Tasty Tidbit #1: The Ride Home
Tonight, all I wanted to do was get home. It had been a relatively uneventful day, read boring, and a long day on top of it. My general lack of sleep over the past three nights was not improving my mood. My boss kindly offered to let me go home early, and I took her up on her offer. Shortly after leaving the shop I found myself stuck in traffic. At first I was just pissed off. Of course I get to go home early and what happens, traffic jam. The radio was on, but it was more for background noise then entertainment purposes. I thought about how we are always where we are supposed to be, and that everything happens for a reason. That just annoyed me more. Ever have a bad day and then have someone walk up to you and remind you of the spiritual lessons you already know, but are choosing to ignore at that moment because you want to be human today? They make you want to punch them in the face, don’t they? Cute little spiritual quotes were running through my head and all I could think was, shut up! I don’t give a damn about divine timing, I care about getting home. One of those little sayings must have gotten through to a larger part of me, because I decided to turn off the radio, it was just annoying me anyway, and take a deep breath. Then I took a couple more, because the first one didn’t do much for me.
After I settled my breathing down into something less than huffing gasps, I decided to simply observe the world around me. I mean really, what else are you going to do in standstill traffic? There was still a part of me that was pissed and thought that this whole thing was stupid, but the larger part of me was returning to my center. I look at the limestone rocks and observed the way the heavy rains had dragged mud and debris into the ditches. I looked at downed tree limbs and tree limbs still filled with spring blossoms of white and purple. I saw two men sitting on the front steps of a church, which was next to another church, which was next to something I can’t pronounce or spell that was Jewish. I saw a young couple walking hand in hand and wondered how they met. There was a dumpster over flowing with trash, and a gas station that was being torn down. I noticed that the animal shelter had one of the ugliest signs I had ever seen. I even started noticing numbers on the buildings. That there is a catfish on the fish market sign and a young man with a dollar store bag walking so slowly I wasn’t sure he was moving.
I drive this route every day. Some of these things I might notice. One of those quick glances, your brain gets the information, and then discards it because it’s not relevant to what you are doing at the moment. I was amazed by what I saw in just those twenty minutes of observation. I wondered what I had missed all these times that I drove by without really looking, and I wondered what else I might see the next time I drove by. The truth is that usually I am so busy, so absorbed in my own little world, that I don’t see the world around me and how beautiful it is, or how much it could use my help. The sad thing is that when we have these experiences we often forget them too quickly until another opportunity from the Universe presents itself. I think I’m going to make it my goal to observe something new every day or take at least five minutes a day to hold still and look. It’s a way of bringing me back into the world and reminding me that there is more going on around me then just trying to get home.
Tasty Tidbit #2: By Special Request
A friend from the shop had messaged me that a dear friend of his had passed away. He asked me if I would be willing to write a tidbit. I said of course, just message me some information about her or talk to me at the shop. We didn’t get much of a chance to talk at the shop and he said it was difficult for him to put his thoughts into words. He said maybe just something on the subject of death and/or transition. I thought about it for a bit and realized that death is a subject I know very little about. At age 31, I have never been to a funeral. The closest I have come is a family get together for my great uncle who passed. All that was, was a bunch of family eating and observing my great uncle was had been cremated, so really we were looking at a small box that appeared to be made out of marble. It looked like one of those Kleenex box covers to me, though I choose not to share that observation with my surrounding family members.
I did see my great uncle about less than twenty four hours before he died. He had been sick for years and his body was finally giving up. He was bloated and looked to be in pain, though he did have a glassy far off look. This being maybe the second time in my life that I had talked with this particular family member, it was semi odd to me. We came back to their little house the next morning, after my grandmother got the phone call that my great uncle had passed away. There was a van from the funeral home there to take the body. I had been somewhat apprehensive to observe my first deceased person, but as it turns out it wouldn’t be so. They had already covered him up and were moving him to the van when we pulled up. I have to admit I had a serious mix of morbid curiosity and a fear that I couldn’t identify. Maybe I was looking at mortality with seriousness for the first time, I’m not sure. I could see the form of my late great uncle as the placed the stretcher in the van. I immediately got the sense that “he’s not there”. In fact, as my grandparents went inside to comfort my great aunt, I stayed outside. It had nothing to do with the fear of being in a room where someone had just passed and everything to do with what I was observing outside the house.
I had this sense of my great uncle. Not just a sense, but I could see his energy. It was just above the house and it was huge! I remember thinking how did all that fit in that little shell? When I sensed his energy it seemed to me that he was younger, maybe late twenties early thirties, though it was hard to tell. He was definitely smiling though. There was such a lightness to him. I knew he wasn’t in some van being carted off to be cremated, that was just his body. My great uncle or maybe just the energy that was my great uncle was right there. I’m not sure how long he stuck around, I eventually went inside to comfort my grandmother, it was her brother who had passed. Though I understood her grief, in that she would miss his physical presence I had a hard time understanding the deep grief that she was going through. I wanted to be comforting, but knowing her beliefs I could not have said ”it’s okay, Uncle Bud is outside and he’s happy as can be.” To me my great uncle had been freed and he was good with it. To my grandmother, he was released from pain, but was gone forever.
