Observing Connection

Pen and paperWhen I was a child, there was this thing called pen pals. A pen pal was someone you didn’t know at first, but started to write back and forth with and become long distant friends. There were ads in the TV Guides and the newspapers that help children around the country to become pen pals with other children of the same age. It helped strengthen writing skills and foster learning about other ways of living. I think my parents had to give their consent / signature to allow me to become a pen pal.

Once the letters started arriving, they would be long and descriptive. We would learn the names of each other’s siblings, pets, and what we liked to eat. We would share about visits to grandparents and what we liked about school. I would check the mail daily when I thought enough time had passed and that a letter would be probable. When I finally received my letter, I would read it over and over again. I would imagine in my mind the events that were described to me. Sometimes a picture, usually a school picture, was shared and it would add a little more to my imagination as I read the words from my pen pal. I would spend a few days writing my return letter and sharing about what I did and what games I liked playing when I was outside. I also shared about meals and other things that I did.

We were kids and the topics were simple, but that experience provided something to disney-blue-mailboxlook forward to every few weeks. I would look forward to replying and taking my letter to the local mail box on the corner. I thought it was magic. I would place a letter in the blue mail box at the end of the street and several weeks later a letter showed up in our mail box on the front porch. I even remember our mailman’s name… Tony. He delivered our mail for 10 or more years. Eventually, the letters waned and we no longer stayed connected. But this did not stop me from writing. When I entered high school, letter writing made a comeback. I would see my friends every day at school and we would go over to each other’s homes to visit, but writing our thoughts on paper and mailing them or dropping them through the slots of our lockers at school was special.

When I moved and joined the Coast Guard, it was easy to write and to stay connected through this medium. I experienced the anticipation of receiving a letter from everyone I wrote and then taking the time to write back; to write my thoughts and hopes in confidence to people in which I desired to stay connected. There were also phone calls. Those helped clarify that changes were indeed taking place; that I, as well as my friends, were evolving and becoming different as our lives grew bigger and experiences changed our ways of thinking. I savored those letters and had a special box to keep them in. I remember being hurt one year when I learned that my letters were not saved. They were read and replied to, but then thrown away. It was my belief then that those letters were a part of me as I also believed that the letters I received were a part of the person who took the time to pour themselves onto the paper with ink.

As my friends and I got older and married and started to work real jobs and take care of real homes or apartments, the letters decreased. Yet, we continued evolving and growing, changing and moving into new phases of our lives. A funny thing happens though. The thoughts and perceptions I had about my friends became frozen in time to the last known understanding I had about them. I remembered what they last looked like, what their home looked like, what their food preferences were, what they believed in, or what I thought their relationship to life, others and activities were. Months and sometimes years later, when I or we take time to catch up, we learn how our separate choices and dreams took us on different journeys. What we may find in common now may be only the past we had shared. I am grateful for the opportunities for true re-connection and authentic sharing. Sometimes, that spark that was there in the beginning of the friendship re-ignites the chemistry that originally brought us together as friends, warming our hearts and merging the past and present back together.

Image result for twitter logoPresently, I stay in contact with many friends via social media rather than pen and paper and yet, I may not really know what is going on in their lives and hearts. It is my experience that Facebook and Twitter pages show only what we want to reveal and I Image result for facebook logodon’t often expose the inner workings of my life in cyber land. I save that for heart to heart talks in person or on the phone. Also, my perceptions and observations of how a friend is doing can only be based on my last real conversation that took place with them; a conversation beyond sharing emojis and pictures of sunsets and plates of gourmet food. And, just like my pen pal from so long ago, I only know the last thing that was shared unless a newer connection is made.

I share this observation as I have been pondering and talking with others about the lack of true connection on social media platforms. It seems, for me, that the convenience of touching base electronically has out-weighed going out for a meal, or tea, or meeting up for a walk to enjoy fresh air, good conversation, and moving the body.

So, I shall grab my walking shoes and my calendar. It’s time for some in-person connections.

