Stacey Castor Life Coach

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the elusive beauty of truth

Posted on May 9, 2016 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (0)



When we are children we are taught that truth is an absolute; we are reprimanded for not “telling the truth”. Life is often presented to us in terms of right and wrong, black and white, do it this way not that way. We learn there is a right and a wrong way to do things. We listen and we learn, and the truth of our caretakers and the truth our society become our truth. We begin to form truths around critical subjects like emotions, religion, money, food, relationships, and even cursory subjects like housekeeping and fashion.  For every topic there seem to be parameters of truth. And they are presented in a way that makes them absolutes. Even non-negotiable at times.

 

As we age we realize many of these truths no longer fit us, but we continue to embrace them because they are so tied to the people from whom we learned them. So many times my clients have shared that they either feel guilty about no longer believing something, or they struggle because they cannot distinguish what they believe from what they have been taught to believe. Either way they express feelings of uncertainty, betrayal, and confusion. Their truths, which once felt solid and secure, now seem murky and unclear. When we question and examine our foundation, we begin to see the cracks, and that can be unsettling and even frightening.

 

And yet, why wouldn’t our truths be different from others, why wouldn't they change? Why wouldn’t we struggle with altering something that we have been taught is an absolute? And why would it not be unsettling to realize that our paradigms have shifted? First and foremost, we are changing beings. We are not static. We are not constants. We learn, we have relationships and experiences, and these expand and change us. They alter our perspective. They open our hearts. They increase our capacity for compassion and empathy. Or they harden us and close our hearts. Perhaps our experiences make us fearful and anxious. Either way we are changed, and it makes sense that our personal truths would change along with us.

 

The first task is to understand that truth is not an absolute. It is not the same for everyone. Our truths differ because our experiences differ. Our truths come from living our lives, and seeing things through very personal lenses. They are grounded and birthed in our experiences, which give rise to our perspectives. And they change, sometimes daily, and that is actually healthy. Because it means we are able in any given moment to look at what is and adapt. It means we don’t hold onto old beliefs that no longer serve us well, and maybe they never did. It means we extend grace to those who operate with a different set of truths, understanding that theirs are as valid as ours. It means we are present and open and willing to receive.

 

When we can rise each morning and be present with whom we are, and what is, in the new day, we are able to see our truth more clearly. We are able to be our truth more easily, and we are able to see that it may or may not be the same as yesterday’s truth. And of course, as always, we then find the love and compassion within ourselves to allow others leeway in their quest for truth. We find it infinitely easier to witness differences in others when we acknowledge and embrace that we too, find truth to be ever changing and elusive.

 

a balancing act

Posted on May 2, 2016 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (0)



We are a family of geeks, not just educated, but overeducated; Ph.D’s, an MBA, various master’s degrees, M.D.’s, and even patents. But more than that, we are information seekers, avid readers, researchers, and citers of statistics. Are you snoring yet? Exactly. We are a bit lopsided around here in the direction of cognition. And while thinking is an important skill, and education can be a valuable tool, like anything else they can get in the way of healthy balance.

 

When we spend a great deal of time in our heads, ruminating, thinking, labeling and analyzing, we are not in the moment absorbing, feeling, being, creating and making. In other words, we can spend way too much time thinking about life instead of actually having a life. It is easy for overthinkers to get caught up in analyzing and discussing rather than being. It becomes a habit to intellectualize and other skills can be weakened.

 

When we overuse and overstimulate one area of our lives, we are underutilizing other areas. When we spend too much time activating and using one part of our brains, the other, equally vital parts, become less sharp. Where we spend our mental energy, and certainly our physical energy, matters. Every thought is creating or strengthening neural pathways, and as this happens we become more and more likely to have that thought pattern again. We are also more likely to tap into that area of the brain more often. Where we spend our physical energy often becomes a habit, and depletes us, leaving less energy for other things.

