Connection of a Different Sort

This month, per my agreement with myself, I have been reading, listening to, ruminating on, and talking about the idea of Connection. Although one of my intentions has been to connect more with others, and I have experienced the joy of some very special reunions and reconciliations, there is another kind of connection that continues to surprise me in its surfacing: the connection to self.

During some recent travel I began reading a book called Quiet Horizons: Releasing Ideology and Embracing Self-Knowledge.

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Much of what is in this book resonates with my own thoughts about my life as they have developed in the last few months. I am only nearly halfway through the book, but let me summarize at the highly-likely risk of oversimplifying. The author, my uncle Greg Jemsek, is extolling the importance of knowing yourself outside of what organizations and society may tell you to be and finding your own purpose rather than following the dreams and purposes of others. Uncle Greg :), a narrative therapist among other things, describes the psychological reasons why some people are prone to falling victim to “conversion” groups and offers the alternative of self-knowledge as a better path toward empowered fulfillment and community.

In my current situation, I can somedays feel the weighty fog of loneliness in a big city during an era where online relationships and identities (if we can call them that) have supplanted physical connection. But during this month of Here I Am, I am discovering (with the help of wise people who pointed it out) that life is laying out a path for me to connect with myself in a new way instead of struggling to find connection and belonging in others. In fact, I’m beginning to embrace the journey of self-knowledge despite the occasional loneliness as I see it more and more as the groundwork necessary for the authentic relationships I seek. It is time to connect with the bare essentials of ME, to cultivate a more genuine acceptance, even appreciation, of what I bring to this world. And as I do that, I eagerly wait for the unveiling of new connections with others that I’m sure will happen simultaneously.

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Are you connecting with yourself? Do you know that every day you are keeping company with a very special person? There is no one like you and there is no one who can bring to this world the particular thing that you bring. There is no one who can tell you what to be and within you is the power to be many many things. So before you make a contract with yourself that your identity is an affiliation — liberal, Catholic, husband, reject, accountant, American — remember that your true identity cannot be bound by any social construct nor its conditions.

How do you “remember” this? Sit down quietly with yourself. Say “Hello” to you. Imagine all the labels of identity falling off of you like clothing. Ask yourself a question that has been nagging you and listen to your essence, your intuition…you DO have wise intuition.  Soak in the truth that there is no other YOU in existence.

Or, wait for me to finish the book and I’ll tell you what an expert suggests you do. 🙂

For the time being, be YOU today! The world needs you.

~~~S Wave~~~

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Month 5: Connection

Without fear, we are able to see more clearly our connections to others.
Without fear, we have more room for understanding and compassion.
Without fear, we are truly free.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Welcome to the midpoint of 2013! June brings all kinds of newness with school ending, weather shifting, summer’s potential blossoming, and for me it brings me to a new Here I Am intention. What is Here I Am? Good question. Even I have to remind myself of its purpose and realign myself with the intention behind it. As I defined it before, “It was an inventory of things that I would like to add or alter in my life,” and it is the journey of exploring those things one at a time.

My original Here I Am list looked like this:

My list of intentions

My list of intentions

The philosophy behind Here I Am is that it is not necessary to address these things with a heavily legalistic, reward-punishment type of approach to change but through a gentle acceptance of where you are now in life and a childlike curiosity for what it might be like to change the status quo for about a month. So far, I have contemplated and explored my physical health, a sneaky addiction, spiritual vitality, and non-snoozification.

Now it is time to pick the next intention off of my list. If you wonder how I pick them, it is based on a combination of my intuition and the signs that surround me. Together, these guideposts tell me pretty clearly what needs my attention next. And the winner for this month is….Connection!

By “connection” I don’t just mean having closer friends, although that is part of it. I also mean that I want deeper connections with friends–new and old. I want that depth to be spiritual and to serve as a vehicle for growth and good. I also want to feel a connection of love for those I don’t know and especially for those that I specifically have a hard time loving. I want to release myself–at least for this month–to trust people more and to accept my own worth to be connected TO! I want to feel more   community with like-minded people. But most of all, I want to act on my belief that these connections are made not only through my human effort, but also through the laws of attraction that draw us together. Acting on this belief means trusting and expecting that I will see new connections emerging in my life as I intentionally make myself available to them.

So off I go. Here’s to a great month of connection and as always, growth growth growth. I wish for all of you to also experience  an expansion of your own connection to others. Let’s expect together!

Be well!

