How to Compost Your Fears

Recently I was thinking about the whole composting issue and whether I wanted to be a part of this revolution. In the middle of my research a thought occurred to me. Might it be possible to compost my fears in the same way I compost my left-over food scraps?

Before I continue, I want to share that this is a two-part post, the first part today and the second part on Thursday, January 20, 2022.

When I began my research, I only had a vague idea about the process of composting. Maybe you already know a great deal, but in case you don’t, here’s a little background that might be helpful.

The whole idea revolves around combining decomposing plant and food waste and other organic materials. The end result is a mixture rich in plant nutrients and beneficial organisms that can be used to fertilize and improve soil.

In other words, you are able to grow really good stuff with it.

What happens in the process is that everything is combined and placed in a sealed container and left alone. It just sits there, waiting and doing its thing. Really, it couldn’t get much easier.

So, what I’m wondering is, what if I handed you a container and told you that you could place all your fears inside and seal it shut in the hopes that what came out of it at the end of the process would be rich, fertile soil for your life. Would you do it?

And if you did, what fears would you place in the container? What are you holding onto right now that would feel wonderful to release from your life?

I know this is something I would benefit from doing, so here’s my list.

I am afraid of feeling small and not pushing myself beyond my careful limits. I fear that others may not find worth in what I write and therefore, in me. I am afraid to appear foolish. I fear that I might lose this game of life somehow. I have fear and concern about the future and that as I age, my physical wellbeing will deteriorate. I am afraid for the health of those I love, especially during these troublesome times. I have fear that our world will never return to what is was before COVID and I won’t be able to see others beautiful smiles and hug them. I am afraid that we won’t listen well enough to the earth and to each other. And ultimately, I am afraid of both failure and success, but for very different reasons.

This is just a partial list. It’s what came to me just now. I imagine your list may be very different from mine, but what might be the same is how it feels to each of us deep inside. We may have different names but the same sense of fear.

Okay, let’s imagine that you decide to give this a try. First, spend a minute or two and create a list of your fears and concerns by acknowledging them and placing them one by one in your imaginary composting container. Once they’re all in there, snug the lid on top and push it firmly down sealing it shut.

In the silence I hear you asking me this question, “now what?”

Now you leave them in there and go do whatever fun things appeal to you. Take a walk, play a sport, workout, paint, read, anything you find relaxing.

In a few days we’ll see what’s happened to your fears, but for now I want to share what the world might be saying to us about this approach.

In all likelihood it’s telling us that absolutely nothing is going to happen and that the whole idea is ridiculous. This is how the world often speaks to us, as if it’s invested in the continuation of our pain.

But here’s some very good news, we don’t have to listen to the world. We are not required to pay attention and can always choose our own path. That’s what we’ll be doing this coming Thursday, so please join me then.

The Trouble with Choosing Sides

Imagine you are standing amongst a group of kids. You’re facing two other kids who are looking at you with a careful, critical eye. You can see little wheels spinning in their heads while they make their choices. Basically, they are thinking one of two things.

Who will help me win the game we’re about to play (“I want them on my team”) or who will lose it for us (“I absolutely don’t want them on my team”)?

I was a part of this scene dozens of times during my childhood, both as the one making the choices and as the one hoping not to be chosen last.

There is a tremendous emotional imprint made during these sessions which can last a lifetime. It can also affect your self-esteem level, which carries forward to many other situations.

I realize that choosing sides seems to be a part of life and perhaps I would be wise just to accept it.

But I can’t. There is too much at stake.

Every way you look there are expectations for you to make a decision on who to support. Which sports team, political party, religion, talking head, family member, TV show, you name it. You are expected to agree with a certain number of important figures in your life, family members, teachers, business leaders, all to show your allegiance.

But what if you disagree with the crowd? Or, as some others will see it, worst yet, have no opinion at all?

There could be some trouble in that for you, couldn’t there?

Earlier in my life I didn’t have many opinions and I only reluctantly chose sides. Well, except for football, because of course I knew who the best team was. Or did I?

Being forced to choose a side is a tricky thing. Suppose you have no real opinion, or you don’t truly know all of the facts, or you don’t care which side seems to be ‘more right’? In many situations you are expected to choose a side…the ‘right side’ of course. Staying neutral can be dangerous and can place you outside of your group, family, or nation.

Okay, so why would anyone hesitate?

Well, the first reason is that once you choose a side, it makes it very difficult to understand those on the other side. It’s as if your brain goes on strike. It says, “I’ve come to a conclusion and I’m sticking with it and now I don’t have to think any more…case closed”!

