Love Letter ~ Growth Opportunities

Dear beautiful souls,

Going through challenging or confusing things in our lives is a lot like being caught up in the vortex of a tornado while in the midst of the situation. One of the most important things to remember when we’re in the process of learning a lesson or experiencing a growing pain is to permit ourselves to feel what we feel. Squashing our feelings is so common for many of us, especially those who were taught early on that expression of feelings is a negative thing.

Eventually, most of us learn that feeling is better than squashing. It can just take us a while to trust that part of ourselves.  As a dear friend stated just today…feeling our feelings…even the negative ones, is a good thing. She also pointed out that we need  to remember to transform it at some point into a positive. Her point was timely and well absorbed. Hence, the lesson is received. Finding the balance between reaction and flowing into the growth can be difficult for most of us. Try not to be too hard on yourself while finding your way.

Not only is it important to take it easy on ourselves, we need to be mindful of the outside influences which we are permitting to impact our journey. When going through periods of transformation, it is natural for the order in our lives to become shaken up for a while. This is another element of the lesson or growth opportunity. Through our largest periods of growth and learning, there are bound to be some emotions lurking beneath the surface, waiting to rear their heads. Relationships may come and go, jobs or careers might change, sometimes even entire belief systems undergo an overhaul.

This is not work for the faint of heart my lovelies, but it is well worth it. Walking the path to wisdom is a lot like trying to tame a horse…there’s going to be a good bit of bucking along the way…both from within and without. Hold on tight and ride, until the stuff which isn’t serving your highest good is left in the dust. All of the madness will eventually lead to ever higher levels of love and understanding. Don’t give up now. Hold on to your heart and dive in. Just don’t forget to infuse a little levity along the way.

Much love,

Tracy

 

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Love Letter…Trust

Dear beautiful souls,

In these uncertain times that we are living in, trust may seem like an odd topic to write to you about. It is at times like these however, that trust is more important than ever. Trust in the general goodness of most people, trust that the universe has abundant resources with which we can have our needs met, trust in those that we love, trust in the fact that we are never truly all alone, and most important of all…trust in ourselves. It can be easy during times of unrest to start allowing seeds of negative thought and self-doubt to creep in.

I cannot stress how important it is to look back over our lives to other difficult times, as a reminder that we made it through them. No, not with a critical eye of how well we think we managed to get through it…simply that we made it. Not only that, but it would also be wise to remind ourselves that we are powerful beings with the ability to take control of our lives. This doesn’t mean that we can micromanage every detail of our lives. We can though control each individual moment of our day, in that we get to decide how we react to that moment and how we are going to move ahead from that point forward.

It is absolutely normal to be upset when things which seem negative happen. Having trust in ourselves doesn’t mean that we should strive to trust ourselves to be perfect. Trust is knowing that even when things do not look as we would like them to look, that we know that ultimately we are going to be just fine. It is then, when we practice that level of trust in ourselves and the universe that not only freedom, but true magic can be found.

When we relinquish the situations over which we have no direct or immediate control, we free ourselves to focus on what we actually can do…if anything in that moment. Sometimes trust means allowing ourselves to ride the wave until we reach the other side of it and can make sense of what has happened, and where to go from there. This isn’t always the easiest thing to do. I know this from many years of past experience. What I know now though is that there is no amount of trying to control or predict (playing the what if game) everything and/or everyone that will force things to go in the way in which we wish them to.

What we can do is to keep ourselves as calm and positive as we can…learning little by little to have trust. To allow ourselves to visualize things in a more positive light without being attached to the small details of how it has to happen. No need to point the finger of blame at ourselves if we slide back for a little while. Having trust is seeing that slide and dusting ourselves off, knowing that we have what it takes to move forward.

Believe in yourselves, for you have a lot more power dwelling inside you than you may realize. Power to create and transform your reality…power to choose to be open to seeing the positive aspects of what enters your life, as well as what may leave it. This power is already yours. You only need to claim it.

Much love,

Tracy

Love Letter ~ Right Where You Are

Dear beautiful souls,

In this fast-paced world that we live in, many of us have gotten so accustomed to looking at life through the lens of time, instead of in the moment. From a young age we are taught to prepare for “someday”, “the future”, and to “look back at our mistakes”. While a little bit of planning and reflection are not bad things, always living or looking to the past and future make self acceptance and overall success and satisfaction difficult.

