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Silence and the stillness

I have been watching a fascinating and deeply enlightening documentary called The Big Silence (http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/big-silence/).  A Benedictine abbot takes five ordinary individuals and introduces them to an eight-day spiritual retreat under the “vow” of silence.  During that time they have the opportunity to meditate and reflect and get into touch with the deepest part of themselves which they have been burying with the daily busy-ness of life.  They learn new things about themselves, question some of their long-held beliefs and discover a more spiritual self.

I admit that I find such a retreat very alluring right now.  I have been working these past months to discover a deeper meaning to my life, to find my true purpose and to repair what is broken.  I even wish I could have the opportunity to go on such a retreat with someone like-minded and with whom I had a deep, personal connection to share that experience.  I think it would be a great opportunity to heal a broken relationship.

I have spent a significant portion of my life in solitude, quietness and contemplation as it is.  I had a solitary upbringing being an only child with few friends.  My life now consists of quiet time after work reading or watching educational programs on the computer which working on my needlework.  I sometimes chat or text people or keep in touch via email but rarely talk on the phone, listen to the radio at home and I do not have cable or even a TV.  I value this “me time” when I can enjoy the quiet, be alone with my own thoughts and simply be still and be in control of my own actions.  Granted there are times when it is enjoyable and even very desirable to be out with friends and doing activities but I am also someone who needs stillness in my life.  I am often very content to be alone together with someone else.  I find that often very fulfilling and  a time when I feel truly loved.

Even though I knew of these concepts already within my life, as with many things I am discovering (or actually RE-discovering) on this path, it is often not truly in the consciousness until someone else tells it to you in a new way.  I appreciate every chance to relearn something in a new way and encourage me to continue on with my efforts.

I shall continue to practice stillness, quiet and reflection in my life and enjoy the many benefits of such mindful activities.  I hope you will too.

Another dream

Last night I had another dream, and indeed it was a dream this time.

I dreamt that I was standing at the foot of my bed and a large, hairy brown tarantula was under it.  It leaped up at my face trying to bite me and I swatted it away.  It ran under my headboard and footboard of my bed which are leaning against the opposite wall.  It tried attacking me again and again and I could see its black, shining eyes and pincers ready to bite me but I slapped it away again and again.  I even got a fly swatter to protect myself.  I knew if I hit it hard enough I should kill it but it didn’t die.  I did break one of its legs.  Finally it scurried away and I remember no more.

I did a little research and found out that dreaming of spiders often means a feeling of being trapped and unable to escape a situation and relationship (http://www.unclesirbobby.org.uk/dreamdictionaryspider.php)  or that some situation is sucking the life out of you (http://www.dreammoods.com/dreamdictionary/s4.htm).  To dream of a tarantula means you may be moving away from a difficult situation in the past and have power to change or you may feel unfulfilled. (http://www.auntyflo.com/dream-dictionary/tarantula)

I do feel unfulfilled and unable to escape an uncomfortable period in my life, a time that has been sucking the life out of me.  I have so much to offer but seem unable to find the right outlet for those gifts.  I often give to the wrong people in life and get taken advantage of frequently.  I’m ever the misguided optimist who tries to see the good in people, gives them my love and am used in the process.  I feel this in my personal life and in my work.

It’s evident that I’m still experiencing a variety of emotions that crop up within me.  I had hoped that I had put them to rest but I guess it takes me longer to do that than others can.  As disappointing as it is to have these feelings and thoughts return and distress me and disrupt my path to happiness, I have to hope and believe that they are working their way out of me and that one day I will be free.  Every step away from bad is a step towards good.