You want to talk about dangerous, there it is.

A second reason is that you might feel as though you are missing something. How could there be all these other people who have decided another way is better? What do they know that you don’t? Are there some facts you are unaware of? Maybe it would be valuable to talk with them and find out.

And here’s another thing that happens when you choose a side. Huge rifts are created, and greed and envy polarize positions making it impossible to see beyond them. Wars and territorial issues surface. Borders and fences of all sorts are erected. And emotional attachments harden hearts.

So, what if we didn’t choose sides? Would society collapse? Would there be chaos?

What if we searched for some common ground? What if we were willing to listen so that we could truly know the fuller story? What if we were willing to compromise for the sake of unity? What if winning and losing became unimportant, but everyone gaining peace and harmony took center stage?

And there is more at stake because having to take sides has an emotional impact on each one of us. Being forced to comply with arbitrary positions corrupts us, makes us smaller and weaker as people and blankets our free will which is one of our greatest gifts.

Well, perhaps I am choosing a side after all, one where we aim toward peace and understanding and harmony. I can live with that one.

Permission

How would you like to do something extraordinary for yourself? Something to raise you up and empower you?

I’m going to hope that you said, “yes”.

As this new year begins to enfold, I wanted to offer you a practice that has proven to be both magnificent and magical for me. It began several years ago when I was attended a retreat at Kripalu in Lenox, Massachusetts.

Our program presenter is one of my all-time favorites, Tama Kieves. If you ever get a chance to attend one of her workshops, please do yourself a favor and sign up. She’s fantastic.

One of the exercises she suggested to us was to write down several ‘permission statements’. They could be about anything, as long as they felt true to us. It was and is one of the most liberating experiences of my life.

It may sound simple, and it is. There are no set rules and no limits to the creativity you can express, so you can go in any direction that calls to you. The freer and more open you are, the greater your rewards.

This is a life-affirming process and something you can do whenever you feel it would assist you or boost your energy. Each time I add to my list, I feel wider and more expansive. And happier.

What a divine reward that is.

If you have the time now, perhaps you’d like to give it a try. I’d suggest starting with five statements and see how it goes.

The first time I did this it took me several minutes to get into it. I can’t recall what I was concerned about but there was some roadblock standing in front of me. I had to marshal my forces and shove it out of the way before I could begin.

That turned out to be my first permission statement…” I give myself permission to do this assignment”. And from there things began to pick up speed. After the session was over, I went back to my room and sat down to see if more would come. And they did, a whole river of permission statements flowed out of me. It was as if a dam had broken. The liberating feeling created was what my heart needed in that moment and I was so grateful.

I can still capture this same feeling when I write new permission statements now.

I’d like to share some with you in the hopes that they serve as a springboard for your own to appear.

“I give myself permission to speak my truth. This does not mean I have to tell everyone everything.”

“I give myself permission to release the word ‘should’ from my vocabulary and speech and thought whenever it appears and to remind myself the word comes from fear, and so I can turn to love, no matter what the subject or context.”

“I give myself permission to live a life of happiness, bright beautiful happiness, knowing I deserve it simply because I am alive and know there are no requirements or restrictions on my life, because I am a free child of god.”

“I give myself permission to trust the process (of life) and to release any investment in the outcome(s).”

“I give myself permission to realize that at times I will feel struggles and feel vulnerable and feel fears of all kinds, but then to always remember to choose to love myself.”

They are not all long statements. Some are very simple.

“I give myself permission to dream any dream.”

“I give myself permission to live the life I came here to live.”

“I give myself permission to be gentle and kind and loving.”

I hope that this idea takes root in you and that you give yourself whatever permission would offer you peace, freedom and love.

Words Matter

Words matter, the ones you speak out loud, the ones you keep inside and especially the words you tell yourself.

Just the other day I was writing in my journal, and it struck me how differently the words expressed would be if I truly looked at each one.

Here’s a sentence I wrote.

Perhaps there would be some benefit to me if I acknowledged all of my concerns and accepted their potential outcomes, in advance.

There is a lot of meat in this sentence for me, but before I say anything about the content, I want to share that upon rereading it, I felt several changes needed to be made.

Here’s what the sentence looks like when rewritten.

There is benefit for me in acknowledging all of my concerns and accepting their potential outcomes in advance.

Can you sense the difference?