Sue

Boots.with.a.View

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Observing Distraction

 

Our society has never been as distracted as it is now. Our ability to hold our attention on one thing at one time is challenged by our multi-tasking minds and our over active devices notifying us when our Twitter feed has a new follower or a new friend request has been accepted. We have apps on our cell phones to inform us about the weather, how are stock is doing, when our packages will be shipped, and now managing the temperature of our new digital coffee cup! But even in this, I digress.

The distractions that are on my mind are the ones that prevents us from truly living and Image result for Picture of being distractedmoving in the directions of our dreams. It is the type of distraction that is used as a smoke screen so we don’t deal with the hard questions about who we are, what we really love to do, what excites us, and what will it take to motivate us to climb out of a routine that stagnates our minds? We have become so mechanical in our patterns of living that days turn to weeks and weeks turn into years until two or three decades have past and the only thing that has changed is either the girth of our waist or the color of our hair or both.

I am quite sure that if we allow ourselves to ask if we love and enjoy what we do everyday, most of us would would say “no, but what else can I do?” We have worked ourselves into a lifestyle that requires us to continue doing what we do to pay for what we have that we don’t get to use because we are to busy working and commuting to continue the cycle. STOP!

Our lives as we know them have become the very distractions that prevents us from doing what we really love and some of us can’t even remember what it is like to wake up with enthusiasm or joy. We have become jaded and hope that once we retire, we have the energy to do some of the things we have put off for years.

Image result for Picture of being distractedWhy wait? What is it that you love to do? What has been distracting you from doing it? What fears have kept you from pursuing the creative ideas that rattle around in your mind? What can you change to begin to feel like you are living again instead of surrendering yourself to someone else’s dream? Make the space!!! Make a list of what you miss doing and how you can start making room for it in your life now. Observe how it feels to imagine doing what you love and follow that feeling.

Dropping the Distraction,

Sue

 

 

Observation… Wrong Turn!

Observation… Wrong Turn!

Have you ever being driving down the road, and automatically got off at the wrong exitSign.Freeway because you have used that exit many times before? Unconsciously, your body made the same decision and took you on the path you have gone before so many times. This happens to me we I get on a local freeway, but from a different location. I have the GPS set for my desired destination, but I take that familiar exit which I had no intention of taking. ARGH! I, then, maneuver myself back on the freeway and continue my way as the GPS is doing course corrections.

Recently, it happened again and I observed how this can be equated to how I, and maybe some of you, find ourselves thinking thoughts we no longer want to have or saying words we no longer want in our vocabulary. Words and thoughts have created patterns in our consciousness for so long that we are unaware we are using them until we are 5 Sign.Thoughtsminutes into a conversation in our minds or with someone else. Words and thoughts are so powerful. They evoke emotions and perpetuate the same actions and reactions for which we are trying to free ourselves. I know that I have conversations in my mind… conversations that have never happened in real life. But, inside my mind, my thoughts and words are churning me into a fit of undesired emotions which cause physical reactions in my body. Why do we do this? PATTERNS! Patterns are very comforting even if they are unhealthy. They are known, reliable, and familiar. It is easier to stay in a pattern that is unhealthy than create a new path for the mind to learn and thus, create change.

When I get on the local freeway from a different location, I have to consciously remind myself where I am and where I am going. If I start talking or listen to some music, the familiarity of the exit that I am not supposed to take is very powerful. So are the thoughtsSign.Changes and words I wish to no longer practice in my life. I need to stay mindful about what I want in my life so that I have mastery over my thoughts, words and actions. This is also a time where I can look at how I think about different topics and why I believe the way I do. Is it a habit? Do I truly believe what I think? Do I enjoy the outcome of my thoughts, i.e., do they make me feel better or contribute goodness and peace? Taking the wrong exit off the freeway doesn’t make me feel good. I lose time and it shows me that I was not being mindful. The same is true when I speak or think in old familiar ways. It doesn’t make me feel good, it wastes time, and it can cause needless pain to myself or someone I care about.

Thoughts.RopeWhat are your observations? Are you on automatic, going down the same old path of thoughts and words that steal your energy and time? Taking a new path requires more than just telling our GPS where we want to go, it takes consistent mindful awareness as we navigate to our new destination.

