Facing the inner pulls without fear

My sister’s house is quiet. She’s gone the week, dogs are boarded, no workmen tinkering. It’s just me, Berkeley, (my bichon) and a whole lotta space. Well, that’s easily filled up with the beckoning of my mental to do list. You know? The stuff that never leaves and just gets buried deeper in the day to day doings until there’s a moment to really sit down?

Welll, hello, here am I really ‘sitting down’. But, there’s an ache in my heart…this feeling like “ugh…back to my life again” with intimidation of the unknown, some overwhelmedness about all there is to do and some angst over how I’m gonna get it all done. And in the quiet of sitting down to look at these inner yearnings, the pull to run help another is huge.

It’s something I’m an expert at actually. And year after year of taking on ‘other’ –well, while it feeds my sense of purpose and desire for creating community with whomever it is I’m helping, it doesn’t help me fulfil my own yearnings…the stuff I need to do that no one really can help me with–my orphaned dreams.

Of late they’ve been beckoning: adopt me now! I’m only kidding myself as I go from day to day assuming new projects and engaging in that which would help another—that I’m somehow forwarding these orphaned endeavors.

So today, this morning, it’s more than the high ceilings and sprawling square footage that looms large. The finest of quality craftsmanship simply reminds me to scoop up those orphaned dreams and start caring for them with serious intent to parent. ☺ But I’m nervous. Very, actually.

So I’m writing today about how to maintain peace when the angst to ‘get it all done’ weighs as heavily as the fear of the unknown of unchartered waters: the commitment, the time, the next steps, the how to’s.

Pulling at thought much is the actual sculpting. The model’s in view, at least a great sense of it, but the details are blurry, the next steps feel scattered and the destination unmappable.

So here’s what I’m doing to move forward—through—the unknowns and squelch the fear that would further stagnate my efforts.

First, I get still. I find anywhere that’s a nurturing quiet space, close my eyes and shut out all that murmurs in thought. And then, I take a deep breath and begin to climb the mental stairs to that attic storing my innermost yearnings….and open the door, and walk in.

If you don’t know where that storage place is, just still your thoughts and listen. And ask yourself:
What keeps nudging me? What’s my innermost desire? When I honestly strip my ego and self justification from these pulls, what remains?
What are my ultimate desires?

Whatever they are, however many or few they are, after I do this sifting, I listen. I listen to what they’re pulling and nudging. And I write them down.
Listen, look, write down.

This way, I’m giving form to the ideas without which they’ll tend to wander around in thought and seem more huge to address than they really are.
That simple act of creating a symbolic expression for an idea—in this case giving it a word, a phrase or a sentence—births the idea in a tangible way.

So you can do the same thing…Listen to these pulls, strip them of all ego and self justification…see what remains….Look at them and write them down—even if it’s just one thing. Just that 3 step process: hear the idea, look at it, write it down—engages thought in the moment and all murmurings about how the heck am I gonna accomplish this…all that huggabaloo is silenced…at least for a time.

I wrote down 3 things:
a. establish a virtual office/ongoing online presence
b. research the writings of Mary Baker Eddy
c. share those ideas online somehow

The next step in handling my fears of feeling overwhelmed is to jot down a few next steps for accomplishing each one of these goals.
Even if I don’t know.
Maybe it’s to ask for help.
Maybe it’s to ask someone I know who has one what she did to create it.
Maybe it’s to search the web for blogs about it or video tutorials.

Again, listen for the next step, look at it, write it down.
By writing it down or typing it in a word doc, the ideas that were once looming take further shape as you give them a tangible form you can put your arms/eyes around. This mental sculpture transforms your goal from a looming overwhelming idea to now a potential list of next steps you can can manage.

Concurrent to my writing these ideas down, I affirm or meditate this way:
“The divine Mind that is my creator is expressing my individuality uniquely. I know now what I need to be doing and any idea that I should consider or dwell upon I will know. Nothing I am to do can overwhelm me. Any task, next step, or ultimate endeavor I seek to achieve are expressions of my individuality and are coming to thought to be birthed and outwardly expressed. I can trust that I am able to follow through with each task and I can know too that there’s no ugly accuser attacking these efforts and that I do not have to give an ounce of attention to any condemning thought or abusive shunning. That mental cloud only seems to emerge as I move forward and to the degree I stay focused and keep thought on the goal, these opposing influences will cease to have any effect. The divine Mind holds me and all in its grasp and I am safe.”

(for more on this line of spiritual reasoning, see the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, specifically her main work on practical spirituality: Science and Health—the ideas of which I use daily in my moment to moment journey).

