Daily Meditation for February 12, 2011

Feel Beautiful On The Inside

These days the world is overrun with plastic surgery, flashy cars, expensive clothes and the list goes on.  We always strive to look beautiful.  But do we feel beautiful?

You can get all the plastic surgery you want to give yourself the ideal image.  But if you still feel empty inside at the end of the day, all of the plastic surgery and fancy clothes is a waste of time and money.  If you always want what someone else has or want to look like someone else, there is something missing inside of you.

Today meditate on who you are, not what you are.  What are your ideals?  Where are your boundaries?  If you strip away everything, is your inner core solid?

Feel beautiful in all of your little imperfections.  Those imperfections are what complete you and make you unique!

Meditation for the day: I am a beautiful human being and love who I am.

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Daily Meditation For February 10, 2011

“Time Is On My Side”

In today’s world, we struggle for time, money and prestige.  Between deadlines, laundry piles, shopping lists and bills, we have no time for others let alone ourselves. It is time to take back some time.

Instead of trying to cram 25 hours in a 24 hour day, take an inventory of what is most important.

Try not to stay up late to watch a television show.  Catch it another time and turn in a little sooner.  You’ll wake up earlier the following morning and be able to prioritize tasks in their order of importance.  You might even have the time and energy to finish the shopping list or toss the next load of laundry in the washer.

Rather than run through the front door from work straight to the kitchen, flinging cabinets open desperately searching for the night’s meal, maybe make a weekly planner of meals. Plan the meal and list ingredients accordingly on Sunday.  You could prep the meal the night before if it will keep in the fridge.

Time is not our enemy, our over loaded to-do list is.

How To Say No.

Every day there seems to be some sort of something that rears its ugly head and demands our attention.  This ugly little monster is sometimes a person asking us for time which we simply do not have.  Someone might need a ride somewhere, a project done sooner than anticipated, or just an ear to listen.

At times, we can do this.  We can be that wonderful person that has the time to drive out of our way, put in some overtime at the office or sit down for coffee.  But often there simply are not enough hours in the day.

Here is a hypothetical.  You are on your way out the door to go to a yoga meet you’ve had on your mind for two weeks.  You’re feeling energized and pumped.  A brand new yoga mat is peeking out of your brand new yoga bag and oh, wait… what’s that?  Your phone is ringing.  It is your friend Shelly.  She just broke up with her third boyfriend in six months and she wants to talk about what she could be doing wrong.  Maybe it is Mike from the shop.  He once again forgot how to do a proper brake inspection and he needs help.

Now, that little voice in your head says, I don’t have time.  But there is that other voice, the bigger one that tells you that you will be a rotten friend if you decide to go ahead to your yoga class.  It  tells you that you are a bad person and that you should blow off something you’ve been looking forward to all week for something that, honestly, can wait.  Shelly will be fine (three boyfriends in six months… really?).  Mike, well, he’ll probably remember if he learns the hard way.

It is okay to tell that bigger voice to stuff it!  Sometimes we need to be selfish.  If we do not take care of ourselves we dwindle to nerves and resentment which leads to being unhealthy.  Who wants that?

Here are some ways to tactfully say no without feeling guilty.

1) I would love to help you out, but I have a previous engagement. This engagement could be a legitimate meeting or it could simply be a date with a cup of tea and your favorite television program.  If t.v. and tea is what you have been looking forward to after a busy day, you deserve to keep your date with yourself.

2) It is really out of my way and I’ll be cutting it close. Driving people places can, at times, be grueling.  If you have somewhere you need to be, whether it is the gym or home, and you are going over in your head where to shave time so that your friend can make it to their destination, then you don’t have time.  Instead of feeling guilty about saying no, be honest with yourself about the time you have.

3) I wish I could, but I have plans. Maybe you do, maybe you don’t.  Maybe your idea of plans is at the other end of the spectrum compared to most.  Maybe you actually do have to wash your hair.  Clean hair is important after all.  Telling someone you have plans is perfectly fine.

4) Unfortunately, I have to be somewhere. I use this one at work.  It doesn’t happen often, but there are times I am asked to stay to finish a project.  Sometimes I can and sometimes I can’t.  When I can’t, I just say to my boss, “I would love to stay and finish, but I have somewhere I need to be.  I’ll finish it first thing in the morning”.  He always tells me that that’s fine.  What is he going to say?  I mean, I have to be somewhere a little more important than where I am now.  Yes, work is important.  However, at times there are things that are more pressing in my life than work.

5) I’m sorry, I just can’t. This is probably the most direct way to tell someone who you really cannot help out.  A girl I work with at my second job says this to me when I ask her to cover and I so admire her honesty rather than giving me some long reason.  If I ask her why she can’t then I am out of line.  It is none of my business, just like it is no one’s business why you cannot help them out.  It is our guilt for being selfish that leads us down the path of excuses.  Stop it!  You don’t need an excuse.

