spiritual

Breathe.

Twelve years ago, I got into meditation and all things associated with Buddhism. I felt really good spiritually and mentally, and then life happened and got in the way and I lost it.

Fast forward to the past few months. It is no secret, if you know me, that I do not handle stress well. And, luckily for everyone around me, I tend to take on a lot of stressful things. I started to lose interest and excitement for things I am typically very passionate about because I felt so stressed. I just wanted to throw my hands up and walk away from everything.

So, remembering how great I felt when I used to incorporate Buddhist practices into my daily life, here is what I have done:

I started meditating 20 minutes a day
I stopped shopping (this is due to a few reasons, but I do think it helped in this scenario as well)
I started wearing my Hamsa necklace again as a reminder
I started listening to podcasts on Buddhism in the modern world, happiness, and other similar subjects (meditation dissonance learning from podcasts – doesn’t quite fit the theme, but it helps so… is it bad?)

In just a few days here is what happened:

I have more energy
I am taking deep breaths where necessary
I feel more creative again
I feel kinder, more forgiving, less judgmental
I feel more in touch with a piece of me that gets bogged down by stress and BS
I am quicker to self reflect and apologize

You might not have this same experience, but maybe give it a shot. Make the time to do whatever helps. A better you is better for everyone around you.

“There is the possibility for change. All emotions all fleeting. That is the ground for mind training. Two opposite mental factors cannot happen at the same time. You can go from love to hate, but you cannot at the same time toward the same object, the same person, want to harm and want to do good. You cannot in the same gesture give a hand and give a blow. It is a self-perpetuating process. Look inward. Do the same thing over and over. It takes time to unfold. Mind training matters. It is not a supplement. This is something that is going to better every instance of life. We love to do jogging, fitness. We do all kinds of things to remain beautiful; yet we spend surprisingly little time taking care of what matters most. Compassion put into action.” – Monk, Matthieu Ricard. Choose Love.

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It All Makes Sense

When I was younger, I kept a book of quotes. Words have always been important to me. It was also my way of learning how other people view things. I collected quotes on friendship, life in general, and mostly love. I learned a lot about what people think love is. I was gathering my very own written symposium. (Look that up if you don’t know what it is – it’s good!)

So, armed with a book full of quotes, poorly defined ideas from movies and T.V., I set out into the world to find and give love. While I loved a great deal along the way, and got hurt what seemed like an even greater deal, I don’t think I really knew what love was until I found my one. I even minored in Philosophy and took an AWESOME class of the philosophy of sex and love.

Others have come and gone and in between I thought this could be it. I was so insanely wrong, and that’s okay. I’ve never been happier to be wrong. When I met the one, it was so completely obvious why it never worked with anyone else. Here is what I have learned about love being with my greatest love.

Love is actually patient. Sometimes the vessel in comes in isn’t, but the love is.

Love is continued forgiveness and an endless effort to understand.

Love is a choice each and every day. Maybe there is one person with whom you’re meant to spend the majority of your life with, but that doesn’t mean you do whatever you want and hope for the best. You have to choose every day to be your best self so that you can give and get the best love.

Love should also be easy. While relationships are not, the love should be. If you have to work or force yourself to love who that person really is then it’s probably not right.

Love is making each other’s lives easier and better and more enriched. Hopefully life is pretty awesome before that someone comes along and it just makes it that much better.

Love is compromise. When two people come together from completely different worlds (experiences, examples, upbringing) things will not always line up.

Love is knowing every day that you have someone who has your back in every way. Love is supporting each other through little things, terrifying things, obstacles, triumphs, challenges, new ideas, bad ideas, and good ideas (and marathons and roller derby).

Love is trust. Not just the trust that the person won’t cheat. Love is trust to always be there, to be self aware, to be willing to be wrong and apologize. Love is trusting that the person will keep your feelings safe. Love it trusting that person to choose you every day. < That one there is huge. Write it down. Put it in your quote book. Just me? Okay…

I didn’t even know that this was the love I was looking for until I had it. I didn’t even know that I needed all of these things until I had them beautifully in front of me.

I don’t know if everyone has this experience, but this is what finding it felt like for me…
When I saw her for the first time it was as if I was seeing her again. She was a stranger and yet she was completely familiar and something inside of me said “There you are.” Perhaps we did know each other. Perhaps we were split in two. I do not know. What I do know is that life is so much bigger now.

