Tag Archives: Opportunity Rising

Opportunity Rising: September 4, 2014

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Every day, we have a choice of whether to be happy or miserable.  We may have no control over what happens in our lives, what difficulties we face, what opposition and challenge and pain and loss that comes our way.  But we still have a choice in how we experience those realities. 

As they say, pain is inevitable.  Suffering is optional.

The difference between pain and suffering is huge, but subtle.  Most people never take the time to really consider the difference.

Pain is real.  Whether it’s the pain of illness or losing a loved one or getting fired from a job, pain is a physical, psychological, spiritual experience we all recognize.

Suffering is not real.  Suffering is what we attach to the pain, the feelings and emotions and attitudes (usually condensed to some version of “this isn’t fair.”)  Suffering is choosing to assign moral judgments to physical sensations.

I am in pain.  I am tired.  I am isolated and lonely.

All painful experiences, but they don’t absolutely have to lead to suffering.  Ask any mother (after significant time for recuperation), and she’ll tell you that the pain of childbirth was worth it.  Ask any marathoner, and they’ll say being tired is just part of the game.  The doctoral candidate working on their thesis may experience isolation and loneliness, but it’s a temporary sacrifice for a greater goal.

The understanding that all pain, as well as all joy, is simply a temporary experience in a greater whole of experience can be crucial in eliminating suffering from our lives.  Knowing that this, too, shall pass allows us to experience the joys and pains of life without attaching too many judgements to the experiences.

Today, when you feel yourself suffering, ask yourself what judgements you are putting on your experience.  What self-talk can you hear when you consider the experience?  Have you forgotten this experience is temporary?

Let yourself experience the pain, the joy, and all the things life throws at you without attachment or judgement.  You will be amazed at how quickly your suffering is alleviated.

Blessings,

Deb

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Opportunity Rising: September 3, 2014

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I’m still struggling to get back into a routine after last week.  In addition to the disruption of the holiday weekend, last week was simply difficult.  Far too much stress with far too little sleep, combined with an unhealthy amount of caffeine, salt, and sugar.

We’re not perfect.  We mess up, miss appointments, fall behind on tasks.  But if we constantly strive to do the best we can, defining best as the best we can do in that moment without harming ourselves or others, there’s no need for guilt or recrimination.

My goal is to get back to posting twice a day, consistently, every day.  It’s important to me to have this routine, to meet this commitment I’ve made to myself and my readers.

I hope you’ll be patient with me as I work toward that goal. 

Have a great day–

Deb

Opportunity Rising: September 2, 2014

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Some days, you have to just settle for good enough.  Some days it’s enough to just get through.

In today’s world, we have been conditioned toward excellence.  We have been trained to accept nothing less than our very best.  The trouble is, some days, our very best is just good enough.  Some days, the best we can do is show up and try.

Our hero-oriented culture doesn’t have much pity for what it deems “losers” – people who aren’t the best, aren’t the first, aren’t the richest, aren’t the sexiest.  There’s no quarter for also-rans, it seems.

This sets us up prettily for a ruinous lack of self-worth.  It assures us of constant neurosis, since it’s simply impossible to always be the best at everything.

The best way to empower yourself, then, is to embrace failure as a necessary and valuable part of life.  Moreso, understand that “not winning” and “failure” are not the same thing.  Some days, you learn more from showing up and coming in third than you ever would from winning.

You learn persistence.

You learn faith.

You learn self-compassion.

You learn humility.

These are important lessons that need to be learned.

When you see not-winning and failing as the same thing, the only thing you learn is failure.

And that, my friends, is the real loss.

Be blessed –

Deb

Opportunity Rising: August 31, 2014

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Enjoying a quiet Sunday with my Sweetie.  Tomorrow will be the anniversary of our hand-fasting.  We’ve been together almost 15 years, but we were joined two years ago today at a small ceremony in Phoenix.  

No matter how difficult life gets, it’s great to know you have a partner and a friend to face the road with.  I do love my wife so very much.

I hope you are all having a great weekend.

