As soon as we let go of the notion that there is the possibility of a life other than the one that is, we move away from suffering and into a deeper level of peace and acceptance. There isn’t some other reality that would be a better chance for you to accept yourself than this one. This is it. Pay attention. – Cheri Huber
I used to think that as long as one aspect of life was okay, I was okay. If work sucked but home life was good, I was good. Or if my home life was not so great but I loved my job, that was okay. Not anymore…
Call it wisdom, age, or the result of 40+ years of life and focused self-growth/improvement but I’ve realized that settling for crap only brings about more crap. And deciding that life is good as long as one aspect of life is good, well, that’s crap!
As I move into September I gratefully leave behind long, hot, humid days. Oh, we may have a few more but for the most part, walking weather is on it’s way and getting closer. It’s been an interesting summer for me – a summer of independence in many ways.
I began this summer believing I needed to change a lot of things about myself. I wasn’t disciplined enough, healthy enough, or happy enough. I didn’t realize when I started this blog but have realized through the process that I didn’t believe I was enough. With all the books, workshops, coaching, counseling, and gal-pal mentoring, I still believed that in some way I needed fixing so my life would get even more fabulous. I was in a state of, “I’m happy but I can always be more happy.” I was happy at home but not so happy at work and as I’ve explained, I thought that was okay. I knew that somewhere at some point, something would change at work. I mean I’m not in a bad situation like I was last summer. I just felt stifled and stuffed into a box, unable to do the kind of work I really love – writing, training, facilitating, and helping other’s experience better days.
I’ve shared that I can retire in 2016. Being so close to such an extraordinary life event has brought up issues around my health, finances, home, and relationships. It’s also brought about reflection of how I want to spend my last few years of public service. The truth is, I don’t know exactly when I will retire – it solely depends on how much I’m enjoying the work and (not or) the benefit of my current salary. Through reflection there are a few things I’ve become clear on:
I enjoy a flexible, peer-centric work culture that allows me to write/edit, and facilitate the administrative processes of other’s who are more technically savvy than I am, and use my Virgo organizational skills without getting overwhelmed by details (I like the strategic view and working with others to execute a tactical view). My office has reorganized and my current work plan supports all of this! The icing on the cake is much of it can be done while teleworking! I’ve got a Gemini Moon that loves flexibility.
I love Spa de la Paz and so enjoy giving sound massage and Reiki! At this point in time, I can be very relaxed with my work. I had only two clients in August and fell down the rabbit hole of fear, wondering if I can realistically expect a stream of income from that work. My bengali bowls are taking their time getting to me so my plan for singing bowl meditation was placed on hold. And I’ve only sold two of Kathy’s mandalas. When I look back on August I see that my energy was focused on the Victim’s Advocate training and my own health. I am blessed with full time employment right now and right now is my opportunity to experience lulls in Spa de la Paz so I can learn to trust that my vision will support me. I’ve already got four sound massages scheduled for September!
I am eliminating debt! It’s taking a while but even with furlough, I’m ahead of the curve. I spent a bit more money this weekend but that’s not going to negatively impact my course of action. It’s never about denial and always about moderation for me. So even though I splurged on a few things, I’ve no desire to go shopping for the sake of shopping and I’m watching some of my accounts drastically drop. I’m not necessarily a Suze Orman fan. She’s a bit too militant to me. My financial adviser shared a philosophy of another financial guru (sorry, can’t remember his name) that works for me – instead of focusing on credit cards with huge balances and huge interest rates, focus on the smaller balances so accounts are actually getting paid and I see results (paid off accounts) that motivate me to continue. I think he refers to it as the snowball effect and for me, it really does work. I’ll have three accounts paid off by the end of the year (I might have to pay one off in January).
I am healthy! Yes, I have about thirty extra pounds on my body and I carry belly fat which is not so good for the heart. But I don’t need to take any drastic measures to improve my physical health. I’m in my mid-fifties and on no medication. I’ll have my annual exam in a few weeks and see the numbers but I’m not worried about it. I trust how I feel and I feel good. A little stiff from too much laying around while sick, the first signs of a frozen shoulder, and some extra weight – a little more walking, green veggies, and shoulder exercises is what my internal doctor orders – one thing I am very, very clear on is I am my own guru, doctor, best friend! I’ll listen to myself, thank you very much!
