A MOMENT IN TIME

Una_ciudad_a_orillas_de_un_río_con_crepúsculo_JMW_Turner

 

“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”
John Wooden

 

Yesterday, during my piano practice, I heard a noise and stepped out of the cubicle to see what was going on. The day was fading away and it was already dark inside. I walked towards the door, my mind lost in thoughts and my eyes fixed on the keys hanging on the door. I was about to turn the key in the lock when something made me look up! I stood in awe, completely taken by the scene in front of me.

The walls and door in the small entrance hall of the music school are made of glass. Through them, dark pinks, oranges and purples were contained and framed as one of those glorious watercolor sunsets painted by Turner. This time though, the painter was Nature; the vibrancy of composition arrested my soul and the ephemeral of the moment made me realize how much I forget to notice…

I seem to be living a turning point in life that is not yet clear about where is that it is turning to. It moves restlessly and slowly testing my endurance and faith. I feel like a ball tossed in a box, randomly rolling inside while my invisible carrier firmly walks a destination unknown to me.

I tell myself that I need to focus, to get deliberated and stop the madness, the problem is that I am already focused and have been for so long that has become a habit.

It is not the first time I have noticed, that I have not been noticing but those pieces in my life regarding what needs to be fixed about myself or my reality. Completely absorbed in the many things I have to work out and the how, I have overlooked what is precious, what is worthy of stopping and be grateful for; I have run over the person I already am…

I stand for all that is noble and beautiful, for the greatness in us and the other, for the magic of nature and the mysteries of life and the Universe; and still I have been a bully. I have bullied myself, shaming my weaknesses and lack of results and diminishing the courageous achievements of a little inner girl who has done everything in her power to keep her truth alive.

As many, I am surrounded by “facts and reasons” and navigating the overwhelming waters of comparison pointing its finger towards my enlarged failures while my accomplishments get dwarfed and vanish in the realm of “not important”.

Not anymore! I have decided to lean in on faith and live the chaos and lack of answers as an adventure. I am terrified and move up and down the line of “what-the-heck-do-it-any-way” and “what the-hell-are-you-doing” uncountable times during a day.

Nevertheless, I have experience tiny moments of pure joy, a serene tenderness and confidence, and bit by bit I conquer fear and small successes come across. Yes, I am calling them for what they are; the result of talent, courage, effort and the surrendering to something which I am acknowledging as bigger than me and allowing it to do as it pleases.

I am willing to trust that there will be a time and space when things shall come together and I would see the path ahead. For now I just see myself as a beginner staying with “what is” the best I can, practicing loving and accepting myself no matter what, and focusing on noticing small things. Miracles shall happen!

Refresh!

Be aware,
They are already happening…

 

 

Image Credit: The scarlet sunset, (1833) | Painting | Watercolor and Gouache

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How to Tame Your Dragons… Or Train Your Adult!

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”
Edith Wharton

Candle light magic by Donal Zolan

There are times when I feel like no matter what I do, I seem to be glued to my circumstances, habits or moods. I am riding this invisible and “unfair” roller coaster with short high peaks and very long and steep descents. Fear is in charge and I cling to excuses to be able to bare my disappointment and guilt.

Guilty as charge! I know what I am doing, somehow the action button has stopped working and my I my inner charger have completely collapsed. My mind runs wild looking where to hide from the critic witnessing my failure and shouting to get over it and move on.

My heart jumps like a ping pong ball into the fired up field of “I “can do it!” and that of “why bother!” Yes, I am in the middle of an inner war, one in which present, past and future become an explosive blend threatening torn me apart.

Emotions are strong and ready to overpower me. I learned that I need to welcome them and let them do their job; still they remind me about where I am at this moment and it is not easy to accept and forgive myself.

A little bit ago a mentor invited me to register my choices and thoughts for a couple of weeks. Because I have a “narrative” soul smitten by metaphors, I decided to call upon my shadows, dragons and daemon to do so.

Long before my task was over I had discovered my tendency, or I should say “addiction,” to lean upon my faults and worse; a weird pleasure to go over every detail and edge of my shortcomings and disowned selves.

Nobody with that long “criminal record” and “monster-like” personality should be allowed to rise above herself, leave the dungeon and join the pleasant and pure environment of the world and the “others!”

While I share this, the wiser part of me smiles in astonishment, the jester makes jokes about the ridiculous thoughts and the critic gloats- “I told you so”. Faraway though, a little girl hides sad and afraid that I betrayed her secret and she will never be loved or forgiven.

This little girl truly believes that somehow she was born cursed and her task is to atone for the amazing baggage she carries. She has no idea how it came to be, only that she is not worthy of love, success, fulfilling her dreams and so much more. Her life space and time has been devoted to do everything in her power to change and learn to be “good” unaware of the high price she is paying for it.

What did I manage to see the little girl cowering in a corner of my soul?

Tracing back my fear of being exposed…
It is not about being ridiculed or criticized; is about finding out that “they” are right. A part of me is terrified of being a “fake” and as such, it prefers to stay invisible.

Why?
Because behind invisibility there is still hope…

How many of us settle for a small life to protect the halo of light still burning in our souls? How fiercely we hold to the idea that it could be irremediably taken from us?
I know I have…

You surely had heard about limiting beliefs and probably as me; have tried many techniques to get rid of them once for all.

How is that working for you?

