Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Alone in the Dark
It's been a week and a half and I'm still recovering from surgery. The journey has been slower than I had anticipated. Despite it all, I'm back at work, still getting up at 4:30 in the morning to hop on the freeway to make sure my daughter makes it to school on time.
Slowly, we are still unpacking and trying to make our new house feel like home, and I still find the time to plot out new strategies to make an imprint on the world and on the lives of those I love.
Last night, while trying to will myself into hyper-sleep because I hadn't eaten a sufficient dinner (I had snacked on random items around the house, too tired to cook - salt and pepper chips; hummus on toast, a banana, oatmeal raisin cookies...) I practiced a little forced meditation. Oxymoron? I know.
This morning I stumbled upon this article from ETR. I thought it'd do us all some good.
The Power of Solitude
By Brian Tracy
In my last ETR essay ("Accessing Your Inner Guidance"), I gave you three questions to ask yourself. The objective was to get in touch with your feelings -- to look deep inside in order to evaluate your life and determine what truly makes you happy.
The most important part of this process of getting in touch with your feelings is to begin to practice solitude. Solitude is the most powerful activity in which you can engage. Men and women who practice it correctly and on a regular basis never fail to be amazed at the difference it makes in their lives.
Most people have never practiced solitude. Most people have never sat down quietly by themselves for any length of time in their entire lives. Most people are so busy being busy, doing something -- even watching television -- that it's highly unusual for them to simply sit, deliberately, and do nothing.
But as Catherine Ponder, the author of many inspirational books, points out, "Men and women begin to become great when they begin to take time quietly by themselves, when they begin to practice solitude."
To get the full benefit of your periods of solitude, you must sit quietly for 30 to 60 minutes at a time. If you haven't done it before, it will take the first 25 minutes or so for you to stop fidgeting and moving around.
You'll practically have to hold yourself in your seat. You'll have an almost irresistible desire to get up and do something. But you must persist.
Solitude requires that you sit quietly, perfectly still, back and head erect, eyes open, without cigarettes, candy, writing materials, music, or any interruptions whatsoever for at least 30 minutes. An hour is better.
Become completely relaxed and breathe deeply. Just let your mind drift. Don't try to think about anything. The harder you "don't try," the more powerfully it works.
After 20 or 25 minutes, you'll begin to feel deeply relaxed. You'll begin to experience energy coming into your mind and body. You'll have a tremendous sense of well-being. At this point, you'll be ready to get the full benefit of these moments of contemplation.
The incredible thing about solitude is that, if it is done correctly, it works just about 100 percent of the time. While you're sitting there, a river of ideas will flow through your mind. You'll think about countless subjects in an uncontrolled stream of consciousness.
Your job is to relax and listen to your inner voice. At a certain stage during your period of solitude, the solutions to the most pressing difficulties facing you will emerge quietly and clearly, like a boat putting in gently to the side of a lake. The answer that you seek will come to you so clearly -- and it will feel so perfect -- that you'll experience a deep sense of gratitude and contentment.
You may get several answers in one period of quiet sitting. But you'll get the answer to the most important question facing you every single time.
When you arise from this period of quiet, you must do exactly what has come to you. It may involve dealing with another person. It may involve starting something or quitting something.
Whatever it is, when you follow the guidance that you received in solitude, it will turn out to be exactly the right thing to do. Everything will be okay. And it will usually work out far better than you could have imagined. Just try it and see.
That brings us to the final point on getting in touch with your feelings: You must learn to trust yourself. You must learn to take time to listen to your emotions and your feelings as to what makes you happy or unhappy, as to what feels right or wrong. You must absolutely trust that what is right for you is the right thing to do. You must never compromise on what your inner voice tells you to do. You must never go against what you feel to be correct. You must develop the habit of listening to yourself and then acting on the guidance you receive.
When you listen to yourself and act on what you hear inside, you are setting out on the road to personal greatness.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
My Uncle Larry just passed away on the 4th of January, which makes it really difficult to write this posting because I found out not too long before he died, that he actually read all my posts. He read all my emails too though he very rarely responded to them. When he did though, I was always very grateful, just as I am when any of my family responds. It’s comforting to know that you’re not yelling into the wind. That someone is actually listening and watching… formulating thought about your words even if they don’t utter them.
I can’t remember the first time I’d ever seen him; really, whose memory goes back that far? But I can recount my first memory of him. The only reason why I do remember, is because he was arriving at my grandmother’s house, for what reason, I don’t know, but he was coming from somewhere far. It was like a prodigal son returning -not really that situation, but that feeling was there.
It was morning, and he hadn’t arrived yet, (or maybe he was still in bed) my cousin, five years older than me, making her 12, told my grandmother that she wanted to make pancakes for my uncle, a special celebration breakfast I suppose. I went with her into the kitchen and helped her as much as I could. I remember her being especially happy with one pancake that came out “perfect.” She said, “This pancake knew it was for Uncle Larry.”
I was seven then, so all the details are a little fuzzy. I don’t remember what day of the week it was. I don’t remember if other cousins were there to help with the breakfast. I do remember that he was a giant! Remember, I was only seven. He was a thick dark tall man, his face the male version of my grandmother’s. He was confidant. Authoritative. Friendly, but not overly to me. Maybe my wide eyes stopped his inclination to interact with me, or maybe his personality. This was my mom’s oldest brother.
I’m so happy he at least got to meet my daughter. It was only once, at my grandmother’s repast when all of the family was around, but I’m grateful for that. Through email and this site he got a chance to see how I’ve grown up. The ideas that propel me to reach for things and thought. My shared stories of motherhood and my growth as a human being. It feels really good to know that he’s been there, reading… listening….