This morning I chose to lie in bed after awaking, thinking and dozing beyond my usual early morning arising. As I laid there I had an image go through my mind of a straight path ahead of me. I saw it from my perspective but I was not visible, just a white light was. On either side was grass and landscape and lining the path on either side were steel and stone walls. I saw my life as a glowing line coming down the middle of the path and people I knew were intersecting black dots where our lives joined. Their colored lines ran parallel to mine or veered off reflecting our interrelationships in life. From the left came a gold and black line that intersected with mine but which veered off. I pulled down a large steel door and pushed the glowing light on the other side and closed the door tightly. It stayed closed for a moment and it started to open as I tried moving away. The light peeked back and started to come back so I closed the door again. And again and again, each time with more force but it wouldn’t stay closed. Under the door was the golden thread still connected to mine so I tried cutting it, tearing it, yanking it but it wouldn’t give way. I asked the Universe why this person has veered away from me yet keeps trying to get back through the heavy steel door and the Power replied that they were learning an important lesson and that this had to happen for them. I asked why couldn’t the Power put the knowledge of the right path in the person’s mind and it replied that this was a lesson that had to be learned through experience.

I knew whose light this represented, that of my former friend. And it brought me distress as I felt annoyed and powerless to stop what I didn’t want in my life.

I don’t call this a dream as I was awake at the time. I don’t call this a prophetic vision. I don’t know if I was imagining it or what really went on. All I know is I’m unsettled by it and unhappy today. It has brought up strong emotions within me. If only I could completely forget the past and move on.

There comes a time in every relationship where you reach the tipping point and have to decide if it’s worth saving or if you have to let it go.  It’s not always an easy decision although sometimes it is very necessary.

I finally came to the decision that I had to end an intimate friendship that had grown to become dysfunctional between us.  I had tried to end it a couple of times before but the other person wouldn’t allow me to.  The first time they responded with anger and made me feel shamed so that I begged for them to take me back.  Later when I tried passively withdrawing and becoming more distant, they drew me back in with words of their need and value of our relationship.  I obliged even though it was becoming more painful and dysfunctional for me, partly because I hoped it was true and partly because I feel so much loving compassion that I wanted to heal the hurt this person had known.  At last I finally decided that it was too uncomfortable and too dysfunctional for me to continue to make myself suffer at their expense so I was direct and honest and said the relationship was over.  I decided to do it in what I hoped was a compassionate and honorable way: I did it when I knew their new partner would be nearby for support and I made no blame, called no names, wished them happiness and kept it brief.  I felt a sense of relief and goodness for finally having done it afterwards and thought I was free to move on.  I was wrong.

For some reason it took several days for me to receive a message they had sent me the next day.  The message was full of hurt and anger, designed to make me feel shamed and to hurt me.  On the phone this person had appeared to take the news well enough and offered to be there for me whenever I needed them in the future.  But the message was exactly the opposite.  I was told all of my problems and that I was basically sick, that they had done so much for me  and couldn’t help me anymore, said that our brief romantic relationship was a meaningless affair, that they were basically doing me a favor by being friends with me afterwards and that I’m jealous because I can’t have them and if it hurts then too bad for me as they have found someone else.   It’s clear this person did not handle my rejection of them very well, even though I was repeatedly rejected by them throughout our relationship/friendship.

My pain over this has been deep and to my core.  What is the most painful is how they mocked and belittled my love for them.  We had met as they were getting out of a long-term relationship and they used me to feel better.  Later I felt used in being around them and someone who turns out to be their partner which was a secret so it feels like I was there to legitimize their relationship, a sort of chaperone for them.  And I truly loved this person.  I may have been foolish enough to hope they would change their mind and return that love for me but that doesn’t change the fact I loved this person with all my heart and it meant nothing, less than nothing because they so cruelly killed that love within me.  And they have not recognized that I have done the kinder thing by stepping aside so that they are free to pursue their life without the vestiges of a wasted affair hanging around on the outskirts of life, sadly looking in at what can never be.

This person seems to think that I’m doing this because I’m in a deep depression again but this is far from the case.  I know that my depression has been the worst it has been in years over the past year we have known each other and I feel it is related to that relationship.  I have been working hard the past few months to change myself, improve myself and fix my problems so that I can move beyond the patterns that keep me where I have been stuck all my life.  This person has given me no credit that I can and have changed.  They have fancied themselves to be a kind of personal guru to me and now that I no longer need that, now that I’ve taken them off the worshipful pedestal, the dynamic has changed.  I’m a stronger person thanks to my work, thanks to my supports from true and loving friends who return my love, see my value, cherish my gifts.  I am so very thankful for these, the true loves in my life.

