Failure. It’s a good thing.

Creating boundaries, and getting great at establishing them, is an ongoing process. From my childhood, I brought with me the idea that I was not allowed to have boundaries, it was selfish, only adults could make those decisions, and a bunch of other crap that really winded up getting me in a lot of really bad situations.

So, I love taking on boundaries! I love exercising that right whenever I can, whenever I want to. But a sneaky thing started showing up. I would state a boundary, but then, in the back of my mind, I would have these long winded conversations, with myself, by myself, to prove to myself (?) that I was ‘right’. It was getting in the way of the joy that boundaries can create.

Turns out, I could establish boundaries, but I needed to be right while doing so.

Why? Because if I was wrong, it was a failure on my part. And failures meant I was a bad person. Failures meant a judgement on myself. Know one might know, but I would know, and that was bad enough. (It’s amazing the stories we make up about ourselves. Makes me want to take a nap, they are so exhausting…)

But was all that true?

Is a failure a bad thing?

It all depends on how you look at it. And how you look at it is everything. What if failure was an amazing gift? What if failure meant you got to move one step forward on the game board of life? It moves us forward. It teaches us. It gives us wisdom. It gives us compassion. It gives us maturity. It gives us another tool in our bag of knowledge.

Failure is something to honor. To say thank you for. We can see it as information. As a lesson that gets us closer to graduating.

We let failure walk hand in hand with shame so often. And we don’t even question it.

Failure can be a hard lesson, a hard gift, I am not going to deny that. But it is also to be honored. It can be celebrated. Why not?

Really. Why. Not? We all do it. No on gets left out. What an amazing thing.

You always have the ability to choose how you want to look at something. What if you congratulate yourself when you fail? What if you start to honor your experience of being human when you fail? What gets better in your life? What things drop away? What would be the most amazing way for you to see a failure?

Try it and see what changes it brings to your life.

 

 

 

Filling Your Cups

horse5In tarot, the cups are all about emotions, feelings, love. Good yummy stuff. Until they are empty. At the bottom of the cups (think of them reversed if that helps), are the gunkier emotions. Away from reality, emotionally driven, or lack of any emotion at all. This can show up in many ways. Different for all of us. But we all have a need to keep our cups full. If we don’t, they dry up, the get cracked. They dry out. We have nothing left to give.

We can’t give if we don’t got. By taking care of our own needs, we can refill our cups. We often feel that it is selfish to ‘do for ourselves’, but, really, it benefits everyone. Once we take care of our needs, we can give again to others. We have access to the balanced emotional state that is neither overly gushing and out of control, or so bland and empty that we do not even have a smile to share with anyone.

Think about how to fill your cups. Pencil it in your calendar. No, pen it in. Non erasable ink. It’s imperative.

Yes. Imperitive:

im·per·a·tive
imˈperətiv/
adjective
adjective: imperative
1.
of vital importance; crucial.

 

Choosing Your Perspective.

I live nomadically. That means I am location independent and can choose where my home is at any moment. Every time I arrive, it is a celebration. New life. New views. New perspectives. New choices. It creates joy. Over and over again.

I wonder why I didn’t feel that way before I hit the road. What changed? I know the view is different, but I am the same. And, of course, they say you take your problems with you wherever you go, and I have no illusions of running away from my problems.

But, still, it was different. I started to listen to people around me. In RV parks, in National Forests, in random rest areas. They were all talking about the moment at hand, their past memories, and, mainly, where they were going in the future. Then it hit me. They had the brain space to do so. They were not cluttered with the small stuff, the tiny perspectives that they had before.

I returned to Los Angeles for a few, o.k. six. months. I was there long enough to spend time with all the people I had left. I was there long enough to start to hear them complain about what color their neighbor had painted their house (oh, no!), how someone left dog poop right in front of their driveway (dreadful!), how someone parked to close to their car (the audacity!). Now, all these things can be irritants, absolutely. But what I saw, from the outside looking in, was that everyone was so caught up in these mini dramas that it just took up a surprising amount of space in their minds.

With so much of your brain cluttered with small details, you start to lose perspective. You are not on the outside looking in at yourself, rather you are so ‘in it’ that you can’t see out. It happens to all of us. We want to do good. We want to save the world. We want to move forward. But we get so consumed with little details that there is no time or space left.

