Most lives are spent waiting. Waiting for dreams to manifest, for trouble to end, and for life to be happy. Golden Zen reflects on the brillance of the NOW and the winks we receive from our Source to remind us we possess it all. Golden Zen is practical and mystical, instructive and reflective. You are my invited guest.

Archive for September, 2008

Life Happens While We Are Busy Making Plans

I apologize to Ellen at Wilson’s Words and Pictures and to all her readers, for missing the timeline for the cooperative article I was to post on Saturday highlighting the example that Irena Sendler left for the world with her life.

The love of my life!

The love of my life!

My sweetheart, the love of my life, is my golden retriever, Ginger.  Somehow, without my knowing it she was stung by a wasp for a second time in only a few weeks.  Although the first experience was mild and not a issue, this second sting wreaked havoc with her body, and at the time of this writing I have not slept for almost 42 hours.  I wasn’t’ thinking about blogging on Sat, and I think most likely without Ellen’s gentle nudge today, I would have still forgotten.

Ellen did a wonderful job in her post The Tree Of Life, telling he story of Irena Sandler.  Irena found her magic in life by being present to the moment and becoming the solution to the need at hand.  I wonder if she ever tried to consider her “purpose” beforehand, or if she needed to journal for years to discover what her passion might be?

Her story suggests that she lived compassion, explored her creative self through problem solving, and felt her safety was worth the risk for the lives that could be spared.

I met someone who reminds me of this story today in the animal hospital.  He was a young man, no more than 23, or 24, who found the smallest kitten (think one woman’s hand palm and you’ve sized her up) in a field while working.  He decided to rescue this little life who wasn’t eating or drinking and was very scared.

I heard him talking to his friends on the phone while other ‘mommies” like me were trying to assist him during our shared long wait in the waiting room.  “Hey man I can’t go, I got this cat here and I gotta do something or she will die.”  He didn’t appear to the be typical rescue type, but love got a hold of his life through opportunity, and to his credit he was responding.

When I came out of the treatment room, he was up front paying for his visit and all the supplies they gave him to help the little kitty get nourished.  It looked to be quite the bill, and I was tempted to offer financial assistance to the young man, as I could tell he was a bit shocked at what was before him, both on the counter and in responsibility.  But just as I prepared to speak, I knew better. This was his moment to become more than mere human, he was evolving into his newer, more refined, more conscious self.

I know it’s easy to look at heroines like Irena and ooze respect and regard, but do we allow ourselves to be changed by them, or because of them?  Paul Newman died today.  Everyone who knew him described him as someone so devoted and dedicated to giving, that he honestly thought that what he did was no big deal.  He took advantage of what he had, and the opportunities before him, and took action.

I wonder what will meet us this week, and how we will respond. I am so weary tonight, and yet a friend called and talked for 90 minutes because today is the day she had to put her 15 year old cat to sleep. She was brokenhearted.  I made myself available.  What more can we do than become available to love?

I imagine this post would have been different, had my life been different this weekend. I would love to do it better service.  And yet, when I think of a better way to say: “let’s explore the idea of being more like this amazing and courageous woman Irena Sandler”, I am not sure that there is a better benchmark than the love I saw in a young man today.  He had no idea what to do when helping someone in need, than to respond with compassion and take action.

In the Grace of the Moment,
(and with gratitude for my Ginger’s recovery)  Harmony

PS. Many thanks to Ellen Wilson for her partnership.  Please make a point of going the her site and reading the story of Irena Sandler.

Friday Fiascos: Sad Sob Stories Get Attention

I love Fridays. 

Since most people embrace Friday’s as the let your hair down, wear jeans, don’t brush your teeth day, I have decided that until I think differently, Friday should be a playful day at Goldenzen.

Thus the new series: Friday Fiascos.  I plan to spoof a few of you, so be prepared!

Now to today’s theme:

Yesterday I visited the DEEP FRIAR for some tips on how to increase my traffic with great posts that are sure to please a crowd.  When I saw the subject line, I knew that post was perfect for me!
After all, who doesn’t want to have crowds of people all jumping over one another, just to be where you are.  So – I dived in.  ( Silly me.  What am I thinking: the Friar is known for always getting people in trouble!)

