Archive for the ‘Growing Pains?’ Category.

Determined to Feel Good – Lydia Taft

I’m noticing right now that I am just a bit unsettled.  I won’t try and focus too much on why. It’s simply a feeling that is running its course.  I am inspired to take a deep breath and settle into myself.  And as I settle myself, I try to feel the environment around me.  What does this place feel like right now?  I only feel agitation right now.  Does it belong to me or the environment?  I decide that doesn’t matter.  All that matters is that I would prefer to feel peaceful. 

The other day I was reading about checking into the feeling of the environment. 

It’s a practice that can help us connect to the emotional climate of a place and as we do this we are helped to become more aware and in tune with our senses.  We are after all receivers and interpreters of energy.  It’s very easy: we tune into either feeling good or feeling bad.  Earlier I tuned into restlessness and dis-ease.  That’s not a healthy place to sit in and I felt very uncomfortable.

But, I have the ability to manipulate my attention and I realize I am getting a bit better at choosing.  It’s a matter of focus and it takes a willingness to become aware of the climate I am sitting in and a willingness to not become affected by whatever happens to be in front of me.  I played with this idea the other day as I practiced watching my emotions flit around.  As they dipped and swooped, I became aware of their connection to my attention of particular subjects.

Untitled-1

Look over there and be happy.  Look over there and feel upset.  I was swayed by the environment.  I was influenced by the conditions around me. 

I was being spun around and dragged up and down an emotional roller coaster.  This is what most of us do all day.  No wonder we are often exhausted. 

I am ready to experience something different.  I am ready to be more deliberate about how I feel. 

I’ve practiced meditation, so I know that feeling good is a single breath away.  I’ve trained myself to be still.  I also know that feeling good is a choice that belongs to me, no matter what is going on around me or where I happen to be.  Feeling good comes from the inside.  I can tune into it in any moment and in any place.  I am the receiver of my emotional climate and I get to set the dial to the station that feels best to me. 

Another few deep breathes later and I am back to center.  I am soothed and peaceful.

Right now I am determined to feel good. 

Getting Out of My Own Way – Lydia Taft

I’ve been riding the emotion of impatience.  I have set my intention toward a desired goal and now I find myself constantly checking to see where the manifestation is.  It reminds me of when I first learned to bake.  I’d place the cookies or cake in the oven and then want to open it to see what they were doing.  Were they rising?!  Well they were until I opened the oven! Of course I was helped later in life by having an oven door with a glass window and oven light.  I smile at myself and realize how very helpful the light is.  My mind wanders to imagining that oven light as a symbol of Spirit’s love and I am reminded that trust and faith are essential to my life journey. 

Love lights my path and guides me to each new experience. 

It is not essential that I peek and make sure things are happening — they will.  Life always unfolds. When I keep trying to peek at the progress I am slowing up the manifestation of my desires.  When I make what’s missing the focus of my attention I always get more of what’s missing.

Untitled-1

I realize this is a difficult concept.  I know this from experience.  When I want something I want it and I want it quickly.  It’s very simple.  The trick is getting out of the way so I can receive it.  My mind will want to analyze the situation.  It will want to justify why I deserve what I want.  It will want to prove to me that I am worthy of what I want.  It might even point a finger at others saying if not for them I’d have it already. 

I listened to a spiritual teacher this morning.  She was reminding me that the universe is always for me.  It is always supporting me.  When I hold to my beliefs and opinions of all that is wrong in life, I delay the good from entering my space.  It’s like holding up an umbrella in a rain storm.  In my attempt to hunker down and block out discomfort, I also block myself from seeing the good that follows the storm.  If I keep holding that umbrella up, I will block out all of the light.  At some point it becomes time to put the umbrella down.

My only job is to receive the good. 

My only job is to maintain the emotional climate that I desire to feel and experience.  What would I prefer to feel, I ask myself?  This question is always very easy to answer. 

This Is Bigger Than Me Today – Lydia Taft

So things are changing again.  That’s all they ever do. Once I get comfortable, or at least somewhat comfortable with the direction I am traveling, I find that life gets all stirred up again.  And I am left to face the upheaval as it is and to once again find my place within the chaos.