 

The unfortunate truth is that most of us are unbalanced in some way or another. Some of us allow our work to define us and take up too much valuable time. There are those who are exercise fanatics and those who cannot climb a flight of stairs. Others of us do not heal old wounds and become obsessed with and controlled by our pasts and our emotions. We lose ourselves in our partners or our children. There are many ways to become lopsided. There are many ways to lose our balance.

 

And the real concern here is not just that we lose our balance, but that we begin to live our lives on automatic without realizing we have done so. Add to this the fact that we, all of us, are creatures of habit who feel more comfortable when we categorize and label and operate within the familiar. The truth is that you don’t have to be a geek to be an over-thinker, or to live unconsciously, or to fall into habits of which you are unaware. Most of us live, a least a portion of our lives, unawake, unaware, unconscious, unbalanced. In today's society, as more and more of us become discouraged, tired, disenfranchised, overworked, and disillusioned, it becomes easier to go inside our heads.

 

Balance can not be taught, it must be felt. Not unlike riding a bike or walking a balance beam, it takes practice. It must be felt internally, and while we may not always recognize or feel when we are off balance, we most certainly sense when we have balance. It is that natural, sweet, perfect feeling of existence. It is that knowing of being, when we are in the right place at the right time and fully present. Balance allows us to flow from one thought to another, from one activity to another, with ease. It is our natural state of being. This week practice finding your balance. Practice finding your state of ease. Practice finding your perfect feeling of existence and then truly enjoy it my dear ones. Truly enjoy it.

 

 

 

 

 

not this

Posted on April 16, 2016 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (0)

A few weeks ago I bumped up against something in my life that I knew in my heart was not going to work for me. I looked at my reflection in the bathroom mirror and said, “I don’t know what will be, but not this. Not this.” I didn’t know where I was going from that point, I didn’t have an alternative plan, but I was clear it would not be THAT. And that instant of clarity was enough for that moment. Enough to get me to stop. Enough to get me to think, “Not this”. A few days later, a small issue arose and I found myself muttering “not this” under my breath. I liked the sound of it. It was simple. It was straight to the point, and I began exploring ways I could use this simple phrase as a tool for myself and my clients. An easy way to tune into and acknowledge our inner gps, rather like recognizing a sign in the road. A simple way to clarify that in a moment of realization we are acknowledging that which is not going to work for us. We can figure out the rest later.

 

Do not enter.

 

Wrong way.

 

Stop and do not proceed further.

 

And then this week Elizabeth Gilbert wrote a column on Facebook titled, you guessed it, NOT THIS! I loved it. She said more completely and of course (she is Elizabeth Gilbert after all) more eloquently what I had been thinking about for weeks. Here is an excerpt:

 

"I call this moment of realization: NOT THIS.


Because sometimes that's all you know, at such a moment.


All you know is: NOT THIS.


Sometimes that's all you CAN know.


All you know is that some deep life force within you is saying, NOT THIS, and it won't be silenced.


Your body is saying: NOT THIS.


Your heart is saying: NOT THIS.


Your soul is saying: NOT THIS.


But your brain can't bring itself to say "NOT THIS", because that would cause a serious problem. The problem is: You don't have a Plan B in place. This is the only life you have. This is the only job you have. This is the only spouse you have. This is the only house you have. Your brain says, "It may not be great, but we have to put up with it, because there are no other options." You're not sure how you got here — to this place of THIS — but you sure as hell don't know how to get out...


So your brain says: "WE NEED TO KEEP PUTTING UP WITH THIS, BECAUSE THIS IS ALL WE HAVE."


But still, beating like a quiet drum, your body and your heart and your soul keep saying: NOT THIS...NOT THIS...NOT THIS."


While this “coincidence” may seem completely random to some and highly unlikely to others, the truth is that this sort of occurrence is quite common. It’s been happening to scientists, researchers, inventors and writers well, forever. Why? Because my loves we are all one. We are truly a collective consciousness. In spite of our political, physical, economic, religious, and philosophical differences, we come from the same Source. We are different heartbeats of the same Awareness.

