Open mouth long enough to change feet

Keeping your mouth shut

Keeping your mouth shut. Quite often for some of us we only open our mouths long enough to change feet. Of course our mouth only opens when our brain tells it to.  And the brain has different states. Present, calm and focused, on autopilot or ‘off with the fairies’. Then you have to factor in mood, sensitivity and excitability and you never know what your mouth will come out with when it opens.

In the last week I came across a hideous situation where Continue reading

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Set yourself free – one way or another

Angel in the marble

I found some ‘wisdom from the masters’ on Pinterest today – the whole point of creating this blog, much as I have digressed in any old direction with the blog as well as the posts.

Isn’t that what we are all doing with our lives – carving ourselves until we set ourselves free? What does your day consist of? How do you carve? With diet and exercise, learning and study, working and earning money?

I’m going to create a conversation between Eckhart Tolle and Michelangelo.

In response to this quote, I imagine Eckhart would say that the angel was already free; he already existed in Michelangelo’s mind and didn’t need setting free. The angel didn’t need anyone to complete him. He didn’t need time or being carved or more of anything to be complete. The angel can just enjoy being, enjoy the now. Joy is now after all.

Eckhart is assuming that the angel has no ego and doesn’t need to show off his beautiful form. And Michelangelo, if he has an ego as most people do, might argue that it is his life’s work to follow his passion, to share his talents, to show the world what exists in his mind, to create and leave his mark.

So what are you creating today? Anything that will be remembered 5 years, a year, a month, a week from now? Will you remember today next week or will it blur into yesterday, a tiny brick in the life you are building? 

angel

Alternatively, do you go by Eckhart’s thinking, that you are already complete, that there is already a thin person inside you, that you are a brilliant and successful book writer, as soon as you carve your book and prove it, which you don’t need to, that you are already a rich person, meaning that you don’t need a thing? Future and time will not complete you, as you are already complete, so just relax and enjoy each day.

It’s your life.  Your choice.  You do what you like.  I hope you can think both ways.  It sure passes my years enjoyably toying with these ideas.

 

 

 

She says, she says, she just says!

Deep in thought

It’s one thing to have saying, it’s another to live by it – Gary & Shell

Who on earth are Gary and Shell? Shelley? Sounds like it came from a comedy programme.

Anyway, how appropriate, how fantastic. This blog has made me realise how common sayings are. I have become a ‘Saying bore’ and find myself talking in quotes. Do you speak quote? I know the point of this blog was to learn from quotes and I certainly have done – heaps, thank you very much. I should be grateful that ‘right thinking’ spreads in any way it can, and if sayings and quotes are the way to spread a little cheer and wisdom (every time I type wisdom I type wisdeom unless typing this has cured it).

For some reason the mind likes to take in smaller bytes of information. It’s doable. We remember songs better than exam material. We can remember phone numbers if they are a certain length but a couple of extra digits and I, for one, am sunk. We are apparently drawn to bullet points and blogs entitled ’10 ways to hide your farts’, according to Copyblogger, my bible to which I would refer to more often if I wanted to. I once read that we should replace the word ‘should’ with ‘I could if I wanted to’ and I liked it so much I try to live by it!! 🙂

Anyway now I have completely digressed. Ah yes, do we live by these sayings? Do they make us smile or nod in agreement or turn a lightbulb on in our heads but are forgotten in a nanosecond?

One small positive thought

Who cares? Every little helps and I believe all those little nuggets of wisdom accumulate, reaffirm what we believe, enlighten us a tad on this journey and bring us together. If someone quotes one of my favourites at me in conversation it’s like the sun has come out. Instant connection. Huge smile.

So I will continue to try to live by the sayings, use them in my thoughts and remember why I remembered them in the first place. And don’t forget to be completely fickle. It’s your world, your choice. I go by ‘In the waste or on your waist’ when I am dieting and resisting leftovers, but then I practise ‘Waste not, want not’ when scraping out the last of my face cream with a rubber spatula! Many conflict anyway and it’s how you interpret them that counts.

Do you have a favourite saying to share with me/us? First one that comes to mind? Please comment, even if it’s just the saying/quote.

Who stole my present?

Just a quick, simple but important reminder as I awoke from a nightmare this morning and am not quite connected. Haha I realise I have just ‘let the past steal my present’ by letting the nightmare affect me. It is slowly wearing off. In my nightmare after a morning of being horribly disorganised and leaving for work very late and only half dressed, I attracted two rapists in a public car park and the rest of the people in the car park left (walked past me on foot) so I knew I was in trouble. When I woke I decided that if I was ever in that situation I would leave with the other people if I could even though it would appear odd and rude as the two men had started speaking to me. (I’ve heard that politeness and worrying about what other people think can make you more susceptible to rape as you don’t avoid the person your instincts tell you is dodgy). It was a horrible variation on my recurring disorganised dream where I have uni exams and haven’t attended the classes. Much worse consequences though.

