Life

Her Real Love and How I Really Feel

207733_10151633320683047_1341535220_nEvery year on my Grandmother’s birthday I would write her a letter and a poem. Writing poems for Mimi was easy.  All I had to do was picture her in my mind and her all-pervasive love would immediately be translated into words.  This is the first year I will not be reading Mimi a poem on her birthday.  I will not be eating chocolate cake with raspberry filling.  I will not be telling her about how getting a sneak peek at the mini water guns she bought for our family trip was the thrill of  my eight year old lifetime.  But that she already knows.  She always knew exactly how I felt about her.  And since I will not be telling Mimi what she means to me today, I will tell you.  Because when I write about Mimi, there her love manifests.  After she left her body I wrote the following to share with family and friends.  In reading it, I hope you experience the love from which it was born.

It is difficult to try to begin speaking about Mimi because it is impossible to contain the vastness of her love, her life, her spirit into the confines of mere language. Speaking to the life that is Mimi is impossible, but year after year I’ve attempted to do it through poetry. Mimi was my muse. I could go a whole year with writer’s block but when Mimi’s birthday came along the words would flood right through me as I thought of how to express my love, appreciation, and awed wonder to her. I would sit in front of my computer, close my eyes, and her loving presence would flood my being, and it was easily followed by words.

Mimi’s presence has permeated my life and the lives of countless others in utterly unknowable ways. I wish I could recount moment by moment the endless sweet memories of being raised by Mimi who was another mother to my brothers and I. But they are altogether too perfect to be recreated through thought. They live within me, growing up my soul into its fullest expression. They nourish all those who I meet through the joy they continually foster within me. They inform the world I experience through the patient thoughtfulness, understanding, compassion, intellectual vigor, and fierce love that Mimi bestowed upon me generously, without end, from the depth of her being.

Mimi taught love by being love. Everywhere we went Mimi met an old friend. These old friends were people she had sat next to on a train, and taken a cab with, or crossed the street near. She loved humanity and humanity loved her in return. Wherever she went, Mimi found people to love.

I learned what love was by watching Bop and Mimi’s relationship. The love they shared with each other was so great that it overflowed from their union and created this beautiful family, and committed community of friends. Bop and Mimi’s love is a gift that will eternally give to all who come to bask in its radiant peace.

I learned how to love friends by Mimi’s love of her friends. They were a shining light in her life, as she was in theirs. And seeing her devotion and caring for her friends imbued within her children and grandchildren the kindness and appreciation that are the life breath of true, authentic relationship.

Mimi’s love for all of us is indescribably vast. But I feel it. I’ve always felt it, and I always will. Her love teaches me the essence of eternity. Her love teaches me the essence of God.   Mimi and I connected on the level of the soul. She was a human allowing the universe to live out its greatest purposes through her, and I got to be a part of that. It is the blessing of my lifetime. Her being introduced me to my own, and when we were together we got to rest in the truth of God’s love, in which we move and breathe and have our being. Together the barriers that separate human from human were shown up to be mere curtains. Together we peered behind the curtains, we saw the truth of the reality of our unity, and we rejoiced in our oneness.

Mimi’s curtains are gone now. May she inspire us to see behind the facades that seem to separate us from each other, and to see who we truly are inside our own protective coverings. Mimi is there. She rejoices within us when we rejoice in each other, seeing the love that each of us share as our true selves.

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Ego

The Problem With Being Right

Dr. Wayne DyerHave you ever been in a situation where you were absolutely in the right, but were unable to convince someone else who had a differing viewpoint?  When you are right, and someone else is wrong, especially about basic facts (e.g. when water is frozen it becomes ice), it can be frustrating to say the least.

When I’m in the middle of an argument I can feel the infuriation rise the more I try to convince the other person of my side.  The other day when I was attempting to explain how to read a piece of sheet music to my friend, who disagreed with my interpretation, it became clear to me that the more I tried to convince him of my understanding, the more frustrated I became.  In the midst of the argument I asked myself, “why?”  When it isn’t a matter of life or death, is convincing another of your “rightness” really worth it?

The need to be right, even when you are, can erode relationships and prevent us from seeing each other as the complex, mysterious human beings we truly are.  The need to be right is also the perfect doorway for the ego to take over your life.  Identifying with a mental position and fighting for the life of that position is ego.

Next time an argument starts to go off the rails, take back control from the ego by letting go of the need to convince another person of your position.  But be careful that the ego doesn’t sneak back in through judgment of the other person based upon their thoughts.  When I let go of a mental position and feel satisfied because I am the “bigger person” I have let the ego take control in the most opportune moment for its demise.  On the other side of identification with thought is true communication, greater understanding, and better relationships.

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Inspiration

How can you tell if you’ve actually “let it go?”

skylineHow do you respond when someone tells you to, “let it go?”  I have been told, in many different contexts, to let something go, and often my response has been, “I will, but…” Which is to say, that I haven’t actually been letting go.  I’ve been learning that a true act of letting go contains far greater power than any reason not to ever could.

By letting go, you align yourself with the power of the universe.  You surrender to that unending stream of energy always flowing towards your highest potential.  So why don’t we let go more often?  Simply put, the thinking mind.  The mind needs thorough convincing to let go of anything.  To let go of a thought, an attachment, a grudge, or a question, the mind requires a foolproof argument to relinquish its firm grasp.  The thinking mind loses control over your life when you surrender and let go.  It doesn’t know a higher power will take the reigns; all the thinking mind sees is a life out of control, without any safety net.  Since the thinking mind is so bent on holding on, it is necessary to go beyond it to experience true surrender.  This means instead of convincing your mind to let go, you only need to convince your true self a more wondrous world is waiting for you on the other side of surrender.

