Posts Categorized: Noticing

Impulse or Guidance? Start with Reality

Living a Summoned Life begins where right where you are, with the reality all around you. Right in the smack dab middle of it. In the cluttered bedroom, the sounds of the barking dog, the gray dawn, the body or the mind that needs to stretch.

That’s where current reality squats, waiting for you to answer its summons. The trouble is that often our listening focus is elsewhere.

Living A Summoned Life

There comes a time when the life that you’ve carefully planned and engineered just isn’t enough. Instead of treading on all the carefully planned and planted stepping stones, you find yourself knee deep in a swamp of uncertainty, plagued by a feeling of stuckness. Even your best strategies seem to fail at producing the anticipated results. Or sometimes you discover, as you grow and change, that what once fit like a shoe has begun to pinch.

Story Blindness

I just emerged from a bad case of story blindness. It’s not as painful as snow blindness, at least most of the time, Usually it’s more like driving in a whiteout.

I’m navigating along, appreciating the emerald moss or the birdcalls of spring. My life is going bloomingly. There’s a sense of equilibrium, a deep flow if happiness.

Until.  Something happens that isn’t a part of this peace. I get a call that someone I love is in trouble. My dog nips at a stranger. Somebody feels hurt by something I’ve said or done.

That’s when the Big Story shows up. The story that it shouldn’t have happened. That I should have known better. That it’s my job to rescue or make them feel better. It’s a story of my incompetence, one that’s so deeply embedded that I often don’t recognize it because it feels like a part of me. It’s a story of shame.

A story so engulfing that I can’t quite see through it. I react as if it were real, moving into habitual loops of rescuing, appeasing, or trying to soothe myself with food or television. Anything to avoid that feeling of contraction, that self-condemnation. Sometimes I’m in the whiteout for a few hours, and sometimes I’m there for days, trying to make the feelings go away with my old bag of tricks.

Here’s what I’ve noticed. Since I began seeing the tricks my mind plays on me, I’ve been able to avoid stepping into the fog much of the time by noticing how things I would call problems turn out not to be. Situations that would have sent me into blind reaction lose their charge. Or I just feel the feeling and let it pass through.

But not always. Sometimes, if I’m taken by surprise, it might take some time to sort out what’s real from what’s not. What’s harmful from what is there for my learning. But when I stay in curiosity and watch closely, the fog begins to clear. The shape of what is actually true shows up. I find what I can do to address the situation. I choose to stop blaming myself, and I reclaim my own essential innocence.

And there on the other side is the beauty that was there all along. A world of kind possibilities.

Law of Distraction

I have nothing personal against the Law of Attraction Except for the painful shadow it casts when it becomes your direction-finder and distracts you from what needs to be learned or done about your current reality.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s much to be said for hope and belief and positive intention. Leaning into life’s possibilities, as a way of walking the planet, offers joy and curiosity.

But imaginative envisioning is half of an equation, and it can be a distraction to sit in wishful thinking when a lot of life perspiration and determination. It’s really true what they told us when we were little: Almost everything that has any worth and personal value requires work, and that sense of accomplishment is its own reward.

But the darkest shadow of the Law of Attraction is the way it seems to trigger the belief that if bad things happen, I must have done something wrong

Goodbye Cruel World

Goodbye, Cruel World. These words came drifting into my mind while I was walking the beaches of the impossibly beautiful Oregon Coast last weekend. The rhythms of the ocean have a way of opening my inner ear to wisdom, so I didn’t take this lightly.   Goodbye cruel world? Since I wasn’t in a suicidal frame of mind, I didn’t go there.  I also didn’t take it to mean anything about the lives that have come and gone by way of water.

Goodbye, cruel world?  Why these words? Then I had a tiny epiphany. A momentary glimpse of how, even in the expansiveness and generosity of nature, I can lose the beauty of the world around me by listening to my inner narrator. I can so easily contract into a shrunken world inside when I’m triggered by feelings, glued stickily in place with supporting thoughts and evidence.

When I fall into that spell, I’ve said goodbye to the real world around me and hello to a cruel world of self-judgement and lies. Goodbye cruel world. Can I say goodbye to the cruel world that shows up when I believe my inner dictator and discover a kinder one?

When I haven’t shrunk the heaven I live in to fit a smaller belief system (like the one that says I’m not good enough, smart enough, enough enough), there’s never enough of anything around me to fill me up. Least of all the sugar or salty foods I usually begin to crave for comfort or relief.

But when I’m not in the thrall of my inner limiting loops, I’m there for it. All of it. The beauty and the poignancy of the real world. I have said goodbye to the cruel world inside and said hello to something else. To the heaven of wind, rainbows and human connection. And also hello to the challenges of financial ups and downs, failing health, troubled family members.

The more I’ve questioned my feelings/beliefs, the more I see the beauty even in these situations. I may not like it all the time, but I have moments when I see the perfection of the current “disaster.” Or I trust that I just can’t see it yet…and maybe I will. But if I don’t, I figure I’m probably missing something, and I give it up to the mysterious way of things.

I’d rather leave the cruel world behind and live in a kinder one, even if I don’t always see the goodness in the situation at first glance. Hello, real world!

What things have appeared in your life that seemed unkind but turned out later to be kind?

Emotional Weather Front

There’s an old saying here in Oregon. “The only people to predict the weather are fools and newcomers.” Guilty on the first count. It’s March 1st, and I had planned to wake up to warm spring breezes and beds of daffodils swaying. Instead I get this blanket of pure white beauty tucked softly over the hills. Lovely. But hardly what I planned. Fooled again.

The last couple of days the weather has brought other surprises. Sleet. Heavy winds. Chilling to the bones. I didn’t like that surprise. But one thing that Oregon has taught me is not to take the weather personally.

I’m noticing the same thing about feelings. We humans have these pesky emotions that seem to come through just like weather fronts. When we don’t take them personally, each one of them leaves a particular gift or shows us something we need to see. And then it moves on.