I certainly can. To me the shift is in its definitiveness. There is no ‘perhaps’ about it and rather than there being any question about the benefit of acknowledging my concerns, there is a sense of assurance about doing so. That is a big difference and it made me wonder how often my words reflect my true desires and intentions.

In this case, the content also changed. It shifted from being a question to being a statement that there is great value to me in allowing my concerns to surface, knowing that when I accept them in advance, I can discover their worth. There is power and strength where there had been concern and worry.

Words matter.

They each have their own energy and we are susceptible to it. If you are paying attention to them, you recognize their impact. You can feel them and some of them can elate you while others cause suffering and damage.

When you send your words into the world, they create waves. They ripple and ricochet because what you say to others can move far beyond them. And when combined with strong emotions, their expression and power are heightened.

Words when used with ill intentions cut and destroy and neither the receiver nor the giver are sparred.

Care with using words is a wonderful gift. Kind and generous words build and strengthen. Loving words add to the world. They bring joy and blessings. They open hearts and make the world a wider and more beautiful place.

The direction words travel, whether aimed toward our inner world or sent into the outside world, is important to consider.

What kind of life do you want?

It’s often reflected by the words you choose.

It feels to me that words have an inherent strength, and you can feel this while using them. Surely it depends on the circumstance and the manner in which they are used, but here are a few examples of what I mean.

Wishing feels weak because there is so much room for failure.

Hoping, wanting and desiring are stronger, but lack a sense of conviction. They hint at not being in possession of what you seek.

Intending and aiming are stronger still and more directional and will probably bring about greater results, if there is action taken.

Knowing, claiming and choosing strike me as more complete words. They are active, aware and directive. When used, they call into existence and create and become real in the world. They are the end result of conceiving, believing and taking action.

All words matter.

What we say to others and what we tell ourselves matters. Words create much of what we experience in our life and when chosen wisely bring joy and love into the world.

I am so grateful for words.

Did Jesus Apologize to the Moneychangers

Is there such a thing as righteous indignation? Are any of us allowed to express anger and take strong actions because we feel that it is justified? Do we get a pass for misbehaving?

I wonder about a lot of things, especially the ones that don’t make immediate sense to me.

Many people in this world know about Jesus, whether they are Christians who believe he is the son of God or others who feel he was a spiritual prophet who lived a very human existence.

There is a story in the Bible about when Jesus reacted with anger and overturned the moneychangers’ tables and cast them out of the temple. Each of the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) tell this story. They all seem to agree that the actions Jesus took were justified. That he was cleansing the temple, the house of God.

But here’s what troubles me.

It is so out of character for him. He ate with people that others considered to be sinners, he healed folks who were thought to be unclean, and he spoke with many who were outcasts of society. He feed the poor and preached about love, not just for the lovable, but for all.

I have to ask myself, is this story in keeping with the heart of Jesus’s teachings?

Wouldn’t his love have extended even to the moneychangers? Wouldn’t he have sat with them and brought wisdom to them, teaching them, and leading them into the light? Certainly, he had the insight to see within them and know what words to say, so that they could understand how what they were doing was harmful.

I offer you a disclaimer.

I do not believe that the Bible records every event exactly as it happened. There are numerous discrepancies when comparing the accounts of the four gospels and beyond that, when comparing different Bible versions and the languages and translations.

It seems to me we are prompted to go within to find our own truth.

I believe in following the essence of Jesus. In my heart I believe he would have turned up the love. He would have led the animals out into the courtyard, then returned to sit with the moneychangers. He would have shown love and drawn love out of them, changing their hearts in the process.

There would have been no need to apologize for turning over their tables and scattering their coins on the floor because he would have taken a more loving approach.

Of course, it is up to you to decide what you feel happened and you may be wondering what does this have to do with you?

In my mind, quite a lot.

For me, I wonder if I am ever justified in my anger. Can I behave in any manner, without concern for my actions, because I feel I have been wronged? Is there any such thing as righteous indignation?

It seems like a sort of carte blanche, where we allow ourselves to do whatever we want, with no consideration for the effect on anyone else.

The thing is, there is always an effect from the actions we take.

And it matters.

So, what is the takeaway when considering this story?

As always, it is up to each of us to decide.

What feels most right to me is that leading from love, not anger, is the way to live in this world. Sacrificing my anger and embracing a loving approach offers me the chance to connect with others. It builds up instead of tears down. It closes the distance between us. It opens our hearts and fills us. Choosing love always feels like the right decision.