How do you know if you’ve really let go?  When someone close to you has upset you and you decide to be the more conscious being and let it go, and think to yourself “Yes! I’ve let it go!” that is not surrender.  That is the thinking mind holding onto the concept of being more spiritually aware than others, and the idea of letting go.  You will know you’ve truly relinquished something when you feel a deep sense of peace, aliveness, and even joy that has nothing to do with your outer circumstance.

When you are having a disagreement with your partner, and no clear resolution has been found, but you feel completely at ease, you have surrendered.  This opens you up to being a vessel for solutions.  The universe has space to work through you to solve any problem you are experiencing, any dysfunction in the relationship.  Another sign that you have surrendered is that your compassion grows.  You can listen to your partner more deeply, without the voice in your head whispering internal judgments.  You can even understand a point of view you initially disagreed with.  Surrender offers unlimited potential for growth, expansion, peace, and love.

For me, writing this is a personal message to assist myself in surrender.  Although I am writing thoughts, they help to point me beyond my thinking mind to my true knowing.  There are many things in my life I can surrender to, like my work situation, my ideas about how my outer life should look, my opinions, and my ideas about how my loved ones should act.  And the only way to discover the miraculous consequences of surrender is to try it out.  What in your life can you let go of today?

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spirituality

The Human ATM

White Glove DanceAs I arrived at my place of work this morning I found the street full of huge trucks. It turned out a TV show was being filmed in the neighborhood. As I was walking home I ended up talking to a production assistant, who let me in on some of the woes of filming in residential neighborhoods. In his experience of filming in such locations he has found that people are always complaining, always angry, and always looking to get something for themselves. People want to park their cars outside their houses as usual and complain since they can’t, while at the same time they ask to watch and be a part of the show themselves. One of the most interesting insights from him, was that people always go up to the actors and want pictures, but never actually ask them any questions. All of this got me thinking about the nature of fame, image, and perception.

Why does being famous seem so fulfilling? Why does getting a ton of “likes” on a Facebook post seem important? Personally, I have had that desire for fame, for “likes” on Facebook, and admittedly, I check my blog stats all the time. When I first realized that there was a “stats” section on the blog I thought, “I shouldn’t make a habit of looking at this. After all, how many people read it has nothing to do with what I’m trying to accomplish.” What a noble thought! But to no avail. I still check the stats, and I still get that leap within when people “like” and comment on my Facebook posts. So as I speak to why these things seem so important, it is without judgment, but rather introspection.

When you’re around someone who you think has more than you, the mind will take one of two routes. It will downplay the success of the other person, and come up with reasons why they’re not so great anyway. Or it will go to the opposite end of the spectrum and feel bad about itself, coming up with a barrage of reasons why you, the thinker, are not good enough and should be better (but can’t). That approach to famous people is what I like to call “anything you can do, I can do better.” If the mind can’t come up with reasons why it is better than the other person, it will still manage to gain a sense of superiority by explaining why it is worse than the other person. Good or bad, the mind doesn’t care, as long as it can attach itself to a story.

The other approach to someone who you think has more than you, is to try to get something from them. I call this, “the human ATM.” This is when you see someone for what they can do for you. When it comes to being around famous people, “the human ATM” approach says that being around them will make you more than you currently are.

What these approaches have in common is that the ego, the mind when it identifies with things, is interacting with other perceived egos. There is no real human interaction here. It is merely ideas interacting with other ideas. The mind has an idea about who the other person is, and engages with that idea, rather than the actual person. So when a person really wants to take a picture with a famous person, but has nothing to say to them or any curiosity about them, it is really their mind attempting to attach itself to an object it sees as valuable. Or to post it on Facebook and receive “likes,” therefore making them more than they were before.  When a person is well known, it is easy to see only your own ideas about them, and not the actual human being.

On the flip side of this insanity, I had an amusing thought as I was walking home. Since everything around us is completely unified and whole, when we praise famous people it is like the universe praising itself! When I build up others, I know I am really just building up myself. This principle, however, is alien to the ego.  Having an intention when interacting with other people can help you to see them as they really are, and quell the ever avid ego. For example, as I was talking to the production assistant my ego would have loved to implement the “human ATM.” And I was one of the people getting their picture taken with the actors. But when I’m talking to people, especially if they’re telling me about things that are bothersome to them, it is my intention to spread consciousness, and leave them feeling great about themselves. I stay present by listening without talking in my head at the same time, and I offer helpful, loving remarks whenever appropriate. Asking questions and listening, without internal dialog, is a good indicator that you are having a human interaction and not an ego interaction. By no means am I always aligned with my intentions when interacting with others, but I attempt to remind myself of them when my ego starts to rear its ugly head. Experiencing other human beings without the mental screen of who you think they are, opens you up to a world the ego cannot conceive of. People are very different than the mind’s ideas about them. Next time your ego tries to take over an interaction, laugh at it, and then find out what happens when you see things as they really are!

“1 new thing a day challenge” update: Today, for day 6, I ate fried shrimp for the first time! For those who know me, you will appreciate the magnitude of this endeavor. I never eat anything that comes from the water, not fish, shrimp, lobster, literally nothing. This challenge has gotten me taking risks, and I am quite pleased I did! Not that I liked the shrimp, but I can finally say I’ve tried seafood. Now I don’t have to eat anything like that again (until the next challenge…). Yesterday,for day 5, I attempted a few new things. I am moving soon so I switched my address with the post office and other venues, and tried to set up the cooking gas service at my new place. I haven’t moved for five years, and didn’t have to do these things last time, so it made me feel quite the responsible person. What are your plans for the last day of the challenge?

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