Saturday, April 14, 2012

A little joy, a little love, and a light heart

Sometimes I wonder what the hell I am doing.  Where am I going?

I'm sure most of us do.  I don't receive an answer, one I can put in my back pocket and take to the bank.  I receive more of a shrug of the shoulders and a mmmmm feeling and then I move on with what's in front of me.  For some reason I'm somewhat satisfied with the shrug and mmmmm feeling, at least for most of my days, and then I have days where my life settles deep and hard down into my bones and it feels like I could suffocate if I breathed too much.  Is this it?  Is this where the train stopped and I got off because I don't remember agreeing to this.  Can I trade my ticket in for another one, maybe one with a bit more financial security and a lot more free time?  Do those type of tickets even exist?

And then without much thought, I shrug and have the mmmmm feeling and move on with what's in front of me, somewhat content, with a little joy and a little love and a light heart. 

The outcomes of my life are not my main focus but the steps in between the outcomes are, where I show up on a daily basis and experience my life.  Regardless of monetary wealth or my ability to give myself all my "wants" I get exactly what I need at any given moment. 

Like last night, there is something sweet about popping popcorn and snuggling up on the couch with my boys and watching a movie, especially after a full day of being productive, taking care of life even though it didn't feel like it was taking care of me in the way I wanted.  My perception of what is can delude me at times into believing there's a conspiracy and it's all about me - I'm going to get the shaft and it will never get different.  I have found my delusions are never accurate. 

My delusions are filled with fear.  This fear manifests into various forms of destructive thought and action.  If I act upon deluded thoughts, I have the profound potential to completely change the overall structure and well-being of my entire existence and usually not for the best.

While doing some reading the other day I came across a quote, "pain is inevitable but suffering is not."  This tells me I will experience difficult and painful things in my life but the suffering because of it is optional.  I can choose how I want to respond to situations and difficulties today.  Difficult and painful situations are facts.  My suffering is an extension of delusion because suffering is not based on fact but a distorted form of it with various embellishments.  Suffering is not just feeling my feelings but a theatrical presentation of my feelings.

Take for example, the uncomfortable financial situation my family and I find ourselves in.  There's a part of me that wants to wallow in this, literally saturate myself with the unfairness of it all. 

Wallowing in my perceived unfairness, as if I'm so unique and better than others I should never experience anything uncomfortable or painful, doesn't get me anywhere.  I compound my difficulty by adding dramatic "woe is me" attitude to it.  By not wallowing in it, accepting it as a fact - yes, I have no money except for bills, food, and gas - I free myself from suffering.  This doesn't mean I won't have feelings - sadness, fear, anger, frustration, etc.  My suffering stems not from the feelings themselves but what I choose to do with the feelings when they come.

I begin by remembering where I'm at, physically in this moment.  I look at my hands before me and see where they lay and then I try to feel what they are feeling.  What are they touching?  What does that feel like against my fingertips, my palms?  Is it hot, cold, warm, smooth, textured?  This helps me to come back to my body.  My body is literally in this moment.  My mind, when emblazoned with fear, is not here.  It is in the future consumed with the fear of what's to come or what's not to come.

When I can feel what my body is doing right now I can bring my mind in alignment with my body.  Once my mind is here, I have to act quick because it wants to jump out ahead of me again and get lost in the future.  I ask myself basic questions.  Do I have shelter today?  Not tomorrow, only today.  Do I have food today?  Do I have gas in my car today?  What do I have in my life today?  Oh, well let's see, I have shelter, food, gas in my car, love in my life, friends and family, my house is warm, my telephone works.  Can I go out and buy new clothes?  No, but do I have clothes to wear?  Why yes, I do.

This helps me to be here in this moment and cultivate gratitude.  Do I want things to be different?  Sure I do.  But it's not different in this moment.  It is what it is and I have my basic needs met.  Are there things I can do to help my situation?  Sure, I have a list of things, and I'm working on them.  But in the meantime, while I work on things to help my situation, I practice staying with my body and having gratitude for this moment, that all my basic needs are met and I have love in my life today.

So I shrug my shoulders and have the mmmmm feeling and move on with what's in front of me, somewhat content, with a little joy and a little love and a light heart.