This is true regardless of what you name it. This is true regardless of whether or not you believe.

 

If we are honest, we know this. We know it on a deep cellular level. We know it because we have experienced it. Those moments. Those flashes when we know something and can’t explain how. Those instances when we literally feel what the other person is feeling, or we have an almost tangible connection with a complete stranger. When we read another’s thoughts as clearly as if they were speaking them. We know in our hearts that we are connected to the other souls with whom we share this planet.

 

Now imagine waking up every morning open to that concept. Open to being connected. Open to those inexplicable moments without denying them. Open to being transparent with others without worrying about what they will think. Open to being honest with others without the desire to mitigate their response. Think about being tapped into all of humanity while being completely and utterly you and think what that would mean. The power that would arise, the judgement that would fall away, the beauty that would appear.

 

So where to start? Start by saying not this to anything and everything that keeps you from authenticity, that keeps you from seeing the sacred in others, that keeps you from living from your soul space. You don’t have to have a bigger plan than that. Start with a declaration. Not this.

 

 

To read Elizabeth Gilbert's entire post go to her Facebook page.

 

growing pains

Posted on April 10, 2016 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)


A lifetime ago, sitting at my Mother’s table, I mused aloud, that if we lived long enough we would understand the motivation behind nearly anyone’s choices. In other words, the longer we live, the more experiences we have, the more perspective we are able to take and (hopefully) the less judgemental we become. We begin slowly at first, catching glimpses of alternatives we would not formerly have considered. And there is often great resistance on our part when we first begin to consider them. When we are young, it is easy to begin so many sentences with

“I would never…”

 

“I will never...”

 

“I can’t imagine…”

 

“Why on earth would he/she…”

 

And then one day we are granted a new understanding of exactly how those people ended up where we said we would never be, doing exactly what we said we would never do. Funny how that happens. We aren’t going to do this or that or the other. Until we do. And there we stand wrapped tightly in both our old judgements and our new understanding. And often with fear, guilt and resistance hovering nearby.

 

But if we are growing and expanding, we are changing. We are learning. And that means we are constantly outgrowing our circumstances. Whether that is a job, a relationship, a city, or a home. Sometimes they just no longer fit. Sometimes they were never a good fit. Sometimes we simply need to move on, which can be a gut wrenching, heart breaking reality. It is amazing how much emotional pain we humans can experience and still breathe.

 

But the truth is, we survive and if we allow ourselves to, we thrive. We give gratitude for what we leave behind. We release ourselves from the trap of guilt, knowing that it serves no purpose. Because if we can drop the resistance and embrace our choices without guilt and shame, we are gifted blessings we could never have imagined. But in order to fully receive these gifts, we need to be awake, we need to be open, we need to understand that gifts can come to us side by side with unimaginable pain. And we need to at least entertain the idea that we are worthy of them.

 

I do not believe that everything happens for a reason. We make choices. It’s that simple. I do believe that when we make heart-centered and soul guided decisions, we are given signs that tell us we are doing all right. In our human need to justify, we label these as reasons. We tell ourselves that this is why something happened. When in reality it’s simply the Universe letting us know we are moving in a direction that can serve us well. Because honestly, there is no one right path. No one right decision. The Universe is amazing. It will help us make the best of whatever path we choose and however we choose to walk it. Generally stumbling, swearing, doubting, hurting, and second-guessing ourselves every step of the way…

 

So listen to your inner voice. Let it guide you to your heart. Let your heartbeat be the drum to which you march. If you do, you cannot fail. You cannot lose. You’ve got this and the Universe has your back. Every time. Every single time.

