Monday’s Musings: Intention and Failure

The key is leave our hesitation and self doubt behind.

There’s an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where a character, Data, does everything “right”, with the best intentions, and still fails. While he’s moping in his quarters, questioning himself, his job performance, and goals, his captain, Picard, comes to speak to him. Picard tells Data that even when we do our best with the most noble intention, take every precaution, we sometimes fail. The key is leave our hesitation and self doubt behind. I love that scene.

So often we become emotionally entangled in what we perceive as our failures. We become focused on results. We cease to first exam our intention. We become wrapped up in self doubt and we hesitate to live our highest ideals. We become stagnant, putrid in our own self rejection.

By examing intention before planning or acting we expand our definition of success, and the human experience. If our intention is kindness, mercy, justice, the betterment of society, and wellbeing towards ourselves and others then we are less apt to judge ourselves as failures. We become more mindful of our plans and actions. We measure success not in a promotion or high paying job, but in lives transformed, a kind word, a smile. We measure our success in leaving self doubt and hesitation behind. In short, when we live by pure intention first, our plans may not happen how we desire, but we succeed in living a full and meaningful life.

Until next time,

Craft no harm,

Moriah

Monday’s Musings: Quiet Time and Balance

My family has a wonderful tradition of easing into the morning. We get up, lounge in our house clothes, drink coffee, plan the day, pray, meditate, read, and linger in the stillness. Of course, this necessitates early rising, but it’s well worth it. Four a.m. is a wonderful time.

We also have a tradition of the mid day nap. Now, I’m not big on the napping part, but I am becoming a fan of the restful part as I slowly begin to age. We also wind down and relax before sleep. We chat, read, meditate, or in my case journal and listen to music while reflecting on the day.

You’re probably thinking we don’t get much done. Quite the opposite is true. Or that farm life must be exhausting and boring. It can be tough occasionally, but not really harsh. And farm life is never boring. No, my family has self care built into its fabric. This self care carries over into other areas.

It’s so easy to over extend ourselves into exhaustion, frustration, and self harm. We become tired, short tempered, and we slowly begin to compromise ourselves. This leads to compromises in how we interact with others, our work, and ultimately our life goals and dreams.

These past few weeks have been tough weeks. The freezes meant hauling water by hand, gallon after gallon to the animals. Now that it’s warm we are hauling tons of manure to the garden one wheelbarrow load at a time. My tablet’s power port broke. I have been staving off the flu going around and my body needed extra rest. I could have pushed myself into heroic self sacrifice mode, fixed the tablet, stayed up late writing and filming. But I chose a different path.

You see, I can’t live a life of kindness and integrity while denying myself kindness through self care, nor can I practice self care while ignoring my core responsibilities. Our culture seems bent on two conflicting modes at one time.

One is a never ending drive to produce. Our cell phones are constantly attached, we respond to emails and messages at every hour of the night and day, we work late, need overtime, and just can’t seem to turn off work and enjoy our relationships and time.

The other mode is play mode. We become so wrapped up in pleasure and rest that we end up just as burnt out emotionally as when we over extend ourselves. We sleep in, lounge to the point of ignoring responsibility, and act without consciousness towards others. To me, this also is self harm.

The challenge is to become mindful of work and play. To be within the moment while still practicing compassionate awareness of ourselves and others. To care for ourselves, to play, and to be productive with balance. It’s a choice, a habit of cultivating self directed kindness each day before we head into the world.

Until next time,

Craft no harm,

Moriah

Monday’s Musings: Self Speech 

It’s been a busy Christmas day, and things are finally quiet enough to get today’s post done. Since it’s been so busy, today’s post is a quick video.

I’ll be expanding on this topic of how we talk to ourselves over the next few weeks.

Happy Christmas,

Moriah

Monday’s Musings: Stories We Tell

What are the stories you tell? Are they true? Or have you bought a lie at the cost of your heart, the collapse of your soul, the shrinkage of your emotions?

Photo_1513626191777.pngI love to listen to stories, especially family stories. One of my favorite is of my Papa as a boy in the late nineteen tens getting into the driver’s seat of his father’s Model T and replying when asked what he was doing, “I’m cryin’ to crive this car.” I can just imagine Papa, a determined tow headed little Welsh boy in turn of the century clothing and a tiny newsboy hat and full confidence he was capable of driving that car.

But what are the other stories we tell? Especially those stories we tell ourselves, and where do they come from? My grandfather told himself the same story he his Papa told him: “You are capable man. You are an honest man. You are a good man.” The story my grandmother heard the first ten years of her life was similar. “You are loved. You are safe. You are good. You deserve good things.” But during the depression both of their young lives where torn unsounder.

