Awareness

What does awareness mean to you? I’m sure each of you has your own definition based on your reality or experiences. Awareness, I see as a part of consciousness, or being awake. You can take that many ways as well, perhaps it means not asleep or sedated, being aware of your surroundings, your own existence or a bigger part of the energy that supports the entire universe. It means so many things, possibly complex, perhaps very simple. It’s something I’ve been reflecting upon while on my break from blogging and chatter (interesting word, yes? That’s because I find this chattering in my head is going away and a welcome silence is replacing it). You didn’t really believe I could be quiet for long, did you? Actually, I can, but I briefly want to share some of what I’ve experienced this week.

I woke one day many years ago, looked in the mirror and I saw reality so clearly. I announced aloud, “Oh my God, my life is Groundhog Day”. This is in reference to the Movie by the same name, where the character played by Bill Murray wakes up every day (Groundhog Day) and repeats the day over and over, until he finally makes a conscious effort to change how he experiences the same day. This brings about awareness, and the dawn of a new day. It’s really a light-hearted, perhaps some would say mindless movie of no great depth, but I believe it speaks very deeply of the opportunity we have to make conscious, aware choices every minute of every day. How many of us go through our day, week or life on auto pilot, performing the same tasks at the same time in the same order each day? We drive to where we have to go forgetting how we got there, perform our daily tasks with no awareness and crash into bed at night, completely exhausted and wondering how the day passed so quickly. Do we take the time to show gratitude, to offer thanks, to be aware of all that transpired today? I know I didn’t.

I’ve taken a new approach this week to my daily experience. In as many ways as I possibly can I have deliberately been changing the order in which I do things, what I do and how I do it. This has raised a level of awareness that did not exist before. I have to be attentive to everything I’m doing and consciously choose how and when I do it. Of course it isn’t possible to change many things; school busses arrive at a certain time and the other “kids” have a certain schedule I must follow but there are many things I can and have changed. One of the things I’ve been especially aware of is the impact every single person I come in contact with has on me. From a sales person at the store and the stranger I pass in the parking lot to my family, friends, children and even the author of the books I am reading. I’m also aware of the “things” I encounter.

One of the changes I’ve made as of yesterday was making the choice to start driving my girls to their programs rather than have the van pick them up. It makes me feel safer for numerous reasons that aren’t important here. I was forty-five minutes late dropping them off but managed to be on schedule to pick them up. As I pulled into the driveway at home I pushed the switch that opens the door and automatically lowers the wheelchair lift. All went well, but after getting the girls out I hit the switch to retract the lift and shut the door but it did not work. This was a moment of awareness or was it unawareness? The lift is done by a power switch and to my knowledge there is no way to manually operate it. After what I felt was too many attempts to get the lift back into position and shut the door I finally had to call my husband for suggestions. He was in the area and was able to come home and fix it so the battery would not die from the interior light remaining on. He “fixed” it by pushing the switch and watching it suck the lift into the van and shut the door!  I did that already, really!!! About a hundred times!!!

My typical response would be to worry about whether or not it was going to happen again today, perhaps somewhere else which would not be as convenient as my driveway. I have to say I am a little concerned and am making an appointment to have it tuned up, but I am choosing not to worry. I can’t change what happened and I can’t control what is going to happen. I am grateful it happened because it raised my awareness, and gave me the opportunity to have it looked at, examine my response or reaction, and choose to see it however I wanted to see it. Is there a lesson in that experience? I believe there is, but I’m not sure I know for certain what it is. It could be as simple as getting the lift tuned up or to check my reaction or another yet to known awareness.

I’ve already begun to feel more love and appreciation, and wake up and go to bed each day with true gratitude. Changing things up has made me more conscious and aware. I am forced to think about each thing I do, choose what to do and how I respond to the experience. I am more aware and grateful each day for my children and all the lessons they teach me, and awareness they bring to my purpose on earth as well as their own purpose. I have become more aware that life is not random but a purposeful opportunity to make choices in every moment. I’m enjoying contemplating the assumptions Colin C. Tipping makes in his book Radical Forgiveness. He devotes a short chapter to these and I would not do them justice by listing all of them but two of my favorites are: 1) we get precisely what we need in our lives for our spiritual growth. How we judge what we actually get determines whether we experience life as either painful or joyful, and 2) through relationships we grow and learn, heal and are returned to wholeness and truth. So here’s to learning, growing, healing and experiencing life as joyful!

