Archives for category: Meditation

People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy. ~Anton Chekhov

There’s nothing like panning for gold. Last month, I was in a river bed in California with a gold pan in my hands as did many generations of miners before me, each seeking his or her fortune. On a whim, a friend and I decided to try our luck and have some fun. The day was bright and sunny as we waded through the glistening water. The ore flakes float as the sun rays reflect on them as we swished the stones in full anticipation.

When I think about it today, I recall the fun we had; but I also think about the immense concentration and focus gold panning takes. We barely spoke to each other during those few hours. Each stone needed examining. Each deliberate swish of water was needed to clear away the unworthy stones. We looked for the heaviest of all, gold.
At the end of the day, we both had to be pulled, no, yanked from our meditations because we had lost all track of time.

You see, it’s like that. When we meditate and focus on the self, that same type of concentration should be used not just to pull a metal from the waters but to discover the gold within ourselves.

So the next time you want to find the treasure that is within yourself, sit quietly in nature to help you achieve this mental attentiveness. It will not only refresh you, but you’ll look forward another moment to be with yourself. Priceless.

Joy,
Cheryl

We are responsible for our own lives. Each of us must recognize what has worked for us in the past, what has not worked, and make new decisions based on that knowledge for the next move.

We have all made mistakes.

We must determine if we are present in life or absent from it. If we are present, we continue to move forward understanding ourselves and how we react to good and not good times in life and are able to understand what we can correct as far as our behaviors those things we do that hinder our progress. If we are absent from our lives, events will continue to happen to us and should be no surprise that we have no control.

Which is better? To be an agent and act in such a way that we make our lives happen for us the best we can, or shall we allow the world and circumstance to toss us about like a boat with no anchor?

Joan Didion’s essay “On Self-Respect” can serve as a reminder to accept our own failures and make them our own. Maturity does not come as we hit benchmarks in age, only when we can make peace with our failures and shortcomings. The honor society that Joan hoped to join did not allow her a second chance because she messed up. It was her own responsibility to perform in such a way that would gain her the recognition she thought she deserved. Her aim for the essay is to help us see the errors we make as just another happening or occurrence in life, to help us understand that we control some of those unfavorable outcomes. We may not live up to the expectations that are either placed on us by others or the expectations we place on ourselves. Those mistakes, regardless of the matter, are our own. At this time we move on. We will carry the memory of our errors, but we must not live there. We keep pressing forward. We respect ourselves for what we did or did not do. Nielsen used to say to me, “The choice you made, either good or not good, was the right choice for you at that time.” We own our choices and move forward, not stopping to dwell in the past.

We do not stop living after a mistake. We do not need to stop trying to be the best we can be due to past errors. We do not stop striving for excellence.

Setbacks are setbacks.

A future will happen. Will you be awake and present for it, or will you be absent? It is your choice.

Joy,

Cheryl

#choice

It’s Saturday and I’m lying on my bed reading the new syllabus created by Joel Williams. It’s the same syllabus I’ll be working with this semester. He’s picked an interesting reading selection for students including a web project called “This I Believe” on NPR.org. Browsing the selections online I click on a couple of topics that interest me. I read about how one woman’s father taught her to never give up in any situation no matter how hard or painful. At a moment she gave up on herself, her father never did. She is now successful in her recent endeavors. In another essay, I read about a father and son’s relationship growing deeper the day the young man drives off across the country to go to college to start anew, and the third, definitely not the last, essay I read was about a woman who pursued a career in literature because it does matter the way the arts can help us see ourselves in new ways.
You see, I’ve been away from academics for almost three years yet still held out for that full time faculty position at an accredited college despite the ever-rising stack of rejection letters I have received and the mental notes of all the times my resume and desire to teach has been ignored.

I have understood the value of writing and have shared my passion to teach to others for many years. I even call myself the Grammar Guardian. You should see my costume. I’m sure my students thought my standards were rather high for grammar because I would find every error. To ease their minds I would tell them that I had written a love letter at the end of each of their papers upon returning them. Whether they understood what I meant, I’m not sure. I have missed their ah-ha moments and triumphs as they improved.

This Monday I’ll be back in the classroom. The phone interview, only a couple of days ago, was the first in about five years. I had almost given up. Somehow the conversation was much less stressful, and I felt much less needy. I explained the type of service I have provided students through my tutoring and teaching as an adjunct professor. I explained the profound love I have to help a struggling student receive a passing grade on a paper. I have tutored my own students on my assignments before the due date if needed. Generous? I suppose. A better term may be service. I was offered the job the following day. I’ll move to a new city in two days to serve more students.

