Tick Tock

In planning to move away in three months, I force myself to get rid of what I don’t need. 

Evidence of my gluttony surrounds me – all the crap I’ve accumulated because it seemed necessary for this little project or that. So impractical. All my perpetual dabbling instigates consumerism. (If you object to toxic capitalism, boycott.) It also prevents me from focusing on the creative endeavors I truly enjoy now. Here comes the weight of objects – telling me how I’ve disappointed myself, then the spiraling downward…

I am love, but broken love. No, wounded. I lost faith in myself for whatever reason, and it holds me back. When I doubt myself or feel in-the-wrong, instead of looking at my faults head-on and accepting them, I’ve been running out of steam. I injured my back, which slows me more.

Example: I used to create whimsical cookie and cake gifts for friends. Looking to bring brightness into their lives or showing off? When I ask myself that and see the negative second option of the question, I’m scolding – faulting – myself. Oh dear. I wasn’t perfect. I hold onto the past too long. Down I go.

Question: Do I feel proud when praised? Yes. Is that why I baked? Maybe a little, but my primary purpose wasn’t ego boosting. Okay? Okay???!

Checking further: Back to my many shelves of baking supplies (some of which are past their expiration date)…how often has Maggie mythologized the shock of seeing those cupboards for the first time? (I’m never sure if she’s mocking me or amazed at my dedication to meaningless details.) Oh oh. Going dark again.  

Remedy: Learn to stay cheerful when in shadow. Shake it off. Notice when I’m stuck, and stop sinking. Take a break. Breathe. 

Forced downsizing: Make room for open thoughts and open heart.

Reinforce: The intention is liberation. While this clearing work might feel odious, having it done will lighten my load. The promise of greater space/new adventures motivates me.

So I am clearing places inside me that prevent me from going forward. I’m giving away and tossing out oceans of items. At this point it doesn’t matter how I managed to stuff myself/my home so densely; what matters is no longer letting that reality anchor me in a woeful trap of grimy, putrid thoughts. I clear a spot. I wipe it down. Voila!

Challenging Practice

An ongoing challenge for me is to sit quietly with words from/actions by people I think are (often) unwittingly destroying life on Earth. Sounds dramatic, but IMHO some people’s disregard for decency, for kindness, baffles me straight into this sidewise griping.

But sit quietly I must. I try to imagine what they’re thinking, but see – what I imagine isn’t necessarily true. Each person alive has had his/her or some non-binary experiences in life similar to, but not the same as the experiences of anyone else. So I can ride a high horse, a la Putin, or I can work on purifying myself with a magnifying glass of honesty. 

Or, my thinking something doesn’t make it true, and just because someone pisses me off doesn’t mean I have to wrestle with them. Or, ruminating about another’s “wrong” behavior or speech won’t teach them to be more thoughtful or kind, and it sure won’t change the world. 

Yes, I am claiming a moral high ground. Either someone affirms life, or they react with horror to any/all perceived differences – running away from the reality that the world is chock full of differences. To be the former, the life-affirmer, I practice:

  1. Getting acquainted with outdoors, fresh air, nature. 
  2. Gratitude.
  3. Staying grounded as much as possible, by meditating daily.  
  4. Paying attention to what I say and do; recognizing non-alignment with my mission to  stay neutral and compassionate.
  5. Modeling my understanding of grace, often.

My friends would say, give yourself a break. I do. I do understand baby steps. 

Set an intention to model kindness.

Try to remember to self-monitor.

Develop a framework of disciplines.

Surrender to the flow.

Manifest connection to the universe.

In this way, I will serve the paradigm shift. Sometimes, I can’t/won’t be able to refrain from speaking up/asking questions when bumping into those with zombie-like behaviors. Since I don’t believe they deeply enjoy the death trap they’ve chosen, I will do my best to respond instead of reacting. Yes, this is hard work.

Vision Board

Discouragement slips with stealth into the mind. How do we prevent apprehensions and other nightmares from entering? Practice presence. Have that sensation of Presence memorized, to act as a shield when needed. 

