” Dis” connection

It is almost 8pm and the phone guy is still here. At least I know it wasn’t some hair-brained thing I did and he won’t just flip a switch and say, “You just had this hooked up wrong. That will be 99.00 please.”

It is amazing how completely cut off we are when our phones and emails aren’t accessible. As much as we can know we are dependent on them, only when there is no communication with the outside world does it come home, this addiction to connection.

Yesterday I was out on a sailboat with a man I loved. We anchored in a harbor overnight at  Treasure Island and underneath San Francisco’s amazing new Bay Bridge. Herons, pelicans and this amazing light-filled work-of-art bridge of ours was right overhead.  You would think that nobody in their right mind would want to be connected to anything except that moment.  In between pelicans splashing I would go below to check my phone and turn on Pandora for a “little bit of night music”. I still needed the connection, wondering what might happen if I truly dropped out.

016Today when I returned to dry land, all my internet and phone  “towers” were blinking as if they were teasing me. Red lights flashed, green ones sped up and down the front glowing, disappearing and clearly having a techno-seizure. I knew it didn’t look good. The worst part was that calling India would be my only recourse. Surely enough, after India, I was routed back stateside and tonight, my knight in shining armor arrived with his tool belt and his bright orange telephone company shirt and gave me back my longed-for connection.

While I was helpless and alone, I took care of non-techno things that had been screaming for my attention while I was too busy connecting. My Brita is now free of deadly mold, summer clothes are put away awaiting California’s summer warmth, and my fridge is  “Mom-worthy”. Not bad for a disconnected soul, but I am here to say that I am glad to have it all back so that every time I wonder about something, I can Google it and KNOW!

Would You Say This To Your Child?

Why are we so rough on ourselves? A brilliant friend of mine has been working on a fund raising event for months and holding down a full time job, volunteering, schlepping people around and being a rock for friends like me who some would call “high maintenance”.  The event is tonight and at the witching hour she feels everything she has NOT done or done well enough staring her in the face. The truth is she has done it all beautifully, and in about 9 hours everyone who has the privilege of seeing her masterpiece event will be star struck. I wonder if she will be able to relax into the beauty and pride of what she accomplished without overriding the joy with self-doubt and judgment.

 

I felt the sadness of how she  we judge ourselves relentlessly all day long. The constant striving to make things better or make them right keeps us from bathing ourselves in the joy of what we give, accomplish and produce. It is that proverbial struggle to be enough, and for whom?

 

The self- criticism, lamenting and regret can only happen when we are not living in the present moment. Not to get too Zen on you, but that is a fact that even science confirms.  How do we live in the moment while holding our cell phones, waiting for emails, and anxiously looking at our Google calendars wondering how we are going to get it all done? Here are some things that work for me…

 

1.      Gratitude

2.     Remembering and saying out loud, “I am safe and I have everything I need at this moment.”

3.     Noticing our minds being ahead of us and focusing on something beautiful right where we are.

4.     Meditation, if only for a 5 minute island of peace

5.     Noticing our breath and making sure we are taking in plenty of oxygen with each breath

6.     Being in the “flow” of something we love to do…reading a book, painting a picture, going to an art gallery, listening to our favorite music

 

Find something that works for you. When you begin to hear those voices telling you that you or something you are doing isn’t enough, just smile and tell them you are sending them to the Bahamas on a nice vacation. Then, put your feet up, breathe deeply and repeat after me: “All is right with the world at this moment.”July 2012 012

 

Crossing the Line

 

Lately it seems like the issue of setting boundaries is on the minds of lots of folks in my life...sounds like the old “I have a friend”, right??…OK, I will cop to having it in MY life too. What exactly is a boundary anyway and why are they so important to our relationships? I think it is mostly but not solely about our integrity being challenged or violated.

We may not be able to identify our boundaries, but we sure know when someone crosses that line! For me, it happens quickly and can feel like someone kicked me in the shins or the gut and then ran away, leaving me feeling like a limp dish rag.

I see myself as a person that is compassionate, accepting and very tolerant of people’s human foibles and then someone steps into my snare, is jerked off the ground and I smile while they dangle. They should have known better, right? When I get that jolt, I go instantly into why I am not “more tolerant, and most of the time get stuck in self-flagellation. I begin to do my “counselor thing” and remember the other person’s family history (that I have no idea about!). Poor thing…he/she couldn’t help it. They are doing the “best they can” and why I am I so judgmental? If I were a real friend/wife/husband/co-worker/parishioner I wouldn’t feel this way.  Familiar???

Boundaries are there for a reason. They help us take care of ourselves and what we believe and hold true as a good and right way to live in the world.  At times we will cross someone’s set point and it will be an innocent mistake. We didn’t know. There are people who lack an internal compass, are self-absorbed to the extent that they simply do not honor boundaries. Yes, they may have had a miserable and even traumatic childhood and empathy is useful in understanding them., but when their behavior begins to erode our sense of well-being and our tolerance dishonors our own healthy boundaries, it is time to return to our precious selves, ignoring all messages from those bony-fingered voices that say otherwise.

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