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~Rumi

Blessing, Pam

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Questions, Words and Answers

Questions

Kids love to ask why. They have a natural curiosity and thirst for knowledge; I love this stage of childhood and feel it should never be discouraged. There’s such great satisfaction in being able to nourish children’s minds with answers or teach them how to find answers themselves. Having two children who are nonverbal and a son who struggles with speech I always wondered what it was they wanted to know that they were unable to ask. I used to make up answers as we were driving in the car or visiting new places or participating in new activities, which would answer the questions I thought they might be thinking. I talked to them to fill in the silence of the unknown, and respond to questions I felt their heart or minds might crave to know.

I did this because I question everything—everything! I question reality, spirituality, duality, science, and philosophy, outer space, religion, words, thoughts, humanity, why things happen or don’t happen, and just about everything else. I wonder for instance if I see purple as you see purple, or is my purple your green; and if you like green and I like purple do we actually like the same color? See, I question everything! It’s not that I’m a skeptic, although admittedly I am, but I have always been curious, had a desire to know more, and driven my family, friends, teachers, employers and professors crazy with questions. I can fire off questions faster than anyone can answer if they are even interested after the barrage of words being fired at them.

I have a niece who questioned everything. I was a young teen when she was born and watched her grow up and begin to question. I asked my mom one day (of course I did!) why Michelle always asked so many questions. She broke into hysterical laughter, saying only, “you should know; you do the same thing!” Aha, the great quest for knowledge, and the question only I could answer! As time went on my questioning became an annoyance to people and I learned to stop asking. I grew to fear asking questions because I learned it’s an annoyance to people. Perhaps it’s an aggravation because people feel inadequate if they do not have an answer. Possibly some questions simply don’t have answers that we are supposed to know. It’s part of our human experience; to learn the lessons we came here to learn. Osho says it’s the ego that needs to question, and every answer only leads to more questions. I’m learning to trust the unanswerable and have faith in the unknown (many thanks to a wise friend).

Words and Answers

Words are so inadequate to answer so many questions; questions of love, divinity, why, why not and just about everything else I have questioned. William Shakespeare said, “Words, words, mere words, no matter from the heart.” If I were to title this page Questions, Words, and Answers, and left the page blank it may be more helpful to you. It would leave you to feel the answers with your heart, without words to fill in the answers someone else wants you to believe.

What if we don’t know the answers or it can’t be described in words? What if we responded, “I don’t know” when asked a question; even if asked by a child? What if we returned the question with a question, “What do YOU feel” (rather than what do you think)? Once you’re past the age of three there’s a good chance you don’t know the answer to anything. “I don’t know” is an acceptable answer and once again leaves us to trust in the unknown.

Why

Believe me when I say I have no answers to “why” and I am not even going to attempt to try to answer any “why” questions except one. Why am I writing this? I guess it all comes back to Trying2express and the reason behind many of my blogs. I have a desire to know what my children, who cannot verbally express words for themselves, are thinking, feeling, questioning, wondering, or whether they have physical or emotional pain. I want to know because as a parent I want to help them grow to be all they are capable of being and to fulfill their needs. I have learned that I have to listen with my heart, trust there are things I will never know about them, and believe in a higher power to guide all of us to fulfill our greater purpose here on earth. I can only hope I am coming close to understanding them, not putting thoughts and ideas into their hearts and minds that are useless, and helping meet their needs and higher purpose while meeting my own. I am taking a break from blogging, Facebook and my website to concentrate on my family, myself, and all the change we have gone through over the last six months. We have changed almost everything about our lives, from a new home, neighborhood, and friends, to schools and programs, equipment, and perspectives. I am also on a spiritual and self-healing journey. It took things settling down a little bit for me to realize I am feeling out of balance. I look forward to sitting in silence, asking only important questions, and listening for the answers. I look forward to our future interactions and may be back on Melissa’s Facebook page before I’m back on my own. I’m excited to see where this journey guides me.

