Tag Archives: peace

Who’s Changing Who’s Life?

Offically about 1 month into my first year as a science teacher and overall I have to say it was one of the best career decisions I’ve ever made.

I truly love the subject matter. I enjoy reaching the kids and engaging them. I even have gotten through some major challenges like breaking up a fist fight in my class or having one of the boys make a sexually explicit gesture towards me.

I teach 150 7th grade students everyday. My day starts at 5:30 am and I usually leave school 12 hrs. later. I eat lunch with the kids I’ve called in to get their work done and keep from failing. I write parents every Monday so they knows what’s coming up and in my off time I have more meetings and have decided to head the after school STEM Club. 

I LOVE what I get to do. I’ve never felt a greater sense of purpose in my life. I now understand what they mean when they say, do what you love and you’ll never “work” a day in your life. I bust my butt day in and day out, but I don’t want to miss a day watching them blossom and grow.  So, in sickness and health, I am committed to these 150 amazing and unique people 100%.

Just wanted to check-in and let you know where my attention has been lately and why I’ve been less prolific.

With love from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

Gratitude Challenge Day 23 of 30

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Challenge Day 23 of 30 – Gratitude for Peace

When I finally let down my burdens on the Camino de Santiago, I felt a peace inside of me that I had not known since I was a child.

Now, whenever I see people at odds with each other or find myself in conflict, everything inside wants to find a way to peace. When you have spent a long time in conflict or angry you may not even know how much it weighs on you and effects every relationship in your life.

I am so grateful that I finally know the lightness that peace offers and I consider it a personal mandate to work towards that in everything I do and with everyone I interact.

It really does start with you. Get right inside and then you CAN be the change you want to see in this world.

With gratitude from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

Gratitude Challenge Day 2 of 30

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Today’s Gratitude Challenge asks us to consider what we are grateful for in Nature.

Throughout my life nature has always been a refuge for me. Whenever I’ve needed to get away or figure things out, I went off to the woods behind my childhood home and found my answers.

I used to have a special laurel bush that I would hide inside. From there, I felt protected and I could also observe the animals that passed by.

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Often I found that by focusing on the sounds, smells, behaviors, and general environment, instead of dwelling directly on  the concern I brought with me, I left feeling more relaxed and often with some kind of solution. 

I still to this day find that getting away into nature has resorative powers that can get you back on track and give you the peace and clarity that you need.

So, I feel grateful for all the beauty that nature is by itself and for the peace of mind it offers me during the challenging times in life.

What do you appreciate about nature?

With love from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

Gratitude Challenge – Day 1 of 30

wpid-screenshot_2014-08-16-19-49-03-1.pngSo here we go. Day 1 of 30 in my gratitude challenge. ¬†Today, we are asked to write about gratitude for “home”.

Coming home from having virtually no privacy on the camino, I am very grateful for the “lack of people” in my house and some peace and quiet. ¬†I was so used to being surrounded by people in the common shower, the sleeping area, the stairwells. Unless, I went to the bathroom and closed the stall door, I didn’t get much “alone time” at the end of the day. ¬†

I appreciate the comfort of couch cushions :), my own shower without flip flops, a washing machine, and the same wonderful bed night after night.  I also appreciate the simplicity of my home.  A year or so ago, I got rid of a lot of excess. Coming home after carrying all I needed as 10 lbs on my back, it was a far easier transition.

It is really striking how much one can appreciate such seemingly simple things that we mostly take for granted in our homes. Sometimes it takes being away and without to appreciate what it means to come home and have so much.

With love from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

Gratitude Challenge (Post Camino)

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After having so many powerful experiences walking the Camino de Santiago, I wanted to set myself up for continued success now that I have returned.

One of the core lessons I FINALLY learned during this 800 km journey was HOW to stay present.  This is a well known key concept to inner peace and we’ve all read it or heard it from a hundred different sources. 

Despite my best attempts, I never really understood how it works, practically. I mean, who doesn’t want to feel at peace inside? Where do I sign up? Right?

