Sunday, May 24, 2015

5/25/15—Getting Out Of The Weeds

Today's post is a classic post. I lost track of my blogging "duty", because I was spending time with my family. I'll have a fresh post for you tomorrow or later in the week. But for now...

A few nights ago when I was meditating, I asked for some insight. What I heard was very relevant and something I thought I'd share, because I'm certain I'm not alone. 

"You've gotten yourself too far down into the weeds." That's what I heard. And it sounded kind of like my father saying it. Regardless of where it came from, though, I knew what it meant. I'm putting too much thought and energy into things that have no bearing on my purpose and goals in life. I'm wasting my resources—my water and sunlight—on things that either won't grow or I don't want to grow. 

The more I thought of it, the more I saw all the ways I do this. I: 
  • Engage in issues with people who have no bearing on my life
  • Ruminate over things I don't do as well I've done in the past
  • Think about things I wish I could have done better 
  • Think about things I wish I could have said, but didn't
  • Linger over things that have already been dealt with 
  • Worry about things that haven't happened yet 
  • Think about things rather than just do them 
  • Fear doing things that haven't been done yet
  • Look for affirmation from people who aren't capable of giving it
  • Concern myself with what others think
  • Allow my energy to be pulled down over petty BS
None of that stuff is moving me toward my goals. Meanwhile, seemingly unrelated things do, in my opinion. Like a retail therapy trip took earlier in the week. It distracted me from energy-sucking thoughts and refueled my energy. In fact, I've done a number of things in the past week that have helped me push my reset button. 

I think I've probably been in the weeds for a long time. I mean, the goals and the move toward them is ever-present, if not always successful. But they're wrapped in a fog of insignificance and distraction, which, frankly has just added stress to the situation. While distraction can lighten the load, especially if you're overly focused, some types of distraction just add unneeded weight to your backpack. 

The first step toward recovery is recognizing there's a problem. While I knew I wasn't as focused as I could be, I never saw it this way before. If you imagine a cross section of earth, you don't want to be stuck in the thatch of weeds. You want to be up above them where you can navigate the big picture. But then you don't want to be so high that integral parts of the picture are out of sight. 

Now that I recognize this, I need to retrain myself to slough what doesn't matter and not let it distract me. It's a habit that needs to be broken. I think it's important to balance things, so nothing of value gets neglected along the way. When you consider that most of our goals touch many areas of our life, we have to pay attention to the whole tamale. 

So we have to think about where we want to be. What does life look like with your goal met? What does it look like spiritually? How does it impact your health and relationships? If an activity or relationship or way of thinking doesn't align with that vision, part of reaching your goal will have to be letting that go. 

And while you're getting yourself out of the weeds and moving toward your goal, surround yourself with people who not only support your path, but can handle your success. I learned a long time ago that there are people who, for whatever reason, hold a smaller vision for you and your world than you have for yourself. That is their issue. Don't make it yours. Anything you try to pull out of the weeds with you will just weigh you down. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

5/18/15—Mowing it Away

Everybody has their thing...their way of coping with the slings and arrows of life. In the healthy category, I have meditation. In the unhealthy category, I have carbs. And when bad situations are ongoing and there's nothing I can do about it, I have mowing. 

There's something in the violent shuddering and noise of a lawn mower that can shake the anger and frustration clean out of you. And when the grass is really high and the air is hot and humid, it works double. 

I reserve the mower for situations that annoy me, but that I have no control over and must live with. They're usually situations I've stopped fixating on and think I've accepted, until I mow. And then I realize how much they're still bothering me. 

I remember a long, long time ago, all my mowing time was earmarked for a neighbor who borrowed a number of my tools, then made me ask multiple times to get them back and then, when I did, they were broken or missing parts or whatever. One time I came home from running errands and found this same neighbor in my house, using the key I entrusted them with, nosing around. 

