t learn new tricks. Not true. Although the new lessons might come slow, taking their time they’ll come. Just make the decision to learn.

It will be five years in July that I made the most drastic decisions. Making physical changes in moving my residence to living alone, then the gradual removal of pharmaceutical medications that were doing far more harm than any good, all the while filtering those in my life and the weight I give to respective relationships.

With great joy I found my health and my life reaching a place of good I had not been in for a long, long time. This time in my life I decided to jump off the proverbial fence of indecisiveness of being stuck. Deciding this is the time when I finally choose to take ownership for my well-being and the serenity of self peace.

The changes inside me are not changes most see, some who do see the changes see them as misguided deflections, but then there are those who do see the authenticity that I am striving to live today.

No more fake smiles.

No more denial.

When it’s time to quit.

ttaylor2016

Drawing Lines In The Sand.

 

Don’t take it personal.

There came a time when our mutual respect for life and one another got muddied. It isn’t important who might be more culpable or not in fostering the circumstances, the fact is communication broke down. It took two. Please don’t make it personal when my choice is to remove myself.

Drawing lines in the sand with someone really isn’t personal towards them, it’s absolutely about finding the self-importance to not allow anything or anyone to become chaos in your life. That’s not personal, that’s survival.

We typically don’t live in a bubble, we have all kinds of interactions with all kinds of people and circumstances. To not create boundaries would allow people, places and things to run amuck in our presence. A good and wise friend shared with me a priceless mantra that I quickly adopted, I am paraphrasing: We have three options when dealing with chaos in our lives: ” We can change it, we can accept it, or we can eliminate it.” Pretty clear to me.

I’m addressing the “eliminate it” faction of the mantra…. interesting to me is that to “change it” or to “acceptance it” is seen as all that is good and selfless, meeting with approval by most. “Eliminating it” however is seen as evil and selfish, met with disapproval.

Boundaries are a necessary layer to a healthy life and healthy satisfying relationships, but there is no denying that creating boundaries requires skills, and unfortunately those skills are seen as negatives. Sadly so many of us believe we don’t have the right to set boundaries; let alone know how. Knowing when and how to draw lines in the sand means knowing and understanding what your limits are; what you can change, what you can accept, and what you need to eliminate.

Adopting skills aimed specifically at drawing lines in the sand means that you are honoring your self-value  enough to get real honest with yourself first, and then with those  who you need to draw lines with.

 Own limits.

Identify physical, emotional, mental and spiritual limits, know what you can accept, change what you can’t accept, or eliminate it.

Trust feelings.

Red flags or cues tell us that we’re letting go of boundaries,  ask what is causing that? Where is the discomfort coming from? It’s a tell when someone acts in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable it’s a cue there may be a line being crossed, a violation of boundaries.

Direct and transparent

Maintaining healthy boundaries may sometimes need a more direct communication about your boundaries. There will be people and circumstances that might bring about a need to be more direct and transparent. Just do it. With kindness.

Give permission. Fear, guilt and self-doubt are motivators for remaining stuck, Give permission to trust that we are not meant to be able to cope with any and every situation. Give permission that when we feel drained by the interactions of others and circumstances that we deserve to have boundaries in the first place. Perhaps it would serve us to know that boundaries aren’t just a sign of a healthy relationship; they’re a sign of self-respect. Give permission to set boundaries and work to maintain them.

Self-awareness. An awareness that boundaries are about honing in on your feelings and honoring them. If you notice yourself slipping and not sustaining your boundaries.

Past and present. Family roles can be obstacles in setting and preserving boundaries. Ignoring your own needs might have become the norm for you.

Self-care a priority. Give permission to put yourself first so the need and motivation to set boundaries become stronger.  Recognize the importance of feelings and honoring them.

Be assertive. It’s not enough to create boundaries, we actually have to follow through. assertive communicating when a boundary has been crossed and establish an “accept it,  or change it, or eliminate it” stance.

Getting real honest with ourselves helps foster getting real honest with where our boundaries need to be placed, and to maintain them.

 

©ttaylor2017

 

Gracious Tenacity

 

[An annual posting]

I thought that my 50’s was to be the decade of my life. I found grace in my 50’s that I had been looking for in my 40’s. As I still recognize that Grace is a calling I am celebrating with 62 years to my credit that I have also found a rather ‘Gracious Tenacity. ‘

I believe we each have a calling in life and that grace is very much part of our calling. In my 50’s I realized and understood that listening to our callings is really simply listening to the voice and heart of our grace. Grace is the listening, seeing, and being present in each moment. Grace is the ability to stay away from yesterdays,  it’s the grace to not look towards tomorrows. Grace grows inside of us, grace is woven with tolerance, patience, generosity……woven like a thread…. a voice of uncertain certainty.

Then Grace meets Tenacity…..

This newest decade has become surprisingly my favorite decade, and no one is more surprised by this than I.  A tenacity that I had only seen glimpses of becoming part of the grace I’d found and nurtured. Had I had the foreshadow to know this in my 40’s I might have been less crazed. Maybe.

When the going got rough in my late 50’s while navigating circumstances unlike any other time of my life I discovered a determination I had not known before. Serving what I was dealing with I began developing a strong tenacious sensibility. Oddly enough I would have never used the description tenacious and myself in the same sentence…..not until about two years ago. My 60’s.

Tenacious me? Yep. Determined, persistent, perseverance, stick-to-itiveness – whatever label is applied it’s really about hanging on through the challenges and bumps in the road while chasing your dreams and eventually achieving your goals. Though each of these words above represents the same fundamental ideology, admittedly my latest decade to my credit has come with a  strong affinity for my own concept of tenacity

Tenacity to me is about so much more than not giving up on dream chasing and reaching for goals… It’s about focusing on growth, innovation and stretching beyond my comfort zones and normal boundaries.