So, how did I find it and how can you get some of that too? I’m glad you asked ūüėČ

Faith.

Yup. Faith.

No. You don’t have to believe in God or be religious.

There are some things that at some point we all have to get real about if we hope to know inner peace.

I had to learn to have faith again. Without faith there is no peace. Ever. No shortcut.

Note that I don’t say “happiness”. Peace is different from happiness. Happiness is a fleeting emotion.  Inner peace is everlasting.

So here’s the trick.

To stay in the present you have to let go of the past because it is a burden and there’s not a damn thing you can do to change how it impacts you except letting it go. Do what you’ve got to do, but DO THIS. I had to walk 350 miles and lay down a rock from my childhood home at the Cruz de Ferro to symbolize laying down my past and my burdens. That’s what it took for me. What will it take for you?

Secondly, come to terms with the fact that you have no control over the future. Worrying isn’t DOING something to affect the outcome. You are not helping anyone. Your worry keeps no one safe. In fact, it is probably affecting your health negatively. STOP IT!

Take all that energy you’re wasting on worry and do something useful right now. It is the ONLY place your efforts and energy can make an impact anyway.

Besides faith that the future will take care of itself if you stay present, the best way to keep yourself grounded in the now is GRATITUDE. Go ahead and start rolling out a list of things or people you are grateful for. Here’s how I know this works…

I remember when I was walking and I had more blisters than feet. The sun is baking down on me in the Meseta. I have severe heat rash on my legs and scratching only makes the itching worse. My knee is still not completely healed from injury in the Pyranees and feels like a rubber band snapping as I walk. All I can feel is pain. All I could focus on was pain. Finally, I fell to the ground and laid flat on my back and cried.

I couldn’t take it anymore. I screamed out loud- God help me, please! What do you want from me? I was not religious. I needed help and no one on earth was coming to my aid. I needed to find something inside to keep me going.

Other pilgrims passed by and commented that they didn’t think I was going to make it.  It was one of my lowest hardest moments on my camino. I had to decide if I was going to press on or give up. One thing was for certain, I couldn’t stay there lying on the side of the road.

So, I decided to get up to see what felt right in my body so I could see what I could do to get myself to the next town. I thought to myself, well the right foot feels better than the left. I can lean more on that. I can take off a layer of socks on the swollen foot. My shoulders and back feel strong to carry the pack. It is not raining.  And so on. You get the idea.

I just kept walking and reminding myself what I was grateful for. Not only did I arrive at the next town, but I kept this up everyday and finally walked 500-miles eventually pain free.

And that’s what triggered my true understanding of gratitude. Basically it is like saying, yeah I know there are things that suck really bad right now, but what does work? How can I make it suck less.

Thinking like that. Staying in the moment helped me walk across an entire country with everything I needed on my back in a 6 kg pack for 35 days.

Your attitude is a choice. Faith is a choice. Letting go is a choice. Taking one more step — all choices.

So I want to keep it going now that I’m back home. I saw this 30 day gratitude challenge and I thought, ok let’s do it. Starting tomorrow – Day 1.

Would you like to join me? I posted the “challenge calendar” in this post. I will write a post for each day’s gratitude topic and you can add yours to the comments if you’d like. The more the merrier.

I’ll start a little early with a warmup…I am grateful that you make the time to read my posts. Thank you.

Inner peace – a choice and not free of effort. You’re going to use your energy somewhere everyday. It makes sense to put it to good use.

With love from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

You Are Ok As Is

Before you read this, make sure that you are in a place where you will be undisturbed for at least 15 minutes.  Pull your car over and sit inside if there is no place at work or home.  Just find a place where you can be alone.

Imagine for a moment that it is the beginning of a new day.  You lay in bed and feel the way the sun warms your face and the way your body has relaxed into your bed. Even though your eyes remain closed they can sense that daylight has come as the brightness seeps through your eyelids. A brand new day is upon us.