My former friend’s new love will not be without challenges, their new partner is coming out of a long-term marriage with children involved.  My former friend may now get the chance to be in my position when they got out of their long-term relationship; they are ready for a serious relationship and their partner might not be.  It is uncharitable to wish the same pain I have felt upon them, although I hope they learn a lesson from this, I hope they learn not to play with the loving feelings someone carried for them.  I feel compassion for them but my love is dead and can never return even if one day in the future our paths cross again.  I have taken steps to ensure that will not happen.  My heart is empty towards them and can never be filled with anything but compassion.  If one day they change their minds and truly see my value and how precious I am then they will have to carry the hope throughout their life that maybe in the next life we will have another chance, as in this one the chance is lost.

As for me, I am free.

Art

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/cosm-the-movie/

Some amazing art and commentary on a higher consciousness.

I have been doing what I’ve been calling “soul work” now for a couple of months and I am noticing results in my life.  I believe I have finally been able to come to a point where the brick walls and blockages are being removed that have prevented me from moving forward with my desire to create a passionate, deeply fulfilling life, the life I’ve always wanted and the life I truly deserve.

I’ve continued my reading and have been casually applying the principle of the Law of Attraction the past week.  The first couple of times it has been “The Test” to see if it actually works:  one day I asked for something from Starbucks to come to me and a co-worker brought back a tea for me (okay, I asked her to go but keep in mind I asked for the tea to come TO me, NOT be free!).  On another day I asked The Universe for a free coffee … and a co-worker’s husband brought coffee for the entire staff, free of charge.  I asked for something wonderful and I experienced an interesting and helpful webinar that evening.  I went to a book sale today and asked The Universe to give me the books I need and I got several that were directly related to information I’ve been studying but knew nothing of their existence until today.  As I was walking along the  tables it was like these books went “Pick me, pick ME!” or something! LOL  I asked for a good outing today and the miserable rain let up, I got new-to-me gloves to replace the pair where I lost one of them as well as some new clothes and for lunch I had to wait a bit longer as my order was wrong so they gave me extra food on my order to make up for it (enough for my lunch AND my supper tonight).  I’m excited that all these good things have been happening once I learned to say Please and Thank You to my Universal Power.

But is this really something new for me?

I considered this question during my day today and I was reminded that this was not always so for I recalled as a child I had an instinctual understanding and ability to tap into this power at times, something that happened through my adult life at brief moments.  As a child I would play cribbage with my dad and thought I could ask for the cards I needed to win the hand and they often seemed to appear (give me all the 5s please!).  Later in my life I was at the SPCA with my mom to pick out a new cat as we had had to have one of ours put down due to ill-health and we knew our older cat was pining herself sick for the company.  I remember going into the cat area and saying to myself that the right cat will come to me.  A tiny kitten climbed up the side of the group cage and started screaming at me, trying to get my attention.  My mom wanted a different cat.  Staff said I didn’t want that one as she was incorrigible and would be a problem.  I insisted on taking her home.  At home I discovered she was in a poor state of health and after a lot of care she recovered and has lived a happy life (even if she doesn’t always appear to appreciate it, the ungrateful beast she can be sometimes) and I learned later that my vet had said she had a 10% chance of survival.  I knew I was meant to take her home as it saved her life — she either would have died from her condition or have been put down at the shelter.  All because I asked for the one who was meant for me.