 

Course Correcting,

Sue

Solstice Shift: The Ritual of Awareness

A new season of the year has begun. Did you notice? We took time last night to be outside and feel the excitement of the shift. We saw the last light of Spring and welcomed the first light of Summer as the western sky was still illumined by the sun that sat less than an hour before. We were silly. We took selfies. We opened our hearts to what is yet to come even though it is the unknown, but our intention was that we were welcoming more Good, more Joy, more Life and more Love.

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The ritual of recognizing or honoring the incoming new season gives us a marker… a line in the sand as to an awakening of shift. It is also an allowing of change while being present in the now. And, by making it a point to become conscious of presence and of our intention, it becomes a wand of sorts. Our thoughts, intentions, and beliefs go out like seeds… and that we can control. We assert or declare, like the wave of a wand, that which we what to come into our lives. And, instead of resisting what we don’t want, which has its own metaphysical responses, we release what no longer works for us, what no longer brings joy, or what no longer nourishes us to become a greater version of our self.

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Intending something is to be coupled with action. In practicing purposeful intention setting, we also learn what is ours to do and what is ours to allow the Universe to do. Each day we can ask what is something we can do to take a another step into our desires, into our Good. The End result or the HOW is left to Source to manage. In taking steps that nourish us each day, we allow Source to show us the next step and guide us in ways we could not think of if we are trying to micromanage the “hows” and “whens.”

Even though last night was Summer Solstice, it spills into today and tomorrow as we will also have the same number of minutes of light. In this, the earth has not yet begun its return tilt towards the next season. Take time to notice. Sit Image may contain: one or more peoplein the stillness for a bit today and tomorrow and ask yourself, “what it is that I desire to lean into?” Where would I like to shift and welcome into my next expression of my perfect Self? Plant that seed and in that, it will be as if you are waving your wand… casting your word out into that which is greater than you to act upon as you do what is yours to do in the present moment.

Happy Solstice,

Sue

A Cup of Tea

tea-cupIn July of this year I switched from drinking vasts amounts of coffee to sipping on various types of teas. It was a cold turkey decision based on wanting to clean up my diet for health reasons. For a week after the switch, I found myself sleeping a lot. I was no longer jacked up with my normal amount of caffeine. I chose to drink organic green tea in the morning and organic herb tea in the evening. I really found comfort in holding a warm cup of tea while sitting in bed. It has a soothing effect to my body and mind and the ritual allows my thoughts to slow down to enjoy the sip.

Any type of change I make in my life allows me, if I am willing, to observe myself in a fresh way. I become aware of my surroundings again; the things I had become blind to around the home. It is amazing what I had allowed myself to get used to when life gets a bit too busy. The little messes and piles of things become background noise and after a while, I wonder why I am not comfortable in my living space.

As I stopped drinking coffee I became aware of the effects it had on my body. So, too, as I door-with-wreathunplug from a hurried life, I can see the piles of clutter which once cleared brings fresh life and energy back into my dwelling place and I feel lighter.

During the holidays we can find ourselves speeding up instead of slowing down. But, I do hope for anyone reading my blog, that you take time to observe your immediate habits and surroundings and recognize something that needs to change; some background noise you have been ignoring, or putting up with, that has been weighing on your heart. Make a little change there and see how a small shift can make a big difference.

Observing small steps,

Sue

Choosing to Observe

I read an email from Mike Dooley a few days ago. He said, “Instead of saying I am Happy or I am Sad or I am Hurt or I am Angry, pause and then say… “I choose to be Happy, Hurt, Sad, Angry, etc.” It woke me up to owning where I was going. Also, it No.Blameshowed me where I place blame. No blame is needed… I am acknowledging my choices. I was driving my car home after work this past week and I was tired after a full day of work and all that it entails. But I caught myself and said out loud “I choose to be tired.” Hmmm? What that gave me was the time to pause and think about if I am really tired or am I just saying this for another reason or out of habit? It also allowed me to ask this question: “do I really want to be tired?” So I said to myself out loud, “I choose to be happy. I have had a full day and I am hungry and will eat as soon as I get home.” Just adding “I choose” in front of whatever statement I was about to say evoked the question “do I really want that?”  It shows me the power I have to choose. If you are like me, we grew up learning to blame and not taking responsibility for our feelings. We may have heard things like, “you make me so mad” or “see what you made me do” or “don’t make me think like that.” Wow! How we gave our power and happiness away to other people!

