gratitude · spirituality · success

Pete and Repeat were on a Boat…

10.3.18.jpegFrom the viewpoint of grace, which can [and will, when asked with gratitude] always give more, our lives should be a rising arc of abundance. ~ Day 13: Success Through Gratitude; Oprah and Deepak’s “Manifesting Grace Through Gratitude” Meditation Series

Okay, show of hands!  Who here has experienced life this way?  Who here wants to experience life this way?

Clearly when I track the history of my life, it is apparent that the above “law,” as they call it, is true.  It’s when I am wrapped in the horse-blinders of daily living that I entirely forget that law is so.

“A rising arc of abundance.”  Gosh, that sounds so nice, doesn’t it?

One way I’ve begun to sneak a peek over the side of those daily blinders is by writing down my weekly accomplishments before my Goals Group call on Tuesdays.  When, a few weeks ago, we’d arrived at the question of how we would “reward achievement,” we’d all come mainly to the idea that we would acknowledge what we’ve done.  So simple; so uncommon.

Therefore, to instate a habit of it (I love habits), I’ve begun to write down my week’s accomplishments on the Slack page we share to keep track of the weekly Goals Pages questions, our answers to them, our commitments to action for the week, and other somewhat germane comments (see: Kuramo’s vlog about self-love!).

On my own channel on the site, I’ve begun to keep this written log of everything I’ve accomplished in the week, and once I get started, it just pours out of me!

Anything from “cleaned the floor” to “got a massage” to “sent my bio to the J Weekly” to “went with a friend to the opera”!

All of these are accomplishments, achievements.  They’re ways that I am being and becoming more authentic and present and seen in the world (Yes, even cleaning my floor!  It means that I don’t have to feel gross at home, don’t have to fret when my piano player is coming over to practice, and don’t have those Serenity Moths gnawing at my self-esteem).

My world is only seen as a rising arc of abundance if I choose to see it that way.  This abundance is not limited to my bank account but there is clear evidence of an upward trajectory over the past dozen years.  And according to the groups with which I hang, financial abundance is an outward manifestation of our internal growth.  God is not separate from money, but money is also just a tool, but God is present in all aspects of my life including my finances, but my finances are only one measure of success…  Pete and Repeat…;)

I’ll conclude with another passage from that day’s meditation which may help to sort out this cycle of god/money/work/gratitude/action/grace:

What saves me from greed and selfishness is to take every gift with humility and gratitude. … Contrary to popular belief, it is not spiritual to shun external rewards — external rewards can be a sign that I’m connected to my true Source, which wants the best possible life for me.  What I need and want to avoid is my ego stepping in and claiming to BE the source of the good things in my life. 

Grace is always the source of abundance, not the ego’s selfish, anxious struggle.  

Grace needs my hands through which to work its goodness, and I need gratitude to become a conduit for that grace.  Pete and Repeat…

Good luck.

 

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habits · imperfection · success

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!

4.30.18

“I make a lot of proclamations, don’t I?” I asked J yesterday morning.

We were at brunch at a cafe we like after having run “Cardiac Hill” in Berkeley, CA and I proclaimed that I would spend 3 hours at the Mills Library that day to do work.  The day before, I’d proclaimed that I was going to follow a new exercise schedule for myself.  The day before that, I turned down sweets because I’d previously proclaimed that I would only eat sweets on Fridays, but had already eaten them twice that week!

Recently, I have variously proclaimed that I would:

Shower daily, clear old boxes twice a month, only eat sweets on Fridays, go to bed at 8:30pm, not read Game of Thrones except whilst in bed.  That I would put 40% of my income into savings, that I would take daily breaks at work, that I would grade papers daily, that I would be outside for 45 minutes each afternoon…

Some of these proclamations have held fast, some have been loosely worn, and some haven’t taken hold at all (mainly the ones related to work).

After returning from brunch yesterday, I crawled back into bed and nap/rested for another hour (Come on! — we were up at 7am and it’s not called “Cardiac” for nothing!), and was then so sleepy/sloggy that going all the way out to the college library seemed silly.  …

did spend about 1.5 hours on workywork (though not in a row!), but didn’t get to any of my Goals Group writing that I intended, and needed, to do.

(Would it be ironic to mention that much of my Goals Group work this round will be about time-management!?)

It’s important for me to recognize that my life is a process and an unfolding.  It’s not a “one and done,” it’s not a “get it perfect every day.”  Perhaps like you, I hold myself to incredibly high standards, but take it viciously hard when I don’t meet those standards.  Or, if not vicious toward myself, certainly mildly aggrieved that I haven’t accomplished what I intended.

There is absolutely a balance that is needed between setting goals, reaching them, and the esteem that comes from such effort, and allowing for the humanity, imperfection, and dynamism of everyday life.

I have not yet found this balance!

And so, I make proclamations.  Some of them have improved the quality of my life by taking the questioning out (e.g. all the esteemable habit calendar work I’d done… until I got through one month and have yet to print out a new calendar sheet).  With others of my proclamations, I’m trying to hone in on the right apportioning of effort and devotion of time.  (Indeed, today, I’m up about 20 minutes early because I have some grading to do at work that needled at my sleep.)

I don’t necessarily desire to see my proclamations subside, but I do wonder if turning them into habits, natural parts of my life and day, would enable me to remove the judgment from achieving them or not.  Because, as Oprah intoned this morning, “Judgment, simply put, is fear.”

 

freedom · growth · success

Many drops in the bucket.

2.28.18.jpg

This morning, I completed the 21-day meditation challenge from Oprah and Deepak called, “Manifesting True Success,” and was struck deeply by this line:  Every path to success is a path to freedom.  This brought me pause and led me to write, and emphatically circle: What “freedom” am I seeking from this success?

What freedom am I seeking from becoming a tour pilot over Napa valley vineyards?  Well: competence, adventure, intellectual amplification, joy.

What freedom am I seeking from being a school teacher?  Freedom over my time (during the summers), intellectual & creative amplification, spontaneity.

What freedom from being in partnership? Stability, serenity, emotional growth.  From being a mother?  Joy, continuity, sharing my abundance. …

I can, and likely will, make a chart of each of my “Success –> Freedom” desires, because the magic piece is how to amplify each of these desired successes in my daily life as it is.  If I want to share the abundance of my heart, how can I do that today?  If I want to expand my intellectual engagement, how can I do that today?

How can I inject today with each of the freedoms/successes that I seek?

Every day I open the WordPress site, I must click a button labeled, “Write.”  And each morning I click it, I feel a hearty dollop of joy, competence, and esteem drip into my personal bucket.  I feel accomplishy, even if it’s the only thing I do this day (as it insinuates that I’ve already written Morning Pages and meditated, as I won’t blog without clearing my personal pathways first).

When I cross off “moisturize face and body” on my Habit Calendar, I feel competent, self-loving, and prosperous (as it implies I purchase and replenish my moisturizer).

Every morning I drink my coffee, it implies that I’ve set it up the night before, replenished and ground new beans when it was low, and desire to gift myself a physical pleasure.  Competence, stability, self-love, and prosperity.

In every morning, I can list a host of ways I feel successful before breakfast!  And that’s good, because lately in the afternoon when I continue to sit reading Game of Thrones for 3 hours… I start to feel less esteemable.

So it will be up to me to see if there is a “success” to be gleaned from 3 hours of sedentary imbibing of gore, and to parse out what it is I’m attempting to accomplish if there’s not.

What freedom am I seeking from this success?  And how can I own that freedom today?

self-care · shopping · success

“I’m Feeling Very Olympic Today!”

2.13.18 olympic.jpg

(One of my favorite lines from the movie, Cool Runnings, and utterly appropriate lately.)

Perhaps not surprisingly, the information I’m receiving from my “expert” sources is like sitting in an echo chamber:

Stretch beyond your current comfort zone.  Be curious about how to approach things.  Don’t limit yourself to your present reality.  Take action.  Make a plan.  Measure progress.  Establish accountability.

Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, and Brian Grazer are all touting the same advice: Do more to be more.

The movie quote has been scrolling through my mind as I’ve recently taken action in various areas of my life, one being “spending out.”  This is a phrase coined (to me) by Gretchen Rubin in her Happiness books and which I related to immediately:  We don’t buy things we need; we put off purchasing them and make due with moth-eaten, or sample packets, or simply without; we deny ourselves the replenishment (literally and spiritually) of the pleasures and efficiencies of life.

Every month, I write a spending plan that includes line items such as clothing, entertainment, personal care.  And for as many years as I’ve kept a spending plan, I have “fundged” money from these line items to make up for deficits caused by, say, an unexpected parking ticket, more eating out, or balancing out some other “necessary” line item.  This has meant that, for months on end, I go without spending the money I’ve allotted and planned to spend.

Now, surely, NOT spending money may be a value trumpeted by our society — SAVE YOUR DIXIE CUPS! — but in a case like mine, I deprive myself for months on end, feel edgy and dissatisfied, and mostly, I just feel like I’m not moving forward in life, no matter the numbers on my paycheck.

So, in an effort to “Do more to be more,” I have been spending out.  In January, I spent from my “Entertainment” line: I bought tickets to the symphony to see West Side Story (phenomenally delightful); I bought my very first series package from the SF Opera (my favorite, Tosca, was a part of the package, and I get 50% off for being a teacher!); and I spent the $3.99 to stream a beloved video at home with my sweetheart (Hot Tub Time Machine… they can’t all be operas!).

I spent in “Personal Care” by setting up a recurring delivery of my favorite facial moisturizer, instead of slowly scraping through various samples and ending up with breakouts or dry skin.  I got a pedicure!  I can’t recall the last time I’d had one.

In February, so far, I totally scored in “clothing.”  As I’ve gotten older, my ideas around what clothing purchases I make have become more stringent as my ethics have solidified: no first-press clothing.  What I’ve done for a few years, then, is to shop at thrift stores.  I’ve found some crazy prizes, but for the most part, the clothing from “thrift” stores can be pilled, worn-out, and not very stylish.  So I simply go without.

Last year, however, I began to haunt this one consignment store in a wealthier part of town.  And, boy, howdy, have I done well there.

But I hadn’t been in over 6 months.  I hadn’t spent in my clothing line for that long.  I have been depriving myself.  And I hate it.

This past Friday afternoon, I shopped.  I shopped so hard.

What was remarkable to me about this shopping trip was the abundance of “manifesty” items I was able to find: the oxblood motorcycle-style leather jacket (a la Emma Swan of Once Upon a Time); the knee-high leather boots (size 11!); the happ’nin oxford leather shoes (to replace the fading bronze ones you see at the top of this blog).  I have wanted each of these items … for years.

And as I exited the store beneath the darkening sky, the last customer of the night, a smile pasted, eyes widened, heart spun, I felt prosperous.  I felt right-sized.  I felt, f*cking Olympic.

 

 

goals · success · time

All we are is dust in the wind, dude.

2.4.18 socrates-with-bill-and-ted

One of my favorite exchanges in film is this one between Bill & Ted and Socrates (delightfully mispronounced, “So-CRATES,” as in boxes).  Socrates then lays the following gem on the endearing surf-philosophers: “Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.” (Albeit, he says it in Greek…)

I share this today because: What’s the deal with all the calendaring and habit stuff, anyway, Moll?

Listening to a habits book; reading said habits book; writing a time plan; crafting a habits calendar; listening to a 21-day meditation on time sickness.  Why?

Because of Socrates’ reply: There is only so much time; How will I spend it?

I’ve crafted a degree of discipline over the last several years about how I spend my money.  Discovered money is a useful tool, yet a harsh master; decided how to use it to best support my goals, desires, health, vitality, future and present.  How I spend my money reflects the values I hold.  And so, now, I look at another of the very few tools I have control over in my life: my time.

With the habits tracker eliminating decisions and encouraging a little effort each day (rather than the sprinter’s “exertion/exhaustion” purgatory), I’ve crafted and carved out more minutes in which to do that which I must.  Not dishes or laundry, but purpose.  To act in alignment with my purpose.

When I spend 4 hours on the couch both days this weekend reading Cider House Rules, is that in alignment with my purpose?  Hmmm, yes, reading is a love but, maybe just 2 hours would suffice!

When I clean out folders and boxes when I really need to start an avoided piece of writing for my weekly goals call?  Well, yes, clearing needs to be done.  But what ultimately moves me toward my purpose?  Certainly not “tricking” myself with apparent busy-ness so that I have zero time to write.

My next body of work is in the arena of effectiveness, success, and (forgive me) “flow.”  I can tell because the words I’m reading and listening to have begun to shift from time:  Oprah’s Super Soul conversation with Jack Canfield about success.  Downloading his Success Principles on Hoopla (the library e-borrowing app).  And this morning, starting the 21-meditation on…Manifesting True Success.

My weekly goals call has shifted in its tenor, too, from finding, making, using Time to a pulled-back overview of refining my larger goals and purpose on this earth:

Now that I’ve made time, how will I use it?

 

 

balance · change · direction · happiness · life · love · purpose · success · vision

MyHead Revisited

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I can’t even remember who it was now, but recently a friend
told me that she is consistently revisiting and reevaluating her goals. What
seemed like the best and truest goal two years ago may no longer hold the sway,
and so, daily almost, but certainly every while or so, we must revisit what
we’d thought we were heading toward – like recalibrating our compass.
I’d come up with this vision a few years ago, maybe 2 or 3
now, of my ideal daily schedule. The early morning, of course, is inner work
like I already do (journaling, meditating, blogging); the rest of the
morning hours would be spent in working on my craft, in a detached studio in
the backyard that would be half an art studio and half a music studio.
Couches, light, friends to jam or visit.
In the afternoon, I would go out “into the world,” and do
*something* of which I’m still unsure having to do with the community — being
involved, helping others, maybe working after school with kids, or facilitating
my workshop, or some kind of public speaking. Unknown task, but known purpose:
to help, to connect, to be in community.
The evening would be play time. Either I’d be in theater
productions, performing with my band, out at art shows or readings. That would
be my friend, fun, out, “On” time.
And that’s my day. All seen from a white kitchen, where I
stand, maybe 50 years old, chopping something at the island block, the art studio visible from a
door to the backyard.
Not a bad vision, eh?!
But. It’s also time to revisit it. And my thoughts and goals
in general. Are these intentions still relevant, powered, intended? Are these
my values? Dunno. I’ll have to sit with them for a while.
What I surprised me this morning, however, is that several
of my intentions have become realized. Though I know I am unfulfilled in my
employment, as I remember where I was when I discovered the above vision a few
years ago (also unfulfilled in my employment), I recognize I am no longer looking at this vision from a place of Yeah Sure,
Right. As a completely foreign land.
I guess I’m being vague.
To drill down: This morning, I’m boarding a bus, to a train,
to a plane that will carry me across the land to visit a girl friend and her
new baby. Three years ago, this would be impossible.
And that’s what I’m trying to get at here: Something that
was impossible, is now utterly completely possible, and it’s happening. In 4 hours. It is. There is no waiting, no longing, no hemming, no
envy. I
am doing what I’ve wanted
to be able to do because I
am
able to do it.
Perhaps this all sounds quite bent this morning, perhaps
having not packed yet is making me anxious to put all this down and get onto
that plane.
But, I hope you get my meaning.
Because even as few as 2 weeks ago, I was as depressed and
lost-feeling as Tom Hanks without Wilson. Despite the mantra of my friend that,
This too shall pass, it didn’t feel that way, and I had no idea how that could
happen. Nothing can really change, can it? It’s all the same Groundhog Day,
isn’t it?
But, Bill Murray wakes up in the end to a new future,
doesn’t he?
What looks like the continuation of a road going nowhere,
long and desperate and desolate… well, this morning at least, I see that it’s
not.
It doesn’t solve my
life. It doesn’t offer clarity or freedom or a path lit up like the exit lines
in a plane. But, in some ways, my recognition of my being here
does fucking solve it.
The fact that this is
enough. That I am
happy – that I
allowed myself to take a vacation, to visit a friend, to take action toward
something that was valuable to me. … Actually, that
does solve my life.
To look up from my navel-gazing and my despair and my
coordinate-less destination, to remember (oh forgive me) that the journey is
happening right now, and that I am
(FINALLY) participating in it and NOTICE that I am participating in it:
Well, it feels like Alice in the ‘50s cartoon version of her
story, walking along a path through the woods when a dog with a push-broom nose
comes along behind her, and erases the path from which she came, cuts around in
front of her, and continues to sweep away the path toward which she’s going, so
that finally, all she’s left with is one illuminated square.
But for me, I’m seeing today (and this all may change tomorrow!) that this is pretty good
square.