In sum:
Dig deep and listen for those innermost pulls.
Look at them. Write them down.

Doesn’t matter if they are biggies like: get married, have a baby, start a soup kitchen, produce a film–or if the goal is a bit simpler: join a health club, visit the Caribbean, volunteer at a shelter.

Just write those orphaned ideas down. They deserve your focus.
Write them down. Just do that. And then give yourself permission to ponder a few next steps…even on the ones that seem out of your reach.
And for today, just sit with the fact that you gave breath to the idea and to some next steps for it. What matters is that you seized the inner pull, listened and looked at it, gave it expression, and have made a promise to yourself to keep listening, keep nurturing the idea, and keep pushing yourself to ponder some next steps.

Eddy writes: “Thoughts unspoken are not unknown to the divine Mind. Desire is prayer, and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and deeds.” (Eddy, Science and Health, chapter 1: Prayer).

If you wanna chat more about any of this, my twitter handle is @tresha, my email: evolveserenity@gmail.com, or you can leave a comment right here on the blog.

Thanks for readin’…be well, Tre ~

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Reflections on my journey at blogher’s conference…

Just posted a summary of my ‘take homes’ from blogher 08….a conference for women bloggers held for 4 days in San Francisco….

I’m learning I can’t copy/paste from their site to this blog…so here’s the link of my post on their site….and next time I’ll write it here and then link it to blogher.

If you blog and wanna know more about this conference, feel free to email me.

More on the conference here on my blog in another little while….

Take care,

Tre ~

Moving……

It begins as a quiet knowing, this inner pull. And other times it sounds more like a shouted demand, urgently insisting and forcefully pushing.

The move happens before any of the logistics come into play. You just know you must go….you just know you must leave. And all too often, things happen so quickly you don’t allow yourself to pace with your heart and support yourself through the transition.

This is why I’m writing tonight. I know a move is happening and inevitable for me…and so I’m trying to record the thoughts and feelings and emotions therein so that I can pen and record how I’m sifting through the tugs, the urgencies, the demands, and the pushing and carve out that serenity and stillness rightfully mine that remains unchanged in spite of a changed landscape or logistics.

Being is spiritual. So any true change really occurs in awareness…and it’s more an opening of thought to understanding what’s always been moreso than it is a changing of our character.

So well before any logistical changes ensue, right as I sit here blogging at midnight, I know I can defend that who I am as a woman, as an idea, as a unique individual–this spiritual identiy–is an unchangeable constancy and an unswerving fact.

No condition can alter my individuality.

No situation exterior to me defines my being.

No voice–whether the self critic, an impatient friend, or a well meaning but abrupt family member can cause me to feel an ounce of unsettledness or angst about the coming plans ahead.

Surely, a lot must occur. Surely thought may try to wander. And in those moments, I will write how I’m praying and sculpting stillness just as I am here tonight.

For now though, I am here, in stillness and completeness and fulfilment. And all that is trying to push on thought, all the todo’s all the goals to attain, all the work that lies ahead I need to unpack and dive into, all the ‘i want to achieve this/that/the other’ all of that mental pull will not weigh on me tonight or ever. I know that I can move forward at the pace with which I am to be and accomplish all that will need to be for I’m operating in the present moment. And the divine Mind is thinking and knowing all substance and all being. So this includes me and my journey, you and your journey.

Nothing is unknown right now to that divine Mind so I will know what I need to know as I need to know it.

I can defend this truth and realize that no belief of impatience, willfulness, anxiousness, fear or strife can impose itself into my thinking. There is a shield of integrity barring all that would try to impose ugliness and doubt and fear and condemnations into my thinking and I am safe and clear and strong and full of deep humility to know and stand for my integrity. I know that I can not be duped to believe any of the condemning thoughts, even if they arrive as a socalled inner critic. These are not my thoughts and do not come to do good. And so I do not need to allow them entry into my mental home.

This is so true. We are each safe in our mental home and have the right and freedom to bar our door to all that we would not allow entry.

So this calms me and soothes my heart and I am still. And giddy in fact. For I know that life really is this thought by thought journey to prove the strength and poise and grace and dominion over all the riggomorole of anxiousness, fear, doubt, guilt, or self loathing.

I played with my treasured little friend tonight, my little bichon. I haven’t written about him too much. His name is Berkeley. I held onto him as if I hadn’t seen him in six months. Sometimes even five days feels like a long long while. He was ever so soft and warm in my arms and as I hugged him and held him close he opened his eyes and starred right into mine. That sweet tender look of familiarity is such a welcome home and one I’ve grown to adore.

