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Archive for April, 2014

Laughing Heart4-30-14

The Laughing Heart

Charles Bukowski

 

Your life is your life.

Don’t let it be clubbed into dank

Be on the watch.

There are ways out.

There is light somewhere.

It may not be much light,

but it beats the darkness.

Be on the watch.

The gods will offer you chances.

Know them, take them.

You can’t beat death,

but you can beat death in life,

And the more often you

learn to do it,

the more light there will be.

Your life is your life.

Know it while you have it.

You are marvelous.

The gods wait to delight in you.

© 1993 Prairie Schooner, Vol. 67, No. 3
Thank you to my dear friend Jim Kiske for sharing this

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“The obstacle is the path”

Zen Koan

obstacle is the path PIC

Many years ago in ancient times, there was a king who was afraid his kingdom was in decline because of the attitude of his people. He decided to test their resolve, so he had a giant boulder placed in the middle of the only road into the city. Then, hidden and perched on a high hill, he waited to see what would happen. First to come along were some of the King’s wealthiest merchants. Annoyed at the inconvenience this caused them, they simply walked around it and blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the boulder out of the way.

Next came a group of the King’s courtiers who saw the boulder was blocking their path so they readily gave up. Declaring there would be no work for them that day, they turned around and went home.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the giant stone off the road. He pushed and strained, but to no avail. Then he found a long wooden pole and placed it under the rock. Using leverage, he was able to move it slightly. He repeated this tedious process until the boulder was completely off the road, which made it possible for him and others to easily pass through. He was about to proceed down the previously blocked path when he noticed a leather pouch where the boulder once stood. Opening it, he discovered it contained many gold coins and a note which read, “This gold is for you as you are the only one who realized that the obstacle is the path.”

As we travel down the path of life, we often encounter obstacles. When we do, we frequently get frustrated, annoyed, discouraged, upset with others and sometimes we even give up. All too often we wish our lives were easier and that our relationships were smoother. We dream of living without trouble or challenges. But that is not what happens when one fully participates in living life. There are troubles and tragedies, mistakes and misunderstandings, dilemmas and disappointments. How we deal with these obstacles is as much a part of life and living as anything else.

We tend to caste obstacles in a negative light and complain when they show up. Sometimes we pretend they aren’t there, but if we don’t deal with them, they will never disappear. As this Koan so wisely teaches us, the obstacle IS the path, just as much as the path is the path. They are one and the same. Whatever we encounter along life’s journey, be it something we perceive as positive or negative, it is what life is all about. Therefore, the path is whatever is in front of us . . . not good, not bad, not to be avoided or ignored.

The only reason we get upset when we are met with an obstacle is because the path is not looking the way we think it should. When in reality, the problem is not that the path is blocked, the problem is your desire to go down the path with no obstruction. As soon as we understand the obstacle isn’t something standing in our way, but is indeed the way itself, is the day we free ourselves of all our upsets.

You want to meet people, but your shyness is an obstacle. You can act like the King’s courtiers and give up and stay home, or you can learn how to deal with your shyness. Do a deep dive into it. Find out what you’re afraid of and work through that fear. Handle that obstacle and the path will be clear.

You are overwhelmed and stressed at work or at home. Like the wealthy merchants, you can complain and blame someone else – your boss for not understanding or your spouse for not helping (but the obstacle will remain in the middle of the path). Or, you can deal with what is interfering with your balance and identify the root of your stress and overwhelm. Maybe you have unrealistic expectations or take on too much or don’t say no when you should. Once you do the self-exploration and deal with the obstacle (weak personal boundaries) the path will be clear.

Perhaps you and your spouse are having a communication breakdown. You can spend days in silence or fighting, arguing and blaming, or you can realize there’s an obstacle in the way of your path of happiness and look deeper into what is causing the communication problem. Maybe you aren’t listening well, or you’re not seeking to understand or you’re trying to be right. Whatever it is, it is YOUR obstacle you need to identify and deal with. Doing so is as much a part of what it means to be in a relationship as is the walk in the sunset together.

What is your obstacle? What/who makes you angry or sad? What fear tends to stop you from having what you want? What upsets you, makes you feel weak? When are you frustrated or jealous? You can deal with all these obstacles when you become like the peasant who found a way to deal with the obstacle in his path. Don’t go around it, or run from it. Go into it, work with it, explore it. Identify what is at the source of it. Be creative and find ways to manage it. Then take steps to move it out of the way. Doing so IS your journey. Identifying and removing the obstacle is as much a part of that journey as is the path itself.

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Do Good wow Pic

 

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“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles.

Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you,

not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.”

Buddha

I am power 4-9-14I AM Power

Personal power is the ability to hold on to your core spirit regardless of the circumstances around you. It is not the ability to control others or the environment around you. It is your ability to go into any world, any relationship, any situation and not lose your energy; to be able to stand still no matter what type of energy is coming toward you and realize you don’t feel frightened, enraged, competitive, jealous or hurt, but are able to hold your center. Great leaders possess this ability, as do great parents and others who seem to be able to maintain their calm in stressful situations.

