Presence and Peace

Trust the Process: Take One Step, Then Two

rock feet3 Trust the Process: Take One Step, Then Two

For me, trusting and remaining positive, is like a two-step dance that moves smoothly on days when I practice both of them.

Trust and positivity keep me going when I’m making a transition from one place in life to another or even completely reinventing myself.

Part of the challenge is simply putting myself out there.  It takes a lot of work!  I’m used to seeing nearly instant results and with the current adventure, much of what I’m doing will be gratification-deferred.

Do you ever want to not do something because you don’t really see the point?  Maybe you struggle–like me–with the “what if’s” or the “yeah, buts.”

“What if I’m wasting my time?”

“Yeah, but, I could stay home and work on this project instead of taking time to drive across town for lunch with that guy.  It probably won’t amount to anything anyway.”

Yikes!  Sounds like a case of meddler and fiddler.

I’m a meddler and a fiddler.  I like to push things around, made adjustments and fiddle with details thinking I’m making something better.  Do you relate?

Most times the situation is fine just the way it is.  The lunch I referred to?  Yes, I was gone four hours and had to drive across town and back, but I also picked up some great tips and I may one day urge a little business out of the relationship.  I also got a free lunch!

Had I listened to my meddle/fiddle mind, I would have stayed at my desk (isolated?) and kept doing, doing, doing instead of being, being, being.

I’m so focused on making money right now.  There, I said it.  In my meddle/fiddle mind, four hours away from trying to make money was a waste of time and energy.

While I was driving home from lunch and time with my friend, I realized that I need to focus less on making money (doing) and more on building relationships (being).

Oh, and meddle/fiddle mind tends to move me into negativity because it assumes there is something wrong with what is.  How can I know if I don’t go?

Trust the process

Learning to go with the flow will probably be a life-long adventure for me.

I remember a work group planning day several years ago.  There were about a hundred people in the room trying to hammer out mission,  objectives, goals and strategies for this statewide workgroup.  The day was getting long and tempers short.

Near the end of a particularly laborious activity, things were getting pretty heated as folks started talking over each other, stating their two-cent opinions and even bullying the person running the meeting.

The room was noisy and chaotic.

Finally, at the height of the din, a man named Jamie stepped to the microphone and very calmly asked everyone to take a deep breath and trust the process.  Then he just stood there and waited.

Gradually, the noise died and we were able to complete our work.

That day–and Jamie’s calm demeanor–regularly comes back to me.  I recall how wise his words sounded at the time.

Trust the process–good advice for most situations, which, believe it or not, are not matters of life or death anyway.

I’m the one who makes them so.


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Invictus: Master Your Fate, Captain Your Soul

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Out of the night that covers me, black as the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud.  Under the bludgeonings of chance, my head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears looms but the horror of the shade.  And yet the menace of the years finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll.  I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.

Invictus by William Ernest Henley

I referenced the above poem about 18 months ago, about how I had to memorize it in my 8th grade English class.

I can’t remember what major life challenge was happening at the time; there have been several in the last three years, but it must have been big for me to draw my heavy gun, Invictus.

The poem has crossed my mind several times in the weeks since my job lay-off.  Today it takes on special meaning as friends encourage me to follow my bliss.

The BridgeMaker blog post

About the time I first wrote about how Invictus impacts my life, my friend Alex Blackwell wrote a post on his blog, The BridgeMaker, called “Don’t Rent Your Life, Own It.”

Alex wrote about his fervent belief in Life Ownership Contracts.  He views his contract as a way to embrace his power, to underscore how he is responsible for making his life what it is and what he wants it to be.

A Life Ownership Contract eliminates your victim status, so if you enjoy being a victim, stop reading now.

However, if you want to jump on the magic carpet ride of life, read on.

As I wrote back then, life doesn’t happen to you.  Here’s the rest of what I wrote (I’ve changed the pronouns from 1st to second-person):

When you take 100% responsibility for every aspect of your life–you find freedom.  You no longer blame others for the perceived wrongs done to youYou quit judging others’ actions because you see what they do as the choices they get to make.  If you have a run of what could be seen as crappy circumstances, you sit back and ask yourself whether a belief, thought or feeling you’re holding is attracting the current situation and if not, what can you learn and then pass on to someone else?