 

sacred spaces

Posted on April 4, 2016 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (2)

Sometimes the most ordinary and common are also the most sacred; sharing a meal with someone, witnessing nature, and certainly being invited into someone’s living space, which is itself, sacred. This past week I did all three as part of my work. I was hired to declutter, organize, and create a functional living arrangement where there currently was none, a process that is an intimate balancing act in so many ways. I am not only in someone’s home, I am in their business up to my elbows and then some. No secrets, no boundaries. This is a brave undertaking for the client, especially when they have become buried to the point where they are paralyzed. Buried in shame. Buried in self-doubt. Buried.

 

There are so many reasons for why this happens, and yet it always comes back to stuff overtaking a life, having more stuff than one can manage. It is the reason we move to bigger living spaces, so we can spread out our stuff or put it in closets. It is the reason we have storage facilities by the tens of thousands, so we can get our stuff out of the house and not deal with it. But what if your circumstances don’t allow for these options? What if you and your stuff must continue to co-exist? It sounds so easy to just purge and move on, but that doesn’t allow for all the emotional stuff that piles up in sync with the physical stuff.

 

Look around you. What you are surrounded by, what you have filled your space with, you have deemed sacred. You may have done this intentionally or unintentionally, but you have done it. You have declared the belongings in your space sacred by giving them room, by allowing them to occupy your time, by allotting money to purchase, clean and store them. You have made them a priority, and if you look around and feel ease, that is wonderful. But often, the very keepsakes people proclaim as meaningful are temporarily lost, tucked away, buried in the midst of too much stuff. I hear it frequently, “I wondered where that was”, “Oh, I thought I had lost that”. If you look around and are uncomfortable or sad or overwhelmed, it may be time for change. You get to choose. You get to decide what your priorities are. You get to create your sacred.

 

But sometimes we forget that is what we are doing--creating a sacred space. We get busy. We acquire things. And then the all too familiar: that moment when we encounter a mess--a pile of dirty dishes or laundry, an out-of-control closet, an entry that has become a dumping ground--and we don’t know quite where to start. Imagine your whole house like that. Imagine inviting someone into that. Imagine your feelings. I have such respect for my clients, including this week’s courageous woman. It could not have been an easy decision to call me and invite me into her home. But her reward was her own success in creating a new sacredness. We dug in within seconds of my arrival. No specific plan besides moving forward. One thing at a time. Keep, donate, trash. Create zones. Gather like things together. And all the while making sure that my client really saw her items, touched each one, released or embraced it, and finally placed it in her home or put it in a box to go. She exhibited courage. She shared her stories. She placed such a great deal of trust in me and in the process. And in the end, she won. Client one. Stuff zero.

 

For four long days, we worked side by side, stopping briefly for lunch on her porch, listening to the birds sing, and discussing our next move. And while it is easy to see the change and the growth in my clients, the truth is that every one of them creates change and growth in me. I am humbled. I am grateful. I am painfully aware of the gift that is shared when I am invited into their lives by way of their homes and their stories, and above all I am reminded that we are one. We share common experiences, emotions, desires, battles and victories. Our lives may look very different, our spaces may look very different, but if we can sidestep judgement, we are gifted the chance to glimpse the collective consciousness of humanity. We are gifted the knowledge that our circumstances do not define us. We are gifted each other. And that my loves, is to be gifted the Universe.

 

 


Wake up! It's Monday!

Posted on March 21, 2016 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)


Admit it, we all carry within us an awareness that some of us just “have it going on” more than the rest of us when it comes to the ability of having insight or wisdom, or of maneuvering our lives in general. It can be called anything from maturity and being an adult to being more evolved or enlightened. And while we may understand what is meant by these terms, none of them seem completely accurate or honorable to me. For example, when children are born, they are fresh from Source. They are still tuned in to the other side while living on this one, and surely that reflects a certain level of being evolved or enlightened. And then, for me, there is the issue of one person being more evolved than another denotes a hierarchy and an advantage. Nope, that one doesn’t suit my sensibilities either. Enlightenment for me is maybe too connected to monks, or yogis, or holy men sitting on mountains and in temples for decades, and again implies it is only for a few.

