A friend of mine, I’m going to call her Annie, lived with her boyfriend for four years before they decided to get married. They had a fabulous fun wedding and four months later she caught her new husband cheating on her. She was so hurt, humiliated and angry that all she could think was of was to ask for a divorce. They sold their house and went their separate ways.
I saw Annie recently, three years after her divorce, and we talked about her ex-husband. She said she regretted not having given their relationship a chance. She thought she should have talked to him and tried to figure out why after just a few months he needed to give his attention to someone else. Was the commitment to much of a weight? Was he/she feeling insecure about still being a desirable man/woman?
Have you ever been thinking about a friend when the phone rings? “I was just thinking about you! You exclaim. But, is it a coincidence or were the two of you connected beyond the five senses?
There is much that goes on in our lives that are beyond what we see, smell, taste, hear and touch. Our intuition is what captures this other type of information and acts as a pool of wisdom for each one of us. All we need to tap into this great resource is to look within.
Unfortunately, most of us regard this great tool and resource as confusing noise because we simply can’t believe we would actually know what the right answer or action would be.
The way we operate is; we have an instinct, but then we disregard it. “How could I possibly know?” It’s usually our response.
Over time I have come to realize how great my instincts are. I always know the truth, I – like most – just have trouble following. So, I have come up with a way to give myself a chance to connect and believe in that which I know.
When something important comes up that I need to make a decision on, I sit quietly and tell myself “You know what to do. You know the truth.” I then wait for the answer to come. It always arrives clearly and peacefully. Once I hear it, I follow it.
In the beginning, this process is a bit scary. “What if I’m wrong?” pops into our minds. The way to deal with that is by taking a deep breath and reminding oneself the second the instinct hits consciousness it is always certain. Holding on to that clarity helps us move forward.
The five senses is how we experience the world outside. Instincts are how we experience the world from within. Tap into your greatest resource.
That’s a tough one, simply because it’s complicated.
We have responses to everything that touches our lives, but sometimes it is difficult to manage all the feelings. We question ourselves: Is this my real feeling or is this made-up to cover up for the “truth”? Do I have the right to feel this way?
Anyone, that has spent time delving into the inner-workings of the self, know we must pull all the layers back – the ones we have created to fit in, or the ones that have been created as a protection mechanism – to find how we truly feel. And even when we get there, we often have the impulse to explain why we feel the way we do.
I have known and have finally learned that my feelings don’t have to be “right” or “wrong”, but do have the right to exist.
It is a mistake to look at our feelings and try to understand them from a point of view where we need to classify them as good or bad, right or wrong. If we could instead just look at our feelings as our own response to something or someone without judgment, we would find a great deal more of well-being and compassion for own selves.
Learning to allow our feelings to exist, come as a result of a great deal of inner-working. It is usually then followed by trusting our instincts and knowing that our core is strong enough to support us in whatever results from our actions. In that there is great freedom.
Feelings often evade logic and operate at a different cadence. That is most clear in romantic relationships. Why do we like each other? On paper it may not work, but in life it does. Or the other way around. Why is that? Feelings don’t necessarily follow logic.
Often instead of simply acting according to our feelings, we try to explain them away and get others to help in this endeavor. But, regardless how well-intentioned a friend, partner or family member is, they can’t fully understand and therefore help guide our responses.
It all comes back to an intimate relationship with the self. Once we have that we learn to give room to our feelings knowing they are valid as they are and regardless of the results we will be okay.
We stand-up for how we feel without anger or judgment with the singular thought of: this is who I am and this is how I feel.
I have just returned from Brazil where I was working for the last few weeks.
As it was a job, I flew business class and was privy to an interesting conversation when we finally landed. A group of people – dressed simply and in shorts – were dismayed how others during the flight had asked them what they were doing in business class. The question came as a result of this particular group not looking the part of what we imagine a successful group must look like.
In our pre-conceived minds someone who sits in that aircraft class must look and be a certain way. This group didn’t.
The conversation got me thinking how many times we judge others based on societal concepts. When we stereotype we put others in a box and miss opportunities to learn and relate in different ways. It is as if we are compelled to assign labels for easy processing. Unfortunately the results are often erroneous.
“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.” – Goethe
I love this quote. It’s simple and it holds in it a map for our lives.
Trusting ourselves means to quiet our minds enough to hear our most profound voice tell us who we are, what we want and how to reconcile our inner world with the demands of a society that does not have contentment on its mind. The old phrase be in this world but not of this world requires introspection and a desire to live life by inspired by meaning.
Our answers rest within us but somehow most of us insist in tiptoeing around them as if afraid to wake them up.
How silly that we have bought into listening to the world’s latest fashion and obsession instead of to the wise voice inside that knows us better than anyone. Our power and our freedom depend on sitting down, making friends with our truths. And when we do that, we will also find contentment.