We played fetch some and I brushed him a lot and smoothed over his fur. He’s such a good dog though in ways I’ve perhaps babied him too much. 🙂

Indeed, the stillness prevails…The moon is at least 1/2 way aglow…and the night quiet. It’s a peaceful time….pending mental move and all. And I am at peace for the now….

“Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts.” (Eddy, Science and Health, p. 260:4)

Chiseling thought….sculpting serenity

Centered ….sculpted…at peace…..still….focused…moving…directed…..about a purpose….these kinds of goals are ever with me….and why I blog. Blogging helps me stand for the focus, claim the stillness, move forward in thought, pen the spirituality mine, offer thoughts on how I’m battling down all that would oppose and impose the stronghold that squelches life.

Moments are full, often, and hence at times the gap in knowing how to write or what to write…how to say what’s going on, what I’m sifting throught, what I’m sorting out.

Yet evermore the goal is at hand:
Chisel thought….sculpt serenity….moment to moment…thought by thought…..Hence the title of this blog. Hence the impact of every moment. Hence the validity of honest, inner searching for all that defines individuality, all that clamors for expression, all that yearns to bud and blossom.

On a plane yesterday, I landed in some familiar cities I’d not visited for a good 5 years or more. The views I recognized. The memory of where I’d been when there a sweet, gentle reminder that we pace and evolve in our own way…at times pulling and pushing and tugging and insisting, at other times softly, gently, sweetly.

I’d been seated next to a wonderful mother and her 2 year old daughter, or so I’d thought. The mom turned out to be an aunt, the daughter, her niece, their bond a breathtaking image of the union of mother love and innocent yearning….show me, help me, soothe me, shelter me, protect me, feed me, nurture me, hold me, make sure I’m okay. Mother Love’s ever constant “I am here and all is well and I will keep you and hold you and ensure you and strengthen you.”

It was an image I’d hold onto well through the rest of the day and night and even the first I pondered this morning.

Life often feels this presence is ‘out there’ somewhere that we have to find…..something separate from ourselves we have to go and get, vulnerable all the while to the winds of circumstance and the currents of change.

Not so….each of us an idea of the universal Mind that is divine, each one of us as idea always thought, considered, contemplated, and as such maintained, sustained, and expressed, fully and finally. The key to proving this fact is thought by thought living unimpeded, walking forward in spite of whatever mental wall seems to thwart off doing so. Each forging ahead, each moment of living– instead of heeding the limits or doubts or fears—yields freedom. And moment upon moment of living freedom yields inner peace….

Stillness, peace, enduring joy….these goals are truths for life—now. Not out there somewhere obtainable someday after some list of to dos is accomplished or achieved. Within is thought. Without is thought. No separation. And you, me abide as divine Love’s tangible expression.

I loved seeing that aunt and her niece yesterday, I valued sharing time together and exchanging friendship. She was that reminder to me that the universe is not so large and vast but peopled with possibilities…they both were, actually.

I’m moving forward in my blogging know how over the next few days at a meeting that willl immerse me in the land of internet publishing, promoting, collaborating. In doing so I carry with me that goal of sculpting serenity, amidst all that clamors I’m a novice, or anything that teases, cajoles or debases why I’m here—to learn better how to promote ideas that have helped me prove the present possibilities of practical spirituality and so to join hands with others doing so and be a resource for those wishing to and thus to be faithful to that pull within that unites my thought to the family of mankind.

Moving forward isn’t negotiable, it’s a given.

Here we go….

Sifting my way toward stillness through lotsa boxes :)

This morning, while seeking stillness, I started sorting again–laundry, dirty dishes, books, notes, piles of papers that wound up in my purse–all the while defending how I function better when surrounded by order.

I pause while sorting and realize I’m sorting someone else’s stuff….my sister’s. (I’ve just helped her complete a move). And there’s this tug at my heart: “What about you Tre? When ya gonna sort your ‘stuff’ ?”

I know that voice. It comes as a little girl sometimes….gently, softly….It comes when I’m mentally running around taking care of a loved one’s needs if I’ve neglected–to some degree–my own daily creatings (writings, meditations, exercising–the stuff that I’ve learned I enjoy doing day to day).

Awareness I’ve neglected my own needs arises, followed by a conflict within. I value helping others and don’t wanna give that up. But I also know I yearn to find balance while doing so, so that I can help while still honoring my creative life practice. So when that tug comes– ‘Tre, what about me?” I know it’s time to regroup and devote thought to my creative doings.

