Friday, May 28, 2010

I want to be a kid again

There is no greater example of presence than in a young child. I walk my kids to school; fair weather of course. If not it is the SUV, and the trip much more abbreviated, and a lot less beneficial.

I find that many of the things I find myself coaching my kids to abstain from, are simply the examples of youth, innocence, exploration, and harmless expressions of being present in the moment. They often mention to me, “Daddy, I want to grow up right now!” I recoil in horror as many of us wish we could turn back the clocks. I say this not in the dream of having the svelte and slender frame I had as a youth, as somewhere my six-pack turned into a keg; but that the circumstances of our life were so different. It was all about the context.

We had fears, we had obstacles, we had dreams, and we had relationships as we do now, but man oh man, were the contexts much different.

I want to go back. I want to go back to appreciate when my “deformity” was that I was too short to reach the Choc-Ola at the bottom of the soda cooler. I remember my life’s goal was to be able to enter Bud’s Carry Out on Elm Street, through the flimsy screen door, across the creaking wood flooring, to proudly bend over the cooler, and reach a Choc-Ola drink without my mid section being the fulcrum between my dangling toes, and me taking a nose dive into the beverages. Those were goals–achievable and certain goals!

The only ladder we had to climb was to get the Frisbee off the roof.

I want my Sunday school God back. When I was young, we would hear a lesson of love and of compassion, we would make a cross out of Popsicle sticks, and life was recharged. All I knew was God was great, He was everywhere, He loved me, He loved you, and He was in control and everything would eventually be okay. I lament that the innocence of the Divine concept has been changed. Too much of “my” God will kill those who follow “your” God is in the world. Too much of “how” I am supposed to praise, and in what way has taken away the ability to just connect and enjoy. It is like someone telling me how to hold my daughter’s hand.

War. War was a game we played with cards. We would get through the deck and yell, “Two out of three, okay?” The only blood we would experience would be from a skinned knee while climbing a tree. Miracle cures were mother’s kisses. Rebuilding devastated civilizations were what ants did if we stomped on the little mounds of dirt we found punctuating our play areas.

Fear? In short, the boogie man. Okay maybe strange noises coming from outside your window or in the ink of the night. Fear could be erased with a crack in your bedroom door and a hall light and not a monthly prescription.

You fell from social graces not by racial slurs but by yelling “poopie-butt” at your friend because it was the absolute worst thing you could ever dream up. “Wardrobe malfunctions” were mismatched socks and uncombed hair. The “style trends” were when your friends all planned to wear swimsuits under your clothes so after school you saved time getting to the pool party. Garanimals. “Nuff said.”

Snap back to reality...

I guess I find that it is spending time with my kids and their friends that allow me this stroll down memory lane. It happened to me yesterday as I encountered a stranger on the street outside my business. Casual pleasantries about the weather detoured into a string of minutes discussing moments from my small town that would make Norman Rockwell proud. I found he was a widower, a handful of years my senior, and after our brief chat, strolled onward with a smile he did not arrive with. Like my kids share their presence with me, I shared with him. That’s how it works.

I like being where I am I guess. I can now reach the cookies unassisted; once being another life goal. I can go as far as my car can take me as opposed to how far I can peddle. Maybe a little more freedom, but the interpretation of that statement leaves itself for another discussion.

Nothing is stopping me from stomping in puddles, running wildly, humming at the table, or making weird noises while I eat. I guess I could if I wanted to. Some days I still may not comb my hair. I am thankful to still be able to recall the joy of those moments. I hope those are the memories that are the last to fade.

As the presence and living in the moment is precious to a child, it is the ability to be present myself that allows me to recognize these things happening in my kids and around me. If I am in-tune, I can tune-in to what my kids are experiencing more so. Although presence of mind is a true gift, I find it is still healthy to occasionally take a little vacation.

Repost from Artisan of the Human Spirit

Special Relationships!

Special relationships, what are they? We are talking about intimate, 'love' relationships, borne out of 'love'.

Maybe we should begin with the question of what is love?

'Love is patient,
Love is kind.
It does not envy,
It does not boast,
It is not proud.
It is not rude,
It is not self-seeking.
It is not easily angered,
It keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil
But rejoices in the truth.
It always protects,
Always trusts,
Always hopes,
Always perseveres.'

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

Therefore whatever is not the above, means it is not love???

So for example, taking one of the lines above, love- 'it is not easily angered.'
Does this mean when we are angry with our intimate partner, do we not love them any more?

It seems so!

But let's not use only the Bible's word for it.

Eckhart Tolle, an author and spiritual teacher, says that,

'If in your relationships you experience both 'love' and the opposite of love - attack, emotional violence and so on - then it is likely that you are confusing ego attachment and addictive clinging with love.......true love has no opposite.'

He continues,

'Love is a state of Being. Your love is not outside; it is deep within you. You can never lose it, and it cannot leave you. It is not dependent on some other body...'

So what are special relationships? Or to put it another way, What is the purpose of a special relationship??

If they invariably create so much emotion, both positive and negative, where the negative is not love, and by the looks of it neither is the positive since it is the opposite of negative, and as said above, 'true love has no opposite'.

Is there a purpose, other than procreation?? Is there something more spiritual or is this it? - You fall in love, have a few good times, have a lot of bad times, have kids, make up, get on, fight again, stay together, or not, fall in love with someone else and start the whole process again, with a few variations.

Tolle believes that humans have increasingly become identified with their mind and therefore most relationships are not rooted in the present. This is why it turns into pain and conflict.

Avoidance of relationships does not dissolve this pain, since the problem is that the identification is with the mind and not the present moment - living in the past or future.

Relationships work on our need to become whole. To make a whole you need both masculine and feminine. That is the pull, the attraction, the search for wholeness, on a physical level, since at the core, we are whole.

So, other than the need for wholeness, what is the purpose of a relationship?

Tolle believes a relationship's purpose is not to make you happy or fulfilled. If you continue to look for happiness through a relationship you will be disillusioned over and over again.

Tolle says that a relationship's purpose is to make you conscious. Which in turn will bring you happiness, for being conscious is your natural state of being, just as love is your natural state of being. Accepting this will help you align with a higher consciousness.

How do you stay conscious? What is conscious?

Staying present, Being, not going to the past which is riddled with guilt, bitterness and hate, or darting to the future which is infested with worry, fear and anxiety.

Staying present makes you an observer. Being an observer, you are alert. Being alert keeps you present, dissolving any pain real or perceived freeing you to accept the NOW!