Here is something I discovered a little while ago…
My limiting beliefs might suck, but many of my virtues and qualities I own to them. In my need to compensate I have develop strengths and tools that serve me well today.

They are part of me and they were born to protect me, to make sense of what I was experiencing at a time where nothing or nobody else stood up for me.

As well as the external influences, these internal ones have help modelling the person I have become in good ways. Thus, I am willing to update and reframe their utility.

This means finding balance between the lessons learned and the possibilities offered by more supporting beliefs and learning when to rely on the old ones to keep me safe and when to lean into the positive ones.

This, though, is adult work and as such it works in a slow and many times messy ways.

How I am training my adult?

The first step is to be aware of the moments where my old beliefs take over and fly to defend me without asking my permission.

In my case, they spill the beans all over the place. I become reactive, feel pain and see myself acting like the “monster” I am so against and afraid to be! Afterward, I get angry at myself, close my heart and go back to that place of hopelessness and dis-empowerment that started the … “thing.”

The second step: name it. Call upon the habit, “strategy”, behavior and allow the feeling behind to be. Then call upon the strength and breathe.

Disgusting I know! I am so proud of being smart and I so hate to prove myself wrong! Plus, I have to deal with the gloating brat telling me – you failed again! I am still looking for the volume switch to turn it off so I can hear my beautiful qualities signing along!

The third: afford yourself the same compassion you will offer others.

Remember, it is a process where many inner selves need to be listened to and comforted. Even if sometimes it feels like a kindergarten out-of-control-conspiracy or a teenage rebellion; they need to know our adult part is in charge and is taking good care of them.

Last but not least, trust that you are not alone and no matter how difficult things might seem, impermanence rules the Universe and the Sun shall rise again…

For a perfectionist like me, self-compassion and trust are quite a challenge, and as you saw above, I am still working on the other 3 too. Good old life school is resisting graduating me!

For a little kid scared of being exposed and rejected, this is a breaking point, one in which her soul whispers – you are not alone…

There more we dare to face our imperfections, the more our little lights come together and the greater the splendor.

Good to be back.

 

 

Special thanks to Noam Kostucki, for always asking for the best in me.

Image Credit: Candle Light Magic by Donald Zolan in http://abstract.desktopnexus.com/wallpaper/563035/

 

Persistence

Persistence

“A river cuts through rock, not because of its power,
but because its persistence”
Jim Watkins

At times I wonder whether there is a secret to progress in our spiritual and day-to day existence. Some days, life flows easily. We cruise along enjoying the ride feeling energized and empowered; we savor our experiences and even test our luck. Others, we seem to be plunged in a dark cloud; our attention wanders and we lack motivation and drive. In those days the smallest of the efforts requires a real choice, a pure instance of will.

When the progress seems so slow that is almost imperceptible, what is the secret to keep up? Simple, Persistence…

Like most virtues, staying engaged for the long haul must be cultivated, practiced and valued. On less than perfect days, even a little inner effort can go a long way. If we stay with our intentions through thick and thin, storm or sunshine; each drop of effort accumulates and winds up, making a gradual but huge difference in our inner experience and goals.

In the “piano world” we know about the “slow-fast” practice; which stand for going maddening slow when facing a difficult passage and gradually pulling the metronome faster notch by notch. It feels like eternity! Nevertheless, if you have forced the speed before being ready – physically, mentally and emotionally – the passage will fall apart in the worst of moments and you will have not only to re-learn it; but fix the bad habits that came with being impatient. A real nightmare…

How do we summon persistence? What is behind it?

In my case persistence comes from remembering what really matters to me and what I fear the most. Both serve as sources of momentum to push me forward.

The former, has to do with the intrinsic value I draw from the activity and the joy and wonder I am rewarded with. It is not a secret that when we are passionate about something, it is far easier to persist, even if the results do not come as fast as we would like to.

When I play very difficult music or I am lost in a canvas, I can feel terrified of getting nowhere or of messing up the work already done. I find myself silently asking – What am I doing? What are you trying to prove? Who are you to do so? – It is just when I ask – Why; why are you doing this? -that I stop and connect with a deeper sense of purpose, the calling shaping the “Who” I must become.

I imagine and feel in my heart and soul the musical phrase already accomplished. I can actually hear the sound and the mysteries unveiling through it! Or I see a pictorial outcome that is far better that what I could have ever imagined; because I allowed the painting to speak to me. In those moments I know… I am looking into a threshold in time and space. I have been given a piece of eternity and to make it happen at will, I need to push forward, I need to persist.

The second alternative (what I fear the most); is focusing on the obsessive and nagging though screaming at me- what would have happened if you had actually conquered resistance and did not give up? Where would you be? I do hate this…. Fear of regret over lost possibilities, is powerful enough to keep me doing whatever is that I am up to, even if it means struggling forever.

Thus, when the muse of divine spark is missing and I cannot summon it; I think about regret. I go back to other occasions when I lost momentum or wasted whatever little effort I had put on. I think about having to start again, not with the fresh attitude of a beginner facing a new task; but with the annoyance and guilt of knowing where I might have been if I had persisted.

It sounds cruel?

Do not misunderstand me; I know that sometimes I will fail to persist. I would even fail to use any of the above alternatives. In those times then, I shall appeal to a third wave. I shall sigh and tell myself- Human, Mercedes. I am sorry but you are human –  I smile, forgive and start again.

What is your recipe for persistence?