Selfish Saturday: The Waffler is out

keepoutcomebacklaterYesterday I had to attend my son’s end-of-year picnic; he was very disappointed last year, when I didn’t. I should have passed again. The 27-degree, 100%-humidity weather made me feel like a steamed dumpling even first thing in the morning, and had given me a raging case of heatstroke by the end of the day. Let’s say it hasn’t been a fun 30-odd hours.

I can have a lot of odd thoughts when physically incapacitated… odd, but generally good. And this time I decided to break out of my rut over the holidays. I usually dread them, because they tend to mess up the regular things I want to do. Maybe giving up some of those regular things will help me enjoy myself more.

Long story short, the Waffle’s regular columns are going away for the summer. There will be bites from DailyOM to keep the mind alert, but all the books, music, food and art can wait for order to reassert itself. If all goes according to plan, regular activity will resume on September 4. Take 45 and enjoy!

Your Last Breath

Procrastination is an almost universal human habit and one that infiltrates nearly every aspect of our lives. Modern existence is so complex, and much of what we long to do is left to wait by the side. We know what is important but tend to let the weight of worldly pressures lead us astray. To get back on track, however, we need only take a moment to consider where our thoughts will be as we take our last breath on this earth. More likely than not, at that instant, disagreements, bills, petty annoyances, and other frustrating elements of our lives will no longer seem as significant as they once did. Thoughts of loved ones and the positive impact we had on the world would no doubt occupy our remaining thoughts. Whatever we imagine ourselves musing upon during our last breath will almost always be representative of what truly matters to us.

This simple exercise introduces us to a new way of thinking. While our attention is drawn momentarily to the end of life, our contemplations serve to point out that we are masters of our own perspective and, consequently, our own existence. There is nothing preventing us from shifting our focus right now as we imagine we will in our final moments. We can choose to spend more of our time and energy on what gives our lives meaning. We can spend more time with loved ones and do more of what we enjoy. Doing so may not always prove easy, and there will inevitably be times when circumstances interfere with our resolution, yet we do not have to regard this as an indication that our priorities are not in alignment with who we really are.

Sometimes the only way we can see the beauty of life is to remind ourselves that it is finite. Gandhi said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow.” His words are a potent reminder that living life more fully is not about pushing ourselves harder or shouldering more burdens, but about experiencing all the wonderful richness life has to offer.

DailyOM

Filling Imaginary Voids

In our culture today, we are constantly encouraged to consume. This includes food as well as purchasing ever newer items that we may not need, often using money that we may not actually have. It could be that we are trying to fill a void we feel within ourselves, but if we take the time to examine it, we know deep inside that this is not the solution. We may notice how quickly the joy fades after our purchase or once the food we’ve enjoyed is gone, and how soon we feel the urge to do so again. This is a symptom of disconnection from our true selves, so the first step toward balance is connection to our center.

When we connect to our center, we access the fullness of who we are as an individual spirit. We also connect to the energy source of the universe, from which nothing can be lacking. It could be that we have been energetically starving ourselves but trying to feed the need physically, outwardly. Once we make the decision to reconnect, we have the ability to examine the behavior from a higher place within ourselves. We can look, without judgment, at the thoughts and feelings that occur before and after our indulgences to find a pattern. We may want to keep track of these observations in a journal so that we can go back if we lose our way.

Often boredom is the main cause for the desire to eat or shop. But when we connect to our center, our intuition can more clearly guide us to the places where our energy can best be used. We can replace the boredom with a meditation practice, a class, a project, seeking a new job, or getting involved in a charity. We may even want to begin planning an adventurous trip. Whatever inspires us tells us the direction we should go. When we find the place we are meant to be, we become so consumed by its constant creation that the frivolous filling of an imaginary void becomes a thing of the past.

DailyOM

Magical Things

Though the universe as a whole is imbued with an undeniable aura of magic, we can further fill our lives with magic by creating a collection of magical things. More than being simply beautiful, such objects can potentially play an active role in the shaping of our experience as each magical object serves a unique and multifaceted purpose. Some inspire us to reflect while some have the power to positively influence our moods. Others take us back in time, capturing in their essence memories locked in history or helping us reaffirm our connection with the universe. Magical objects can be found almost anywhere and can be practically anything, from gifts of nature to manmade artifacts. You’ll know an object is truly magical when it touches you deeply, awakening some primal part of yourself that is more profoundly connected to the ethereal.