I hope some of these have helped you out.  These are the most honest reasons I have heard over the last few years when I asked someone to help me out and they couldn’t.  There was no arguing.  How audacious I would be to question someone wanting to have some time of their own.

Hell Is… Driving In The Snow

Driving in the snow sucks.  It’s truer than my cats emerald-green eyes.  Unless you are driving a Hummer or some sort of four-wheel drive monster, the conditions on the road are down right scary.

I do not drive a huge snow crushing machine.  I cruise a front wheel drive 1999 Pontiac Grand Am.  Which I now know as, my potential death trap in the snow.

This past weekend, which was Christmas weekend, it snowed here on the East Coast.  I live in a small borough in Bucks County.  Now, you’d think that living in a higher tax region would enable residents, such as myself, to better road conditions in inclement weather.

Not so fast there, Sparky.

The roads are barely plowed.  The hills that I have to climb every morning on my way to work were more like greased flag poles.   My guess, as I am sliding around while white knuckling my steering wheel, was that the plowing went on when there was about an inch or so of snow on the ground.

I make it up the hill while my breakfast is churning in my stomach.  I really think this is awesome.  Really.

Now I am on Route 413, which is okay.  Okay until I get to the down-slope that curves under the freight train bridge.  The road narrows as the road winds under the bridge and I realize, as I say rapid prayers in my head, that I have not exhaled since I passed through the last intersection about two miles back.

I make it through that treachery while one of those giant snow gobblers is riding my ass.   I say prayers again that I won’t have to stop suddenly because not only will I slide into who knows what, but surely the mammoth of a truck behind me will crush me.

When I get to Route 332, it is pretty smooth sailing.  I have to make a left at Richboro Road.   That goes unexpectedly well and I am starting to breathe calmer for the first time since i left my apartment.

“I got this,” I think.  Then I remember the mother of all hills.  As I drive up Richboro Road, I notice that the hill I feared so much is actually plowed and salted.  There is not a flake of snow on it and I briefly entertain the thought that it was possibly heated like those streets in Norway.   I chuckle and speed up a little.

I was not going to be late!

As I near the top of the hill, there is a road block.  There is a police officer there directing traffic to the left, through the Council Rock High School Road.

I turn my GPS on because I’m not sure how to get to the office from there.  I just know that at some point I have to go in the direction I had been traveling previously.

So there I am, trudging along.  The road is not plowed at all and I am trying to maintain a decent speed to keep my momentum.

I see the giant football field on the left, the school to the right and I also see the car to the right.  I look ahead and see the stop sign intended for that car.  The driver in that car, like a lot of drivers these days, is sitting at the stop sign, watching me approach.  The driver waits until I am about forty feet from the middle of the intersection and pulls out.

I curse.  I slow down.  And yes, I get stuck.

Great.

I throw it in reverse.  Back into drive.  Into low. I turn the wheel.  The whole time I am just spinning my wheels going nowhere but deeper into the mass of snow that is trying to swallow my poor Pontiac.

I get out of the car.  I have no shovel.  I have not even a small sand bucket left over from the lost days of summer.  I have my hands.  That is all I have.

So there I am.  On my knees, scooping the snow out from under my car like a dog digging a hole for a bone.  I can imagine the dog was much happier in his digging.

Luckily, two nice people in two separate vehicles, both of which are Ford Explorers, come to my rescue with shovels.

I thank them repeatedly like some sort of broken record and, with their help, I am able to get my car out of the snow.  I think momentarily to stop, get out and say thank you.  But, I fear getting stuck again so I just beep, wave and get my ass out of there.

I make it to work in one piece.  When I get into the parking lot at the office, I remember that I need oxygen to function effectively, and exhale long and slow.

Snow was so much more fun when I was a kid.

Regretting Obsessive Rejection

I’m sitting in my car at Tyler State Park.  It is about twenty-two degrees outside.  I come here almost every day on my one hour lunch break.  Usually I walk for a while as I collect my thoughts.  But today I am a wimp.  The car is safer.  While I cannot hear the frigid wind smacking the leafless trees, I can hear about seventy geese honking in the field behind me.  The chirping birds and foraging squirrels that would grace me with their innocent presence throughout the summer and fall are nowhere to be found.  That is about the only notion I can understand today.

I come here almost every day in the hopes that one of these afternoons I will find peace.  And in finding peace that will free my mind, if only for a moment.

But I am obsessive.  I would like to tell you that I obsess over happy things like a good day at work or winning three dollars on a lottery ticket.  However, that would not propel my insanity forward.  So, I obsess about unpleasantries such as a bad day at work, whether or not I am good enough and the dumb things that spill out of my mouth like cherry Kool-Aid onto a bright carpet.  Sure, it can be cleaned up, but the stain always remains.

A small engine airplane just flew overhead.  As I hone in on that, still with honking geese in the background I start to wonder where that plane might be going. I have a good idea that it is probably going to the airport in Mercer County, NJ but that thought doesn’t give me warm fuzzy feelings.

