Who Am I?


This morning, my sister sent a blog link, http://aleafinspringtime.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/a-guide-to-the-dark-side/

I know I meander in my thinking and writing a lot of the time but I’m really a bottom-line and short-attention-span kind-of-person so clear, concise messages appeal to me.   After reading the blog, a question resurfaced.  I’ve pondered it recently while reading Tolle and The Untethered Soul…if I’m not my emotions and mind voices, then who am I?  All of my life I had determined who I was by what now I understand were egoic standards, what I do – not who I am.   That identity  has changed over my lifetime.  I also unconsciously sensed that I was more than my self-description but never put conscious thought to it until recently.

I’ve known most of my life that my gut is my guide.  It is how I understand my life.  I have so far been able to consistently depend on God speaking to me this way.  It’s about the only constant in my life.  And I am a good listener.   Also, without much thought,  I’ve known that my gut is  always right and I’ve felt very certain of my decisions when I had that gut knowing.   But I don’t always get it when I think I need it and that is when I’ve started, in the past, to question if what I’m hearing in my mind voice is God speaking – or not.  Well, now I know it is not.   I will question no more.  I will quiet myself and wait for my gut knowing.

I didn’t understand the role of the mind chatter and have spent untold hours of emotional pain and anguish, endured many sleepless nights because I engaged and listened and tried to make decisions from there.   Until recently, I didn’t know I had a choice!

I don’t have a problem with all of this when things are going well.  My mind voice gives me some useful information.  It’s when I feel anger, fear, distrust – all of the negative stuff…that’s when the negative mind voices kick in.  And they are scolding, accusing, bring up the worst case scenario – every time – just plain negative thoughts.    They intensify feelings of regret and insecurity… and on and on…

I’m sure I heard or read this somewhere but I’ve found that if I try to watch my thoughts – ask myself, “What are my thoughts right now, what am I thinking?”,  I realize I have no thoughts when I’m doing that.  It helps clear my mind.  Sounds confusing maybe, but try it and see if it works for you.   Deepak Choprah says to concentrate attention on our hands, sensations, tingling.   It breaks the mind cycle.  That works for me as well.

After reading several books and listening to many “messengers”… Oprah, Iyanla, Michael Singer, Maya Angelou, Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra..and others, learning to observe  the chatter patterns – I was finally able to put it all together today.   I know that life unfolds and goes on, the sun comes up and goes down, seasons pass…   Life doesn’t cause problems for me.  Challenges, yes.   I’ll bet my problems could almost always be traced back to the negative, dark side  mind voices that are full of misinformation and making problems from my inner issues!  I’m becoming more and more aware of that.

Back to who I really am, while talking about it with my sister this morning, I chuckled to myself.  Funny!  I suddenly remembered  that I had already figured out who I really am.  I had just forgotten for a moment.  In the last month, after Deepak Choprah ask Oprah who she really is, I decided to define myself.   Here I am, 72 years old and I finally figured out that my name (label) is Sharon, and none of my accomplishments define who I am.   They’re a part of what I do, not who I am.

God put me here, in human form,  to express who He is in spiritual form.  I’m a spiritual being, an expression of God. I’m here to express His love, service, grace, peace, comfort, mercy, encouragement – all good things that He is.    A reminder of how I want – and need – to respond, initiate, live my life in a more purposeful way.   I’m a student and a listener living in abundance, passion and love.  Yes!

My spiritual identity, who I really am, is one that that doesn’t change.   Describing what I do is so different from how I do the things I do.     My challenge is to remember why and how I choose to “do” my life.   I have clear guidelines.

What a difference a day makes!  And as usual, I need to write my new AHA moment down so that I don’t forget who I am again… Chuckle.

The Sounds of Freedom


Our weeks in San Clemente  – our winter get-away from the Pacific Northwest rain – have again been the wonderful!  We’ve done all of our favorite things, eaten at our favorite restaurants, spent time on the beach, visited with friends and relatives.