I had once thought that I was meant to reorganize the chaos, but now I believe I am only meant to find where my next foot hold is, so I might ride the wave of change and see which shore I land on.  As I wrote that out, I became aware of my conditions.  I hear myself say, “But I don’t want it to look like this or that.”  “But I don’t want to lose my job,” was one very loud and clear statement.  “But I don’t want to move,” was another. 

But I don’t want to…  But I don’t want to… I hear myself whining in my own head about the many things that I don’t want.

I realize I have a very narrow picture of what I think all things ought to look like.  And while I am committing myself to riding that wave, there’s this part of me that wants to direct the wave to a particular shore and a particular outcome.  I find humor in this because I really thought I was in a place of surrender.  Turns out I am fooling myself once again!

When I’m fully honest with myself, I realize I have life plans laid out for at least the next 10 years.  And those plans have very particular sets of events that are expected to flow one after the other. 

It’s almost terrifying to think of what life might look like if it doesn’t go according Untitled-1to this 10 year plan of mine. 

I soothe myself by thinking that I am at least aware of my discomfort.  I am more aware than in the past of the conditions I’ve created.  I’m catching things earlier and earlier.  I’m getting better at this stuff.  I’m willing to keep trying. 

As I find some comfort in those thoughts, I realize there’s a higher part of my consciousness that understands there are bigger plans in store for me. 

I’ve had a lifetime of asking for things and the only way to achieve all that I’ve dreamed is to allow change to happen. 

My 10 year plan doesn’t account for the many things I’ve imagined.  It doesn’t account for personal growth and expansion.  It doesn’t include the bigger picture of myself as a dynamic being whose understanding is enhanced by every life experience I face. 

I realize that there’s going to be a point in time as early as the next moment, and as far away as 10 years from now, that includes a greater understanding of my place in this world.  And as I carry myself forward in this growth, I know that I can achieve and accomplish more than I can imagine from this particular point in time, with this very particular “now” understanding of who I am. 

Tomorrow’s understanding is greater and can accomplish more than I can imagine today. 

And I refuse to be afraid of that next thing that will take me to that next place, to live that next bigger and greater dream of mine. 

So I will find peace in surrendering to this change, because I know that it will propel me to achieving dreams I’ve yet to imagine.  I am reminded once again, that this experience is something bigger than I have the ability to imagine today. 

Growing Pains: The Buffet of Life – Lydia Taft

There are lots of things that are not my business today, and yet I keep trying to draw myself into discussions about them.  I’m walking through the buffet of life and purposely selecting everything that tastes horrible and feels irritating.  I am working to make irritating the flavor of the day.  The more I dwell on irritating things, the more quickly I can find other things to be irritated with.  The momentum is building and I figure if I want to experience anything other than irritation today, I had better get myself a new menu.

Do I like feeling irritated I ask myself.  Well, I pause… the truth is no.

What do I prefer to feel?  What do I prefer to taste from life? 

I enjoy sweetness I think.  And I further consider the idea of my life as a buffet of items to select from and wonder what else I might like tasting.  And then I imagine breakfast sitting in front of me.  It is 8:30 am, after all.  I think how much I enjoy things that feel substantial.  I like to have a breakfast with eggs, bacon and potatoes.

And what would that dish feel like in life? It would feel like something that would fill me up.  It wouldn’t Untitled-1leave me hungry and restless and aching and wanting for more.  So I prefer substance, I think.  And what would my sweet item be?  For a breakfast treat, it might be a Danish or pastry. But if there were something else that looked more appealing, I might choose it… like maybe French toast or pancakes.  I recall eating pancakes the day before and I still feel full from them.

And then I realize that I am saying that I don’t like to have too much of the same thing all the time.  I like a bit of variety.  Yes, I think.  That is true.  I have never liked eating leftovers.  I like to eat things that are new and fresh.  I pause for a moment in this idea.  I like life experiences to feel new and fresh.  New things make me feel excited.  And excitement tastes like hope and expectation.

