Thoughts On Being In The Moment

This morning, I came across a quote which resonated with me, and sparked some thoughts that I wish to share. The quote is below.

“There is only the moment. The now. Only what you are experiencing at this second is real.” ~ Leo Buscaglia

The seeming simplicity of this quote is deceptive. So often, I have had the tendency to take something which is happening in the present and allow my mind to let it take on epic proportions. We all do it, and typically it involves the things which are unpleasant or stressful. When something is going awry, do you find your thoughts diving into the past, or projecting the issue into the future, feeling like the situation is going to become a permanent fixture? I certainly have, and have been learning to work on it.

It’s definitely a process, and a very conscious choice. The actual practice of mindfulness is relatively new to me. I’ve often heard people talking about living in the moment, and just thought that it was one of those nice things to say, but hard or impossible to do. I’m finding that it isn’t all that difficult (most of the time, anyway). It takes a lot of inner reminders, but over time it is becomes easier.

For myself, as someone who has dealt with a great deal of trauma over the course of my life, remembering that what is happening right at this moment is what is real has been an amazing tool to help me keep things in balance. No matter whether a thing is positive or negative, reminding ourselves that in the next moment things shift is beyond helpful. Life is constant change, and while sometimes this is hard, the alternative is to live in a state of stagnation. I should say trying to live in a state of stagnation, because no matter how concentrated the effort may be, we cannot stem the tide of change.

The sentiment I’m writing about doesn’t mean that we squash our feelings. It’s just as unhealthy to try to pretend that it doesn’t exist as it is to let our thoughts project too far into the future. Building too many expectations for the future can be at the very least disappointing at times, and at the worst can color our thoughts so much that we lose opportunities for happiness because we’re convinced that things will stay the same. We can set goals for ourselves without becoming overly attached to the precise details. There are often many paths to a goal, and unexpected ways that our dreams manifest themselves.

By remembering that the present is all that is, it becomes so much easier to savor our moments of joy as they happen. Not only that, it becomes easier to acknowledge that we may be sad, angry, heartbroken, or any other emotion that pops up, and be able to let it just be without falling into the rabbit hole of remembering all of the “bad stuff” that happened in the past, or convincing ourselves that life is always going to follow the same patterns.

Trust me, I know that this is not the easiest practice to adopt. As a relative newbie to it myself, I have seen how ingrained it is to step out of what is happening in our present moments to dwell in the past and obsess over the future. This whole year for me is dedicated to a continuation of my mindfulness practice. So far, it has been the most helpful method inner work I’ve tried to date. If you find yourself in a place of reliving traumas or being caught up in the type of thought patterns which I wrote about above, I encourage you to look into all of this a bit, and if you feel you need help with it, please reach out and find it. I openly admit that I have.

 

 

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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.

 

Poetry ~ Rediscovery

Opening the door to a brand new me

Not that all has changed, but enough

Tossed and turned by truth, lies, and betrayal

In the wake, the question looms

Who am I now?

This place is exciting, freeing, and scary all at once

For there are parts of me which don’t seem to live here anymore

Not sure that this is a bad thing

Waiting for the dust to settle so that I can see clearly

I feel the need for some of the additions to my essentia

Yet, they worry me at the same time

New levels of distrust and caution have entered

These dangerous words have a dual edge which can free or cut

While needing to embrace more caution, for my own wellbeing

There’s resentment for the way in which I’ve been forced to let it in

Not sure if I truly want to absorb those feelings

For while they protect, they can steal precious life and joy

Yes, people, including myself are fucked up to infinity

Some though, storm the castle walls, tearing them to shreds

While wearing the guise of an ally

Intentional or not is irrelevant, for the destruction is all the same

They rip away sense of security, and the walls which were trained with blooms

The beautiful parts which when removed, strip away the verve

Things which make up the self

For a while, I’ll be sorting through the rubble

Tossing out the rubbish, repairing cracks in things I need to keep

And finding pieces to emerge stronger, both old and new

It’ll all be better than ever

Perhaps, someday I’ll be grateful for the lessons

For the beautiful phoenix who is rising from the ashes

Will be stronger, better, more joyful

For now though, I’m walking a fine line

Between the world of forgiveness

And hanging on to the reminders of what brought me here

So that the sword which felled the blow

Never has the chance to inflict another wound

Just going to let that one sit on the back burner

While I focus on rediscovering myself.

