Twenty-fifteen is going to be my year. I feel it. I know it. I’ve already started making it so.
Fearfully, cautiously, falteringly, one very slow step in front of the last, I am walking a new path. Only a short month or two ago I had my first experience with meditation. It was a life-changing, amazing, inspiring, emotion-filled experience. At one point in the guided session, we were instructed to get up from where we had sat or lay down in our minds. We were guided to leave our bodies behind and walk in spirit along a path that materialized before us. I had found myself on the beach of a beautiful deserted island with perfectly blue water and sun-warmed white sand stretching out like an endless blanket under a cloudless blue sky. I could feel the sun warming my back as I lay on the sand and I could feel the absence of it as I sat up, leaving my body and then standing to step onto my path.
Except there was no path.
I waited for a few moments for one to appear but it never came. And so I struck out, one step in front of the other, across the sand, walking along the shore. Each step dug my toes through the warm sand into the coolness beneath. Each step caused my feet to slide a little and twist slightly as the sand shifted under my foot. It was only an unsteady shifting for a few moments and then it became a grounding one. The shifting of the sand as I created my own path caused me to tighten my core muscles, focus on the space ahead of me, and caused my leg muscles to focus more deeply as well.
Life shifts beneath us. There will not always be a path. It is our strength, resilience, acceptance, resolve, and attitude that keep us from falling and that keep us going. It is that strength and resilience and acceptance and resolve and attitude that I am inviting with both hands open waiting to receive. Just let life happen. Let it be.
When the seasons shift, even the subtle beginning, the scent of a promised change, I feel something stir inside me. Hopefulness? Gratitude? Openness? Whatever it is, it’s welcome.
– Kristin Armstrong
For 21 years or more, I lived under the umbrella of a fundamentalist faith. For the next 15 years (give or take) after that, I was away from that faith in practice though it still hung around and was very pervasive in my attitudes, beliefs, and opinions. This year, at age 36-almost-37, I slowly began to realize that I no longer believe. That I cannot believe any longer. Absolutely nothing that I was taught makes any sense to me now. I cannot accept any of it. And I have never been happier or felt more alive and free. A huge weight has been lifted and instead of seeing life here on earth as only something to be tolerated and something to distance ourselves from (as this is not our home, you see), I see love and light and beauty and incredible one-ness.
You’re only a thought away from changing your life.
– Dr. Wayne Dyer, “The Shift”
As I struggle to learn who I am outside of those 36 years of indoctrination, I find myself incredibly drawn to meditation and mindfulness and just being. Here. In the moment. In simplicity. I crave it. Dr. Wayne Dyer speaks so beautifully in his movie, The Shift, about living in the now.
Present-moment living, getting in touch with your now, is at the heart of effective living. When you think about it, there really is no other moment you can live. Now is all there is, and the future is just another present moment to live when it arrives.
– Dr. Wayne Dyer
How does one live in the now? That is what I’m seeking to learn. It will involve training my mind, guiding and re-focusing my thoughts, and being grateful for what is and what I have. It will also involve the huge task of learning to love myself. I am starting to practice affirmations and inviting positivity. On my early morning drives to work (Good morning, 5:30 a.m.!) as the sun is breaking over the escarpment and painting the sky with gorgeous colours, all blending one into the other yet also distinct and separate, I say thank you for the day. Not to God or some other being but just to the universe, the earth, to life, to myself. I say thank you for the day and for the opportunity to be in it and to learn and grow. The drive to work is ten minutes at best. In the few minutes it takes me to get to work, I smile as I look around at the gorgeous colours and the quiet stillness of the day. I feel myself relax. Each day the words are different but I begin.
“Today, on this beautiful day, another opportunity to grow and both give and receive light, I breathe in peace [and I take a deep breath in through my nose and hold it for a moment] and I breathe out discord… and conflict [and I exhale deeply through my mouth]. On this day, this morning, I breathe in happiness… and contentment… and I breathe out selfishness… and ingratitude. I think of my interactions with others and I breathe in kindness and gentleness… and I breathe out judgment… and intolerance… and impatience…” I finish by saying thank you again. And then I remove my sunglasses if I’m wearing them, steel myself (because this is still so difficult and uncomfortable for me), meet my own gaze in the rear view mirror, and tell myself “I love you.”
By setting the tone for my day early in the morning, I find that it does make a difference in how my day goes at work. (I think I may need to do a second breathing exercise on the way home though!) I find that I smile more, in my voice and with my eyes. The little annoyances that come from years of working with the general public aren’t quite so annoying and instead, are just interactions whether pleasant or not. Life slows down and becomes a series of moments rather than a frenzied block of time. And a slower pace is what I require in order to be able to address each moment as it happens. I cannot say for sure how any given hour will turn out but I can order my moments. A moment is just that – an incredibly fleeting window of time only as long as it takes to say the word itself – and there is absolutely no reason that I can’t, moment by moment, be in complete control of myself. It is not others who govern our days but we ourselves. It is our choices, our actions and reactions, that shape our days, and days into weeks and weeks into months and months into lifetimes.
Your reality is as you perceive it to be. So, it is true, that by altering this perception we can alter our reality.
– William Constantine
One moment. One moment at a time. A series of well-lived moments becomes a few minutes of focused living. A few minutes becomes an hour, and then two, three, a day, years. One moment at a time. Set the tone, invite the positive in, and watch your world change.