Friday, September 30, 2016

Watch and learn

One of my daily practices is a written meditation. It's not so much a journal, but more of my version Julia Cameron's morning pages. Every morning I sit and let my hand write all the thoughts I'm having at that moment. I have years' worth of beautiful notebooks, all handwritten into in blue ink. They are stashed away. "What do you use them for?" He was curious about the material I may find there. "Just that", I said. He looked puzzled.

Just that. That is all I do with my morning writing practice. It serves many purposes, but my intention when I write as meditation is to watch my thoughts, feelings and emotions. I don't reread these pages. But I do pay attention to them. It is one of the ways I watch myself.

There are many ways we can learn, grow and be better. We can read books, attend conferences, learn from a mentor or someone we respect. Yet we may learn more from ourselves than from anybody else. If we look at ourselves without judgment and with an open mind and heart, without blame or justifications, we may pick up exactly what we need.

We observe ourselves in memory, imagination, photos, journals, writing, déjà-vus, the feelings we get when we watch a movie one more time, the notes we find in books we read long ago, our dreams, our doodles. I recently watched Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Watching the movie took me back to the time when I first watched it. I remembered how much I enjoyed the movie then. I also remembered what I took for granted, what I liked, what I feared, what I hoped, what I wanted, what I was in a hurry for, the thoughts I had about life during that time. I started watching my younger self. I saw and understood that I move forward when I stop trying to control outcomes and circumstances, that my connection to Spirit sustains me, that I have evolved. I saw, too, how it is that I learn and that few things are insurmountable.

Today is a good day to watch ourselves and learn. It is a good day to start to pick up on the themes of our lives, our patterns, and recurring dreams. In watching ourselves we learn about our limitations, our potential, our misgivings, misperceptions, strengths, what are triggers are, how we love, how we fail, where our power lies. We will learn why we are so good at somethings or why we can't quite succeed in something we really want. Let us watch ourselves with wonder, trust, faith, curiosity, grace, acceptance, willingness, and appreciation in order to understand and grow, evolve and reach a better version of ourselves. Let's watch and learn.

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Friday, September 23, 2016

Yes (but, no)

The difference between achieving something we long for and staying in the dreaming, yearning and planning stage may just be our willingness.

We say yes to a dream, a path, a career, a relationship, a goal, a way of life, or to learn something new yet we block our possibilities with preconceived objections, limitations and exclusions. We will do anything for what we want, except for this or that (insert your own reason or cause here). When we do this, we sabotage ourselves. We call these reasons or causes deal-breakers. But what breaks the deal is our unwillingness. 

Should we be willing to say yes to everything? Yes. Yet fear overcomes us. This fear encompasses many things. Among them are the fear of upsetting the status quo, of making a mistake, of having to do something ridiculous, dangerous or threatening to our egos, and of not knowing what the outcome will be. There's also the fear, born out of our religious and cultural conditioning, of extreme sacrifice. We must remember that everything we go through, in one way or another, happens for us. Also, that what we should be willing to do is relative to what we want. More importantly, when we are aligned to our purpose, what we want is possible and what we must be willing to do, what will be asked of us, will not be something that will put us in a position of detriment, loss, harm, disadvantage, or struggle. 

If we enter anything insisting on what we are not going to do, we block ourselves and create precisely what we don't want. We confuse our intentions. Our focus should be on what we want, on being alert to the signs, and on our attitude. Our yes, our willingness, unfolds the path, does away with the obstacles, clears our way, and arranges our circumstances in order to manifest our wishes. 

Today is a good day to give our willingness to our intention. Let's then observe how the obstacles fall away, the path clears and our understanding deepens. Let's be willing to co-create the life we want.

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Friday, September 16, 2016

Wrong line

A few years ago, we took my son and my twin nephews to Disney World for their birthdays. When we got to the Magic Kingdom, we were given lanyards full of Fast Passes for many of the attractions. We were so lucky. This was great for we were able to skip many of the long lines at the park that day. One of the attractions we went to was Peter Plan's Flight. As we were exiting the ride, I caught a bit of an argument a family was having as they waited in line to go in. It seems they wanted to go on the It's a Small World ride, but, here they were, in a line for something else. As my family decided where to go next, I unintentionally eavesdropped on their argument. We are forever in the wrong line, one of them said. Yet, there they stayed. They made the line and got on the ride.

