May you be free from fear... May you be free from desire...
May you be blessed with unity... May you be blessed with peace...
May you be blessed with unity... May you be blessed with peace...
I'm playing with a new piece of art... I'll post up some of my other word art below so you get the idea. It's so fun and creative and normally I don't think about it too much. I get inspired by reading or after mediation and just go for it. The goal to express whatever was inspiring me in the moment. With Unity because it is a word for this whole year I actually have been taking some time to plan out what patterns and colors to do, testing different designs, etc. I got the bright idea to use words within the letters as patterns and started playing with different words that reflect my intentions around creating Unity inside my head and inside my life.
The word integrity presented itself at some point... along with all of these: time, connect, surrender, accept, allow, settle, align, sort out, negotiate, honesty , fearless, wonder, radiate, re-member, guide, umpire, TRUST, LISTEN, breathe, relax, and on and on...
I have a special relationship with integrity, the idea of it, the practice of it. A more meaningful definition was first presented by John King during one of the many Landmark Education courses I engaged in while living in Venice Beach, California in the 90's. The standard definitions just didn't resonate with me... but today I found one that did.
Standard definitions with italics added by me:
The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles (that you actually put into action and practice daily)
The condition of being unified or sound in construction (consistently in life no mater what)
The quality or condition of being complete or pure
The state of being whole and undivided
New definition thanks to Parker Palmer - Courage & Renewal - Touchstones
Love this stuff... the link describes the overall approach used during a Circle of Trust event. I attended multiple Circles of Trust hosted by WholeHeart in Burlington, VT. The quote below is #6 in the approach and my gift to myself and to you for the day. I'll sit with it and re-read it and play with it for a few days, at least, it's lovely and resonates!
"We live with greater integrity when we see ourselves whole.
Integrity means INTEGRATING all that we are into our sense of self, embracing our shadows and limitations as well as our light and our gifts. As we deepen the congruence between our inner and outer lives we show up more fully in the key relationships and events of our lives, increasing our capacity to be authentic and courageous in life and work."
Alignment information from a journey this morning.
“You didn’t come here to fix things that are broken, or to know things you don’t know. You came because life on the path of least resistance is a delicious state of being. And you are in love with life, and you are in love with you, and you are in love with being in love with life.”
“Clarity is alignment. Clarity is a clear impulse of where to go. Clarity is trusting the path. Clarity is not standing in a wobbly place. Clarity is that momentum that has no resistance, and when you’re in that place of clarity, the feeling of what to do next is right there.”
Here's an incredibly abbreviated consolidated bit on my recent experience with resistance and surrender. I had the word Surrender tattooed to my left wrist in 2014. For months and months I tested the word and the place with a sharpie. I wanted to be sure that it would be a message for all times of life, something that would resonate and hold true no matter my position in the ever changing world. Indeed, this has proved to be a very valuable and ongoing message that resonates. Apparently I have spent my entire life, possibly since my first breath when I got whacked, until now, resisting. Resisting people, places, things, nature, life, my good ideas, my creative ideas, my bad ideas, numbing out, avoiding and resisting... my top three unhealthy priorities.
Anything that has taken on such a vital part of my programming is bound to take time to release and re-program. I encountered a whole new and curious level of resistance when it comes to day to day operations, people and behaviors. It's easiest to explain in terms of expectations and disappointment; passion and apathy. I expect people to be awake and kind; I'm constantly disappointed by what I perceive as humans acting stupid and mean or aware and malicious... This sense of justice and injustice in the world at large has caused me angst and frustration, resentment and suffering... I HAVE allowed my resistance to human nature as it is, reality, to get to me and make me angry, anxious and hopeless. I take full responsibility for this dis-service to myself. I didn't know what I didn't know. Now that it's clear that Reality just IS and it's not my fault or my job to fix it... holy cow, what a relief! The ripples and waves of relief keep coming on shore and washing over me, again and again! How Lovely!
