Humble appreciation

This picture was my folks house on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. They lived here from when I was 11-18 years old.  They built this small but spectacular home after buying land overlooking Cane Garden Bay.  My father would go up after work with a machete to clear the site of the tiny home.  the unique thing about this rustic home is that only the two bedrooms and kitchen had screened in walls. the rest of the living area just had a roof and where walls and windows normally would have gone was just a raw unobstructed 180 degree view of light blue ocean and the neighboring island. 

My mom would require us to to join her every evening to the right of this photo in the "living rom" to take in the golden hour sunset show with the sounds of Cane Garden Bay drifting in from below. It was living in connection to something greater than my teenage self.  Then the dark would take over with the chorus of the island tree frogs sweetly croaking "coqui coqui".  So much so visitors found it too loud to sleep. My folks are continuing their legacy of finding residence alongside the beauty of raw nature now up in Orcas Island. Their joint quest for what is true to them has always been an inspiration and even if not understood at the time a humble joy to witness.

The things we have to let go of..

I was talking to a friend the other day about this fabulous stove I had found at an estate sale.  The brand is an elite french label and although the stove was maybe more than half off of it's normal price at $2300 it was still way above my budget. But it was so beautiful and surely would just make my kitchen completely pop. My ego said I might be the only person I know with a handmade French blue stove. I almost justified the purchase as it was like a rare unicorn I found. And for days, I actually mourned it's loss although it was never quite mine AND it is a fucking stove. I looked on instagram hash tagging the name of the stove and raked myself over the coals pining for the one that got away. 

And then settled by the words of my best friend, flat and simple it was not meant to be and plus think of all the abundance I now had because I did not over stretch myself for that object. And to be completely transparent I even had already found an old classical gas stove on Craigslist for $400 which had fit so nicely in my budget and was a beauty in it's own right.

It had me thinking of all the things we let go of as it seems to be our minds ruminate in these sticky places rather than settling on what we already have. What the fuck mind? Why must you habitually loop in a way that causes suffering? Why not opt for a kinder solution off the bat and help a girl out? I mean seriously all this taming the mind stuff is no joke as mine is a bucking wild horse at times kicking my internal peace onto a cactus bush.

Letting go has never come naturally for me.  I have always had the hardest times saying goodbye to loved ones and my first love relationship that ended took me years to recover from simply because I would not let go.  I recall the class in college I learned about Buddhism and impermanence and how that forced my mind to stretch to such uncomfortable places and I felt deep in my bones it was the truth of life and knew that not accepting this truth ultimately was the cause of much of my suffering. It is hard being human AND it is ok.  

This year I have had to let go of things much bigger than a fancy french stove. I have had to let go of my marriage, my identity, my made up future, my pride, my whole family, my home, my security blanket. I have had to strip down naked and kneel and wail and grieve all that I thought was mine.  This has easily been one of the hardest years of my life and yet I still stand.. I still am growing.. I still laugh and love and let go over and over again because that is truth and acceptance is all I have. I feel deeply humbled and filled with a grace that has nothing at all to do with holding on but everything to do with letting go and seeing all I still have. 

The Need to Please..AKA abandoning yourself

This is a seductive trap we all fall into once and a while. Underneath the surface is usually the value of belonging.  Yet our saboteur sneaks into this golden value and tarnishes it so that we can hardly see our own reflection any longer.  Instead we only see what others want us to be and we get confused thinking this is the pathway towards love acceptance and belonging.  

However I invite you to see this need in another fashion. Instead of putting other people's agendas in front of your own try instead sensing into your own needs, values, and feelings. In fact we can use this trap as a kind clue that actually we just need to get in touch with ourselves and come back home. 

You see when we go for pleasing others we usually abandon ourselves in the mix.  This leads to a compartmentalized life that doesn't feel good. What if instead we chose to live from an embodied joyful place where first we check in with self and then other. And would this not be radical? Once we learn to check in with ourselves we can then turn our attention to other but in a much more compassionate gaze. Only at that point or we able to ask, "What is it that they are feeling and needing?" We ask this from a genuine place of empathy rather than pleasing. We may not be able to fulfill their needs however once we fill ourselves up we give others an opportunity to be heard and seen.  This creates a sense of belonging in the truest sense.