Before your first thoughts of the day begin racing through your head, breathe. Really inhale and exhale.  Do this 5 times. Now, feel the weight of your body on the surface beneath you.  With your eyes still closed, smile. Keep the smile on your face and keep breathing slowly.

Sense how beautiful you are when you smile. ¬†Imagine the beauty of your face. ¬†Notice how your whole body feels when you smile. Perhaps a tear comes to your eye since you haven’t thought much about that in a while.

Imagine if at this moment before you even open your eyes and begin your day, you are just right as you are. ¬†Imagine that you are filled with amazing strengths and capabilities. ¬†Imagine that your weakness are less important than your strengths. ¬†Imagine your greatest strengths lie just beneath your weaknesses. ¬†Imagine that you don’t need to be fixed. Imagine that you are not broken. ¬†You are ok as is.

Imagine that you already have all the tools you need to have a great day. Imagine that you can handle whatever comes your way.  Imagine that every person you meet and every situation you find yourself in is temporary.  Imagine that your happiness is as fleeting as your sadness.  It is a moment. It is not permanent.

Imagine smiling when your heart is breaking simply because you know that moments are just that — moments. ¬†And at any moment we choose we can look at something another way. ¬†We can start a chain reaction in our minds, bodies and lives with just a smile.

Go on hold that goofy smile a little longer than it feels natural to do.  You might start laughing. Feel your mind shift. Each breath you take reminds you that your heart is beating, your body is working, your mind is firing away. You are a beautiful, capable, whole and vital being.  You are not broken.  You are still ok as is.

Now, quickly name 5 things you are grateful for while you continue to smile and breathe. ¬†Don’t over-think it. Just name them.

You’ve come into this earth as uniquely as each and every one of us has. You have a purpose on this earth as you are. ¬†There will never be a more perfect version of you than you. ¬†You see the world differently than I do. You share yourself with others differently. You cry about things that I may not and you laugh at things that other people don’t think are funny. ¬†You make love as your body, mind, and spirit guide you to do. ¬†All uniquely you. ¬†You cherish people who love you and you can be hurt by those who harm you too. ¬†But you are still ok as is.

Allow yourself to feel what you do, but remember and never forget that these feelings don’t define you. ¬†They are reactions and reactions can change as we change what we choose to see in our view. ¬†I am me and you are you and each and every day we can only do the best we can do. ¬†There is no more, no less and there is stress when we forget that others have the right to do what they want to do too. But so do you. We look at what we see as limits and we think that is all we can do. ¬†You are not what you think and most of the time we have a limited view.

We respond as we’ve learned to, but there is something we can do. ¬†Let yourself accept yourself as you are. ¬†Don’t try to squash it or fake it or put it in a cake and bake it just to make it more palatable for those around you. You are still ok as is. ¬†Ok as You.

If what you do does not give you the results you want, then change it. ¬†If you don’t know how right now, find a way. You have everything you need to do what you need to do. ¬†And you have what you need to make changes too. As you go on your journey continue to acknowledge that you are still ok as is. ¬†Just simply be willing to change how you do what you do because you want a different result than is coming to you. ¬†That is all. ¬†No judgement, shaming, blaming or guilt. ¬†It doesn’t matter how long the journey is as long as you are on a path towards your goal.

Finally, remember that there will be uncertainty. ¬†We actually control far less than we think. ¬†Happiness in life is directly proportional to how much you can let go of and how comfortable you can become with uncertainty. Trust yourself. You don’t have to know how or when you will get there all at once. ¬†Take one step, then another. Trust. Just trust that you are still ok as is and have everything you need to get to where you want to go.

This is your journey and it all begins with the willingness to take the first step.  Then another and another until you have created the momentum to step without wondering if you can.  Each step, feel the firm ground beneath your feet.  You are safe.  You are enough.  You are ok as is.

With love from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

Peace Be with You

I had this sent to me in an email today and I wanted to share it with all of you. I could think of nothing more to add. I hope you enjoy it.

