Sit Down and Shut Up Isn’t Popular Anymore

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When I was young, if  my mom made a decision about something it was over. I wasn’t expected to make a speech expressing my disappointment and opposition to her ruling because I thought her reason for making me stay home from the party was invalid because it went against what I wanted. I had the right to an opinion and for everyone’s well being, I kept it to myself. I was taught to respect authority and especially my parents. These days, long after the ruling comes down or the vote is over, people are given the opportunity to express themselves. It doesn’t change the outcome and the bottom line stays the same. What it does though is demean or devalue the process. When did our opinions become so important that we all started to believe we had the right to be heard. An obligation almost. I know all about freedom of speech but I’m pretty sure what is going on today is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind. Maybe we need to add freedom to be quiet so we find a place of balance between the two. I guess what I’m trying to say is people talk too much and listen too little. When everyone forces their words on everyone else, we put up barriers. We stop  wanting to listen to crying over spilled milk. There comes a time when enough is enough but people never seem to learn to put those limits on themselves. It’s about what I want, what I need and I’m gonna keep talking about it until you are sick of my voice. Hear me now? No? Not yet? I will talk longer and louder and plan speeches until you don’t hear anything else but what I have to say. That is the attitude and thinking of many today. I just want to find some quiet. A safe place to curl up with a blanket and listen to the rain or the wind. I want to be free of voices and dissension and disrespect and opinions because those things hold no value in my little corner of the world. Maybe that is why I love blogging. It is a quiet obsession. I’m not forcing anyone to hear my words. Reading my blogs is their choice and I can’t speak any louder if someone isn’t listening. It simply is what it is. I pray we find a way to be more tolerant and respectful of one another. We are ego driven, selfish human beings and it’s time to fix our mistakes. One can only hope I’m not the only one who feels this way but who knows. Just be kind. Listen at least as much as you talk and praise at least as much as you demean. Let’s start there. 

You Are Not Who I Say You Are…I Am Not Who You Say I Am…

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It was just an ordinary day as I walked through the front door of the yoga studio. From the first moment I spent time in that sacred space, I knew it was special. To be honest, I’ve tried yoga at other places. It’s never been quite the same. What is it about that place that makes me feel so at peace, so at home? Sometimes I forget who I am. My true essence is buried someplace underneath the words people use to describe me. Why did I start to believe them?  I am not those words. Maybe to some degree they fit my behavior but I am so much more. More than they see, more than I show. I do it too and I never realized how destructive it was until today. We use adjectives to describe people. We don’t think twice to label them or share our opinion of who we think they are. I realized how much damage some of my own words must have caused, especially for some of the people I love the most. I am supposed to love them and protect them but somewhere along the way I’ve forgotten what my real purpose is in their lives. It’s not to judge or define them. It is to love and accept them exactly the way they are. Why is that so difficult? With each tick of the clock I feel more ashamed. Try as I may, I can’t shake this sadness that overwhelms me. Why do I have this need to define people, label them, assign names to them? You are a disgrace. You are lazy. You are selfish. You are annoying. Oh my God! As I type the words my stomach hurts. I am no better than the people I call out. Why is it not okay for them but fine for me?

 Then I got it today, why that studio feels so much like home. There are baskets by the door. Everyone undresses and leaves their shoes and socks and sweatshirts in them. We quietly peel off the labels and place them neatly in the drawers. We leave behind judgement and pride next to our keys. We are all vulnerable there. We are brave. We leave everything outside as we step into that dark room and close the door behind us. I am free. I can breath and the world is lifted off my shoulders. I smile as I lie down on my back. I think to myself, I am so happy to be here today. And then it dawns on me. No one is there to judge or define me and I am not there to do it either. For the next 60 minutes, I feel loved and important and worthy. I feel the weight of my body on my mat grounded into this precious earth. I feel the enormous power of my heart as I feel it beat inside of me. I am love. I am here to love. I have found myself again. This is me peeking out from behind the walls I put up to protect myself. This is me safe from the words people use to define me. I am safe here in my own body, connected to my soul and all I feel is love…

 Because I am love.