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Reframing Your Life

Here is a question for you. What if there is only love and fear and nothing else? What if you decided to dive headlong into this question, would you discover that the greater truth is that there is only love?

Maybe you need a moment to think about it. Maybe the presence of fear is so strong that the answer is obvious, that of course there is fear, and so much more. Perhaps you are in the middle of a place of strife, whether that’s inside or outside of you.

It’s possible that fear is the only thing that seems real in this moment. I hope that is not the case for you, but if it is, I hope I have something to say worth your considering.

Recently fear had crept inside of me and was burrowing around, looking for a home. I felt it in the tightness of my chest, and it would not move.

I called out to Lia (one of the names I have for god) and asked for some guidance.

She came and rested inside of me and told me that both love and fear lead in the same direction. She said that love leads directly, while fears takes an indirect path.

I asked what else she could tell me about the path of fear. I wanted the heaviness in my chest to go away. I was worried that things would not turn out the way I wanted them to. I dislike this feeling and wondered how it could be released.

Lia said to me, “Part of the answer lies in trusting. Trusting that ALL paths lead to me. Right now, your sense of discomfort is because you doubt this outcome. You believe that your fears are going to take you down some other path and that you will become lost. You believe your fears will lead you into a world of suffering, pain and sorrow and you want to avoid this.”

She continued, “The truth for you in this moment is that fear feels unavoidable, but you can reframe your life.”

Lia asked me to imagine an ugly frame with a beautiful picture inside. She asked me to imagine that the beautiful picture is not only my life, but the picture of love. The ugly frame surrounding it is fear because that is how I see certain aspects of my life. She told me that the truth is that I can transform fear into love and that the deeper truth is that even fear is beautiful.

I confessed to being mystified.

Lia said, “Part of the truth lies in the mission of fear, its purpose.”

She went on to clarify, “It exists to aid you in your life. It directs you and points the way toward love, as a sure guidepost.”

I wanted to know so much more.

Lia told me that we had taken the first step, which was my willingness to ask and to listen. I’d opened myself up.

I wanted more peace than that and to release the lingering heaviness in my chest.

Lia encouraged me to sit back, close my eyes and to force a few quick breaths from my lungs, then rest.

I did as she requested and there was peace and a new freedom of breathing. And it gave me a chance to consider her words to me.

Am I capable of trusting that any fear that comes to visit me is here to serve me as a guidepost and help direct me back to love? Can I reframe my world, releasing fear and embracing love?

These are important questions to me and they have the ability to shape my whole world. It is up to me where I place my trust and what path I choose to travel. I want the path of love.

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Standing Out

Do you know anyone who stands out from the crowd? Are you someone who does? If not, do you want to?

It’s funny to me that many folks I know, myself included, want it both ways. We want to stand out and be recognized for being who we are and to have our talents and skills applauded. But then at other times, we want to shrink into the background as far away from the light as possible.

What makes the difference?

How can it be that one experience draws up into the sunshine while another makes us fade into the darkness?

For those of you who don’t see the picture at the top of this post, it’s a stream bed filled with rounded rocks and one gorgeous red leaf in the middle. It’s such an interesting contrast. The muted tones of the smooth rocks against the rich brilliance of autumn color.

The red leaf stands out in sensational glory. My eyes center on it and it pulls me toward its rich redness.

A curious thought runs through my head. Would I notice this amazing leaf if it was among a mass of other red leaves, or would its individual splendor be lost? Perhaps the answer is obvious. I probably wouldn’t have noticed it. It wouldn’t have stood out.

The same is no doubt true about the rocks. Would I have noticed one individual rock among all of the others, if they all looked essentially the same?

So, does this mean that in order to stand out, you have to be different from what’s in the background?

I hope not. I hope that we can each see ourselves as the red leaf. Brilliant, special, unique. I hope that we can see past any limits we or others set in our way.

I wonder, can I? Can you? What would it take for us to answer yes to this question?

Sometimes it’s easy because we all do some things very well. They’re obvious to us and to others. It feels good and we shine.

But, what about the other times? The ones where we fail to meet our own expectations or those of others? The times when we want to vanish from sight?

I want to propose an idea to you.

What if you came to realize that within you there is a hidden greatness? One that could accept any experience previously considered a failure. A greatness that allows you to shift your perspective, turning any perceived failure into a wonderful learning step along your way.

What if this inner magnificence called to you by name and asked you to trust in your divinity? Imagine releasing any doubts and preconceived notions you have about yourself. Imagine knowing you came here already unique, special, and brilliant. And now that you are here, you can spread your wings and fly.