“Today may there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others.

May you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has
been given to you.

May you be content with yourself just the way you are.

Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of us.‚ÄĚ

With love from aneternaltraveler ; )

Light Your Fire and Let the Rest Go

“All it takes is a willingness to let go.”

When I used to think about what it took to transform your life, I thought it meant that you had to focus on adding more good stuff to your life. I think subconsciously I already felt like I had enough occupying the spaces in my brain, so over time I gave up.  It became too much to keep reorganizing and making everything fit.

Recently, I decided to just be willing to open my mind to seeing what brings me joy.  And you know what I discovered?  

Successfully transforming your life is way more about what you let go of, not what you hold on to.

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When we start to focus on what makes us happy and say YES! to it, it seems like more of it shows up and it gets easier to recognize.¬†Also, I’ve noticed that I’m suddenly getting into conversations with people who I didn’t even know shared my interests. ¬†It’s like you start to send out “Bat Signals” subconsciously and people who pick up on it start coming into your life. ¬†Additionally, those who are on a different wavelength keep moving past you like you have a Teflon¬†coating ūüôā ¬†Pretty cool, huh?

This “phenomenon” has been happening to me more frequently and it’s really caught my attention. ¬†It finally clicked that when we make a conscious decision to focus on what brings us joy, the “stuff” that doesn’t really do it for us falls away and very naturally makes room for the things that do. ¬†I imagine if you do this long enough, you have a pretty happy, clutter-free mind and feel quite content with your life.

It reminds me of all the clutter-clearing I’ve been doing in my house over the past year or so. ¬†I made up my mind that I am only going to allow things in my house that I really want. ¬†Before you knew it I had sold a bunch of items on craigslist and gave away 50-60 boxes of dead weight. ¬†I feel lighter. ¬†It’s easier to find things. ¬†I know what I have. And most of all, I really enjoy the space.

If I were to compare the way I initially thought about life transformation to owning stuff in my house, that would mean that I basically thought I’d have to add more to my house to be happier. ¬†I’d have to make room for more!!¬†Crazy talk!! ¬†I would never think that makes sense, but here I was applying that same philosophy to my own well-being.

“It seems so obvious now that the key to happiness lies in recognizing what lights our fire AND knowing¬†what we can let go of.”

Tell me about how your life was changed by learning the art of “letting go” and focusing on what revs you up.

With love from aneternaltraveler ūüėȬ†

Breaking Free of Your Image

Today I began fulfilling the promise I made to myself when I quit my second job.  

Focus on you and what you love to do.

I have read just about every self-help there is out there and while I’ve learned something from each one, somehow I can’t seem to sustain it. ¬†I guess that’s why I’ve read so many ūüėČ ¬†

On and off throughout my life I’d heard or read about the power of meditation to transform your life. ¬†I always liked the part where your life could change, but I couldn’t imagine how breathing could lead you to a better life. ¬†I’d been breathing my whole life and still ended up unhappy. ¬†Not to mention –¬†it sounded pretty boring to just sit there and breathe. ¬†I’m an active person, do, do, do!! ¬†Try, try try!! Those were my life mottoes. ¬†Total overachiever. Type A. ¬†5 year-planner. ¬†You know the type, right?¬†

ImageExcept the doing and the trying weren’t working anymore. ¬†Soon, I stopped understanding what I¬†was trying¬†to¬†do¬†all the time. ¬†Little by little, the person I once knew crumbled in front of my very eyes over the past 3 years. ¬†All the while, I desperately tried to hang on to the image I had of myself. ¬†

The stronger the grip, the more quickly another part of the picture faded.