I have had some people tell me that my understanding of death will change when something personal occurs in my life. Maybe they are right, I don’t know because it hasn’t happened. I would like to think that due to everything I have learned and observed in this life that I would be prepared in some way for meeting death. Again, maybe not. My observations of my great uncles energy certainly gave me a unique perspective of death. Though most certainly I will mourn the people I love when it’s their time to leave this earth, I also hold onto the hope that I can celebrate with them. What I observed after my great uncles passing was one of the greatest gifts he could have given me, and I’m grateful that I was able to be there to smile back.
Yeah I know, here I go talking about me again. I must have a huge ego. It was a struggle to decide to post this one after I finished writing it. I thought, oh God here we go again. But I decided to suck it up and post it anyway. I figure either people will learn something, be amused, or get bored and stop reading. Take your pick, folks. So, we were talking about me.
Some times I like to do a little personal meditation. It’s more of an inward observation than meditation, but you get my point. I close my eyes and think my name. Lately, when I do this little exercise I see a horse, running flat out, mane flowing in the wind. When I see this image it makes me think of strength, beauty, power, and freedom. These are all qualities I would also attribute to myself, and you have no idea how hard that was to type that just now. It’s taken many of my almost 32 years to get to the point where I have enough confidence to say that about myself out loud or otherwise (blogwise). I’ve never really considered horse to be one of my totem animals, but that vision of a horse has always stuck with me, though it’s changed considerably over the years. Sometimes I would close my eyes and see a horse tired and broken, just trying to shy away and hide. Other times that horse would be tugging at its bridle, trying to free itself from the hitching post that it was tied to. It’s taken me an equal amount of time to find my free horse as it has to figure out that every time I saw that horse chained, bridled or broken, that it was only through my own doing that it was so. Usually, I would say that so and so has tied me down or made me do this or that and I didn’t want to. In truth I was tying myself down, saying yes when I wanted (and in some cases needed), to say no, or staying in relationships friendship or otherwise long past when I needed to leave. I’ve heard several times over the years that freedom is a state of mind. I didn’t get it until just recently, and it stands to reason that while walking the path of life I might forget again, but for now I understand and now is all that matters.
This is the redefining of myself. The ability to stay balance and centered no matter what is going on around me. Speaking my truth comes along with that. I’ve found that when I’m in that centered place, there’s no real way to beat around the bush. You say what you need to say. That doesn’t mean you’re a bitch about it, I always do my best to come from a place of compassion and gentleness, but also from a place of clarity. When I speak, I want the person or the people I am speaking to, to hear me, to understand fully what it is that I am telling them. This works in reverse as well. I work on listening from my center. Sometimes I hear what people are saying and I get excited, so I end up either not really listening to what the person is saying and/or I just plow into the conversation to add my own thoughts. When I listen from my center, I truly hear what the other person is saying. I allow them to express themselves and I honor them by paying attention to what they are saying, instead of my mind racing ahead to what comment I can add.
Redefining myself and staying in my center isn’t just about my interactions with other people and communication skills, it’s also about my personal space as well. Meaning, my ability to find the silence within, because I’m not overwhelmed with what’s going on outside myself. I wonder if this might be one reason that some people have trouble with meditation. We are so filled up with the outside stuff and so overwhelmed by outside stimulation that there’s no more space inside. There’s no room inside for silence. We have to start clearing out some of the noise. The question becomes, how do I do that? By finding your center. It’s in there under all that stuff, I guarantee you. By taking time each day, even if it’s only a couple of minutes to sit and find yourself. I’m not asking you to quiet your mind that would be nearly, if not completely impossible when you first start out. There’s too much noise, too many emotions, too many other things you should be doing instead of just sitting there quietly. When you first try this just sit and be with yourself. It might feel uncomfortable, because we aren’t used to spending time with ourselves, in fact most of the time we have something in the background and more probably in the foreground to distract ourselves from ourselves. We have the television on, or the radio, or we are on the computer or all three at once. We you stop to think about it we make huge efforts to do this, to keep ourselves at bay. I think we inherently know how powerful we are, even if it’s just on a subconscious level, and we are afraid of that power, so we attempt to dumb ourselves down with distractions. If we say we can’t meditate, that we have too much stuff going on in our minds, it becomes an easy explanation as to why we don’t get in touch with ourselves, because there is usually someone in the general area willing to validate that explanation. “Oh, you can’t meditate either, I know my mind is always racing.” Etc, etc. Once we have validation it becomes okay to be stuck.
It’s even difficult for me to write this, I’ve attempt to distract myself several times no, but I’m wining. It’s as though there is something inside of me that doesn’t want me to look too closely at what I’m saying. And that’s okay because I’m seeing it anyway. Each time you look inside, you get that much closer to clearing out the clutter and that much closer to yourself. You take your guard down brick by brick. You remove distractions one at a time. You’ll still have days when you feel like you are spinning your wheels in the spiritual sand pit, you might even feel like your progress is moving backwards. Again, you have to trust me, it’s not. When I get restless in the search for myself, I just allow that restlessness to be. If I am sitting at my computer listening to a meditation and I can’t stop wondering what my bank balance is, I allow myself to check it. I keep listening to the meditation, check my balance, and then return to my center. By doing this I feel I am accepting myself, instead of fighting against myself. If I tried to keep myself focused, I would spend the whole time thinking about my balance instead of focusing on my inner self. I don’t beat myself up for not following the laws of meditation. What are those laws anyway and who made them? Make your own rules for finding yourself and then maybe one day you can start your own blog and talk about yourself, redefined.