Write your Life Ownership Contract

Happily, the LOC I wrote in 2011 is still good.  I’m renewing it today.  I invite you to create your own, or if you did 18 months ago, GREAT!  Join me in reviewing and renewing it.  Please share it if you choose.  Here’s mine:

  1. I agree to remember the Trinity:  God, myself, others.
  2. I agree to respond rather than react.
  3. I agree to allow transparency when it is appropriate.
  4. I agree to treat people and animals with respect and dignity.
  5. I agree to honor my entire self–from the inside out.
  6. I agree to not take myself too seriously and to laugh often.
  7. I agree to walk lightly and appreciate my steps.
  8. I agree to be present to the people, places and circumstances before me.
  9. I agree to always believe in miracles and to know that size doesn’t matter.
  10. I agree to put love ahead of everything else.
  11. I agree to say what I mean and mean what I say and to use words judiciously.
  12. I agree to remember that others’ thoughts, attitudes and opinions are none of my business and to remember to accept responsibility for my own.

Photo courtesy of hotblack

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5 Benefits of Checking Your Pooch’s P-Mail

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My sweetie and I are just back from  a three-day, birthday getaway to New Orleans.  Cafe Du Monde, The French Quarter, The Garden District, and did I mention Cafe Du Monde?

We both needed the escape since the stress level in our house is a bit on the high side.  I’ve been nose-to-the-grindstone lately as I plan, plot and prepare to launch my new career.

Over the weekend, after a couple of hours of brainstorming, I thought, “I should get out of here for a while.  My brain waves are frying and I need a diversion.  Maybe I’ll walk the dog.”

Usually, when I have such a thought, the next thought loops right back to whatever project I’m involved with and the poor dog goes unwalked.  It’s easy to do one more thing, check one more site or look at one more potential profile.

But not this time.

This time I listened to my intuition.

Strap on the harness, snap on the leash

Since moving into a townhouse with a fenced yard, Jazzy’s formal walks screeched to a halt.  Who wants to deal with poop bags when you can open the door?

Jazzy was nearly apoplectic by the time I got her ready.  We made it to the light pole at the end of the driveway before she stopped for her first P-mail check.

A dog’s sense of smell is her most powerful; did you know as a canine reaches the final stages of her life, her smeller is the last sense to leave her?

I read somewhere that dogs communicate with each other by scent and can tell who has stopped where on any given route.  So if you’re walking a regular path in a neighborhood or park, the more your dog hikes his leg or squats her hiney, the more social she is!  She’s like the gossip queen of the pooch patrol!

Okay, so I made up the last part.  I have no idea about the socialization of smelling.

But I do know that Jazzy is a frequent stopper.  So we figure she’s either a nosey little hound who has to be in everybody’s business or she’s a marketing whiz (pun intended!) who wants everyone to know her business!

Learning the benefits of P-mail

As your dog’s human, you can’t know the canine mode of communication, be it social or otherwise.  But you can learn to put your pup’s behavior to good use.

On our weekend jaunt, I thought of five benefits.  There is no-doubt many more.

P-mail benefit #1:  You get to notice the season’s first flowers.  I saw a daffodil in full bloom–on February 17th!

P-mail benefit #2:  Since a dog seldom steps in another’s leave-behinds, you get alerted where not to step as well, thereby saving the effort of taking a stick to the crevices in the bottom of your sneakers.

P-mail benefit #3:  Each time your dog stops to check-in, you can do a check-in of your own by taking a deep breath as you turn your face to the sun.

P-mail benefit #4:  There’s lots of gratitude in each of you being able to walk any distance at all.

P-mail benefit #5:  Bonding time.  Can you even imagine how much more your dog adores you for stopping your precious work and taking her out on an adventure?  And vice-versa, of course.

Most of us are addicted to checking our own P-mail (that’s people-mail!) so be a pal and let your pooch out for some social time.  You, my human friend, will reap the rewards.  You can even have your own Scooby-snack afterwards!

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Return to Love Again and Again

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Happy Love Day!

More than two decades ago, I began a one-day-at-a-time journey that I thought was about turning my back on bottles of whiskey, rum and amber brew.

Little did I know that the by-product of not drinking for 24-hour stretches would be the gift of learning how to love.

One year after I got sober, I purchased a book called A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson.  That was in May of 1992.  By the time I met Marianne at one of her early speaking gigs in November of 1994, I was absolutely smitten with the love bug.

Returning to love

Marianne’s book is the #2 book on my shelf that draws my attention when I’m suffering the slings and arrows of an unloving life (the first one being the book called  Alcoholics Anonymous–many of you are familiar with that one!).  A Return to Love covers love in every area of life and offers instructions about how to infuse love into work, relationships, and ultimately your own heart.

