Sunday, June 27, 2010

There is Always Tomorrow…Right?

If you put your life and dreams on hold until some perfect time in the future, your life becomes a crapshoot. If something good or bad happens then you either feel like a lucky recipient of fate or a victim of her weaving. But remember, we are not victims under these circumstances. We have a choice, always, and are employing our ability to choose when we choose to do nothing.

Why do we procrastinate and put our lives on hold? Sometimes we sound like Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind, who is always saying, “I won’t think of it now. I’ll think of it tomorrow.” Maybe we don’t believe we can have the life of our dreams or maybe life has disappointed us one too many times. There may be a lot of reasons we keep putting life off until tomorrow, the tomorrow that we think will be the perfect time. But there is no guarantee that tomorrow will arrive. In fact, when tomorrow comes, it is today. Truly there is no tomorrow, so stop waiting for it.

There is something you can do now, right this minute, that will move your life in the direction of your dreams. Start small or you’ll overwhelm yourself. Break that step into even smaller steps if you have to; just do something today because that is the only time you really have to act. Scarlett’s last words in Gone With the Wind are: “After all, tomorrow is another day.” Don’t let those be your last words.

Writing Tip: Writers may be the worst procrastinators in the world. Some of that may be because we are opening ourselves up for all the world to see. Try not to think about that too much and just write. Allow it to flow freely and you’ll be amazed at how authentic it is when you don’t let yourself get in the way. Of course, there is room for editing after you’ve got it outside of yourself and on paper, but first, just let it go and know that you are a part of a creative Universe. Don’t hold back. People will be drawn to what is real.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The World’s a Stage Not a Drama

Does life have to be a struggle or is it only that way because we think it has to be?
I’ve begun to wonder why my life is so full of drama. Am I bored or just too afraid of attracting the good things into my life?
I think the drama began when I was thirteen and my father became ill. He died when I was fourteen. No, wait, it started earlier. I liked the attention I got when I was ill, so sometimes I milked it and sometimes the case of chicken pox or measles I had was the worst case the school nurse had ever seen.
Ever since then I’ve experienced points of major crisis. But what if I decide my excitement is going to come from joyous occasions and the fulfillment of my dreams instead drama? What if I decided life doesn’t have to be a struggle? Will more of the good things I want in life be what I experience? Though I may have some downs, I don’t have to see struggle as a way of making life more exciting. Besides, drama is ultimately no fun anyway.

You might want to take a look at what has gone on in your life. What patterns do you see? Why do you think you have those patterns? Look at the words you use to describe your situation. You might be surprised at what you find. And if you don’t like what you see, contemplate why you believe as you do then get quiet and listen. The insights will come and when they do, your view will change. With different perspectives and new understandings your life will change, too.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Sense of Wonder

                       Photos by Charles Elliott

This is not the moment for a long face or frown,
Throw your fears out of your mind and let the joy in –
It’s like finding a piece of jade in the middle of a dung heap:
The workman stands and wipes the dirt off it in wonder.

Kuan Yin Poem #16
~translated by Martin Palmer and Jay Ramsay

with Man-Ho Kwok

Last weekend I visited a sacred place in the desert. Just outside of the small town of Adelanto, California, in the middle of the high desert, stands a 60 ton, 25 foot tall white marble statue of the Chinese Goddess of compassion, Kuan Yin, The One Who Hears the Cries of the World. She stands at the end of a walkway of other white marble statues. How they are still white I don’t know. A rather large dust devil blew through and engulfed me briefly. I was coated in grit. Luckily I saw it coming; I turned away and covered my head until it passed.

This past year has felt like that, a year of being engulfed in windblown dirt spinning about me so that I could hardly breathe. All I could do was wait for it to pass. The cloud of dust came upon me when my husband came home from a doctor’s appointment. I knew the news wasn’t good when he said sit down before telling me. The C word was mentioned and from that moment on we were both caught up in the whirl wind.

The dust devil that was last year has now passed. My husband is doing well now, but I feel covered in grit like I was last weekend. It’s like I need to wash off all that fear and stress that built up over last year. But as the poem says, in the midst of dung the workman finds a piece of jade; such a wonder to find something so beautiful in a dung heap. It’s so surprising to find the jewel in our seemingly negative experiences, but if we look back we see that we’ve changed, usually in a good way. I know I’m stronger and I feel closer to my husband now.


Last weekend’s experience with the dust devil may have left me coated in dirt, but I also felt blessed by the wind and earth as I stood in front of Happy Buddha and watched the dust devil spin on into the distance. And I know Kuan Yin has heard my cries and has led me to find the beauty within my trials.