Here’s What I’m Grateful for Today

  • Severe thunderstorms – Who can resist the awesomeness of severe weather–The thunder and lightning, the extreme wind and rain.  It’s humbling to know nature can so easily take us out.  And it’s just totally beautiful! 
  • Thunder and Lightning – Obviously the thunder and lightning are the best part of any thunderstorm.  The symphony of lights and sounds are simply amazing.  Nature puts on a spectacular show!
  • Shelter – It’s also nice to be inside, in a dry place, during such a show.
  • Severe weather alerts – Nice to live in a time in which the national weather service can alert you immediately through text via your cell phone of approaching tornados and other severe weather.  That’s an awesome use of technology!
  • Flashlight app on cell phone – How handy I find this feature to be since I’m always at a loss to find a working flashlight in my house.
  • Candles – Marvelous, if not ancient invention.  Now days we mostly just use candles for ambiance, but what a simple and effective solution in the absence of electricity or battery powered devices.
  • Matches – Always come in handy.  This is one thing no survival kit should be without.
  • Google lookup on cell phone – When I lost electricity during the storm, I was curious to know just how long my refrigerator would keep my fresh produce and Greek yogurt; so, right then I looked it up on my phone–a whole library of information.  Wow, super cool to have such technology, and something we SO easily take for granted.
  • Great neighbors – I have some of the best neighbors in the world!  The kind that check on me when I’m sick, mow my lawn for me without me even knowing and ask if I need anything during a thunderstorm when they too are without.
  • Ability to text with neighbors – Nice feature to have the ability without going out in the storm to find out information that’s happening around your immediate area when things go awry.
  • Having a smart phone during severe weather – Need I say more than I’ve just stated above?
  • Electricity – Well, I think we all can agree this is certainly something most of us take for granted daily, until we’re without it.
  • Being without electricity – Keeps us humbled to the fact we modern humans can’t live without it.
  • A beautiful day after the storm – Doesn’t a beautiful, sunny day just seem more enchanting after severe weather?  You appreciate it a bit more!

The Warrior Mind

Last Friday night, yeah, we danced on tabletops, and we took too many shots, think we kissed but I forgot… Na, just kidding.

Actually, last Friday night I had dinner with a friend at Tarbouch Lebanese Grill and Hookah in Austin.  It’s a cozy, friendly, little place hidden off of Oltorf.  Great food!  The Lebanese coffee is an acquired taste–very strong, clove aftertaste, but I’d likely order it again.

Then we went to the Austin Shambhala Meditation Center to hear Shastri Jeffrey Stevens talk on The Benevolent Weapon: Unfolding the Strength of the Warrior Mind.  Okay, you may be thinking that’s a little out there or maybe that sounds like a snooze fest for a Friday night, right?  My friend, Kamishia, and I thought it looked interesting and for some time I’ve thought of beginning a daily meditation practice but haven’t successfully implemented one.  I am not a follower of Shambhala Buddhism and neither is my friend; however, both of us do feel drawn to aspects of Buddhist teachings in general.  The speaker was funny and warm and the talk really helped me to better understand the need for a proper meditation practice with the simple goal of learning to live more in the present, not in the past or dreaming of the future like I’ve been doing.

A number of attendees at the talk who have developed a daily meditation practice spoke on how it has helped them in their daily lives.  Most stated that it helped bring clarity, peace of mind, eased suffering and judgment of one’s self and others, helped open the mind to new perspectives, helped those embody a more authentic life, assisted with developing strong self-discipline, and allowed many to see how fluid thoughts are.  How they can move through you yet remain separate from your identity.  I’m hoping cultivating a daily meditation practice will do the same for me.

I also recently realized that I haven’t been very good at living by my own, inner compass.  I’ve allowed my outer environment, experiences and encounters with others to shape me into a person I don’t recognize.  I have visions of the untarnished, healthy, confident, attractive, fit, pretty, sweet, sexy, caring, articulate, creative, happy, vibrant, ever-present, adventure-seeking, strong-willed and free-spirited me–The best expression of me.  This is the person I need to discover.

Inside the Cocoon

Yes, the Universe has been majorly hitting me over the head with regard to extreme life changes I must make.  Here’s a link to an interesting article I read today on 10 Signs It’s Time For A Major Life Change by Shannon Kaiser.  It completely denotes where I’m at and have been for a while.  I keep thinking of the caterpillar in metamorphasis.  I’m at that place where I want to remain still and quite.  Not to refrain from taking action but to listen, analyze and make sound observations and choices that benefit me fully.  I want to remain somewhat isolated for a while during this stage of transformation.  I think also to continue processing the grief and other emotions of so many things past and present.

I went for coffee with a friend Friday night and we talked for hours about letting go of negative thoughts and habits and subtle shifts in our perspectives that have been happening recently.  Things become more and more clear.  I’ve built a life void of close family ties and intimate relationships, and mindlessly clung to bad habits that hurt me and material possessions in a blind attempt to mask the lack of those relationships.  I’ve believed for so long I only really deserved the bad in life and none of the good.  However, love and stability were the things I desired most, things I didn’t have as a child after my mother passed away.  So, I bought a cozy little house by the lake, furnishings, adopted several orphaned pets and settled into mundane life with the hope of more.  Yet, it’s all been an illusion–A sad illusion.  I built a shell for a life that didn’t exist.  I settled for this shell of a life not realizing my true worth, inner strength and capabilities.  I’m still struggling to realize these things fully, but at least I am realizing them.

I want my transformation to be so magnificient that in a year’s time no one will recognize me.  I won’t even recognize me.  No, scratch that.  Maybe for the first time in a long time, I WILL recognize myself–my authentic self, and not someone mired in self-destructive addictions that are killing me–food, cigarettes, alcohol, material possessions, chaos.  Oprah says it best, “to become the highest or most truthful expression of yourself as a human being.”  That’s what I’d like to accomplish.  Forever striving for this.