After all, if we are constantly looking at our perhaps less than ideal current conditions, blaming ourselves due to the past, it truly isn’t productive. At the same time, if we are always looking to the future for ways to improve our lives or our selves, that isn’t productive either.

There’s a lot to be said for this very moment, right here, right now. When we retrain ourselves or deepen our awareness and appreciation for what is in front of us at any given moment, a brilliant thing happens. All of that stress we’ve been carrying around like a monkey on our back because we’ve been looking back at all of our mistakes? Gone. The anxiety we feel about not only how we’re going to get from point a to point b, but if we’re even capable of achieving it? Gone.

Being present in the now is one of the biggest gifts which we can give to ourselves. You see, when you take away the shame and blame of the past and the fear about the future, what you’re left with is an increased appreciation for yourself, your life, and what is around you. It opens the doors to ever increasing self love, clarity, and relaxation. It’s so much easier to find solutions to things when we are focused on the present moment, as opposed to trying to figure out every possible outcome or fork in the road or comparing to the past.

Please, give yourself permission to release yourself from the chains of time. Be here, now. Taking off the filters of someday and yesterday is like turning on the windshield wipers when it’s pouring rain…everything clears right up. What we did or didn’t do in the past is just that…past. What might happen next year if x,y, or z does or doesn’t happen is just a maybe.

The one piece in time which we always have some control over is now. Learning to live in the now takes practice, just like any new skill. No matter what your path in life, there’s a lot to be learned about being in the now from Zen Buddhism. So, if you find yourself looking for tips and advice on living in the moment try looking at a few Zen websites or checking out a book or two (just so you know, I’m not a Buddhist, I just have a deep appreciation for the philosophy). Making our way into the present is making our way to a beautiful, calmer, more joyful life, which is my wish for each and every one of us.

With love and wishes for ever growing peace and happiness,

Tracy ❤

 

 

Love Letter ~ Enjoy The Simple Things

Hello Lovelies,

Admittedly this is a pretty easy letter for me to write today. Where I live, the temperatures are in a very comfortable Autumn range, the sky is sunny, and the leaves are starting to show signs of changing color. Even when things aren’t quite as idyllic however, learning to or taking the time to enjoy the simple things in life is one of the most loving gifts that a person can give themselves. Best part is that these are the kinds of things that are either free or as close as you can get to it.

We’ve all been there…financial hardships, illnesses, job losses, general unrest in the world around us, arguments with loved ones, difficult co-workers, and countless other things which pop up in life can quickly take over and color our  entire world in shades of dissatisfaction. While it is easier said than done sometimes, turning to the simple things which give us pleasure can break the negative thought patterns we all find ourselves in from time to time.

As I wrote about last week, feeling your feelings is important and not a step to be ignored. It’s when we stay in those feelings and begin to allow cynicism or some similar mindset to dominate our lives that we need to drop everything, no matter how briefly and take a few moments to breathe. Look outside the nearest window and enjoy the life out there or better yet, take a ten minute break and go out whenever possible. Tune in to your favorite music, watch an episode of that guilty pleasure TV show you love, read for a while, pet your dog, pet your cat, call your best friend, make a cup of your favorite tea or coffee, or literally just pause to take several deep breaths.

These little things are what we can turn to anytime to break our thought patterns, or get a brief respite from whatever is going on to create stress. Even when things are going well, it’s important that we partake in the simple pleasures in order to embrace life…embrace our humanity…to remind us that there is more to life than our jobs, money, relationships, or whatever else we can think to insert here. Please dear reader, start today. Love yourself enough to stop and savor this moment of being alive. If for some reason some might be thinking that it would be selfish to do so, think of this…when we take the time for these little things, the experiences of anyone who comes into contact with us is much more pleasant. When we fall into a nose to the grindstone mentality, stress floods in and pours over into every aspect of our lives.

We all deserve to find little rays of happiness. So, go on…take a short break and do one of those little things you do that just feel good! Your heart will thank you for it.

Much love to all of you,

Tracy

 

Love Letter ~ Keep Holding On

Dear Beautiful People,

It has been a little while since I’ve sat down to write something from my heart to yours. Today feels like a good day to do that. We are living in interesting times, and sometimes it seems as though things are spinning out of control. Even though I rarely read news headlines, let alone watch any news, it is impossible not to notice the things that are going on around us. We are in a period of rapid changes, not only in my part of the world…but in all of it. Yes, sometimes it feels scary or as though there is little hope.