 

But while I may not care for the terminology, and using language itself may impose limitations, there is simply no denying that some of those in our midst have IT. They have a clarity in the midst of fog, a calm in a raging storm, or compassion while still reeling from an attack. Some are able to give words to the elusive and nebulous thoughts and feelings of those struggling to make sense of themselves. Others seem to be able to speak wisdom on a moment’s notice and be so on spot that it sends chills down our collective spines. They have the uncanny ability to show up exactly when and where we need them.

 

And there is no ambiguity, we know these beautiful and amazing souls when we meet them. There are no definitives as to how we recognize them, and possibly it is different for different people. Generally, I notice their energy first. There is a centered-ness and a sense that they are standing and moving within their own space that is clear to me. They see the person at whom they are looking, and hear the person to whom they are listening. They are not preoccupied, they are not just looking in their direction. They are present. Absolutely and undeniably present. They are, in a word, awake.

 

And there it is. The right word. Awake. What a beautiful word. It represents coming out of sleep. It represents having our eyes open. It represents presence and awareness. We are often most sensitive and aware when we first awaken, as we reorient ourselves and shake off our drowsiness. We let go of sleep and step fully into our lives. And the most beautiful aspect of being awake is that it is available to all of us. Awake is a choice my dears. Awake is an option available to each of us. But you must want it, and I have to admit that sometimes it feels so much easier to stay curled up with old ideas and comfortable ways of sleepwalking through my day. I get lazy. I get complacent.

 

But here’s the thing; you and I didn’t come to sleep through this life. We came to experience. We came to stretch and grow and love. We didn’t come to spend our days in our heads thinking the same tired thoughts over and over, we came to be. We sure as hell didn’t come to attach ourselves to the ideas and ideals of others and hang on to them for eternity without exploring and learning for ourselves. So let's wake up. Stretch our body and our mind. Look around. Listen carefully. Taste with appreciation. Feel every hug. Sensitize ourselves to our life and watch how we grow. You don’t need anyone’s permission. You don’t need to wait. You are enough, and you are ready. You have super powers beyond your wildest dreams. All you have to do is wake up…..

mysteries, mayhem, and magic

Posted on March 14, 2016 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)


I do a lot, and I mean A LOT, of writing about growth, healing, finding our way, and letting go. I write about what seem to be mysteries; maintaining inner peace and clarity, and the art of living a flowing existence of non-resistance. This is probably because for decades now I have been seeking for myself, and teaching and healing others. My words come from a place where I or one of my friends or clients is standing, and often, struggling, and since I am committed to sharing a common consciousness and experience, it makes sense that this is where I would land. But lately I feel like I write different versions of the same concepts; breathe, be present, have compassion for self and others, and be open and pay attention to the messages of the Universe. And even though that all fits in one sentence, it is an incredible amount to learn, absorb and make our own on a daily basis. I understand that we need to hear it repeated and that we need it in different versions. I get it and I am right there with you my loves, stumbling and catching myself, remembering to breathe and sit my ass on my cushion daily, and to not judge others when I have the urge to scream, “What in the world are you thinking? Are you thinking?” Those edicts I described can feel like beasts to be conquered that’s for sure. So we try to do just that--conquer--and what ensues is often mayhem. Because as soon as we focus our attention on them and give them energy in the form of resistance, they become even more powerful and more present. Life can actually feel more complicated. The mayhem from the struggle begins to feel like overwhelming work, judgement of ourselves, and a hill we are constantly climbing. Instead of being a comfort, these beautiful ways of living become more items on our to-do list, completely negating their purpose.