Courtesy of Military.com

Tradition is that every year,  we ride through Camp Pendleton.  It’s an emotional experience for me.   We pass about 40-50 young soldiers in uniform and with huge backpacks, running.   Obviously they’re training for what is in their future.  I know they’ll be as well-trained as possible for what they will possibly encounter, but I wonder –  how can anyone ever be prepared…or comprehend?

I experience so many feelings that it’s almost impossible to identify all of them.

I feel pride – these young men and women are dedicated and committed.

I’m fearful.  For them.  I want to protect them.  They are so young and they have put their lives in the hands of total strangers who will rule their lives, their minds,  for this period of time in the Military.   They have agreed…no, committed themselves to a cause.   Did they think it over carefully?  Did they have good counsel?   I look at them and wonder what motivated them to sign the dotted line.  I wonder if they’re at peace with their decision.

We watched a program on TV last night about the Military, a documentary.  Statistics indicate that over 10,000 men and women in the Military have committed suicide!   This loss of life is higher than combat casualties at this point.  That is beyond tragic.   My heart aches for all of these young people who felt so trapped, unhappy, fearful….whatever their feelings of hopelessness…so intensely that they would end their life!  My heart aches for the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, wives…all who loved them.

In the weeks that we’ve been here in San Clemente, three marines were killed in an auto accident a few miles away in Dana Point.  The fourth man is in critical condition.  Seven marines were killed in a mid air collision, some from the Camp.  Another marine was shot by the police in San Clemente.  That is under investigation.   There is sadness and a pall over many here.  These men and women are felt to be part of this community.

I feel excitement for the men and women who feel that this is their true calling…those who are happy with their decision…I’m happy for their adventure.  I’m happy if they’re fulfilled in some deep way.   And I know of some who feel that way.

Camp Pendleton is an enormous area.  Enormous!  It’s a city.   A busy city.   It includes 17 miles of coastline and extends inland for miles.  We are in San Clemente, across the street from the north boundary of the Camp.   The view across the road is beautiful, a panoramic view of hills, almost the size of mountains.  It appears to be just another beautiful view.  Until we hear, faintly and in the distance, revelry.  During the day – and at night – we  occasionally hear the whirring sound of helicopters on maneuver.  We hear planes.  And cannons.  Sometimes so loud that they can be felt.

When I notice those sounds – the sounds of freedom, and the sights, I feel compassion for those that are caught in the actual, the reality.  War.  I just hate it!  But I love these men and women.

I’m so grateful to them.  And grateful to all who love them.  I’m praying…

Let me be the change I want to see.  Let peace begin with me.

Wanting


I was driving down the street today and realized I was feeling very intense.  And my posture was expressing my mental stance.  I wasn’t speeding.  I was just intense.  Then I had an immediate “A HA Moment”.  At almost 72 years of age (however feeling no more than 40 – at the most!) I had a moment of realization – that as a working adult, I have been used to getting what I want.   If I wanted something, I just worked a little harder and got it.  I was not necessarily discriminating in my wants.  And these wants certainly have not always been for myself.  Many times I want to do something for someone else, help someone else.   Sometimes too much.   This morning I was examining my intentions and motivators.   This morning I had a moment of clarity about my long painful lesson and how grateful I am at this moment for what I’ve learned.   It involves ego, self value, intentions, being conscious.  How I’ve tried to fill emotional needs with material things.  The old story.  But now it’s very real to me.

I grew up with very little in the material way.  Our basic needs were barely met.  But we sisters had a lot of fun together and probably because we had very few toys, and of course no tv, became very creative  and found innovative ways to entertain ourselves – built tree houses carpeted with lush moss.  We collected empty cans and boxes to fill our imaginary cupboards.  We usually had a couple of goats  ( I still enjoy them if I don’t have to milk or smell them) and I spent a lot of time following them around and pulling limbs of huge oak trees within their reach – they loved eating the leaves.   We strung laurel tree berries and created beautiful jewelry (to us) – necklaces and bracelets.  We were very competitive – racing and checking to see who had picked the most blackberries and red clover for our Mom.  She gave us a few cents for every quart we picked.  It seemed like a lot of money then.    Our family was large and money was very scarce.  But we had a lot of fun during that time.