Love–

Deb

Opportunity Rising: August 29, 2014

91486638.kC5dRSAv.DesertSunrise_79993I keep thinking about strength and endurance.  The song currently stuck in my head is What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger by Kelly Clarkson.  It’s a pretty empowering song, with a good beat (and you can dance to it).

Gaining wisdom and strength through adversity is all well and good, but it doesn’t have to be the only way we do it.  I know people who purposely seek out difficult situations in the backward desire to prove their strength.  If you’re doing this as a marathon runner, that’s awesome.  But if you’re constantly putting yourself in the path of hostile or sick people just to prove your strength of character, you’re going about it the wrong way.

A friend of mine had a very abusive father.  He would always berate her, call her names, tell her she was worthless.  Occasionally, he would physical hit her.  And when asked, he always offered the same reasoning for his behavior – he was hoping she would “grow a spine,” fight him, and gain strength from the experience.

What a crock!

Sometimes, what doesn’t kill you makes you weaker.  What doesn’t kill you eats away at your core ability to trust yourself, saps your strength, and reduces your life to an ambulatory coma with no energy left for growth and exploration.

We all face adversity from time to time, and most of us have some serious scar tissue to show from it.  But there are easier ways to gain strength: by standing up for yourself, by speaking out for others, by living your truth quietly and persistently.  You don’t need a war to become a warrior, just a warrior’s soul and determination.

I hope that whatever adversity you face today makes you stronger instead of weaker.  I hope that you find opportunities to strengthen yourself through love, compassion, and curiosity.

And I hope that you have a fantastic weekend and (in the U.S.) Labor Day holiday.

Peace–

Deb

 

Opportunity Rising: August 28, 2014

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There’s nothing like an old song on the radio to bring your thoughts into alignment.  I truly think the radio is the Universe’s favorite method of communication, especially for those of us willing and patient enough to listen.

How many times have you been driving along, worrying about something or another, and the perfect song just pops up on your dial?  If you’re like me, it happens all the time.

Last night, I heard the perfect song–a gift from the Universe.  I know it was a gift from the Universe, because I’d neither heard nor thought about the song in years.  It was Dionne Warwick’s “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again.”

Over the past week, I’ve been struggling with doubt.  Following the course I’m following is like holding up a sign to the Universe that says, “Please Test My Resolve.”  So, in the words of Abraham, “Ask and It is Given.”  I want to practice kindness, so I encounter unpleasantness.  I want to practice patience, so I encounter rudeness.  I want to practice courage, so I encounter things that frighten and upset me.  In the midst of all this testing, it’s easy to wonder if this path is worth the effort. 

Which is where the song comes in.  To paraphrase, the singer goes on about how crappy it is to fall in love–lies and pain and sorrow, enough germs to catch pneumonia, the whole nine yards.

But the tag of the song, the crux if you will, is that despite the downside, it’s worth it to try again tomorrow.  The benefits of falling in love far exceed the pain and challenge that come with it.

So, I get the hint, Universe.  Keep going forward, no matter how many tests get thrown in your way.  Each test you face and pass is another tool in your quest to create a better world.

It’s important to remember, even if through your dream “you only get lies and pain and sorrow,” it’s always best to fall in love again!

Have a great day –

Deb

 

Opportunity Rising: August 26, 2014

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We all have triggers – those words or phrases that send us shooting into the realm of defensiveness, anger, and hurt.  Some days I feel I have more triggers than an NRA convention.

It’s hard, when a trigger is switched, to maintain perspective and resist the flood of feelings and thoughts that overwhelm you.  You are dealing not only with the current situation, but with the entire history of that trigger, all at once.

The longer you let a trigger remain intact within you, the more powerful that trigger becomes.  The effect of the trigger is cumulative, gaining strength and momentum each time it is set off.

I got a trigger switched today.  The “You think you know so much, Miss Know-It-All” trigger has been with me since middle school, when I was singled out for three years of bullying due to my classification as a gifted student. I was the only one in my class to be classified that way, and therefore I was required to use special texts and have different assignments from my peers. 

In a small school, this doesn’t go unnoticed, and I was taunted on an almost daily basis because of it.  The teachers barely had the resources to deal with my “special needs education,” much less with the social traumas that accompanied it.   Fast forward three decades, and I still get twitchy when I’m singled out or teased for knowing the answers “too well.”  

