Present moments and future pleasures. #NaBloPoMo

30 Day Blog Challenge, Personal Narrative, Spirituality, Temple Building

Love in the past is a memory. Love in the future is a fantasy.
To be really alive, love — or any other experience —
must take place in the present.
~Jack Kornfield

I don’t want to get too caught up in what’s next. I want to enjoy what’s now. (While still excited about what’s next.)

I’ll admit that’s been hard the past few months. After a period of dormancy, my life is in the full bloom of spring. It’s glorious. I have big plans and I’m working toward them day by day. Still, I find myself saying things like, I can’t wait until

Now, I want to be clear: There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being excited about the future, no matter whether future means five years or five minutes. But being too caught up in future happiness – or past, for that matter – makes you miss opportunities for joy and growth in the current moment.

Happiness is not something far away. It is to be found neither in
fame nor in popularity. When you live with integrity,
your hearts begin to fill with a happiness as vast as the universe.
It’s about being true to yourself and starting from where you are.
~Daisaku Ikeda

Where are you?
There’s risk living fully in the present moment. You have to be open. Vulnerable. You have to face life as it is, not as you would have it be, or as it used to be. It requires acknowledgment. Discernment. And it’s a balancing act, really. Reflecting on past moments, looking forward to future moments, all while living in the now, is more than a notion.

NaBloPoMo March 2013

That’s really a challenge if you feel your life is a smidgen too far from perfect. Why focus energy here and now, when you really want to just hurry up and get to happily ever after? And if life is good now, but better is just around the corner, it’s easy to want to rush time along.  Funny thing, time.  You can’t get to future moments without experiencing this one. And because the chain of cause and effect is never broken, the way you experience the future is predicated, in large part, on the way you frame your present adventures.

Mindful moments.
One way I’ve remained mindful of (and grateful for) present moments, is by adding to my joy jar. I could do this more often, and I’m writing about it now as a gentle reminder to myself.  Another strategy I implement is listing. I jot down small, specific tasks I want to accomplish in a short period (one day or two), and check them off as I go.  It’s simple, but it allows me to see and appreciate constant progress, and consequently build momentum.

I also enjoy simple things like outdoor exercise, sitting in the sun, stretching, or salt baths. These all help me slow down and notice what’s going on right now. They also help me listen to my body, which whispers its need of rest or better nutrition before turning to drastic measures like illness or injury.

vorfreudeCultivate your life.
My aunt is a Master Gardener. And no matter how excited she is about her future blossoms, there’s no escaping today’s work of tilling the soil, planting and pruning as the case may be. She enjoys the work of gardening (even the setbacks), the anticipation, and the fruits of her labor.

And so it can be with us.

Today’s rainbow…musings from a traveler. #NaBloPoMo #amwriting.

30 Day Blog Challenge

I.

Today I wore a turquoise wrap. Peacock blue, to be precise. Smug and perky, a bright splash of joy draped across my shoulders, I took in the scene on the airport tram. Shook my head at the stoic wall of black-navy-gray. Oh, what a spot of color wouldn’t do to add a dose of cheer…

II.

Walking through the security line, my eyes spotted a fellow smug and perky. The slight smile on his face framed by a bright red sweater. He strolled, weaving through the stanchions with an air of confidence and a hint of fun. It was the red. I know it.

III.

My window seat afforded me a perfect view of the bay set against the pink-orange dusk. Smug and perky overcome by the sinking realization my time near salted waters and humid air is rapidly coming to a close.

Pass-a-grille Beach

Roots. #NaBloPoMo.

30 Day Blog Challenge

Today’s topic is a stream of consciousness.

I recently realized that weekly traveling isn’t really good for someone like me. By someone like me I mean someone who needs to be grounded. Whenever I travel, my spirit has to catch up. There’s a delay from an hour, up to a day, before I feel like I’m truly back in my body. This is especially true when I’m flying away from home.

I have an arsenal of grounding exercises, although in hotels I find that drinking lots of water and sitting still for an hour or so helps a lot. Nesting helps as well. I can’t live out of the suitcase. I have to unpack and organize and arrange things. Otherwise I just feel flustered and disoriented.

I’ve done the weekly travel gig before, and I think it bothered me less then because I spent fewer days on the road. I traveled one evening, worked two days, returning on the second. I had time to unpack, wash clothes, prep for and teach a face-to-face class at the university, and then repeat the cycle. It was hectic, but I always felt like myself. It also helped that I was working the same project, so I always stayed in the same hotel, saw the same people, etc. The routine was grounding, I suppose.

Most of this year, I’ve been away sometimes five nights at a time. I’m home long enough to soothe a distressed cat and head out again. Each week of the month it’s a new adventure, then the cycle repeats.

Thankfully my schedule is tapering a bit. (And soon enough, perhaps too much). I’m a bit of a workaholic, but I need to be rooted.

It’ll be nice to plant roots this spring…

Abiding Love

Love, Personal Narrative

Some years are made for themes. They begin with declarations, resolutions, bucket lists, big bangs, and the like. Two years ago I opened 2011 fierce, bold, courageous.

As if 3.5 years of grad school weren’t enough, in 2011 I found myself desirous of more profound and personal challenges. I wanted to face things that scared me. Push myself beyond self-imposed limitations.

Despite the steps I took to face seeming fears out there, I soon discovered the real fears were within. Towering at times. Moments of clarity and honesty produced tools for dismantling and dissolving. I chiseled and chipped and melted fears after hours of prayers, reflection, and tearful storytelling. Truth-telling to the one I lied most often: me.

2012 did not open with a declaration. And throughout the year I sought the theme retroactively. Eventually I figured out that I never really concluded the learning, pushing and fear facing of 2011. And so not one, but two years were about fear and overcoming it.

Now a new year has dawned, and to fear and fearlessness I say, “thank you.” Fear and the efforts to win over it, are great teachers. The most important lesson, the most beautiful gift, was love.

I am no longer interested in the framing, facing or challenging of fear. Instead I seek, welcome, embrace and share love.

2013 is the Year of Abiding Love. 

And so it is.