Monday, April 30, 2012

Carpe Happy, Y'all

Every writer has their own unique fingerprint, their own style and manner of inspiration which they pour into their work.  I am of the Magpie variety of writer when it comes to gathering inspiration.  I can literally be inspired by anything under the sun.  Those of you of similar nature will nod in understanding when I say that I will scribble down a fragment of a thought, or a snippet of conversation, sometimes just a single word, or a song lyric on any available surface.  Paper napkins, chewing gum wrappers, receipts, envelopes, pieces of cardboard....anything that will hold written words that hit in a firestorm of inspiration is utilized so that I don't lose that moment of clarity.  Magpies, for those of you not familiar, are birds who are entranced by anything sparkly, shiny or unusual.  They will collect such objects and take them to weave into the structure of their nests, making a unique, bright, cozy and sparkling home for themselves and their mates.

Most of my closest friends and family members have become accustomed to the fact that they're fair game and fodder for my Magpie imagination.  Any given conversational moment will trigger my Magpie reflex and off I go, frantically searching for something to dash off a series of handwritten notes for content of a future blog post, or a manuscript concept.

Recently, someone close to me uttered what I found to be a shining statement:

"Carpe happy, young lady."
This statement came through a series of texts on a lazy weekend evening, and as indicated above, it struck my Magpie reflex.  I thought, "What a great suggestion!  I want that on a t-shirt!"  As I am wont to do in such moments of inspiration, I studied the above suggestion.  It kept calling to me as I worked through some personal thoughts.  So, I kept coming back to it, circling around, pausing to study from this angle and that plane.  The more I studied it, the more I could hear a deeper message entwined in the words.

The suggestion itself was a delightful moment of whimsy from a friend. I still smile at the sentiment behind the words.  Taken at face value, it is an excellent and valuable suggestion!  In essence, and translation, it means, "Seize the happy."  As I had been experiencing a rather bubbly, happy afternoon to the point of the happy overflowing, I was driven to share with that friend in a bouncy, rollicking, cheerful text conversation.  Little did I know that the suggestion would, indeed, hold deeper meaning and lessons.

I've said it many times before - I excel at getting in my own way.  I will analyze the fool out of a situation, pick at it, poke at it, dissect it relentlessly until I come to whatever personal conclusion is necessary for me to feel satisfied that I fully understand that situation.  It's a protection mechanism, I fully admit this.  It gives me distance and lets me apply an almost clinical perspective.  Sometimes this serves a very good purpose, because cooler heads and calm logic prevailing definitely hold value.  It can also, however, become its own double edged sword, causing focus on negatives to the exclusion of all else....of searching for a solution that might not even be available yet, and thus, inflicting a sort of needless limbo.

On the heels of my happy afternoon, I found myself on the verge of doing that very thing...getting in my own way out of a knee jerk emotional reaction.  I was on the verge of projecting a whole boatload of negative possibilities and getting wound up in a completely unnecessary manner.  Negative possibilities which, mind you, hadn't even occurred and might not EVER occur.  Yet there I was, angsting and worrying those possibilities into near manifestation.  Law of Attraction precepts indicate that that which we focus attention on is that which we can and do manifest, so that reminder was a valuable wake up call for me.

It took me a while to recognize and identify where all of this "stuff" was coming from and what emotional triggers had been tripped, but once I did identify them, I immediately cut the cycle.  I realized that I was right on the precipice of pouring old energies, negative ones at that, into a new experience.  And I saw immediately how damaging that behavior could be if I allowed myself to continue.  It was a poor past habit that was attempting to bully its way back in and set up housekeeping.

So, I stopped it.  I cut the cycle and I shifted my immediate attention back to brighter thoughts.  It wasn't easy to begin with, because fear based thinking lifts its ugly head when we're the most vulnerable, when we're on the verge of stepping into a new experience that is scary and challenging on an emotional level.  I don't know many people who enjoy the sensation of being vulnerable - I know that I sure don't.  But this time, I reeled in the fear based thoughts and did not allow them to sink toxic tentacles into this new experience.  And the fascinating part was that within literally ten minutes of addressing this within myself, being honest, identifying the negative pattern attempting to emerge and blasting it out of existence, I had something occur that was almost instantly reassuring, instantly positive, instantly encouraging.  The relief and clear recognition of how each conscious thought, step and action had its own equal and opposite and positive reaction was lovely.