Relationships – surely as I’ve just said, relationship with myself is the most important. I’ve never really cared about how you judge me. When all was said and done, it was how I judge myself. Being a Virgo I’m naturally critical of me – but could that be a story I’ve bought into? Must I really criticize myself? What do I gain by thinking I’m not good enough or worthy enough? Am I better friend to you if I do something for you simply so you (ME) will think I’m a good friend? Does using a neti pot every day or once a week prove that I live a disciplined, Ayurvedic lifestyle? If I take my dog out for a walk once a day or once a month, does he love me any less – is he any less healthy? (Well, maybe he has a few extra pounds like his Mom so that might not be the best example. But the point is, does judging myself for getting Paz a yard so I don’t have to take him out for walks like all of my great dog-loving-walking friends, mean I need to judge myself for that decision? No it does not!)
So all of this is to say that two months into my Ayurvedic Journey, I’ve discovered that my life, just as it is, is quite fabulous. It’s a feeling beyond happiness – it’s joy and contentment. As a living organism I’m going to continue to change my lifestyle, behaviors, desires, perspectives, and attitudes. Some days at home or at work may feel more challenging than others. There may be projects I like better than others. I might sit down and eat a pint of ice cream. I might even have a few days of unmindful eating. But those days don’t define who I am or my worthiness. I am not bad when I don’t walk. I’m not good when I eat a salad. I’m not special because of anything I do or don’t do, friends I have or don’t have, work I perform or don’t perform, lifestyle I live or don’t live. I am simply perfect – perfect in my human uniqueness – perfect in that there is no other like me. And to maintain this level of joy and contentment, I only have to accept my life as it is; accept myself in my current reality and I do – in deep gratitude for what is.
So Friday night I attended Deep-Resonance at Breathe Bookstore. I love the process of chakra toning and savasana with crystal singing bowls. Andrea’s Angelic voice adds a peace and tranquility. I spent most of Saturday in Hampden with Lynn, my high school friend visiting from Atlanta. We stopped in a lot of shops and I found the perfect new bathrobe at Caravanserai on the Avenue. We couldn’t find anything for lunch so Lynn grabbed a smoothie and we stopped at The Dizz for a veggie burger before taking her to the airport.
I am so very grateful that I scheduled a massage with shirodhara at the Metta Integrative Wellness Center. Daniel (my massage therapist) added some acupuncture specifically for grief and anger. Moments after all four needles were placed, I felt a warm rush of energy wash through my body like a soft wave washing over the shore. It was amazing. And he sent me home with a fabulous turban for my oiled up head:
There are purist out there who will cringe (I say lighten up!) but I came home to a totally indulgent evening. I made my fabulous Holy Moly Hummus served with celery sticks and enjoyed dark chocolate with sea salt that I picked up on The Avenue in a store that sells shoes and chocolate (is there a better shopping experience than that?!) And brought it all together with a nice glass of Molly Dooker wine! If you haven’t had this amazing Australian Shiraz, I highly recommend it. The makers use nitrogen to reduce the sulfites. I’m very sensitive to wine and for a long time, gave it up. But I’ve never had a negative reaction to Molly Dooker. Besides that it tastes good, is inexpensive (about $25) and is fun to do the Molly-Dooker-shake! I enjoyed all of this while streaming the new, “Gatsby.” Reviews were mixed and maybe it was the opened third eye, the chocolate or wine, or maybe just the movie itself but I really liked the artistic liberties, acting, props, and soundtrack.
With 1.5 days left of this fabulous Labor Day weekend, I’m planning to spend some time clearing out my bedroom closet, planting some peppermint in the backyard, Skyping with friends, and giving a sound massage. I shared at the beginning of my blog that this summer has brought independence for me; mainly, independence from self judgment and criticism and freedom to be me. So in that spirit I share this – it’s okay to wear white after Labor Day! Wear your white all day long! Wear it tomorrow! Wear it your first day back to work! Wear your white! But of course, only if you want to!