People who have personal power understand that one of the major responsibilities of their life is to hold on to that spiritual center by managing their energy. They release their survival instincts of fight or flight, and when they go to bed at the end of the day, they align the power of their core being to be at one with what is. They trust the process, and know life is unfolding as it is and not always as they think it should be. Tomorrow is another day. It will be what it will be.

Easier said than done? Indeed. To live a life of spiritual awareness fully owning one’s power takes willingness, practice and above all, discipline. But if you are interested in growing and learning, here are some questions you need to ask yourself:

 

  1. What am I attracted to that draws power from me? When and how do I give my power away? For one week, write a list of all the things you got upset about, made you mad, frustrated you, hurt your feelings, etc. You will probably be embarrassed by much of what you allowed to control you. How quickly do we get upset at: a wine opener that doesn’t work, driving behind a slow driver when we’re in a hurry, AT&T customer “service”, spilling coffee on ourselves? Last week, in addition to all of those, I also gave my power away to a bunch of tangled wire coat hangers!
  2.  How do I separate myself from sources that are draining my energy? i.e. my childhood, my history, a particular person or a situation at home or at work, etc.

With your history for example:

 

  • Recognize how attached you are to that memory.
  • Identify the behavior it triggers in your life today.
  • Realize the amount of personal power you give to “the story” you have fabricated around this memory.
  • Realize your “story” (your interpretation of your history), your beliefs, actions, reactions and inactions have chosen every single thing in your life, every single minute of every single day – the way you have arranged your furniture, the jobs you have, the block you have chosen to live on, your friends, the movies you see, the music you listen to, the food you eat, down to the minutest detail – the condiments in your cupboard.

How do you cut the cord of attachment to the people and things that drain your power? First of all, don’t ask, “Why did that happen in my life?” Looking for the answer to this question will cause you nothing but suffering and as long as you need the answer, you’ll never get it.

Instead, ask, “Why haven’t I healed? Why can’t I hold on to my power?” It costs you daily to hold on to things from the past and it cuts off your energy. You will get your energy back through completion, letting it go, forgiveness, trust and love, but first you have to ask yourself two questions:

 

  1. “How willing am I to let go of being right about my story?”
  2. “How willing am I to relinquish external control to have internal control?”

If you can’t keep yourself from yelling at your spouse for forgetting to call you when your spirit knows it will cause nothing but more distance and separation, then how can you expect to heal? You must build discipline.

Forgiveness is simply a letting go by suspending judgment for one moment in time. It is an act of the will and we all struggle with this. You’ll never want to forgive. You may want to want to, but you’ll never really want to. Why? Because it’s always with a difficult person or over a difficult situation. You are not being asked to forgive Santa Clause.

Get the person out of the picture entirely and see what is going on. Know there is a reason for why it is happening, a lesson you need to learn, a fear you need to face. Ask, “Why am I in this drama? What is here for me to learn? How will this help me evolve to a higher spiritual power?”

Perhaps you are a person who is afraid to confront difficult issues and you need to muster the confidence to stand up for yourself. Perhaps someone took advantage of you financially and you need to learn to be more accountable for the ways you blindly trust. Or maybe you are angry at a parent and you need to learn understanding and acceptance that he/she did the best they knew how at the time.

There are some circumstances, however, where forgiveness and acceptance are phenomenally difficult, like the loss of a child, violent child abuse or atrocities of war. Perhaps with these tragedies, one can eventually move on from the past by realizing that it was so horrible, it is better to forgive and let go than to carry the anguish into two lifetimes.

You will go in and out of forgiveness. It’s a cycle from mind to heart, mind to heart. Intellectually you may want to forgive, but the heart won’t. Be gentle with yourself. It is a process and sometimes it takes time.

If you have a particularly traumatic past event you have been stuffing or repressing, it can be very helpful to talk about it, to release it from your body and mind. Go to a therapist and say, “I want to talk about this for six months and then I’m done and ready to move on!” And do exactly that. Otherwise, learn not to speak about your past wounds, hurts and angers. Don’t grant them space in your head. Don’t look back. Don’t re-tell them over and over.

Ask yourself, “Why would I repeat the story?” To be right? To be vindicated? Let that go. It does not create healing and you stay stuck. The more you rehash it, the longer it will stick around.

Today is when life is happening. This moment can be anything I choose it to be. I must be careful to not poison it by dragging in stuff from the past. To reconnect with the power I AM, I need to complete with the past . . . let it go . . . forgive . . . and those wire coat hangers? I had to stop . . . take a deep breath . . . remind myself I was bigger than they were . . . and calmly untangle them. Then I threw them out and got plastic ones!

 

“Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power.” 

 Seneca

 

 

 

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