Before this fateful event, I found a website called AuthenticHappiness.org. I took a free quiz to find my character strengths. I wasn’t at all pleased at first when I received the results. My top two strengths are Love and Mercy. Mulling these over I realized that my techniques were completely in line with my strengths. I showed love and mercy in and outside the classroom. I helped students achieve their goals. It’s a wonderful feeling to know my strengths enhanced someone else’s strengths. Give the site’s questionnaire a try. You might be surprised at the results. I surely was, but also thrilled to use these as often as I can now and in my future.

Joy,
Cheryl

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I recently viewed the Disney film, Frozen; and I was told that one particular song, “Let it Go” would be the most played song at school pep rallies and sport games. It seems the children have really latched onto the energy and the lyrics of this song at his school. One of the teachers has a sign up that counts the days – still at Zero – stating that so far, since the film’s release, there has not been a single day that the students have not sung a part of the song at school. It’s incredible to think about how the power of music can promote positive or negative feelings in each of us. And I am sure the
students in this school will continue to feed off the power in this song.
I must note that these lyrics are sung during a fearful moment in the story. But again, it’s a time of self knowledge and awakening as well. The new Queen has hidden her self and her power for many years until her secrets are revealed and are exploded into a crystal, cold world. Most of us conceal our powers out of fear as well. But once the gates are open, metaphorically and literally in this film, the power is meant to spark and come alive to its fullest potential. How great it would be for us all to take that leap, be courageous, and expose our true selfs to the world. While this queen does, it hurts those around her until she realizes the part she left out. The love that should go along with it. Once this happens, we find warmth and further strength to carry the ending far past the film’s ending.
I’ve chosen some lyrics to print here because it may be helpful to notice both the fear and becoming at the same time.

“It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small.
And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all.
It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through…

“I’m never going back.
The past is in the past.

“Let it go, let it go
And I’ll rise like the break of dawn”

Idina Menzel belts out these words and helps to remind us that fear can leave each of us crippled. The past is the past. (See my post “Can’t Repeat the Past?”…) We should not fear what once was. There are always new beginnings and new possibilities.

Take it from kids in high school. They want to be free to be who they are deep inside. Don’t we all? Aren’t we ready to warm up to our powers and to love freely?

Joy,
Cheryl

By the way, check out the upcoming virtual conference about the power of music. See the link below:
Https://www.entheos.com/The-Power-of-Music?c=wise_way

On the flight from Phoenix to Nevada, a smaller plane makes a quick left to get itself out of our way. From my angle, I can see it coming toward our plane; it then make its turn so I could see it move away from us. I had not seen engine trails from this angle before. I could see the side view, the back, and the opposite side as we zip right by in the air. All around the plane the clouds had formed different layers in the sky. Notably, the clouds form the various shapes that we’ve grown accustomed; however, I was able to see them from a perspective never noticed before this particular trip. Their form and layers allowed me to decipher the stratus clouds from the cumulous clouds and I found myself wondering which clouds I liked best. Here’s the thing… Who cares? Right? I allowed that thought to complete itself before really getting to the real perspective of viewing them at this height. What I noticed about these seemly ordinary clouds and my first reaction to choose a preference, is that these clouds demonstrated levels or tiers. On further thought, my analysis moved into thinking of the levels or tiers of society. The upper clouds resembled the posh, fluffy, and exotic shapes that formed mountain peaks only visible as we gained height and looked down upon them. Just under the sun are prime clouds accumulating to either keep heat in the atmosphere or to cause rain, an interesting job. As we descended, the stratus became more visible. There were many of these, and I could sense that the function of these types seemed less important. I would imagine that many of us see society in very much the same way. However, at the moment I was on the ground, these clouds were no less important than any of them. Clouds are clouds. Clouds hold water. That’s their job. So, why would the level of suspension determine any importance at all? It doesn’t. What matters is each has its own beauty and mystique. Clouds are all the same. Shape does not determine anything, including levels of status. Just like people. We are all the same. Our shape does not determine our importance. Having had this thought reminded me of a moment in Jane Austen’s book, Emma. Emma and others visit Box Hill known for strawberries and their varieties, Hautboy, chili, and whitewood. The ladies engage in rising chatter while picking and enjoying before seeking shelter from the immense heat of the sun. During this moment, it is difficult to follow the conversation; however, it is a telling conversation not just of strawberries, but of levels in society. Each of the strawberries has its unique quality, yet none is superior. The novel’s ending is just as charming as its beginning. To see a film adaptation of this classic, view Clueless 1995, written and directed by Amy Heckerling.

(All these thoughts of strawberries may be the reason for picking up a giant carton of them from Costco before the 5-hour road trip to California.)

