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If stressed, get thee to a vista. Any vista. Look out to infinity and the emotions or stress that feel confining will likely melt away. Ideally, the pch and high mountain top vistas, but if thatís not accessible, go to a rooftop. Get spaciousness spread out in front of you and stretch the mind and the body. Walk the beach and feel the sand under the feet - cold, gritty and let it transport the dark thoughts. If none of this is possible, get to that cabinet where photos are kept, and take a journey to landscapes of the past.
Photography? Snap and capture that moment. Best to be in it fully, and breathe it into the body, and then after that, if possible, snap it, catch it, fix it in time and mark the moment. It doesnít have to be Irving Penn-esque people, Carlton Watkins/Ansel Adams-like landscapes or Stieglitz style, just gather the image if possible. So what if itís not viewed by others right away or by yourself, itís there just in case, hanging out on the periphery of the life lived and reminding you that you lived it interrupted or otherwise.
Do we really breathe? All it takes sometimes is to step away and breathe, get fresh air and regroup. Excusing oneself for a moment is always appropriate when the alternative is to react, be over sensitive, freak out, hurt with words, say something just plain stupid, weep, whine, launch a missile, drop a grenade. It's unlikely if air enters the body that we will do or say something we will cringe about later. Cringe moments happen, that's why there are apologies, but the less we cringe, the less we apologize. The more we breathe, the more peaceful we truly are.
How about that internal GPS system? When it is clear that a corner has been turned, and old negative patterns are broken, it is important to not re-visit old neighborhoods. That familiar turf has been walked for too long. It will beckon and it will be tempting to take that familiar stroll, but it's so rewarding to stop mid-track and simply stomp on the breaks. New terrain is scary - but the scenery is fine and will become more familiar the more we move toward it. Use the internal GPS system - the gps internal gut - to lead the way.
Bow. A sign of humility is bowing one's head - humbled, still. When the head is bowed it is leaning toward the heart and a way to attempt leaving the mind behind and turning toward what matters most of all. When we come from the heart, we don't hurt others. We don't say what we don't mean. The heart center is truthful, it's our true essence. It is the mind that creates the stories to be angry over, to be deceitful about. Bowing one's head is leaning toward grace and kindness. It gives reverence to the core of our humble heart.
Socially indecisive? Busy calendars can cause a luxuriously confused state of mind. Too many social choices or events can be a frenzied hazard. If in doubt, stick to original commitments and don't ping pong around with, "what if something else comes along". Don't create a cycle of bad calendar karma. Breaking that pattern opens one up to a more authentic and free flowing social life. There are always choices and options and events that will come up, but if canceling something causes hurt to another and disses a friend, it will come back to haunt the social graces of life.
Couple-hood takes a great sense of self and letting the other grow. If hard feelings come up, let them fall on the ears of a good friend. Without even knowing it, it's easy to stifle growth in another and de-value their experience. It's so important to have room and space to growth to one's biggest, grandest self without fearing our partner will be threatened by it. There is enough room for two powerful selves. Give the gift of honoring the power in another, and, as a result, the power in oneself is magnified and wholesome for the relationship.
When nosy, practice relationship yoga. They are on their yoga mat, you are on yours. Itís such a glorious feeling when we let people be, don't be nosy, chill. Without any kind of commentary. Just leave them alone. Let them walk across the room without inquiry. Donít ask where they are going, what they are doing, and when they are coming back. Try occasionally to act as if they are alone in the room, practice letting them completely be. There is something victorious about it. When we leave them alone, they leave us alone. It's so peaceful - Namaste.
How's the weather? Sometimes it's enough to just talk about the weather, current events, things vs feelings. Just like we check the temperature, it's important to take a gauge of the intensity level, and if it's high, simmer it down. No need to always ponder the storms of the past, the mystery of the future, and sticky-ness of the present. Necessary occasionally, but not constantly! It may feel superficial to just talk of the weather - but it's temporary. It's all about simply bringing the intensity to the right places, and not where it may not be appreciated or valued.
Whether it's a half marathon or 13 pounds. Is setting a goal worth the effort? Always. That doesn't always mean that the goal will be met. Easier to walk the 13 miles, then to lose the 13 pounds. What is that about? 13 miles takes 3 hours, and 13 pounds takes discipline and sacrifice for months - and consistency, and self control for months - not hours. Either way, a goal can be a powerful, and necessary in order to get to the other side of the desire. Sacrificing the sweets or the desire to lounge and veg pays off, and works.
When is needing not okay? Needing too much is hazardous to a relationship. If the love from another is an added bounty in one's life, the peace is sacred. It's when the tenacles of excessive need swarm around groping for love outside of ourselves that it causes friction and pain. Being self contained, whole, complete - without the love of another is the ideal. Then it's just an added bounty to the self love that exists. From that place of self assuredness and self adoration, one manifests a bountiful love of others and, therefore, the fullest and richest love of self.