Considering breakfast some more, I begin to imagine a delightful and playful swirl of whipped cream on top of fresh berries.  Fresh and naturally sweet berries.  Yes, I’d enjoy that feeling right now.  My mind continues to thrill at the wonder of all the many tasty breakfast ideas that could be laid out before me.  And I am reminded of the blueberry muffins from my childhood that were made with canned blueberries that had a lovely blue juice that stained the batter.  I can now recall the feeling of joyful anticipation I had as a child.  There are unlimited wonderful things to taste at this buffet!

I never have to select something that tastes awful. 

I think this morning I will serve myself something fresh with a touch of sweetness.  I think I will find something new and interesting that will stimulate my senses.  I will seek to taste warmth and nurturing and caring.  I will seek to taste comfort.  I will fill my senses with joy and laughter and the light heartedness of childhood.  And I will add a side of clarity for my overall health and wellbeing.  Yes.  This is right.  I realize these particular feeling selections fill up my senses and I am prepared for a joyful and very tasty day.

GROWING PAINS: Towards Certainty – Lydia Taft

I am sitting here wanting for something… is this fluttery discomfort I feel excitement?  Is this feeling of unease expectation about what’s around the corner?  Or is this slight discomfort simply an emptiness I wish to fill?  I’m not fully certain; I only know something is a bit off.  And I’d rather not sit in this space for much longer.  It’s time to do some energy work.  It’s time to find alignment.

So I take a breath and settle into myself.  I search out my emotional climate.  “What am I feeling now?” I ask.  I feel complete, and soft, and full, and steady.  I really feel okay.  There is emptiness there.  There is no hunger there.  I must be expecting, I think. And then I realize it is a feeling of expectation without the knowing.  And there lies the discomfort. 

I ask myself, what do I know? What am I sure of? 

I am sure I am loved.  I am sure I am on my path.  I am sure the path is unfolding.  I am sure the sun will set tonight and rise tomorrow.  I am sure of my cats and what it feels like to pet them, and watch them.  I am sure of how they purr and take pleasure in making any spot they lay the most comfortable place in existence.  I am sure of what it feels like to look at them and feel love for them.

I am sure of my grand-daughter’s love.  Right there, that thought alone, floods me with warmth and fullness.  And that feeling is so large I bask in it for a bit and allow myself to just float on its truth.  And now I am able to appreciate all the other little things that appeal to me, and I am flooded with many ideas of more simple life pleasures that inspire joy.

I am sure of how beautiful the blue open sky and warm breeze are.  I am sure of the joy I feel when watching puppies play.  I am sure of the freedom I feel when taking a walk.  I am sure of the love I feel when hugging my husband.  I am sure of the joy of wearing new shoes.  I am sure of being here now.  My list can go on and on I realize, because there are so many more things I feel comfort in thinking about; there are so many more things I know I am certain of.

I am sure, and I am certain, of this warm feeling in my heart right now. 

And that feeling of relief is right above all things. 

GROWING PAINS: Attack Mode – Lydia Taft

Attack mode.  My mind bombards me with things to be concerned for. It once used huge things… nuclear explosion kinds of things that would strike and knock me off my center and onto my back.  Now it goes into stealth mode.  It is a silent stalker that seeks to ambush me with subtlety. 

I realize this seeming difference in attack mode has to do with me healing my way of thinking.  I also understand that the nature of one attack is not actually any different at all from the other.  It is still attack, and it still holds the power to unbalance me.  I think to myself that this silent attack may perhaps feel more insidious because it comes in as a whisper of unease.  That’s only because I have learned to recognize so well when I am being receptive to the negative emotion that goes hand in hand with my thoughts. 

I am recognizing the feelings more quickly than ever before.  Feelings don’t have to turn into a nuclear explosion before I address them.  Now I find that they slither in between the joy.  I find that they are prepared to strike at my heart when I allow my mind to wander down their shadowy roads.  And I think to myself how very much like a rattle snake those dark thoughts are.

