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The What Ifs vs. The Why Nots


My coffee mug is filled with the best Jamaican coffee in the universe. My hands are cupped around the warm mug offering comfort on this morning of 34 degree temps in the northeast (and it is late March). The coffee was given to me by a friend for my birthday. Around my shoulders hangs a heated throw blanket given to me by my mom (she knows I love to be cozy). Both are comforting to me on this gray day. Both warm me, warm my soul. Simple yet satisfying gifts that make me smile. In this crazy graceless world it’s nice to know that something can be so pure and uncomplicated.

Along with my sweet mug of coffee and my warm heated blanket is my dog Oliver sitting at my feet waiting for my next move or the possibility of a walk. (Sorry bud, not today, it is way to cold and windy.) The place where I sit in my home that I call “Vintage Cottage,” is an effortless love. I look out onto my deck and yard and see the flower bulbs planted so many years ago starting to pop up through the rich soil. The true colors inspire me to create, paint, reflect and just be. How wonderful to truly enjoy the passing of time, after all isn’t that the secret to life?

Sometimes we hold on to things and we have a tough time letting go. Admittedly I suffer from this syndrome. I try so hard to let go without compromising my integrity. But here’s the unseen paradox; when I thought about what I have been holding onto it was me being true to myself, I was honoring my feelings and I needed to just wallow in disbelief and disappointment and I liked it. On some level I guess I liked feeling sorry for myself – it justified what had happened, it garnered sympathy – it made me feel like a martyr of the 21st century. Turns out this is my way of coping with an ugly act of selfishness.

Finding out the truth of a situation is a tough pill to swallow. We have a tendency to question everything thereafter and trust no one. Did this person really have my best intentions in mind, or only their own selfish intent on the agenda. The feelings of mistrust for years were dead on - my gut reaction is always right! Note to self: follow your gut. There was a reason why I wasn’t feeling comfortable, yet I never allowed myself to believe anything other than what I was being told. Some times we just want to believe in something that seems pure and simple. Sociopaths are masters at making you think all is good, pure and simple. But there, in living color and screaming at me on facebook were all of my biggest fears. My heart sunk. The realization was my feelings were finally validated.

Being grateful for the little things. Don’t worry, this is where being bigger than the pettiness of life comes in. Being a little more enlightened also helps as does age. No matter what we do, if done mindfully and carefully it becomes a form of meditation and discipline, as if it is a ritual in re-training our thought process a little differently. Lessons learn and moving forward yet never forgetting that moment of truth is the gift.

Meditation doesn’t have to be a quiet place of sitting and breathing in and out, but a place in our heart, a place where we watch the sun rise and set, a place where our breathing is in motion to the flow and tides of the day, and a place where we can loosen and unravel, a place that stores away a fond memory. There is a place for all of us where we can find a new way of breathing in and out. It’s called mindfulness or living in the moment. It’s not an easy idea or concept to achieve, for example; when I brush my teeth instead of thinking about the tooth brush and the tooth paste I am way ahead of myself going through the list of things I need to get done. For us overachieving multi-taskers from the Yuppie generation (or Boomers as I have been called), these qualities where great (back in the 80s) however fast forward to today and thinking in the moment instead of thinking about the week ahead is a really hard thing to do and to stop. It is ok for me to think about this moment only, write this blog only and drink my hot coffee now – not an hour from now when it will be cold and I will have to pop it into the microwave – see this is what I am talking about, I am already getting ahead of myself. Moral of the story – start to live in the moment of mindfulness and let’s see where we go. Maybe the secret to life and the antidote for the pain experienced in life is being mindful of the moment , not thinking to much about the “what ifs but thinking more about the why nots?

Back to my coffee and the view - I'm going to think about my gardens and flowers for a moment - then move on...

What's your self care practice that helps you get through tough times?


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