Thursday, March 17, 2016

Life Observations (A Somewhat Cynical, Yet Encouraging, Read)

In the past year (or maybe two years) I feel as if I've been maneuvering the metaphorical 'valley' of my life.  Things have been rough, and for a long time I seem to have hit a spiritual drought as well.  I lost a good friend and several family members (to death).  I lost my beloved kitten, Finn, for which I bottle-fed and nursed 24/7.  He was a rescue cat abandoned by a stray.  Finn lived to be almost 8 weeks old, I thought we were out of the woods for sure, but like usual, I was wrong.

I have endured whatever pain comes in having people that you love let you down continuously (I'm not referring to romantic love, either).  I also found myself in dire straights in 2014 when I had to relocate from my town house (for which I lived peacefully for nearly five years) because neighborhood conditions became much more than I was equipped to deal with (drugs, harassment, property damage, etc).

It seems the last two years of my life have been an uphill climb.  From settling into a suitable career (still haven't found this yet)  to finding a decent place to live (I found a very nice apartment for which I do currently reside), I've ran the gamut.

For a while I stopped doing anything.  I have crawled hands and knees through months of ongoing depression.  Yet today, even after being met with yet another disappointment, I feel as if I've maneuvered my way into the light.

Prayer, meditation, yoga, inspirational reading and journal writing have all led me to this distinct piece of wisdom:  Surrender the need to control and stop concerning yourself with that which you cannot change.

Really, that's the simple piece of spiritual advice that meets me on my yoga mat, swirls its way through my candlelight as I meditate, and marks it's uttering in pen across my journal when I sit in contemplation of all that has happened to me.

Another great piece of advice that has wormed it's way through the holes in my soul:  There's nothing personal about it, it's all circumstance.

Ah, so, bad circumstances, right?  I guess that's true to an extent.  You can't control the fate of whatever family you were born into.  You can't control the actions and incentives of others.  No, it's not personal at all.  Yes, it affects me, but I'm not at fault.

But things can only affect me if I allow them to.  The study of mindfulness teaches us to allow things to enter our conscious.  It's okay to be aware of them.  But like clouds rolling across the horizon, the best thing to do is acknowledge that they are there and then allow them to pass on by without further ado.  This prevents suffering, grasping, worrying...all the mindless things that take our energy yet leave us nothing.

Yes, I've been through a lot lately.  But I'm still moving through it.  Soon I'll be past the valley and nearing my peak.  At the moment, though, I want to take the time to assess my surroundings and what I'm learning from the struggle:

1.  Don't trust things people say.  Trust what you see people actually do.  Depend on your eyes in this case.  People's words are only as good as their actions.

2.  Don't count your eggs before they hatch.  Especially if this applies to the above #1.

3.  Love everyone, but trust no one.  Don't trust everyone.  Most people aren't worth your confidence, nor is their word to you.

4.  There are still some good people in this world.  But they are rare and hard to find so if you do find one or two, hang on to them!

5.  In a world full of greedy, evil, selfish have a choice to be the light.

6.  If you can't  change it, let it go.  Spending energy on something unchangeable is futile.  It's a waste.

7.  It's okay to move on and leave people behind.  Especially if they are bad people or if they are people who wish you ill will.

8.  If the universe continuously tells you no about some issue or idea...listen!!!

9.  Peoples' personal issues with you is none of your business!  Seriously, just live for yourself.
I am who and what I am.  I need no validation, nor to give anyone any explanation for ME!

10.  Let it go!  Whatever grudge or sad thing or unpleasant memory or unkind word that hurt you...stop reliving it.  It's a heavy thing to hang onto.  Let go of it and set yourself free to experience better things.

11.  Whatever happens, it's still going to be okay.  Because time stops for no one and life goes on (unless you die, and if you die you probably won't know it anyway).

12.  The most valuable thing you own isn't's time.  Use it wisely.  Use that time to do things you love.  Use that time to do things that bring yourself (and others who deserve it) happiness.

13.  People come and go.  Love them when they come but allow them to go when they go.  People change.  Circumstances change.  Sometimes hearts grow cold and cruel.  Sometimes you grow and have to leave others who aren't growing with you behind.  It's a fact of life.  Accept it.  Wish the people who must go well, and allow them to go.

14.  It doesn't matter who you are or what you do in life...someone is always going to have something to say about you.  And 99% of the time, it's going to be untrue.  Or the truth stretched.  Or a lie told by someone with a biased opinion who has decided that they dislike you (for whatever reason).  And there is NOTHING you can do about this except to disengage yourself from the immature hen clucking.  Who cares what anyone else says?  You know the truth.  Keep your head high and walk on by!

15.  Karma is real.  What goes around comes around.  You might eventually forget who put you in a bad spot and/or kept you in one, but the God of the universe doesn't!  This also means you'll reap the seeds you sew...bad times are just interest paid on good times.  So expect good times, they are due shortly!

16.  Nothing great has ever been easy.  Life is worth the struggle.  So it's best just to take the good with the bad and go rebuild those broken pieces.

17.  A few bad times doesn't equal a bad life.  What great things have you accomplished or experienced during the drought?  Life's not all bad even during bad times.  There's always some good intermixed with the deal, you just have to pay attention to see it!

18.  If you want to find peace....inner peace, peace of mind, peace with the past and present...a great combination of yoga and meditation is where it's at.  

19.  I owe my new sense of being in the world to two amazing men, both were spiritual teachers and have reach across the centuries to me through their words:  Buddha and Rumi.

20.  I also owe my new-found sense of worth and happiness to my own self:  I am pretty amazing.  And everyday that I teach my daughter and write my words and work with amazing women on my nonprofit press, I am living my dreams.

So, I may have had a shitty deal the past year or two.  But you know what?  I've come out the better for it.  I'm going to take that shredded canvas and reassemble those pieces into something even more amazing.

Don't believe me?  Just watch!

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