All that unresolved emotion will silently slumber, and when I approach too closely it will forewarn me.  I will hear that familiar rattle, cautioning me that if I come near, it will strike.  I will know its venom.  If I come too near, I will learn who I am more intimately.  I realize the truth in that statement.  I am drawn down the shadowy paths because it is one of my dominant intentions to understand and grow beyond myself. 

And so I do step into the darkness.  I dabble in the emotion of off-ness.  This is what it feels like I remind myself, and in that instant I also know how much I appreciate and prefer my feelings of joy and clarity.  The choice is always my own.  I can continue on my journey toward the dark, or I can refocus my attention on the things I’d prefer to feel and experience. 

It’s a very simple choice to make and it is always my own.  Would I rather feel joy or would I rather feel pain?  There is not a right or wrong.  There is only a feeling and I get to decide which I’d prefer in any given moment.

GROWING PAINS: It’s a Human Thing – Lydia Taft

Yesterday morning I woke up from a dream that reminded me of my true self: I am vibrational energy and my body is a manifestation of the vibration I am tuning into.  I was quite satisfied with this train of thought and I got out of bed expecting I was going to continue through a day of learning on vibration and manifestation.  I was really pleased with this idea… right up until the moment I leaned over to reposition a piece of furniture and in a split second a very familiar sharp pain shot through my lower back! In the moment, my day’s path was abruptly altered.

I’ve often imagined that there are always two paths laid out ahead of me. 

One path is gorgeous with streaming light and warmth.  This path meanders through a lovely meadow and trees and flowers decorate the side of the road.  The other path is darker and I am only able to see what’s directly in front of me.  This path winds into the unknown through gnarly branches that might tear and grab at me as I travel.  There’s no doubt in my mind that the lighted path is easier.  I however have a tendency to take the darker path. 

I can’t really explain why I experience life the way I do. 

I suppose I like real life, physical, in my face experiences.  The thought runs through my mind, “It’s a human thing.”  The process goes:  Feel it. Think it. Live It. Know It.  I’m sure there are other ways to learn things.  I just happen to be really good at learning this way.  I’ve heard others relate to this idea.  I am again reminded: It’s just a human thing.  It’s how you expand.  It’s how you appreciate. 

That’s fine, I answer a bit exasperated with the idea.  I get it.  I have tuned myself into the pain vibration station and when I am tired of suffering I can tune myself into the non-pain vibration station.  Easy!  I decided to go to the chiropractor.  She pulled and pushed and realigned my crooked body.  I wonder now if the manipulations could have aligned my crooked thinking as well.  I’m willing to believe her technique was helpful.  It’s helped before. 

Untitled-1

I admit I feel lighter now.  I am looser and more flexible.  A bit of soreness remains, but it’s only an ache, a ghost of pain that will disappear the second I quit remembering it.  I am willing to allow it to go away.  I think I’ll take Ibuprofen and it will disappear.  And then in the forgetting of the pain I will be able to realign myself with the better feelings and thoughts.   

And in the forgetting this particular, very human, experience will be completed. And I’ll find myself experiencing a better feeling energetic frequency.  And yes… I am reminded to appreciate my health.  And maybe I might want to encourage a limber and strong body with stretching exercises and more movement.  But as far as the path I now find myself on, it’s just a human thing.

Growing Pains: This Is Fear – Lydia Taft

I just listened to a phone message.  It is something frightening to me…. I don’t understand what it means and I don’t know how to respond.  It feels out of control.  It is out of my hands and I think it can go very bad.  I can imagine the many forms of bad it can take and that sets my heart to beating and my breaths become shallow. My mind races, looking for some way to handle what, at this point in time, is something that I am completely unfamiliar with. 

This is fear, I tell myself.  This is what it’s like to feel fear.

So I race to figure out what I can do, because I hate this panicky feeling.  I hate this uncertainty.  I call my husband and tell him about it.  I want him to take action for me.  I want him to make it either go away or make it something better.  He of course can’t do this for me.  I desperately want to feel better. 

lydia

In my anxiety, I turn to research.  I think to myself, research gives me answers.  I need answers.  I find out that there is even more that I don’t understand and I contemplate the need for an expert… Things feel like they are spinning further and further out of control. I have propelled myself more fully into a fear state.