In tenacity I am finding a gracious empowerment. Perhaps it’s the discipline of applying an unwavering approach to dream chasing. Clearly understanding the difference between not giving up and stubbornly doing the same thing over and over and hoping for a different outcome is part of that tenacity I call mine today.

(I heard stubbornness referred to as tenacity’s ugly twin – I think that sums it up pretty well.)

Being tenacious focuses on growth with purpose, continuing to evaluate actions and progress; remaining flexible and adjusting methods so to leave nothing to chance.

Tenacity is mastering self motivation, being an avid learner and quick study.

Tenacity is having no qualms about asking for help when the need arises.

Grace is recognizing the importance of mastering internal motivation and applying the tenacity to reach it. While dream chasing with tenacity it’s important to bear in mind that such adventures are rarely undertaken in a vacuum; begin by going for a goal that is just a little out of reach, something that requires new knowledge and new skills in order to achieve. Then continue to build on each successive accomplishment.

The point: Those who are tenaciously passionate about achieving their dreams are not easily distracted or discouraged. The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. 

” Persistence is doing something again and again until it works. Tenacity is using new data to make new decisions to find new pathways to find new ways to achieve goals when the old ways didn’t work”    ~Seth Godin

Graciously…. persistently…. tenacious.

 

©

ttaylor2017

Wholeness

More whole than I have ever been since losing it in the loss of innocence at 9 yrs old.
That f’d up young woman who blindly led her adulting into chaos and mayhem has healed that little child within. Whole.
I have liberated myself from the f’d upness that held me down. The itemized list of needs that weren’t met when I was a child and how I  determined my happiness are long gone. It’s not possible for someone else to give you something you’ve lacked since childhood. That’s not what I as a whole person am looking for. I don’t need and especially don’t want someone to become my life-long therapist. 

 

Image result for being whole quotes

But there are times I confuse the lines between the two.

Thinking about what it was that was lacking and then giving those things to myself on an ongoing basis is an example of how becoming whole means knowing how to identify my needs and then replenishing what’s lacking when needed.  

As a whole person I recognize that another person has no way of knowing what those things are or how to give them to me. To not embrace this means I’d always be looking for something that simply cannot be. As a whole person there is no need for someone else’s validation to be happy; because there is self-acceptance. There is no need for someone else to love you to feel loved; because there is self-love.

And here is the other side of that line that I am trying to not muddy. Because although all of the above are healthy truths this is not to say we don’t want others in our life —After a lengthy personal recovery period I came to a state of mind that I was ready to be loved, this time as a whole woman. I am ready to love wholly.

I am in a place where I am providing the foundation of what a whole healthy relationship needs. Even so could I communicate the times that I would feel a lacking? Can I connect the dots between the child and the woman?  Am I ready to take some ownership for the lines I still confuse?

Because I still do, even with all my awareness the whole me struggles to not retreat into old f’d up tapes.

Being whole I’m not insecure, this feels natural – the natural order of things. I don’t fixate on any great loss if one moves on. I’m fine on my own. I’m never “alone” because I have the best company in the world; myself. 

 I trust I will survive, be happy,  do great things. Again though this is not to say I don’t want the companionship of another person, bringing enhancement to my life is a happy thing — and though I am no longer finding the need of constant I am stunned to find I feel a void when days go by without. I am thrown off balance by the distinct new sense of needing to breathe the same air of another person of significance. I didn’t think I would allow myself these feelings again.

A solid relationship is two whole (or at least, fairly whole) people coming together because they love each others company. They’re not coming together because they need someone to love them all the time, because they need someone’s company all the time, because they need to be shown that they’re loved. Instead there is a beauty in the simple desire to give time.

If one person is whole but the other person is needy, dependent, insecure … the whole person will do their best that he or she can to help the other But over the long run they will feel weary of all the neediness and insecurity, and resentments will begin to build. If both are needy and insecure, there will be constant fights about why you didn’t check in with me, why you’re so distant today, why you’re talking to that guy, what you’re doing when you go out with your friends, etc.

But if both people are whole, they can be apart and are secure enough not to worry about the other person, and are happy simply being. They can come together and be happy, enjoying the time of each oother’s company. They don’t need each other, but love each other and care for the other person’s happiness — not worrying so much about their own happiness, because they are secure that they’re already happy.

They respect each other, and themselves. They are compassionate for each other, and for themselves.

This is a relationship with two whole people.

Whole and Comfortable

How do you let go of the insecurities? That’s not so easy, because it’s a slow healing process, but it starts by recognizing them when they appear, and then letting them go. Notice that you’re worried about what your significant other is doing, and then maybe recognize that you’re worried they don’t love you, and that means you are worried you’re not good enough … then let go of that worry. You don’t need it. 

You are good enough.

If you’re good enough, that means the other person will either recognize that and love you, or won’t recognize it (and therefore won’t be deserving of you) and will not love you, but you’ll be fine because you’re OK on your own. 

If you’re good enough, you’ll be good enough with or without this person. That’s not to say you want the person to leave, or don’t care about the person, but you know that you’d be OK if they did leave.

Knowing that, you’re OK no matter what: whether that person is on a trip, out with friends, working late, even angry with you. You’re good, as you are, on your own, and you don’t need anything else.

When worries about whether you’re good enough crop up, recognize them, let them go. When worries about whether the other person loves you crop up, recognize them, let them go. When fears of the other person flirting with someone else crop up, recognize them, let them go (worst case scenario: the person cheats, you leave them, you’re OK on your own).

Recognize the fears and worries, and let them go. Relax into this new space of being OK with yourself, being happy on your own, knowing things will always be OK.

You’ve learned to become your own wholeness.