Tag: reflection

How to Create Conscious Intention

How to Create Conscious Intention

I’m pretty sure she changed her intention!

Do you remember the last time you made a declaration of intention not to do something? I sure do! In fact, a perfect example leaps to mind. Scott, (my husband), loves sardines. He introduced them to my sons when they were teenagers and they shocked me by actually trying them. (He’s always had more persuasive abilities with them than I have had. Sadly.)

Of course, Scott and the boys also thought I should try them, as I never had. I stated it clearly then, and have repeated it dozens of times since, “I have no intention, whatsoever, of trying sardines. Ever. End of subject.” My very clear statement of intent has not deterred  them from trying again every time they open another odoriferous can of something only a feline should find palatable. My intention remains crystal clear and intact.

Can you remember such a time in your life, when saying “no” felt rock solid? Intention is packed with energy. We feel this energy most acutely when we state an intention about something we don’t want to do and have decided not to do.  However, when we apply our intention toward something we would like to do, things get a little more complicated and mind-field a little muddier. The energy doesn’t seem to stick.

EXPAND YOUR LIFE

A much wiser cat!

An intention not to do something is easy. It leaves plenty of room to change our mind without fear of leaving a trail of guilt or remorse behind. I could eat sardines tomorrow and any remorse I might feel would only be about the discomfort of the experience. It would give the guys a thrill and tomorrow I could restate my intention as if nothing happened. . . or, and it’s highly unlikely. . . I might abandon my intention and sit down with the cats.

Stating an intention to do something, however, carries with it a different sort of commitment. More importantly, it open us up and begins to expand our awareness.  Imagine this: I create an intention to try sardines. What’s the first thing that happens? Panic sets in. Fear. Uncertainty. A desire to abandon my intention.  It demands that I ask questions. What am I afraid of? Is it the physical displeasure? Or is there something more to it?

Your intentions are probably not about sardines. They are more likely about worthier goals. We all aspire to things that feel a little bit out of reach. When we want to bring our aspirations into reality, forming and spending time with our intention is the perfect teacher and an invaluable guide for the process.  It prepares us for the changes that we are inviting into our lives.

Creating an intention consciously is a request to the Universe for the opportunity to expand and grow; it is opening the door of our creative energy and releasing it into the world. We must be ready to wield this energy and allow it to wield us.

Truth ~ What Are We Fighting For?

Truth ~ What Are We Fighting For?

The value of truth seems to have lost its influence. 

The world keeps turning. I get up in the morning to the sun, and go to bed each night with the moon and the stars shining their light on my broken heart. The world is a “hot mess” as my young millennial friends would say.

Navigating life now is not an easy task! Walking the medial way, with one foot in the world and one foot in Spirit, isn’t easy to do under “normal” circumstances!  Now, it feels impossible, and yet it is certainly an excellent opportunity to practice! I, like many I talk to, long for simpler times.

SPEAKING THE TRUTH AS I SEE IT

What is the Truth?
I woke up this morning feeling exactly like Alice in Wonderland. ART BY: David Hoffrichter

I keep choosing, every day, to speak the truth as I see it; to ask the questions, explore the answers, look for what lies beneath the surface of things. Even as I try to be kind about it, not attacking or name calling, my words seem to cause sparks to fly.  People rant at me and call me names.

In the past week, I was called a bigot, a pseudo-intellectual, an irrational feminist, and a few other choices names I’d rather not repeat here.  The nastiest, meanest comments came from men, who I previously believed were highly rational, intelligent, educated men. The comments I received from women were angry and upset, more aimed at the belief that I should be taking about the politics on an aging site, nor should I take sides. I weigh this question constantly.

“JUST GET ALONG!”

The most common concern I’ve heard from women has been, “don’t you think you should play nice and just accept what is happening?” To this I say, yes and no.

Nothing infuriates me more than the part of our culture that wants us to get on board with the status quo. What we are experiencing right now IS NOT NORMAL. It is not business as usual, and I won’t pretend it is. I protested in the 60’s and my values with regard to peace, love and acceptance remain the same. I’ve never been a fan of the establishment, but this is going too far!

NAME CALLING HURTS!

It hurts being attacked.  Conflicting feelings rise to the surface, adrenaline pumps through my body and I’m suddenly in fight or flight mode. I want to lash out, and with my weapon of choice write an epistle explaining exactly how and why I am not what they say I am.  When I realize that more conversation would be pointless, I sink into despair. What am I to do with all these feelings now?

ASK THE HARD QUESTIONS

I have no choice but to go inside myself and ask the hard question. Are they right? Do their labels fit?