Anyway I digress. So how does the past steal your present? And why shouldn’t it? As Eckhart Tolle says, the past is now just a memory, like a film in your mind. You may have photos and videos which last longer than the memories but even they will be destroyed eventually, like all physical things. We also ‘rework’ the memories into part of our ‘story’ that we commonly (but unfortunately) carry around with us, attached to our ego. This story can steal our present if it keeps replaying louder than the events around us. To steal our present means leave us not fully aware of what’s going on around us. It leaves us unable to be present and fully appreciate and enjoy things for what they are. The past could be terrible, full of childhood horrors which may steal our present by leaving us fearful and distrustful, or it could have been ‘magic’ so that nothing we do or have now compares.

Our bodies regenerate every seven years or so I have heard. Each body part takes different amounts of time. Our memories remain in our brains within connections and electrical pulses I believe, though clearly I know very little on this subject. My point is that thought is the main thing that we keep with us on our journey. (OK I’ve heard that cells have memory too but I don’t want to go too deep). Lessons, experiences, skills etc come with us. And so do the stories. If we can’t rework those stories into something manageable (accept life, become philosophical, forgive and forget) then they will bite us and affect our present. They will steal it by clouding our current experiences negatively. The first thing I did on awaking today was remove the photo of me in a bikini on my other blog!! Fear crept in and I listened.

So how can we rework those stories? Realising that they are stories formed by us is the first step. Realising we have the power to shape them and that we therefore have the power to reshape them is important. And having the will to let the story of your past go and ‘be present’, using all your senses to realise that where you are right here, right now is probably safe and calm is helpful if not essential.

Ultimately, we have to take responsibility for our own happiness and not assign the power to something external. We may not think we have the strength to overcome or forget the past but for me it is a worthwhile endeavour. Joy is Now. Look around you. You are bombarded with current information. Your surroundings, feelings, senses should take up every ounce of your thoughts and with whatever you have left, shape your ‘now’ the best way you can. Create beautiful experiences. Now where’s the chocolate?

 

Masters of Silence

A Master doesn´t teach words, but Silence – Julien Matei

Mirrors of Encounters blog by Julien Matei 

I love this. And yet how ironic as I use words to express myself and the joy I have learned through being silent. By being silent I mean that I stopped chasing the things I thought I wanted on the outside to read, listen, learn and find what I needed on the inside.

I do not plan to stop writing. It soothes my soul and of course I am no Master. But it is true that Masters teach silence. I can’t speak for Buddha with any in depth knowledge but I know he would agree. Eckhart Tolle says in one of his two hour ‘intensives’ (his term) that ‘we are not sitting here today to add more but to take it away’ and that if you don’t ‘get it’ already then you will be extremely bored listening to his talks. He jokes that what he is trying to ‘assist the arrival of (because it is coming anyway)’ in the collective consciousness is EMPTINESS. And he can appreciate that it does not sound very exciting.

So how can silence/emptiness/nothing be of benefit? For me it gave me the chance to hear my inner voices more clearly. I would patiently listen to the negative voice within trying to make me feel bad, stupid, guilty for something I had done. Then I chose not to listen to it. If I wasn’t silent enough to really hear and be aware of the inner critic trying to undermine me, I could not have responded to with a more loving, constructive voice. It was just there fueled by others, fear and ignorance. And now it only whispers unconvincingly. The first step in fixing the ‘problem’ was being aware of it. I needed to hear it.

So there in the silence and stillness I found my answers, once I stopped looking so hard. The Masters continue to bring me silence. 

 

Are you awake yet?

Awakenings are just the beginning – Damon Gautama on www.becomingfullyhuman.wordpress.com

We start each day with an awakening by definition. For some it is ‘we start each day, hopefully’ not as in a hopeful mood but hopefully we start the day. My 80 plus friend John used to joke that he always woke up in a good mood, because he didn’t take it for granted. He would say “Fantastic. I’m alive!” And start his day. I think it would serve us all well to do that. But I am sure this is not what Damon is referring to. I think he means the awakening of our authentic self, our soul if you like, the true and loving part of ourselves that will best navigate us through our lives.

My journey to Awakening will always be gradual but I sometimes have mini wake up calls, à la Eckhart Tolle, where I snap out my thoughts, and step back to become an observer of what’s in my present. For example, I might observe myself in an unengaged conversation, an angry mood I don’t want to be in or a petty argument which I am all heated up over. Sometimes when I am fighting with my kids, I get a fit of the giggles. I suddenly step out and see us there, all hot and bothered. It looks ridiculous. It is ridiculous! And when I get that gift of awakening and laugh, my kids can’t help but smile themselves, even if they want to stay angry and we laugh together.We are both awake. Next thing you know we are hugging and apologising, even joking about how we accidentally hurt ourselves or repeated ourselves and tried to hide it during the argument. The awakening is the beginning of the end of the argument; the beginning of love and closeness once more. I don’t want to fight and nor do they. It is fantastic to be able to ‘save face’ and exit stage left.