Do not let the little sneak attack you. You feel it? Look your saboteur straight in the eye and then release, without rancor. 

Continue creating your haven, the peace you’re trying to cultivate in the form of home. Simple, warm, spacious.

Boundaries: A New Way of Seeing

I had to light a fire under my butt to initiate a fresh look at the mess on my dining room table. I achieved this level of motivation by deciding to sell Oaklandia, my home. Moving to an apartment or loft will force me to simplify for real. It will make space for my life work. Whatever (as yet coalesced vision) I put my Self into and give from the heart will be helpful once I understand it better, so first I need space to examine what’s truly here. If I didn’t have a specific reason to “get rid of the junk,” as principal Almagno used to say, I would happily live in squalor.  I have a high tolerance for it, as exemplified by the state of my home now.

Cleaning, clearing my home, my soul…hating the feeling of waste that’s piled up, which recalls the greedy, nervous me…spiraling down I go. Why did I take what I didn’t need? Every bit of the saved bits must be useful somewhere, somehow, I think. I thought. Today though, that fancy gold top separated from its lower half (the tin that’s gone off now to contain a set of markers) has gone to the recycle bin. With a boundary established now, telling me what might be handy and what shouldn’t be obtained or retained, I can invite in essentials (only) and let the dusty crap go. 

Remember strength and flexibility. Release negativity.

Above all, set stronger intentions, I tell myself. I remind myself that setting boundaries banishes carelessness. I notice what serves and insist that the rest neither charm their way into nor remain inside my home.

As my friend Beth noted, making space by sitting in meditation leaves room for potentially beneficial…whatever…that needs to come in. I think it’s working. As I create inner space, I want that reflected in my environment, and vice versa.

While there’s so much more to do, I can only eat this elephant a few bites at a time. Every day, I spend some time on this endeavor, and then I release the effort until tomorrow.

I am motivated and determined to lovingly simplify my life, and that’s what’s new.

The Tasks Ahead

These two parts of me are going to work together.

Plenty of chores could use attention inside my home, inside my soul – the truth of which arrested me for the winter – while other pining projects occupy my yard, in the outside world. Have been resisting laboring to take care of this outer estate (even though the weather has been easy), fearing how it would tax my old body.

Today I saw that the yard undeniably requires stewardship. I could pay someone to maintain it, or I can let the needs of my surroundings nudge me into action. This old body needs to move more than it does anyway. 

Cracking a Shell

Drew the Death card in my daily tarot pull. Death of what, precisely, I wondered. 

Am thinking about absence of personal will and wondering why it feels so uncomfortable to me, like my version of co-dependence doesn’t fit anymore. I want to try on the kind of autonomy I once felt, but am not sure what that entails. I might have to notice every time I’m talking in my head to imaginary people. Might have to cultivate quiet.

I’m coming to see that pure self-determination is a rarity. Some people defer to their loved ones, with various underlying ego-driven motivations perhaps. Some don’t attach their sense of worth to decisions in their lives and so go along with others because hell, smarter than making potentially wrong choices. They might have low self-esteem. Others must be easygoing – might simply enjoy life whatever they’re doing. Or they surrender to guidance, knowing that except for death, destinations are subject to mutation.

I love the people in my life. At the same time I want to purify the experience, to come into relationships with a sense of fully embodying my peculiar nature, with no need for external validation. Striving to listen and to be kind.

Death to hiding in the shadows. Birth to fully honest relationships in my life, starting with me. 

Shattering Spring

In a class I’m taking now, The Yoga of Intuition and Creativity, Philip Goldberg invites us to take the time to meditate daily…and observe the results. I have experienced this and still I run from the potential for more space, fewer defenses. As if being in a good place is an undeserved treat, or some kind of threat. I can’t with all the running anymore.

Here’s what I keep forgetting: In that relaxed state – induced by a serious meditation practice – the idea, I’ve gathered, is to honestly look within and pick out the debris. Clear.  Painlessly release any resistance to coming back to life. From a place of purity, of communion, make a wish. Blow out the candle. Break through and illuminate. This clarity – a vision of unity – fosters patience, which makes life a bit easier all around. Less struggling when maintaining a regular practice. Clear eyed, realistic, and loving. 

