On being stuck in traffic

A good playground for being totally present and going with the flow in a chaotic situation is in heavy traffic. This was one of my biggest ah-ha moments ever. I had gotten off work early one day. It’s a rare treat to get off work early, so I ran a few errands downtown. I rarely go south of where I work, so a trip to downtown usually is a headache. This was the perfect day for it! After my errands were all run, I wanted to get home quickly. That should be easy at 3pm, right? Wrong! For some reason it was a very early rush hour and this really soured my mood. It takes an hour to get home as it is. How could I be stuck in traffic? It’s a lovely day and I want to be home quickly, enjoying the sunshine and my animals!

During this rush home, I was listening to a favorite guru, Eckhart Tolle on my iPod. He was talking about presence in the moment from his book The Power of Now. One of my favorite passages is where he talks about not resisting what the present moment brings. I was wholeheartedly agreeing with him about being in the present moment one minute, and complaining loudly to myself about the non-moving traffic the next. [Angrily] “How unfair life is that I’m stuck in traffic on such a gorgeous day!” [Happily] “Yeah, live in the moment as if you accepted it yourself!” [Angrily] “What is with this traffic?”  

I did this mental and emotional badminton a few times until…Shazam…I realized what Eckhart Tolle meant about not resisting what the current moment brought, and laughed at how silly I was being. All this time I was agreeing with the author about living in the moment, and the next thing out of my mouth was a complaint about what was happening. I knew it was time for me to stop complaining about anything. Complaining is non-acceptance of What is. This goes against all my new found philosophies of going with the flow, avoiding chaos, etc. 

That was a defining moment, and a really big insight into my mind chatter. I found I could make that change inside and live a happier life on the outside. I immediately switched to a relaxed mood, turned up some good music, and enjoyed the sunshine and beautiful skies. I sent a good feeling to other cars around me and relaxed. I realized I had been making myself miserable for no good reason. Now it didn’t matter if I was ‘stuck’ in traffic or zooming along the road. You get to choose the mood of the current moment, regardless of the outer circumstances. This makes everything in your life much smoother, happier, easier to experience. Fun even! 

Through the Law of Attraction, we attract what we are signaling. Our inner vibes and energy signals what we want more of. Now I get it. Now it makes sense to me. I was complaining, frustrated and angry. If I continued down that road, I’d only be experiencing more of the same. This was like finding a key that fit every door!

Try using slow traffic as a way to practice mindfulness and patience. Another way I practice patience is to think of the worst scenario of being late. For me, that’s being late for or missing a flight. Even in that instance, you can catch another flight. Maybe you might miss an event. When I feel panic about missing, let’s say, an important event like a wedding, I remind myself that everything happens for a reason. Everything has what I call, divine right timing. Relax and enjoy the moment. Since you are not curing cancer, don’t sweat it! You could be delayed by Spirit because there may be an accident ahead. There are many reasons to just go with the flow and trust in divine right timing of all that is unfolding around you.

 

Compassionate or doormat?

Being compassionate and being ‘the wounded healer’ and wanting to help others is a good thing to do. But be careful you don’t overdo it in terms of being a doormat. You should never come away from an experience in compassion feeling used, spent, foolish, tired, or drained. And certainly you should never feel you have been taken advantage of.

Several years back, a local I knew and liked came knocking on my door in a rainstorm. Let’s call him The Farrier. I knew, as did everyone in town, he was recently on the outs with his boss/landlord. He had been kicked out of the place he had been staying, and lost his job. He was at rock bottom. I could not turn him away in the rain. Looking back, he had it timed just right, how could a person turn someone away in a downpour? Once I realized he needed more than shelter from this storm, I made it clear, this was to be temporary. I offered him three months stay, as long as he helped himself to get ahead in the world, not just lay around sleeping. He needed to earn his keep in working toward his future. I stressed it was more important that he work toward his future, than do chores around my home.

At first things went well. He started gathering firewood in the mountains to sell, and he was a farrier, so he had employable skills. He kept his part of the house clean. His needs were few. But I let things go too far too fast. He wanted to constantly borrow my car—a total no no in my book. He needed money all the time, and ate me out of house and home. After only a week his teenaged son and him were reunited. This really complicated things to say the least. His son did not live at my home, but he visited often and of course I had to drive him back and forth, usually a 60 mile round trip. I already drove 84 miles a day round trip Monday through Friday for work. On weekends I strive to never get in my car at all because I am burnt out from driving to work and back.

A few weeks later, on my birthday  (just after Christmas) the Farrier’s son called me. He  wanted to come live with us. Us? Us who? There is no us. I said no, flat out. I think that was the first time in my life the word no came out of my mouth so quickly and so definitively. I patted myself on the back for that one small victory. A few weeks earlier I had been diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, an extremely painful, nerve condition. I spent most of my time in bed, in the fetal position trying to figure out how I would have the energy, mental or emotional capacity to carry on with my job and my life. My family was far way, and I needed them. I could hardly manage my own life, much less take on another person in need. Instead of feeling cared for and nurtured, I was the caregiver to two very needy users.