Being able to do this is such a gift. I actually think it saved my life. In Egypt 15 years ago I had 3 kids under 4 and was feeling particularly ill. For the first time in our 6 year marriage,  I asked my then husband to come home from work early to look after us. As he took his time coming I was so angry with him that he decided to go and stay at a hotel.  Another first. But because he is such a nutty engineer he couldn’t find any of his clothes to pack. As he was storming about the room where I lay in bed, I got the giggles and we managed to resolve the fight. That night on my way to the bathroom I passed out and defecated on the floor. I was in intensive care for a few days and the doctor said I might not have made it through that night. (Tropical disease, severe dehydration in case you are curious.)

Anyway I digress. Really being awake is where the fun starts, the new beginning. You begin to experience joy, optimism and hope, like when you fall in love. It’s the beginning of new experiences and your world seems at least manageable if not downright pleasurable. You have this inner voice that tolerates and appreciates, starting with yourself. If you are kind to yourself, you are more likely to be kind to others (see the post on All Criticism is Self Criticism).

Another way to picture the potential strength of an Awakening is to imagine winning the lottery. Suddenly your future happiness looks assured (of course it will not be as our internal world always prevails and the luxuries eventually fail to provide ongoing comfort as we take them for granted) and you begin to see everything differently.

So I repeat Damon’s words. Awakenings are just the beginning. There is so much more to come once you are awake. ‘Today is the first day of the rest of your life’ I have heard. So shape your life from here. It’s just as well to remember that and I am glad I am awake to get started!

What am I here as again?

You’re not here as a carrier of your personal history. You’re here as an alive field of aware presence – Eckhart Tolle

This isn’t a quote I read; I heard Eckhart Tolle say it on a CD that I have, at 4.30am this morning! When I get overenthusiastic about life, like falling in love, I get positive stress and sometimes can’t sleep, thinking about all the possibilities. Have you ever noticed that when you first fall in love? It is actually a form of stress.

Anyway Eckhart Tolle is just the man for the job on these occasions, whether I wake up oddly unsettled or hyperactive with ideas. I would love to say that his wisdom puts everything in perspective for me and soothes my soul. But the truth is, his monotonous voice sends me right back to sleep. Every time, day or night! Win/win. His words do actually put things in perspective, when I can stay awake long enough to listen. So I am happy if I can take in what I am hearing (and I seem to hear something new each time I listen, depending on where I am at) and even happier if I can get back to sleep as I know my body needs it. Which it did today.

So today’s quote is something I have heard and written down before as it sums up a lot of his wisdom for me. Of course it’s nothing new. He is reminding us that our egos label everything. I am Emma, I have this, I do this, my job is this, I earn this. Our continuous and repetitive mindstream reminds us of our personal history; always analysing, judging, measuring in some way. But he says there is another way to live than this, as a human. We are actually here as an ‘alive field of aware presence’. We are aware of everything around us but to what extent? Are we looking at something but not seeing it? Are we hearing music or talk but not listening? Are we lost in thought? I am so prone to go off with the fairies that my kids shout Emma instead of Mum which snaps me out of it faster for some reason (it also works better when we are out to get my attention too they discovered).

Anyway I digress. Another way I think of this concept is that I am an alien that has actually kidnapped someone as described by the National Enquirer. I have inserted my mind into this human form and sent it back down to earth to check things out. I go through the motions of what the human is doing but with a new perspective. I look at my hands while I am driving and marvel at them, so different to my alien hands. When was the last time you really looked at/studied something familiar? As an alien, I wonder at the things people come out with, the expressions they pull when talking, the little sayings they repeat; fluff words that fill no purpose such as – ‘sort of like’, ‘and everything else’, ‘each and every’, ‘anyway I digress” – Ouch! Eckhart suggests we create or ‘be aware of awareness‘ by various means which he calls portals. One is the portal of the human body. He says “feel the inner energy field of your body, the inner sense of aliveness. Every cell is intelligently alive”. Close your eyes and feel it actually working. How do you know where your hand is if you haven’t just seen where it is? Our cells are so intelligent – try watching TED.com sometime. They can make even microbiology fascinating!

I also loved a concept I read in a book, I forget who by, about imagining you are standing on a balcony above planet earth. You are just a soul, just a field of presence. You look down and see the glorious planet with nature and entertainment and love, sex, happiness. Would you be keen to go down and try it all, sample it? Hell yes! So why, when we get here do we forget what there is on offer? Why do we stress about completely invisible things such as the state of the economy, the threat of – fill the blank – or what someone else says or thinks?

So I enjoy and continue to listen to Eckhart when I can. I love his odd laugh and his wisdom and that his ego peeks through on occasion. And I particularly appreciate his ability to help me sleep.