How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone. – Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel
I love the slogan “Just do it”. Because if you want to make a change; just do it. The how is what can become the issue. So here are a few things to consider when you decide to make a change:
1 – Tell people you trust about your decision. Once it’s out there we feel more responsible to follow through. Plus our friends and/or family will keep us in check.
2 – Have a plan. If you want to lose weight, set up a plan. If you want to stop smoking, set up a plan. In these cases a plan can be a schedule to stick by, and actions to be taken such as: read food labels, weigh food, avoid sugar etc. And if you want to be happier, you still need a plan like: not to indulge in negativity, to busy yourself every time you get depressed, to do something pleasurable every day etc.
3 – Realize that only you can make the change. Waiting for others to change things for us, just keeps us right where we are. No one can rescue anyone. If we don’t love ourselves and are waiting for someone to love us so we can feel whole, it will never happen. If we are waiting for someone to strategize how to get the perfect job; that will never happen. We need to be responsible for our own lives. If we want to live differently and/or better it is up to us.
4 – Don’t give up and don’t expect immediate results. Just because we decided to change something it doesn’t mean the results will happen right after we declared to the world that we are in the process of changing. Be diligent and be reasonable and don’t give up.
5 – Be okay in being off balance. We are creatures of habit. When we decide to change something about us or our lives, every cell in our bodies wants to scream: “What the hell is going on here?” When you feel that way, realize it is part of the change and breath through the anxiety and discomfort.
There are days when I’m reminded of a moment in time that I’d not thought of for a long time. My heart smiles. My soul dances. My tears fall. I am trying so hard to stand strong and trust. The path that leads you to a place where your prayers and dreams come true is there, trust and believe in miracles…
Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name,
speak to me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone;
wear no false air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play… smile… think of me… pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
… I am but waiting for you, for an interval,
somewhere very near just around the corner.
All is well.
Canon Henry Scott Holland, English Clergyman and Theologian
We are beginning the second decade of the 21st century. Those that want to, may argue with me, but we’ve had 10 years that started with 20 and 2010 is the 11th.
I was running through an issue of the New York Times Sunday Magazine a couple of weeks ago with short, beautiful written obits about the well-known people we lost during 2009. One of them was Ted Kennedy.
Probably, because of my age, I have been fascinated by the Kennedy family for most of my life, as have many others. When Ted’s memoir was published in 2009, I was quick to buy and read it.
This isn’t a book review and it isn’t a rehash of the tabloid stories that punctuated too much of his life. And, although the primary cause of his legislative life, to secure adequate health care to all Americans, seems to have enough traction to become a reality, this isn’t about his extraordinary effectiveness as a legislator.
What this is about, is the content of the memoir that was devoted to his relationship with his family. I believe that even were he to have been completely revealing about every facet of his personal life, he could not have informed me more about the truth of his life and the lessons it teaches, than the information about his relationship with his family.
Ted had eight siblings and as is well-known, a bushel of nieces, nephews, and children. He also had a father who lived into his 90’s and a mother who lived past 100.
The family base in Hyannis port, Mass was the location of most of the personal family film the public is familiar with. It was there that the family gathered and in time of disaster, as well as joy. For decades, the family came home to Joe and Rose, Ted’s mother and father, whenever there was something to share. It was there they learned to lean upon each other and to share and enjoy each others successes as well as to mourn their common or individual losses.
Ted’s memoirs bring us back time and time again to the family gatherings where decisions were made, where character and morals and ethics were shaped, where no one was ever alone.
I don’t have eight siblings or parents that lived to triple figures. Most of us don’t. Some of us aren’t even lucky enough to have families that share our life histories. But all of us could very well have a chance to spend some time building relationships with people we can rely on for support, if we are willing to reply in kind. Families come in all sizes and shapes and don’t have to be connected by blood.
I’m going to spend the second decade of this century, if I am lucky enough to survive it, building up this extended family. I’m going to make myself open to people I admire and let them know I am here to serve if they need me. I am going to learn to trust some friends so I can unburden myself of some of the things I have kept locked up inside my head and my heart.
I think I’m going to start by making some phone calls.
I just had a mental picture of the Rodgers and Hammerstein song “Some Enchanted Evening” from their wonderful show South Pacific, now enjoying a very successful revival in New York. There is the phrase in the song which goes “you will see a stranger, across a crowded room.” How often, in the past few years I have seen an old friend across a crowded room and have waved. I think of how often one of us has stuck a pinkie near the mouth and the thumb near the ear in the now familiar “call me” sign, and how many times one of us has nodded yes and never called.
It’s in this spirit that I wish you all a Happy New Year, by letting you know that if the phone rings, it might just be me.