When we are traveling, yes, I step on dog poop, yes, I see houses painted the most, um, ‘interesting’ colors, yes, sometimes people park so close to me that I just wonder what the heck they are thinking. But now I choose my perspective. I have the ability to choose not to get caught up in the mini-dramas because it is just not important in the big scheme of things. I am here to help people. I am here to support the planet. I am also here to just sit and be joyfully in the moment. Dog poop is nothing compared to that.

You don’t need to move every week to see things anew. You don’t need major life changes to force a new perspective. You can just start to ask yourself if that irritant is really important. Is it more important than achieving your goals? What do you want for yourself? What do you want for the world? What little things can you change your perspective on to make that happen?

Living in Your Future Goals

When you want to make a life change, it doesn’t just happen by magic. You need to invest your imagination into it. It becomes alive in your own mind before I comes alive in reality. Just start to imagine. Start to live in the ‘being’ of the future. If you have specific goals, start ‘doing’ them in your head. Imagine what that website is going to look like. Imagine what your new conversations with others are going to sound like. Imagine your outfits. Imagine how you will be wearing your hair, and what jewelry you will have on. Work the numbers of your future income in your mind; how much you will earn per hour, how many hours you will be working.

We create it as we go along. When you ‘live’ it in your imagination, you will find, all of a sudden, that you are living it in real life. It becomes solid in your creative being before it becomes solid on earth. You pull yourself into the future in that manner. It’s not a scary unknown, because you have tried it on already. The stress of change will diminish, because you have worked out imaginary situations already. They do become real in the ether before they become real in ‘real life’.

You can live your future now. Go try it on!

If this is where you want to sit, sipping tea every sunset, start imagining it and 'being there'.

Just Keep Moving in the Right Direction. Don’t Worry About Perfection.

I had a great insight the other day. I was so excited about writing a blog post about it. It was profound, it was insightful, it brought me to a new understanding of myself.

Then I  instantly forgot it.

I was upset because it was a really great learning experience for me. It really made me feel good about myself.

But things have a way of circling back. If you miss out on a lesson, a new awareness, don’t beat yourself up. Just keep moving forward.

For me, missing out on that lesson gave me this lesson. To just keep moving forward. Allow  your life to be imperfect. Allow yourself to skip a life learning “class” every once in awhile.

Often, when people take on self growth, they start to force it. They feel they need to be perfect. That growth and self awareness happens in a straight line. It doesn’t. Nothing in life follows a straight path.

Once you accept that, your process will flow so much more easily. You don’t need to worry about “doing it right”. Just “do it forward”. Don’t count how many times you stumble. It really doesn’t matter.

Use your stumbles to find humor, joy, self care, something gently positive. If you snap at someone at work, for example, just use that opportunity (as it is an opportunity) to reflect on what you need. Are you cranky? Tap into something funny. Are you tired? Gift yourself with a treat/bath/extra hour of sleep, etc. Do you just not like this person? Gift yourself with compassion (as it surely will get passed on).

It’s not all going to work out perfectly. So don’t worry about perfection. Focus on direction.

Love,

Vaike

 

Life and Happiness. What Are Your Top Ten Daily Stressors?

We all have what I call “invisible stressors” in our lives. Things that we have lived with for so very long, or that are so much a part of our everyday lives that we no longer know that they are there.

Because we are not aware of these stressors, we can’t do anything about them. They can make us physically and emotionally uncomfortable without us even knowing it.

Start to ask yourself what some of these may be. Start to shine a light on them A good way to do this is to make a list. Things that annoy you. Things that get in your way. Things that make you physically uncomfortable. I am not asking you to look for the large life stressors here, rather just little things that tweak at you.

Go ahead and make a list of 10 things that bother you every day. Mine are:

  1. Constant loud noise.
  2. Being too cold or too hot.
  3. Unresolved to-do list.
  4. Guilt from not spending enough time with my senior dog.
  5. A messy house. Clutter.
  6. Feeling physically dirty. Unwashed hair.
  7. Low grade back tension.
  8. Unpaid bills.
  9. Low blood sugar.
  10. Getting into a messy bed at night.

These kinds of little things can just eat away at your daily comfort and happiness. They are ‘low grade” so we just tend to ignore them and live with them. What did you come up with?  Start looking at you list and finding solutions. How can you just make a few of them go away? Start to think about how you would feel if you gave yourself the gift of solving some of these issues. How would you feel after? Would it be worth the 5/10/20 minutes a day that it would take to shower/pay bills/eat on time/make your bed?

