Auntie Angie

In one month I’m flying home for two weeks to meet my brother’s first baby and play Auntie. Up until now I really didn’t want to go and couldn’t put my finger directly on why. You see, my brother and I don’t play well together.
I’m not going to pull the veil over your eyes and start off by telling you how when we were young my brother and I fought but now that we’re adults we are close and have never been cruel or hurtful to one another since. That’s the thing is we have been cruel and hurtful to one another. Dave and I have always grown up with very different opinions, ways of approaching people and life, and even different ways of approaching each other. When I say different ways, I mean throwing closed fist punches, glances of pure disgust at each other, and screaming matches that would drive our poor mother to tears. She couldn’t figure out why we just couldn’t get along. OK we were kids back then but the general disagreements and distemper toward each other has just changed into avoidance and at times snarky remarks.

Some of the problem I realize is now as an adult I have this “idea” of what my brother and my relationship “should” be as adults. We come from a close family, family that is involved in each other’s lives. This has translated to everyone, except between my brother and I. In the last five years, I have flown home twice a year, to help out with his wedding, and will soon fly home to see his baby. When I fly home we a brief encounters and visits but there are moments filled with anger and frustration. I think I remember when first talking about California and how excited I was, David stated very bluntly “Well you’re in Minnesota right now, not in California.” Which I guess literally he was right, but immediately the tension was flared up between us. When I flew home for his wedding, I was seen with annoyance before the wedding and then was met by a disgusted glare while he was at the altar. It hurt me to the core and this is why I’ve been hesitant to go home and celebrate with him again. Then something changed.
On Tuesday I got the text that the baby had been born and then pictures followed, I cried. Right there in the middle of Diagnosis Class the love for both him and his new little family came pouring out of me. I saw my brother; I didn’t see the person that had been mean to me or hurtful. I glimpsed moments of connection and love we have had over the years. I saw a new beginning and that the reason for our disconnect wasn’t just on his side but on mine. We got to FaceTime and I saw the softer side of my brother, I had lied to myself over the years and believed in some small way this wasn’t there. But there it was right in front of me as he held and kissed that little boy. Out of a beginning for new life, came a new way of thinking about my brother. That is a beautiful thing.
Healing ourselves is top most priority but its amazing when we are strong enough to stop and heal the parts of us that interact with others. I hope that with this new insight and love that the relationship between my brother and I can start to heal.
Things may continue to be strained or uncomfortable for a time being, but here’s to a blossoming, a beginning, and a baby boy.

  

Wisdom Wednesday: Stress

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Midterms coming up and I pull the Stress card…noooo. Something is wrong with this blog, it won’t type sarcasm. This man is exactlyhow I felt at the beginning of the week, except I’m smiling my way through it. The monkey? My neck, its my proverbial “monkey on my back.”  He’s my sort of my ‘bad timing’ friend but also my wake up alarm call. Pay attention, you’re not paying attention!! Hey Hey pay attention?!?!

How many times have you or someone you know been completely overloaded, with too many projects, too many “balls in the air”, and suddenly come down with the flu, or taken a fall and ended up in crutches? Stress visits us all the time, we can use it as a powerful motivator or we create an idea in our head that nothing will happen without us, especially in the way we want. Perfectionists are particular vulnerable to this, I can attest to this being a recovering perfectionist myself. What the sun will rise whether or not I set my alarm?!?!

Clean the house, cook food, write a blog, connect with others, study, work, plan trip home…many of the times, multiples of these all at the same time. So then… I took a fall, I hurt my neck, and now taking part in self care, I’ve taken a step back. The house will get messy, the studies won’t be perfect, and I can’t keep up with everything. My body has told me “enough, pay attention around you and slow down!” Go for a walk, buy some flowers, cuddle with the dog…anything ‘unimportant’ will do just fine. Anything to get me out of that monkey’s reach!

Photo Credit: OSHO Zen

Wisdom Wednesday: Healing

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As a nurse, and as an individual whom deeply explores her own mind this has always been a very important concept to me. “Physician heal thyself”-Soren Dahl, I like to think of it more as “Healer heal thyself” mainly because of its very deep root in “Know thyself.” To be able to delve deep into ones self is to know where one is weak and where one needs to heal. For to heal others and to know other, you need to first know yourself.

This card shows us that to heal we must be vulnerable and open to the love that others and ourselves have to offer.  When we are healing we are no longer hiding from ourselves and others. In this attitude  of openness and acceptance we can be healed and in turn help others also to be healthy and whole.

Many of the times we carry our wounds or are ready to be wounded, just waiting on the brink for anything to happen. Be aware of your wounds, don’t help it grow, let it be healed.

So I’m going to try something, please join me if you like, for 24 hours try total acceptance. No stories, no wounding. Someone insults you? Don’t react and see what happens.  From one thing to another, see when you react out of habit and when you don’t react out of habit. Is there a pattern? Is there a story you are telling yourself about your wounding?

The power of vulnerability

I am reminded by the people surrounding me, the meditation I sink into, and the medicine I study, how powerful vulnerability can be. I used to fear the word, thinking it meant weak and/or leaving yourself open to be hurt. This video changed everything and it was one of the many things that have lead me to this path I’m on today.

