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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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 ‚̧

 

Mabon ~ Balance Between Light and Dark

It has been a while since I’ve written anything spiritual or to honor the cycles of life, so here I am. Mabon aka the Autumn equinox is a day in which there is a balance between light and dark. It is a day to look within and reflect on what we’ve accomplished over the previous months, and to examine whether there is anything in our lives which no longer fits. Before we turn inward over the Winter, it is the perfect time to give that last push toward what we wish to manifest.

I’ve always enjoyed this time of year a great deal, and this year things really kicked into high gear in my own life in terms of letting go and looking ahead. Just a few days ago, I was finally able to let go of a very toxic situation in my life after months of confusion and not honoring myself. The amount of relief that I felt, and the almost immediate shift toward embracing what makes me feel happy and fulfilled has been nothing short of drop dead gorgeous!

Over the past year, I entered into a situation which was in direct opposition to my deepest desires, what I stand for, and what I believe in. As the months wore on, I found that I was turning into someone barely recognizable to myself. Yet, I soldiered on and continued to wander through what rapidly turned into an emotional, mental, and spiritual wasteland. I pushed myself beyond my limits of acceptability in order to give someone the benefit of the doubt…and it cost me greatly (not gonna happen again). There’s no need to go into further detail because I’ve left all of that behind me.

Looking forward, not only can I see what I do not want, but I have more clarity about what I don’t. There will definitely be more caution about what I allow into my life, and I’m gaining a broader picture of the types of activities and things which suit who I am at my core. It feels so good to have the stress gone, and to be able to rebuild my life. To reclaim my life and power has been a feeling like no other. I’ll be working through the anger for some time, but that’s okay. Sometimes you just need to be pissed, sometimes anger is appropriate and can be used to bolster us as we learn how to thrive.

Throughout the day, I’ve spent a great deal of time envisioning my life as I wish it to be and in clearing out traces of the heavy energy which had gathered around me. Am I exhausted? You betcha! Is it worth it? Undoubtedly. Thankfully I have a month to heal and rest before seeing my best friend since the 5th grade in person for the first time in…well, a very long time. I’m diving more deeply into my art and working through more rounds of submission for my novel. I’ll be putting a lot more energy into my other work too…my writing, my coaching practice, my work in constructively helping others to embrace themselves…so many things.

Even though I’ve only been out of the situation for a few days, I’ve been very proactive…making contacts and gathering information. I am being a little tight lipped about some of my plans, because I have a lot to do over the upcoming months. As things continue to take shape, I’ll reveal more. For now though, I’ll say that things are about to get a lot more creative and busy around here. One other thing I’d like to share here today is that in November, I’ll possibly be adding a feline friend to my household. This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while, but have held back on for various reasons. I may throw caution to the wind and allow myself the joy of having a cat again.

In closing, I’d like to encourage anyone reading this to reach for what you want in life. Don’t be afraid to truly live and actively seek your joy. In that process there may be some painful truths and releases which need to happen, but don’t we all owe it to ourselves to work toward the fullest realization of ourselves which we possibly can?

Happy Mabon everyone!

Love,

Tracy

 

 

 

Who Do You Think You Are?

While there are any number of answers which you might think of to answer this question, there is in fact, only one. No matter who you are, what you do, where you live, or how you look…you are whoever you think you are. If you’re anything like me, you have had people ask you who you thought you were on more than one occasion.

One thing which is common when it comes to this question, is that no matter how old you are when someone asks it of you, it usually doesn’t feel very good. When people ask this question, it isn’t usually meant in a kind way. They are usually asking it to imply that they feel that the person that they’re asking it of is inferior, not good enough, impractical, or some other derogatory thing. While many of us have been asked to this sort of question, there are those who are subjected to it more than others.

The adults who are asked this question the most are women, people with illnesses, the disabled, and creative people. Those who fire off this question do so for several reasons. They ask it in an attempt to “put someone in their place”, to point out to someone that they aren’t measuring up in some way (in their opinion), to diminish self esteem, to manipulate, or to be critical of another person’s choices. Whether the question is asked directly or implied by making a statement, it has the potential to be damaging.

The most recent incident of something along this vein in my own life wasn’t all that long ago. As most of you know, there are a few things about me which make me a potential target for this type of behavior…I am a woman, I am creative, and I have chronic illnesses. Not too long ago, someone made the statement to me that thinking that writing was going to be a way for me to become more financially stable was impractical. Not only that, but that the odds were stacked against my being successful enough at it to make a difference in my life because so many people want to do it. The person went on to say that it was a nice thing to do in order to give me something to do so that I didn’t get bored.

I’ve also been asked who I thought I was to think that I was qualified to provide intuitive services for others…and wasn’t I worried that others would think that I was weird? In the past someone making statements of this nature and asking me that sort of question bothered me tremendously and made me feel diminished. There were times when I felt so defeated that I quit doing the things that mattered to me because I bought into the implied answer to what this question almost always is. “Who do you think you are?” No one. Not good enough. Foolish. That’s what the desired impact most often is.

If you have had this happen, please don’t be hard on yourself and do not be discouraged. It doesn’t matter who anyone else thinks that we are. What does matter is who we think we are. Even though this is irrelevant, I wish to talk about it anyway…in order to shine a light on it. When a person feels the need to go after someone in this way, it is a reflection on them…a reflection of their own fears and insecurities…or a reflection of work that they need to do on themselves. Think about it…what type of person has a need to do try to tear someone else down?

It isn’t someone who is good with themselves. It isn’t someone with a loving and compassionate heart. It isn’t someone who is fully happy with their own life. Under the circumstances of being good with yourself, having a loving heart, and happiness with your own life…there is no room or proclivity to tear down another. Period. As I said, this doesn’t really matter at the end of the day, because it isn’t your responsibility to understand why someone is the way that they are. And, it certainly isn’t your responsibility to put up with it. The important thing is how you feel about yourself, not as a result of what anyone else says or does…what you and you alone think.

Your gender, your spirituality, your state of health, your ability to work at a ‘normal’ job, your choice of career…none of this makes you inferior or superior. What matters is who you are at your core. All of the other stuff is just stuff, and no one has a right to question or judge any of it. You do not owe anyone an explanation. It is so important to find your own unique brand of happiness, and not measure yourself against anyone else. Follow your passions to the best of your ability and know that it is good enough.

I didn’t go into when children, people who are not of a straight sexual orientation, or racial minorities are asked this type of question in this post, because those issues simply cannot be lumped in with what I’ve discussed here today. While I cannot do all of this justice in this post…I will openly and gladly state that I do not find it acceptable that racial minorities, those of other than straight sexual orientations, and kids are asked this question either. If anyone finds themselves thinking about asking it…the reality is that some self examination would serve them much better.

So…who do you think you are? The only answer and opinion that matters, and that you need to take or not take action on, is your own.