~~~S Wave~~~

Month 4: Rise & Whine Becomes Rise & Shine

“The alarm in the morning? Well, I have an old tape of Carlo Maria Giulini conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in a perfectly transcendent version in Shubert’s seventh symphony. And I’ve rigged it up so that at exactly 7:30 every morning it falls from the ceiling onto my face.”
― Stephen Fry

I asked a friend who is searching for a passion-producing career the obvious question, “Well what do you love doing?” One of the first things on his list was: Sleeping.

Fair enough.

I love sleeping too! I wish I could get 9 hours of sleep a night while also being able to be a night owl since I’m so productive in the evenings and be able to rise early to enjoy the dawning of a new day without the pressure to rush into it. Alas, that hasn’t worked out for me. I inevitable and invariably snooze and burrow under the covers until the very last minute possible.

So, dear readers, this new month brings me to a new intention on my Here I Am journey. I don’t believe in the myth of the early bird, but I do know that I will be closer to my best me if I begin my day with some calm, centering activities instead of rushing off to work. And don’t forget, approaching your best you means the betterment of your life, of the lives of those in your sphere, and of the world at large. That is not hyperbole! It is true! After this past month of amazing spiritual growth and elevation which continues and will remain, I am eager to bring healing and balance to every part of my life where malaise or imbalance exist. I want to get in there and get it worked out!  So for this month I’m letting “rise and whine” become “rise and shine!”

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Getting out of bed earlier than I have to…this is a monumental feat of will and focus!! That is also not hyperbole! Okay, maybe a little. It is HARD for me though. Like my friend, I LOVE sleep. But let’s not be naive…it isn’t just that I love sleep. There are other reasons I have a hard time getting up. Most of them related to stress, anxiety, and worry that I allow to live in me. It takes me a while to fall asleep because of thinking about the next day. I have very vivid and VERY stressful dreams that leave me feeling like I’ve been working overtime by the time I wake up. Then I arise and almost instantly feel stressed about something awaiting me in my day. That all sounds awful doesn’t it?! It’s hard for me to even believe that is me when I see it written.

The good news is that for the last month, I have politely escorted stress and worry out of my mind and soul one room at a time. It feels amazing to fall asleep soundly and to wake up with more joy and excitement for the day than I am used to. I still have very stressful dreams and I’m not sure what to do about that yet, but two out of three isn’t bad!

Despite these great changes, I STILL have a hard time opening my eyes when that alarm goes off. I still feel like I need a nap after all those frenetic dreams. So, knowing how hard this month would be, I decided that I better make a calendar for myself to help me along. Remember, there is no guilt in Here I Am…just curiosity, compassion, attention, and intention. This is NOT a calendar for gold stars; it IS a “calendar of perspective” to help me see and grasp how few days really make up a month, how far I’ve come, and that the world won’t end if one day passes without a perfect performance. The next day and its fresh start will dawn.

April Calendar

I won’t lie. The first two days of the month I slept right through that snooze button and right through my intention to get up early to have Me time. But yesterday came, April the 3rd, and TA-DA! I was up. I was meditating. I was stretching out. I was sipping a cup of coffee. It felt marvelous. (Interestingly, the night before I did an energy clearing meditation with mudras which is supposed to help you sleep.) Now I’m looking forward to discovering what lies ahead for me in these morning hours. I feel like I’ve discovered a whole new part of the day that I had forgotten even existed. Good morning, sunshine!

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I don’t know if any of you are still doing your Here I Am intentions, but if you are then I connect with you now…from my heart to yours…and send you positivity and energy to propel you onward.

