Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Acceptance and the cricket....

Life...it is constantly filled with those challenges--being it events, people, or some irritation--that give rise to frustrations, anger and the emotional dramas that fill most human lives. It only takes a moment of reading the daily newspaper to see humans acting out this drama in all sorts of nasty ways.

Yet, if we are to arise to our higher level of consciousness--the real task before all of us is to take those very events, people or irritations and learn to accept them with peace and stay centered in our own wholeness. In fact, it is the first step to a higher level consciousness--one that too few of us are using to power our lives. If you take a moment right now and think of the last time you had a 'meltdown' over someone else's behavior and how that led to harsh words or some other anger action, I doubt it will take you long to find an example to see where, instead of rising to your higher consciousness, accepting and "being" in the moment, you instead got caught up in hours, days or even weeks turning and twisting this anger into its own event.

In discussion with a client this week, this very experience came up as he shared how he turned what was supposed to be a nice weekend into a whole weekend of anger/irritation at another person. Truth be told, he was upset about his own issues, but he took them out on this other person and was quite mean and now he was mad at himself for being mean and for this person triggering his meanness!

Which made me smile and say, "Ah, you've got a cricket". Arched eyebrows told me he was confused and I started to laugh. "Let me explain what I mean."

I said, "Long ago, I lived in San Diego. One night, it was pleasant and the windows were open. Right outside the bedroom window a cricket took up residence to do his little courting dance. At around midnight I woke up to hear his 'cricketing' loud and strong. Talk about an irritation!!! I tossed, I turned, I pulled the covers over my head--anything to block out that sound. Nothing worked and the more I tried to get that noise out of my ears, the worse it got. Finally, with an anger bordering on insanity....I got out of bed, went out front, turned on the hose and at 2:00 am in the morning, I am outside furiously trying to either kill, maim or flood this cricket to stop the noise. Thank goodness no one had a video camera because I was one mad woman and that cricket was to be no more!!!"

Long story short--I was out of control and my level of consciousness was nil! I finally went back inside, laid down to sleep and then just 5 minutes later--yup, the cricket starts again! I spent the rest of that night awake--and angry at a tiny little cricket who was ruining my life. Only actually, that cricket went on to become one of my greatest teachers.

After that event--I came to learn about acceptance. It wasn't the cricket that was the problem--it was my response to the cricket. I could accept and find peace or I could resist and find anger. Acceptance doesn't mean you necessarily like something that's going on--but it does mean you use your consciousness to manage your feelings, thinking and responses to what's going on around you. And in the practice of doing this, over time, you can learn to turn every 'cricket' event into an opportunity for spiritual growth and rising consciousness.

Now, whenever I'm in a situation of potential irritation, I remember my cricket and thank him. Because as I recall that irritating cricket, I am instantly reminded to move to "acceptance" of what ever is happening and move into a space of peace. This is a choice--the 6-10 proactive choice to own, manage and create a whole and dynamic life. It doesn't happen overnight, but with practice, acceptance for everything that is going on around you is possible. Because what you discover is through acceptance comes a peace that is so wonderful to live in every day. And it is something you are in charge of by living in the now. So, each time I recognize that I'm moving into anger--it is a signal to pay attention and bring my SELF back to consciousness. Deep breath, and accept--discover peace is self-created.

Just this morning, I got a call that the laptop was stolen from a friend's car and the 'instant' response would've been to get upset, angry at the thief, at the lack of foresight by a person to take a laptop to this area, etc. But I didn't do any of those things--I just moved instantly to acceptance. I don't like that this happened--but I accept and instantly the drama, multiple conversations with people about this awful event, the emotional roller coaster is gone. It is what it is...and in being present, I focus my energy on moving forward, doing what needs to be done. Just like chasing my cricket like an insane woman in the middle of the night proved a total waste of time...so too would the anger around this event. I choose to accept, discover peace and know that this too shall pass.

What's your cricket?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Raising our standard of living....

The "economy" is being lauded as the major campaign issue that the candidates need to address. One of the prompts for this is the oft mentioned line that "this generation will be the first generation to not exceed the standards of their parent's generation." When I hear this, I think--that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Because our "standard of living" has come at a huge cost--our lives. We run around like chickens with our heads cut off as we chase after the next big purchase, bigger houses, bigger cars, more stuff, stuff, stuff. But as our stuff piles got bigger, our lives became smaller.

So, I would like to challenge people to think beyond the norm. Fixing the current economy requires us to stay in a consumption pattern that makes us all crazy! So, let's not fix it, let's not want to exceed the "stuff" level of the previous generation. Let's raise our standard of living by raising our "quality of life" instead of the quantity of stuff.

That's what Life Puzzle-making is all about--consciously creating our lives, instead of following along and doing what everyone else is doing. It means understanding the economic system and preparing for change. Here's an interesting talk by Peter Matthies and Jenny Barlow--discussing the economics of change and steps we can take now to "raise our standard of living" by changing our views of the economy.

We can make this choice--and in doing so, discover that a whole and dynamic life does not require massive quantities of stuff any more!