I am telling you the truth as I know it. As always, it’s up to you to decide.

There’s one more thing I want to say.

A dear friend of mine and I had many conversations and always returned to the same singular question she wanted answered.

She wanted to know how I could see inside her or someone else. She wanted to know how I could see past all the ‘stuff’ on the outside, to the inner goodness.

I told her that when I look at someone through my heart, what I see is beautiful golden sparkling glitter floating around them. I pause for a moment, then gently blow it away and see their magnificent heart. Each one beautiful, flawless.

Each of you are beautiful. You each stand out in your own way. I hope you know this.

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I am…

Who are you?

Have you ever asked yourself that question? I’m pretty sure most people have at one time or another.

Some people tend to rephrase by asking it a different way. They ask, what am I doing here?

There does seem to me to be a connection and answering one may lead you to the answer for the other.

A long time ago I chose to participate in an exercise of self-discovery, where I posed a simple question, “who am I?”

I challenged myself to provide 100 answers to see what would happen.

If you want to try this for yourself, you may want to stop reading now and come back after your list is completed.

If you don’t have the time or the inclination to do this exercise now and would prefer to live vicariously through me, please feel free to continue reading.

Since it had been years since I’d done this, I decided to repeat the process. I opened a notebook and listed numbers down the left side, starting with 1 and ending at 100, then began writing whatever came to me.

I found that my answers came in spurts. I’d list all of the relationships I could think of; I am a husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, uncle, brother-in-law, nephew, cousin, friend… until I ran dry.

Nothing would come immediately, then other answers would jump out, having to do with my interests, talents and skills. Things like; I am a driver, bill payer, artist, writer, speaker, football fan, painter, dishwasher, swimmer, drip castle maker… the list grew considerably.

I’m not saying I’m good at all of the things “I am…”, but, I am them.  A lot of them.

The breadth of my answers surprised me. Hobbies, things I do at church, help I provide my family, things my wife and I do while traveling. A very diverse list began to appear.

Despite the breadth, I was still far short of the one hundred answers I hoped to find. So, I dug deeper and began listing all of the attributes I believe I possess; I am loving, caring, valuable, a dreamer, thinker, conversationalist, reader, sleuth, happy…

Even adding all of my attributes I needed a few more. I thought about all of my spiritual experiences and answers came, like; I am a retreat leader, healer, message giver, website post writer, energy worker…

And what about the obvious, yes…I am human.

Finally, I completed my whole list. It wasn’t without a lot of struggle and not for the ‘faint of heart’ because of the challenges it presented. But, it was a beautiful opportunity to look within and reveal things to myself.

I discovered that “I am…” far more than I initially thought and many of my answers show how deeply I am connected to others in this world. And, it made me want to stay connected. In fact, it made me want to grow and share and be more a part of others’ lives. Not bad for a deceptively simple exercise.

Now for the epilogue.

If you are super adventurous and want to really go deep, try turning the page in your notebook and numbering from 1 to 100 and do it all again, ** without repeating any prior answer**.

“I am…attempting to complete this”. If you choose to do the same, I’d love to hear what you discover.

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Was Buddha Worried About His Weight?

One day I was wondering about all of the diets there are around, so I decided to investigate a little. A quick search of the internet produced thirty-nine diets, identifying their strong and weak points.

It was mind boggling.

How could anyone ever hope to understand all of the differences between them and conclude which would be the best to try, if in fact, you wanted to try one at all?

The specifics of each diet change depending on the emphasis of the plan. Many diets support the idea of increasing fruit, vegetables, fish and plant-based foods. Others capitalize on certain foods groups to counter physical conditions like, high blood pressure, diabetes, cardio concerns or to improve mental functioning. In all the cases I read about, nutrition and safety play a major role, but there seems to be a significant difference of opinion, depending on the expert who is providing the information.

Some diets are notoriously difficult to follow, while others make it too challenging to understand the differences between good and bad food items or some other key components.

In many cases there are supporting statements made to attempt to convince a potential dieter of the values or reasons for the individual plans. For instance, some report that the Paleo Diet says, “that if cavemen didn’t eat it, you probably shouldn’t either.”

It wasn’t until my mid 60’s that I felt the need for a diet. A gradual increase in my weight each year suggested I would be in trouble if I didn’t make some immediate changes.

So, off I went to Weight Watchers.