My A Ha moment led to thoughts about how I learned to be self-sufficient, creative and so very determined.  There was a point that I remember – in junior high – when I spent much of my time in deep despair and intense “wanting”.  To have things that my school mates had – carefree laughter, nice clothes, a watch, cafeteria lunches instead of homemade bread sandwiches – whole wheat!  Oh no!  Just when white bread was what everyone was eating.   I so wanted to be like everyone else.  And I wasn’t.  I lived in “want”.   I wanted to be different than I was.  I wanted a family that was very close.  I wanted to be close  with my Mom – I wasn’t.  She just wasn’t available.  Neither was my Dad.  They were in a relationship break-down that ended a few years later in divorce.  A very painful and messy divorce.  In a small town where everyone knew everyone else’s business.  Not a fun time.  It was an intense time and I formed some lifelong habits.

The wanting began to be a lifestyle for me.  When I started working at age 14, I discovered that if I wanted something, I could get it.  And that continued and escalated for most of my life.  As an adult, I’ve always had a good job and above-average income.  Eventually I started my own business and literally became a workaholic.  I was lacking in the “relationship department”, to say the least – for many years.    The wanting continued only I didn’t recognize it as “wanting”.  I wanted me – and those closest to me – to have what they wanted.   It was wanting and  it was a habit.  I just worked a little harder if I wanted to do a little more.  I didn’t even get it – but the “wanting” was driving me.   I was trying to keep up with the want habit and I was never enough and I never had enough.  I didn’t think about that consciously – ever.  It didn’t connect for me.   I called it competing with myself to do better.  But I drained myself and was always stressed and “behind”.

I retired a few years ago and my financial picture dramatically started changing shortly after that.  The “A Ha” this morning was a recognition of what has been happening in my life for the last six years.  I was being pushed into a lesson  that I would never have jumped into by choice.  It has been obvious and definite.   This morning as I look back over the lesson years when I was feeling very humiliated and deprived, I realize that I  had all that I needed – and more.   I’m on the other side of this lesson – finally.  And yes – I got it today.  Clearly.   I recognized that for most of my life,  many things I thought were “needs” were actually “wants” and that I needed to learn the difference.  I needed to learn my value (I’m still working on that one) without my props, my things, my kudos.  I am enough.  I say that to others.  I need to listen to myself!

Today, I consciously realize how different my life is now – and why.  During my  involuntary lesson, I was forced to live with less and less, down to real basics – and I learned.    It feels amazing to finally really be living the difference.   With deep gratitude.   I feel a whole new consciousness.   These words don’t begin to define the impact of the reality in my life.  And I can clearly see the difference today.  And I’m grateful.   I’ve almost always questioned myself when spending – do I “want” this or do I “need” this.  But that very rarely had very much to do with my decision.  Today I realized that now it does.

I’ve said the words for years – “as soon as I get something I want, something else will take it’s place.  So just say no”.   I’d tell myself no and then justify reasons for needing it.   Woo Hoo!   I now truly know the difference between wanting and needing.     It’s a new lifestyle that I was forced into by circumstances, part of a lesson, but I’ve come to appreciate it  – deeply.  It’s been an incredibly difficult few years but today I realized how much I’ve grown and the joy that has come into my life.    It’s exhilarating.  Over the last few years, I’ve gotten rid of almost everything that I’m not actually using.  It feels so good.  I was carrying a heavy load of possessions and obligations, chaos and clutter!  Quietly but intensely.   “I don’t have a life” was my mantra for many years.  I kept myself busy even after I retired,  when I wasn’t actually doing something useful, I kept myself busy with stress and “mulling” and inner angst.   Even in my successes, I felt a deep void.  I felt that I didn’t do enough, that I wasn’t enough.    Arrrrgh!

Today I realized that I also have a different view of the wants and needs of those that I’m able help.   I really appreciate that.  Whatever that compulsion was to help others get what they “want” is gone as well.  Now I am free to help people that are in obvious need.   And I feel free to declare that boundary.   It’s such an awesome freedom.    I look for the best use of the comparatively small amount that I have.  I’m finally in control of my wants.  Appearances, status, and ego are not my motivators.  My Dad preached, “Be in control of your money.  Don’t let your money be in control of you”.   Material things do not fulfill my emotional needs.  How many times have I heard and said that!  And thought I understood….

Today I had a few moments of clarity, of remembering how my life used to be.  And how it is now.  Huge difference – in almost every way!   I have a life!   Even with much less, I have freedom!  Wanting is no longer an unconscious habit.  I feel content and relaxed.  I have joy!  My life is so full!

And I’m so very grateful!

Thoughts…Things I learned today


I want to know God’s thoughts…the rest are details.  Albert Einstein

the way God thinks…
Without force
No one is excluded
Always giving – never expects back

We come from the same place – the way of Tao is a return trip.  We are all coming back.  Full circle.  In everything we say, do and live.

We shall not cease from exploration but at the end of all of our exploring will be to return to the place from which we originated and know it for the first time.  C.S Lewis.   No beginning and no end, no boundaries.  Just is.

The Tao that can be named is not the Tao….Labels
Once you label me, you negate me and now I must live up to that expectation.  Labeling creates conflict.

Those who speak do not know.  Those who know do not speak.

Does what I own own me?  Get rid of as much of the 80% that I don’t use as possible.

How does nature act?  The softest thing overcomes the hardest thing.

Rigidity and stiffness is the companion of death
Flexibility is the companion of life

I believed something on Monday
Tuesday happened
On Wednesday, I had learned something that led me to believe something totally different than I did on Monday

Ego – (E)dge (G)od (O)ut  A collection of ideas that we carry around
I am what I have
I am what I do
I am what other people think of me – my reputation

I’m already connected to everything I need – I simply need to align myself to it.

Give-Give-Give – Practice benevolence
Be grateful
Live my life in a state of awe of my surroundings
Live joyfully

Nature teaches:
No tree has branches so foolish as to fight among themselves.

I want to live like water.

60,000 thoughts every day.  Are they the same as yesterday?
Are these thoughts true?

Forgiveness – the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it…

Give up blame

Living life conflict-free.  How to live with no enemies.
Become more flexible and open

Self Value – How could that which is perfect, that which is divine, make anything imperfect?

Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday
Interview with Wayne Dyer

My Life, My Mortality… and My Loves


I got some sleep last night – Yay!  And today is brighter…

Writing my letter to Dr. Oz (thank you Sister – for suggesting that I do it) clarified my plight – to myself.  I’m so grateful for some clarity.  Now I have hope again – that I can deal with my fear and get my life back.    I was suddenly able to see the part that fear is playing in my health issues.

I recognize clearly that my fear is about death.  My death.  It’s also in some strange way about the people that I’ve lost in the last 5 years.  I realize that I’ve never grieved them.  I realized yesterday that thinking about them is so painful that I avoid even letting them into my mind.  When they slip into my thoughts, I keep it at a very superficial level – and quickly change my thoughts to something else.

One of my doctors told me that she thought that these losses were having a part in my health issues and that she feels I have some grieving to do.  I heard her say it, I listened, I went thru some motions of grieving but I didn’t really get the connection.  Now I do.

I’m thinking about them today with joy and tears.  I’m honoring them.  I’m missing them deeply.  I miss Dad and my three sisters at a whole new level.  I’m remembering what I loved about them.  I’m remembering fun, funny memories – one of the many times we sisters came from different directions and met for lunch and a few hours together.  Our human pyramid picture.  Our sisterhood reunions. Shucking corn for a dinner.  Posing for pictures together.   What I learned from each of them is such a part of who I am.

And my husband, Dale.  We had such a rocky marriage and a deep unshakable love.  Our friendship lasted thru a divorce until his death in 2007.  He loved me.  Completely.  I loved him in the same way.  We had a bond that neither of us knew how to break – or even wanted to.   It wasn’t a consideration.  I didn’t realize until after his death that he was the reason that I could never move on into a marriage with another man.  Neither of us remarried.  But we didn’t live together either.  We were there for each other – right up to the last phone call the last day of January,  hours before his assumed death.  He lived by himself and when he didn’t return several phone calls, I was alarmed.  When I didn’t hear from him on Valentines Day – a yearly gesture even after our divorce many years ago – I knew something was terribly wrong.  I called the police who entered his home and found that he had passed – they estimated about two weeks earlier.  I handled his estate per his wishes.  I’ve avoided thoughts that he’s gone – always.  Not today.  Occasionally I’ve started to go there and recoiled as quickly as if I had touched a red hot wood stove!  Today, I’m remembering him…so many things.   There were very painful and difficult times in our lives but in many ways he was such a rock for me.  I feel way too vulnerable without him in my world.  I miss him terribly.  So much love!

And Peter.  My love.  We were in each others’ lives for 7 years.   Wow could he dance!   He knew how to have fun.  He was an old school Hispanic man and was such a character!  My Latin Love….  He loved taking care of me – cleaned my home, cooked, pressed my clothes,  was a lot of the reason that I was able to be very successful in my business.  He took care of many things in my life that allowed me the time to focus.  And did I mention fun!  I’m remembering the Las Vegas evenings, all doors open to my outside living area.  He loved cooking in the outdoor kitchen – for everyone, palm trees swaying, warm evenings, music playing and  NO BUGS!!!  We drank wine.  We loved.  We laughed.   He was so incredibly handsome to me – his dark skin, hair –  and bold, warm eyes.  He was gallant and classy.  He sang songs to me in Spanish – all of the time.  He ended up battling major health issues for two years that led to his death.  With such courage.   He wrote love letters to me.  I haven’t read them for a very long time – much too painful.  But I’m going to re-read them as I can, starting today.  Yes, of course there were difficult times too.  But I grieved those at the time.  Today I’m grieving and missing the sweetness, the love, that man.  Towards the end of his life when he was on a respirator, he wrote “Sin Ti” on a piece of paper with x’s and o’s.   I still have it tucked in with his love letters.  He used to sing that song to me.   I miss you so much, Peter!  You made your mark in my life.   Thank you!

And my sisters.  I’m going to write about “The Sisterhood” in another post.  I miss them so much.  They were my three older sisters and my link to so much of my history.  I wish I could have thought of more questions about how they remembered our lives before they left.  There’s no one to answer those questions now.   I know that they each knew how important they were in my life – no regrets there.  I just miss them.   It’s almost impossible to comprehend that they’re so gone!   Today I’ll remember them…

I’ll remember them all.  With so much love and gratitude!  I had – and have – some very special people in my life – some great loves!

And maybe, if I grieve my loss of them, I won’t have to worry about losing myself?  If I honor their lives, I can live mine – fully – without fear?   If I accept and remember their lives – and deaths, will it help me accept my eventual great adventure?  Without fear?  Will it help me live my life without fear?  hmm…

Is the doctor right?

Amidst the grief, I have my joy back today!  I’m starting to let go

Oprahs Life Classes
Joy, Letting Go

Religion (Spiritual to me) and politics….


I know, touchy subjects I suppose. But this is my journal and I’m looking for answers.  Comments are welcome!

I’ve struggled with getting to sleep for years.  And struggle is an understatement in the last year.   My health has always been pretty good, however, a struggle this year.  I’m told by the guys with the stethoscopes that the only thing that they can deduce from my symptoms and experiences is a sleep disorder that is affecting my blood pressure and  these scarey symptoms are all part of it.  A lady doctor told me she thought my problems were about not grieving recent deaths.  Hmmm.   I sleep well about every other night when I’m exhausted from very little (and I mean very little!) sleep the prior night.