Throughout life I have also always had a strong desire to have the ability to tap into my spiritual and intuitive abilities.  I’ve felt that they were there but never was able to make them work.  I am a strongly empathetic and compassionate person, sometimes I can almost feel someone’s emotional pain as deeply as my own which then amplifies my own pain.  As I went through a time in my life of being weighed down with my own emotional pain I suppose I shut myself off from those potential aspects of my deeper self as a way to protect myself, never realizing that by working with them that I could heal myself from within.  Some of the therapies I have been doing and learning about are really fitting in with that desire and need.  I have always had a strong desire to grow towards holistic therapies and other augmentative medical therapies to fit in with my career and interest in medical science.  I believe that when done correctly, all these therapies can work in conjunction to fulfill a complete and rounded approach to treating an individual’s mind, body and soul.  When this is done we each can achieve our full potential and encourage others to reach theirs and maybe then we can elevate our purpose for being on Earth.

I have been to a psychic and energy reader and had my numerology and tarot done twice and it was an interesting experience.  I occasionally read my horoscope and enjoy doing personality questionnaires to understand myself in a different way.  I’ve had reflexology done, meet often with my chiropractor and am a keen advocate of massage therapy (honestly, who isn’t when it feels soooooo good?!).  I’ve been treated by a hypnotherapist and am exploring the uses of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique, a type of accupressure with affirmations), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Chakra clearing, meditation, education, and good old-fashioned exercise at the gym and outdoors.  I must be doing something right as I feel quite a lot clearer mentally, in better control emotionally and a lot wiser in my thinking.  I’ve considered the advice of the trusted friends I talk with frequently who give me guidance and their valued perspective when needed.  I know that I have a long way to go but I am very satisfied to finally be making some demonstrable progress on this for the first time in my life.  Something had blocked me for many years to begin to make these changes and I’m so glad that those blocks are gone.

Does this mean I’m going to chuck it all in and become a crackpot with a glass ball and offering to tell you your fortune?  Not likely. LOL  Does this mean I’m convinced I have a deep potential and an important purpose in this life?  You bet!  And I aim to find out what it is, how to get there and how to share the benefits with those who need it.

I’m so incredibly grateful to every wise person I’ve known and continue to know (for everyone who has shared themselves with me is a wise person) and am grateful to the Universal Power for all that I am now receiving and all that I will receive in the future.

I made further progress lately on my Stage 2.  In this part I will be opening myself to opportunities provided by volunteering my time.  One of the processes has taken longer than I expected and has been complicated with setbacks which has been frustrating for me.  I initiated another process today after procrastinating about it for several weeks.  Today felt like the right time as well as my finally having the time and opportunity to follow up on it.  I hope there will be a third in the summer although I’ve been frustrated at not receiving a response from the organization I’ve contacted several times with respect to my desire to become involved.

I have also been reading with my typical voracious appetite on a variety of topics, one leading to another.  I’ve been thrilled to absorb all this information and expand my knowledge with new information.  I’ve taken a webinar, watched several documentaries and shared various aspects with trusted friends who have proved to be a most valuable sounding board for discussion.  I feel I am well on my way to achieving a new potential within my life.

The Law of Attraction

Ever notice how when you need a new fridge all you see are new fridges?  Until then you wouldn’t have noticed if a fridge landed on you but once you had in your mind that requirement in your life it seemed like you were surrounded by the danged things.

Have you ever noticed noticing?  But not understanding why this happens and thinking it’s a fluke?

I have and I’m beginning to understand why that is.  I’ve been reading a lot of material lately in my effort to learn more about creating a better life and one thing that keeps coming up is what is known as the Law of Attraction.  Each book I’ve read has somehow lead me to another book with the same concept even though it didn’t appear so in the beginning.  I have recently read The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown which documented the author’s journey to do as I have been doing.  I didn’t realize it when I picked up the book how much it would be about that journey and the similarities as I expected it to be something rather different.  Then I picked up a book of fiction — Half Moon Street by Anne Perry, a Victorian murder mystery — which spent the majority of the story dealing with censorship and suppression of self to please what others demand of you.  I never expected it to be about that at all as I was expecting a good old fashioned murder mystery!  Then I picked up a book I had on my shelf for a few months, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.  I had seen it around before and knew a few years ago it was a big deal but never had any idea what it was about.  But I picked it up and read it and learned more about what I’ve discovered is the Law of Attraction.  And I was just going through my pile of books to pick out my next book and, you guessed it, put my hands on a book called Law of Attraction by Michael J. Losier.