We start out our lives with a set of traits and capacities that uniquely define us as an individual. ¬†A sort of “personality imprint.” Then, we are socialized into the world of guilt and shame. ¬†We are taught to be this, do that, to not be this way or not to act that way. ¬†

What we so often become couldn’t be further from who we really are. ¬†We then go about our lives creating a nice little package of the “socially accepted traits” we are sure we possess. ¬†We want to be accepted. ¬†We want to be picked for the team; at work, at home, among friends and acquaintances. ¬†We discard the parts of us that would be less desirable. ¬†We ignore the longings of our soul. ¬†Above all we spend most of our lives trying to convince ourselves that THIS IS ALL OK. ¬†Our image is complete.

My image was shattered.Image  

It hurts a lot when this happens.  

It feels like someone smashed a mirror with your reflection over the top of your head and dragged it slowly down the length of your body. ¬†When it finally reaches the floor, you are left trying to decide whether to pick up the pieces on the floor or out of your skin first. You’re sure this was a mistake and you begin to scramble to put the broken shards back into place just the way you remember it. With every effort to do so, you are getting hurt even more. ¬†But you are fighting for your life, right? ¬†You can’t just walk away, can you? ¬†This is WHO you are!!

Except it isn’t. ¬†If it were the REAL you, you wouldn’t need a mirror to recognize it.

Today I loosened my grip on that image a bit and took my first step towards exploring a land that you won’t find in any guidebook. I left my mirror at home on the ground. ¬†I stepped out of the frame instead of scavenging for pieces. ¬†I sat at the edge of my bed this morning for 10 minutes and began listening to my breathing.

I had just woken up and already, I found it difficult to just breathe deeply. ¬†This should be considered one of the most relaxed states of the day and here I was having trouble BREATHING! ¬†Wow! ¬†I thought, maybe I do need this. ¬†That’s about all I got out of those 10 minutes, but I figured you have to start somewhere.

I went about my day, feeling pretty miserable at work as usual.  I started dreaming of 3:00 when I would would be free to jump into my car and head to the gym for my workout.  

Finally, 3:00 came and I was headed for the endorphin enhancing part of my day.  I ran on the treadmill, I lifted weights, headed back to the arc trainer for a leg workout and ended with a 5 min massage in the shiatsu chair.  It felt good to use my body that way.  I feel strong and powerful when I work my muscles like that and I like the way it clears my head.

It was 4:30 and I was headed home.  The whole way I realized that I was looking forward to my evening meditation that I would begin right after finishing the little chores around the house.  I had hoped it would be better than this morning.

I put the cats outside and turned out the lights so I wouldn’t be disturbed. ¬†This time I set up a guided meditation for 20 min. ¬†I asked myself, in the silence of my mind, what I needed to know. ¬†

I soon saw myself sitting on a lotus flower in the middle of a large pond filled with lily pads . ¬†Hmmm….ok…interesting…just breathe and go with it….inhale…exhale…. ¬†Image

After a while, a figure of a man appeared out of the mist.  He glided towards me, sat down in front of me, gently rested his hands on my knees and said squarely into my eyes,

You are not alone. ¬†Even when you are surrounded by a room of people who have counted you out, turned their backs to you and discarded you. ¬†You are not alone. You are surrounded by a universe that supports you. ¬†You are safe. ¬†I am beside you, within you, all around you. ¬†Wherever there is a need in you, I can be found filling it. ¬†You are never alone.” ¬†

I felt myself sigh deeply and tears rolled down my cheeks.  I felt really safe at that moment, so I asked if the figure would hold me in his arms for the rest of the meditation.  And he did.  He was there.  Maybe, I was not alone after all. 

I asked, “What else do I need to know?” ¬†The figure said, “For right now I just need you to really know in your heart and soul, that you are not alone. ¬†That is all.”

Well, that went a lot better! ¬†I felt so at peace at the end of that 20 min. meditation, that I have remained in silence since then, finding no real good reason to speak. ¬†That’s saying something for me!

I began cooking dinner in the kitchen and in walk the cats meowing and meowing their heads off.  This has always driven me crazy and right now it was disturbing my zen moment. Each and every time, I TELL them to STOP!  I yell at them to go away and stop begging.  