He gave a few examples of things.  Kinda boring goodie too-shoe things like:

1. Thank people for linking their love to you.  Okay, next…
2. Thank people who linked their love to someone who loved you when you were not yet in love.  WHAT?

3. So far…well, Whatever!
4. Ah, then came #4- “Write an open letter to a loved one, and watch the Kleenex fly.”
So I thought to give that one a whirl:
A letter to a loved one:
Dear John,
I have posted your blogging just about long enough and you and I don’t twitter anymore. I used to Digg you and find you De.li.ci.ous but now, I think you need to get Linkedin to someone else’s blog and ask them to get implanted stats.
Yours truly,
Harmony  
    

Kleenex anyone?????

Come on it’s Friday, show us what you got!  Write a letter to a love one in the comments below.  It has been a tumultuous week in the “real world.”  We need to create some fiascos of our own.

 I will have Kleenex ready for handouts.


In the Joy of the Moment
Harmony

PS. THANK YOU to Deep Friar who so warmly welcomed my irreverant rant and tolerated my perhaps twisted version of his most thoughtful post.

The Power Broker Bust (pt 2 of 4)

Somethings I Just Don’t Control

There is an art to controlling what you can, and letting go of the rest.  I call it BEING in your own business.  So much time is wasted focusing on what is not in our control, that we are left fatigued, emotionally depleted, and oftentimes depressed.  It feels helpless to be in a driver’s seat, with no power to move.  It can leave you exhausted.  It is a power broker bust!

I have listed 5 VERY IMPORTANT “NOT MY BUSINESS” reminders later in this article, but first let’ see what you had to say.

You don't always get to drive!

You don't always get to drive!

I asked some of the Goldenzen community if I could repeat some of the comments they made in the recent article “Are You A Control Freak” in today’s article.  They graciously agreed to share their wisdom.  

Here is what they had to say, somewhat “harmonized”:

Robin of Let’s Live Forever: She is not responsible for what food her spouse puts in his mouth!
(It’s tough enough watching our own bellies!)

Davina of Loving Pulse: A self-confessed control freak says what other people’s attitudes are is not her business.

Gloria Chadwick of Zen Coffee: “  You can’t control other people or situations. You’re in charge of your emotions, your actions and reactions.”  (Now she is exceptionally bright due to the Zen + Coffee strategy she adheres to so we would expect as much from her!)                       

The Urban Panther at (you guessed it) The Urban Panther: Admitted to being slightly “catty” about accurate and inaccurate blog posting – however, says she knows it is not her business to insure that others write open and honest blog posts.

ToBeMe at ToBeMe (I forgot to email for his permission, but he and I go way back, so I think I am good here) said, most profoundly I think, that he is not responsible for the decisions his adult children make.  (for those of us that have them, this one is a toughie!)

Barbara Swafford at Blogging Without A Blog (although she seems to have quite a good one!) said: Choices that are made by someone else are not her business. Period.  Unless, they agree to choose together and then it’s a joint venture.

Lance at The Jungle Of Life bravely said “Its not my business to be overly concerned with what others think of me.”  (Maybe a wee bit off concern is okay? :-))

Stacey at Create A Balance shared: “One thing that is not my business is how others take care of their health.” (Again, ours does seem to be a full time job!)

Late Breaking News: Writer Dad, now known as Sean, at Writer Dad arrived on the scene with a comment I just can’t pass up: “If I’m not where I’d like to be, a good place to start looking for reasons why are the last several decisions I made.”  (Ouch! So what is now OUT of my control is a consequence perhaps of what I did with what was in my control!)

Five Additional Totally Out Of My Control, Not my Business and Completely Draining Scenarios:  

 (WARNING: Content may be offensive to some readers- which, by the way, is none of my business!)