Their program stresses adherence to certain point goals (each food is assigned a point value) and highly recommends attendance at weekly meetings, to monitor weight and participate in conversations with other members, guided by an instructor.

I did, in fact, reach my goal and have been mostly successful in maintaining it, within a reasonable range.

What all of the instructors say is, that to be truly successful, you have to change your mind-set about your relationship with food. Merely altering what you eat for a short time, even though it might produce some results, will fail in the long run.

I believe they are correct.

I believe there is a lot more involved that allows a person to achieve their weight goals. Or, for that matter, any goals they might have.

This is where Buddha comes in.

Have you ever seen a picture of Buddha with a large belly? I bet you have. Do you think Buddha spent any time concerned about his weight? I doubt it.

Bear in mind here (BIG DISCLAIMER), I am not suggesting or recommending that you ignore the sound advice from your health professionals regarding any diet ideas they have, especially, if you have an obvious health concern.

What I do want to share is a thought about our ‘beliefs’, especially in relation to what we experience in life.

Considering all dieters, could the difference between those who are successful and those who are not, be their belief about the outcome they would experience, rather than the particular diet they were on?

If you substituted a different concept for dieting (academic, career, relationship, finances…), would it work the same way, meaning your outcome would be directly related to your belief about your outcome, rather than one of the individual steps you took?

It certainly feels to me like an important idea to consider, mostly because it alters the dynamic, shifting it from a conceptual form to one of belief, particularly if the belief is deep seated.

This idea is creating a shift in my mind-set about my food intake and maintaining my weight. What if I had a strong belief that it is not so much about what I eat, as it is about what I believe about what I eat?

That’s something I think Buddha would have something to say about.

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Default Settings

I used to think that I reacted to situations one by one, and responded depending on a variety of factors. But, the more I’ve paid attention, the more I see how untrue this is.

What I actually have is a series of default settings, sort of automatic presets that kick in before I consciously think about them. It’s not that I want it this way and it often creates problems for me, prompting me to ask, “how did it get this way?”

For years, I would try to answer this and other questions aimed at explaining ‘why’? Most of these explorations failed and I found myself spending excessive amounts of time analyzing things, only to realize I couldn’t move forward, if I remained stuck in the past.

To me, it’s another version of the same dilemma, when applied to the future. I can plan and speculate all day long, but the truth is I can’t predict or experience the future before it arrives, so why try?

Okay, so what’s left?

How about accepting that my default settings exist, then see if they serve me somehow. Do they make it easier for me to cope with my life, without creating unnecessary problems? If so, perhaps I’m better off because of them, so why not keep them.

But if they don’t serve me in some way, maybe it’s time to consciously choose to either release them or to substitute new defaults for them, ones that improve my life.

But I wonder, how is this to be done?

One way comes to mind. It requires a little bit of work, but I suspect it’s well worth the time.

It involves an imaginary bell that you set to ‘ding’ every time one of your default settings gets triggered. Images often help, so imagine one of those small bells that dings when you enter a store. Pushing the door open makes it swing forward and back and ring, alerting the staff to your presence. Using this imagery and connecting it with your awareness provides an alert to you.

Here’s how it works for me.

One of my defaults is impatience. It shows up a lot, way more than I would like. If you’ve been reading my posts for a while, you already know one thing that sets it off, slow drivers. But, rest assured, there are many others; toasters that take forever to toast (only to burn it when I’m not watching), playing the game UNO, waiting for the shower to get hot enough to step under and long customer lines, to name a few.

So, let’s take long customer lines as an example.

Awareness is the key and the sooner I realize I’ve been triggered, the quicker I can adjust. And, the faster I can pull out my prepared speech. What speech, you might ask?

It’s really more a set of questions and it goes something like this (with my likely answers in parentheses).

“You see what’s happening, right? (yes) You know this situation always creates upsetting feelings for you, correct? (yes) Do you really want or need to continue experiencing this? (no) So, what other response could you choose? (ummm) Okay, I’ll help you. You could release it, telling yourself it’s not worth getting upset about. (I’ve tried that without success) Or, you could choose a new reaction (like?). You could look around your environment for something interesting, you could talk to someone, you could sing to yourself, you could close your eyes and breathe or any of a hundred other choices (do you think that would work, really?). There is one way to find out- give it a try the next time the bell dings. You can’t know if it’s worth it until you try. So, next time, listen for the ding and make a wiser choice.

Seems like a good idea to me, and maybe my impatience will get a chance to rest, opening me to new possibilities. That’s the plan.

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