One concept that kept coming up in the books I’ve read about people’s journeys to finding their better, more fulfilling life is that of having what they need next suddenly and miraculously appear.  Both Brene Brown and Rhonda Byrne document this in their books:  the next piece of material that they needed would come just when they needed it.  And Byrne explains why:  she put out a request to the Universe and it provided.  And this was a Hello! moment for me because a friend always tells me the very same thing, “The Universe will provide.”  And we already know this for how often do we say almost tongue in cheek: “Ask and ye shall receive”?

I realized I had already known this truth but I never knew the truth of the concept.  I never knew it was concrete and real, I thought it was one of those one-off things.  Like a kid who thinks they are the only one in the world to experiences something so they must be weird.  But when you receive confirmation that this is real and not just a one-off thing then you can learn to accept it and then learn how to use it.

I’ve always looked at books as the best example of this law for me.  Books are how I learn things and when I’m learning something I somehow seem to get the next book I need when I need it.  I sometimes sit and look at a pile of books and think about what I want and sometimes my hands will go unerringly to the book I need.  And sometimes it’s like it picks up right after the last book left off even when the authors are different or the topic is different but the information I’m receiving is continuing.  Now that I understand a little better how to use this law then I can learn to apply it to other areas of life.

Lately I have considered why it is that people have to go through journeys learning and re-learning what has already been learned over thousands of years.  Shouldn’t our species have evolved to the point of going beyond this “reinventing of the wheel” every time a human is born?  Why aren’t we born with this evolved instinct so we can take it to the next level?  Hasn’t every thought already been thought already?  I don’t know the answer.  But maybe by refining these philosophical concepts through many minds we can discard what doesn’t work, put our own take on what does work and help them evolve.  Our job is to filter and put our own individual stamp on things.  This is our legacy that we leave for others.  Our responsibility is to make it the best we can, to discard the negative and unhelpful and to promote the positive.

And BELIEVE that The Universe will provide.

Stage 2 progress

There has been some excellent progress on Stage 2 of my journey to self fulfillment and improvement.  Yayyyy me!

This week I had my last hypnotherapy session … for now.  I can see myself revisiting this again some time in the future to further hone certain areas and conquer other issues.  But as my therapist reminded me, I got rid of a LOT of baggage over the past few weeks and I should be pleased with that progress.  And I am.  Over the five sessions I finally have been able to face my issues with my father and get that proverbial monkey off my back.  I’ve worked towards undoing the damage done in my past which I had been continuing to do myself ever since then.  I’ve learned to let go of someone I hated and of someone I loved.  I began to tap into my inner wisdom at last.  I feel that I’m no longer required to please people, I no longer force myself to entertain and make people laugh and be happy when inwardly I felt so completely empty and alone.  I no longer need to excessively demonstrate my love for people in the hopes of receiving a small fraction of that in return, hug people because I really want to be hugged but no one hugs me.  And that is because I’ve learned how to love the most important person in my life:  me.

I will still have fun and entertain and make people laugh, demonstrate my love and hug because I can and because I want to.  But I’m not so empty inside anymore.  And that makes all the difference, I think.

I spoke with my depression coach yesterday and she was very excited that I had made such an improvement over when I started the coaching program before Christmas.  I had fallen off the radar with the program being busy with a side project and with the holidays.  I relapsed badly over the holidays but managed to bounce back thanks to the help of friends and my therapy.  I have one more session of that and then I’ll be finished that program as well.

I can also credit my improvement to the reading I’ve been doing as well.  I’ve noticed that I am in a very receptive state where I want to read, read, read anything and everything I can that will help me.  I often get in these states but they are self-limiting: once I am saturated then I stop.  I wonder if my therapy sessions have helped me get to this state and I hope that means it will last a while as I don’t want to stop yet.  I have a lot I want to learn and it brings me such joy and pleasure to be doing this.

