Monday, April 7, 2014

Yes, Siree Bob, I've Got This Ego Thing Down…

My dad has been in the hospital all week.  The hospital has become very familiar now.  I've got the parking routine down.  I park in the outdoor free parking just to change things around from my usual parking garage routine.  I'm getting so comfortable, I embarked on finding him and my mother where he was having a nuclear test in the bowels of the hospital.  This would have given me great anxiety before.  Speaking up, asking for directions, situations where I didn't know where I was going equalled high anxiety and freezing in my tracks.  Now, I think to myself, "Every little thing is going to be alright."

Mindfulness is so freaking helpful under these circumstances.  Dad's had a slow bleed for a week now and he has had numerous tests and procedures and the MD's think they find it and then the labs look bad again two days later.  He is not a good candidate for surgery at all if the procedures need to be more invasive.  Stress-ful.   Yet mindfulness has changed my life in terms of anxiety and fear that come up in times like this.

Mindfulness really rocks!  I have thoughts that pop in my head and I know - wow - I don't have to believe them.  That is my old conditioning popping up. I can change those thoughts.  And most of them are fear thoughts.  (This is where all that love stuff changes every thing)

Before I headed to the hospital yesterday as I was dressing,  I turned on the OWN channel.  Eckhart Tolle is talking to Oprah about the third chapter of his book "A New Earth" which is entitled, 'The Core of Ego.'  I "read" the book years ago in a class at church.  It is was very appealing to me but dense yet I did begin to understand the concepts.  Eckhart talks very slowly, dryly and unanimated.  He doesn't draw me in but…

Ego has been a topic in my head the last few weeks.  I've listened to Mary O'Malley talk about the monkey brain and how our thoughts will always lead us astray and those thoughts are the ego taking charge.  The heart is where we need to focus, etc.  And science is beginning to prove that.  It seems when I am staying aware, I usually have a theme word or truth that stays with me for a week or two.  Ego has been that word lately.

So I'm listening to Eckhart and Oprah talking from the other room and all of a sudden, I hear him say, "the ego means you are not aware of it, ego means unconscious."

Hello!  Ding, ding, ding.

I nod my head in utter delight.  Eckhart has my attention.  I have been working to let go of the ego!!   I have been working diligently on awareness and becoming conscious.  Just hearing this simple definition.  That is what the ego is?   I've got that down.  I am so on top of this one!!

Well, I want to watch the full episode but I've got to catch up on life.  But as I am experiencing life, I will remember to stay aware and diligent of the thoughts that pop up.  It's not always easy, so practice, practice, practice.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Girl and Her Dogs

This morning before school, Mallory got out of bed without any prodding whatsoever.  She was so excited to help walk our neighbor's dogs.  Last night, she walked them with a wet head from her bath.

This girl loves her dogs.

And it's catching.

She wore me down endlessly asking for a dog in 2012.  We finally got one.  And then when that one was scared of George, I felt bad about a man not having a dog that loved him.  And Mallory was asking for another dog anyway, so we got another one last year.  And Brinkley LOVES George.

And they sleep in our bed. And sit on our couches.  And I had to learn to be the alpha of the house. It has not been an easy journey.  And that's not even mentioning the carpet that needs to be replaced.

But this morning as we raced to get out the door to have time to walk them before school, I catch Mallory's perpetual enthusiasm for her dogs and her dogs' friends.  Riley does too.  Mallory makes comments the whole time about the dogs and their personalities and how they walk and their relationship to each other, etc.

When you LOVE something so much - it spills over.

And other people get caught in that energy of LOVE.

Maybe it's because she is my child and it warms my heart to see her so excited about something.  Maybe it's because, the unconditional love of dogs is wearing me down.  {smile}

When that energy of love is put out there, it comes back to you.

The small but powerful act of Living In the Present Moment is huge.
A dog walk can be the best beginning of the day.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Being Defriended on Facebook

I've lost my voice with this blog for a bit.  I haven't written in a while and I truly LOVE to write.  It is so cathartic for me.  So I am forcing myself to write this.

I shared a bit of my authentic self on Facebook.  I linked a blog that had taken me many years of soul searching to write. But it had to do with religion, addiction, being gay and the movie, "Twelve Years  A Slave."  Hot button issues to write about in the Deep South Bible Belt.

After posting the link to my blog, I was pleasantly surprised that there were positive responses immediately.  I would like to say that it shouldn't have mattered but knowing someone else understood and had the same opinion was gratifying.  It is my truth and I have worked so hard to get to the point of saying it out loud…well at least in a blog.

And then about a week later, I realized that one person was not pleased with the blog and needed to not see my "stuff" on FB and defriended without a word.  I was saddened and angry because of who the person was but I remind myself that the reaction that comes back to me has to do with that person.  It's their stuff.

This blog is my truth and I have worked so hard to come to know what I believe at my core.  And I am learning bit by bit that I don't have to have anyone else agree with me either.  And to take it a step further, I can be friends with people who don't have the same opinion as I.  It is called, "Agreeing to Disagree."  

Love them and accept them for who they are.
In my journey, I had to figure out that I was a people pleaser - this was kinda shocking to me as I have progressed out of it, how deeply it went.  I had to learn what boundaries were.  First, I had to have the awareness that I was a people pleaser and what the hell boundaries were and that I needed them,  desperately.   I believe that I had to understand where I came from so I could move forward.  And moving forward to owning my own thoughts, words and actions is so freeing.

The irony with this particular situation of defriending is that my journey to figure out my authentic self, led me to a deeper relationship with God and his Divineness within me, always available to rely on.   And that Divine within is all about love, not judgment. And this person and I just disagree about the "rules" of the God we both believe in.