My Papa had to leave home at fourteen. His Papa could no longer feed him and the passel of young children at home. My Mimi’s Mama died, and her father turned to alcohol to cope. He sent her to Grandma Anderson, the woman raised by her pirate grandfather. Papa was sent off with his story intact. He eventually joined the Navy, saw the world, and came out of the service at nineteen just as World War Two began. Mimi on the other hand had her story altered with long lasting effects.

Mimi’s story became “you’re no better than that drifter father of yours, you’ll never be anything, you don’t work hard enough, there’s nothing to cry about, be harder, if you’re raped it’s your fault”. Quite a different story than the one she heard for the first ten years. The conflict in the story she told herself haunted her throughout life.

But we are not the stories we tell. We are the authors of the stories we tell. YOU ARE THE AUTHOR OF YOUR LIFE. Being the author doesn’t negate the pain of loss, the parents you are born to, or even your physical apparatus for exploring this world. What it does is change you.

I’m a big into journaling. You might want to get into it, too. But, even if you’re not, do yourself a favor. Get a notebook, a pen, and write out the story you tell yourself about you, your family, your life, your mistakes, and your successes. Be honest, the kind of honest that twists your guts and lays bare your darkest thoughts. Then imagine reading that to your five year old self. Would you call that five year old child worthless, undeserving, bad, shameful? Then write the heart story you’d rather that precious child hear. That heart story is your story. Read it to yourself. Let it seep into you. Believe it. Live it.

My grandmother never had the chance to write out her story, to be her own author. I sometimes wonder what it would have been. But I did have the chance to write my story, and it has made all the difference in my heart’s life.

What are the stories you tell? Are they true? Or have you bought a lie at the cost of your heart, the collapse of your soul, the shrinkage of your emotions? It’s the stories we tell that make our lives full and good. Tell your story well.

Join me next week for a little talk on how to chase out those negative thoughts that keep buzzing around your ears.

Until then,

In all you do, Craft No Harm.

Moriah

 

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Monday’s Musings: The Mask of Kindness 

The Mask of Kindness 

Play nice with others.

Think before you speak.

Share.

Be kind.

We all remember hearing these statements as children, and some of us may even still hear them as adults. So, we split the last piece of cake, or we allow someone to step in line ahead of our loaded cart at the grocery. That’s being nice, showing kindness. But there’s a dark side that no one addresses. A side I watch showing up in people under thirty five over and over again. I call it the mask of kindness.

Someone wearing the mask of kindness puts on a smile, holds their head up high, and helps the proverbial senior across the street. But inside that kind act is done out of guilt, shame, self loathing, and fear of rejection. Or someone offers to help on the spur of the moment because it’s “the right thing”, but escapes as quickly as possible, then emotionally batters themselves for “being too nice” while chastising themselves for “being a jerk”. I watched it happen not too long ago.

This mask of kindness addresses everyone’s emotional needs except the wearer’s. Sometimes the wearers are easy to spot. She’s the mom staying up til midnight cleaning up after a spouse and two teenage kids while muttering how much she does, how little she’s respected, how she’s so tired she might as well lay down and die.

Sometimes the wearers are harder to spot. She’s the beautiful, talented, single woman who has it all together. She volunteers, teaches Sunday School, organizes blood drives, and feels that she’ll never measure up. She tells herself she’s a complete fraud, that if people really knew her no one would even speak to her. But when pressed, she can’t tell you anything other than she’s wearing a mask.

He’s the guy that drives everyone home, is taken advantage of by people but doesn’t complain, or feels guilty when everyone around him isn’t happy. He blames himself for that unhappiness, even though he has nothing to do with the problem. He’s the guy that says “I don’t know what love means”.

Sounds like real head cases right? Not really. You see, the mask of kindness is the cruelest thing we can put on our souls. It robs of our dreams, our joy, our confidence and a sense of self. It manifests as people pleasing, self deprecation, anxiety, and playing the martyr. But, it’s not the end of the world, just a bad habit of putting yourself on the back burner and never really seasoning the flavor of your heart.

How do we change? How do we drop the mask, get beyond fear, and start living as our authentic self? By showing Loving Kindness to ourselves so we can show it others in an authentic way. That’s what we’ll be exploring each Monday.

Until next week –

Play nice with yourself.

Think before you speak to yourself.

Share with yourself.

Be kind to yourself.

In all you do, craft no harm,

Moriah