Am still battling myself to STOP every morning (heavens knows what I’m doing that’s so important) and instead sit for longer than my usual spotty, eclectic sessions. My resistance makes no sense, because in general the sitting brings me better energy, or more positivity. I believe in the vision of unity that has been gifted to me. And there’s the time stretching thing too, reflecting a universal rhythm. Everything flows with optimal success. Not with efficiency always, but the failures carry good lessons. So. 

Agreed. Living in the moment is a beautiful place to be.  As my teacher Indu says, “Why would you want to be anywhere else?”

In that place, intuition and creativity thrive. So sit. Breathe. Time to tune in. 

Deeper Cleaning

After creating altars everywhere, I let them collect dust. This has to end.

Soot piling high tells me I’ve neglected to care for myself as a beloved being. Human. Floundering or sinking, I submit to distractions as a way to avoid labor. I know I can do better.

After identifying the problem, my task is to continue clearing, forgiving myself for real, devoting my attention to movement of body and movement of stale stuff.

Full moon boosts my resolve.

Started in my sanctuary, vacuum hosing into tight spots and under furniture. Wishing for freshness when I step in, and praying I reflect springtime, exude infectious joy. To this, I surrender.  

Next I clobbered the previously-avoided spots in my bedroom (which I had recently boasted was a cleared area of my home), and as I squatted down to dig into corners, there I saw three items perched together: an abandoned smoke detector, a lovely wooden box full of old, delicately patterned gauze-thin napkins from Japan, and a cardboard box containing Husky plastic trash bags. Can you guess why they were in my bedroom? Me neither. 

I laughed, “Who says the universe isn’t filled with signs for us?” The absurdity!

Happy to report that the three items have been removed from my bedroom, reassigned.

Progress

(my continued adventures in homemaking)

For a moment, wiping off the kitchen ceiling fan, I was alone, present in the experience of cleaning, fully absorbed in the double task of clearing my space and clearing my mind. Yoga. Union. 

I might’ve ridden the momentum and continued on to another needy spot – for example the dining room ceiling fan – but instead I sat down to look at a screen. I was in the flow, feeling fine, until ancient history came to haunt me. When I live in my body, I move at a pace that works, but when I notice I’m happy I either freeze up or collapse. Ubiquitous analysis ensued. Was I stalling, trying to find a way to stash the experience away for later use instead of diving back into the flow? Was I worn out? Was I running away from work? Why? Would that added little bit of labor be so hard? 

Silly fears. Disappointment. Mental acrobatics. 

I watched myself in a depressed state, barely willing to move my body…and then understood why it’s so creaky. I was in my head, ruminating about my faltering instead of living and enjoying every moment I’m alive. Because honestly, wiping dust off the fan wasn’t terribly taxing, and I’d actually enjoyed both the activity and the results. 

Timidity, hiding inside of shame? There. There it is. 

Here’s an alternative: Sit for a few moments and breathe. Catch and release. Then move along. The only one judging is me. Breathe. Release some more. Grab the ladder and dust cloth.

I’m listening, not dead. Not clutching, open. 

On earth again, ready to dance.

Right Tool for the Right Job

Found a half-inch hair growing out of my chin. Heh heh. I mean, I figured I was a witch, but now I sense the truth of it.

Today, birds chaperone a spring-feeling afternoon in sun warmer than it’s been for a while. 

Swept the back stairs, finally. I say “finally” because I must’ve looked on their cringe-provoking state in disgust at least five times before remedying the situation. Some messes honestly don’t cross my radar, but when one does, and I keep ignoring it…

Okay. Going to poke the wound. What goes through my head when I see dust piled high in the corners and choose to walk away from it? I think that’s worth investigating.

For now though, am reporting that using a broom  – instead of using a vacuum or mop – felt like casting off unwelcome spirits. And then came the pleasure of walking on clear steps.