The Gift of Being Present

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The gross anticipation of a new year may be a false promise of a new start. 

The holiday season may fill you with a child-like anticipation of opening up a new gift. Will it be what I asked for? But, before you unwrap this new, exciting gift, it sits like a beautifully wrapped promise under the tree with a big shiny bow and the hope of a dream fulfilled. Maybe you’ve worked all year to secure your place on “the nice list” with the hope of enjoying your reward and now the anticipation of opening it and making it yours is almost too much.

You toast with champagne on new years eve and feel the buzz as you anticipate the countdown to a whole new year filled with promise and new beginnings, but then you wake up hungover to the same life you left the night before realizing that you are only one day older and the same old effort is not somehow all of a sudden enough just because the calendar has flipped.

I have yet to see a task too simple for people to complicate. I see people putting a lot of energy into making things hard instead of letting them be simple.

I do think this new year is a gift. When you open a gift, if you think whatever is contained in that box is going to change your life, then you have already set yourself up for failure. My problem is that gifting all of this “stuff” is not a gift at all. Maybe this year we can consider gifting time and experience instead. But why wait? Why does the calendar have to dictate when we decide to make a fresh start and give each other a gift? I would rather receive a thoughtful gift on a random Thursday that has deep meaning and love than a diamond necklace on a holiday, but that’s just me. I would much rather be given the gift of my loved ones being present.

We are the ones who give meaning to our lives, we shape our own reality. This year, take control and get better at making your life good. Become a master Storyteller of your own story. Whatever you do, just be, right now. 

photographic reminder above courtesy of pippalou from morguefile.com

Simply Grateful

fall pumpkin

Be grateful.

Sometimes less is more, so just keep it simple today.

There is always something to be grateful for.

Enough is a feast. – Buddhist Proverb

Today I am grateful.

photo courtesy of a2jc4life on morguefile.com

The Human Animal

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We are animals, but we are also human. This divergence in our collective identity is something I think about often.  “Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve.” – Erich Fromm

We seem to be disengaging as a whole from our essential connection with nature even though we come from nature and it is all around us. Humans have drawn some sort of line between themselves and their roots. Our children are spending less time in nature and more time where they can plug in. This disconnection with our natural ties concerns me. Within the world of psychology exists an entire field of study called Ecopsychology which explores the synergistic relationship between how we as humans relate to nature and how that relationship, or our lack of meaningful emotional ties to nature, has a direct effect on how we exist on our planet. There is scientific evidence proving that your level of happiness can be directly affected by the level of your nature relatedness.

When you reconnect and establish a meaningful bond with what you are meant to feel connected to, it may feel as fluid and undeniable as a key in the right lock. Realizing that your body, mind and spirit are all connected to nature could potentially catapult you toward a more calm, peaceful existence. Nurturing that connection can lead to more happiness. So what are we gaining from this disconnect and how can we work toward getting back to basics? There is so much to gain by getting back in touch with nature.

Since the beginning, people have used figures of nature to teach lessons and explain our surroundings. Humans apply unnecessary characteristics to natural things to help us explain the unfamiliar and assimilate our developed distortion. Within these myths and legends, a fox is sly and an owl is wise even though those creatures are unaffected and uninterested in the process and reasons behind the anthropomorphism. An owl is not interested in being the most wise of it’s parliament. We put upon that owl the trait of being enlightened. Instead of just admiring an owl for the beautiful creature that it is, we have to assign meaning to it and figure out it’s usefulness. Relax, it’s just an owl and owls are beautiful, that’s enough. Now more than ever I feel a need to release all this chatter and superfluous meaning and just find my own connection with nature and remember how simple it all really can be.

There is so much wisdom in nature and all too often we either ignore it because we are desensitized to our surroundings, too caught up in the insignificant details of an over stretched life or just disconnected to what we have a natural affinity to admire. “This we can all bear witness to, living as we do plagued by unremitting anxiety, it becomes more and more imperative that the life of the spirit be avowed as the only firm basis upon which to establish happiness and peace.” -Dalai Lama

We need to get back to nature. We need to remind ourselves of what is right outside our  front, back and side doors. Our access to more peace and nature is so close that I feel sad when people fail to acknowledge it. My favorite type of window is an open one.

A ‘breath of fresh air’, ‘stopping to smell the roses’, and ‘taking the path less traveled’ are right beside us yet we seem to find endless excuses to build a literal and figurative wall between ourselves and these marvelous gifts. Why do we do that? Why is it not a priority as important as drinking water to get out and connect with nature? What human ‘parts’ of us force us to disconnect? Brick walls such as fear, self-doubt, and anxiety keep us from experiencing this life the way it is meant to be enjoyed… with unbridled, all-consuming passion and emotion, but also with simplicity, ease and a sense of natural instinct.

A bird sitting on a tree is not afraid of the branch breaking, it instinctively knows that if that branch happens to break it has wings, yet the bird doesn’t ruminate over this fear as it sits. It is able to just be. Lucky bird.

myhappypromise

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