Of course, that's about the time I stopped lending them stuff and reallocated my key to another neighbor. But the anger of the whole situation stayed with me for a while. While I could manage all of that much better today, I couldn't back then. I have to coexist with this person for god only knows how long. So I walked away from the situation and, instead of confronting, I mowed. 

While it's not completely out of the question for me to have a total meltdown and go off on someone, it's extremely rare. And then it's usually a stranger and not a loved one. Not that that makes it ok or anything. I stopped doing it when I became conscious of the fact that I was displacing my own anger on others. I think once you become conscious of the motivations behind your bad behavior, your bad behavior becomes much harder to do. 

Which is why so many people prefer to live in denial of their bad behavior. Because then they don't have to change. Or apologize. Or find some healthier way of coping. I know a few people who displace their anger on others. Or otherwise try to manipulate. The nearest I can figure is that they're unhappy about some aspect of their lives and so they seek to control or punish those outside of themselves for the things they've lost control of or punish themselves for. In normal situations, I wouldn't keep those people a part of my life. But they're family, so I have no choice. And I mow. 

It's not that I like mowing. I do and I don't. I hate the sweat and toil of it. But I like the way it rattles the anger and frustration out. And, besides, I have this weird fascination with the rows. I mean, you can clearly and immediately see the fruits of your labor when you mow. The grass was there. And now it isn't. 

The funny thing is, I always have something eating at me that comes up when I mow. I think the quest to become a better person or a more spiritual person doesn't mean that you don't get pissed off or annoyed by life. The quest is in raising the vibration of the way you respond to that respond in a way that neither hurts others, nor compromises yourself. Some things that used to bother me, now no longer do...minor slights and such. I can Zen my through a lot of stuff. I can speak my piece and be done with it. But when it comes to any place where I have attachments, whether the attachment is to a person or a principle or some fear I have within, mowing helps. 

And while the dissolution of attachments is a spiritual goal, some attachments will always remain. I'll bet even Buddhist monks need to mow from time to time. It's part of being human. We all have crap that doesn't go our way, places where we feel stuck and situations we don't yet have the tools to manage. But, just saying, when those things manifest as manipulating others or being nasty to others, it doesn't show your superiority or brilliance. It shows how deep your unhappiness with life runs. It shows your weakness. I mean, everyone has moments when they lose it, but when it becomes a pattern you cling to, it exposes you. Which is exactly what you're trying to keep from happening when you manipulate and insult. Just saying. 

We all have stuff and we have outlets or coping mechanisms to deal with that stuff. When those coping mechanisms include trying to make others hurt, it keeps you in your pain and self hatred but, more importantly, it keeps love and forgiveness and healing at bay. I think one of the basic prerequisites of spiritual adulthood is that you take responsibility for your pain and why you are there. You stop trying to hurt others in an effort to make yourself stop hurting. Because it doesn't work. It adds to your pain. And it exposes the very part of yourself you're trying to hide in an effort to make someone else look bad. It's ugly. 

So rather than do that, I mow. And nobody gets hurt. And I don't accrue bad energy for hurting others. And I turn the bad energy I'm holding into something that benefits me. And I work through the frustration in my mind. It works better than carbs, I have to admit. Carbs are an escape from pain. This is a confrontation and transformation of it. 

I always think the day will come when I mow and just don't think of anything but mowing. But it never seems to. Life brings a steady stream of slings and arrows to us all. For the spiritual traveler, the goal might be to become free of attachment and fear, but then we would no longer have a reason to be here! We're specifically here for all of this to happen. So I have a whole summer of growing grass ahead of me to help me cope. And there are healthy ways to eat carbs. And I always have meditation. So while I may never fully overcome attachment and fear, it's doable to shift to healthier ways of working through them. Ways where nobody gets hurt. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

5/11/15—Being Guided on Your Journey

I ran out of time to write a fresh post today and I'm traumatized by a situation involving my dogs and a possibly rabid raccoon today, so here's a classic I should probably re-read myself in the state I'm in. :D Anyway, here it goes...