“Without”

The next glance will be without one back.

The next step will be without hesitation.

The next breath without a word.

The next thought will be with complete clarity.

 

Wisdom Wednesday: No-thingness

Your mind chatters, my mind chatters. Where do you find that place to rest, where the chatter subsides? Even if it is just for a moment.

At times, being ‘in the gap’ between thoughts can be scary a little unnerving. I sometimes find myself with nothing to hold on to, no sense of direction or the possibilities that lie ahead. And thats the point when there in nothing to hang on to, no direction to say where you HAVE to go, or what choice you HAVE to make. In that moment of nothing everything is possible. Between the inhale and exhale is stillness, the transition into the next. At that moment of stillness anything is possible, out of nothing anything can come into being. It is potential, absolute potential.

Where does the lack of no-thingness cause despair or worry in your life? Where or how do you find the no-thingness in your life?

no-thingness 

Credit: OSHO Zen

Meditation is my first answer, but even as I sat here tonight preparing to write the mind chattered away. It wasn’t the actual act of meditating that caused the silence or the will of the mind. It was finding the stillness in between the thoughts and breath, and sinking into those that the stillness became longer and longer.

Dancing I can find the no-thingness. The pause and stillness that define one movement from the next. The silence in between the the tones that create the rhythm and beats of the music.

This is were I find Shunyata, nothingness.

Wisdom Wednesday: Inner Voice

OK one of the tools I’ve been using is the OSHO Zen Deck. For those of you unfamiliar with what the concept of Zen is I’ll give you a brief watered down version at the end. I’ve found these card very helpful in my morning meditations and to become more present in my everyday life. I want to start pulling a weekly card and place it here, not only for me to reflect on but my readers as well. It may be nothing more than “oh thats a new way to look at it” or it might inspire you to look at yourself or your world differently.

So here’s the first card, Inner Voice, perfect considering my post yesterday was all about that “Finding my Voice”

Inner voice

“The Inner Voice speaks not in words but in the wordless language of the heart…There are times in our lives when too many voices seem to be pulling us this way and that. Our very confusion in such situations is a reminder to seek silence and centering within. Only then are we able to hear our truth.”

Where in your life is are too many voices or labels or opinions pulling you this way or that? In what ways do you find your voice and your truth?  Please feel free to comment below with your wisdom and reflections.

I find a lot of time I put too many labels on myself. A lot of them to do with my perceived body image, “Oh I’m too curvy to pull that off” or “no one wants to stare at this butt when I’m trying to rock climb” LOL little mischievous voices can be so vain! Where do I find my truth? On the cushion meditating, in the wood hiking, and something I need to make a priority with my time…dance. When I dance I feel connected, I feel me…so more dancing!

So Zen...

I am not a Zen Master or even aspire to be one but I do find the teachings a very simple and freeing way to think about and explore life.  I use the Osho Zen Tarot Deck not to predict the future or look into the past but as a reflection on life and my perceptions around it. So a very simple definition of Zen. Living fully and authentically in the present moment to make each instant of one’s life a peak experience. Zen can bring us face to face with our true original nature, undefiled by cultural conditioning and painful neurotic tendencies.

Finding my voice

I have found my voice. For those that know me this will make you laugh for I always seem to be talking or laughing or both. But for those that know me and my darkest parts, the places I feel scared, I hope you feel as relieved as I do. You see I can talk and talk and connect deeply with people, I can shoot the shit about guns or flowers or tea or beer. I find that I can relate to people easily and conversation, most times, comes naturally for me. That voice is tuned and ready to go, I’m not even talking about passion or a belief in an idea. Ideas come left and right, and passion? Well I have some to spare, would you like some? Or should I say my passion has me wandering again, would you like to come along?

This lost voice though has been afraid to come out and I didn’t realize why until I started to think about this blog. Mind you not even the writing of it because just the thought made my gut clench and my throat dry up. You see I can speak in front of people all day long (I may be nervous grant it) because I know in a way I’m good at it. I also am comforted by the fact that most people only remember about 50% of what they hear, so I have that in my favor. Writing it down though where others can read it, then read it again, then refer to it when they show their friends, then laugh at it, then laugh at it again when the whole high school reads it!!! Oh its the 9th grade note passing incident all over again!

So an idea can get stuck in your head and when its stuck there it can continue to grow and become bigger and scarier. So I examined it, I looked at why I was so scared to write these teeny little blog entries. What it came down to, was I afraid I didn’t know what I was talking about. That people would tell me I was wrong, stupid, dumb ,ect. The funny thing is….this blog’s focus isn’t strictly on facts or figures, its my experience. And who knows better about that then me? Those people out there that would tell me those negative things anyway…well ok they can say that, but it doesn’t take away from this.

The stepping into claiming my voice, claiming my experience as my own and not the result of something outside of myself. Forming my thoughts, emotions, and experience into words, something more permanent; to either reflect on, or inspire, or just to release the passion and ideas in my head. Its not so scary now,  I realize what the fear is and why. That fear seems smaller now and I feel much louder than before.

voice