My decision with all of this nudges me to a behavior that I tend to not embrace that often, and that is living in the Now.  I'm much better at planning things to a meticulous level, because it is another protective mechanism.  That being said, this moment of epiphany clearly showed me that there is a great deal of merit in  living in the Now and being appreciative of each present moment.  For me, that behavior requires stepping out of old habits and patterns.  I'm quite good at living in the Now when it comes to writing, but the true LIVING part of it, well, I admit that I dance around that one and shy from it much more than I embrace it.

It took some work on my part and a conscious choice to be brave, along with being vulnerable.  I'm still not altogether comfortable with that mix - bravery and vulnerability - but I'm stepping forward anyway. And I'm doing it in the mindset suggested above:  Carpe happy, young lady!

I believe this is going to become a new mantra for me.  It carries such a happy, lighthearted message, tone and vibration.  When I read the words, my heart is immediately lifted up and my lips tilt in an irresistible smile.  It prompts such a nice, zippy, bubbly energy that I was driven to share it with you here, and being a southern belle of sorts, I simply cannot resist tweaking the message to embrace you all:

Carpe happy, y'all! :)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Roughed up

Photo image:  Facebook
I began writing this post in the midst of Good Friday afternoon whilst checking my email and Facebook. I have been reading so many beautiful comments and posts regarding Easter/Passover this weekend.  One such comment was by my dear friend, Lisa Brandel, in her ongoing daily series called Thoughts in Images.  She was discussing the concept of God/Universe/Spirit giving us more than we can handle, in direct contrast to that old homily that "God never gives us more than we can handle".  My comment on her post is as follows:

Very wise words, Tinker (my nickname for Lisa). I often say that same thing, that yes, we are regularly given more than we can handle. I think in a way, it shears away some of the extraneous bulk to allow Grace to attach. (blog alert! methinks I need to scurry off to write on this one more!) SDS, 04/06/2012

First, I urge everyone to click the link above to read Lisa's full thoughts on this concept, because they are very deep in wisdom.  She writes with a very sure hand, driven by her personal experiences and losses, yet she always finds that bright spot in every difficult moment.  I agree with her on this subject and have often felt that very same thought - that God/Universe/Spirit DOES give us more than we can handle, and it happens quite often.  I've pondered this from my personal experiences, when I've been quite aware I'm being tested and pushed beyond the current limits of my abilities to adapt.

The following thoughts are what I have come to realize.

The analogy that comes to mind is that some of this being barraged with a huge amount of trial and challenge has the purpose to literally knock off some of the bulk of extraneous energy we build up.  We're good at that building up of defenses and walls, we humans, often creating such a buildup that we are out of balance in a spiritual and emotional manner.  Similar to a sculptor approaching a bulky block of granite and chipping away to expose the image hidden within, perhaps that Divine Source blasts us with large chunks of crisis and strife to shear away parts of us that we simply no longer need.  Those large amounts of challenging energy might not all be completely absorbed by us on an individual level, but similar to the winds blowing sand or water against stone, wood or land....pieces are whittled, chipped and eroded until they finally fall away.  From a logical, pragmatic standpoint, if you're struggling uphill, it's certainly easier to make the climb without carrying a lot of unnecessary baggage.  So, it is within the bounds of reason that challenges help us to jettison extraneous negative habits, behaviors and patterns that no longer serve us well.

Another analogy that I think of often is that a smooth surface cannot bond efficiently with a new addition.  Are you familiar with the process of roughing up a smooth surface to prepare it to receive a new coat of paint, or to join two pieces of wood or metal or glass together?  The roughing up of that smooth surface is necessary, because the roughness gives each separate piece something to bond to.  Two slick, smooth surfaces will not bond efficiently....they will eventually separate and fall apart.  The roughing up of the surface creates texture and that texture becomes a sort of puzzle mechanism for an interlocking process to be achieved.  I find this to be such a strong message - smooth, shiny, slick surfaces are often beautiful to look at, but they remain separate.  Apart.  Isolated.  Lovely, yes, but sterile in a way.  I think this is good reason to celebrate and appreciate how beautiful we are in our flaws.  They create an opportunity for us to find those interlocking relationships, to bond with other people and other experiences and become more beautiful...more real...more unique, through personal growth.  Our flaws allow us to become that better version of ourselves through that refining process.