I know I have to stop. 

I have to stop my mind right now. 

I have to stop racing to every new and more frightening thought.  I’m jumping to conclusions.  I’m catastrophizing.  I tell myself: I don’t know anything about anything yet, so I’m not allowed to think about it anymore.  I’m not allowed to jump to the uncertain future.  I’m not allowed to try and complete a puzzle that I don’t have the pieces for.  I don’t have the full picture yet.  No one can put the puzzle together when they don’t know which pieces form the frame and which form the center.  No one can successfully complete anything when they don’t know what things look like. 

It finally occurs to me to ask myself what do I know?  I don’t know much at all.  I only know that it has touched a fearful place in my being.  It can be bad, but it can also be good.  I can’t predict an outcome.  I can’t say one way or another what this might turn into.  That’s all I know. 

I catch my mind once again racing.  Now I am trying to figure out what I did wrong… what might I have said wrong?  I know I’m wrong in some way.  What?  How am I wrong?  And I get afraid again.  My mind is tricky and I am an expert at playing this fear game.  I recognize it for what it is. 

So I sit with this… I take deep breaths…

Deep, deep, breaths to calm myself. 

Deep breaths to put me back into the center of my being.   I write out this experience understanding that I am afraid.  I remind myself not to jump ahead.  I just have to keep on breathing.  This is fear, I remind myself.  Fear is outside of myself.  I am not fear.  I am not fearful.  This is just fear.  I don’t know what anything is for.  I don’t know why anything happens.

Untitled-1

I remind myself, I am on my path.  My path is unfolding.  Everything will reveal itself in its own perfect time.  I can do the things that are in my hands to do and then I will let the rest go. 

GROWING PAINS: This Choice Is My Own – Lydia Taft

I was having a perfectly peaceful morning after three days away from work.  It was a lovely day, filled with potential and opportunity, and I was considering how I might further enjoy it.  I decided I would study my emotional climate and gauge where I stood in the moment. This study led me to realize that I was on my fourth day of total peace and, as much as I hated to admit it, I felt somewhat dull.  I wondered in that moment… What more might life offer me to make things more exciting?

Within seconds of that thought, I received a phone call from my daughter.   As always, I asked for more and the universe answered.  My daughter was on the phone to inspire me towards more.  So I took my practiced breath and answered her call.  It turned out that I was given yet another opportunity to be afraid and worried for her.  She was stressed and afraid, and, not surprisingly, I jumped right on board her fear train rather quickly.  As I listened I felt frustration and fear, and then helplessness and anger, grow within me. 

Great!  I sit here now and think, “Way to go Lydia.  Way to practice alignment!”  Okay… in this moment I will put all judgment aside for myself and my daughter.  I’m not going to get lost in one sad story on top of another.  What I am going to do is figure out how to not sit in this fearful place for much longer.

So here I am with headphones on, and beautiful meditative music soothing the stress that I have allowed to fill my body.  I realize I have to sort through my thoughts and tap into what I profess is my truth.  What do I know, I ask myself? 

I know I am more than this fear feeling.   I am something greater than fear.  

I realize that I have been more in many instances and I remain capable of being in a state of joy and peace.   I realize that I often feel much more clarity than this.  In this moment, as I am writing this experience out, I absolutely know that I will eventually work my way through and out of what feels painful.  Feelings always pass.

As I calm and soothe myself, it becomes very clear to me that I asked for growth and I received exactly what I desired.  It came in a three minute conversation.  I jumped into a fear state.  My fear, although familiar, allowed me to desire something better for my daughter and myself.  My highest self expanded to that desire and I had to catch up.

That’s all this is, I remind myself.  This experience, like so many others, is exactly right.  My daughter is clarifying her life and expanding towards her greatest self, and so am I.  We are both on our right paths.  Our paths are unfolding.  I can choose to feel a bit better or a bit worse.  

This choice is my own. 

Growing Pains: Living Outside of My Walls – Lydia Taft

I was sitting in the doctor’s office for a check-up last week.  I always dread those appointments.  I hear my mind chatter telling me what a bad patient I am and how I am completely non-compliant.  I realize quickly that I have to challenge that statement.  That’s not entirely true I tell myself, but there is an aspect of that assertion that I buy into.  I search out my feelings and I realize that I am filled with a sense of wrongness. 