Questions to ask oneself before an action? Is it esteemable? What will the outcome cause? Can it be done differently. Self respect comes from esteemable actions and esteemable actions come from self respect. It's that simple. All it takes is that question - and if the question is skipped, there are consequences that can be hurtful. It's always worth the pause and it's in that pause that right actions come. It's in that breath. It might be subtle, but the way we treat ourselves shows in our eyes, skin, attire, waistline and fingernails. These most visual queues give it all away.
How does that phrase go? Resentment is like taking poison and expecting that the person we resent will die. They live happily ever after. We suffer and choke on our own poison. So there is a choice, resolve it or let it go. Letting it hang around is toxic and, shall we say, poisonous. It will lead to a whole chocolate cheesecake, or passive/aggressive destructive behavior. Smiling, but really saying "fuck you" under the breath. While it's normal to feel some anger, resentment is anger doubled over in pain. This posture doesn't allow for abundance and peace of mind.
"Don't take things so personally." Can't count how many times those words ring true. I visualize a tombstone in the end saying "it wasn't about me after-all." It hardly ever is. Nine times out of ten, it's not. Grandiosity is like a record that skips and it's on the "me, me, me" track. People are caught up in their own thoughts and not thinking of anyone else but themselves, and, themselves. If worries were pennies in a jar, it would overflow with far too much abundance. The lesson here is to completely empty the jar and keep it light.
We come into this world alone, and we leave it alone. How true is that? When we come into the world, we are instantly held, nurtured, fed, clothed, burped and surrounded by someone 24/7. However, on the other end of the circle of life in the elders years there are less guarantees and high risk of aloneness and isolation. The way to live in an peaceful place is to know all possibilities, be comfortable with that alone feeling so there are no dark surprises. We may then be pleasantly surprised by an abundant array of loving people surrounding us.
B is for Balance. The healthiest addiction to have is an addiction to balance. Never under estimate the peace that can come from it. Have a love life, robust friendships, a creative life, family life, a pet life, an outdoor life, some solitude and a healthy relationship with food. These areas need to have lives of their own or the spirit can drip and droop. It's natural for leakage to happen - to all of sudden see how much energy one dispenses in the work place or family drama. As soon as the droop happens, simply aim for B's and chill.
Fresh starts. Without them, where would we be? It's not about Mondays. It's not about the 1st day of the month. It's about now. It's about seeing patterns creep in, and feeling the pain and impact of them. Suddenly seeing the weight gain, suddenly seeing the attitude shift, suddenly seeing lack of self care and the who gives a shit attitude. That's where the fresh start comes in. So easy to say, yeah, yeah - just another false start, but replace it - it's not false, it's fresh and we all get a new minute every 60 seconds. One, two, three, four...
Sitting across from a friend over a coffee or a meal is like nurturing the soul. There's nothing like it, and yet it's so easy for time to pass and friends' numbers are not dialed and more time passes, busy lives kick in, and sometimes the friendship just melts away. Keep the watering can out, nurture, laugh, catch up. Who died, how's the kids, how are the parents, what's really up in their lives. Catch up. Tell stories and look them in the eye with the joy that sits on the heart for just being there in their lovely presence.
Massage. When was the last one? If it takes more then 60 seconds to figure that out, there is one thing to do. Gift yourself. Remember the warmth of the hot oil, zen music, silk curtains, lemon water, that cracking sound when the body says thank you. Remember when a heated, warm, caring hand pressed into the flesh to introduce it to that lonely aching muscle. Remember candlelight and the robe wrapped around yourself to seal in the warmth. Luxuries are luxuries, but massage is a necessity. If not weekly, at least in a span of time you can recall.
Who defines what marriage actually is? Is it what Webster says, "a contractual relationship recognized by law" or the definition, "an intimate and close union" - why should the state be involved with such unions at all? Can't we trust ourselves? Does the relationship possess monogamy, devotion, friendship, love, companionship, trust and all the usual conflicts involved with being close? A relationship should have it's own inner authority and definition. One doesn't have to be merged in the traditional sense. Merging and marriage is a state of mind and a state of being. Traditional is a choice, but so is untraditional.
Mondays. Why are they often a drag? It's the transition. One goes from a Sunday lounging, sleeping in, love making, leisure walks, intimate conversations, down time, cat in lap - to a world with people who are basically strangers for about 8 hours, though they are lovely strangers in a lovely environment, they are still co worker/strangers hanging out under florescent lights saying "how are you" but walking very quickly past. These places are necessary, but they aren't real - so the shift from Sundays to Mondays is quite a shift and makes one value what's truly real, what truly matters.
