Monday, June 23, 2014

Falling all over ourselves

(photo courtesy of Heather Ladoski)

It's not everyday we get to learn deeply about who we are.  Usually the greatest lessons come from how we handle the frustrations and challenging stumbling blocks we call obstacles in our lives.  Sometimes we crumple in and fold, broken by the pressure of the expectations and vision of who we thought we were, and other times we rise up to meet the unexpected with two fists and a mouth guard.

We feel the lowest when we let down those closest to us.  Not only are we failing ourselves but we amplify our own failure by having someone we love or care about reflect not only their disappointment of us, but our own shortcomings as well.  The ol' double whammy.  Obviously this can be multiplied depending on the number of individuals we let down.  At its extreme polarity, this low can make people suicidal.  Fortunately for most of us we just want to crawl under a rock somewhere to hide.  In today's society that might look like disappearing into cyberspace, television, drugs and alcohol or other "NUMB-ers".

It's hard to stay with that pain, instead of running to dull it. Just feeling into it, and seeing what it does in our body is always good medicine.  The good news is, it will pass, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.  But it will pass.  In the end, we are all the same.  We all experience emotions the same way, but react differently.

I have let a helluva lot of people down in my life, and chances are that isn't going to end today.  Pushing through our own bullshit is dirty work, and involves deep self analysis, introspection and ultimately self forgiveness.  We don't come into this time and space continuum with a manual, but we can ask for the right information to come along and help us.  Most of the time it does, and more and more often in the form of a you tube video.  We do need to know that we are programmed, how we react has a lot to do with what we have seen, and learned.  The truth of who we really are, versus how we want to see ourselves, is a great truth, but it can be a wounding truth.

I am living in this realm this week.  Who I want to be/think I am is out of alignment and integrity with who I really am.  I am spending extra time on my yoga mat, in meditation and on my bike to reconnect to breath, spirit and nature.  The battle is never won, but this too, shall pass.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Chopping my way to Presence

Almost a full finger... almost

My little house on wheels has been reattached to my truck and I've been able to go on a few mini trips thus far.  My first foray into the wilderness was a beautiful little spot on the south western tip of Vancouver island called Bamfield.  Cool name right?

After 3 hours of dirt roads, and losing one of my turnbuckles and the chain attaching it to my truck, my lovely girlfriend Symentha and I  arrived at a little campground which hugs the coast of beautiful sandy Pacheena bay.  We quickly got to know our neighbors on the site next to us who gifted us some crab they had caught earlier in the day in the bay.  There is only one thing better then fresh caught crab, and that is  not having to pay for  fresh caught crab.

At night the beach was lined with fires as all the campers in the park enjoyed a clear star filled night with an near full moon lighting the epically beautiful, crab filled bay.

The next day I was chopping wood, to make some kindling and wasn't putting my full attention into the task.  I felt the axe come down on the tip of my finger and just remembered a white flash of pain race up my arm, and directly into my brain.  I could feel hot blood spurting out of the tip of my finger and knew instantly that this was more then a scratch.  I looked down at the bloody mess that used to be a right index finger and felt a touch queasy.

Not only were the neighbors adept at crab catching, but a few of them had some first aid experience - which they got to put into practice on me.  They sat me down and stitched me up.  I wasn't feeling too much of a man.  My camper was coming undone, my finger was bleeding and required first aid, and my poor ego was taking a beating as well.  But I was in paradise, and with someone I love deeply, so there was many a silver lining.

Part of the silver linings; my beautiful companion and a kick ass free meal 

How often to we struggle to be present?  It is so easy to be distracted - and that distraction often comes at a price.  Some times it's physical injury, other times it's neglect of ourselves and those around us.  My distraction was me trying to show off with an axe, trying to act like a macho lumberjack, letting my ego run rampant.  If you are going to show off, don't try and do it with some thing sharp and heavy.  There are better ways.  In fact, don't try and show off at all, unless you are a performer or entertainer and that is what you get paid to do!!

But how often to we try to escape the present moment?  For the majority of people it's a frequent foray into the confines of our mind, or the distractions of entertainment.  This lesson was a good reminder for me to stay connected to where I am, and what I am doing. I've learned that the body is the best gateway to stay in presence, whether it be through pain (avoid if you can) or awareness, just feeling your breath and the physical sensations of life in your body (recommended).

My easiest and quickest advise for connecting is deep breaths.  Ten in a row usually gets me right on track. Yoga is also one of the most amazing forms of exercise for getting connected to breath and the body, and I can truly say it changed my life and allowed me to experience a whole new depth of presence.  I will in the near future dedicate an entire entry to this alone.

The value of being present is so immense, in presence there is no time, just being, and that is where we can find the most creative version of ourselves.  In being lies the only true freedom.  Just try and "be" without amputating a small part of yourself... and remember, the best present to your self, is being present.