Connect with us on Facebook to get more food for thought on connection and personal growth. See you there!

Month 3: The G Word

Has it really been a month since I’ve added a new post?? I’ve missed it here! If you recall, my last month of Here I Am was devoted to “putting down the crutch” (i.e., trying to break an addiction, for those of you who are just tuning in.) Well, I did…for two weeks. Honestly, I just wasn’t as vigilant as I could have been. But in the true spirit of Here I Am, I am not dwelling on excuses or failures, nor am I miring myself in guilt. The infamous lockbox remains on my list. I will tackle it again another month, with greater vigilance.

The good news is that I refuse to leave without a lesson. I’m not a huge Mraz fan, but I do like his line: “I reckon it’s again my turn to win some or learn some.” No losing, just learning. The first lesson I learned from Month 2 is that simply writing a mantra ain’t gonna cut it! I looked back and read my post from last month and realized that I had totally forgotten the beautiful and sincere mantra I had written. Next time, that mantra needs to be taped to my mirror, carried in my purse, used as my screensaver. I need to wrap myself daily in the encouraging thoughts that come from IN ME! (P.s., thank you so much to the people that encouraged my along the way last month. Don’t loose faith! I’ll be back for some more soon!)

The second lesson I learned is that I hold my crutch the tightest when I feel like there is less to rejoice for, when hopelessness begins to creep in. On those days, I am convinced by the inner voice saying, “Meh, what does it matter?” Some days I wonder how I could possibly think like that!! Others it seems to make so much sense. I realized that the times in my life when I have most easily put down my crutch are the times when I am the most connected to God. This leads me to Month 3. (Yes, the “month” is supposed to begin on the 12th. Ideally it would have. But, I am reinventing the Here I Am calendar in the freedom I have to do so and saying, “So begins Month 3 on this wonderful day, February 23rd!!”)

Now, if the big G word makes you nervous, don’t fear; I won’t be preaching to you on Life As a Wave. I know what I mean when I say, “connecting to God.” What you mean by that may look, sound, feel different than my experience. Maybe you don’t use the word “God.” The result should be the same though, right?  A sense of peace, love, hope, freedom, purpose. What I am emphasizing is an intentional, daily practice of pursuing this connection. For me that involves prayer, music, meditation, being in the moment, study and community. That is what this month is for. I cannot wait!! From my experience, there is literally nothing that can compare to connecting with that which is the highest, grandest, wisest, loveliest, mightiest, most gracious, and most boundless thing that exists. Once you invite that, and recognize that it lives within you….forget about it! You’re hooked! Now that is a kind of addiction I can get behind. You might ask why something so beautiful and empowering would need to be on my list? Wouldn’t I just want to float around in that all day every day?? What a good question. I will just quote St. John to explain the trappings of the day-to-day life on Earth that can so easily distract us from the things that are eternal:

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”

There you have it. I’m human. But here’s to Month 3! A devotion to the superhuman. I hope to include more frequent updates with all of you along the way. Stay tuned and as always, thank you for your being part of Life As a Wave.