So, my thought is that when we're bombarded with extreme, onerous levels of challenge, we're being sculpted and prepared for that interlocking process.  We're being presented with new layers of energy and experiences that will ultimately make us stronger and more beautiful in a spiritual sense, but we must first sacrifice parts of ourselves that no longer serve a positive purpose, or that are getting in the way of growth. 

The energy of Good Friday and Easter/Passover is upon us, and I always find the energies swirling around during this particular weekend to be particularly peaceful and uplifting.  It is a quiet, peaceful kind of energy that I feel, while at the same time, I experience a strong upswing on a vibratory level.  I firmly believe this happens around all High Holy Days because the world at large is in a similar mental state, focusing on the spiritual manifestation of that particular day.  I believe that this creates a combined energy that benefits all of us and also benefits this planet we all inhabit.  

Pain isn't fun.  That's an obvious truth.  It comes to us for myriad reasons - as a red flag to alter our course and avoid something unpleasant, as a warning of something of a medical nature that requires attention, as an ending to a relationship through separation of one sort or another...divorce, friendship ending, death, drifting slowly apart.  Sadness and grief are part of the makeup of this world and they are part of the growth process we all face on a daily basis.  These experiences teach us compassion, strength, acceptance and the ability to allow Grace into our personal reality.

Photo image:  Heart Highlights FB Page
On my Facebook wall on Good Friday, another dear friend by the name of Holly, posted a beautiful photo that I want to share here.  The lily and the Cross, both symbols of Easter, of love, redemption and faith.  The Cross is the symbol of one of the saddest historical moments this planet and the human race have ever witnessed, and the lily symbolizes the shining result of that sad sacrifice.  Forgiveness, rebirth, unconditional love, and a promise to us of life everlasting.

I am not one to speak much about specific religions, or to hammer away with specific dogma.  I prefer to concentrate more on the simple and pure source behind it all, which is Love.  I have a deep and abiding personal faith that spans many thoughts and concepts and I do my best to share my thoughts here, at Healing Morning, in a manner that lifts up and encourages.

Easter/Passover is about Transformation.  Shedding of a physical body to rise up in vibration to a Divine level.  We're all here on this Earth School to work towards that same level of Divine energy, and the process requires that we face challenges, be given overwhelming tests and that we experience pain, whether physical, emotional or both, in that refining process.  

In return, we are "roughed up" on our spiritual surfaces in order to accept that next layer of accept that higher vibration of pure spiritual progress and growth.  In those moments when you are clearly aware that you're being tested, and you're equally aware that you're being given much more than you can handle, know that there is purpose in all of it.  That which you truly cannot handle is still blasting away at you in a manner meant to chip excess baggage away and reveal a truer version of yourself.  It is helping you to shed layers and emerge cleaner, lighter, yes, but also slightly roughed up and available to receive that new layer of Grace more effectively.  Whether each of us chooses to accept that attachment of Grace is a personal choice, obviously, but something in me stubbornly believes that Grace does attach, even for those who turn from it.  It is simply there, showering down on us all, waiting for that available space, minute or hugely expansive, to attach and brighten each life.  When I am going through my own challenging moments and I feel I cannot take another ounce of it, the thought that a lot of negative energy is being blasted away, and I'm being prepared for beautiful energies to attach brings me back to calm and focus.

Where ever you are in your life currently, as you read this, I wish you a Good Friday and a blessed Easter/Passover.  Be with those you love and celebrate the fact that we have been given this incredible world to experience all the highs and lows of life and emerge triumphant, changed and showered in Grace.