It’s a very old story that I used to tell about how bad and wrong I was.

And although I don’t often run into that belief, I do find that I continue to hold judgments about what my illness means about who I am, and how I am able to live and function in life.  I am aware enough to understand that my judgments of self are limiting and yet I hold onto the definition in my own head of self as “bad” because I have an illness.  So I enter my doctor appointments feeling that I am wrong and bad.  Considering this game I play with myself, it comes as no surprise that I dread all of my appointments.

As I consider my mind game more closely, I notice that there is a theme going on this month.  I’ve been exploring definitions.  By define I mean, I have been focusing on how I have set the boundaries and limits of myself.  I find humor in the fact that I often bump into my own walls and then wonder why I am not getting to any different place.  It’s like running on a hamster wheel.  I use up a lot of energy and never find myself outside of the walls of my cage.

I spent some time this weekend considering what those walls feel like.  I closed my eyes and imagined that feeling of being contained.  I meditated a bit and visualized the walls falling off and away from me.  With each deep breath I exhaled, more of the boundaries fell away. 

All the layers of my opinions and judgments just glided off my body and I expanded into the infinite. 

This lightness of being led me to a very joyful and clear state of mind, and prepared me to open myself to life’s natural unfolding. 

It is in a realized moment such as this that I feel my soul soar freely, joyfully, and swiftly. My heart swells and opens and I am lifted beyond any definition of who I think I am.  I am moved beyond any sense of limitation.  In those moments that I allow source to flow through, I realize my truth and experience, even if only for a moment, living outside of my walls. 

 

 

 

Growing Pains: Mercy – Lydia Taft

Many years ago I was a Sunday school teacher for seven-year-old children.  I was responsible for preparing them for baptism when they turned eight.  One of the lessons I taught required me to line up chairs around the room in a maze.  I was to walk the children blindfolded through the maze and to a picture of Christ.  As I blindfolded one of the students she looked at me with hesitation and begged, “Please be careful with me Sister Taft.” 

My heart was touched by her simple statement and a truth was revealed to me…

That is my prayer always, every day of my life. 

Please be careful with me Spirit.  Please be careful with me.  I don’t know what road I’m traveling and I’m uncertain about the obstacles laid out before me, but I will allow you to guide me on my journey.  Just please be careful with me.  Have mercy on me in my fear and ignorance.

That day I realized how much fear I carried in my heart about what the future held.  I had based my opinions on many past experiences that I had suffered.  I understood that my life was in my hands. I had the free will to make decisions.  And that was the problem.  I was sitting in judgment about how well I messed up my life.  I was sitting in judgment about what my life looked like.  And I was sitting in judgment about all the pain I had recently experienced, which I hoped to never face again.  I held tightly to the fearful thought that I would continue down the same dark path.  So I asked for mercy from a greater being than myself, hoping I might avoid more pain.

I understand that prayer a bit differently now. 

I have learned that I didn’t need to ask Spirit for mercy.  I was already viewed from a loving perspective.  Love is only ever capable of love.  I really only needed to ask myself for mercy. I needed to find compassion in my own heart for me. I needed to release the judgments that weighed me down.  Yes, I had experienced some painful things, but what I didn’t realize at the time was how much clarity I had also received about the type of future I desired.  In the knowing of what I didn’t want, I more fully understood what I did want. My fear stemmed from my lack of understanding that I was being propelled toward something greater.  I am pleased to realize that I got here despite myself. 

Looking back on that past prayer I see that, like me, it has transformed and grown in clarity. 

My joy and my pain remain in my hands. 

