A Word about Personal Power

“Life is a series of mind moments, each one a new creation. Every moment we inherit something from our past, transform it in our present experience, and thereby seed the consequences of our future.” -Andrew Olendzki

I’ve been reading a lot lately and one thing has become increasingly clear: there are as many opinions on how to live a good life as there are people in the world. Not exactly a major revelation until one considers the degree of freedom and power that come along with that. We’re daily making choices whether we realize it or not, even if that means making the choice not to make a choice. Doesn’t it make sense then to take more regular inventory of our lives and inspect more closely what it is we’re saying yes or no to everyday?

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Part of what it means to embody a life worth living has a lot to do with integrity – living day to day in alignment with our own deepest values, desires and sense of what is right, despite fear, obstacles or criticism. There will never be a ‘right’ time to start this project, never enough security, approval or certainty that things will work out. As Picasso framed it: “To know what you’re going to draw, you have to begin drawing.” In other words, to begin living life on your own terms you need to begin moving in this more satisfying direction one decision, one step at a time. Life is a process, we embark on the journey and our life unfolds as we go along.

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The Tender Feeling of Being Alive

There are days when the sun comes out and we are vibrantly alive to the birdsong outside our window or the laughter of children, but then there are days when the clouds roll in. We may receive bad news, have an argument with our partner or merely wake up with a  painful kink in our neck and it is at times like these that it may be harder to appreciate that this too (our suffering) is part of the tender feeling of being alive.

If we can allow ourselves to be with our pain (feeling it rather than pushing it away or making it wrong), then healing has an opportunity to enter the picture. This is how we ripen and grow as human beings. Yes, it is discomforting, but it is also, ultimately, liberating – we know more, we are wiser and when the clouds roll in again (and they will), we will be better equipped mentally and emotionally to work through any accompanying feelings of disappointment, confusion and pain.

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Compromise – guilty misadventure or art?

Being a woman of a certain age I have made my share of compromises and observed numerous others doing likewise. I am thinking of this particularly as it relates to relationship. Whether it be in the realm of family, friendship or the relationship of a more intimate and exclusive other, compromise is often involved in its maintenance.

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Altering How We Think and Act in the World

The frustration and outrage many of us are experiencing these days is understandable, but they are not enough. Working successfully with all the negativity and darkness that threaten to overwhelm means understanding in what ways we may have unwittingly been complicit in its emergence. Dark movements don’t happen all by themselves, they have help and it isn’t productive to displace responsibility solely on some conveniently placed evil ‘other/s’.

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Itchy Feet

It’s that time of year again when I begin to feel restless and long for new vistas. Also I’m tired of all the political mayhem south of the border that is currently sucking the joy out of living. Time for replenishment and a re-think.

Re-thinking what? Re-thinking the ways in which I move in the world and how that contributes inevitably to the making and re-shaping of culture. I think it may just be more important than ever to live with a heightened awareness of how the ways in which we do things participates in the culture we produce. Which is to say, if we live in politically uncertain times, if extreme self-absorption and an obsession with celebrity and stardom over every other worthy way of living and being in the world is running rampant, perhaps we’ve all had a hand in making it so. If ‘ordinary’ sounds like a swear word and ‘being nobody going nowhere’ a heretical phrase, then hear this.

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We all know it’s unproductive and mostly pointless, but it remains compelling nevertheless. In my own experience of it I think this is at least in part because it provides me with the illusion that I am doing something when really I’m just spinning my wheels going nowhere. It is, in short, a great way to avoid real responsibility for engaging more constructively with whatever challenges face me.

What not to do? Well, there are plenty of non-constructive ways to deal with the tendency to worry, one of my favourites being to cover it up with a sense of self-righteous indignation and anger. Anger can be an artful dodge though as well. The real usefulness of both worry and anger is in the fact that they can make us aware that something in our life requires our attention and focus. That’s about it.

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