This leads me to my latest episode last night.   Yesterday was my “good” day, awesome, felt like myself, had fun.  My day was a great one actually.  Then in the late afternoon it hit.  My blood pressure took a hike – upward.  Way high again.  All of my ugly symptoms alerted me to what my blood pressure was doing.   I had taken my highest recommended dose of meds by late evening and they were not doing their job.  I continued meditating and doing the best blood pressure lowering breathing that I could muster.   It wasn’t helping.  In fact, my BP was going higher!   By 2 am, I was exhausted, considering yet another trip to the ER, trying very hard to visualize good things but ending up right back in my scariest thoughts.   I was, to say the least, desperate.  I had moved into sheer terror and fear.  And that was not helping my blood pressure – at all!  That’s when I suddenly got help.  I don’t say this easily or carelessly.  But it was nothing short of a miracle.   If you had been there you’d understand.

OK, this is the God part.

I think there are a lot of  different names for God if we believe in a higher power – I call mine God.  My belief is that there is no doubt – God exists.  In fact, I don’t even consider it a belief – it’s who I am.  Me and God.  I don’t talk about it much at all but it’s always there.  I don’t go to church, at least at this point, but I talk to him regularly.  My Dad was a preacher.  Yes, I’m a PK (preacher’s kid).  I enjoy good conversations about spiritual things with a few people but I rarely talk about being a PK to most people.  They expect me to know verses and have answers.  Uh…Not!  I’m not proud to say that I did more note-passing and day-dreaming in church than listening.   Not to say I didn’t have my spiritual experiences as a young person – a few funny stories about some of those.

Over the years, I’ve tried many times to read the bible but it’s totally confusing to me – I have a very difficult time understanding and applying what I read.   Those who can and do, amaze me!   I have read other easy-to-understand translations.  They’re interesting but even if they’re inspired, I question words.  They can be interpreted many ways – depending on many things – human perceptions and motives.  I would like to have a bible written by God – not translated by humans who may or may not have agendas.  I have my favorite verses but I rely mainly on my very personal communication with God.  Thus the spiritual and not religious comment.

I have huge questions of my own.  (I’ll be writing about those and comments from anyone who happens on to my questions will be welcomed!)  Most of the time I don’t want to think about my questions.  Not saying that’s smart, but it makes things simpler for me right now.  I’ve spent so much time in my life trying to figure things out.  Having faith, “just accepting” and believing are not my strong suits.  I’m working on that…in a lot of areas.  Balance Grasshopper….

Well, last night – in the night – in my desperation, I was talking to my Dad – in my thoughts.   I was missing him terribly.  Right up until his death, I could call him from wherever I was and he’d say a prayer.  It almost always – 99% of the time – helped me.   He’d invariably ask God to “renew my mind and my spirit”.  And God did.    It seemed that My Dad had a real connection.  My sister seems to have that connection… but it was 2 am!  Not a good time for a phone call.

Anyway, that’s when it happened.  It wasn’t my Dad but I felt sudden relief.  I felt God.   I haven’t experienced this – to this degree – except for one other time years ago when my best girlfriend was killed by a drunk driver.  I was deep in grief over my loss and suddenly felt the comfort of God. No other way to say it.  I had grown up hearing about “The Great Comforter” and that spirit was very real for those moments.  And it relieved my angst.  I don’t know how to explain the experience so I won’t try.  It wouldn’t work and would sound woo-woo.   But it happened.   It happened again in the night.  It was a complete surprise.  I sure can’t say that I used the power of believing –  “believed” it was going to happen and then brought it on myself.  But I’ll gratefully take it!!  It was quite the opposite.  I was in a “fear spin” and far from being able to be positive – even with my best effort.   I was shocked.  Very peaceful – immediate and sudden –  And very, very grateful.  That Great Comforter again – I recognized it immediately.  In my head I was singing “He Touched Me” (Gaithers).

I finally went to sleep!

I’ll work on the Politics part another time

Oprah Life Classes
The Power of Believing