I don't know what's wrong with me this week, but I am incredibly uninspired. I have ideas for new posts, but none of them are calling to me. In nearly four years of doing this, I've never been so bereft of insight. So you get a classic post. I will say, though, I think about the story below where I got pulled over often and I still can't figure out why I didn't get a ticket! :) Here's the post...

I've hit a patch of either extra good manifestation energy or luck recently. I can't say which because I'm not sure I manifested all of it consciously. Regardless, I feel like I'm in a groove. More importantly, all this good stuff came to show me something quite Zen...there is no good fortune or bad fortune, there is just fortune. So this "extra good patch" I mention is just a perception.

Distinguishing between dualities puts us on a rollercoaster ride. To explain what I mean, one of my "lucky breaks" happened when I got pulled over by the police on Saturday. I was doing 38 in a 25, I didn't have current registration, my license plate was askew from having only one screw in it, and I didn't come to a proper stop at a light. I never drive that car, but since my "main car" had no AC, I decided to drive the little car out of the blue. I do believe there's a reason for everything, though. 

As the officer was listing out one infraction after another, I (rudely) looked up at him and said, "just give me my ticket." So I didn't deserve any breaks. But in the end, he only cited me for the license plate, informing me that if I showed a picture of it fixed to the judge, that he'd probably throw it out. And he reduced my speeding ticket—a ticket that could have been about $150 all by itself—to "failure to obey a street sign," a minor infraction. He tossed out everything else. So I not only saved about $200, but I didn't get any points against my license. 

So as I drove off, I thought to myself, "ok, was it good fortune that I got off so easily?" "Or is it bad fortune because I got pulled over in the first place?" And the answer that came to me was that there was a flaw in me even thinking in those terms. Because if you speed, you're going to get pulled over...haha. Bad crap is going to happen to all of us. And so will good crap. It's all just...

wait for it....


It's not good fortune or bad fortune. It's life. Today I brought my *other* car into the shop and got a SHOCKING estimate for how much it was going to cost to fix the AC. It wasn't "the end to my lucky streak" or "bad luck" or "karma coming to kick me in the ass for all the great stuff that's happened lately". It wasn't any of that. It was just the lifecycle of my car's AC. And I own a car with a really hard to access AC so the labor to fix it is really high. I was able to talk the shop down about 20%. The price was still shocking. But it is what it is. 

What I realized when I was driving away from the police officer is that, while I think there is a reason for everything, this thinking in terms of "good" and "bad" is something that stands between me and higher guidance, as well as manifestation. Buddhists have a simple word for it—judgment. I'm judging one moment against another to see where I stand with spirit and the universe! That's not exactly the unconditional trust that I preach and believe unblocks the channels to manifestation.

And while I intellectually know better, don't we all do this to a degree? Don't we all walk around like a champ on "good luck days" and like a loser on "bad luck days"? Ultimately, we're placing our worth and happiness on something outside of us. Both of those car experiences of mine are things I could either be sullen or happy about. Should I let the experience choose which? Or should I let my spirit choose which? Because my spirit tells me there's never a moment that the universe isn't on my side. And if I choose to see the world in that way, that's how it is. So why wouldn't I choose to see the world through the eyes of an always loving and generous universe? Why wouldn't you?

We get to choose which star focus on while on our journey through life and whether we choose to be guided by perpetually beneficial forces...or fickle forces that are sometimes beneficial and sometimes seem to abandon us. Really, the only thing that stands between us and a life magically guided and protected from above is us and our need to judge. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

5/4/15—Courting Insanity

I love my Fitbit Flex. It's a device you wear on your arm and it counts your steps, how many calories you've burned, your sleep patterns and a few other cool statistics. 