 

Well now, it all feels a bit tiresome and heavy doesn’t it? We want these skills, and the benefits of them, but somehow instead of focusing on them, we focus on our lack of them. Or we focus on what we do instead of them, placing us farther than ever from where we want to be in our hearts and in our lives. Damn Universe anyway. Who made these rules and why is it so hard? News flash. It is not hard. We make it hard. Yep. You and me. We make this so damn much harder than it has to be that the Universe must constantly shake its collective head and wonder at our uncanny ability to make simplicity a challenge. The primary way we make these concepts elusive and difficult is by intellectualizing them, and by chasing them. When we intellectualize them, we think about them instead of doing them. We read. We discuss. We theorize. And then we chase them. And when we pursue them we are making the assumption that we need to catch them and make them a part of us. We act as if they are not already the core of who we are, because we have forgotten who we are. And the truth is that we don’t have to do any of this.

 

We are magic. You and me. We are stardust. We are Source. We are the Universe. We are sacred. The only requirement here is to be our beautiful, amazing, and yes, magic selves. Just like when we meditate, we do not “empty our minds”, we sit and watch our breath and when we realize we are thinking, we silently acknowledge it and return to our breath. No effort. “Oh, thinking. Breath.” Over and over again, we breathe, think and return to breath. We flex those muscles that allow us to choose our thoughts and to witness them without holding on. And so it is with our daily lives. We simply need to be, and when we realize we are caught up in the daily drama of this existence, we let go, we breathe, and we let ourselves simply be.

 

There is an almost euphoric sense of ease when we let go and jump into the abyss of being. In those moments when we own our magic and let go of all else. When we hang in that place where there is no good or bad or shoulds and musts. And of course if feels euphoric and magic because when we are able to simply be, we have come home to ourselves, fully and completely. So this week think less and be more. Get light and easy with your life. Have more fun and worry less. A lot less. Show up without expectation and see what happens. I’m guessing magic….

 

 

 

 

listening with our hearts

Posted on March 7, 2016 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (0)


We've all been there, wanting to share a story with someone about how difficult our day was. We want someone to listen--really listen--and hear how aggravating or upsetting it was when we encountered a careless driver or a hateful waitress, or that our child is been sick, or that we’ve been struggling with a bad headache for days. We're expecting empathy or compassion or a kind word. But often, what we get instead, can only be described as one upmanship. They didn't just encounter a bad driver they had an accident, their waitress wasn't just hateful she was horrid, their child nearly had to be hospitalized, and of course their headache, a migraine. Maybe what they want to convey is that they understand, but what they are really doing is high jacking our moment to be heard. They are unable or unwilling to just listen and validate without inserting their own story, their own ego. Harsh but true. Perhaps it is the subjective view of our own pain that encourages us to see our situation worse than other peoples. Perhaps it is our competitive nature. Perhaps we are not good listeners. But whatever it is, we have all done this to someone.

 

As humans, we have a propensity for believing we are the only ones to have a particular experience, and/or to suffer to such an extreme--especially with matters of the heart. “You can’t imagine…” or “I can’t explain how badly…” or “No one really knows how hard…” I have experienced this with so many clients who honestly feel they are the only one who has gone through their experience. And of course, it can be easy to feel this way, particularly when one is experiencing shame, regret, embarrassment, depression or bereavement. Seeing reality this way can also feed our egos and suppress our capacity for compassion and empathy. It is difficult to feel for others when we have the market cornered on suffering, or are playing the martyr. And I say this completely owning that I have been in this situation in the past. Again, we all have.

 

And the thing is, that viewing our pain as unique or extreme in comparison to others, is both isolating and frightening. It intensifies whatever we are going through, disconnects us from others, and diminishes our ability to receive comfort, all the while compromising our desire and capability to reach out and comfort others. It is a lose lose situation for all of us. So what if we could shift our thoughts a bit? Right smack dab in the middle of our pain. In the moment of sobbing or imagining the worst, or complete hopeless, what if we could shift in the eye of the storm? What if we took a deep breath and thought of all the people in the world who were also, in this very moment, experiencing great pain. Grieving the loss of a precious loved one. Worried about the possibility of losing a job or a house. Struggling in an impossible relationship. And what if we were able to think of them with a softness and a compassion, and to send them love and healing thoughts? What if we just breathed into knowing we are not alone. Ever.