They were nice to me to my face, but together they made my house look like a tornado hit it. They listened to music that was extremely rude toward women, and never helped with a thing. I fed their unending hunger, allowed them to do laundry, shower, and socialize at my place as if it were a flop house. Things were totally out of control within one week of these two reuniting. The son didn’t live with me but it sure felt like it! He was out of school and had no plans of returning—a high school dropout.

The factor that really kept me from kicking both of them out was this 15 year-old kid’s mother had kicked him out and given up on parenting him. All he had was his dad, who didn’t have the financial or mental capacity to deal with him. Emotionally speaking his dad was at the level of a 12 year old. He treated his son like a buddy, not offering any discipline. What would happen to him if I kicked his dad out? Where would they stay? What would they live on? His dad had given up on any sort of employment. He was flat broke. He’d be on drugs so fast and I didn’t want that to happen. Yet I hated myself and them for making me feel like the world’s biggest doormat. When I did suggest they clean up, etc. the change was short lived and things reverted back to chaos and drama. How to resolve this?

Before I gave them both the heave-ho, my compassionate side agonized with my rational side. I kept rolling this problem over and over in my head. How could I deal with this successfully, give this guy and his son the platform and foundation they needed for a better Continue reading

Being in authenticity

What exactly does that mean? For me it means being a genuine person, being open, transparent as possible, organic, home-grown, you name it. I believe that it really means being true to yourself. It’s like being an open book to others with no hidden agendas. I think of it as standing in your personal power but doing no harm. To me it is being yourself, as much as you can be. The more you are true to yourself, the more people will see, feel, and sense your authenticity.

“This above all, to thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” —From Hamlet, by William Shakespeare

The above quote from Hamlet is something that often comes to mind when someone is looking for advice on what to do and they are inwardly conflicted or really torn about something and they have to make a decision. If you take the advice and are true to yourself, most everything else falls into place. Take care of yourself first, then others can be served.

This is also a really big hint to the fine line between being compassionate and being a doormat for the world. Continue reading

Coping patterns

“Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality. Their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” —Don Miguel Ruiz

For many years after traumatic, chaotic, emotionally and mentally abusive events occur, your body goes through the motions of post-traumatic effects. Your body and you create what I call coping patterns. My brain tells me the daily abuse is over and I am healed, but my body doesn’t care where the attacks come from. All it know is it is time to ride out the storm for a few days if something happens that is not part of a normal day. Even one person, or a group of people in a meeting talking over me loudly ignoring what I have to say, will set off an episode of what I call hunkering down. These are big triggers for me. Your body has a way of remembering how you got through the abuse. It gets tired, slowing you down, making you sleep a lot. Maybe you eat your way to comfort, or drink yourself to sleep. You cocoon. You repair. You sleep.

Your body will hold onto past trauma, this has been scientifically proven. That’s why doing body work such as yoga, Tai Chi, breath work, meditation, and other physical techniques are beneficial. Doing these activities can help your body release old trauma. Also simply recognizing you are having an episode can help bring you out of it and help you cope in a better way.

For me any trauma would have me laying low for three days. I would experience a crushing tired/exhausted feeling near the end of my body’s processing of the perceived trauma. I knew from experience it would take three days for my body to adjust to something my mind was okay with. I call it ‘perceived trauma’ such as a verbal attack or challenge. In my marriage, I was constantly belittled, verbally attacked, torn apart, and mentally and emotionally abused on a daily basis. After a while I did not know up from down. Just getting through a day with no bumps in the road was a small miracle. I kept trying to please my husband and I would work my tail to the bone and still he was unhappy about some part of his life. He took it out on me. He told me, it was always my fault! Almost anything would set him off, and it was usually nothing to be upset at. Nonetheless he would batter me and badger me and make my life miserable. That takes a toll on a person.  Continue reading

The long exhale

The two years of unwinding on all levels after my divorce was a period I refer to as The Long Exhale. Being in a poisonous, dramatic, very chaotic environment for 18 years did some major damage. I recall the first day after my husband was kicked off the property by the police and the divorce was proceeding. I knew there was a huge shit storm coming my way, because he was a supreme manipulator and a huge drama queen. He hated being challenged or bested and he was the ‘never give up’ kind of guy. I was in for the ride of my life, but I knew divorce was at hand. My life depended on it. The first day back at the property after I had just arrived home from work, I got out of the car, was greeted by my animals and heard myself say out loud “I’m going to be just fine!” I don’t even know what part of me said that! But it was nice to hear. I was a very happy camper to finally be out of that nightmare. I was now the captain of my own ship!

During the time of The Big Change, I dropped so much of my old life by the wayside. Dropped bad habits, old outdated ideas. I got my self confidence back bit by bit. The support came from many places: friends, Buddhist lectures, work and co-workers, taking up a life with horses, etc. Help manifested itself in so many ways. I had much to dump, much to relearn and so much to explore. It was like shedding an old skin that no longer suited me and being totally reborn, from head to toe. But it took a long time for this to happen. This sort of deep change comes slowly. But is well worth it.

