Discernment

Finally got to a computer at my daughter’s house. I can’t blame them it is my own relaxation that has stopped me from writing. It is nice to take a break.

I have been doing a lot of reading and just being. Spending time with this family is a boost in intellectual conversation and different foods. My son-in-law is a great chef and we have been indulging.

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It has also been time to consider my life in the scheme of things and I am mostly content with where I am. Sometimes there is that nudge to stretch out and do something more but my sense is that what I have is enough. Overextending can leave us with not energy. Then our ability to be creative is stifled. I have had to wean myself from some of my former passions and learn to be comfortable with where I am.

This is a difficult thing to do. There is always the pull wanting to go back but different times in live require different things of us. It is so tricky to discern what is called for. Life always throws us curves and makes us take a few steps back and reevaluate.

Image result for discernment quotesOne of life’s challenges is knowing what is called for at each stage of our life. To do that we have to take a hard look at where we have been and where we need to go. Sometimes we don’t want to take the time to do that processing and we end up in a quandary. We can be too hard on ourselves.

We must spend time “centering down” and living with quiet. it is crucial to our well being.

Controlling thoughts

Life is uncertain; in the end we control only a single thing: our own thoughts. From the book “Pandemic”

While reading the book this jumped out at me. It is so true. There is very little that we can control and sometimes we have trouble controlling our thoughts. And yet, it is one of the things we most need to learn. Our thoughts can take us on a wonderful journey or send us into the deepest depths.

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For those who struggle with issues such as anxiety, depression, bipolar etc. it transpires daily. Our thoughts control how we feel. Sometimes the problem can begin with a trigger such as stress caused by the life we deal with or by physical issues such as IBS. Whatever sets off the thoughts can bring us down in a minute.

Most of the coping mechanisms we learn have to do with changing those thoughts. If only it were easy. We can learn the coping skills but we have to use them for them to work. This means making them become habits and that is the hard part.

calm yourselfWhatever helps you to override the thoughts that bring you down work hard to have it become natural as breathing. It is a struggle but one that is worth the effort.

 

Never give up on finding and using what helps you calm those errant thoughts!

Accomplishing Comfort

Today I am baking sourdough bread. This bread became a staple for the miners who sought their fortune in the gold fields. In truth, history tells us it is an ancient bread. In order to make it you first have to have sourdough starter. I made mine from bread and water and time.

Making this bread is a process and depending on how you do it can take days. You are not working at it constantly but just doing things to the dough over time. It is a lesson in patience. It teaches that work and patience can create wonderful things.

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my sourdough bread

I always make bread by hand as there is something earthy and soothing about getting you hands into the dough. There is a delicious aroma and the dough is stretchy, smooth and pliable. The motion of kneading is soothing. It brings calm with a sense of accomplishment.

I love baking all kinds of bread. The bread is wonderful and the house has a comforting smell. Maybe like grandmother’s kitchen.

It is said that we should eat less carbohydrates. I guess I will have to stay away from others because bread will never be gone from my home.

The mystics

I love the mystics. Not just the Christian ones but any of them. BuddhaJalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, Joan of Arc, Julian of Norwich, Hildegard von Bingen, Confucius are just some of them. They are so focused. They spend time connecting with everything beyond themselves. Their understanding about what really matters is clear.

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I wish that I spent the time in meditation and silence that would bring me even a little closer to their link with “everything.” To be so synced with the universe and our role in it would be wonderful.

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I have experienced small amounts of this in the past and want to connect again. It is so hard to disconnect with everything going on around me. I continue to try and hope that I can find this kind of connection again. I will need to push to maintain a schedule until it becomes a habit.

Evaluating the journey

Looking over some of my original posts reminds me to take stock of how I am doing on my journey. Changing ourselves is one of the hardest things that we can do. We have to begin the change and then repeat it util it becomes habit. Not so easy.

Change-is-Scary

We struggle with the habits that are ingrained from years of practice. Once we begin trying to change it is so easy to fall back into the old routine. Since I began this journey I have made some positive changes that have stuck and some that have not.

My task now it to evaluate and decide if the things I haven’t changed are still relevant. If so it is time to tackle them. I find it easier to make small changes that lead me to the bigger one.

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I have not been meditating as I should and this is one I will tackle with intent. Why should I consider 5 or 10 minutes out of my day as a problem. From there I hope to grow back into a routine discarded years ago and see the result of spending time in “neutral.” As I said once before my long ago yoga instructor said when we are awake we are in forward gear, asleep in reverse and in meditation in neutral. Routinely meditating brought me calm and a sense of connection to the universe. I want to regain that.

Changing is hard and not for sissies. I won’t give up but keep on keeping on.

May you each have a serene weekend.

Life has stages

Western society is a “first-half-of-life” culture, largely concerned about surviving successfully. Richard Rohr

Some of the Eastern cultures understand that life has stages. The Hindus see a learning/student stage, a family/work stage, a retirement/spiritual exploration stage and an enlightenment stage.

This kind of thinking is also present in Buddhism and other cultures. We seem to get stuck in the beginning stages and have no understanding of how we need to live the “second half of life.”

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In the first half of our life we are learning and absorbing things. It is as if we are creating a receptacle in which to live. The second part of life should be about putting things in the receptacle. This means understanding the world around us from a deeper perspective. Filling ourselves up with the meaning of life and understanding what is important. This leads to a deep fulfillment and sense of purpose.

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Experience the first part of life with everything you have. Learn, grow, love but don’t skip the next part which will bring you to a place of peace.

Too much!

Today my husband and I traveled to Mayo Clinic for a follow-up. As we traveled I notice the number of storage facilities we passed. What is wrong with us? We have so much stuff that it is big business to store it away. Surely this is the height of the ridiculous.

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As a society we hoard. There are many stories about hoarders lately and most of us don’t have a house so full that we can’t walk through it. However, maybe we would if we didn’t have it stored away in a facility.

If the “stuff” is not wanted then we need to take it to the Salvation Army. They have the highest rating for actually helping instead of paying CEO’s. There may be people who need it.

I have recently been trying to clean out and pare down. I have way too much in my house. Quite a bit can be classified as trash and should be thrown or recycled. Some of it is going in boxes to take to help others. It is amazing what we can accumulate.

Seeing all of this reminds me that not only is my home in overload but that I can be too. What am I holding on to that I need to let go? So while I am searching through stuff I will also be opening doors in my mind to sweep out what is cluttering my mind.

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