Priorities are self determined. Really sitting down and figuring out what they are is the most important exercise to do. Who matters? What actions matter? What matter matters? What's the matter? If family is a priority, then has that call been made? If finances are a priority, is there money in the bank? As anal as it sounds, sitting down with a ledger to figure out the pluses and minuses of what is most important in one's life. That matters. What is #1? What is the capital P Priority? All the rest warrants some attention.. but just a bit less.
When was the last time you took a waltz. Not a walk - a waltz. Grab a partner - any partner, doesn't have to be a lover, it can be a friend - and waltz around your home. Feel the rhythm of the music, step on your partner's toes, laugh, move your hips, be awkward, be uncoordinated, just flow with the music and flowing energy. Let yourself be led around the room. If the waltz is not your thing, do the hokey pokey or the alley cat, but once in a while, just dance and step into the silliness of your dancing self.
One click too soon can be dangerous for the health of a relationship. Pause before texting. Delay before hitting send on an email. When the heart is beating fast and reaction is at your fingertips, hit save, not send. Hard to do, easy to say. The biggest measurement of the pause factor is the pace of the heart, the flush of the face, the perplexity of the brow. Sweating? Can it wait? Many feelings have been hurt from lack of restraint of pen and tongue. So restrain. Delay and send it first to yourself and revisit it in an hour.
Letting go. Sometimes it can take days. What can we do to speed it up? If it's someone we're pissed at - write 10 things you love about them, remember the times of warmth, count the qualities that are endearing - if this doesn't work - just be pissed. Let it run through your veins like venom, spit fire, seethe, curse, imagine them dead - but keep this all to yourself. Wait until the flame dies down, wait until the seething passes, wait - period. Just wait. Eventually it will extinguish, guaranteed, but acting from that place will burn and leave permanent scarring on all.
"Run as if you stole something" - a tee shirt at the NYC Marathon. Each runner/walker/wheelchair stroller has a story. 40,000 stories. 40 years of the NYC Marathon. An array of personal bests, runs for a dead soldiers, breast cancers, their lives, or the lives of others, runs to show they can do it even without legs. Tears, pain, pure unadulterated joy and glee, red cross carts with people who collapse, and finish lines with people who thrive. 40,000 reasons. Something to remember when the morning alarm sounds and our regular day is too overwhelming to face.
Music is a mood changer. Singing a song, humming a song or just simply listening to a song can make a rotten, cranky, pissy day shift. If the voices in the head are screaming and rumination is excessive, let music lighten the load. Walk the streets with headphones and turn the world into a temporary musical. Sitting at a desk can become far less boring when Itunes or Pandora takes over. Get in a singing circle without your perfect pitch, sing while your cooking, cleaning and showering, of course. Turn music on while walking, working and worrying. Do re mi...
There will always be levels of wealth, and classism will be around until the end of breathing. Important to not add to the inequitable distribution factor. When caught up in the feeling of pauper or the lesser class, remember the well rounded factor. Remember the person that does your laundry, the doorman, the taxi cab driver, the lady that scrubs toilets and pedicures your calloused feet. Remember the cafe latte lady and the mail room clerk. Remember the levels of humanity and how everyone in the end is the same, everyone dies and takes zilch, zero, nothing along with them.
A magnifying glass can be detrimental to one's mental health and simply no fun. Scrutinizing every gosh darn little thing is damaging and a drag. Sometimes looking too intensely at an issue and magnifying it out of proportion creates a squinting, perplexing and overwhelming walk in the park of life. Take it light, put down the magnifyer and, psstt.. have some fun. Look at the "bucket list" - and notice that over-analyzing isn't on it. When 99 years old, and a magnifying glass is really necessary, you won't ask yourself why you didn't scrutinize more. Live, laugh and lighten up.
Shine. Go where you shine. Try not to hang around the places that dim your inner and outer light. Shine bright. If it's necessary to be in those places and with those people, put your light on dim if it's not going to be valued - but know that you are in control of the switch. Most people aren't aware that they are squashing your joy, so forgive them. If they are aware, then stay away from them. It's a simple formula. Overall, it's important to protect and nurture your light and hang around people who make it shine even brighter.
Is fat a fact or a feeling? Are the feelings making us fat? We know deep down under the layers. Denial is thick - and suddenly "only 5 lbs" - turns to 10, to 15 - and before you know it, 60 - in the blink of an eye. Photos don't lie and neither do those jeans we used to wear comfortably that sit in the back of the closet. If one is okay with the extra weight, and can have fat serenity, chill, be serene. If not? no crash diets, no magic pill or caloric fixes. Eat less, exercise more - and feel feelings.
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