My natural healing and wholeness progresses as I come to peace with nature, with humans, with Reality. This is the way for me to explore my relationship with myself, with food and with exercise and self care. No other path will provide long term, meaningful unity and peace. And when this particular journey is concluded, I look forward to the next challenge. And so I stare at the word on my wrist and marvel at the wonders revealed in such a simple word and the wisdom that showed up when I chose it as a lifelong reminder.
I need to back track a bit and examine the start the middle and the end of the last journey. I am a bit hazy. I think it started with a celebration or preparation for a celebration. The Super Bowl. Now I can look more objectively at my impulse and/or habit to buy and consume processed finger foods in mass for consumption while watching a football game. I bought so many I still have some left... macaroni and cheese balls! buffalo chicken dumpling won ton things! tiny pizzas! Just to name a few. This odd custom followed immediately by Valentine's Day an equally indulgent and insane amount of chocolate was purchased and consumed all under the guise of celebration, reward, party... We're due! It's only once per year! All this very interesting and, in hindsight, I wasn't really prepared for the onslaught of the great American marketing machine. I caved, as I guess I always have, but given my recent focus on healthy eating and movement, the affect was very noticeable. I was in a bit of a food fog for a few days. Long story short, I've recovered and plan (as I always do) not to cave next year. Time will tell. Perhaps I'll add an event to my calendar for this time next year... reference back to this post or just say "DON'T FALL FOR THE FOOD & SWEETS - THEY are NOT a GOOD Thing!"
A friend saw my posts and shared with me a diet plan that she has found successful. I was hesitant and curious at the same time. I hadn't heard of it so I entered my email to learn more. Low and behold the coaches names that popped up as available in my area are very familiar to me. Either they've changed the company they represent or the company has changed it's name. Either way, I was a bit stunned and amused and frightened to realize that it was one of the many plans I had tried in the past. It only stood as shocking proof of how long I've been at this quest for thinner-ness. Fuck! I also was a bit relieved that I didn't need to try it (been there done that) and that I hadn't missed out on some perfect, miracle, magic pill of a program. Thanks but no thanks I lost the weight at the time but low and behold here I am.
What else? I am reminded that the rubber hits the road at the super market / grocery store. If I don't buy it, I can't eat it. Duh! I also came to a revealing discovery that I am delusional when it comes to my outlook on the world. This a bit of a breakthrough following the experiences in the last post. How can I put this nicely and succinctly? My never-ending optimistic outlook on the behavior and hope for the human race is not realistic. I have to, based on history, severely adjust my expectations to zero and then be pleasantly surprised when people are actually kind and considerate and politicians are thoughtful and inspired... OMG. I know, I know, what was I thinking? It is what it is and I'm just grateful I'm just passing through. I get to choose to be the best I can be and leave the rest.
Today is an above average day. The insight is, of course, the culmination of all that has gone before. I will attempt to explain. Poems are easier than prose when it comes to all things spiritual and mystical, however, no poem has presented it's lovely head.
I have been slowly but surely, little by slowly making progress toward some sort of sanity and a certain skill set and perspective to actually maintain that hard won ground. Today is above average because a shift has occurred. A new sense of peace and the absence of mental spinning, paranoid, anxious, fearful, angry mindset and unawareness. They say we are sleep walkers... dreaming we are awake. The sleeper has awakened.
Today I had the grace of a new perspective. I can't explain it right now I'll have to come back. In the meantime I'll just copy what I wrote in my journal this morning.
February 10, 2022, 7:38am
"And then Reality settles in - settles down and graces me with Her true presence. The reason I feel alone, the reason this world makes no sense. The reason I have revolted, rebelled, and resisted my entire life. The truth that this planet is not my "home" and it never has been. Yesterday during my session with April I traveled to a place in my meditation that was home. Now that I KNOW and FEEL the love and acceptance - the power - safety - security and peace of my actual home, I can travel there anytime. It was an experience similar to what I hear others describe in near-death experiences. The tunnel, the light, the loved ones, the warm, caring, unconditional beauty and comfort. A place where joy and celebration can exist perfectly without pain and failure.... Relativity & Paradox is NOT the rule of that universe. The message I received was to surrender, Not surrender to human illusions and delusions but to surrender to the flow of nature, intuition, harmony, balance and the character of this planet. I can and I will lay down my swords and spikes and stop hurting and hunting. I can practice Unity - Serenity - Vitality. I don't need to know what's next. I don't need to expect or judge or defend or fear or doubt... no preaching or teaching, no explaining or excusing. I am actually free and at choice in this life. I'm just passing thru, it's extremely temporary in the grand scheme of things. I'm not sure what my focus will be, where my attention and intention will flow and that uncertainty is PERFECTLY OK!"