There is no right or wrong way to introduce a magical object into your life—the collection you create can be large or small, kept in private or publicly displayed. You may already be in possession of such objects. Perhaps you keep a smooth river stone next to your bed because its presence is soothing. Or you find yourself intensely drawn to certain antique items that seem to radiate light and energy. Whatever the nature of the objects you deem magical, there are many ways to utilize them. Those that help you reach a contemplative and relaxed state may best serve their purpose on your personal altar or in some special place in your home. Objects that bring you comfort can be kept in a small pouch and carried throughout the day. Or you may feel compelled to infuse your collection with beauty by making it into a collage that naturally draws your eye and stimulates your soul.

Everyone can benefit from surrounding themselves with magical objects. Our lives are made just a little more light and fun when having magical things in our presence. If you feel you don’t have anything magical in your life, ask the universe for help, and it will not be long before a meaningful artifact, a simple feather, a special stone, or another powerful item reveals itself to you and fills your life with enchantment.

DailyOM

Knowing Better Now

When we look back at the past, knowing what we know now, we often find it difficult to understand how we made the mistakes we made. This is because once we learn new information, it is nearly impossible to reenter the headspace we were in before we learned that information. And so we look back at parents who spanked their kids, for example, and wonder how they could have thought that was a good idea. Similarly, our personal pasts are full of mistakes we can’t believe we made. We did things then that we would never do now, and this is precisely because we have information now that we didn’t have, or weren’t able to access, then.

From ideas about how to raise children to how to treat the environment, our collective human past sometimes reads like a document on what not to do. In many ways, this is exactly as it should be. We learn from living and having experiences. It is from these past actions that we garnered the information that guides us to live differently now. Just so, in our personal lives, we probably had to have a few unsuccessful relationships or jobs, learning about our negative tendencies through them, in order to gain the wisdom we have now.

In order to live more peacefully with the past, it helps to remember that once we know better, we tend to do better. Prior to knowing, we generally do our best, and while it’s true that from the perspective of the present, our best doesn’t always seem good enough, we can at least give our past selves the benefit of the doubt. We did our best with what knowledge we had. Beyond this, we serve the greater good most effectively by not dwelling on the past, instead reigning our energy and knowledge into our present actions. It is here, in this moment, that we create our reality and ourselves anew, with our current knowledge and information.

DailyOM

Acknowledging Your Growth

Since personal evolution is most often a slow and gradual process, it can be difficult to recognize the scope of the changes taking place in our lives. Yet it is important that we regularly acknowledge our ongoing growth and reward ourselves for the many wonderful feats of self-improvement we have accomplished. When we intentionally contemplate our progress, we need never feel that we are languishing between past achievements and the realization of future goals. If we look closely at our lives, we may see that much of what brings us pleasure in the present is representative of the ambitions of our past that we worked so hard to attain. At one time, the abundance we enjoy currently likely seemed like a far-off dream. Now it is simply reality—a reality we created through our diligence, passion, and unflagging determination. Whether our progress is fast or slow, we deserve to congratulate ourselves for our successes.

To remind yourself of the insights you have gained with time, temporarily adopt an outsider’s perspective and carefully consider how your life in the present differs from the range of experiences you lived through in the past. Creating a written list, in a journal or otherwise, of those strengths, aptitudes, and inner qualities you now attribute to yourself can help you accept that you are not the same person you were one year ago, five years ago, or 10 years ago. Your attitudes, opinions, and values were likely markedly different, and these differences can be ascribed to your willingness to accept that you still have much to learn. If you have difficulty giving yourself credit for these changes, think about the goals you realized, the lives you touched, the wisdom you acquired, and the level of enlightenment you attained over the past years.

Recognizing growth is neither boastful nor immodest. Evolution is a natural fact of life and becomes a potent motivational force when celebrated. Knowing that you are brighter, stronger, and more grounded than you once were, you can look forward to the changes to come. In acknowledging your growth, you build a sturdy foundation upon which you can continue to blossom well into the future.

DailyOM


Month at a Glance

July 2014
M T W T F S S
« Jun    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

Previously…

Filed Under:

nano09

Hit On Me!

  • 328,915 hits

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 448 other followers

%d bloggers like this: