THE FUZZ

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The fuzz is a place that some of us, maybe many of us, exist in.  It’s where some of us hide out in denial.  I call it ‘the fuzz’ because it can seem as warm and cozy as a fleece blanket– like on a cold fall day when we pull the covers over our head in the morning, not wanting to come out to face the brisk, morning.  Seems kind of nice, but at some point we all have to face what we are most afraid of–death.  This is the overriding stress that we all must deal with.

I lived in the fuzz for a long time.  And for part of this time it was actually a lot of fun!  I was so naive that I didn’t realize that the ‘fun’ had consequences.  I certainly have no regrets.  Everything I experienced was just what I needed in order for growth to happen.  All humans have to come to face their denials and demons in their own time.

I think there are different ways of living in denial.  There’s overindulgence, overwork and sensory overload…just to name a few.  It all boils down to the same thing–resisting or avoiding reality.  So why do we try to avoid reality;  especially when, for some of us, reality is pretty good?  Why do we try to escape our feelings, our minds and even our bodies?

For one thing, experiencing negative emotions usually doesn’t feel so great.  It can be awkward, uncomfortable, scary or terrifying.  Looking inside our minds to see the truth of who we are is not always so pleasant either.  Who wants to explore their habitual reactions, destructive patterns, judgements, insecurities and fears?  I doubt anyone is jumping up and down shouting, “I do!”

We all shut out reality sometimes; we do it to protect ourselves.  In the moment, it seems easier to drink a few beer than to look at the stress of our day objectively and explore the reasons for our reactions.  It seems simpler to zone out with some TV shows or video games than to face what we are worried about.  It’s apparently more convenient to busy ourselves on our computers and i-phones than to really feel our fear or anger or frustration.

In our competitive, fast-paced society, slowing down for questioning, self-reflection or soul-searching is not valued.  Some societies even promote the fuzz–people walking around in a blur of ‘must work hard!’, or in a haze of ‘must buy stuff!’, or in a cloud of ‘must amuse myself, must find pleasure!’

But what happens when we all avoid reality and live in our own small worlds of denial?  We lose our connection to ourselves and to our POWER.  And in losing our connections to our own core, we also end up disconnected from others.  One thing I know to be true is that it is impossible to develop real connections with people when you are filled with anxiety, stress or fear.  It’s only when we have peace in our soul that we can have deep connections with, and compassion for, other human beings.  To find peace, one has to step out of the fuzz and take time just to be and to BREATHE!

Living in overdrive, in a constant state of extreme stress, of ‘fight or flight’, damages not only our connections, but our health.  In today’s world, stress is so common.  Of course, a certain amount of stress is good for us but in excess it can lead to serious health problems.  And stress is not always caused by something obviously bad.  Stress can be running to get to a yoga class after work, or listening to loud music at a club, or shopping to find that perfect outfit to wear to the party.  Stress is invisible so unless you really pay attention to what your body is telling you, it can go undetected for years, accumulating and wrecking havoc with your internal systems.

It was when my body had become so stressed that it started malfunctioning that I was forced out of the fuzz.  The warm, cozy blanket had been ripped away and was stunned by the bright light of reality.  I couldn’t hide from the world or from myself anymore.  I couldn’t ignore my true feelings anymore.  I couldn’t deny my soul any longer.

At it’s very basic level, the fuzz hides the reality that no one wants to see–the reality that we are all going to die.  All of our other fears and stresses come from this absolute truth.  If we can confront this fear, all others will fall away and there will be nothings left to hide from.

I am not claiming to be enlightened or anywhere near it.  I simply want to share my insights and any wisdom I have gained in my forty-two years here on earth.  What I am saying is nothing new;  you probably already know all of these truths deep within you and quite possibly you have been living more aware than me!

The point I do want to get across is this:  Don’t wait until your body shuts down to wake up!!  The time is NOW.  Besides, you may be pleasantly surprised to find that reality is a pretty nice place!

Intentions

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Daily Intention For Grounding, Courage and Power

On this day, I am going to live in the present.  I am going to live with awareness, courage and love.

I intend to be positive, expressive, creative and active.  I am going to speak my truth and spread joy!  I will believe in myself;  knowing I am strong, powerful and grounded.  I intend to take care of my body and create vibrant health by making smart choices.  I will allow myself to experience my emotions and sensuality, fully and freely.

I enjoy owning my body!  I love myself just as I am right now.  I am safe and serene.  I trust in the guidance and the abundance of the universe and give myself permission to be prosperous.  I am aware of my breath in this moment.  I let go of fear and feel love, gratitude, peace and joy!

Core Intentions For My Life

*  To be grateful

*  To be truthful

*  To live fearlessly

*  To accept myself and others

*  To have a healthy, balanced lifestyle

*  To be positive and spread joy!

I got this idea from the book ‘Choosing Brilliant Health’ by Rick Foster & Greg Hicks.  I think it’s a great way to stay focused on things that are most important to you and also a wonderful way to initiate moving beyond the things holding you back.

I have gathered my intentions by looking closely at myself and through affirmations that I have heard or seen in the last couple of years.  There are tons of affirmations on websites and you can even find ones that are specific to each of the seven chakras.  I would suggest picking out ones that resonate with you and then putting them together in your own words.  Keep tweaking it until it feels right.  And don’t forget to put it where you will see it every day!

LIVING THE DREAM

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I woke up this morning, at first feeling a bit disturbed.  Am I on the right track?  Am I following my dreams?  Should I have made a different choice?  Did I miss an opportunity?  Then it suddenly dawned on me–I AM LIVING THE DREAM!!  I am lying next to my wonderful husband, a man who is incredibly smart, thoughtful, gentle, sensitive, funny, totally one-of-a-kind and treats me like a princess.  I am living in a fabulous city in a beautiful neighbourhood.  I just found an awesome apartment in a great location.  I’m going to be working at a school, just blocks from my house, doing exactly what I want to do, teaching amazing kids.  Plus, I have a loving, supportive family and lots of fantastic friends.  I really do have it all!  So why do I always feel I want more?  Why do I need things to be perfect?  Why can’t I just enjoy all the good that is in my life RIGHT NOW?

Honestly, if you are reading this blog, there’s a pretty good chance you are also living the dream.  You have a computer or access to internet which means you have some money and are likely not homeless or starving.  You are literate which means that you have at least a basic education.  You also have free time which means you have the luxury to spend some of your time as you like.  Clearly, you are not worried about any immediate danger.  And, on top of all that, you must be reasonably healthy.  So… you have a home and resources, you are educated, you are free, you are safe and you are healthy.  That’s a lot more than most people in this world have.

It’s really a crazy society that we are part of that conditions us to always want more, be more and have more.  The message we get is that we are not enough or don’t have enough.  I am reminded of how I feel when I am shopping.  I buy some shorts and feel satisfied for a bit but then I want some tops to go with the shorts.  Okay, now I’m good.  But a few weeks later, “Oh, I need shoes, too!”  And then I realize that soon I will need to buy a rain coat.  It just goes on and on…

There’s another message out there as well–if you already have it all, there must be something else you want to do;  some other dream that you should make happen.  You must be unsatisfied in your life!  So after achieving what most people would call ‘success’, you are supposed to go out and achieve MORE!!  Don’t you want to start your own business, travel the world, buy a yacht, run a marathon, become enlightened?!

Striving is in our nature as humans.  We want to improve, evolve and expand but when do we say–enough is enough.  When do we just sit back, take a look around us and see all the amazing goodness that exists in this moment!?  Again, it comes down to balance.  Of course, we need to dream and make plans but if you spend 80% of your day striving, planning and yearning, you will miss out on the present!  And the present is the only place where we will find total contentment and pure joy.  I feel it today for the first time in a long time.  Joy is bubbling up inside me…this is it!!  It’s all happening now!  I AM ENOUGH!  I AM FLYING!

Our lives will never feel ‘perfect’ and we will probably never feel that we have reached the limit of our success.  This is actually a good thing;  it keeps us ALIVE and growing.  We may not be completely happy with our job, we may not have the exact relationships we desire, and we may not feel totally satisfied in other areas of our lives but we have a CHOICE.  

The choice is to let all of those little things go and fully appreciate all that you already have and all that you already are.  Realize the MIRACLE this is!  Just the fact that your heart is beating and your lungs are pumping is miraculous!!  When you get up in the morning, think–WOW!  I’m alive.  And I am enough!  The paradox is:  if you can stop the cycle of constant desire, there will be space for inspiration and ideas to flow in and before long you may find that dreams (perhaps dreams you didn’t even know you had) are coming true!

The Brain Train

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This is an idea I had a few months ago–the idea that the brain is like a toy train going around a track while a child holds down the button on the remote control.  With no one watching, no one supervising, the mind goes round and round on it’s own.  The child holding the remote is your ego.  He is happy to keep pressing down on that button.  In fact, the ego doesn’t want to stop this fun distraction.  The ego is terrified that if it stops, it will lose it’s identity and die.

The challenge is to go up to that child, like a responsible parent, and get the remote control.  This parent represents your awareness.  As in all areas of your life, you have a choice.  You can choose what you want to think about and focus on.  When you have awareness, you can really control the train–slow it down or even make it stop.

Taking time to meditate each day is a responsible thing to do.  Certainly you would not let your child play with trains all day non-stop, so why would you let your ego take charge of your mind.  Be the witness.  Watch carefully.  Notice patterns.  Notice what the patterns reveal about you.  You may see–Oh, I’m worrying, or I’m judging, or I’m thinking about something totally useless or stupid right now, I’m thinking negatively. Oh, look, I’m telling that story again.  The important thing to remember is YOU have the power to change what you are thinking and by changing what you are thinking, you also change what you are feeling.   Moreover, changing your feelings can and will affect your body.

There is no doubt that there is a strong link between body and mind.  Our feelings cause the chemistry in our body and brain to change and chemicals released in the body can change our feelings.   Everyone has probably experienced feeling anxious and having their hearts pound preparing for fight or flight.  By keeping your emotions stable, you can maintain stability or homeostasis in your body and therefore maintain your health.

Stressors on the body cause the an imbalance which forces the body to try to adapt and compensate.  The body is actually amazing at doing this;  allowing us to function even under extreme conditions; even for years.  However, when the stress on the body becomes too much for too long, the probable result is disease, injury, or some kind of mental impairment.  This is why it is vitally important to keep yourself balanced and find ways of dealing with stress.  You may think you are invincible and your body can handle all kinds of stress (or abuse) but eventually it’s likely to catch up with you.  Trust me on this one!

There is also scientific evidence that our thoughts can influence real world events.  So many spiritual books these days promote the idea that we create our own reality.  While I don’t believe that thinking of an pear will automatically make a pear appear, this theory does seem logical to me.  For example, if I want to make friends it makes sense to think positively about meeting people and hold thoughts of acceptance, love and compassion to attract friends.  And of course, if I believe I can make friends, I will do activities where I have a good chance of meeting people with similar values and interests.

Yes, taking charge of our brains not only helps us to live healthier, happier lives, but it also helps us to reach our goals and make our dreams come true!  To go even further, steering your mind to more positive thoughts will lead to more positive feelings and actions which in turn will lead to a more positive world.

You may not think that your small actions make a difference in the world, but they do!!  Imagine if everyone today, shut of their computers and when out for tea with a friend–a small action for each of us but altogether a HUGE impact.  Smaller yet, imagine just smiling at someone you see on the street today.  Now imagine if EVERYONE did that!  What a wonderful world it would be!!

Meditation, being a witness to one’s thoughts and calming and stilling the mind, I believe is the most significant thing we can do.  Just ten minutes a day!  Or if it works better for you, a couple of five minute breaks.  You could even simply practice breath awareness a few times a day to allow your mind to rest.  Whatever your method, take time today to tune into yourself.  Break through those ego patterns, let go of your story and just BE.   You, your loved ones, your community and the whole world will benefit.  YOU ARE A BENEFICIAL PRESENCE ON THIS PLANET!

Where is the JOY?

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I’ve been thinking about acceptance and what it really means to fully accept myself and others.  I don’t think it’s an easy task but when we find acceptance of ourselves, others and the world, I believe we can find peace in our hearts.  Once we have peace in our hearts, we can truly experience love.  And by letting love flow freely through us, we will return to our natural state of joy.

When we accept ourselves, insecurities fall away and all that is left is our true nature–like peeling a banana.  Acceptance is recognizing that all of your flaws and quirks and queerness make you the unique and wonderful human being you are.  When we openly admit our imperfections instead of trying to hide them, there is a sense of relief.  It’s also feeling all of those negative emotions we often try so hard to repress. By realizing these feelings are not who we are but rather merely creations based on our own perceptions, we can let them go.

Stand up tall and say YES to all that is you.  YES, I am weird and sometimes I have crazy thoughts and sometimes I am obsessive and worry too much and sometimes I am self-centered and irresponsible.  Be aware of your weirdness and embrace it!

Another huge part of acceptance is loving others just as they are.  I know I find myself judging the people in my life–He’s so childish.  She’s so opinionated.  He should be exercising more.  She should be drinking less.–Why do I waste my energy worrying so much about what other people are doing?  I think it’s in our nature to compare things.  It’s how we make sense of the world.  And by focusing on what’s wrong with someone else, we conveniently avoid working on our own not so ideal traits and behaviour.  Let others be.  The more you accept your friends, family, lover, the more you will accept yourself and vice versa.

Finally, acceptance is about seeing the world as it really is.  This means being present, in the moment, as much as possible.  When we reject or resist what is, we lose the power to change it.  Change can only be made when we open our hearts to the wonder and mystery of the universe.  Bounty and beauty will emerge when we let go of false beliefs and stop living in denial.

Digging deeper and deeper we find acceptance followed by peace followed by love and finally, at the core of every soul, there is pure JOY!  Intuitively, we all know it is there, buried beneath our fears and worries and stress.  Remember a time when you felt this pure, untethered, uninhibited, elation.  Peace, joy, love…these are all accessible right NOW.  All you have to do is let go and live in the moment.  Forget about your plans and do something spontaneous today–let yourself blossom, expand and thrive!!

Uncertainty

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Uncertainty, not knowing what the future holds–this is what causes me most of my frustration and anxiety.  I always like to know what is coming next; where I’m going.  I like to think that I’m in control.  But control and certainty are really only illusions born out of fear.

I know one thing for sure and that is–I am growing and changing.  I have no idea who I will become or what I will want.  It’s all a mystery.  I watched the BIG C last night and the woman said to her husband–I’ve changed but I don’t think I have the right to ask you to change.”  Exactly what I’ve been thinking.

Will my husband change with me?  Will we grow together or will we grow apart?  It’s terrifying to me that I don’t know the answer to this question.  I suddenly have these boundaries and standards that I never had before.  I worry that my husband may no longer fit with the new me.  What if our marriage fails and I end up alone?  Or what if I never find the courage and confidence to really be my true self?

These days, I’m spending way to much time judging him.  I realize what I’m actually doing is putting all his actions onto these two scales–‘OK’ and ‘NOT OKAY’.  And I figure that at some point the scales will tip and I will know my answer.  There may even be a tiny part of me that wants to reject him so that he doesn’t have the chance to reject me.

All of this–the judging, the worrying, the anxiety, the anger, dissatisfaction, yearning…they are all based in fear.  What I need to do is find peace in all of this tension.  I need to open myself up to the present moment–that is where I will find love, joy, contentment, fulfillment, security and a sense of connection.  I need to see things how they really are RIGHT NOW.  That is how I will make good choices for myself and create a good future for myself.

I need to allow this transformation to happen and trust that I’m going to land on my own feet–safe and sound.  All of this fear and mind-fucking is only distracting me from what I really need to be focusing on–ME, unfolding in the moment, allowing my heart to open to all that is possible.  I need to trust the universe and even more importantly, I need to trust MYSELF–know that I am an intelligent woman capable of making good choices and capable of handling whatever happens.