Am I a pseudo-intellectual?  I’ve never thought of my self as an intellectual, so that one was lost on me as a true reflection of myself. However, by asking the question I began to see the perpetrators projection. The particular label came from a man who, even at 16, took abundant pride in his intelligence. He believed his intellectual abilities made him superior. Sadly, all these years later when we reconnected I discovered that he has not grown past his arrogant, narcissist ways. He still needs to be intellectually superior, and when he feels threatened, he does what all great thinkers do, call people names.  I told him he was behaving exactly like the President-Elect, which he was. He didn’t like that a bit and unfriended me. I now consider it a victory to have stirred that particular pot!

A bigot – that one got me.  A bigot is “a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions” – this coming from a man who unfriended me because he didn’t like what I was saying on Facebook. Am I a bigot? We all have our blind spots so I’d have to say yes, I’m intolerant toward some who hold different opinions. Our president-elect would be one of them. Trust me, I am working on this. I long to find a place of acceptance that does not mean acquiescence.  Right now, I can’t see the divine in this man just yet. In fact, I tend to think he’s evil incarnate and see it as my job to speak out against him.

COMPASSION FOR ALL WHO HAVE BEEN & WILL BE DISAPPOINTED

Beyond that, I have deep compassion for the people who elected him believing he would change their unhappy lives. I have less compassion for the meanness and hatred that a few carry and choose present to the world. I want to say, show me your misery, this I can understand. But anger, rage, hubris, entitlement? And yet, tolerance is tolerance. I’m working on it.

Here’s what I do know. The women before us modeled tolerance and acceptance as a virtue, and to some extent it is.  They did not feel free, however, to rebel or speak up when perhaps they should have.  We feel freer to do so, and yet the past that lives on in us often keeps us feeling guilty and wrong when we do.

Making nice is not always possible, nor is it human. We have a wide array of thoughts, feelings and reactions. it is to our detriment to keep them buried. They will erupt when we least expect them to and it won’t be pretty.

THERE IS A TIME & A SEASON

There’s a time to fight and a time to stand down. There’s a time to speak and a time to be silent. We must each in our own way and find a balance between speaking our truth and taking time for deep reflection. None of us are totally clear on what we are fighting for. Those who are, seem to be fighting one particular battle. Maybe that’s the best any of us can do.

We must continue to ask ourselves challenging questions:

  • What am I really angry about?
  • Are there unacknowledged feelings and thoughts beneath my anger? Are the thoughts I’m thinking true?
  • This feeling of fear, what is it really trying to tell me?
  • When have I felt powerless before? How was that similar to what’s happening now?
  • Is this situation triggering feelings I’ve had all my life?
  • What are those feelings?
  • Can I be proactive in giving myself what it is I want from others?
  • Have I taken time to sit in silence?
  • Have I expressed my feelings honestly?
  • When I speak my truth am I using “I” statements?
As I navigate these strange times, I take comfort from the wisdom of great teachers.

“Wholeness is possible only through the coexistence of opposites. In order to know the light, we must experience the dark.” ~ Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams and Reflections

“Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that is the one that is going to help you grow.” ~ Caroline Myss, Defying Gravity

“The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them”
Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island

“If you have never been called a defiant, incorrigible, impossible woman. . .have faith. . . there is yet time.” ~ Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés

“Doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is one element of faith.” ~ Paul Tillich, The Courage to Be

“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” ~ Elie Wiesel, Author of Night, Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” ~ Elie Wiesel
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” ~ Elie Wiesel

A Grateful Heart

A Grateful Heart

Jim Daly  (66)I am grateful for the loving force that comes into the hearts of men and women around the globe inspiring them to reach out to the broken hearted, the poor, the hungry, and all who suffer; for humble servants of truth and compassion who break down walls and free those in bondage; for knowledge and wisdom that opens minds and lays to rest the fears of ignorance; for the abundant grace of nature and the winnowing force it sometimes brings to bear upon our arrogance, taming and teaching us the lessons of humility and strength. I am grateful for the sacred beauty and magnificence of music and art and the souls that create it; for the gift of hearing, for sight and physical sensation that allows us to take it in and to be transformed by it;  for the gift of grace and understanding extended by loved ones; for mothers and fathers who do their best to embody unconditional love and provide a safe and secure environment for children; for the innocence of children who do not yet know the constraints, restrictions and taboos of the adult and who embody joy and freedom, play and unbridled expression; for sweet smelling babies and their warm, cuddly soft bodies; for faithful pets who sometimes take better care of us than we of them. Most of all, I am grateful for life and love, for the rich and varied experiences they have given me, and the opportunity to share what has been born within me with others. I have been truly blessed.Happy Thanksgiving,

Dorothy

The Holiday Blues

The Holiday Blues

christmas-fireplace-wallpaperhd-fireplaces-wallpaper-christmas-desktop-fireplace-with-nj67mz92The holiday season is winding down. If you’ve made it this far and haven’t had a bout of the blues, you’re doing great! Pat yourself on the back and keep whistling a happy tune. Your positive energy will surely spill over on someone who could use it!