This is very common–to get in the wrong line, to get in line for something other than what we want. Moreover, we know we are in the wrong line, but we stay there. We then complain all the way. When are we in the wrong line? When we want to finish a project, but we go to the mall; we want to spend time with our children, but we get on Facebook; we want to have a better relationship with our coworkers, but we gossip either with them, about them or both; we want to enjoy more time with our family, but we keep accepting more commitments that require our time; we want financial stability, but we spend our money without a budget or a plan; we want to study humanities, but we enroll in law school to please our parents; we want to build a business, but we keep working for others and not taking the steps to make it happen; we want to be more positive, but keep dragging ourselves down with the same old speech; we want to be healthier, but we don't sleep enough; we want to know God more, but we refuse to meet him in others.

Today is a good day to to look at the line we are in and see if it leads to where we want to go. What change do we need to make to get what we want, be where we want to be or do what we want to do? What line do we need to get into?

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Friday, September 9, 2016

Flips, changes and makeovers

In flipping a particular property, the new owners of the house hired painters, bought new limestone tile, marble countertops, lighting fixtures and cabinets, replaced broken glass window panes and contracted the services of a real estate agent. They had a great plan for this house. They, however, encountered a big problem from the beginning. It was an awful smell that permeated the entire house. It was so strong and unpleasant that the real estate agent warned them that it might make it difficult to sell the property. They walked around looking for its source without any luck in finding it. They felt it stronger near the vents of the central air conditioning system. I couldn't understand why, from the get-go, they didn't check all the vents and the plumbing to see what was causing the smell. Regardless, they kept pressing forward. It was close to finishing the upgrades and repairs to the house when the owner, almost haphazardly, came across the cause of the smell: a small, dead bat in an air conditioning duct in the kitchen.

The changes to this house would not have been complete without finding what was causing the awful smell. It's full transformation would not have been possible. The smell was too strong. It's a good thing the owners found its origin. Masking it or making other temporary coverups would have been damaging. The makeover would have been more fluid, though, had they gone through a more thorough search and clean-up from the beginning.

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In our personal transformations we are tempted, as well, to fix the outside, to make pretty what others can see. But real change entails going inside and cleaning out the old, smelly stuff that resurfaces over and over until we otherwise deal with it. Skipping the deep clean-up can cause rotting, create other problems down the line and attract more of what is causing the problem.

We can't be flip about change. For change to be transformative, lasting and rewarding, we have to task ourselves with the parts of our personality that are offensive, that cause us trouble, that reek, that are of poor quality, that will get in the way of a better version of ourselves. Today is a good day to identify that part of ourselves that we don't like, the part that we don't want affecting the rest of our lives in a negative way, that part that pulls us down and sabotages our efforts to better ourselves. This is not easy or pleasant, but it is necessary. On the flip side of this, once we have worked with it, we will find our self improved and alchemized. We will find our own evolution and a real personal makeover.

© Millicent Maldonado and Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Cheer up, Charlie

When he was a little boy, I used to sing the Cheer up, Charlie song from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory to my son when he was sad. He has grown so much since that time. Last night at the dinner table he was telling me how he doesn't like being cheered up when he is sad or angry. I like to feel what I feel to know how to deal with it, he said.

Feel what we feel. This is what many of us fail to do when something or someone makes us feel unhappy, discouraged, disappointed or mad, and in doing so, we fail to learn and we fail to grow. It is easier to numb ourselves with social media, tv, wine, shopping, work, exercise, drugs and any other thing we do in excess to avoid or to deaden our feelings. It is not pleasant to feel sadness, anger, uncertainty, anxiety and frustration. But if we want to avoid falling into patterns of repeated actions and reactions, change our conditioned responses, or understand ourselves, we must feel what we feel, mindfully. When we become aware of our feelings and accept them without judgment we can then deal with the issues that underlie our feelings.

Today is a good day to acknowledge our feelings, mindfully, and become aware of what they signal to. Then we can not only deal with our feelings, but with the issues that arise from that awareness. They may point to an action we must take, an idea we must let go, or a decision we must make. What are you feeling today?
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