Word of the Year ~ Mindfulness

In choosing my word for the year, I went back and forth a bit between the words love and mindfulness. For a few months, it was looking like the word love was going to be the word, because it is definitely something which I wish to foster more over the next 12 months. Last year could have easily been summed up into one word, and that word would have been – harsh.

2018 was filled with harsh lessons, health issues, and a good bit of general lack of direction for good measure. For the latter half of the year, I had found myself feeling quite lost. There were parts of myself which seemed to have all but disappeared, and I was on a mission to not only regain them, but to expand and improve them. So, when the time of year came to start choosing a word for this year I asked myself what word would encompass what I would need to foster the work that I was doing with all of the above.

The word love kept coming up, because one of the things which had seemed to change in me over the last year was my own feeling of love for the world at large…it had hardened a bit and there were a lot of feelings of mistrust for others and especially myself. Core parts of myself and my beliefs about things were rattled to their foundations. Then, I started to dig deeper and the word mindfulness just clicked into place as the word for 2019, because it encompasses not only a higher capacity for love, but many other things which will bring me closer to being the person I’ve always been at my deepest levels.

Definition of mindfulness 

1 : the quality or state of being mindful

2 : the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis also : such a state of awareness

I’ve been working with mindfulness for the past several months, and let me tell you, allowing myself to be more present with my state of being has been nothing short of amazing. The biggest thing I’ve noticed with this practice so far is that I’m becoming a lot less reactive. By being in the moment, acknowledging what is without judgement, or worse…overanalyzing things by diving into the past or trying to look to far ahead (which has always been hard for me), my life has begun to change in ways I’ve always wished for.

In just the last few months, I’ve seen a huge shift in my feelings about myself and the world. I am able to be much more of an observer of what is, and this has allowed me to be more appreciative and patient. The interesting thing about this is that at the same time, I am much more able to step back when needed, because my feelings of responsibility for and attachment to outcomes has done a complete turn around. This has been the most refreshing thing I’ve ever experienced, and that is not an exaggeration.

All of this has made it easier to transition back into a more creative state of being. This is something which I’m tremendously grateful for, because this was another one of the things that had taken a big hit over the past year or so, along with my sense of spirituality. Those two things are such an integral part of my core that it was literally painful to experience a prolonged period of time wondering if I’d find them again. Finding a mindfulness practice feels like it saved my life, perhaps literally.

Rather than staying stuck in the loop of trying to force myself to get back to “normal”, I learned to acknowledge and honor what was for a while. So, I spent a few months taking care of what absolutely needed to be done, checking in with how I was feeling, then sitting on my couch binge watching various shows on Netflix and Hulu. I learned to let go of my expectations of myself and others too. After a while, I had given myself permission to just be where I needed to be and enjoy the moment, instead of trying to rush myself through the process.

Before I go, I want to thank everyone who has stuck with me through this huge transition phase. 2018 taught me just how amazing some of the people in my life are. Here’s to a wonderful, and smoother 2019!

Much love ❤

 

Settling Into Just Being

Okay, so my best friend wrote a post yesterday that so inspired my post today that the very title was something that she said in what she wrote. She and I both have had a pretty difficult time of it in the last year or so. To say that there has been a lot of learning going on would be an understatement. Please do head on over and read her post if you wish. Now, I’ll get on with it.

So, the past year and a half for me was a breaking point. This is something which needed to happen because I’ve literally spent most of my life living old patterns and it became impossible to keep doing so and stay sane, and I mean that almost literally. It truly was a breaking point in my life. These are patterns which were created long, long ago. In childhood in fact. The hell of it has been that they were set so early that the real me has not really had much time to come out and play. The real me had been almost completely buried.

Sure, there have been glimpses of me here and there, but for the most part I’ve slid back into those ways of being and interacting in the world which were drilled into me as a means to stay safe. While that was never okay, it was at one time necessary for survival. After that necessary time had passed though, I was simply reacting to things which evoked those old responses and instead of standing tall in my own being, I would either put another person first to my own detriment, or I would have a fear trigger and simply squash myself into what I thought would keep the waters smooth. Well let me tell you, this never works.