*Photo image annotation:  the first image of the diamond and charcoal was taken from Facebook, but I was unable to track it to an originator or a specific Facebook page.  In this case, I am only able to annotate to Facebook as the origin of this photo image.*

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Gratitude Moments, Vol. I, April 2012

Most of my readers are familiar with my Grasshopper Thoughts articles.  I write those when I'm either not in the mood to delve into a meaty, involved blog article, or I just have one of those days where my attention span is shot.

A while back, I read a great post on my Facebook newsfeed that made me smile.  It was titled, "The Amazing Moments in Life".  I liked it so much that my mind automatically began compiling those moments that resonate for me, so I came here to write a Grasshopper Thoughts entry with a slightly different format.  I'll call these Gratitude Moments and this may become a recurring series.  Let me know what you think!

Gratitude Moments

  1. Hearing the voice of someone you love over the phone, unexpectedly.
  2. Receiving a long, tight hug that lasts for several moments.
  3. Seeing a flower blooming in an unexpected place.
  4. Finding cash in a pocket or purse that you had forgotten was there.
  5. Taking an item to the checkout counter and being asked, "Did you know this is on sale?" (SCORE!)
  6. That moment when a favorite snack food that was discontinued years ago is brought back.  In this case, Taco Flavored Doritos™!
  7. Finding that ink pen that fits your hand perfectly, is the right ink flow, the right ink nib/roller ball and learning that they're affordable.
  8. Spending time at your Mom's house and waking up to a breakfast only she can make.
  9. Walking through the woods at home in springtime and seeing all the greening up and blossoming occurring.
  10. Getting enough snow to make snow cream.
  11. Holding hands.
  12. Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.
  13. Having a lazy day where you snuggle on the sofa with a blanket, the remote control, comfort foods and a good book.
  14. Rubbing noses with that special person.
  15. Getting kissed and hugged by a child.
  16. Hot tea.
  17. Family reunions and seeing all those faces that you love deeply.
  18. Hearing your favorite song on the radio.
  19. Going to brunch with friends and discovering a new foody love. Lobster Bacon Flatbread comes to mind as a new one for me.
  20. Laughing with friends and/or family until you cry happy tears.
  21. Receiving flowers from someone who loves you, "Just because I knew it would make you smile".
  22. Planting old fashioned flowers and watching them grow. Lily of the Valley is my personal favorite.
  23. Being surprised that childhood chores you used to hate - like having a kitchen garden - have morphed into a thing of appreciation and enjoyment.  Go figure. I would never have dreamed my thoughts would change on this!
  24. Listening to family members reminisce and tell stories about "the Good Old Days".
  25. Finding that perfect mascara.  
  26. Reading a book that literally changes your whole perspective on Life.
  27. Meditation.
  28. Having a good hair day.
  29. Finding a new author, loving their writing style and discovering there are multiple titles of theirs available. *Love that!*
  30. Having that special item of clothing that always makes you look and feel good when you wear it. One of mine is a sweatshirt my brother got me for Christmas over 10 years ago.  It's over sized, soft knit material, slouchy in silhouette and gets softer and more comfy the longer I have it, and oddly, makes me look skinny!
  31. Yoga.
  32. That unique smell of the morning air in your favorite location.
  33. Recognizing how truly blessed you really are.
  34. Banana popsicles!
  35. Writing an article that, reading it back, literally gives you chills for how perfectly it has been written.
  36. Celebrating a birthday of someone you love. Today is my dear, wonderful Mom's birthday...Happy Birthday, Mom!  I love you more than words can express. <3
I made myself stop at 36 things, but what I love about this process is that once you begin, the thoughts flow. There's the concept and practice of keeping a Daily Gratitude Journal and it is one that I occasionally do, but then get distracted on the daily entries part at some point.  What I can say here, today, is that sitting down to write these Gratitude Moments kept me in a happy, appreciative state of mind.  I have been smiling as I tapped out each thought and I love the Universal Law aspect of this.  Lifting our thoughts to a happy harmonic energy means that we are sending that accelerated energy outwards, where it will grow and maximize itself before returning to us to shower blessings that match that original happy energy.  I can't think of a better reason to embrace this concept and make it a habit.  What are your favorite memories and experiences that fit into the Gratitude Moments category?