Photo credit: Red Tail Hawk by Pierre LeClerc Photography
I love hawks. There is something about them that is so inspiring and magestic. There is one that lives in the gulch where I walk every day. At least he hangs out there a lot. Or should I say ABOVE the gulch, since I usually see him catching the updrafts, circling endlessly, soaring higher and higher and screeching out his joy! It moves me every time I hear him. I instinctively look up to search for him. And I admit it, I am more than a little jealous of his effortless flight, soaring ever higher until he disappears into the reflection of the sun. I want to do that too! Soar effortlessly, looking down on the earth, from his bird’s eye view. What a perspective he must have! Looking down and seeing everything from so high up – he can see so much more than I can from down here.
But I had a different experience last week. It had been raining for a few days and the air was completely still – no wind at all. I was on my daily walk near the gulch when I heard “my” hawk screech. Instinctively, I looked up and searched the sky. I couldn’t see him, despite the fact that there was no sun to blind me. It was cloudy. So where was he? Then, to my surprise, he swooped down from a tree near me, gliding downwards into the gulch. I watched him until he landed in a tree, far below me. I continued on my walk, which eventually brought me to the bottom of the gulch and again, to my surprise, there he was, in the same tree I’d seen him land in. When he saw me, he took off again, but this time, he flew UP the gulch. And I could see how much effort it took. With no drafts to lift him, he had to work hard to fly up the gulch and he eventually landed in a tree not too far from where he had started.
For some reason, this reminded me of a client I have, who had been saying that she felt “stuck”. She couldn’t move forward. She was just so tired and disappointed in herself that she wasn’t “making progress.” After seeing this hawk, who instinctively knew not to try to fly when there was no updraft, but to rest instead, I asked her, “What if you are not stuck, but just resting?” It opened up a whole new possibility for her to be gentle with herself. To give herself a break. To allow herself to rest for a bit and reflect before she moved forward again.
When we are resting and being gentle with ourselves, we have a different perspective than when we are pushing and in constant movement.
Sometimes, we need to rest before we can soar again – just like the wise hawk!
photo credit: dj-The Killer
Those are words none of us ever wants to hear. And the choice is obvious! We’d give them our wallet, our watch, our car, hell - we’d give them our CLOTHES too if they wanted them!! No question, right? Our loved ones, our friends, just being alive to see the next sunrise – those are the things that would flash before our eyes in that split second. Not our money or that designer watch. None of that would matter. We would choose LIFE.
So, why don’t we do that in our everyday lives? Why do we so often choose money over what really matters to us?
We are working so hard for all the “right” reasons:
But what is missing in the list above? It probably looks pretty much like your list, doesn’t it? But what’s missing? – you are. What about you?
We are so wrapped up in our work, so committed to doing what we are supposed to do, to making that almighty paycheck, that we lose sight of what really matters to us…until something happens. Unfortunately, often, that “something” is not good: a death in the family, someone dear losing their job suddenly, someone else divorcing after years of marriage. It stops us short and forces us to look at our lives.
It’s then that we see what really matters:
So how do I answer the question, “your money or your life?”
“I refuse to choose!”
I want both. It doesn’t have to be one or the other! I don’t need a catastrophic event to make me stop and reflect. I opt to stop NOW and look at my life and what really matters to me and consciously make the time to nurture those needs. I can still make money and provide for the family (because that is one of my needs too.) But I know that one of the ways I provide for them is to BE with them, laugh with them, play with them and in doing so,
I take care of myself.
So how about you? Your money or your life? - Or BOTH…
You know when your partner has that pensive look on his/her face – that far away look – not vacant, exactly – but not present either. Have you ever asked, “What are you thinking about?” What response did you get? I’ll bet I can guess – “Nothing.”
Now let me ask you how often you are actually thinking about “nothing.”
I’ve been meditating regularly for at least 4 years now and I can promise you I have not reached that level of “empty mind” in my meditation practice! In fact, it seems like I instantly have MORE thoughts, the minute I sit down to meditate!
Why is that? Perhaps because when we sit still for a minute, we become aware of what is going on inside us. All those thoughts, fighting for our attention! Whereas normally, we distract ourselves with outside activities: “to do” lists, work, kids, school – anything we can think of to distract ourselves from those thoughts! Why is that? Because they are often thoughts we don’t like:
What if we just stopped for a minute and literally watched our thoughts scroll down in our minds eye, like the credits after a movie? You know, when you are looking for the name of the composer because you loved the music so much? Or the name of the director? Do you actually read and absorb all the other information as the credits scroll down? No – you don’t – you simply pick out the credit you want.
It’s the same thing with your thoughts. Just let them scroll down – you don’t have to engage with the ones you don’t like- the ones that don’t serve you. Just notice them, and let them go. And choose the ones you want. The ones that do serve you.
Yes, you can choose the thoughts that make you feel good and help you create the life you desire.
This is not something I came up with, by the way. The idea has been around for a while now:
“All that we are is a result of what we have thought.” – Buddha (563 BCE – 483 BCE)
If you're ready to go from bored to bodacious, you've come to the right place!
© COPYRIGHT 2015. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. * Mountain photo by Cecilia Mortenson ACMG/IFMGA Mountain Guide/CAAL2aspiremountainjourneys.com