1. What the weather is doing.  Why would I allow rain, snow, wind, cold, sun, or other basic weather patterns to affect my mood for the day – when I am powerless to change it?  (Hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes are exempt.  You can worry about that. :-))

2. Global economy I can save, spend, invest, work hard or work little and effect my own economic life to degree, but what Wall Street does, and how it affects my world, is out of my control- therefore not my business.

3. If my lover stays true to me– How can I control that?  Tie a string around his ankle?  Make her take a polygraph test every night?  What you can control is how you respond, how secure you are in yourself, how trusting you choose you can be with others.

4. If I get promoted over the next person – I can do my best, offer my all or offer very little, and experience reward based on merit.  But life rarely rewards according to merit – so the outcome is up to someone else, and my power is in what I do from there.

5. If I die.  People get so off balance on this subject.  My dear readers – you can take supplements, run a few miles four times a week, get a lot of good sex for the prostrate, eat organic, and meditate hours a day – and still die. You don’t control it, so it’s not your business.  This particular fear is the source of much of today’s behaviors, that paradoxically, shorten one’s life through obsessive worry and stress.

The more you let go, the more power you have.  It seems so simple that it appears on surface irresponsible.  But in reality, detachment from outcome is the most powerful tool in your toolbox – and that is your business!

In our next post let’s look at HOW and WHEN do you let go?  Do you have strategies for chillin’ out and “letting it go” that have worked for you that you care to share with a VERY ATTENTIVE audience?  We are listening! 

In the Grace of the Moment,

Harmony

PS.  THANK YOU SO MUCH to the t photograpers whose talents bless us with such good imagery of verbal communication:   http://www.flickr.com/photos/42972350@N00/  – Alatriste (child in the drivers seat)

The Art Of BEING in My Own Business – Part 1

When is it my Business?

In our introduction to this series, we discussed the idea around CONTROL or
the feeling that somehow we are in charge of our surroundings.  In fact, we are not really in control of all that much!

What we do control (or what is our business) is ourselves from the inside out (at least partly), and that is the topic of discussion for today.

Here are 5 things I can list that are my business, and therefore to some degree, are in my control.

1. How I feel about going to work in the morning.
2. How I respond to unfair criticism
3. How I choose to relate to my neighbors
4. Where I spend my grocery money
5. What I say I want when I am asked, “what would you like?”

Let’s take a closer look:

How I feel about going to work in the morning:
Here is the truth of the matter: I don’t really dig going to a job in the morning.  I much prefer my work at home lifestyle.  But, due to unforeseen circumstances, there have been times when “I owe, I owe, it’s off to work I go!” has been my theme song.  How I feel when I go to the closet, slide my jacket on, and grab the keys as I head out the door, is totally mine to own.  I can be grateful for the opportunities I have to make some progress and learn while I do, or I can choose to be miserable because I hate the job, and suffer my way through.  It is my business.

How I choose to respond is my businness
How I respond to criticism:  
It hurts or maybe it doesn’t have too?  The only reason it hurts is because somehow I give it power to hurt.  Unfair criticism is after all, someone else’s opinion.  Is that my business?  What I think of myself and the person who spoke, that is my business.  I can choose, as Eckhart Tolle suggests, to be transparent. Their words find no matter, no resistance, no one to hurt.  If I know who I am, and I am in connection with myself, I am able to allow others their opinion without it having much to do with me.  It may sting for a second, and then I remember, who I am.  That’s all I need to know.
BE THE PEACE YOU LONG TO SEE
How I choose to relate to my neighbors:
I read a wonderful post this week by a woman who was discussion intention.  She offered to the readers that one of her daily practices was to offer 85 “Rakas”, or intentions or prayers for her neighbors.  She intended that gentle rains of blessing would be theirs. She said she never has to work on peaceful relations with them, because after you pray for them every day, with 85 repetitions, YOU are peace.

No one can drive me crazy.  It is my business to choose, and I can choose to hate, resent, bear grudges, be intolerant, be rude or to ignore, if I want to.  That is my business.
(Of course, I can choose to enjoy also.)