I love you every day.

Two Roads

One of those roads is not necessarily less traveled. I am just telling you about it.

“Some people, no matter what they are born into, are meant to be so much more.”

Once upon a time, I was born the 4th child to a woman named Robyn. She could not take care of any babies never mind 4 under the age of 5. So, fast forward a little while, and I was adopted. My siblings were not. Skip a few chapters to 19 years later, and I was meeting 2 of my sisters for the first time. It was an experience that was both exciting and incredibly sad. Why had so much time passed by without each other? Why did it have to be this way?

I’ll tell you why. Because I was not meant to be there. I was meant for more. That might sound bad to you, but keep in mind that this is only an EXTREMELY abridged version of the whole story. Even though we grew up 400 miles from each other, we faced very similar challenges both internally and externally. But there were two roads. Along the way, I saw short cuts, I saw tempting paths to the other road. Did I ever stray to things leading me to the other road? Sure. Then I woke up and remembered what I was fighting for. I was, and still am, fighting for the life I have always dreamed of. I am fighting for the more I am meant to be. I want to look back one day and know that I did everything I could. I want to know that I showed integrity, forgiveness, understanding and strength. I want to know that I lived in peace and love. {Peace and love, people.} I want to make my difference, and I want my mom who adopted me to give me a better life – to fulfill her dreams of being a mom – to know that even though life often didn’t turn out the way she hoped for me, I am more. I am becoming who I was meant to be.

Growing up, all I wanted in the whole world was a brother or sister. All I wanted was to know the siblings I was born with. I am eternally grateful for being given that opportunity. The family I found in that journey isn’t at all the family I thought I was going to find, but they are family.

I am planning on continuing down my road full steam ahead. Sometimes, that means leaving things behind. And, though I carry pieces of it all with me wherever I go, to rip off some lyrics from Kelly Clarkson, piece by piece I fell far from the tree.

It Just Makes Sense

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That idea right there is actually a very profound thing that can lead to a great deal of understanding, forgiveness and happiness.

Think about it – how much time have you spent analyzing, regretting, wishing, being angry and sad – wondering why it didn’t work out with someone or what you could have done differently or better to still be with them? What if the answer was simply… because?

Because it simply didn’t fit. Because it just wasn’t right. Because they just weren’t the one.

Now, I have spent a lot of time wondering if “the one” was truly something that existed. I suppose I have always been optimistic (thus the continual effort to find such a person) but at the same time it seemed pretty fairy-tale like and maybe a little too flowery for me.

I have struggled a lot with believing the person was out there, trying to force people with whom I felt it could probably work, into that spot. Most of the boxes were checked and that was as good as it was going to get, right? I know you’ve been there too.

Then someone comes along and everything changes. It suddenly makes all the sense in the world why you had trouble figuring it out. Because. Because it just wasn’t right. The one is easy. It is without fear and without struggle (though you will go through struggles together, the being together part will always be easy). It is without judgement, and it is fun. When you find the one, you recognize them because they are the person you put out there into the universe. It’s not a new hello, but an “Oh, of course, there you are.” And in that moment, you can forgive everything and everyone and yourself. You can forgive the hurt; you can forgive the struggle. You can forgive yourself for mistakes, and for ever thinking that someone was the one when they weren’t because believing in love is brave and without a single one of those moments, you would not end up where you are. Just like that… it’s all worth it, and I’d do it ALL again to be where I am.

By christineintheworld Posted in Blogs

Told You So

gut
ɡət/
noun
noun: gut; plural noun: guts
the stomach or belly.

the lower alimentary canal or a part of this; the intestine.

the internal parts or essence of something.

2. used in reference to a feeling or reaction based on an instinctive emotional response

Today, I’m thinking about my gut. Not the delicious breakfast I am about to throw down into definition 1, but the crazy, scary, all too accurate gut of definition 2. It took me a long time to realize that my gut was actually on point. I would get a vibe, feeling, instinct (whatever you want to call it) when I would meet someone for the first time, and I would always ignore it. I would think – How can I possibly know that about this person if I don’t actually KNOW them? So, I would go about the business of the winding road of a relationship, whether intimate or otherwise, and eventually end up right back where I started – my gut feeling.