I feel remnants of embarrassment at my lack of skill in explaining this. Any which way, take it or leave it. Pick it up or put it down. I'm having a brilliant day and plan on keeping it that way. My new practice is to continually ask myself these questions: "Is it real?" "What is the Source?" "What is the Flow?"
"...No question is too tough - no tone too pointed or insulting, they parry every blow with humor, poise and patience. Even when stung or provoked, they choose not to react." The Daily Stoic February 4.
Not sure why this is so difficult. I guess I've been trained to look for approval and acknowledgement or permission or what? what? what? kindness? honesty? I wonder why it's so important to me to look good and be right?
This is something I'm exploring as I focus on self care and feeling good physically, in my body. Other peoples' thoughts, opinions, input, ideas, judgements, expectations, approval or rejection are irrelevant. I choose to be present to the beauty of me, by myself, my worth, my existence is all the permission I need, my inner wisdom is my guide, my internal unity is the best and most precious gift. Period. End of Line...
Another thought for the day thanks to The Daily Stoic, February 9.
I am settling into something resembling a consistent workout routine. KNOCK ON WOOD!!! A year from now I will consider claiming "victory" in maintaining a long term self care program. In the mean time I was playing with the description and word nerd that I am decided to come up with a much more interesting and accurate description of my endeavor. The word "work" like "love" is so over-used it has lost all it's appeal and has no creative value. Movement Practice sounds like something I would be interested in actually writing home about.
Movement - to change the position of; to put or keep in motion; to dislodge or displace ((something fixed) that's me... heee heee); to stir up; to pass from one place or position to another. Synonyms: hulabaloo, commotion, hustle, flurry, buzz, hustle & bustle...
Practice - the customary, habitual or expected procedure or way of doing something. Repeating an activity to acquire or maintain proficiency. Synonyms: conditioning, routine, training, way, system, routine.
As I was writing the definitions I realized I have a different sense of the word practice. For me it represents a surrendering. I have become aware recently that I have been rebelling against nature and basic natural laws for as long as I can remember. I imagined for years that my rebellion defined me as an intelligent above average freedom fighter. I've now clearly see it was a complete waste of time and energy and quite silly on my part. So even saying that I plan to practice... implies that I've finally caved to the whole necessity of practice... that I won't just magically arrive and stay at that level. That I won't just get there, even if it is through patience and hard work I always wishfully imagined that I would at some future date actually get somewhere and be able to rest on my laurels... at least when it came to that particular pursuit.
To put it another way and perhaps with more clarity I have finally accepted the reality that the onion will never be peeled, ever. (Fucking onion!) Don't get me wrong I love onions, but the metaphor has stuck in my craw since I first heard it in the rooms and was introduced to the concept of "progress not perfection"... what!!!???
I proclaim my love of and need for an ongoing Movement Practice. My body needs movement. It is getting older and without all the estrogen I need it even more. Nothing rash or harsh or intense, just movement, possibly graduated and definitely variable... Beach Body today, Yoga with Adrian tomorrow. I also acknowledge and accept that this is a practice, a sacred and long term commitment. Since I am on this planet in this physical shell of bones and flesh I can expect to continue to grow old and change and experience the affects of gravity. Just the facts Jack, just the damn reality. I must say it is rather nice to finally give up that particular rebel cause and get on with life. I have so much more room in my head as I let go of various internal conversations and bitch sessions! Carry on and stay tuned!
Today is day four. Missed yesterday's post. I planned too much for myself. Again, I've done it again for today.... and Saturday. I catch a break from my own insanity on Sunday. This is a re-occurring theme with me, over scheduling myself then being pissy about it on the day. Yes, Yes, Yes... my mantra bites my ass. I get to say No for a bit and take a break.