Wishing you love and light,   Pam

Happy New Day!

As we enter the New Year we’re suddenly bombarded with expectations. We are told to make resolutions, set intentions with perfect clarity, and plan goals to reach those intentions. We often feel we have to transform ourselves, change the world, be a better person, embark on a new adventure, be different, be inspired and the list goes on. I’m imagining I’m not alone when I sit and think of all these things as confusing, limiting and downright frustrating at times. What happened to facing each day as a new beginning, without limitations, leaving the past behind, beginning anew? Why is it that we set this one day each year to suddenly be clear on everything we want to accomplish or desire to change? By choosing one day a year to set into motion all that is and “should” be, I see why people give up on their intentions shortly after they begin and then feel as if they’ve failed. After two months of holiday after holiday filled with their own expectations, why is it that we now “have to” set into motion an entire year or lifetime on one, often party-filled, evening?

I’m reminded of two different verses that are very different but seem to fit the roll-over of another year on the calendar. The first is from one of my favorite writers, Shel Silverstein:     

“All the Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas,

Layin’ in the sun,

Talkin’ ’bout the things

They Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda done.

But all those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas

All ran away and hid

From the one Little Did.”                            

Are we filled with what we “woulda-coulda-shoulda” done instead of inspired by what we are doing, continue to do, are ready to begin to do, and are open to doing? Continue to do it, and be open to the change that may come along as time progresses. Don’t worry about what you should do, could have done, or would do “if only…”, or what you believe others’ expect you to do.  Don’t limit yourself by setting intentions once a year and feeling as if you have to stick to them when it becomes clear that you would be happier or it would be in your best interest to be heading in a different direction. Awaken each day as if it were a new beginning with no limits, only endless possibilities.

 The second verse that comes to mind as we enter this New Year is by an unknown author and quoted often:

Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

I believe I see this quote at least once a day by someone on my Facebook page. It’s not that I don’t like it or feel it’s a useful message to live by, but my goodness that’s a lot of pressure! I don’t know about you, but I’ve made mistakes, hopefully learn by and grown from them, and moved on.  Yes, it’s good to check our attitudes, think positively, and choose loving words and actions because they eventually mold us into who we are. I also feel we have to be real, admit that sometimes we aren’t able to smile, we can’t control the thousands of thoughts we have each day, we have perceived failures, wander off our own chosen path, hurt others unintentionally, and then gather ourselves back together, apologize if necessary and reinvent ourselves; perhaps on a random Tuesday and not New Year’s Eve.

I also happen to feel that failure is one of the greatest gifts for it helps strengthen and guide us on this journey we call life, and many amazing things have come from perceived failures. What if the homeless man with an addiction never reached that lowest of low places where he came to realize he was worthy and reached out for help? What about the many people who have recently lost their homes or filed bankruptcy and learned gratitude for all the little things such as love, family and friends, or perhaps just a smile, a good meal or a pair of socks? Choose to grow and learn from failed businesses, jobs, finances, relationships, diets, intentions or resolutions! We could all benefit from attempting to control some of our thoughts, words, actions, habits and character but also be gentle with ourselves at perceived failures, go with the thought we have at this moment, or choose to make an adjustment. Also choose to disregard the Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas that we put on ourselves or others place on us. Just DO and BE, and make choices every day to make this day the best it can be at this time. If today doesn’t go as you woke up hoping or believing it would, ask what you learned, be gentle with yourself; allow that perceived failure, and wake up tomorrow still believing in yourself and others. Whether you read this on a Tuesday, Friday or any other day of the week, I wish you a happy New Day. Know on this day you have the chance to make a choice for a new beginning and a new opportunity.

Wishing you love and light,  Pam