Transformative change: finding comfort in your own skin

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On the topic of changing one’s mind (see “It’s okay to begin again…”), there’s a word for that which also encompasses changing one’s heart, self or way of life. According to Merriam-Webster, metanoia is a “transformative change of heart especially: a spiritual conversion.” I like to think it’s validation of where I find myself these days—in part due to the mindfulness journey I embarked on more than two months ago. As a daily exercise between conscious thought and a willing spirit, I’m drawn to life’s simpler things and able to find joy within both the hills and the valleys. Not only has my heart softened toward those closest to me and to the plight of the human condition, but I feel a richer compassion for myself. Although unsure of my next step, I’m okay with that because I’m moving forward. And, for the first time—maybe ever—I’m comfortable in my own skin. Perhaps Club 50 is “the new metanoia.” 

What recent transformative change have you experienced?

 

The difference between happiness, joy

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happiness-vs-joy
Recently I heard an apt description of both happiness and joy. In a nutshell: happiness comes to us; joy is inside of us. It stands to reason, then, that happiness is created by external and oftentimes fleeting or fickle people, places and/or things. If we base our happiness on our spouse, job, car or health, and our relationship dies, we’re laid off, we total the car or get sick, it can be hard to put on a happy face (until the next whatever it is). Also, if everything external is temporary, then there must be something more that creates internal joy. For me and for many others, this source of joy is spiritual. For others, it’s a mindset to choose happy, while at the same time setting the intention that nothing or no one will steal their peace away. And, it doesn’t hurt to take the focus off ourselves, whenever possible, to invest in the lives of others (see ‘A rebirth of sorts…“).

Are you happy… or joyful?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net. 

If following the rules is the answer, what is the question?

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following-the-rules

My last post, ‘Discovering your life’s purpose,’ closed with a teaser that promised to reveal the solution to my dilemma: What’s my purpose? First, let me clarify that this isn’t a blog about religion, although it includes a spiritual bent. I make no secret that I believe in a higher power. I hope this is evident in how I conduct myself within a framework of faith, hope and love, and not in my own strength. Moving on: A recent devotional talks about how ‘following the rules’ opens the door to answered petitions. But, when we step outside of what’s best for us, we deviate from the path to our individual destinies. This might be why the door seems to slam shut, at times, to the realized dreams and sated desires of our hearts. However, when we maintain alignment within the construct of our belief system, we create space for abundant blessings to flow in and through us. And to realize our purpose.

What’s your take on rule following?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Understanding the root of pride

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root of pride

Pride is concerned with who is right.
Humility is concerned with what is right.
~ Ezra T. Benson

In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis writes, “For pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.” In my own quest for happiness, I discovered that self—once removed from the equation—makes room for joy. Both of today’s quotes, I think, revolve around self as the root of pride. Recently, I felt disconnected to a close friend and tried to share my feelings. Rather than attempt to understand my heart, however, this person blew off our relationship. My friend’s actions played out louder than words but, although the outcome saddens me, I believe that humbling myself will destroy any self-imposed stumbling blocks and release a bounty of blessings going forward. Doing the right thing is not always the easy thing, but the possibility of love, contentment and common sense is worth it.

What do you believe is the root of pride?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

What I learned after skipping yoga for more than a week

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Yoga Toe Stand

Over the past two years, I’ve only missed three or four consecutive days of Bikram yoga practice, until last week when I missed nine. Beforehand, I wondered what I’d do with the extra time, or if I’d go a little crazy(ier) without my regular dose of moving meditation. But not only did I survive, I discovered:

1) I had almost forgotten how to spend time alone, and how to make plans without working around my yoga classes. Life exists outside of the hot room.
2) The practice of “yoga” (the “physical, mental and spiritual disciplines that aim to transform body and mind” according to Wikipedia) looks differently to everyone. It can be a walk or bike ride, or may consist of stretching exercises, devotions or breathing through a difficult situation.
3) I need to make a habit of scaling back in life. This allows for other ways to nurture my physical, mental and spiritual health.

How easy is it for you to take a break from your favorite activity(ies)?

Honor the gain

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Honor the gain

[Image credit: digitalart]

In my post When enough is enough, I talk about the users, takers or neutral parties in our lives — the people unable to give back or compromise in a relationship.  However, maybe it really isn’t one-sided at all.  Perhaps, instead, both parties involved have simply outgrown something that served its purpose once-upon-a-time.  And that rather than outgrowing it, we’re really growing into the person we were always meant to be.   Personally, I believe that we have not lost as long as we take something out of it on our continuing journey.  It could be newfound knowledge about the world we live in, or insight into spiritual or cosmic mysteries, or even a deeper glimpse into our own personal psyches … a closer look at the person we are and who we may become.  So while we should still know when enough is enough, we must also honor what we’ve gained.  That way the time spent wasn’t in vain.

Do you honor the gain or dwell on the insult?

A work in progress

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[Image credit: Bill Longshaw]

The other day I was talking to a friend at work and jokingly warned her that when she was my age (in another 11 years), she still probably wouldn’t have it all together.  Good! she said.  Her response led me to thinking that if a “magical” age did exist when we’d finally “arrived” — in terms of financial and spiritual abundance, optimum health and fitness and career satisfaction — what more would there be to strive toward?  Truth be told, I kind of like this raw, unfinished lump of clay I have to work with.  As painful as it is sometimes, my life’s experiences (whether good or bad) mold and refine me.  And perhaps one day all the cracks will be filled in and the rough edges smoothed out.  Until then, I plan to keep adding to and subtracting from this work in progress for as long as I’m able to and watch the masterpiece of my life unfold.

Are you at a place in your life where you’ve got it all together, or are you a work in progress?