I've had it a little over a year now. I got it back when I was suffering from still-unexplained exhaustion that made me want to sleep all the time and made any sort of physical effort feel like climbing Mount Everest. During that time, any heightened numbers on my device made me feel like whatever was wrong with me could possibly not be permanent. It's kind of scary when something's wrong with you and your doctor doesn't seem to care and you can't manage to communicate that it's something bigger than just being out of shape. But that's another post

So anyway, I had a good honeymoon with my Fitbit. I'm someone who likes, and is motivated by, feedback and "grades". And the Fitbit is great for people like that. AND you can change your wristbands as often as you like, which is a feature I LOVE. And it holds a charge for a week or so, which is a good amount of time. But the problem came when I went to charge it one day and it was hard to get it charging. But I jiggled it and got it charging. So ok. Then each subsequent time, I would have to jiggle, push, cajole—whatever—to get it charging. But I always got it charging. 

I read online that this is a common issue with this model. It's possible that it was just my batch of devices, I don't know. I do know that a lot of people were having the much so, that it was a big topic in the support section of their site. And they said that if you clean the connectors with rubbing alcohol before putting it in the charger, that makes all the difference. So I did. And it made all the difference for a time. Then the cleaning, jiggling, pushing thing stopped helping. 

See, the little battery in the middle slips into the wristband.
When you want to charge it, you remove it from the
wristband and put it into the charger.
Charger + wristband = no bueno, Fitbit. 
Finally, the day came that I couldn't get it to charge anymore. So I went online again and found two fixes pinned to the top of the support page. One was a 10-minute video where a Fitbit owner, armed with various types of brushes and q-tips and solutions showed us a 5000-step cleaning process that absolutely, positively worked. (The video was actually funny, because you could tell this guy was really into his weekly cleaning routine and he had all his cleaning tools neatly laid out on the table, more like he was fixing a combined cycle gas turbine engine, rather than cleaning the electrodes on an otherwise fully-enclosed battery. He reminded me of my engineer father, coming up with a major operation that could just as well be handled by the hem of a t-shirt and some spit.) Knowing my device was already clean, I chose the second option...the reset button. And when I used the reset button, my device just up and died, never to work again. 

So I wrote customer support. I'd had the thing over a year, so I was guessing they'd just tell me to buy a new one. But I wanted to know if there were further fixes I could try before I spent another $100. And all the while I was thinking, "what kind of electronics company puts out such a defective device that they expect their customers to follow a 5000-step cleaning process just to charge the damned thing once a week? (They didn't even make the video was a customer-made video and they had no shame in pinning it to the top of their support page.) And what kind of customer actually DOES it? Why are we putting up with this BS and how did we get here?"

I think we were putting up with the charging issues because we loved the benefit of the product. Though no company should ever expect that kind of work on their customers' behalf. But the real question is "how did we get here?" We got there slowly. At first I just had to jiggle stuff. Then I had to jiggle more. Then I had to clean. Then I had to clean and jiggle. Then I had to clean, jiggle and pray. Then I had to clean, jiggle, pray, hop on one foot, rub my head and tummy in opposite directions and sing "Pop Goes the Weasel". And each time it caused me more and more stress, but since I had slowly accepted that this is the way it was over time, I thought nothing of it. Until I looked back in retrospect and was appalled by what they ask their customers to do to accommodate their defective product. 

Put up with insanity long enough and you, too,
become insane. But you're not a victim. 
Now think back to relationships you've had and how you slowly accepted things over time until there you were one day, saying "how the eff did I ever get here?" Or at work, how new projects would pile on slowly over time until you were inundated and wondering, "why do I accept this?" Or you do a favor as a "one-time thing" and then you turn into someone's full-time resource. Somewhere along the line things turned from "grudgingly acceptable" to "outrageously unacceptable" and yet you're still putting up with it. 

I never would have bought a Fitbit Flex if I had known I would need an entire toolkit and all of a Sunday afternoon to ready it for being charged. Who would? There's a similar situation happening with my Verizon FiOS battery, where it beeps every 15 minutes because it wants you to buy a new one. You can silence the beep for 24 hours by pushing a button...or for a few months by removing the battery and then putting it back in. But why? Why burden a customer like that?