With love,

~~~S Wave~~~

Month 2: Putting Down the Crutch


pain of change

I’ve been stalling on writing a new post because this newest month of Here I Am! is both personal and challenging. Even on this blog that offers some anonymity I hesitate to share the part of my life that will be receiving my attention and intention this month.

But before I dive into that, I want to share that month 1 went swimmingly! If you recall, my first month was focused on my body, my physical health, and my appreciation of this beautiful tent that I have been given. And what a month it was! Yes, I set up an exercise routine that I am still in. Yes, I began to educate myself about calories (boring!). Yes, I feel stronger, more confident, and more in control. I learned that my entire daily exercise regiment could be beaten to a pulp and tossed into the ditch by the number of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups that I like to consume every night. So we had to break up.

It's not you, peanut butter cup, it's me.

It’s not you, peanut butter cup, it’s me.

But the most important thing that came from this first month was a reinforcement of my sense of empowerment. I was reminded that “we have the power to choose moment by moment who and how we want to be in the world.” (See our facebook page for the source of that magnificent quote!) It was this self-assurance in month 1 that has led me to take on a much bigger intention in month 2. On my Here I Am! list there is a lockbox, number 7.

My list of intentions

My list of intentions

This intention is private and locked away for only my consideration. It is an intention to break a dependency, to drop an unhealthy crutch on which I have leaned on for a long time. For this month, I will allow myself to spread my arms and stretch in the freedom that I can have without that crutch. I will stir up the power that is inside me and all around me that tells me to have courage, put down my crutch and , “Walk!” If any of you have tried to do this before—let go of an addiction which, by the way, can come in all shapes and sizes—then you know that even day 1 can seem like torture!

So now more than ever it is important for me to reiterate to myself and to you, dear readers, that making a change like this requires grace…not just the grace of God but your own grace toward yourself. Therefore, this is my mantra, my prayer, for this month:

I am thankful for this month of thoughtfulness.

I embrace the challenge, knowing that I am surrounded by love.

In me is all the strength and love that is needed to walk freely and without addiction.

I do not judge myself for weakness but simply notice the thoughts and desires in my body and mind. Always with love.

A new vision and calling awaits me as I decide, moment by moment, who and how I am in this world.

Lastly, I want to leave you with this thought, lest you feel that this journey I have been writing about is unrelated to our theme of connectedness. I believe that there are times in life when we must grasp the reins of our own choices, actions, words, habits and redirect ourselves once again in order to be prepared to step into the next opportunity for giving, sharing, healing. When we are our better self then we spread that betterment to others. The connections we make in the visible and invisible realms are then blessed with more authenticity and grace. There must be a beautiful quote about that somewhere out there! If you find it, let me know. 🙂

As always, thank you for reading.

With love inside and out,

~~~S Wave~~~

Month 1: Loving My Body!!!

My list of intentions

My list of intentions

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Okay, I promise not to send a daily update, but I do want to write briefly about the kick-off to the HERE I AM! experience that we’ve just started. Last night I spent the evening with my sister and brother-in-law, sitting by a fire and writing out our intentions for the month-by-month, change-welcoming, gratitude-buliding, growth-sparking, connection-forming journey that is HERE I AM! We shared our ideas with each other until finally we each had a list that we felt reflected our most pressing inner desires.

My sister receiving some help with her list.

My sister receiving some help with her list.

And so today begins day one of month one. My first intention is exercise. The universe gave me a nudge to make this my first intention through an innocent comment made by an acquaintance yesterday. In what might be the most horrifying social moment (for both the speaker and the receiver) one can find oneself in, a woman I know paused her cell phone conversation, looked at me with wide eyes and said, “Oh! Are you expecting?” After I recovered from the complete brain combustion that followed, I politely laughed with her about the whole misunderstanding and we both tried to bounce back by profusely explaining that it must have been due to the flowing, baby-doll cut blouse that I was wearing that day (which I have now gladly donated to my sister, who is expecting.) That’s all I needed, universe. Got it. Exercise it is!

Behind this intention of Exercise is a desire to love my body and to honor this temple that I have been given. These are the only feet that I have to walk me through this life; the only hands I have to embrace others, to clap with the beat, and to raise in joy; the only lungs I have to bring me the breath of life; the only muscles I have to allow me to work, explore, and be helpful; the only throat I have to speak. I want to be fit, spry, flexible, ready to go. I specifically intend to not base my judgement of my progress on what I might look like to other people, but how I feel about my strength, power and health. As the process takes place, I will be patient and I will send positive, appreciative thoughts to my soft tummy and my dimpled thighs. I will love love love what I have while giving it more of what it needs.

I will explain the other intentions as their times come.  But before I go, I want to express my support to anyone who is also doing a list of their own. Remember to be gentle and loving. Keep your eyes open for the signs and wonders that might just be shown to you as you set your intention on the good and worthy things of life. To celebrate this first day of HERE I AM!, here is a little something to encourage you onward (wink):