I’m tired and have been for years.  This game called life is not fun anymore and I look every day for the reset button but it never surfaces.  All of the dreams and aspirations I have had in my life have dwindled to dust as I decided somewhere along this path that the right thing to do would be to put myself last.  How crippling that thought has become.

Now my days are filled with despondent sighs and dreams of “someday”, “if only” and, the most damaging one of them all, “I should have.”

“I should have” are three words seeped in regret like a bitter tea bag in hot water.  Regret is a tough teacher albeit a good one.

I regret not listening to my grandmother all those years ago on our car rides up River Road into New Hope, PA when I was a little girl.  My Gram gave me such good advice about how to act like a lady and how you should never be easy.  Her words rang in my ears until I became a teenager and the pressure of being cool and fitting in greatly outweighed good advice.

I regret listening to my father.  While my grandmother gave me words of wisdom, my father gave me lectures of negativity.  My dad, it seems to me now, wasn’t very comfortable outside the box.  He told me why I shouldn’t be an auto mechanic, why I shouldn’t be a race car driver and went right down my list of dreams smashing them all one by one with the hammer of doubt.  As a little girl, the one thing that I wanted to do very badly was please my father.  If forgetting my dreams could help me do that, then that was what I would do.

It became clear to me a couple years ago why my father never pushed me.  If I went after a dream and it didn’t work out then he would be devastated.  If I stayed inside my little sheltered coven he would feel no pain because I never tried.

Since I need my dreams and aspirations intact, I don’t tell my father what is on my mind anymore.  If I happen to be talking to him it is usually small talk.  Even if I have something burning my brain that needs a hasty exit through my lips, I hold back.  My father can never know who I really am or what I really want anymore.  Obsession over that rejection will destroy me.

Gratitude

As the days turn into years, I sit here and think of all the things that I want.  I want it all and I want it now.  I have been so focused on everything I think I am entitled to, that I rarely stop to look at what I should be grateful for.

I should be grateful for my health.  Yes, this is cliché.  However, as I share an office with someone who is such a good soul and is battling colon cancer, I can’t help but realize just how blessed I really am.  Cancer is something I have never had the misfortune of dealing with; not personally nor in my family.  Sure, I’ve had some wicked colds in my life and it sure seemed my co-worker was battling an epic cold in the beginning of 2010.  But when she collapsed one night in January and was rushed to the hospital, she was told she had stage four colon cancer.  Since that awful night in January, her attitude has changed.  It seems she no longer sweats the little things and she puts off until tomorrow what does not need attention today.  The worst thing I have ever had to deal with is migraine headaches.  Which, anyone that has ever suffered from them knows how terrible migraines are.  But compared to cancer, these headaches are a privilege.

I should be grateful I have a decent place to live.  When I leave my small apartment in the morning and proceed to ride by all of the big, fancy homes on my way to work or even the local coffee shop, my heart kind of sinks a little.  I think back to all of the dreams and aspirations I once had that would have put me in such a beautiful abode.  On my way home from work every night, I see this unkempt fellow pacing up and down Bellevue Avenue.   His hands are always clasped behind his back as he strolls, up and down, wearing the same navy blue jumpsuit since I started travelling Bellevue Avenue in 2007.  In the hot, humid summer days he still wears the navy jumpsuit and I feel sad inside that he has nowhere to hang his tattered navy blue rags while I pull into my driveway.

I should be grateful that I have a wonderful career.  Most of my life I have lived paycheck to paycheck.  I was doing just this as a parts delivery girl for a big named auto parts supplier while making barely over minimum wage.  The way I was treated after a motorcycle accident was deplorable and that led me to seek out new employment.  I wound up interviewing for a small accounting firm, to which I was overlooked by another applicant.  A month went by and they called me back looking to reinterview.  That was in November of 2007 and I am still employed by the same small firm that takes very good care of their employees.

But what I am most grateful for is all of the little things.  The five dollars I find at the bottom of my purse.  The days that it is sunny when my driver’s side window refuses to cooperate and stay up.  I am grateful for all of the people who cross my path each day.  I thank the nice ones for making my day more pleasurable, and the not so nice ones, for showing me there is always a better attitude to be had.  Without gratitude, there is always a sense of entitlement.  I am entitled to nothing on this earth.  And who is really?

Writer’s Block

I am working on a novel and I have hit a terrible block.  I get up from the screen and go to the notebook. I drop the notebook and venture back to the screen.

I listen to people talk.  I read what others have written.  Yet, I still cannot put a complete thought onto a page or the neon screen that glares back at me.

So I ask you.  How do you deal with writer’s block?  Do you get up and walk away for ten minutes?  An hour? A day?  A week?  Do you have some sort of ritual to overcome this wall of defeat?  Do you start writing about something completely unrelated to what you have already started?