Maybe for a while things felt calmer, but in the long run it wasn’t sustainable. Sometimes when we feel like we’re playing it safe, we are only prolonging the inevitable, and putting ourselves through unnecessary stress and pain. There is a lot of history which I could go into, but I won’t. Not because I’m not okay talking about it, but because this post is about the present and moving forward.

I have forgiven the past. I have forgiven the people who have caused me harm. I have made great progress in forgiving myself for the role which I played in letting some of those situations play out. Granted, my heart was always in the right place, but there have been many times in which it was very misguided. I’m at a place in which I no longer feel the need or desire to think or talk about the past, unless it’s necessary for some reason. I’ve come to terms with what the past was, and have reached the point of breaking the patterns.

This isn’t to say that my work is done. In some respects I’m only getting truly started, but it feels so good. This is where the words settling into just being come into play. I’ve realized that I truly like who I am at my core, and I really like who I am becoming. A large part of doing this work has been simply allowing myself to settle into being. Learning to live in the present, not in the past and not in the future, is strangely liberating.

Sure, I’ve read about being in the present and it sounded good but I had never really tried to put it into practice before. I had some mistaken ideas about what it meant exactly. It doesn’t mean that the past is erased, it is more of a reminding myself that when parts of the past rear their ugly heads that I am not longer in that place, and that those feelings and memories have no power over me. It doesn’t mean that I can’t make plans for the future. It is simply a loosening of the expectations of how things will work and not trying to plan all of the minute details.

The deeper I go into this space, the less I find myself wishing for anything else. This very moment is a pretty good place to be. More and more, I actually remember to stop and ask myself if there’s anything that I can do about any given thing in this moment, and if there isn’t, it becomes easier to release it and just be. If though, there is something that I can do about something, I find myself being able to break it down even further into what I can do about it right now and to be okay with leaving the rest for when it’s appropriate.

While the deep trauma work which I’ve chosen to undertake isn’t for the faint of heart, there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing. To finally be saying goodbye to the triggers, fears, and anxiety is the most awesome feeling. Lots of things have fallen away, and some of those losses have been harder than others. I have to admit though, that every last one of them has needed to happen. I’m looking forward to what is to come, more so than ever. This feels a little bit odd to say because everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING in me has shifted, so my exact direction is not exactly clear. In the past, this would have scared the hell out of me. Now though it feels perfect, because I am starting with a clean slate and I’m not following someone else’s map…I’m drawing my own.

 

Channeling My Inner Ludo ~ Calling The Rocks

Metaphor warning! This post is going to be filled with some heavy metaphors, because sometimes, that’s just the way that my mind works. This morning, I was sitting at my table pondering several things, and for some reason, the image of Ludo from “Labyrinth” popped to mind. When the going got tough, good old Ludo cocked his head back and let out series of deep, throaty howls to summon the rocks. In several scenes of the movie, just when things seem to be at their very bleakest, he howls from deep inside, and rocks of all sizes come rolling to the rescue.

As I sat thinking about Ludo, it inspired me to be a bit more like him, and summon my own rocks. There has been a lot to wade through lately, and I’ll admit that at times I’ve felt like I’m barely keeping my head above water. Then, this morning I started to wonder where my inner fire had gone and it occurred to me that I have everything that I need to reignite it. Instead of being mired down by things which are completely out of my control, I’m tipping my head back and howling.

One of my favorite scenes of the movie has always been the one in which the group of travelers find themselves in the Bog of Eternal Stench, and Sarah is hanging by a vine over the middle of the bog, with no way out. This is when Ludo howls for the rocks to come, and Sir Didymous (the fox looking knight) really gives him the business about howling when someone needed rescued, as he, himself, is just standing there panicking. Then, the rocks start rolling in, making a walkway through the bog, so that Sarah and the rest of the gang can wend their way across.