Sometimes I just forget…

 And I’m here to remind you that you are that same love too.

Stumbled On This Today

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A lot of things are inherent in life -change, birth, death, aging, illness, accidents, calamities, and losses of all kinds- but these events don’t have to be the cause of ongoing suffering. Yes, these events cause grief and sadness, but grief and sadness pass, like everything else, and are replaced with other experiences. The ego, however, clings to negative thoughts and feelings and, as a result, magnifies, intensifies, and sustains those emotions while the ego overlooks the subtle feelings of joy, gratitude, excitement, adventure, love, and peace that come from Essence. If we dwelt on these positive states as much as we generally dwell on our negative thoughts and painful emotions, our lives would be transformed.

Gina Lake

Conditional

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This single word  pretty much sums up relationships today. Our support, our love, our forgiveness and even our time is conditional these days. We used to show respect for the sake of being respectful, we used to show kindness for the sake of being kind but now we pick and choose who is worthy of those things as if we are on a different level. Newsflash! This is an even playing field. It’s a shame that who we associate determines our worth in the minds of some. It’s a travesty that holding a particular position, education level or even embracing a particular mindset actually sets us apart from others. As if we are in competition and there’s some magical prize at the end. There is actually and it’s a decorative urn or a fancy casket. Time is running out. Each rotation of the hand of the clock leaves less time for us to get it right. This quote take us in the right direction. 

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. 

Martin Luther King, Jr.

As Jennifer Pastiloff often says, “At the end of my life when I ask one final question, what have I done? Let my answer be, I have done love”.

The Clock is Counting Down

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In a sea of opinions, use your voice for something good. Spread hope, peace and positivity. Be honest but tactful, open yet reserved. Do not give every thought a voice. Spend time around people who think different than you and really listen to what they have to say. Listen to understand and learn,not to respond and judge. There is no right or wrong, just different. Different people, different wants, different ideas and that’s okay. We are not robots. We are not programmed to think and act alike. Respect someone’s differences and if you want to make assumptions, assume you know nothing about anyone else. How could you? You don’t walk in their shoes, pay their bills, stay up late and night and face their demons in the dark. You do not know. Stop telling yourself you do and please stop passing judgements. You are not God. None of us are. We are simply a group of people sharing the earth for a limited amount of time. Make it count. Our stories, though different, will all end the same. Stop wasting precious time on things you convince yourself matter but really don’t. The clock is ticking and we don’t get a single second back. 

Are You making or Breaking Someone Else’s Day?

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I was reminded today how hard it is to keep myself in check. Often times, I have the best intentions. I look forward to the weekend or getting out to do something with family but sometimes the best intentions fall by the wayside. I was in a great mood yesterday. Sometimes I am able to step away from all the stress and just breathe again. That was my plan for the last two days. Unfortunately I absorb all that is around me and if I don’t find a way to reach that place of balance, I crumble. After hours of spending time around someone completely disengaged followed by another who dumps his responsibilities onto everybody else, I slowly deflate. The negative energy just consumes me until I become it myself. So my good mood has slowly come to a close. It’s easy to say that other people aren’t responsible for your happiness but I argue that the people around me are often responsible for my unhappiness. There are some people in our lives that we cannot just dismiss or remove. We can’t delete them like they are some random Facebook friend but at the same time we cannot allow them to destroy our happiness or inner peace. I am not looking for sympathy or having a pity party. I am writing this post as a reminder that who we are affects everyone around us. Our mood, our lack of concern, our negligence, our bad attitude, our words and especially our actions are equally if not more powerful than any positive we think we put off. Just ask yourself today, what is the energy I am bringing to this place? How am I affecting the people around me? It’s the only way to finally understand just how much we are all connected.