The single life suits me very well and I never in my life thought I would be totally content and happy being single. My new life is very different than my old life, and all of it is by my own design. Things I want in my life are there, or coming into being. Things I don’t want have been tossed out, abandoned or given the heave-ho. In order to get to this new life, it took a lot of work, exploring, research and guts that I didn’t know I had. I would never trade this new life for anything else on the planet. But it took a lot of work to get to this point, this new level of living co-creatively.

If you have been through a rough patch, regardless of the length of time you were in it, please give yourself time to heal, adjust, renew, replenish, explore, test, and invent your new life. You have an opportunity to reinvent yourself. This will be a great time of growth. Give yourself and your body a huge break from being perfect or meeting anyone else’s expectations, especially your own. You may need a long exhale too.

What is co-creating?

I don’t remember when I first heard that term, but I was not sure I understood exactly what co-creating meant. So, take off the cowgirl hat and put on the detective hat. It started with my first basic observation that everything is energy.

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We live in, and are part of something I call Universal Flow. Once I was more in tune with this flow, I learned to recognize intuition, how it manifests, and how to use it. By using my intuition through paying attention to how it manifested in my body, using the Law of Attraction, and asking for and receiving guidance from Spirit, I started consciously co-creating. I developed my skills with routine, everyday tasks to build on my experience. Now it’s as easy as breathing.  Continue reading

The Big Change

In some posts I talk about The Big Change I went through. And so you will know when I mention this in future blog posts. I was married for over 18 years to someone I loved. Over time this person become volatile, chaotic, overly dramatic and downright cruel. Every day mental and emotional torture and anguish were mine to deal with. I kept trying to keep my marriage together, but it didn’t work. Hanging on way past the time I should have left was foolish, but keep in mind the idea of Divine Right Timing. You do things when you are ready. Time was running out and I knew I would either be dead shortly, or I would have to get out of the marriage. Our split would mean this person would go kicking and screaming, would make my life miserable, with more drama than any drama llama could muster. It all happened as I suspected. But all that is water under the bridge.

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The Big Change was not living in that very abusive and demoralizing situation where I constantly undervalued and ignored my own needs. The divorce was not The Big Change as many might assume. The Big Change was the seven or eight years after the split where my spirituality and love of anything I was denied during the marriage were explored deeply and passionately, with huge doses of cowgirl common sense thrown in for good measure. My ex hated God, religion, or the idea of anything greater than himself. He especially hated and abhorred anything metaphysical. Now that I was no longer being held down by him, I had my time to explore, have fun, and really dig into many areas of life that had previously been shut off to me.

In returning to what I call a new normal, many things that I was exploring were Continue reading

Be the space for

What does that mean, to be the space for something or someone? For me, it means detaching from the drama, the chaos, and the emotionality of what is unfolding. It also means to hold space for what is occurring to let things be for the highest good for all concerned, without your personal bias. It’s on an energetic, vibe level that you are holding space. That’s holding space or being the space for something or someone.

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Being the space for two people, let’s say two good friend who are arguing, would be to detach emotionally, stay present, send love and don’t hope for any particular outcome. Remain neutral as possible while supporting the space for this to occur. It is very important to make sure you are not biased in the outcome whatsoever. Make sure it is for the highest good of all concerned.  Continue reading

Sending love

What does it mean to send love? It’s an energy thing. Since I believe everything is energy, you can bet your bottom dollar I feel love as a vibration, an energetic force. A force for good, not evil. (You know I had to say that!)

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First you have to understand love (or any emotion) vibrationally. In terms of what I will call the emotional vibrational scale, Love is at the top, and it’s opposite, fear is at the bottom. All actions, all emotions, all feelings, are either love-based or fear-based. Gossip, complaining, prejudice and jealousy are all fear based. Compassion, giddy feelings, joy, happiness, and appreciation are all Love-based.  Continue reading

What exactly are vibes?

Yes, I use fluffy words like vibes, energy, and intuition. That’s part of who I am after the big change after my divorce. I am a changed person for the better, but man it was hard work and very humbling. Yet a big part of me is the same old Pat. Back to the subject at hand. Vibes and energy are a big part of the new me and my new knowledge and experience. The following is what I have learned through experience.

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Certainly vibes are part of the energy all around us, part of the Universal Flow of energy, and part of having a loving intent. But what exactly are vibes? How I explain it to students is like this: Imagine at your core is one guitar string. Each morning you wake up you pluck this string to activate your inner vibe, your inner energetic hum. What will yours be set to? Happiness and joy, or frustration and anger? Helplessness and feeling trapped, or self-actualized intent? This is another way you can be in authenticity as the author of your life.

Imagine a large guitar string at your very core, the length of your body, going from your head to your feet. Imagine plucking the string even before you get out of be (if this is possible!) Set this vibe to something happy, joyful, inquisitive, helpful, and fun. You decide. It’s your life, your day, your vibe. This will affect people around you, and honestly, the entire Earth vibe picks up on it. You are contributing to a whole. Make it good!  When you pluck this string, Continue reading