Step by step, they make their way through that perilous part of their journey. How fitting is it that when they found themselves in the Bog of Eternal Stench that the way out was to summon these steady rocks and make their way through it, one step at a time? I’m thinking about my own steps across this part of my own journey, and have been coming up with individual names for my “rocks”. I’ll be sure to pave alternate pathways so that there are choices in direction. Too much pigeon-holing is not a good thing. The road to happy-town needs to have a few exits! 🙂

Here are the names of my stepping stones:

  • Resolve- to keep going
  • Courage- to stay aware of the fact that I can do what is right for me
  • Self reliance- to keep the knowledge that I can trust myself alive
  • Patience- tempered with a hefty dose of strength
  • Joy- for what is
  • Hope- for what is to come
  • Love- for the opportunity to make the most of the life that I have, and to make a difference
  • Compassion- for others, and for myself

I’ll be working on summoning my inner rocks to pave a path which feels more stable. More than anything right now, I’m craving a feeling of contentment and stability, an overall sense of my place in the world. For some reason, I’ve been having a tough time regaining that sense for myself, and I miss it more than anything. So…let the howling begin! What would you name the rocks for your own pathway?

Word Of The Year For 2018

I would have normally had my word for the year chosen long before now. This year though has been so full of ups and downs that it had completely slipped my mind until my best friend mentioned it a few weeks ago. Ever since then, I’ve been digging deep to think of what I’d like to choose as my word for next year (which is rapidly approaching).

2017 has been a rough one, and I’m pretty glad to see it going. To be fair, I’ve learned a lot about life and myself this year, but I have to say that it could have been a lot gentler.  I’ve had an ass kicking of epic proportions! Who am I to question though? The way that the past several months have gone has been so extreme that I’ll likely be picking up some of the pieces for a while to come. However, I’ve always been willing to roll my sleeves up and work on whatever needs to be done and this time is no different in that aspect. The good thing about times like these is that the comeback always sees me stronger, and better than before.

So, without further adieu, my word for 2018 is “Trust”. For a while, the word confidence was in the running, but for where I am at this moment, trust is the better choice. Not only that, but I have come to believe that confidence is a part of trust. For if there is no trust in ourselves, in the richness of life, in the goodness of people in general, in love, and in the knowledge that we can always grow and achieve, that there can be no confidence.

I’ve spent the past several weeks in a state of suspension, and have reminded myself on a daily basis to trust that everything would level out and that I’ll be up and creating again before I know it. For a little while, I tried to push myself to get back into the swing of things and found that I simply wasn’t ready. So, instead of making matters worse than they already were, I learned to be still…be with myself…even be depressed…all so that I could practice trust in the process of my own renewal.

There will be some changes coming in 2018, both here and in my life behind the scenes. My art will be making a comeback, only it will be more of a throwback as I’m finding myself inspired to revisit some art forms which have been dormant for a few years. As I cleaned out my art supply area about a week ago, I was flipping through old sketch books and art journals, to discover that there were a few areas in which I was gaining proficiency. Not to mention…I remembered how much flipping fun it was working on those pieces. There will be more poetry to come as well, not only haiku.

As for the other things I have in store…well, we’ll all just have to wait and see them as they unfurl, myself included. I’m in the middle of a major revamp, but due to recent events, things are moving in baby steps. I’m okay with that…it feels good to take my time and flesh things out…to study…to plan. I will say that it’s definitely exciting and unlike anything I’ve ever offered before. How is it all going to look? I can’t honestly say, but…

I have trust! ❤

Here’s to new beginnings

Sunday Morning Reflections

Image

I’ve been sitting here in the stillness writing poetry this morning, with my trusty cup of coffee by my side and it has reminded me of just how good life can be. The quiet peace of a Sunday morning is something which I haven’t been still enough to enjoy for a while, and it feels pretty great to just sit and take it in. Earlier, I went outside to enjoy the early Fall coolness and take a few photos of the heavy fog which wrapped the city. There is just something about the hush of a misty early morning that’s so relaxing, and at least for me, creatively inspiring.