It’s only ever my focus that must be directed, and sometimes redirected.  Today I can acknowledge the love that is always flowing to me, my ability to be receptive to that love, and the truth that is me.  Today my prayer would more accurately say:

I promise I will be careful and kind with me.  I am valuable.  The roads that I choose to travel on will honor my inner being.  I will seek experiences that feel joyful and fulfilling to me.  I will not worry myself about avoiding things that are painful.  When I find myself feeling that I have gone off course, I will seek clarity about the experiences I would prefer.  I will guide myself on this journey with love and compassion. I will walk in trust, acknowledging that all experiences I have enhance and broaden my perspective.  I will seek and find clarity in all areas of my life.  And most of all, I will be merciful with me.

Growing Pains: New Things Are Possible Now – Lydia Taft

Transformation is on my mind.  Transformation, change, movement, growth… whatever one decides to call it, it is stalking me.  I see the clock and it reads 5:55.  The license plate, the tarot cards, the signs all around me read 5.  My attention is 5 oriented.  Change, change, change.  I am haunted by the idea.

I realize I’ve never fully embraced the idea of change.  It’s different, it’s new, and it’s unknown.  I sit here and feel this idea out.  Regardless of whether I welcome change or not, there’s no denying that I am ready to give birth to something new.  That statement resonates as true.  As I write that, I recall the experience of pregnancy and ultimately giving birth to my two daughters.  The very first thought that comes to mind was that it was painful, but if I am truly honest with myself, I realize it was also so much more. 

It began with expectation, and dreaming, and imagining what might be.  It was exciting.  I was expanding in every way.  My body, my emotions, my thoughts, my identity: they all grew and carried me along.  Ultimately, when it was time to give birth, any fears I might have held about the unknown future no longer mattered because there was no going back.  I gave birth.  Each time, with each daughter, when the nurse placed my child in my arms, I was this new being.  They were born and I was born.  I was transformed.  No matter how painful, there is not a single moment of my birthing experience that I would wish away. 

My beautiful daughters have continued to enhance my life.  They have challenged me to expand over and over again.  If I was stuck on one way of thought… well, they would offer unlimited other ways to view a situation.  With them, I’ve had infinite opportunities to release, to embrace, and to expand my perception of self and the world we share.  

Yes, sometimes this growth has been painful. There have been many ideas I’ve not wanted to release.  There have been many moments I’ve fought my own expansion and I suffered in my struggle.  I’ve built walls and have had them torn down.  I’ve held firmly to my own opinions and fought to keep them.  I refused growth and I suffered for it.  And then one day I gave birth again.  I transformed whether I wanted to or not.  And all the fear and resistance I held onto no longer mattered.  I am reminded that when change stalks you, you may as well just surrender.  You just can’t stop a birth. 

So here I am again.  Change is stalking me.  It is coming.  Change is here.  I am reminded not to fight it.  My growth is inevitable.  I am being transformed and expanded, and born again.  I face a new me. I have given birth to myself today.  I left an old idea behind.  I stretched beyond what I was, and entered into now.  I have changed. New things are possible now. 

GROWING PAINS: Now What? – Lydia Taft

Untitled-1

My boss told me she is getting ready to retire.  It is right around the corner.  I initially took this in with some feigned excitement.  Feigned because, well I felt anything but excited.  Stunned, or perhaps shocked might be more precise of a feeling, and disappointment might even lurk somewhere in the shadows of my mind.  But in the instant that it took me to run through the list of emotions, excited was identified as the most appropriate emotion to express in the moment.  Yes, excited is perfect in this situation.  This after all is good news given by someone I care about!

I certainly could have stayed with feigned excitement for the entire conversation.  That would have been completely fine.  But no not me… I tend to drop into authenticity fairly quickly these days.  And since I respect my boss, I allowed myself the opportunity to tap into the truer part of myself, and tears sprang from my eyes as I felt something very deeply.  Loss.  Loss of what is familiar and what is simply beautiful and admired.  She is a beautiful person and I will miss her in my every day work life.

I quickly realized that I couldn’t just keep crying in front of her!  Shedding tears at work actually felt kind of horrifying.  Not that I haven’t done that before in front of her, but I didn’t want her to feel bad, and I didn’t want to feel sad, and I don’t like to brim with emotion as often as I do.  So I gave myself something to focus on; I made myself present to watch and to hear her.  I allowed myself to stand as a witness to the emotion traveling through me.