I think that when I say or think things unconsciously out of habit, they perpetuate feelings and outcomes for which I am just used to experiencing. It is like if we always say “Mondays Suck” then that brings with it the expectation and hence, the creation or experience of a sucky Monday. The power of our word and thought is huge and this exercise to say “I choose” in front of what we are feeling brings awareness and mindfulness.

This doesn’t mean that when I am truly hurt, angry or sad I blame myself for a less Thoughts.Ropethan a wonderful experience. No! But, if I am aware that I am ultimately in charge of my life and what I believe, then when I am irritated and hurt I can navigate through it better. What I choose to think and believe next will either take me through and out of the experience stronger or it will spin me downward to be consumed by it. Every thought is a choice and it is a practice to corral them to where I want them to take me; how I want to feel and be in the situation.

I believe that how I feel is directly related to what I am thinking and those things that I am telling myself. Yes, at the end of the day I need to have sufficient sleep and if I am feeling ill, I may need to make an appointment with a doctor. There are actions that I am to take to care for myself AND… those actions include becoming aware of what I am telling myself repeatedly or what am I saying about a situation that rises before me and how I react to it. Those spontaneous reactions are also very informative to my beliefs as they are not guarded and hidden but very much Think.Positivetell tale of what is in my heart and mind when something from left field enters my day or moment.

It takes consciousness to be happy. It is an inward thing. And it takes consciousness to be aware of the stories that you nor I want to play out in our lives anymore. Consciousness is cause and thus I am in training to bring about what I desire by exercising my power of choice.

Choosing to Observe,

Sue

Golden Gate National Parks: Pictures versus Observing

GG.National.ParkI have this yearning desire to be at and walk about the Golden Gate National Park and all its various sites of interest. Lands’ End with the Sutro Bath ruins, Ocean Beach, the Cliff House, and Sutro Heights. Marin Headlands with Muir Woods, Mount Tamalpais, and all the hiking and breath taking views and their oneness with land and sea. The Olema Valley and its farms and rolling hills that gives way to horseback riding. The Tennessee Valley in Marin with its wildlife that longs to stay untouched by development. Point Bonita Lighthouse that shines her light for ships to sail safely through the Golden Gate. Fort Baker and Fort Point with its Cliff.House.Posterhistory of protecting the entrance into San Francisco and its Lighthouse. Stinson Beach that hosts many memories of playing with my dog and the gathering of friends. Crissy Field and its aviation history along with the Presidio and Alcatraz, too. I want to walk and play and to be a part of it all. I want to write about it, learn about it, and imagine the people of “then” that made my “now” what it is.

I was looking at the printed posters, by the artist Michael Schwab, for each of these places and I imagined a room with them hanging on the walls along with photos that I have taken. I love my pictures and I love expressing through the eye of the camera; to capture the Cliff.House.Sutro.Wing.Sunsetessence of the moment. There are times, though, that my camera cannot replace the act of just standing in the presence of the aweness of a location or event. To even try and take a picture is to miss the moment. I must be fully present with what is before me. My memory will prove to be a better memento that comes with feelings and sensations than a photo which cannot capture the grandness, the full experience, of what is before me. Yes, there are times for pictures and it is when it can capture the essence of the moment and the Sutro.Bath.Ruins.and.Marin.Headlands.at.duskfeelings. And when the light and balance within the frame harmoniously plays with each other… it is magical art and it is the embodiment of the soul being displayed as art. I can stare at it and gain more awareness of not just what I am looking at, but an inner awareness of myself… the Self that is stirred by looking through the thin area of the veil and seeing beyond what is physically there. It is then I just observe and do nothing more than be in the presence of what is before me and notice how much I am a part of it.

What are you observing?

Sue