So what do we do with triggers?  As my wife Kathryn put it, it’s not enough to “get over it.”  You need to diffuse the trigger so it stops gaining and maintaining power over you.

How do we diffuse triggers?  Ration isn’t enough.  I know why those kids mocked and bullied me.  I know why adults sometimes make the same jokes.  I know they are not responsible for my triggers or even aware they’ve set them off.

Knowing all of this doesn’t really help on its own.

What helps is compassion.  Compassion for my self, and compassion for the person setting off my trigger.  Compassion for the difficulties we humans face in our personal interactions, and compassion for the struggles we must endure on the road to personal realization.  Compassion opens the door for reason, allowing reason the space it needs to unravel the complex knot of pain and emotions pulling you off track.  

My trigger got switched today, and my wife’s compassion helped me back on track.  That’s a pretty awesome opportunity we have there, isn’t it?  The opportunity to show compassion.  The opportunity to get things back on track.

Until this evening…

Peace & Love – Deb

Opportunity Rising: August 25, 2014

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Nobody gets to choose what kind of life you have except you. 

Nobody gets to choose what kind of day you have except you.

Nobody gets to choose what kind of moment you have except you.

What kind of moment do you want to have?

Remember, a life is just a string of moments connected together.  Choose wisely.

Love to you–

Deb

Opportunity Rising: August 23, 2014

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Sorry about the late start–weekends.  Not a morning person. Ya know?

A friend is interviewing a Very Famous Person today and asked if I had any questions I’d like to have answered.  Of course, I had one to offer and hopefully the message got back in time for the question to be included in the interview.

But this raises other, more important questions.  Why do we turn to Very Famous People to answer life’s burning questions?  What about us makes us seek out authority figures wherever we may be able to find them? Why do we depend so much on the opinions of others to help us create our own worldview?

I think some of it falls under the category of humans being pack animals.  We developed in society, and society is our security.  By constantly assessing the views and opinions of the pack, we assure ourselves that we will not do or say anything that will endanger our standing within that pack. The higher the standing of the individual (like a Very Famous Person), the more we value their views and opinions.

The problem comes when we become so dependent on the opinions of others that we forget to have opinions of our own.  We forget to listen to the quiet, authoritative voice within that will always lead us true.

The fact is, I don’t need this Very Famous Person’s answer to my question.  I have my own theories.  But I am interested in that person’s take on the subject.

Maybe this is where we should strive to be–have your own opinions and views, but be curious and open to the views of others.  That ensures not only that we have strong individuals, but strong, cohesive packs as well.

Anyway, that’s how my day is rolling.  Hope you enjoy yourselves today and have a safe Saturday.

Best–

Deb

Opportunity Rising: August 22, 2014

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At the end of the day yesterday, I was extremely discouraged, frustrated, and depressed.  I woke this morning, leaning towards another day of the same.  But I stopped myself.  I pulled myself back and straightened myself out.

At the end of the day, it’s hard to have the strength to pull yourself out of a negative spiral.  Like any bad habit, the best option is not to get started in the first place.  It’s actually easier to avoid a negative spiral than to escape one.

Every morning, I try to start with intentions.  How am I going to live this day?  How am I going to interact with others?  What do I expect my day to look like?  (Here’s a hint: if you start the day thinking, today is totally going to suck?  You have pretty much written the script.)

Every afternoon, I name five things I’m grateful for as I drive home from work.  I try to avoid statements like “I’m so grateful work is over for the day,” because those just have the exact opposite effect from gratitude.  I do much better with statements like “I’m grateful for the beautiful weather.”  “I’m grateful for my tribe, especially my wife Kathryn.”  “I’m grateful for my ability to face life with a sense of humor.”  These generate more gratitude, and really help clear out the dust of a difficult day.

It’s Friday, and most of you are probably already feeling good.  But if you’re not, take a moment.  Decide what kind of day you’re going to have, then set about creating it.  And when the day is done, be thankful for the day you’ve had.  It will really make a difference.

So much love and light to you all–

Deb