This time though, I don’t know why exactly, but¬†did something different. ¬†I looked at them and didn’t say a word. ¬†I picked them up and put them into the adjacent dining room. ¬†I SHOWED them what I wanted.

Each time they re-entered, I walked them out in silence. ¬†A funny thing happened after a short-while. ¬†For the first time, I was cooking in silence without cats meowing in the kitchen or for that matter anywhere at all. ¬†They just looked in at me from the dining room while I cooked. ¬†If I didn’t know better, I’d say they were just shocked.

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But this taught me something. ¬†Show. Don’t tell. ¬†Your words are less important than your actions. ¬†I yell, they meow louder. ¬†I am a silent guide, they quietly listen and follow.

Be More

Say Less

I’ve decided to keep firing up my endorphins after work at the gym and listening to my breathing twice a day after all. ¬†It looks like I’m headed down the right path to free myself from the mirror. ¬†Maybe one day I’ll feel like having it smashed over my head was one of the greatest gifts I’ve received. ¬†For now though, I’m going to take it one breath at a time.

With love from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ

   

Where Will You Put Your Energy?

Some environments are really toxic to be in. ¬†It’s easy to get bogged down. To feel isolated and powerless. ¬†You may find yourself fighting battles constantly. ¬†

As I’ve written in another post,¬†https://aneternaltraveler.wordpress.com/2013/11/20/do-what-you-have-to-do-its-only-temporary/¬†sometimes you have to do what you have to do right now and remember it’s temporary. ¬†

Today we’re going to talk about how you can do it so that you feel like you’re paying dues for a membership you actually want

In my current work situation for whatever reason, I’ve become the target for people’s hatred. ¬†I walk into work and I can guarantee with 100% certainty that I will be told something negative. ¬†I am on a team where instead of them having my back, I have to watch my back.¬†

Now if I wanted to I could go into battle with these people everyday.  I did this for the first month. It sucked. And it sucked because I made the assumption that these people wanted things to be peaceful and harmonious.  I assumed talking to them would lead to greater understanding and better teamwork.

When I finally realized that I was the only one who wanted this and I had pushed myself to exhaustion to try to achieve it, I took a step back to reassess. ¬†It shouldn’t be this hard. ¬†“Why do they seem full of energy while I’m running on empty?” ¬†Well simply put, they put their energy where it worked best for them – keeping things status quo. ¬†I put my energy where it didn’t work best for me – trying to change their status quo.

So here’s the tough part – finding the courage to,

Let go of the way you’ve been doing things AND use your energy to put you where you want to be.

For me this boiled down to two choices – go to battle in the trenches, hand-to-hand-combat-style, every time a challenge is presented or think like the General of my own life and strategize a workaround where I could focus on what will advance me forward.

First and foremost, I will remind myself that my energy belongs to me.  I can choose where to put it.

Moving forward, when someone tries to engage me in a fight, I will not give them my energy by engaging them back. Instead, I will use my energy to think about how to best advance myself.  

A better use of my energy would be to, research positions on the company website that I’d like to hold. Forming a good relationship with my boss so I have his support to get to my destination. ¬†Staying in contact with him as the pettiness comes up to make sure he knows my viewpoint and to ensure we stay on the same page. Finally, stay proactive – present my boss with solutions in the form of positions I’m interested in and qualified for and ask for his advice about moving me into one of them.

If I’m fighting, fighting, fighting in the trenches, I’ll be chronically exhausted. ¬†I know because I’ve been fighting there for awhile now and I’m chronically exhausted. ¬†Pretty simple equation.¬†

Trying to get people who don’t care about you, to care about you, is not only a losing battle,¬†it is a sign that you’re investing more in others opinion of you than you are in yourself and your own well-being.

I’m not willing to do another battle and stay entrenched in the pettiness. I’m going to focus on what will help me move forward and stop treading water in a bad situation.

How have you changed your perspective in a bad situation and come out ahead?

With love from aneternaltraveler ūüėČ