Who would I be without my stories?
Just a woman, fingers dancing on keys,
sitting here, breathing, at peace.
My body danced this evening
and now it is spent.
My heart sang and laughed.
My hands painted and drew
and mothered and colored today.
Without my stories
this day was utter paradise.
Please Divine Spirit,
let me stay attuned to what is real,
that I may live in this one moment
grateful for what is.
I never thought it would be like this.
That’s because life doesn’t stop
to check in with my little ideas
about how things should be.
It just goes on being what it is,
regardless of my thoughts.
If I want to be happy,
I need to be aware of my thinking,
and ask some questions
when my thoughts create shadows
in place of the light.
May I have the strength to see the truth
when my thoughts have blinded me.
May I have the patience to endure
the challenges life has in store for me,
and may these challenges
make me stronger.
In a difficult situation
I keep searching
for the one who is to blame.
I grapple with anger, grief,
resentment, and every little
shame, malice, and enmity
until I’ve worked myself
into a prison of self-pity.
I look around.
There is no door,
no lock, no key.
There is only a mirror.
I take a deep breath,
open my eyes wider,
look hard at the reflection
and discover the one
who caused all this is ME.
My mind invents a problem.
I become outraged,
indignant at the injustice.
And then I’m unkind
to the person I hold responsible
for this made-up problem.
Sometimes it’s someone else,
a lot of the time I’m the one
I hold responsible.
I challenge myself
to take a step back,
and choose to find solutions
instead of inventing problems.
The more I try to get unstuck
the more stuck I am.
If I can relax, look around
and accept the fact that I’m stuck
then I can better find the way out
of whatever rut I’ve fallen into.
First, I look at my thoughts.
Is the story I’m telling
helping me to be happy?
If not, it’s time to rethink
my vision of this moment.
When I allow them to be,
everyone around me
is the love of my life.
When my heart is shut down
and I believe my fear thoughts,
even the most innocent souls
become my enemies.
How can it be that I have this much love
and this much fear in me
all at once?
Catch yourself right in the middle of the thought
that there is something wrong with this moment.
Catch yourself, because the thought is so quick
it might slip through unnoticed.
Your job is to notice everything.
Sit still, close your eyes, go within, be quiet.
When you calm your senses even a little
you’ll hear the voice that is always spinning
the tall tales inside your head.
Notice the spinner and the tales,
and realize that you are neither—
You are the great witnessing presence
that notices as it all unfolds.
When you can step behind the thoughts
and watch the interweaving of your awareness
with the physical reality around you,
you’ll stand in awe of the whole thing.
Thoughts about anything being wrong with this moment
dissipate in the intensely beautiful light
of your awakened consciousness.
Just who do you think you are,
taking time for yourself,
doing things you love?
Well, if I don’t make time for this,
no one will hand this time to me.
Why should you deserve to rest
when others are working so hard?
If I don’t rest,
how will I have the energy to give to others?
How is it fair that you should have this easy life
when so many people are suffering?
I look to the suffering of others
and see my joy as the antidote.
I look to the anger of others
and see my peace as the medicine.
Looking deep within myself,
I see that the most beautiful
gift I can give to the world
is to show up with my whole self,
happy, complete, rested, refreshed,
By the way, I have had the great fortune of attending and teaching at a yoga/knitting/t’ai chi retreat with an amazing group of women this weekend. It feels so good to share in this time of rejuvenation. I see myself returning to my family, my work, and my daily life with renewed vigor and enthusiasm. When was the last time you retreated from the daily grind and gave yourself some much needed self-care and quiet time?