With Fitbit, I think it's a defect that they decided to spend countless hours of support time on rather than do a recall. With FiOS, I think they want to sell batteries. But with all of the situations, it comes down to a simple thing entirely within your control....the word "no". And then, likely, a certain degree of sticktoitiveness. 

I'm sure we're all up for a certain amount of making exceptions and giving second chances. And after a while, we start telling ourselves that we agreed to this when we first said "yes", so we just have to put up with it. But the truth is, there's nowhere along the line that we can't start saying no. And yes, sometimes "no" comes with consequences. But if you can no longer live with the consequences of "yes", it's time to change your answer. You got yourself into this. You're not a victim of anything. It's up to you to get out of it. 

BTW, when I wrote Fitbit support, I didn't expect them to replace my unit, nor did I ask them to. But they did. For free. And they replaced the charger, too. They've never out and out admitted that their product has been defective all along, but they did the right thing when it came down to it (though I would have preferred a recall.) Maybe this battery and charger are from a different lot and the problem is no longer a problem. We'll see. For now, everything is working the way you'd expect a category-leading electronic to work.  If it starts going south on me again, I'll likely change brands and write a scathing letter. But honestly, I'm ashamed I let it get THIS far. And now that my eyes are opened to what I've really been putting up with, I won't go down that path again. 

Calling attention to it, I was surprised at how many different ways I'd bent way too far in the past, as well as how many opportunities I get on a regular basis to start the process of bending too far anew. One came to my attention today, as a matter of fact, and I stuck to my guns. Sure, there are people who take advantage of situations like this and manipulate you emotionally or otherwise to get their way. But in the end, it all comes down to your ability to discern the cost/benefit of saying yes or no at each new bend in the path. Once you're aware of how these things happen, they need never happen again. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

4/26/15—Loving the Haters

For the past couple of weeks, I've been wanting to write on this topic. Then I looked in my vast archive of posts and found I wrote a good post on it almost exactly a year ago. So here it is, with a little tweak here and there...

My greatest inspiration and motivation in my journey of personal and spiritual growth has come from the people who dislike me the most. 

It's true. The crushing insults and lies of a bunch of online bullies a dozen years ago caused me to shore up some fears and insecurities and dive deeper into my spiritual journey. A criticism from a family member about how I never do anything to help others (which is untrue anyway, because I have been volunteering my time in one way or another for half my life) inspired me to start this blog, which if I can believe y'all's input, has helped a lot of people. In fact, all the thoughtless treatment I received at the hands of people I thought were my friends at various times in my life have nonetheless spurred greater growth in my life and helped me define who I am, what I stand for and the message I want to carry in my life. 

The truth is that I get all riled up inside when people paint me in an unfavorable light, regardless of whether it's true or not. First it hurts a lot and makes me cry. Then my inner warrior comes out to smash their hateful notions of me all to hell. :D

Adversity can either crush us or make us stronger. It has certainly done both for me, depending on where rears its ugly head. But mostly, even my most heinous detractors have been a force for good in my life. Sometimes it's an instantaneous transformation. Sometimes these people and situations hold enough truth that they make you work through your stuff. And sometimes, like I said, these incidents can cripple you for a long time.

I've noticed that the older I get and the more experience I have with these situations, the faster the growth and reward. And then the more I grow, the less of a negative impact they have on me and the better person I become as a result. It has gotten to the point for me that the time between the stress these situations cause and the good I'm able to create from it is negligible. Which isn't to say I don't still get stuck on stuff. I do. It's just not very common in relation to how it used to be. I'm even beginning to giggle with anticipation and delight when struck with one of these situations. Well, maybe not quite. But the day is coming. I can feel it. :)

I remember maybe a decade or more ago struggling with the notion of our worst enemies being our best angels. I understood it intellectually, but couldn't quite let go of the victimization and drama that felt so comfortable around situations like that. But as drama slips off me more and more like eggs from teflon these days, I really do see the haters as an amazing gift. In fact, it's completely changing the way I deal with conflict and fear and all the other stuff such situations dredge up. Everything—positive and negative—is energy. You can choose to channel that energy as a force for growth in your life or as a source of stagnation. It's up to you.

