Tuesday, September 24, 2013


How does one not get affected or reactive to other people's energies?  For the last couple of weeks, I have been surrounded by some pretty anxious and angry individuals in my work environment, and it has been very tempting to fall into that trap of anxiety, to fall into that trap of reactiveness.  I work in an agency where everything is dominated by fear - people react to things and everything becomes a drama and as a result their behaviors, their actions, their words are based on fear and anger.  
As much as I try to keep my distance, I have found that it takes an awful lot of internal energy within me to keep me grounded and not fall into that energy and not to take it personally.      Yet can one realistically become that energy if that is the surrounding environment that you are in.  The image of a lotus comes to me - pure, stainfree, beautiful, full of fragrance yet, it is surrounded by muddy water.  And that is what I keep reminding myself that I have to strive to be - like a lotus -remain unaffected by the surrounding and keep focusing on my goal and my duty.   How do i not take someone's negative energy towards me not personal? 

Different people respond to these situations differently.  For so many exercise and having an outlet to let out that excess energy is an option.   And it works wonders for those.   For me, it is writing, but writing in a structured format that allows me to look at the situation from a hawks' eye view, not free writing.   There is something that Kathleen Adams (The Therapeutic Writing Institute) refers to as "Springboards."  They are simple statements or questions that help you focus and clarify an issue.   Some examples of Spring Boards are:
"What is the most important thing to do?"
"What I really want."
"If I could pinpoint one thing."
"The Thing that speaks to me"
"What do I fear most now?"
"I intend on doing...."

Make a list of Statements that you can use when you are on the go and just need that clarity.   You can either time yourself for five minutes or you can either write for a couple of sentences.   It does wonders to you.  

The other thing that has sustained me is my 15-20 minutes of silence during the morning.  It gives me the focus for the day, the stamina to face the day regardless of what comes up, and the energy to keep going so that I can be there for myself and for those that need me.   If i don't have that time in the morning, I find myself unbalanced and a "hot mess."   So it gets me to thinking - what is it about those minutes of silence that gives me the energy and what is it about those minutes that makes me grounded.   Going within there is a power house in you.  I find a strength that is beyond description.  A strength that can help you look fear, anxiety, doubt in the face and smile.   It can face all the demons and say - You are here, I know you are here, but you are just an image, you are not me - you are my thoughts.  And when you begin the practice of observing the thoughts, of observing your feelings - it gets you to be more grounded and more focused on your task at hand.   It puts things for you in perspective- so rather than being  "in it", we can look at the issue from afar. 

And that is how journaling and silence can be used together.   The silence helps you go within and find that powerhouse, but it also helps you make friends with your greatest enemy -which is your mind.  It silences your judgment, it provides loving compassion, it gives you thoughts/ideas to spark your creativity.  And by writing, you bring your ideas into fruition.  Writing helps you keep track of your thought process, it helps you become more focused and aware of your issues, and allows you to stay grounded. 

As my zen card said to me this morning: "Tranquility is achieved when you are in harmony with all beings and all situations, knowing that everything is precisely the way it is meant to be."  So people will always be people - their ways may be crazy, their ways may be manic, mean, abusive at times - but you have to stay yourself in all situations - and not allow them to change you.   By allowing them to change you, you are giving into their madness, and their craziness and your role is to understand how this particular experience will shape or break you.  

Happy Journaling!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


9/11 is a day of loss for many Americans.  On this day, the nation watched in shock, terror as the twin towers came crumbling down and the lives of those near and dear, far and away were lost instantly.  It is a day that can bring back memories where each one of us were during that specific time.  It is a day where we may begin to experience a myriad of various emotions - and may say to ourselves - why am I feeling this way - only to remind ourselves of what we saw/heard and processed on that day.   I am not going to talk about the injustices of this event.   But more so what this day meant for me and lessons learned from it...

For me, this day brings back many memories - it reaffirmed to me the nothing is permanent - and that at any moment, at any time, someone dear/close to us -or even our own self can be snatched away instantly without warning.  It talked to me about the impermanence of life and how important it is for us remind ourselves of that truth.  Nothing is permanent, and because nothing is permanent, we must make the most of our life - whether it be with our near ones, whether it be with ourselves.  Sometimes it seems redundant to repeat these truths, but when someone dear and near is nowhere near you - one begins to treasure life even more rather than get involved in the pettiness of life.

The idea of impermanence may looked at morbidly or may looked at with wonder - so each day brings something new to us - and what we can learn from this.  For me to meditate on that truth can help and has helped me heal many of my relationships because you begin to look at things from a higher perspective. 