This time of year seems to be when I really thrive as a creator. My imagination kicks into high gear and I find myself slipping into quiet solitude as often as possible. It’s when both words and paint seem to flow at their best, and I find myself reaching for a good book or knitting needles. It’s a good time to plan and daydream.

There’s no real reason for this post. I have just enjoyed my morning so much that I’m filled with gratitude for the simple pleasures I’ve had. It felt like something that I wanted to share, because it has been a while since this particular feeling of calm contentment has washed over me. As I’m prone to do, I thought I’d come here and open up a bit about things and ask all of you what types of things help you to get in the zone. As always, I’m not asking you to share it here, unless you feel called to. I always enjoy opening up a dialogue about what makes people’s hearts sing.

Glimpse Into My Day

Today has been a wonderful day of happy surprises and beautiful things. First and foremost, my best friend from way back in the fifth grade is having a VERY special day today and I couldn’t be more tickled. Only thing that would have made it better would be if I could have been there .

Before my day got started I had a few conversations with friends both old and new, as well as getting to hear a voice that always makes me smile while having coffee.

My day is being spent gloriously happy. I’m editing my poetry book.

Work space.jpg

I got an early delivery of a massive amount of acrylic paint to further explore my newfound painting method, which someone was sweet enough to surprise me with. I have more paint sitting here which was gifted to me by my sister, but I won’t be unboxing that until she is here visiting. Can’t wait to see them! Last night I came across a fantastic sale on canvases and ordered a batch of 20- 16×20″. So, be prepared to see a lot of new art posts in the near future.

Paint.jpg

Last but not least, I ordered some flowers last week from a local florist and she called to let me know that they were in. I’ve been craving a big bouquet of peonies and hydrangeas for the past few years and decided to treat myself.

Flowers.jpg

Now that I’ve gotten all of the deliveries in the door, it’s time to get back to editing. Just thought I’d share a glimpse of my day with all of you. Hope that you are having some happy moments of your own today.

Love Letter ~ Beauty

Dear beautiful souls,

When you think about beauty, what first springs to mind? Is it some spectacular vision of a person of supermodel caliber? Is it an amazing natural vista? Perhaps a masterful piece of art or music? Yes, of course, it could be any of those things. Most of us appreciate those types of beauty. What about the more simple things though?

There are those times when it feels more difficult than others to find beauty. Right now, so many of us are feeling unsettled by so many events happening in the world around us which made this love letter an especially important one for me to write. With some many things in our every day lives which hold so much beauty, read on for a list of simple, but powerful things of beauty for those times in which it might seem more difficult than usual to see it.

invite

  • That first luxurious moment upon waking in the morning when you drift warmly between sleep and waking.
  • The small moments of silence when there are no electronics running in the background.
  • The rich aroma of freshly brewing coffee.
  • Sharing laughter with our loved ones, friends, and at particularly beautiful moments with total strangers.
  • Hearing the voices of the people who make our worlds a brighter place.
  • Being enfolded into the embrace of those who make us feel safe…who embody the feeling of being home.
  • Opening a window and feeling a fresh breeze on our faces.
  • Enjoying the warmth of sunshine streaming through a window on a chilly day.
  • The simple pleasure of spending time doing the little things we love to do.
  • Sinking into a nice hot bath or standing under an invigorating shower.
  • Feeling the thrill which comes with connecting with someone new.
  • The colors that come to life in the sky as the sun lowers in the evening.
  • Seeing the first pops of color in the Spring as flowers bloom or in Autumn as leaves change color.
  • Those magical, misty mornings when the fog swirls through the air as rain gently falls.
  • Reading a good book, or watching a good show or movie.
  • The smile on the face of a stranger as you hold the door for them as they balance bags and coffee.

Of course there are so many more things which are everyday events which are so beautiful, many even almost sensual. Think about first waking on a chilly morning, ensconced in soft warm blankets, and how good that feels. So simple, so beautiful. In these times of rapid change, it is so important to seek out and savor those small moments of beauty. Our attitudes and frame of mind are so powerful. Won’t you join me in seeking out the simple moments which make this life so breathtakingly gorgeous?

Much love,

Tracy