Martial Arts Wisdom – Thankful and Present

In spite of things that may not go your way, or things you wish you had…there are a thousand more things that, if you looked closely, you’d realize were blessings beyond measure.

To remain within the present moment is to appreciate, to the fullest, the gifts we have been given.  In so doing, we tap into the deeper magic of abundance, allowing more of the “good” to come into our lives and consciousness.  

Life is bound to time, and time will wait for no one…but in each moment is the opportunity and promise of love, life, joy, breath, health…should we choose to stay within the present, and recognize that which we do have.

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Let Go Of *Should

“Should” is dangerous.  It looks perfectly benign, and wasn’t exactly something I grew up thinking deeply about – it’s just a word after all.  Right?

“Should,” however, can quickly turn into trouble when we apply it to our situation, for example.  “I should have more money by now,” “I should have reacted differently,” I shouldn’t have studied ____ in school…now it’s too late,” or “I should have listened to so-and-so.”

Life is a journey – we are all presented with circumstances, joys, challenges, and opportunities as they are meant for us. . . I sincerely believe we are precisely where we need to be.

If we had more money, maybe it would be at the expense of our own self-worth, or our family’s happiness.  If we reacted differently to a stimulus, perhaps that resultant, and positive opportunity, would not have been made available. If we didn’t study what we had, perhaps we’d not have come to the realization that we are best suited for another area.  If we listened to so-and-so, maybe we wouldn’t have made the mistake that finally put us on a path to recovery…

There are so many “what-if”s and if we play too much with them in our minds, we neglect all the blessings we have in front of us.  To say should” imposes on reality the idea that we are not where we should be… And yet there are so many circumstances where we find our lives falling right into place, rather miraculously.

When we use “should” with respect to ourselves, it can become much more than a word – when we say things like “I should have known better,” or “I shouldn’t be ________” we are adding a layer of self-judgement to the mix.  It becomes less about a word, and more about an attitude – and when we use words with respect to ourselves, we begin to believe them….

None of us are perfect. . .and that’s okay. There is no “right way” to be, neither a flawless mold to which to adhere.

Each of us is on a unique path, and we are – even when it seems otherwise – right we are meant to be.  When we view our world from this lens, we bring the present back into focus, diminishing the anxieties, worries, self-imposed judgments and falsities that the brain likes to dwell on when we revisit our past…or project into the future.

Including “should” in our conversations with ourselves begins to erode our self-confidence – it can do so not only unbeknownst to us, but at a frighteningly rapid pace.  To let go of the notion allows our inner dialogues to remain healthy, and as we are a reflection of the divine around us (whatever that means to you) those words we speak about ourselves matter.

Our lives are like flowers whose petals must unfold as they – and Nature – are ready. To rush them is to destroy the life itself, whether directly or on a more, shall we say, spiritual level.  

Allow yourself the room to BE without the confines of “should” – even when life feels askew, remember that the last time it felt that way, the cycle came whirling back around to everything-is-okay.  

And…it will be. ❤

NOW

Self-explanatory, applies to every aspect of your life, and perfect motivation for the New Year!

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GET IT!

Appreciating Family and Fresh Food

I had the wonderful fortune to spend time with my parents, an uncle, and my sisters this past weekend.  My fiancé had not been to the island – ACK, to be clear – so it was a special treat to share a childhood haunt…and many fond memories and traditions…with him.

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A gorgeous ship in the harbor (prompting pirate accents when we saw it!)

We were there only two days and my heart really sank to leave – the combination of vivid memories from my youth, paired with having us all in one place (my brother and sister-in-law were missed!) plucked at my Empathetic heartstrings!  It is always jarring to swap realities for me, and always has been – not to the point I can’t do it, just that it takes a little adjusting (incidentally, it appears this is a common problem for folks – google it and see!) I truly, however, appreciated every moment while I was there.

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Harvested, fresh clams…er, the shells!

One of our traditions is going out to the harbor just before low tide, and taking advantage of the low water levels to snag fresh clams (in season, and within the regulations, obviously.)  I love that the restrictions are in place, lest individuals harvest with gay abandon and upset the ecosystem for their own gain.