One more thing I'm noticing lately is that I have tended to weigh more heavily the opinions of haters than the opinions of those who support me in my life. Dr. Phil has a saying that "it takes 1000 'atta boys' to make up for one 'you're worthless and no good.'" In other words, we replay our criticisms over and over in our heads while we let the praise fall to the wayside. It's human nature. But what I've noticed is that the more I've seen my detractors as angels and the more I channel that energy into positive stuff in my life, the more the complimentary things people say are also inspiring positive changes in me. 

It's like a Two For One Sale on personal growth! And it all began with opening my mind to the notion that the haters might actually be doing me a solid. The fact that they're not trying to benefit you doesn't matter. It's all in how you use the energy they send your way. 

They say living well is the best revenge. That's a bit too materialistic sounding for me. Happiness, peace and fulfillment are my best "revenge." As long as you seek to hurt or undermine another person, you are not at peace. Unkind, critical, controlling people are not at peace. So I know anyone who seeks to insult or hurt can't be at peace. So nurturing my center of peace and not allowing others to distract me from it (at least not for long) is my best "revenge." Haters gonna hate. That doesn't mean I have to engage with their hate.

As long as we channel the words and actions of detractors into pain and stagnation in our lives, they remain as ever-present spectres, poking holes in our spirit. But once we channel that energy into internal good, the haters not only disappear, but our spirit learns to soar. It doesn't work if you're just doing it to spite them. But if you focus on your own learning and growth and see the situations as the gifts they are, your genuine happiness and peace will cause their negativity to echo back to them, where it belongs. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

4/20/15—Noticing Our Sunsets

We all know that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. But technically, that's only true two days a year—on the spring and fall equinoxes. Here, the setting sun moves north of west throughout summer and south of west throughout winter. 

The casual observer may not even really notice this until 6 months have passed and they ask themselves, "hey, didn't the sun used to set over there?" But because I frequently watch sunsets from my porch year round, I notice how striking the difference is between summer and winter. From my perch, it's like the sun moves two property widths, crosses a street and moves another two property widths between the summer and winter solstices! But on a day to day basis, the shift is so subtle that it can't even be noticed. 

Sometimes personal and spiritual progress seems to work the same way for me. You can't really see much from day to day, but then over time, you notice the needle moving. Like I have one of those Fitbits, so I can see how many steps I take each day, month, year. So I'm more active, on average, than I was a year ago. And I remember that a year ago, it took a lot of effort for me to try to be more active. And now it's just my "way."

That said, it's not like I've made monumental strides. So I still feel like a slouch. Until, of course, I notice that I'm moving steadily and strongly in the right direction. And then I feel better. But I don't notice that until I compare it to this time last year. 

I think sometimes we move through life and forget to take measurements or mark milestones and so it seems like we're making no progress when we are. And while it's nice to look back five years later and see the huge difference, it helps to try to take notice more frequently, too. Like each season or so. Just so we know we're still moving in the right direction. 

When I look at the things that were weighing heavily on me three months ago....all of those issues are resolved! Noticing that takes me back to another lesson of the sunset. While we may not notice the movement across the sky on a day-to-day basis, we can easily notice that the sunset looks different every day. 

Some days it's a crap sunset. And some days it's spectacular. But the important thing is to learn to have gratitude for the crap sunsets, because tomorrow's might be worse. But even if it's progressively worse many days in a row, one thing is for certain—the beautiful sunsets will be back. 

The same is true for us. Three months ago, I felt like I was stuck with a lot of crap sunsets. But now my sunsets are lovely again. And while I didn't remember to be grateful for the crap sunsets while they were happening, I did remember they were leading me toward fairer skies. And now I'm glad that they came along, because they were just what I needed.