I’m known for dropping my work and hopping the next plane to get to whomever’s asked for my help. I value that flexibility. I value my commitment to growing my relationships. I value my awareness that true love doesn’t come all neat and tidy in a boxed up package you give on a holiday. Real love means being there, making time to be there….even when it’s messy, even when it tries every last ounce of your patience or tests your emotions.

But what I’m learning too is that in really loving and supporting, I gotta drop my agenda of the expected outcome. And I need to better respect the pace and processing of the one I’m helping.
I’ve recognized what I tend to do instead is start orchestrating how I think the project should result. And if it’s not going in that direction, then I start to verbally impose my own sense of right structure and ordered life. And I expect who I’m helping to agree with me 100% and carve out their situation as I would expect, because afterall, my way’s the right way right? Hugely kidding here. Hear the ego?

So if I’m really honest with myself: while agreeing to help is unconditional love, imposing my will on the process or outcome is not. And worse, neglecting my daily needs isn’t loving myself either. But here’s my weakness: Often I don’t know how to say no when that no would translate into ‘yes’ to myself and my own needs.

I am convinced that none of us have to give up our own needs in order to help another…be it family, friend, or anyone who needs help. If there is a need and the yearning within calls to give, you make it happen. It’s the most natural inclination any of us have because it comes from within. That yearning to give, bless, love, support—it’s our spirituality yearning to be our wholeness, all the time.

So it’s more than natural to act on that impulse.

But essential to carve out while agreeing to help, is an awareness of balance. I’ve found I must ask myself to define what I’m gonna need to feel not only are my efforts productive, but so too am I not neglecting myself in the process. I don’t know many women who feel they’ve found a good balance of this. In fact, many I know would agree they always put their own needs aside and feel they neglect themselves.

I’m still trying to figure out how to do this. But figuring this out is vital. It will prevent the ‘I’m outa here’ attitude that crops up when I feel maxxed out.

Because in my anxiousness to fix the problem, I’m also impatient to see the solution and stick around until I do. ☺

Not to be vague: my current scenario involves helping my sister transition from a large home to a smaller one and now that she’s all moved in, we’re surrounded by boxes that still need sifting through, objects that need to be pitched or placed, and my organizational mode doesn’t really rest til the process is completed how I think it ought to be.

But that’s where the test comes in: did I come out to help in order to complete the project to my liking? Or am I here to support how my sister needs the project to be completed. In her eyes, my work here’s done. Technically we’re all moved in. But that bugger in me that is insisting on really completing the project: Ie no boxes, no piles, all in it’s place, well, that may well be my own needs imposing themselves and willing me to orchestrate the outcome.

She’s not inclined to have a similar outcome. Not yet anyway. She wants to take some time, get used to the new surroundings and feel her way.
In the bigger scheme of things, this is small stuff: boxes or no boxes, disarray or order, feeling finished or feeling unfinished.

And if I let myself get pulled into that focus, well, it could be completely frustrating. I like order, things in their place, a finished look. She doesn’t need that. She likes it. But she’s not gonna stay up all night to ensure it (and I’ve ridiculously been found cleaning at 4am if I’ve just returned from a trip and need to reestablish the order of my surroundings).

No one’s right or wrong here. But what remains my goal is this question: Tre, how are you gonna love yourself enough to honor your own needs but at the same time respect your sisters’ and not impose your will?

That voice of the little girl ‘what about me’ is my writing voice. It comes as the nudge when it’s been a few days since I posted or a few more days since I’ve commented on blogs or written in my journal. So today, thought by thought, I’m honoring my sister’s unique way and respecting her desire to emerge gently into this new setting. And I’m respecting my own need to order my thoughts, unpack and organize and place all the ideas into some kind of work that I’ve been ‘storing’ while helping her move and sort. And in so doing, my hope is that I’ll refrain from judging the seeming disarray, enjoy that we continue to share some incredible one to one moments we’ve not had since highschool, and be grateful that our lives can overlap this way right now. It’s really a joy.

In Mary Baker Eddy’s main work, Science and Health, she writes: “Whatever blesses one blesses all.’ And while it’s sometimes hard to find how someone else’s struggle or pain (in this case a transition) can hold a blessing for you, indeed I’m seeing much growth in my own self absorbed tendencies. In dropping my own agenda and coming to support a loved one, I’ve had to flex my all too often rigidity and firmness. I’ve had to go with the flow and deal sometimes. But all the while, the true motive of love and support remain.

And so I remind that little girl voice ‘what about me?” in helping this situation I am caring for her. She’s not neglected. She’s being directly addressed through my nurturing care of others. And as I’m leaving my willful ways aside, she’s even getting to play amidst the socalled disarray of boxes.