As the conversation continued, I eventually did find the excitement.  I am thrilled at her courage to move along in life and take that next step.  She shared that she has always known who she is throughout the stages of her life.  She has been student, mother, wife, manager, and on and on. She has very clearly known and embraced all of her identities and now she is stepping into a future of “retiree.”  This future is not very clear and certain.  She can imagine leisure, but how much time is she interested in pursuing that?! She finds herself a bit unsure, because she doesn’t have anything planned.  There is no “to do” list.  There is no need for a calendar at all!

I realize she is asking: “Now who am I?  Now who will I be?”  I found myself thinking, yes, we always go back to identity.

Who am I truly?

And so we talked just a bit about this “Now what?” experience.  She has so much opportunity ahead of her.  Now is her time to take a taste of the many things she had put on hold.  Now is the time to try different ways of being.  Now is the time to experience life in a completely new way.  She can learn a bit about stillness, presence, and trust.  She can also learn to re-experience her home, family, and friends from her new perspective.

As always, I see myself being reflected back to me.  I am on my own quest to experience freedom, stillness, presence, and trust in myself and in my life.  I am also on a quest to identify who I truly am.  I realize that her journey touches my own heart’s longing.  As I contemplate my experience of our conversation, and our intertwined lives, I am left with this very simple idea: At any point in time, I am anyone I choose to be.  It’s not necessary to wait for retirement, or any special day or occasion.

Now is the perfect time to be any being I desire. 

Growing Pains or Growing Panes – Lydia Taft

As I sit here and consider the first thing I might write in this column, it occurs to me that a brief introduction about the person doing the writing might be necessary.  Of course I can give you the basics… the credentials behind my name, the hours worked doing one thing or another, maybe even a bit about the years I’ve been on this healing path.  But as I consider that, and write and cross things off my list of who I think I am in this world, I realize I wish to express a deeper part of myself.  I’d like an outlet to share how I go about seeking and finding the truth of me.  I’d like to express the knowing and uncertain aspects of myself… all that inspires my exploration, has me bumping into stagnation, and, at times, achieving expansion.

This blog will explore Growing Pains: my life’s growing pains.  While considering what I would write about, I had asked the universe what the theme of this blog should be and I awoke one morning and heard “Growing Pains.”  It was a very clear statement and so, of course, I argued with it.  I tend to do that a lot, fighting against intuition, and I find myself smiling as I write this because that’s a perfect example of my struggle:  I ask for a clear message, I get one, and then I argue with myself about why it’s wrong.

So that morning, after receiving such a clear message, I circled around in my mind about what the significance of growing pains could be and what about it had me bothered.  I realized I didn’t like the word pain.  It has a negative connotation after all and I have promised myself I will exist on a path of positivity.  So I knew I didn’t want to emphasize the word pain.  But I still wasn’t convinced and since this little argument with myself was going on a bit, I gave myself permission to just let it be and wait to see what the universe had to show me.

I went to work and ran it by my girlfriend.  When I told her the theme that I had in mind, she immediately heard the word pane, instead of pain.  And then she shared this: “Sometimes in life we are simply looking out of the wrong window.”  When she said that, what I heard is that there are times in life when I need to turn my attention to a different view, so I might see something more beautiful.  She sold me.  So whether one hears Growing Pain, or Growing Pane, it is all the same thing.  It’s only a matter of what I am choosing to focus on.

So here’s what I expect we might share in this series of blogs…  I am on this life journey and I am guaranteed to run into my own barriers and judgments and opinions.  It’s a daily occurrence that I have surrendered to.  I have learned that the more entrenched I am in my own beliefs, the more difficult it is to get up and look at things from a different perspective.  This is the painful part.  This is the part I will explore in my writing.

I expect that I’ll share the walls I run into and the stumbling blocks I trip over.  But I’ll also share my journey to the other side, past those obstacles. And if I am in a place of awareness, I’ll share how I actually get there.  Always, I will seek to view things from a different perspective.  And if you have your own insight, as I stumble along this path, I am happy to take a look out of your window.

People House: a Center for Personal and Spiritual Growth