This day also taught me a topic that repeats itself over and over again and that is of kindness - kindess to strangers and reaching out and helping those that are suffering.      When something catastrophic occurs, we have two choices - to sit isolated or to reach out and help.  I choose the latter - because it talks to me of community and in order to build more violence free societies - we need to show and bring kindness to our communities.  Anger feeds anger - but kindness feeds kindness and rather than fill ourselves with the anger, the resentment of this event - feed it with being kind to those who need it - to those who have lost someone in this event - to a community that still is recovering from the financial losses of the event - to the parents of those who will always remember how so many of their children were heroes during that day - it is a day to pay homage and extend that kindness in whatever way you can.   It doesn't have to be big - it can be as simple as a prayer of peace to attending a march, to a local memorial service in your town, to visiting someone.  

And as we begin to extend our kindness, we begin to be more tolerant of differences within us.  Tolerance do differences is so important to survival of communities and relationships.  We may not understand, we may not agree, we may not believe -but if we take out that lense of difference, we will be able to see a human being for who they are and see the good in them.   Events like this bring back painful memories -yet in order to move forward we need to remember what has happened, acknowledge what has happened and honor that what has happened.   As we do that, we begin to process our feelings and begin to react differently to these events.   I will never forget where I was on that day.  I will never forget my feelings, my reaction, my fear on that day.  But I do not dwell on that anymore - instead I choose to move forward by learning what this event taught me. 

Journaling is a great way to remember.  Reading a poem is another form.   Prayer/Meditation/ritual is another way to honor.   A journaling prompt for you :
Today I am ___________________  (write for five minutes).

Happy Journaling!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


"Say Little.  Buth when you speak, Utter Gentle Words that touch the heart.  Be Truthful.  Express Kindness.  Abstain from Vanity.  This is the Way."   I have a pack of Zen Cards that I usually use when I need to center myself, or if I need a message and this is what I pulled today.   Ironically, this weekend, I heard a talk about Speech, and control of speech - what it said, was " Before you speak, think, is it going to hurt anyone?  Is it necessary?.   Another question - added further - Ask yourself this question - Is silence better than what you have to say?"
Control of speech is something that is so difficult to do - especially when ur emotions are involved - and although I believe strongly in silence at times like that - it is so difficult to practice.   How many times have you spoken and then regretted what came out of your mouth? How many times have people told you that your words are "toxic" ? and How many times have you actually taken the time do a little introspection.  The mind has a wonderful way of rationalizing how/what we are speaking -anything from "oh, I was upset and and I just needed to vent." Or  "it is just my way of talking, "  or " Don't take it so personally, it wasn't about you, it was about me."  But how often are we aware of the impact our words may have on the other person.  
When we speak, we release a powerful energy with our words - and our energy is often combined with the emotions that we are feeling - unless we have reached a stage in our life where we learn to separate the emotions from our energy.    So if we choose to speak, we must be aware of how we are communicating and how that will impact the person we are speaking with.  There fore writing helps process our thoughts, our emotions, and helps us in order to communicate appropriately.  Writing about a particular issue prior to speaking about it can help separate the emotions from the subject.   So when we begin to communicate, we are more aware of our tone, our voice, our words.   Deep Breathing does wonders and the more i practice deep breathing, the more mindful I become of my words.   Practicing Silence is much more difficult than speaking - But with silence comes strength and with silence comes ideas and more clarity.   And that's why it is so important to center ourselves before we choose to speak.  
I also feel that sometimes, there the energy we have within us needs to be transformed for a hugher purpose, and so often we waste so much of our energy on mndless talking- about nothing.  if we could channel that energy to accomplish our goals it would be amazing.  We get off track sometimes - we all have ideas, we all have dreams - we all have desires- but when we talk about things aimlessly - it gets us off track.
  I am so glad that I picked up this message from my packet of zen cards.  It spoke to me clearly, and was a clear message- it also speaks a very simple truth - which is that of kindness - and practicing kindness.  Life is about compassion and practicing compassion.  The moment we begin to feel all these emotions in us -it is the ego playing with us, it is our vanity playing with us.   and Right speech is about practicing compassion with yourself and with others - I have often heard the saying - if you have nothing nice to say, then it is better to be silent- and sometimes that is more important than words.   Something that is important to practice and live by.  It goes back to the First Rule from Don Miguel Luiz - Be Impeccable with your word!

Writing Promp: Spend 5 minutes doing a writing piece:
My words are _______________________
In speaking I find _____________________

Happy Journaling!