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Posts Tagged ‘spirituality’

  1. When Life Knocks You Down, Reach for This

    May 24, 2015 by Diane

    Old wooden tool box

    “Did you forget your teeth?”

    “No dear. They’re in my back pocket.”

    -overheard in my head


    Your teeth are your tools. You use them to chomp your food. If you have the removable kind and you forget to put them in your mouth where they belong and instead you shove them into your back pocket, what good are they? Unless you’re eating through your ass.

    Your teeth are your tools.

    Like the other tools we have. Our brains. Our breath. Our sense of smell. Touch.

    Deep breathing is calming. That’s a tool. Positive thinking. That’s a tool. Taking a walk under the redwood trees and inhaling the moist gooey needles. Another tool. Singing in the shower, eating a chocolate truffle, rolling down a hillside, walking barefoot on the beach, clasping the hand of your grandfather as you watch the fireworks from the tailgate of his red pickup…these are all tools. Tools to stash in your emergency kit so the next time you’re visited by the brittle critic, or the anxious cowering panic-stricken one, or you’re stepping into the coiled snake of your dysfunctional thinking, you can reach for a tool to lift you up.

    This past week, when my car was totaled by a big rig, I spiraled from shock to anger to frustration to loss, negotiating with insurance agents, agonizing over the financial burden, scouring websites and dealerships for something I could afford—until today, when I felt that I, too, had been hit by a big rig.

    My energy left me.

    My brain froze.

    My heart sank.

    I needed my emergency toolkit.

    I needed to take those teeth out of my back pocket, stick ‘em in, clack ‘em together a few times, open wide and chomp down on something nourishing, something oozing goodness. I needed to take it in.

    As Rick Hanson says in Buddha’s Brain, take in the good. That sunset on the beach—take it in. That conversation with your sweetheart on the porch—take it in. That hike to the peak of Mount Whatchamacallit—take it in, the whole 360-degree view.

    And when darkness seems to descend, if those good feelings don’t sustain you, then draw on your other tools: family, friends, meditation, prayer, writing, jogging, old movies, Earthing, an uplifting book, relaxing music, a priest, rabbi, therapist, a nap. Whatever your tools are, know them. List them. Refer to the list when you’re blindsided, and use them.

    Because some day the hurricane will hit. Some day. And you want to be prepared.

    Now it’s your turn: What’s in your emergency toolkit?

  2. Eliminate Regrets in One Easy Step

    October 7, 2013 by Diane

     eyeglasses and rose

    Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention…

    Paul Anka’s words, not mine. From the song My Way.

    Me, I’ve had more than a few; and if you’re like me you’ve got a truckload of your own. I say it’s time to mention those regrets. Here. Now. It’s time to exorcise those squirrelly voices that niggle us awake at three a.m. saying: If only you had done this instead of that, gone here instead of there, spent time with them instead of those. You shoulda, coulda, woulda, mighta–but you blew it. On and on, until you’re ready to scream UNCLE!

    Go ahead. Scream.

    Then take a deep breath and relax. I’ve got a prescription that will make us both feel better. I’ve got the antidote to this particular brand of squirreliness.

    Are you ready?

    Grab a pen and a notebook. At the top of the first page write the word “Regrets.”

    Underneath that, write the words “I regret I didn’t…”

    Now finish the sentence by listing those regrets, one by one. A dozen regrets.

    Here are mine:

    I regret I didn’t…

    Act with compassion instead of anger

    Accept what is instead of fighting it

    Spend more time being in the moment instead of trying to escape it

    Challenge my distorted thinking

    Break out of my comfort zone

    Set realistic goals

    Honor my need for rest

    Practice being mindful

    Spend more time with others

    Focus on the positive instead of the negative

    Play more

    Explore the spiritual realm


    Okay. Now it’s your turn. Make your list. Write down all those regrets that are rattling around in your gut, boxing at your heart, clogging up your throat, whining in your ears, pounding in your head. Spill them. Quickly! A dozen regrets.

    Then, when you’re done, cross out the word “regrets” at the top of the page.

    Replace it with the world “goals.”

    Underneath that, cross out “I regret I didn’t…” and write the words “this year I will…”

    That’s it.

    Same list, but you’ve turned your regrets into goals. Those are your intentions for the year. Your to-do list. Presto! No more regrets.  How easy is that?

    Here are my intentions:

    This year I will…

    Act with compassion instead of anger

    Accept what is instead of fighting it

    Spend more time being in the moment instead of trying to escape it

    …you get the picture

    Now for the not-so-easy part. Start at the top of your list and work your way down.  One intention a month. For a whole year. Starting now. Do it. Your way.

    And let me know how it goes.


  3. The Jesus Chair

    July 26, 2013 by Diane

    Vintage beige color chair with carved legs

    I put that chair out at night. You know the one, the Jesus chair? The straight-backed chair from mama’s set of four that I kept after she passed, the only good chair left in the bunch? That one. I set it out next to the bed for Jesus to sit in. I read about that somewhere. Norman Vincent Peale, I think. Some woman put a chair next to the bed and asked Jesus to sit in it and watch over her at night. So that’s what I did. When things got so bad, when anxiety had me by the throat because I was waiting for those test results, those results to find out if my heart was going to keep on beating another fifty years, or ten, or five, or one, one year, maybe six months. Maybe a week. Maybe a week was all I had left, and that chair with Jesus in it would keep me safe so I could sleep through the night and leave off worrying. I was choking with the worry.

    So I put out that chair, and when I woke up in the morning, Manny was sitting in it. He was sitting there in his ratty old bathrobe, snoring. My heart swelled, it overflowed seeing my man sitting there watching over me all night just in case Jesus didn’t show up. That’s the kind of man he is. He’d sit in that Jesus chair all night if that’s what it took to make me happy. You can see why I married the lug.

    It did my heart good, seeing Manny sitting in the Jesus chair. All that worry just flew away, like those dark crows that gather in the tall pine trees and shadow the lawn when they flap over. All that worry just disappeared, and I knew that whatever the doctor told me, my heart was strong. I would be fine, just fine, no matter what those results said.