Flying over the Sierras to Reno is a treat. The mountains are so close, they seem as though you could reach out and touch them; quite a sight to behold. They are as majestic as promised, and humbling. The snow caps are intricately defined. The vast and imposing crags could envelope giants. Surely, aesthetic distance helps us to realize just how tiny we are, and equally diminishes our seemingly huge issues. It is also interesting to note that while the earth gives form to these anomalies, we aim to live in and construct our buildings with geometrical shapes. As we pass over a very circular lake with the mountain’s reflection in them, it can be noticed that the lake formed here at the base has receded over the years as if the levels of water had lowered and washed away the rock further creating the caverns along the sides as the mountains pushed their way upward providing this mirror for the heavens. My window seat pictures do no justice to the beauty of this lake.

Circular Lake at Bottom of Sierras

Circular Lake at Bottom of Sierras

I hope you seek daily adventures and see the true beauty in life. It will help you minimize your fears, anxieties, and problems when you realize the vast and limitless possibilities awaiting you.

Joy,
Cheryl

How often have you grumbled through the day in the hopes it would end soon? The day just didn’t start well. You slept through the alarm, stubbed your toe on the bed post, spilled coffee on your new shirt, et cetera. Down hill from here? it seems so. With mornings like these it’s a wonder we can even leave the house at all, let alone get in the car to drive to work where we become outraged by others on the road, and find ourselves wanting to take hostages and shout out a list of our demands… Sound familiar?

Ok. So just because I smeared my mascara while brushing my teeth, I should feel it’s my right to take my frustrations out on others? Nonsense. But it would seem that Bad Day Syndrome strikes without warning. Are we really subject to the ebb and flow of life’s troubling lows and high points just like that? Wow, what a roller coaster. Let’s take a moment to think about this. Does the bad day come strictly from external sources or does it come from within?

If a bad day comes from external sources, that means that stubbing one’s toe, and the like, are certainly cause for one of these days, silly as it seems. If a bad day comes from within, it simply indicates that we are all over worked and exhausted. Forgive yourself for being overwhelmed by life’s challenges. We may need to get more sleep. This way, we can wake up refreshed instead of wishing for another hour or more. And each day is open to suggestion. Yes, we can decide how we’re going to feel. *Ask: How am I going to feel today? *Answer: Generous, loving, joyful, sexy, focused, ambitious, steady, or many of the other good feelings we have within that can trick a bad day into a good day. Now, there is no such thing as good or bad; there is, however, perception. Decide to respond rather than react to days like these. Yes, there will be disappointment from time to time. That’s part of life. Coping with the not so wonderful events does not mean we have to fall into a myriad of other tempting behaviors just because of them.

Here’s a suggestion. Smile. Yes, I said smile. Oftentimes, just the act of smiling will help fool the bad day syndrome away. You may have to start with a grimace, but in time, a smile on your face will seep into your heart. You can start to look at the reality of life, the what is, and begin to accept certain situations. Remember nothing is permanent. You’ll get through it.

My mother has a great smile. I think you’ll think so too. I’m sure she’ll appreciate my having shared this with you because hers is a smile that is absolutely contagious. You see, she started out using her smile when she was young and continues to use it today. I find that just looking at this picture melts my heart. I hope you’ll think of her smile, use your own, and sweep away the bad day for yourself.

Joy,

Cheryl

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When was the last time you pretended to be someone or something you’re not either to impress or fit into the crowd? Perhaps you purchase certain types of clothing or listen to specific music though deep inside each of these makes you uncomfortable. Has your vocabulary changed? Maybe your hair style?

Is your outward appearance more important than what’s inside your heart? Do you value the opinions of others over your own truths?

Time to take a good look at your value system. Sometimes we believe hanging with the “right” crowd will make us better people. You know this is hardly true. Usually, the scenario goes something like this: You’re spending time with someone only to be ridiculed for having your own thought. Initially you are taken aback, but continue to press forward. As time goes on you find yourself watching the things you say, and feel stifled that anything you may say or do will be met with similar reproach.

This is no way to live if you’re to be the free person you are. If the people you spend time with do not allow you to be your best self, it’s better to be without them. Instead, enjoy the company of those whom you do have the freedom to be yourself – The freedom of authenticity. We should never be drones without self worth. Speak your ideas freely, particularly with like-minded people. You’ll find that’s the way to thrive and become your best self. Don’t let others stifle you or your ideas.
You may find true friends as well.

Joy,
Cheryl

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.