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Fresh clams

Once we have a good bushel (or more!) we haul them back in and make two things – clams casino and clam sauce for pasta.  

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Clams casino

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Martelli pasta (the BEST!) with clam sauce

As a clean eater, I actually don’t have either dish (though, in my defense, casino contains cheese, which I – and my stomach – definitely cannot have!)  It is more important to me personally to maintain and achieve my goals, so I’m okay with abstaining.  I always have enough of my own goodies to not feel hungry (my fiance made stir fry chicken and vegetables! 🙂 and I know I will feel better later.

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Fresh candy from the local farm!

That said, I do enjoy the preparation, having all of us together…AND a few steamed clams in olive oil and green tabasco (my uncle’s favorite concoction!)  The most important part of the meal preparation, and devouring, is the time with my loved ones.

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When I reflected on our many summers together, my heart just glowed – sometimes Life goes  too quickly.  Or maybe we are young and aren’t thinking about time marching on as vehemently as it does… But since we all are at a stage where we DO have control of mindfulness, make sure to take the time to stay present (something I work on daily.)  Cherish the moments you have – they make for a mind-blowing tapestry of memories and love.

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❤ 

 

Why So Serious?

I have a little bit of trouble taking things to heart too much – when I discovered I was an Empath many moons ago, it was like sudden illumination in a very dark and confusing place.  I feel I am often too hard on myself, and there is no question that down and dreary things pull on my heart strings more than most.

Still, I don’t feel badly about my sensitivity anymore – what can leave me incredibly vulnerable is also a phenomenal gift.  I am acutely aware of my shortcomings but I also know that I am doing the best I can and, at the end of the day, I actually DO care about being better than I was yesterday.

For me, it’s important to laugh as much as possible – the mind of an Empath is particularly active and loves to take the reins (not always a good thing.) So staying active, and looking for the positives when Life isn’t always so peachy, keeps me from taking the heaviness of the world on my own shoulders.

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Evenings with my fiancé always light me up – for more reasons that I can express.  We went to dinner – off the cuff – in a neighboring town recently, and it was a blast.  Why? Presence.  Staying present allows you to enjoy everything that is going on around you, as well as appreciate those who are with you!  No worrying about the million wedding plans that are going on, or the stressful boss, or the near-100 degree heat.  Just us.  Not taking ourselves seriously, and enjoying being together.

There was a lamp on our table and while he was looking something up, I took these positively ridiculous selfies.  When he wasn’t looking I sent them to him for a laugh.  They ended up also going to our parents, which made the silliness of the whole thing even funnier.

The small little laughs you have can make such a difference in Life.  It’s important we remember to stay focused on what is in front of us  – at that moment – and to not take ourselves so seriously all the time.  Your heart could use the break, as much as the rest of you (maybe your brain most of all?)

Blessings

I don’t really believe in  current day “Thanksgiving” – I haven’t for many years.

Why?

In part, it has steered away from traditional roots – I have the sense it is more about indulging than anything these days.  In my heart, the celebration of ingurgitating in excess feels “off” to me somehow.  I’m not sure that’s *quite* how the story went… 

That aside, needing to be reminded about gratitude feels so odd – truly being thankful,” being kind, seeing the good, are daily practices…

They are a way of Life...

They are what (perhaps idealistically, I recognize) one hopes are an involuntary undercurrent in humans’ habitude. 

Blessings

It’s important that we find something positive.  With every dawn, and every dusk.

To take a moment to appreciate whatever “it” is…

The sky is a radiant blue.  

There wasn’t traffic this morning.  

Someone held the door for you…

Practice the arts of Thankfulness, Gratitude, and Mindfulness…

Thanksgiving is a fun time to gather with friends and family who have the day off…absolutely!  It’s fun to cook together and enjoy delicious foods.  (And for some, I respect it may still be about the cultural and religious roots, which is perhaps specific to the time of year.)

But being thankful is something we can do every day….

We see family and friends all the time. We very likely have meals that keep us full and healthy.  We have shelter, and loved ones.  Our hard times have brought us lessons that have helped us become stronger and wiser…

I don’t really believe we need a “holiday” specifically relegated for thankfulness – Life is full of Blessings, and they occur every single day.