An Invitation…

The Invitation by Oriah

“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.

I want to know what you ache for

and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

 

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.

I want to know if you will risk 

looking like a fool for love, for your dream,

for the adventure of being alive.

 

 It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon…

I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow,

if you have been opened by life’s betrayals,

or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.

 

 I want to know if you can sit with pain,

mine or your own without moving to hide it,

or fade it,

or fix it.

 

I want to know if you can be with joy,

mine, or your own, if you can dance with wildness

and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes

without cautioning us to be careful,

to be realistic,

to remember the limitations of being human.

 

 It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true.

I want to know if you can disappoint another

to be true to yourself.

If you can bear the accusation of betrayal

and not betray your own soul.

If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

 

I want to know if you can see Beauty

even when it is not pretty every day.

And if you can source your own life from its presence.

 

 I want to know if you can live with failure

yours and mine and still stand at the edge of the lake

and shout to the silver of the full moon,

“Yes.”

 

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live

or how much money you have.

I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair

weary and bruised to the bone

and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

 

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how

you came to be here.

I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire

with me

and not shrink back.

 

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom

you have studied.

I want to know what sustains you

from the inside

when all else falls away.

 

I want to know if

you can be alone with yourself

and if you truly like the company you keep

in the empty moments.”

 

By Oriah © Mountain Dreaming, from the book The Invitation

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A Cog in the Machine!

Hello Friends…

Many of you read Tuesday’s meditation.  I want to share with you my experiences using that meditation as a self-awareness tool. 

2 ½ years ago I quit my job and instituted an arduous fitness campaign.  I lost weight and lowered my cholesterol, but felt “dissatisfied” with my accomplishment.  So…I worked out harder and more often, but, I didn’t lose any more weight.  I was stuck!  18 months of nothing.  (Well…up two lbs. down one, up one lb. down two, etc.)

I now realize that the weight was a metaphor for much of my adult life; wanting + hard work = moderate success.    More wanting + more hard work = same moderate success…work harder and harder (you get the picture)!  I always felt as if I was pushing against a glass ceiling.  I could see what I wanted and desperately pushed, but could never break the glass.  I. was. stuck. 

Over the past two years I have explored different ways of being in this world. Writing this blog was an important part of my process.  I have gained insight into my life patterns through meditation, introspection, observation, and the welcome comments of readers and friends.  These avenues, although often painful, have altered my “always way of thinking”.

I took a sabbatical from writing partly because “I was stuck”.  I decided that you (the reader) were probably not interested in my frequent laments on dieting.  I sure wasn’t interested! One saying my husband has is, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing (over and over) and expecting different results.” The original quote by Mark Twain is, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.”  What I believed, having been raised in a family containing generations of entrepreneurs and small business owners was; work hard and you will reap the rewards

WORK:  “to be in operation, as a machine. Dictionary.com

I realized that I felt like a cog in the machine.  Not “insane” like my husband’s quote suggests.  I was operating as if on autopilot; as if something unseen was pushing the buttons.  So…I stopped!  I stopped writing, dieting, and I cut down on my fitness schedule.  I totally enjoyed myself.  I went on long hikes with friends, traveled, spent days alone in the woods, meditated, went to movies, drank wine and coffee (and more wine and coffee).  Whew….I had fun. 

I also stopped writing this blog because there was realization hiding just beyond the reach of my conscious mind.  I was beginning to sense something about myself.  What is that…a moment of clarity!  I couldn’t put any of it into words.  I didn’t even know what IT was. 

Then I had an “A-ha” moment.   I was missing an important part of the wellness/success equation.  Oprah said it succinctly when she described why the “Law of Attraction” doesn’t work for most people.  She said you must come from a place of belief, not from a place of wanting. 

Come from a place of belief, not a place of wanting.  I get the concept, but how do you get to a place of “belief”? 

Who am I?  What do I want?  These two questions asked of your subconscious, or spirit, during or immediately following a meditation do not come from a place of wanting.  You are relaxed, at peace, and feeling blissful, which allows the answers to come from a place of possibility. 