I’m here to ask all of you not to give in to the fear and darkness mentality which seems to be in charge right now. Now more than ever, we must remember that no one can control our mentality but ourselves. Of course we see the worst and most frightening things portrayed in the media. First of all, that’s what sells. Secondly, it has been true for a few thousand years on this Earth and perhaps longer, that those in power, or wishing to be in power often create and maintain those positions by scaring the pants off of the rest of us. Don’t buy into it.

While it is true that we live in tumultuous times, it is also true that old systems and ways of being or thinking have to go through upheaval before things get better. Those who have read some of my older work know that I am not going to try to tell you that you need to smile your way through this. Now is the time to look at the dark and the light in both the world and in ourselves so that we can understand that duality is a part of the very nature of things.

When we learn to look at and accept our duality and all of our feelings as part of ourselves, that’s when the magic of real self love can begin. There’s a difference between acceptance and allowing something to take over. It’s a matter of being able to look at and see the un-shiny parts of ourselves with a spirit of kindness and understanding. When we repress those parts of ourselves with a fake smile plastered on our faces, we aren’t fully loving ourselves and therefore nothing can change.The pattern keeps repeating. How do I know this?  Because that was me, for a very long time.

Many of us are taught by our families, our religions, our teachers, etc. that expressing or even acknowledging feelings like fear, anger, or disappointment is akin to dimming the light which shines in all of us. The opposite is true. When we feel ourselves sliding into fear or anger, the best thing that we can do is to basically look at it and say, “I see you. I feel you”…acknowledge that it is part of our nature to feel those things and accept that just because we feel certain feelings we are not “bad” people.

As for what is going on in the world around us, the same can be said. We can see it, we can acknowledge that it is happening, and then we can understand deep in our very core that those things do not define us. Now more than ever, we have the opportunity to see how much power we have when it comes to creating our own realities. Sometimes, all we can do is stop…and simply be…riding the waves to the best of our abilities until the tide changes.

There is only so much digging and self excavation that we can do. While I highly encourage self examination, I believe that there is a fine line between examination and perpetuating a sense that there is something wrong with us. If something doesn’t feel right, instead of pointing a finger at yourself or someone else in blame…look for what you can do to either release it or change it. When thinking about the duality of our world and ourselves I always think of the parable of the two wolves. In case you haven’t heard of it, you can go here for a snippet.

So, all of you lovelies…be kind to yourselves. Love yourselves. Love each other. Love the beautiful world that we live on. Remember this~ Love is the fuel of great change.

Thank you for being here!

Much love to all of you,

Tracy

 

 

Simplicity

The older I get, the more I appreciate simplicity. The passage of time has provided deeper insight into how the simplicity which I longed for in the past wasn’t something for me to wait for-it’s something for me to reach out and take hold of-both within and outside of myself. Just to be clear, when I use the word simplicity, it isn’t meant to imply a lack of excitement or an abundance of dullness. Nope. Not for this girl. Laughter, play, and enjoyment are as necessary to me as a tall glass of water on a hot summer day.

I use the word simplicity to indicate a sense of ease, a lack of unnecessary complications, or a smooth flow. There are so many ways in which we can either complicate our lives for ourselves or allow others to do so. There are a lot of things which can seem complicated while in the midst of them which truly aren’t. No matter what we’re talking about, whether relationships (of any sort), career choices, health factors which are in our control, or just life in general-simplifying all things is fairly the same. It all starts with asking ourselves some easy questions which can be difficult to answer due to several factors. These factors usually boil down to a few simple sentiments-what we think we want, fear of change, seeing sometimes necessary work as too difficult, or a combination of any or all of the above.

There are all sorts of questions which we could ask ourselves when it comes to making our lives more simple. We can figure out most situations with the one question below.

Does (insert situation or relationship here) primarily enrich my life or create stress and unhappiness?

No matter which way we slice it, we are only in control of making changes in ourselves. So, if whatever it is which we are asking this question about creates more stress and unhappiness than the good that it brings to the table-the choices are to make up our mind to accept it as it is and adjust our lives and mindset accordingly, or to make the changes that we need in order to move from stress to ease.