For many, however, the holidays bring up all sorts of issues, unfinished business with family members, reminders of loved ones no longer with us, and as we get older, oh, so many memories! It’s not surprising we feel melancholy throughout the season. Nothing can trigger a memory faster than the smell of pine, or the taste of a candy cane. For me, cracking a walnut brings back a childhood stocking filled to the brim with fresh walnuts, fruit and a little bit of candy.

The holiday season is a time we may need to a reminder to be gentle with ourselves. Take a little extra care and a little extra focus on being kind to yourself. If you’re feeling lonely, don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend or neighbor. They may be lonely too. Treat yourself to a long, leisurely bath while listening to your favorite soothing music. Go to the library and check out a novel you’ve been wanting to read. Go for a long walk. It will not only raise your endorphin levels and boost your spirits, it’ll help you sleep better. (I went for three walks yesterday! I slept like a baby last night.)

Always remember, “this too shall pass”. You will get through it. Routine will return. New adventures are just around the corner. Above all, you are loved, and you matter.

Dorothy

A Tradition of Anticipation

Patient Waiting – The Gift of the Unknown

Inspirational Books by Dorothy Sander
Inspirational Books by
Dorothy Sander
The Gift of Age

The Gift of Age

Living just for today can be a real challenge for those of us who have lived our lives immersed in western culture. Every where we turn we hear messages, reminders, and indicators that unless we are moving forward at break neck speed we are not really living. Buddha, and others, understood the disservice we do to ourselves, and our lives, when we do not see and appreciate what is ours in the present moment, the gifts that are right in front of us.

One of the greatest awakenings I have experienced in my lifetime has been to finally see with great clarity how much I was losing today while worrying about tomorrow and fretting about the past. It took reaching midlife and fifty years of beating my head against a wall to finally get it. As a good “hippie”, I read years ago, and understood at some level the value of living in the moment, but I could only sustain it in moments when I was feeling particularly carefree. But living it in my soul? Ah, that would take years, and many, many hours and days of living mentally in the future, encountering road blocks to my best laid plans, and then reaching midlife and immersing myself in the heartbreak of the past.

Midlife presents an enormous opportunity to make great soul strides, to learn from fifty years of living that we can shed our misconceptions and get back to the basics of who we really are. We can choose to ignore the messages of our culture and hang on to what we know to be true in our hears.  Therein, lies one of the true wonders of aging… to at last not only be able, but willing, to see things more clearly…see things as they were meant to be…to see things as they are for us and to accept life with all its ups and downs, as good, and right and true. It’s a gift of aging. Embrace it.

Think Time

Think Time

Today is one of those wonderful rainy days that invite rest and reflection. For the half-cup empty kind person like myself, such a day is a rare occurrence and one to be embraced. On occasion, a rainy day and I co-exist happily together, feeding on our similar contemplative, brooding natures and snuggling under the covers of introspection. But, not often enough.

It is also the kind of rainy day that called for a walk through the puddles, albeit a walk resulting from the endless prodding of a relentlessly pacing, determined dog whose urgings could not be ignored. I was grateful to him in the end.

You might enjoy a visit to 1950's Atomic Ranch House offering antique, vintage, retro items, photos, links and topics daily, where I found this photo. Click on the photo.

So I sweatshirt-ed and hooded and leashed my furry companion venturing out into the pouring spring rain with eager determination. It was not long before I felt invigorated by the cool moist air and my mind began to race uninhibited, sorting through the clutter that always finds a home on the desktop of my brain. My step quickened trying and keep up. Gradually we came into rhythm with one another, my brain and I, and it occurred to me that I don’t often give myself permission to let off the controls.  Usually I force myself to “focus” on one problem or another. This was something different and it felt good. Necessary. Liberating.

Last week I wrote about the benefits of “quiet time”. While quiet in a fashion, this was really “think time”, a time of disconnection from purposeful, guided brain activity, even self-imposed quiet time.

I can’t help but wonder how children, who usually suffer through an enforced “quiet time”, might react to the concept of “think time”. Might they be more cooperative and less resistant to stopping the usual activities when given something  to focus their attention on, even if it is their own thoughts? Wouldn’t this be preferable to the arduous task of shutting down their eager little minds and bodies entirely, a task inordinately difficult for most?  Might teachers instruct them in how to listen to their thoughts, thereby teaching them to listen to their own inner voice,  thereby instilling a beneficial life lesson as well as a restful break in activity?  Children might see it as a wonderful game of discovery, finding  it amusing and engaging and achieving the same results of quiet rest.

For us weary adults, a long walk in the rain, without electronic attachments, is a perfect way to create an opportunity for “think time”. We cannot always break away from the worry and planning and active thinking that our minds too often latch on to, but we can create space and time in our days for the possibility that our thoughts might enjoy an opportunity to find their own path. What might we discover? Today, I discovered a sense of my brain’s own ability to shuffle and sort and integrate without me, freeing up new space and energy for creativity without even trying.