Henry David Thoreau

As synchronicity would have it, this quote, which I’ve used so many times, winds up as another’s comment in a discussion I’m reading through on LinkedIn. That’s because we are all connected. I’m certain you’ve all had moments, events, that seem coincidental. Don’t overlook these occurrences. Pay attention to them; they may prove more meaningful than you’d think.

On with the chosen quote. Thoreau, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, has influenced me in many ways. This time, we should look carefully at what’s been written here.

‘What you get’ implies that goals are things or heights we strive to obtain in order of some importance to us. The end result seems the final destination. What’s in it for me? Sometimes it’s the body we desire after countless days spent in the gym. Sometimes it’s the degree we’ve earned through years of reading and writing papers. The end result. Yes. Ahhhh

‘What you get by achieving your goals’ leaves out the journey, the means to the end result. Think of this: there’s a mountain over there, lets call it your goal. You could reach the top by helicopter, yet nothing is gained in this manner. Would you know the terrain to make the journey again? No. That would be like cheating on a test and ‘getting’ a good grade. You still don’t know the material, so the reward isn’t yours. You’d need to continue to cheat, but the result remains unknown as a vast canyon. There’s something about stomping up the side of the mountain a step at a time, maybe slipping a little too, that helps you understand yourself a bit more.

Think of a time when you’ve achieved something rather fantastic. Did getting the thing, the trophy, the degree, the job leave you almost with a sense of emptiness? Were you still looking for the triumph to last longer than it did? Did you ask, “Is this it?” Perhaps you’ve forgotten to stop at each small step along the way in your journey to the end result and assess what has happened to you as a person. This is the most important part of your hike to the peak. What did you add to your character on the way? Are you more efficient at time management? Did you recognize where you slacked? Will you be able to understand now how to get past the snags? How have you changed?

Try a free questionnaire provided by the Via Institute. It’s a character test. Do the test now, and at a later date (perhaps after achieving a goal, like starting a budget) to test how much you’ve improved or evolved.

Here’s the site address:
http://www.viacharacter.org

Becoming Self Aware is the first and best thing you can do for you. Find out what your character strengths are; you’ll be glad you did.

Joy,
Cheryl

Years ago, I would play a game with my mind that I thought was just for fun. I didn’t spend a lot of time playing this game, but every now and again I liked to gain a different perspective while outside riding my bike or doing what kids do for amusement. I suppose I
credit the writers of the television show I Dream of Jeannie whom I believe were onto something when Jeannie became really small. Most of the time we’d see her in her bottle. I’m sure it was a life size set to provide an illusion for the viewer. There were other times when she’d blink herself small to hide from Dr. Bellows, or anyone else, and wind up in the strangest places. Here the viewer would gain perspective from that of Major Nelson’s front shirt pocket, or my favorite, the pencil cup where she’d struggle with the weight and unbalance of giant beams. If I tried, I could imagine myself just as small. If I tried harder, I could place myself anywhere in a room and ‘see’ myself in that room from the vantage point of where I’d be standing or sitting. I had fun with this, but that’s where the game would end.

It’s only recently upon reading several works of Deepak Chopra, did I understand the perspective game actually has a function and a purpose. In one of his more recent books, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Super Heroes, Chopra guides the reader through The Law of Transcendence, quite simply the law of Thermodynamics and Quantum Physics. In the book, he will call it shape shifting because the law poses two conditions, one that the body is always changing and moving in any direction. The other suggests that any time we resist growing and developing, there is a downward pull. The point being that we take great care in improving our lives or the downward or negative pull happens as a counter.

Try this link
http://www.spiritualmaturity.info/site/mobile?url=http://www.spiritualmaturity.info/Transcendence.html#2574

Upon knowing how the law works, we can understand that gaining a better or different perspective will inevitably helps us achieve a higher self so long as that perspective helps us grow rather than hinder us.

Think of this, you want to do something you’ve only ever seen others do. Ask yourself, “Am I not a human being? Don’t I have all the qualities that make me this? Then why can’t I do the same?” Truly you are equipped. So go ahead and do it.

Here’s how your small self on the top of the tree can view the you you want to be. Simply watch yourself perform the action. Perhaps you’d have to do so as if it is a movie you create in your mind. Nonetheless, decide to take on a new task that will help you grow. More or less, from this vantage point, you would watch or allow your body to do what only your mind keeps thinking you can’t.

For fun, take on the small shape again and place yourself anywhere you’d like to be. Sit on the shelf and watch yourself wash the dishes, or make dinner. Go outside with your mind and see where you live. Sit upon a treetop and watch children play from that perspective. Once you get the hang of it, you can soar with the eagles, you can shape-shift and become the waves, or you can take a ride upon a butterfly’s shoulders.

Joy,
Cheryl

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