I am encouraged by my workouts. I am sore. It is good. I am grateful and committed to my program as it refines and fleshes out. I remember now, movement begets movement, energy builds on energy. It is very helpful to be reminded of these truths in addition to all the more negative realities of living on planet earth.
I was presented with a major change in my roles and responsibilities lately. A surprise, not unwelcome but out of the blue for sure. What an excellent opportunity to practice what I'm learning and preaching! I got a chance to be the observer of my impulses to React - Engage - Defend, be insecure, be better than. Thoughts are fantasy without action... I watched the parade of curious thoughts roll by on their train and did nothing, said nothing to anyone, complained not at all, concluded nihil. It was such a different experience to be conscious and listening but not engaging in the river of thoughts running by. The image that came to mind was being in a quiet, lovely, serene room in a museum. The light is filtered and reflecting gently on an exquisite sculpture in the center of the round space. There are inviting benches arching around the perimeter and I imagine lingering on these benches carefully taking in every detail of the form in front of me. I can see the sharp and soft lines, the shadows and the reflections and how the whole energy of the piece shifts as I move from place to place. I can get up close and stand back. I make note of things that are familiar and the casts of things new and full of wonder. The overall vibration is curiosity and gratitude as I absorb the beauty and take in the present moment gift that is provided. All initial sensations of anxiety or defensiveness and insecurity have faded and the truth, the reality is revealed as the dust settles.
I'm enamored with numbers. I'm not into numerology but I just like numbers. My sober date is 04-14-14, I dig that! Other people can't care less, I get it. Anyway. I'm not posting this to general Facebook any longer just to the writing group for the Hay House Challenge.
I have 20 minutes to pound this out. I realized that yesterday I could have put a tidy bow on the article by ending with something brilliant about going to any lengths... full circle and all that. Oh well. I realized after I recorded the session that my focus on food is possibly the problem, period. I spoke to a wise woman that I know and I've been listening to my intuition about things... (the Unity focus, internal harmony) and what's showing up is an easy path to consistent exercise.
For decades, literally, not exaggerating, I tried to stop smoking and stop drinking AT THE SAME TIME. I was convinced it would only happen that way. I was clearly completely delusional. It really stopped me from success on either front. I spun out for years trying and trying and failing and failing to do do either or both at all for more than a week or two.
Last night in day 2 of the HH Challenge they suggested writing every day. I'll be doing that here, They also suggested NOT editing. Yikes... stream of consciousness can be crazy. One year from today I should have enough for a book. I already have enough for a book! I need an outline.
Back to the main line train of thought here. I finally realized or was forced to acknowledge the greater of the two addictions or I would have lost everything. Alcohol yanked my chain and dragged me down farther and faster than cigarettes ever could. So, Reality stepped in and my decades long internal wrestling match was decided.
I'm getting that sense now, here, in this match between food and fitness. I've focused on food, mostly, like I did yesterday listing out all the diets and not even mentioning all the exercise shit I have also tried along the way. Food is easier. It doesn't make your muscles ache and your every movement painful for a while. I'm saying this now after just a quick introduction video to the 21 Day Fix program on Beach Body. I signed up for the whole year of unlimited streaming videos. I was absolutely thrilled to realize yesterday that I can view the videos on my Roku TV upstairs and I don't have to squint at my iPad or Chromebook screens! What's coming through loud and clear is that I want to FEEL good, physically, I want to have energy and freedom of movement. I want to feel confident and look good to myself for myself. Food is a big part and I'm noticing that the workout portion will be even bigger.
Once upon a time in a land far away I worked out daily and completed a Beach Body program called Slim in Six. I turned 40 that year and it was the best shape I had ever been in. I moved and worked and wasn't able to maintain it for the long term but it still sticks in my mind that I can and did accomplish it and it felt great. Why not re-create that experience right now? I have the time and the means to do it! So, there it is. I'm off to the races, writing, working out and eating within a set of guidelines. It's about time my Vision boards be realized! Your timing not mine!