Of course, this is usually a process and it isn’t my intention to imply that we can just snap our fingers and jump right in or out of anything. There is though, a line which can be drawn where lack of action becomes the choice which a person makes. After a while, the sorting and decision process ends and we’ve either improved our situation or we find ourselves in a loop. Not only are these loops unhealthy for us, there comes a time in which it becomes inconsiderate to continue to expect our loved ones to stay in the loop with us. If we find ourselves circling, the best course of action is to seek out professional/impartial assistance in gathering what we need in order to get out of it. Sometimes, we may even need to withdraw a little from our social circles in order to remove the temptation or habit of remaining stuck. Some things can only be handled by ourselves.

When there is someone in our life who is living the same pattern over and over, we have to understand that after a certain early point of support and advice-there is nothing that we can do which will break this loop for them. Not only do we do them a disservice by going around and around the same issues, we are not doing ourselves any favors either. We’ve all been there at one point or another to some extent.

It’s a normal part of life to go through this learning process. What simplicity looks like is different for each of us. For me, it is a life in which things flow naturally without bullying, disrespect, or undue pressure to conform. It may be something completely different for someone else and neither definition is wrong. The only thing which is our business is when the ways of another are so different from ours that it creates stress or incompatibility. Then, it isn’t our place to change their mind. Nor is it our place to “love them enough” to keep taking their shit, or keep having the same argument, or have to keep defending ourselves. At that point, we may need to decide to love them and ourselves enough to draw boundaries, and sometimes that might mean that we have to step away in order to maintain our peace and health. There’s nothing to be gained in judging ourselves for how we’ve fared with any of our success with simplifying our lives in the past. The space in which we can work is the one where are at this very moment.

As some of you who have been coming here for a while know, I do love Buddhist quotes and the one below feels like the perfect ending.

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. ~ Buddha
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/b/buddha.html

 

 

 

 

 

Dignity

For the purposes of this post, I am only using a few of the possible meanings of the title word of this post. To see the entire definition of the word, please click below: Dictionary.com

noun, plural dignities.
1.

bearing, conduct, or speech indicative of self-respect or appreciation of the formality or gravity of an occasion or situation.
2.

nobility or elevation of character; worthiness:

dignity of sentiments.

Dignity is one of those things which many of use do not give a whole lot of thought to for at least part of our lives. Either we do not think about it, or we hadn’t been taught the value of it. The hope is that at some point that we figure out how valuable it is, and how to restore it. We’ve all done things in our lives which may not have been in line with a sense of dignity. However, all things have the potential to lead us there.

The reason for that last line is that it would be very easy to feel so ashamed of things in the past that it feels as though we are not worthy of self-respect or a sense of dignity. Trust me, I get that. I also know that it is never too late. When we start putting the pieces of ourselves back together, all things are possible.

Perhaps we were taught or told as children that we weren’t worth much and we went through our lives believing this to one extent or another. That one is a tough nut to crack, yet with time and repetition, we can turn the volume of those ancient voices down or even hit the mute button. Once we realize that those negative messages were less about us and more about the person who planted them, it becomes simpler to let it all fade into the background. While working through all of that, it is key that we do not allow that realization to turn into anger, because that is not productive. Not only that, but we can turn it around and use those experiences to learn how to do better by ourselves and perhaps help others to do the same.

 Please try to remember that a desire to help others does not make their actions, or acceptance of the advice or example your responsibility. A few days ago, I read something to the effect of ‘caring is not the same as carrying’. I’m sure that it wasn’t worded exactly like that, and I do not remember where I read it, but the sentiment is one which automatically stuck with me.

Often, we can trace many of the things we’ve done of which we aren’t proud back to negative programming or events in our earlier years. This doesn’t give us a pass, but it does help us to understand the origins of our feelings and do something to avoid taking similar actions in the future. We should also be a little gentler on ourselves, or less harsh in our self judgements. Why? Because deeply holding onto guilt or shame over past actions or words does not propel us forward into reclaiming our dignity.

So how to we get to that place? Through a process of realizing the untruth in the old beliefs and messages which led to the loss or dimming of our dignity, and making a conscious decision to uncover who we really are. There may be things we’ve done for which there will always be a sense of shame. This doesn’t mean that there is no redemption, or that we are not worthy of having a better life.  Even though we cannot undo or unsay things, we can absolutely give ourselves permission to rise above them from here on out.