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

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

 

Love Letter ~ Do Unto Yourself As You Would Do Unto Others

Dear beautiful souls,

How many times have you heard the old adage to do unto others as you would have them do unto you? Probably more than you can shake a stick at, just as I have. I’ve come to realize that something important has been left out when it comes to this notion, which is the title of this post.

Have you ever thought about how much easier it would be to treat others kindly, if we were to begin with being kind to ourselves? Many of us are much more harsh with ourselves than we would ever dream of being with someone else. Now, before you go pointing the finger of blame at yourself for being guilty of that…stop. That’s what this post is all about.

The way that we think about and treat ourselves directly impacts how we treat and react to others. This is beside the point though, because this post is about us personally. Many of us were taught that it is selfish to think of ourselves and/or to live our lives through a lens of how our words and actions make other people feel. While it is important that we not go around with no regard to others at all, to imply that we are way less important than others is a recipe for a lot of heartache.

If only for a few weeks, please try something for me. Next time you find yourself downgrading yourself, reframe it somehow. If there’s something that you’re less than pleased with, instead of beating yourself up about it, ask how you can proactively begin changing it. Next time you judge yourself harshly for something that you have or haven’t said or done, instead of allowing those thoughts to snowball into excessive guilt and negativity, love yourself…imperfections and all…with an awareness of how it is that you can conduct yourself to maximize your happiness and satisfaction.

When we learn how to treat ourselves, so many other pieces of the puzzle automatically click into place. Remember to take things easy. It isn’t like any of us got the way that we are overnight. As time goes by, you may even realize that some of the things which you were taught were negatives about yourselves are anything but. Step by step, with patience and gentleness, you can find a balance in kindness which is for your highest good.

I’d love to hear a little about your own journeys on the road to treating yourselves with the same dignity and respect as you afford others.

Much love,

Tracy

The Next Chapter

September has been flying by. I’ve been writing and sketching the month away. While the schedule has been a bit grueling, it has been a lot of fun. Last year, I was pretty non-involved in the annual October-long horror blog which my dear friend and I began years ago, due to the illness and passing of my father. Admittedly, I retreated from life for a while. She was kind enough to fill in the gaps for me, and I’m thankful. Fortunately, I can report that I am doing much better than I was at this time last year.

Writing scary or creepy stuff is so much fun for me, that I wasn’t about to let another year go by without diving in all the way. A good bit of the month of October is going to be otherwise busy around here, so I’ve doubled my efforts, and in addition to the content that I post here,  I’ve been channeling my inner psycho and writing ahead for Sisters In The Shadows. Granted I’d have been juggling both sites in October too. I just wouldn’t have had to be quite so regimented in my writing schedule. It’s coming along very well, and I’m really looking forward to my October, both in the online and real worlds.

Of course, those of you who have been following along have been seeing my 29 Faces fun which I’ve been posting each Wednesday and Thursday throughout September. While I’m about ready for that particular challenge to be over, I have had the realization that this is going to open up two days on the blog which I’m going to need to figure out how to fill. In my mad dash to keep caught up with all of my projects this month, it didn’t even enter my mind to think of something to take the place of 29 Faces. Thankfully I’ve got about two weeks to figure that out, but I admit that panic is setting in slightly.

While I realize that I have no one to answer to but myself, I have set the goal of posting something here five days per week. I’d like to keep to keep that goal. So, over the next week I’ll be brainstorming to come up with something to fill the gap and getting to work on it, as I won’t have the time to sit and write as much as usual for a good part of next month.

As if all of this weren’t enough, I’ve decided to partake in NaNoWriMo again this year. Since I finished my novel, “Twisted Faith”, few months ago, I’ve had ideas bouncing around in my head for a sequel. What better time to kick it all off than National Novel Writing Month, which is in November? This will make the third time which I’ve taken up the challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I’m looking forward to beginning the second installment of the series.

Now, I’d like to ask for your input. How do all of you feel about short stories…and by that I mean flash fiction? I’d like to do a bit more of that here, but wish to keep it on the brief side for both your sake and mine. Please take a moment to comment and let me know what you think.

Thank you for sticking around as I follow my muse…wherever it chooses to lead…you never know what will pop up around here. Neither do I. What fun!