The only problem with ignoring it, for me, has been that it took me down some pretty hurtful roads. Recently, you know the road I traveled was particularly windy and disastrous, and yet I still marched forward, determined to prove my gut WRONG. That was the last time. After that, I made a pact with myself that I would follow my gut from there on out. Let me tell you, it has not disappointed me.

So, giving this gut thing a shot, I’ve been able to spot red flags, recognize bad vibes before they infiltrate my life, kick out bad energy and refuse to accept anything lackluster.

Now, we all have our paths… things that teach us necessary lessons, people who show us new things, remind us of old things and jobs and people that take us places we wouldn’t otherwise experience… and all of that – that is the preparation. It’s all necessary, usually difficult and sometimes fun, but necessary for us to arrive at moment X. When you’re ready, moment X will arise in your gut and scream at you, “HERE I AM!”

Trust your gut. If you don’t know how to hear it, just listen for the first thing that pops into your head when you meet someone. Is it bad/good? Does it make you feel lighter? Does it make you feel awkward? Are you covering things up, or putting it all out there? These are all the hints of your all too accurate gut. Be calm. Listen. Trust.

Trying to Fail

On the way home from work today, I listened to a Ted Hour Podcast called Failure is an Option. So, while I creeped along the 90 minute drive of highway to highway to highway, I listened to this segment on both a professional and a personal level.

The theme of this podcast was centered around the fact that at Google, they not only accept failure on projects, but they actually reward it. They give employees time off and even bonuses when a big project reaches official failure in development. It probably sounds strange if you just don’t have the mentality to look at things as a process, journey, adventure etc. Why are we so afraid to fail? I’ve failed at so much shit and I have had to literally gather my life up again with a dustpan and some might consider that a mess, but I have learned so much, had a ton of fun and I have cried until I literally couldn’t move anymore. I have felt dark and down to the point of feeling like there was no way out. With this, I’ve experienced more than some people do in a lifetime.

Professionally speaking, if every person who was afraid to fail, didn’t take the risk they did, we wouldn’t have a lot of things we rely on and love today. Think about the inventors, innovators, idea stealers who created the very things you use on a daily basis. Failure is proof that you are trying. Failure is proof that you aren’t sitting on your ass day dreaming, but rather putting your ass on the line and DOING. I wish everyone would do instead of talk. That is one thing I can say about myself – if I want something, if I believe in something, you better watch the fuck out because it’s about to happen faster than you can say “you can’t do that.” I always thought that was a lame cliche that got bounced around “tell me I can’t, and I will,” I guess that’s because most people in my life know better than to doubt me, but recently, one of the biggest things I ever did, someone actually told me “you can’t just DO that. It doesn’t happen like that.” So, I walked out of the room and 4 weeks later, it was a reality and it has been one of the greatest things I have ever done.

I would like to be the kind of leader that leads the team at Google – failure is okay. Failure is okay if it means you’re putting your ideas on the line – risking your pride for an idea you believe in. That is a beautiful thing. Wishing you did and never doing it is true failure to me.

Personally speaking, I was thinking about relationships. Why are we so afraid to fail at relationships? We will literally stay with someone that completely screws up our universe because we don’t want to fail at it. We don’t want “another failed relationship.” Relationships are partially out of our control. Shit clashes. Shit doesn’t work. People are fucked up. People hurt us. We have little control over these things. Do you feel like a failure if you miss the train because it left 5 minutes early from the station? NO, you did your best. You got there on time, but the circumstances were out of your control. If you do your best, you should never be ashamed of failure whether it’s personal or otherwise. And this is all much easier said than done because when you put your everything into something it stings hard when it doesn’t work. Stomp your feet, have your moment (I have literally done this) and get over it. Figure out what didn’t work. Figure out when it’s time to walk away.

We must be brave and we must be humble in order to failure to be success. So go ahead; fail.

Something Different

Observations as of late:

I have the most kick ass friends out there. Don’t even try to compare. It ain’t gonna work. I mean for real – when you are so far down in the dark that you don’t even know which way is up and they give you a hand and then a leg and then a head and all the shoulders you could ever need to pull yourself up and out, that is legit.

Some places are home no matter how far away we get from there or how long it has been since we visited. I went on a solo camping trip this past weekend and I was laying there in a bunk bed, in a cabin, in the middle of the woods, with a wooden ladder obstructing my view as I looked out, and I thought – here I am. I brought myself back to the place where I first found myself. It wasn’t the exact place, but it was certainly that feeling of home.