Where I spend my grocery money:  
I personally cannot control global economy, but I can make choices about how I spend my money. I can shop where they supply local options, organic selections, and sustainable solutions.  That is my business.  Or, I can choose to eat at fast food joints and sip on milkshakes while driving to work.  If I want to go to a concert, and money is tight, I can choose to shop economically, and save enough to go to the concert, or I can complain to everyone I know that there is never enough money to do what you want.  How I respond to my bank account – that is my business.  Where I spend my money, is in my control.            
                                                          
What I say I want when I am asked, “What would you like?”
I personally have struggled with this one most of my life.  I remember when I was married and raising children, my husband would be driving, and the kids would be in the back seat of the mini van.

“Where would you like to go to eat,” he would ask respectfully.  You could hear the kids sigh in the back seat.  They knew we were in for a ride- and not in the van!  “Well, I don’t really care.  Let’s go where you and the kids want to go,” I replied with modesty and charm. 

“Okay, Dad, let’s go to Burger King!”  My daughter loved the fast food joints.  My immediate response was, “Oh honey, not tonight.”

“Anyone for Denny’s?”  Silly husband suggested.  He thought I really meant it when I said I didn’t have a preference.  He assumed that when I said, “not really”, it meant not really.  

I remember years of me not saying what I wanted when asked because I wanted to please others, but really, I didn’t want to take responsibility for pleasing myself.  I wanted someone else to do that for me.  The unspoken deal was this: I please you – you please me. 

Taking the time to be honest, to say what I want when I am asked is my business.

IT’S YOUR TURN

You must have some “doosies”.  Let’s save the ‘What’s not my Business’ for next time, and this time, share your list of ‘What is my business’.  We could learn a lot from each other.

In the Grace of the Moment,
Harmony

 
PS. Interested in learning about TRIPLE WIN STRATEGY?  Learn how business is being reshaped through consumersim to global citizenship. Find out how at one of my other blogs: THE BEST LIFE blog for business.

Many thanks to Lynne at flickr for the money photo.  See her photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/your_teacher/1040476355/   And thank you to Casey Broadwater for the photographic look into a “neighborhood.”  See her work at http://www.flickr.com/photos/thewoodstove/

Are You a “CONTROL FREAK”?

Control. 

What does it mean when someone says that you are “too controlling” or,
“Look Jane, this is out of your control!”

Two seal pups deciding who is in control!

Two seal pups deciding who is in control!

Out of our pop psychology generation, we picked up a lot of terms that show we really understand what is going on.  (Or NOT)

  • “This is my issue, not yours.”
  • “It’ not you, it’s me.” (Thank God Dr. Seinfeld and Georgie taught us that one!)
  • I need some “downtime” or a “time-out”
  • I don’t feel “centered”

Right up there with “unresolved anger,” and “significant other” is a term we have become quite familiar with – c.o.n.t.r.o.l.

The dictionaries suggest we think of phrases like “to be in the driver’s seat” or “hold the reins” to help us get a mental picture of what it means to control.

But I suggest another approach.

Is it my business? 

Being in control means= that I make everything MY BUSINESS.

Maybe it’s not my business and not in my control.  It could be my neighbors business, or God’s business – but it’s often not MY BUSINESS.

For the next few posts I would like to explore with you the ART OF BEING IN MY OWN BUSINESS.

Can you let it go?

Can you let it go?

Will you help?  What I am asking of each reader is to take just a moment or two and comment telling us one thing you know is your business, and one thing you know is NOT your business even though you might be tempted to make it so. 

Then if you will, subscribe to the comments RSS for this post and keep an eye on what others are saying.  If you find that it triggers yet another “this is my business” comment, or “this is not my business” comment in you, please come back and comment again.  (You can certainly UNSUBSCRIBE to the comments whenever you are tired of it all. (that is easily done in the email where the RSS notice arrives)

You never know, what you share might not be something someone else really needed to read.

I am going to kick it off, by sharing in the first comment below with the Goldenzen avatar .  Take a look – make it your business to know! 🙂

Upcoming Blog Entries: The Art Of Being In My Own Business    

  • When is it My Business?
  • What is Not My Business?
  • How Can I Let it Go?
  • When Should I Let It Go?
  • Help, it’s back!