Like the sunset, nothing ever stays the same, even if it feels you've been stuck for a very long time. Even the earth has to tilt and wobble before you can see the sun's progress across the sky. We are all cycling through seasons and tilts. It might get worse before it gets better. Or it might get better before it gets worse. But one thing is for sure—progress is being made, whether you notice it or not. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

4/13/15—Being the Pear Blossom

Every year I worry that my pear blossom tree won't blossom before the two maples that flank it get their leaves. Yet every year it blooms. 

The worry is that there are two maple trees that overhang the pear blossom and the pear blossom is kind of skinny and sad as it is. Once those two trees get their leaves, then the pear blossom stops getting least the sun needed to leaf and flower properly. But every year it gets its leaves and blossoms and by the time the blossoms have fallen, it becomes enclosed by the two trees on either side. It gets just what it needs to keep its leaves and continue living, but not quite enough to spread out and grow. 

Nature has a wisdom that cannot be denied. 

For the past 8 days I've been miserable. I came back from a business trip and immediately got an awful flu and sinus infection. I literally lost three days of my life because I was either sleeping or delirious. After that passed, I was still sick, but I could think. So I worked all last week and looked forward to the weekend when I would feel well again. And then I got food poisoning. No kidding. Add it all up and I have never been this sick in my life. 

When I travel for business, I usually have to work extra hard for my other clients to make up for the time I'm taking off. And I also have to get everything in order for my dog/house sitter. So there's little free time in the week or two before I go, then the whole traveling thing takes a lot of out me. I do like it. But it's a trade off. So I was so looking forward to getting home from my trip and just chillaxing for a day or so before I started in all the spring stuff that needs to be done...planting and mowing and taxes and stuff. Since I was coming home to a slower week and a clean house, it was going to be just the break I needed. But instead I got sick. 

In a way, I guess, I couldn't have picked a better week to be sick, right? I wasn't going to miss much at work. My schedule was manageable while my head was all stuffy. It was the perfect time. And since I rarely ever get sick—it has been at least five years based on the expiration dates of the Nyquil I saved from the last time—I really can't complain. On top of that, I'm well in line to meet a weight loss goal I have to meet next week with my nutritionist. Food poisoning is great for that kind of thing. 

So I guess nature has a wisdom with me, too. 

Sometimes we need to hop entirely off the hamster wheel to get rest. I've slept more this past week than any other time I can remember. Clearly I needed it. And the more sleep I get, the better I treat myself all-round. When the universe has to knock you on your ass—twice—to get you to listen, you start paying attention. 

But it doesn't have to be getting sick. It could be about waiting to hear some important news and not hearing it. Or anything else that you worry about like I worry about a pear blossom tree. Outcomes come along at their own pace. That pear blossom is very tall and narrow, as it needs to be to survive in its living conditions. Triggers within it are telling it when to grow leaves that feed it, when to blossom and when to drop the blossoms when they're drawing too much energy. 

I completely indulged my sickness, because what else could do? It had to take its natural course. The still-unsolved exhaustion I endured last year that made even a walk around the block feel like climbing Mt. Everest...same thing. It passed without explanation. In all of it, I've learned how to treat myself with more kindness and gentleness. I've learned something about how to place my own needs front and center and how to block out all the helpful voices that really don't understand and, therefore, are not helpful at all. 

Some things don't need worry. Or a fistful of medication. Or beating yourself up. Or regret. Most things, I think, just need patience. Surrender. And trust in the natural order of things. When I look back, I see that, like the pear blossom, the details of my life have never failed to serve me. Even when when they were ugly or painful. Even when they had me growing me larger than most wisdom would recommend. Nothing comes to us without a gift. And if we push against it and insist our ego's wisdom is better than nature's, chances are we won't get the gift—or much satisfaction—until the lesson comes around again. Because it will come around and around and around until you finally learn it.