It really is true that the lessons that alter us most are the most painful to learn. Cliche or not, that shit is real. They are the most rewarding as well. I was thinking about all of the most pivotal moments of my life and what I learned from them. It seems the more painful, the more impact -Maybe we just pay more attention to the things that really jar us – shift our core. But I also don’t think all big “lessons” have to be painful. It’s just a correlation from some of my experiences.

Very few things are ours and ours alone. Here’s what I believe is “mine”: my experiences, my thoughts, my actions, my reactions, my person (on loan for my time on Earth). Don’t let ANYONE ever take what is yours.

Forgiveness is the only thing that truly sets us free. Maybe I won’t ever fully shake the blow to my head, but my heart is open, and I am ready to forgive. I forgive because I appreciate that opportunity to go back down inside myself and dig out the courage that I squashed down. I forgive because I am now wiser. I forgive because now I see the difference and I will not accept anything other than DIFFERENT. I forgive because my soul deserves freedom.

You can be held and be free at the same time. I want to dance right there in that spot – held and free.

Destruction of State

 
 
Systematic
tirade
forced jubilation
book-ended by
evil and despair.
Systematic
self-righteousness
fueled
by
self-hate
tearing down
the light –
the goodness.
Systematic destruction
of this state
my state –
of mind.

By christineintheworld Posted in Poetry

Time to Pare Down

Don’t ask me what kicked this off, but the past few weeks all I can think of is eliminating things in my life that are not necessary. Okay, maybe not quite all things that are not necessary, but I definitely want to cut down.

I want to start paring down the things that I don’t need and let myself breathe a little easier. If I can get rid of some of the things I don’t need, spend a little less and have a little less stress, I think that will be a success. I don’t really know how all of these things got here, but I think it is because I love so many things. I love working out and camping. I am all about the outdoor sports, so there’s the surfboard and the snowboard and the cross country skis. These things make me happy, and it’s fun to explore and do new things, so I don’t think I will get rid of certain things, but even if I can cut down on future accumulation – that works.

I’d like to try and see if I can spend only $20 a week. (Okay…maybe not $20!) Now, it’s not like I go on spending sprees and buy all of these things. I have accumulated them over time, but it just all goes hand in hand with cutting down. I wonder what different things I would do and see if I went to back to the early days of being so broke no matter how many jobs I worked.

So, next step is to go through the closets and make things a little simpler. It’s all about simple…peaceful…free.

My 9 Lives.

I post a lot about life racing by and growing older, and if you don’t like it, you probably won’t like this one either. I don’t know why I focus on it so much. Maybe it’s because I honestly don’t really understand how I am still alive, so I spend a lot of time thinking about what the hell I am doing here since clearly I’ve been given multiple chances.

If you know me pretty well, you know that I always claim to have nine lives. This is because I have somehow managed to escape death not once, or twice, but four times by the time I was 20. I’ll fill you all in on that another day. It’s been a little quiet the past ten years, which is scary.

So anyway, this morning I am drinking coffee and scrolling through Facebook when I get to a childhood friend’s page. (We all know how that goes – one minute you’re on your news feed and ten minutes later, you’re looking at someone’s brother’s friend’s vacation.) From that page I clicked on a mutual childhood friend’s page and then all of the sudden I am looking at pictures of all of us with braces and wide smiles. We were so young and had so much ahead of us. Now, it’s certainly not like life is over now by any means, but it sure seems as if it’s a far cry from those days. Now we have receding hair lines, miscarriages, lay offs, and we are generally too tired to do much of anything sometimes.

I watched this video this morning which is right up my alley because it illustrates exactly what we spend our lives doing and how much of it is actually left for us.

I mean…relatively speaking, that’s not a lot of jelly beans in the first place. Once you subtract more than 1,000 days for driving and another 1500 for cooking, and all of the other stuff we push through on a daily basis, what is left is a ridiculously small amount left.

Have you looked at a picture of yourself at the age of 8, 13, 17 lately? Look at it – really look at it. Appreciate everything you have learned since then and use it to be a better person, but also think about all of the things you wanted to do at 8, 13 and 17. Be the person you admired when you were that age. Be the person you wanted to be and do all the things you wanted to do. Don’t step on your jelly beans. Savor them. I hate popcorn flavored jelly beans. I will still savor them too because one day they might be the only flavor I have left.