What I realized after doing this meditation regularly, is that I didn’t want“things”.  What I wanted was: To create beauty in community (spirit) and environment…live as an example of balance, peace, beauty, love, spirit…provide a safe place…live my purpose…be an inspiration to others…help humanity to evolve and live with peace, love, and in wellness…provide a place of strength and purpose…and fortify the spirit. 

Thich Nhat Hahn says, Life can be found only in the present moment. The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.”

Every day that I wake up feeling stuck, I find a quiet spot to meditate for 10 minutes.  I create my day based on who I am and what I want.  I then live my “who” and “what” in the present moment…where life happens.

Namaste’

Annamarie

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Who am I…today?

This is a meditation I do when I feel stuck. You may recognize the indicators…dread, complacency, sadness, frustration, maybe even anger. These feelings are my signal that I AM NOT LIVING MY LIFE PURPOSE!

“You cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it. ” Albert Einstein

In order to get into a higher consciousness and out of the mind chatter I do this simple meditation to create my day.  The entire meditation takes about 10 minutes.

First, have a paper and pencil handy. (You may even want to keep an ongoing journal.)

Sit quietly with your eyes closed. Breathe deep, in…and out, in…and out. It should be a deep, long comfortable breath. Watch the breath as it travels through the nose. Feel it fill up the lungs and expand the belly. You may even feel the breath in your fingers…around your knees and into the tips of your toes.

Relax your shoulders. Soften your face. Feel your lower back release…Breathe…

Ask yourself; who am I? Imagine…breathe.

What do I want? Breathe.

Take a deep breath and bring your awareness back to the room.

Write whatever comes to mind.

Let me know how it affects the rhythm of your day. This simple ritual has changed the way I walk through the world.

Namaste’

Annamarie

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Bliss with Every Step

Hello Friends…

I KNOOOW!  (Many of you have inquired) Where have I been?

Well Hmmmm…, to answer your question.   I’ve been enjoying many moments of bliss, and “print(ing) peace and serenity on the earth…Walk(ing) as if (I am) kissing the earth with (my) feet.”  – Thich Nhat Hanh

“If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it.” – – Thich Nhat Hanh

So…I sent you bliss with every step.  I hope you received it!

Namaste’

Annamarie

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Delivering Happiness

Hello Friends…

Now is the time…the time to look back over the last year and evaluate our successes and failures.  The purpose of this exercise, of course, is to set goals or “resolutions” for the coming year.

I recently read a book called Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos.com.  It is a business book describing a new age in corporate leadership.  I happened to pick up this book because I was looking for something to read, and it was sitting on my coffee table.   I’m not clear how the book landed on my coffee table.

Tony Hsieh and his team, over a 10 year period, intuitively evolved “happiness” as the business model for Zappos.com.  WOW, happiness…not profits?  Zappos.com hit over $ 1 Billion in gross merchandise sales in less than 10 years.  It seems that profits are the welcome byproduct of a “value based” leadership team.

The turning point from chasing profits to chasing passion, for Tony, lie with the buyout of his company LinkExchange.  Tony gave up approximately $ 8 million he was to be paid had he continued for 12 months in his executive role with LinkExchange after the buyout.  “…I went to the office, sent my good-buy e-mail to (Microsoft), and walked out the door.  I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do, but I knew what I wasn’t going to do.  I wasn’t going to sit around letting my life and the world pass me by.”  “I thought about how easily we are all brainwashed by our society and culture to stop thinking and just assume by default that more money equals more success and more happiness, when ultimately happiness is really just about enjoying life.”  Tony Hsieh, Delivering Happiness.

Tony and his team drive Zappos.com based on their defined set of core values.  They hire and fire associates based on these values, not on job performance.  They also place customer and employee happiness above the “bottom line”.

“Ok…so what does this have to do with New Year’s Resolutions?”

If the byproduct of a company driven by core values is profits, maybe the byproduct of a life driven by core values is self actualization; or the achieving of one’s full potential.  That (achieving one’s full potential) is the reason you make a New Year’s Resolution…Right?  