Oh... wrapping up, going to any lengths for me right now is to be willing to be safe and careful with my body in the workouts and be SORE and do whatever I need to to take good care of myself so that I can continue at a steady pace. Little by slowly I will arrive healthy, wealthy and wise!
Going to any lengths, what does that mean? I signed up for FitnessPal the other day. I still had a login from 2014. Are you fucking kidding me? That's 8 years ago! I have made zero progress in my weight and fitness goals/management in EIGHT fucking years??? Of course that is NOT entirely true, right? I have stopped drinking (2014), I got smober (stopped smoking cigs 2015), I got pseudo clean of sugar (2020). I went thru menopause (past tense?) that's got to count for something. I've retired, I've moved into my dream, forever home with more space and freedom than I can dream of for hiking and exploring...
Yes, all that "progress" yet here I am still over weight and out of shape and thinking about it every DAMN day. I asked myself this time, "How I can actually approach it differently? How can I actually make the true progress this time?" Translation: moving on! Establish a CONSISTENT work out routine that is comprehensive but not too strenuous or time consuming. Dare I say an enjoyable habit of movement? Cook and eat without examining every calorie and micronutrient, just eat healthy, satisfying, moderate meals when I'm fucking hungry. There it is, how's that for a goal? Goals, actually... there's two biggies there.
I've tried NOOM and Weight Watchers, Eat Right for Your Type, Crazy Sexy Diet, Plant Based, Belly Busting, Alkaline Reset, Diets Don't Work, Intuitive Eating... OMG. The list goes on... and on... now I'm back to FitnessPal a full circle of trial and error. OK I won't say failure, because I have learned a few things, for sure. I'm just so ready to be DONE! To be complete and neutral when it comes to exercise and food. I love to cook. I love to eat. Enough of all that, you get the idea. I'm sick and tired and hopefully I've reached some sort of bottom... again? finally?
Why am I here? Like here, writing this and actually planning to post it? Because my word for 2022 is UNITY. Not ALIGNMENT, which I prayed for, for years (Did I just write pray? Stop the presses! A story for another day). Alignment is an alliance of factions. (MY first link here to the most amazing app for word nerds, Word Hippo, LOVE it!) UNITY is the state of forming a complete, harmonious whole. Totally different vibrations / realities for me. Who knew!? What a difference a day makes or a word! My recent focus on Unity within my own head provided the opportunity and willingness to sign up and show up for a Hay House 4 day Free Writer's challenge and, wait for it, WRITE about this fucking annoying health/eating/fitness journey DAILY! UNITY within my own heart, at least for a few minutes, has provided me with a brilliant solution full of wonder and possibility. It reminds me of something David Sedaris said in his Master Class about the gifts of writing and having to write out of necessity... He wondered what other people do who experience difficult nasty things in life and don't have the outlet of writing. (That's a horrible paraphrase, sign up and take his class, it's awesome!) David, you're my second link! Love you man!
So many things come to mind to rant on and on about. It is, therefore, time to end this for today. Let it marinate and read it later to edit out any blatant insanity or unclear bull shit before I post it. Thanks in advance for listening. Maybe you'll learn something or maybe you'll just be entertained... is it too much to ask that both things happen? Stay tuned. I, for one, do believe in magic! Do you?
P.S. Credit to Dmitry Kokh & the Guardian for these amazing images of polar bears. Taking an old, abandoned beat up weather station as a new home... see the connection there folks?
And here's the link to Hay House Writer's challenge Reid and Kelly thanks for the kick in the butt and it's only day 2.
Laurie Anne McCauley
Did that make you feel better?
I decided back in November 2015 to make my poetry available and journal online. I'm not exactly sure what "blogging" means but I am quite sure this is an online journal. Feel free to read on with an aire of open minded curiosity. At no time do I intend to offend, judge or pretend to know anything really, I'm just an observer and explorer, as we all are. Feel free to "boldly go" through my observations and perhaps it will spark or inspire. Comments are off because I don't want to be worried about political correctness when I'm writing. I'm not thinking about "you." I'm just writing because it feels "right". Feel free to enjoy or surf on.
Fibber McGee's closet!