Just getting a handle of a few of your issues will make a world of difference.

Try it and find out!

 

Sadness and Negative Emotions

Achieving your dreams and living a fulfilling life doesn’t equal perfection. Life is still here. It’s how we handle it that matters. When you are in a good place, centered and calm, you can allow the sadness, anger, grief, wash over you. To pretend it’s never going to exist once you reach your dream is unrealistic. It can put pressure on you, making you doubt yourself and your goals.

To acknowledge the imperfections, the moments of sadness, anger, etc. allows you to let these things pass through you. You have to remember that these emotions are not permanent. Letting them be, instead of fighting with them, is the key.

Allow sadness. Allow anger. It’s not you. It is just something passing through you. Look at it and understand that sometimes you and the negative emotion will stand in the same place.  But that emotion is not you. That emotion is not permanent. Let it be and it might hang around a bit, but then it will go. Don’t hold on. Don’t identify it as part of the permanent you.

Freedom Comes From Where You Create It.

When you feel triggered by something, When you experience panic or anxiety. When you hear your brain arguing a point over and over again. These can all be signals that you have created something in your life that is not working for you. It may be new, or it may have been there so long that you don’t even notice it’s presence, except if just on the sidelines.

I have had a group of people in my life for years. Almost twenty. I have never really fit in with them and I never felt a deep connection with them, not them with me. But due to proximity both in location and work commonalities, we were connected superficially.

After I started my adventures and left them, I still held on. I still followed the group on FaceBook, I still commented, I still discussed and participated.

Then, while trying to help someone, I made a suggestion that wasn’t well thought out. It was a small error in judgement that came from my not being truly present that day and just wanting to help someone.

And someone simply called me out on it.

But boy oh boy did I react! My feelings were totally out of proportion to my mistake. Completely and absolutely. I panicked. I called someone for coaching. It took me a long time to calm down. I saw the absurdity, as it was such a small mistake and was simply that, a mistake, but just couldn’t let go. It was just weird.

Then, that night it hit me. It wasn’t about my stupid little mistake. It was about feeling judgment from a group of people that I had no real desire to connect with, but somehow had a story of needing their approval. I didn’t live there anymore, I didn’t do the same work anymore, but I was still keeping my need to be accepted. I realized that I had been seeking approval and connection that simply wasn’t there, and I didn’t really even need or want it.

I let go.

Just like that.

Boy did it feel good. It opened up all this new space in my life. Space that now was available to fill with whatever joy and abundance I chose!

When you are creating the life that brings you the most joy, not all of your past is going to fit in to a neat little compartment in your future. But you don’t always notice this. You need to explore, to see what makes you uncomfortable and stifled, what is keeping you from moving forward. It isn’t always obvious, so you need to search for it.

What old attachments do you still carry that are not serving you anymore?

What steps can you take to let go of these attachments and create new openings and space in your life?

And what wonderful new things and ways of being will you put in this new space of freedom?

 

 

 

Equanimity

Composure. Even tempered. Allowing things to just be. Allowing opposition. Allowing it to pass on by. That is a wonderful state for your mind to be in. When we are in opposition to others we can lose that equanimity. When we realize that we are all on the same side, we can bring our mind back to calmness.

 

Equanimity is a spacious,
 vast, and even state of mind;
it does not take sides.
It’s not about being untouched by the world,
but letting go of fixed ideas.
How else are we to develop compassion and loving-kindness
for everyone and everything? Equanimity levels the playing field –
we are not excluding anyone from our practice.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche 

Thank you.

Thank you.

I was driving on a narrow desert road when I came upon an accident. (nothing serious, no one hurt, thankfully) At the beginning of the traffic jam to pass the pile up there was a sheriff. I said thank you as I passed by. He smiled in return. There was a sheriff at the end of the traffic jam. I said thank you as I passed by. He smiled in return.

At that second thank you I realized that I might have been getting more from acknowledging his service than he was. I was gaining joy from it. I was giving, but I was getting more.

You’d think that with these two simple words, that you are giving more than you are getting. But it really works the opposite way. When you say thank you, you are giving yourself a connection. You are expanding yourself to others, and with that expansion, you open up to more joy.

And it was all so simple.

Just say thank you.