In 2011 I am not making resolutions.  I am defining my core values based on what it will take for me to enjoy life.  Living my life in joy and happiness may seem like a gluttonous way to walk through this world, however, I am adopting the Aristotelean concept, eudemonia, that the goal of life is happiness, to be achieved through reaching one’s full potential as opposed to through the hedonistic pursuit of pleasure.  (The Thinkers Thesaurus)

In order to realize my core values, I went on a journey; an exploration of the mind, body, & spirit.  Following is the result of my pilgrimage

  1. Keep life simple and close to nature
  2. Exemplify whole health through the mind, body, spirit connection
  3. Face my demons and welcome opportunities for personal growth
  4. Be adventurous, creative, and open minded
  5. Cultivate beauty and fun
  6. Love passionately
  7. Build open and honest relationships through compassionate   communication
  8. Embrace change
  9. Live and speak my personal truth
  10. Be humble

I have found that the form of happiness achieved from reaching a “goal” is short-lived.  No sooner are you patting yourself on the back; acknowledging your power, than you are feeling restless; needing to “find your purpose” and climb another mountain.  While living within the framework of a set of core values I am living my desirable quality of life.  This quality of life shapes a happiness that is dense and rooted.  It is based on what I intuitively know about myself and what will guide me into living at my full potential every moment of every day.

Happy New Year!

Annamarie

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Mot Juste

Mot Juste!  Mot is pronounced mo  with a long o, and zhüst.  It is French; mot meaning word, and juste meaning right.  Mot juste: exactly the right word or expression.

(Gustave) Flaubert was fastidious in his devotion to finding the right word (“le mot juste”), and his mode of composition reflected that. He worked in sullen solitude—sometimes occupying a week in the completion of one page—never satisfied with what he had composed, violently tormenting his brain for the best turn of phrase, the final adjective. His private letters indeed show that he was not one of those to whom correct, flowing language came naturally. His style was achieved through the unceasing sweat of his brow.    Wikopedia   

I am obsessed with words and finding the mot juste.   

My mom recently bought me a great book called The Thinker’s Thesaurus.  It is the bible for word lovers.   I was flipping through the book randomly and came across the above French expression listed as a synonym for word. 

I believe my ide’e fixe (another French word for obsession) began when my mind consumed the word debauchery while reading an English novella in high school.  The idea of debauchery would infatuate a teenager, its definition being; a wild gathering involving excessive drinking and promiscuity.   I loved the word.  I still love the word.  In fact…I use the word regularly in conversation.  I must admit, it is a challenge to find occasion to use debauchery, debauch, and debaucheries in a conversation, as I am a 40 something, retired, happily married, living in a Midwest rural county woman.  I now know, after further investigating the Thinkers Thesaurus, I would need to be a strumpet in order to live a debaucheries’ lifestyle.  

Earlier this year, my cousin posted the following video, Words, presented by Radiolab and NPR, on facebook.  I was totally engaged while watching the video.  

  

Mot juste perfectly expresses what I spend hours doing every time I write a blog.  I search through my mind and the thesaurus for a word that is the beau ideal of my sense perceptions and mind regurgitations.  (I love that word…regurgitation!  You have to admit it conjures an image…)

Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday, etc.

 Annamarie

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I Smile…

I am listening to a female singer/songwriter, Meg Hutchinson, whom I recently became acquainted with in New York.  She is one of four women who collectively, during the holidays, tour as the group Winterbloom.  I, my sister, and cousin attended the New York performance of Winterbloom last weekend.  I bought all 5 CD’s; one from each of the artists and one of the collective, Winterbloom.    

I love all of the CD’s, however, I am realizing that when a Meg Hutchinson song randomly arrives in my living space my body shifts.  I apologize if I get a little dramatic with my descriptions; however, I feel the need to express what I am experiencing.  I have a physical response to her music.  My shoulders tense and release, my body sways slightly, even my breathing begins to move in harmony with the music. 

Meg’s music touches me in waves.   Her melodic songs ebb and flow, roll, retreat, and then…pause.  There is a tension, and I seem to hang…at the pause.  The moment her voice catches the note and the wave begins to roll toward me, I feel as if I have been included in a secret, as if I have received the caress of a close friends smile from across a crowded room.  Every time…every single time the melody begins after the pause, I smile!

I guess the purpose of these musings are to record my thoughts on the power of music to touch your soul.  I would like to express my gratitude to artists; musicians, dancers, and visual artists who possess the power to deepen my awareness of the world, sway my perceptions, and winkle out a smile.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, etc!

Annamarie

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