So I'm back.  I will stop here.  But my journey has to continue whether anyone agrees with me or not.

It is well with my soul.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Acceptable Self vs Unacceptable Self a la Richard Rohr

This meditation speaks to me sooooo much.  I've underlined what meant the most to me!

Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation

Leaving the Garden

Splitting the Idealized Self
from the Shadow Self
Friday, February 28, 2014

The fourth split is when you split your acceptable self from your unacceptable self. You build a persona, a self-image that is based upon what most people want from you, reward you for, and what you choose to identify with. At the same time, you repress and often totally deny your “shadow self.” Your shadow is what you refuse to see about yourself and what you do not want others to see. Jesus simply calls it “the log in your own eye” (Matthew 7:4). It’s fully there, but you just can’t see it. And even worse, this unworthy instrument becomes that by which you see others (which is why you tend to dislike people who are just like you!). “The lamp of the body is the eye” (Matthew 6:22), Jesus says, and you need to clean the lens to see truthfully. Much of the work of spirituality is becoming aware of the biases, prejudices, and limitations through which you see the moment. It is a lifetime of painful work. It never ceases, because the ego never totally abandons its throne.

Jesus was a brilliant psychologist. He really was. He says you must clean not just the outside of the cup, but mostly the inside (Matthew 23:26). I would say that the major reason why so much religion is a waste of time is that it is mostly about external actions, rituals, and behaviors, whereas Jesus focuses very strongly on the internal (attitude, motivation, intention) and actually minimizes the external. Only an inner life of prayer helps you to go where Jesus invites us.

This split from the shadow self reaches full force in the teenage years, but many never recover. Young people are just so eager to be acceptable to their peer group and to “look good,” but unfortunately a lifelong game has begun. Carl Jung said that people who just look outside are dreaming, but people who look inside are “awakening.”

Both the idealized self and the shadow self can blind one to their best and deepest self. This, ironically, is a “field of both weeds and wheat” (Matthew 13:24f) that for some magnificent reasons God not only fully accepts but even loves. It is only we who refuse to live in this field. Rumi, the Sufi poet, beautifully says, “I will meet you there!”

Adapted from Franciscan Mysticism: I AM That Which I Am Seeking
(CD, MP3 download),
Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self, p. 29, and
Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, pp. 127-128

Monday, February 24, 2014

Love is Like Forgiveness

From Evolved Eating Facebook Page:  Screams my name!

”I have learned, that the person I have to ask for forgiveness from the most is: myself. You must love yourself. You have to forgive yourself, everyday, whenever you remember a shortcoming, a flaw, you have to tell yourself, 'That’s just fine.' You have to forgive yourself so much, until you don’t even see those things anymore. Because that’s what love is like." ~ C. JoyBell C
☾.¸¸.•´¯`♥ ☆ Susan ☆ `•.¸.• ✫*¨`*✶♪• ☾

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Goodbye Girl and 1977 Is Calling Me

God gives small little signals to let me know I'm on the right path and I'm learning to be aware to see them, feel them and take them in.  It's a little hug of acknowledgement from the Divine one.

Over the weekend, my mother told me about an Oscar special on TMC.  I love Oscar time as you know.  In looking at the cable guide, I see "The Goodbye Girl" movie was on the same channel and on a lark, I taped that too.  On Monday afternoon, when I am sitting in carpool listening to the LOVE channel,  David Gates comes on singing "The Goodbye Girl."  (Hmmm)

The melody just sticks in my brain and stirs the great romantic in me.  Yesterday, I began watching the movie again as I had seen it many years ago and Marsha Mason draws me in.  Even through celluloid, I am moved, touched, and enamored with someone and I'm not sure why.  If I dig into it, I usually find out some connection. So of course, I look her up on IMDB and see that she hasn't been in many movies lately.  She was divorced from Neil Simon and that I had recently watched her on "The Middle" as Frankie's mother but no other big revelations.

On to this morning, I turn on Oprah's radio channel sometimes after I drop off the girls in carpool (because they do not want to listen to Oprah!). When there is something good on I will listen on my phone while I walk the dogs.  Today, it was an Oprah shows from 2001 and I hear a female voice talking about subjects near and dear to my heart.  And I think, who is this?

And then I hear Oprah call her Marsha.

Really! Are you kidding me?

Why is this 1977 movie stalking me?  LOL

I am able to rewind and listen from the beginning of Marsha Mason's segment.  She talks about making friends with fear.  That we generally run from it (our compulsions!!), but she found she had to stop, sit down and be with those feelings alone.   Oprah called it riding the waves.  Marsha said that many intense emotions can come up.  (Yep!)  She also talks about living her life as a half (as in half of a couple) and having her identity was from being an actress and when the roles dried up and she was divorced, she didn't know who she was anymore.  Her journey was to be a whole person.  She advised the use of a life coach, a therapist, a priest, and someone piped up and said...a dog! (grin)

Whenever I hear someone describe the same journey that I have been on in their own terms, it's so heartening.   This journey I'm on can feel isolating and alone at times because it's rare to come upon people who talk about consciousness in my daily walk with carpool, science projects, basketball games and laundry. Yet, my heart leaps for joy when I randomly (or not so randomly)  hear it!  I didn't go looking for it necessarily, but it found me in a roundabout way.

And I had to giggle when I saw Richard Dreyfuss in the movie practicing meditation with incense and chanting.  Mindfulness presented through comedy.  His character, Elliott Garfield says "I am not nervous. Because I have meditated, I am relaxed, calm and confident." I watched the movie years ago, so I'm sure this settled in my psyche somehow.  And of course, I'm in a meditation class right now.