 

We are, whether we recognize it or not, a collective consciousness. We are connected. We come from the same Source. We are, paradoxically, unthinkably unique and we are the exactly the same. We are all beloved and valuable to the exact same extent. Our brain waves are electrical currents that communicate with each other on a level we cannot comprehend, and how we think counts. How we think about ourselves and each other matters. It matters more than we know. So let’s use some of that amazing brain power to connect instead of isolate, and to unify instead of splinter apart, to heal ourselves and each other. You are a singularly beautiful soul, but we are all having this human experience. You are not in this alone my loves, regardless of what is going on in your life. Not for a second. So let’s take moments during our day, lots of moments, to give thanks for our connectedness, to send love to those in pain--known and unknown, and to always be ready to listen with our lips quiet and our hearts open.

 

 

purple cowboy boots

Posted on February 29, 2016 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Years ago, early on a Sunday afternoon, I was walking across a parking lot when I noticed a family getting out of their car. They caught my eye because not only were they dressed up, but they almost looked like they were from another era. It was clear their clothing was very intentionally chosen. That is until the last member of the family came out from behind their vehicle. A little girl, maybe three or four years old, a bow in her neatly brushed hair, and wearing a simple pale colored dress and of all things; purple cowboy boots. Now, at this point I need to remind you, this family looked like they had been dressed for the set of Mad Men, down to the details. And yet, purple cowboy boots. Immediately I had this vision of a pair of black patent Mary Jane’s sitting on a dresser at home and the discussion that must have taken place before a weary sigh, an “oh well”, and a happy and victorious preschooler. Been there. Done that. One day I will tell you about our kid that wore a specific sweatshirt to...third grade, as in his third grade year.

 

As the father passed me I smiled and said, “Nice boots!” He simply shook his head and let out a soft groan. The little girl looked completely happy as she skipped along. And I thought to myself, “Well this is a Sunday they will remember.” And in that moment I understood that was the beauty of it. It was memorable because things hadn’t gone as planned. Things weren’t perfect. No they were better than perfectly planned. This tiny little person had made sure this would be a sweet story woven into their family history. This Sunday would not be forgotten among the blur of so many similar Sunday afternoons. No, this was now Purple Boot Sunday.

 

We have all had those moments in our lives. Those moments when we tried so hard to steer events and details towards perfection; celebrations and special dinners, careers, home remodels, and relationships. We have a vision for how things should look, how others should behave, where we should be in terms of marriage or career at certain times in our lives and we work hard to manifest and create them. And there’s not a thing in the world wrong with doing so.

 

But when we become so focused on creating one specific outcome, we are susceptible to missing other, possibly more joyous and fulfilling possibilities. We risk losing the opportunity to let days become unique instead of just another Thursday. When we become so rigid in our thinking that we don’t allow room for spontaneity and the unexpected, we can lose the funniest, sweetest moments because we don’t accommodate them. And we lose the joy and freedom that comes with making choices and allowing others to do the same. Yes, we need goals and plans, but we also need flexibility and an open heart. We need to be clear about what’s important and what is not. We need to let the other people in our lives have a say in the script that we are writing together day by day.

 

When I look back at the stories we tell and retell in our family, they are the purple cowboy boot stories. They are the times when things didn’t go as planned, and thus became memorable. An unexpected guest, a non-compliant child, a job loss, a burned dinner, a fender bender, all ways in which our plans took a turn, sometimes a U turn. And so what? In the scheme of things, so what? I remember sharing a story about one of the boy’s antics with a friend, laughing about it, and remarking that I hadn’t been laughing at the time it happened. And then I stopped and asked myself, “Why not?” If it was funny a week later, hadn’t it been funny at the time? Well of course it was, it just took a few days for me to see the humor. After that, I began looking for humor in the moment instead of waiting.