I often found after a session that I would feel well personally, fine physically and mentally outside of work but at work I felt a struggle the next day.  However after this last session I felt fine mentally both at home and at work but sleepy.  I came home the next evening and fell asleep reading a novel and had an adequate sleep that night as well.  I think it means that my body has recognized that it’s tiring doing all this good work and I’ve learned to give in to the body’s need for physical rest.  I don’t need the status symbol of being rest-deprived, to power through and go, go, go all the time.  When I’m tired I choose to rest and relax because my body and/or mind needs and wants it.  And that’s okay.

I have some further energy clearing exercises to do.  I don’t know if they will work or to the extent I believe in them, however I want to give them a try.  Maybe they will work — anecdotal evidence supports it — and maybe they won’t but at least I will know afterwards.  I’ve been searching for years for something that fits in a spiritual way.  Organized religion is not it, the vibe even turns me away from it.  Some aspects of the so-called “New Age” stuff is also beyond my requirements.  But the search for inner wisdom and peace and sharing this knowledge with others seems to fit me very well.  I am finally able to codify, if you will, my own take on spirituality in a way that fits and works for me.  It’s my job to embrace this and allow it to take me where it may.  And to never stop learning.

The Education of Laury

This weekend I have been reading a variety of materials and watching interesting documentaries all focusing on my quest for the knowledge to improve myself.  Tonight I feel a sense of joy and inner light as I contemplate on what I have read and understood.

Yesterday I went on a Book Expedition to Chapters and we spent several enjoyable hours roaming the aisles, pouncing on our prey.  As always, I hunt first at the discount tables and was excited to snare a few (hopefully!) interesting tomes there.  I inwardly thrill at finding something of interest on discount!  I had some broad interests in mind and know I needed to stick to them in case I lost all control and got everything I wanted.  I wanted to learn about interpersonal communication, ecology, the power of the mind, the body and zombies.  And get some fiction in there as well for lighter reading.  And I successfully found materials to help me and successfully avoided buying the entire store.

I have been reading an interesting novel by Anne Perry called Half-Moon Street which devotes much more time to examining the issues of public censorship, morals and women’s rights than solving the mystery at this point in the book, however it has proven to be valuable and interesting reading.  It has allowed me to think and consider on these issues while being entertained at the same time.  I’ve always promoted the reading of fiction as a means to educate oneself: fictionalization of events allows an author to explore issues with realism and gain a voice that other means may not fully appreciate.  Often for me reading a work of fiction based on historical experiences prompts me to read more about the actual facts.  It’s a great introduction to a topic one might otherwise be uninterested in if approaching it in the usual manner.

I am also reading the powerful The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown which has really opened my mind to finding the deeply satisfying life that I seek.  It’s helping me to change my misconceptions and create better alternatives.  It is deeply meaningful to me.

Tonight I watched a three part documentary on Carl Jung (http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-wisdom-of-the-dream/) which showed the wisdom and knowledge he had obtained in his work and emphasized his need for times of deep contemplation on this knowledge.  I appreciated and connected immediately with this need for as I educate myself now I embrace my need for reflection and meditation on the concepts and ideas I am experiencing.  My weekends lately are usually spent reading or thinking on my own.  Today I spent some time going for a long walk, taking the fresh air and exploring a local trail while mulling over certain things.  Other times this weekend I decided to simply curl up on my sofa and meditate until I relaxed enough for sleep or to simply pull my Snuggie over my head and remember what it was like to do that in childhood.

I am feeling more intellectually stimulated and I am very contented with that experience.  Right now I’m not feeling empty inside by not having that intellectual stimulation from another person but inwardly joyous that the felling comes from within.  My bouncing of ideas comes in writing this blog and I feel a deeper understanding by doing this as well as noticing that my writing style has evolved and grown since doing so.

And what I’m doing must be working as my friend told me last night that whatever it is that I do she has noticed that I am happier these days.  I think it’s a happiness from within that I’m finally discovering and bit by bit exposing it to the sunlight of day instead of burying it in the darkness.