Thanks for your participation!
In the Grace of the Moment,

Harmony

PS  Does all the news about stocks plummeting, banks closing and economic distress drive you to your own  “controlling issues”?  Check out my latest post: ECONOMIC MELTDOWN at the Best Life Blog.

Thank you to G’na at Flicker for the animal photo – http://www.flickr.com/photos/g-na/2344863442/ your gift sure helps me share mine much more effectively.   Her photostream of animals is beautiful!

What if we Lost Our Ability to Choose?

My local CHOICES MARKETI shop regularly at a grocery store in my community called Choices Markets.  They carry organic foods and supplements, herbs and oils, recycled toilet tissue and imported bamboo clothing.  They even offer electric scooters to save fuel and nowadays, big bucks.

I make a choice to spend a bit more money now on staples, to help me and my global environment stay healthier long-term.

But, my choices have changed over the years.

When I was a child, I chose Mac D’s a lot!  Bring on the Trans fat!

Then as a young adult, I joined the movement for low-fat. 

NO MORE FAT.  SAY NO TO DOUGH. 

I bought Cooking Light magazines, years of them and saved them all.  I cooked everything from Alfredo sauce to homemade ice cream – with no fat.  I was an ANTIFAT.

I have since gone on to juices, raw food, vegetarianism, and Ayurvedic.  You name it; if it claims to be healthy, I have probably been there.

It’s a series of choices.

Which way is my choice?

Which way is my choice?

 

 

 

 

Choice is the signpost of freedom.  Those who are free can choose. 
In times of great stress, they can choose calm.  In economic trouble, they can choose abundance.  In heated conversations, they can choose peace.

Choices are result of responsibility.  Those who are not responsible are not free.  Those who are free are responsible to choose and to be held accountable for their choices.

Last week readers participated in a fun research project where I asked them: would they choose to suck on lemons?  Many said yes.  But when I asked if they would marry for money, it created a bit of a stir.  Morally would it be right?  Or could they say how they really felt with it being public and all?  Some even wrote to me personally discussing love and money.

Life is what happens when we are making plans!

Life is what happens when we are making plans!

 
Our choices in life are challenging and exhilarating. 
We have a right to change our choices.

We can change our minds.  In fact, we better change our minds. The more you learn, the more you will change the choices you previously swore you would never change. 

OR NOT.

And this is where we can get stuck.

We can chose to learn and change and be responsible for that change, or we can stubbornly insist we were right when we made the choice – and if it was right for us then, it is right for us now.
Yesterday’s choices may not be right for today.  Can you allow yourself to make new choices?

Let me give you some examples:

  • Maybe you swore that you would never read the newspaper and fill your minds with such garbage.  And then, you got a job as an editor of the local paper.  What now?
  • You told your daughter she had to sleep with diapers on.  She is now 13.  What now?
  • You swore you would never speed in the car, and now your wife is having a baby in the passenger’s seat.  What now?

CHOICES IN THE PRESENT MOMENT

Being present and learning to live in the wonderful now is a state of grace that allows for change.
The galaxy is constantly expanding, and so are you.  Maybe it’s time to check in with yourself and see if you still like the choices you made yesterday, or a decade ago?  

Only the beginning of the universe...imagine!

Only the beginning of the universe...imagine!

 

I love the way Byron Katie deals with this idea in her “work.”  Recently I saw her working on an intimate challenge with Oprah.  Oprah was struggling with resentment she felt towards relatives that repeatedly asked for money.  She felt that the relatives were disrespecting her by continually coming back for more.  Katie suggested that in fact Oprah was the one disrespecting herself and others by choosing to make decisions for which she didn’t want to be responsible.  If her choice in the moment was “no,” she alone was responsible to make it. 

I am guessing you too have updated previous choices to accomodate new moments. This community could benefit if you would take a moment to share your story.  Have you had to make new choices you thought you would never make?

In the Grace of the Moment,

Harmony

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