The other truth is that sometimes these stories are never funny, even a year later. But they are truth. They are our combined history. And they are over. And the only thing to do is accept. Accept that there were lessons learned. Accept that on some level, all involved did the best they could with the information and consciousness they had at the time. Accept and move on.

 

So for today, let’s offer no resistance to the purple cowboy boots that show up in our lives. In fact, let’s look for them, let’s make room for them, and then when we are lucky enough for them to show up, let’s celebrate and give gratitude for them. For in the end, the best options are to watch without judgement, accept without criticism, and trust with faith. 

 

 

stepping back on the path

Posted on February 22, 2016 at 7:50 AM Comments comments (1)


This is not the blog I intended to write this week. It is not the blog I’ve been working on like crazy. It is not the blog I was researching. But things happen. Life happens. And when it does I need to write. Especially when what happened was that I hurt, I struggled, and I lost my balance. It was only for a few hours, but still, it felt all consuming at the time. The specifics don’t really matter, in fact they don’t matter at all. Sure I could tell you about them, but then I would be reliving the experience (no thank you), I would be focusing on it (asking for more of it), and giving you information that would not serve you well in any way (I like you too much for that).

 

I don’t know about you, but when I find myself down or upset, the first questions I ask are; “What should I be doing that I am not?” or “Where am I not doing enough self examination?” or “What am I missing in my daily emotional work?” In other words I self blame. I mean if something isn’t right, it must be me, I had to have failed somewhere and that’s not egocentric at all….I tend to forget that I am doing my work, I am reflective and I am enough. Memo to self: this current event or information does not define you. It is neutral until I attach drama and meaning to it. It carries no weight if I do not create a story around it in your head. It simply is. End of story. Damn why is that so difficult sometimes? One minute I am breezing through my day with smiles and gratitude, and the next I am swirling in sadness, second guesses and suppositions about others’ behaviors.

 

 

At this point, I need to thank my daughter in law for gently and firmly reminding me of whom I am in a moment when I could not remember it myself. Because while I am not a proponent of rehashing or venting, I am a big fan of having someone to check in with who simply holds up and mirror, and says, “Here is who you are, remember?” I am a big fan of having someone who, with compassion and love, is able to give you about 20 seconds and then gently reminds you to step back on your path and be you. Thank you darling soul.

 

So now I’m clear, how do I regain my footing? It isn’t always as easy as recognizing that we have lost it. Stepping off our path, even for a couple of hours can leave us feeling off-center, a bit lost. And if it lasts longer, we can temporarily lose our sense of self. To begin with, I take several deep breaths, big surprise right? And then, cliche as it sounds, I go back to basics. I do some yoga and some meditation. I drink lots of water. I put myself on a regular sleep schedule. I get a massage. I go outdoors. I eat clean. I give gratitude. I take long warm showers. I find my way back through behaviors that restore me. But mostly I remind myself that this life is an adventure, and that moment? It was just a bit of a stumble. I am here as an observer and as a student. It is not my job to orchestrate and to judge and to problem solve. It is my work to love and to find joy and to give gratitude, and to let others find their way. And to bless their path even when I don’t understand or even like it.

 

Because the truth is that no matter who you are, or how enlightened or evolved you are, you are going to have a day, or an hour, now and then when you forget your shit. When you forget that you are eternal and divine. You forget that you are both perfect and yet still learning to hold your authenticity as your own. When you place importance on the unimportant. When you let minutia become front and center. That is part of this human experience, and there’s no getting around it. So the next time you find yourself swirling in chaos, or perhaps just listing a bit off course, breathe and move and check in with someone who truly knows you. Someone who will honor you without getting into “it” with you. Don’t stay in your head or your drama one moment longer. The second you realize it, stop participating. Stop and look around for your path and get your ass back on it my love. That’s the job you signed up for when you came, and every time it gets easier. And as always, I will be holding you all in light and love. Flow baby, flow.

 


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