Marianne writes, “Love is what we were born with.  Fear is what we learned here.  The spiritual journey is the relinquishment, or unlearning, of fear and the acceptance of love back into our hearts.”

That pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?

A love gift for you

On this day that celebrates love here in the United States, my gift to you is several key passages from A Return to Love.  I hope they bring you peace.  I pray they ease any struggles you’re having.

Please sit with these words and let them sink deep into your heart.  I’ll be holding them in my heart today too.

From my heart to yours, may your day be filled with love and light.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

To surrender to God means to let go and just love.  By affirming that love is our priority in a situation, we actualize the power of God.  This is not metaphor; it’s fact.  We literally use our minds to co-create with Him.  Through a mental decision–a conscious recognition of love’s importance and our willingness to experience it–we “call on a higher power.”

Love casts out fear the way light casts out darkness.  The shift from fear to love is a miracle.

People deserve our love because of what God created them to be.

Growth is not always about getting what we think we want.  Always, it’s about becoming the men and women we have the potential to be.  Loving, pure, honest, clear.

Finally, Marianne ends A Return to Love with this:  “Dear God, I give this day to you, the fruit of my labor and the desires of my heart.  In your hands I place all questions, on your shoulders I place all burdens.  I pray for my brothers and for myself.  May we return to love.  May our minds be healed.  May we all be blessed.  May we find our way home, from the pain to peace, from fear to love, from hell to Heaven.

To find out more about Marianne Williamson’s work, please visit her website here.

Photo courtesy of clarita.

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How to Stay in Love and Out of Hell

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We’ve entered the year’s most celebrated week of love, at least in the United States.

If you don’t know that Valentine’s Day is this Thursday, you’ve been living without electricity in a remote cabin since January 2.   That’s the date when the Christmas and New Year’s TV commercials transitioned to jewelry store ads.

I’m not a huge Valentine’s Day fan.  I prefer to celebrate love every day of the year and am opposed to mandatory gift-buying as a means of “showing” love.

However, love is in the air–manufactured or actual–and I’ll take it.  In fact, love pushes to the forefront of mind every time I enter my studio to write.  Hearts are everywhere, along with photos of people I adore and favorite toys and stuffed animals.  I am a child at heart.

I like to make sure that love is all around me because love is my mission and my singleness of purpose.  Love keeps me out of hell.

Hell, you say?

Think about it.  How often do you find yourself in rotten circumstances caused by your unlovingness?  Maybe you involve others but how about all the times you cast yourself into hell with your self talk and self thoughts?

Every time you feel guilty . . .

Every time you judge . . .

Every time you star as the victim in a story you’ve embellished . . .

Every time you undermine your feelings . . .

Every time you lie, cheat or steal (rationales don’t matter) . . .

Every time you participate in character assassinate (deserved or otherwise) . . .

Not much love in any of these situations, is there?  Plus, when you’re active in these scenes, and you sit around wondering about why you’re miserable, don’t you also question if things are ever going to change?

Ah, the old definition of insanity:  Doing the same things over and over again, expecting different results.

Insanity is definitely hell.

Don’t you want out of hell?

I must warn you that getting out of hell and into love takes dedicated work and practice.

Here’s how you start:

1.  Become willing to acknowledge that the responsibility rests on your shoulders.  Please know that I’m not insensitive to issues beyond your control that placed you where you are, especially if you’re a victim of a crime.  However, even in those circumstances, you can take responsibility for how you view yourself and how you choose to treat others.

2.  Understand that you can learn the difference between what you can change and what you can’t.   Sometimes simply knowing that difference is a critical game-changer.

3.  Stop your perpetual motion.  I’ve learned–the hard way, most times–that stepping away from constant action gives me the opportunity for peaceful contemplation.  I feed my dark side less and less each time I choose to grow my peace.

And the big one . . .

Accept your dark side.

We all have one.  We’re human, after all.  Trust me, if you ignore the darkness in you, or worse, pretend it doesn’t exist, you’ll stay firmly rooted in hell.

If you believe that you are a holy child of God (or any other name you choose), you can co-exist with the darkness in you.

Didn’t the lion and the lamb lie down together?

The trick is to trust that your holiness is steadfast, even when you don’t feel like it is.

Rising from hell and into love takes constant practice.  No one claims that it’s easy.

If you don’t already know this, you are worth the effort.  We all are.

Happy Love Week.



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