I hope you can stick with me on this one. I say that because I have so many thoughts going through my mind right now and they way they are coalescing and revealing their wisdom to me is completely clear to me, but I fear I will not accurately put everything into words that make sense for anyone else.
That being said, I'll have a go at it.
I have believed for a long time that spiritually speaking, we all have a piece of the puzzle. Based on the lessons we are meant to learn in this lifetime, our own experiences and the people who we encounter, we develop our own truth to speak. Sometimes the people we encounter hear our truth and make it part of their own. Sometimes we absorb their truth and many times some sort of equal exchange happens.
I just got off the phone with my wife. We've gotten in the habit of talking late at night, most often the timing dictated by when my stepdaughter goes to sleep. Tonight I had been reading, and dozed off before she called. I've been feeling quite exhausted lately...haven't been sleeping well.
When we were talking, my wife commented that I sounded tired and perhaps I should sleep. I agreed that I should, but I wasn't going to, meaning that I wanted to talk to her for a bit instead of cutting the conversation short.
I complained that I was feeling much older today than I should. I was particularly sore after my chiropractic appointment today, my knee that had been scoped years ago had been hurting lately, and as I told my friend who works for my chiropractor, I don't think I ever fully recovered from the cold I had several weeks ago, and I felt it creeping up on me again.
My wife is one of the wisest people I know. After listening to my litany of complaints, she said, "You need to do something for your body EVERY DAY. This is not a choice any more." She then suggested that instead of lamenting the fact that I have no method of watching my favorite yoga DVD's right now, that I do Sun Salutations every day.
We also talked about reasons I was guided to this place in this time. One of the many reasons is so I could have time and space to identify and break some of the negative patterns in my life. Again, I highly recommend the Hoffman Quadrinity Process.
We talked of other things until we were both close to falling asleep on the phone. We said our goodnights, and hung up. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, things all started to make sense. A flood of seemingly unrelated quotes, parables, wisdom and some good old common sense washed over me. I knew I had to write this post now, or miss out on the momentum. So here is a whole bunch of thoughts, ideas a nuggets of yummy universal truth...some with proper credit, and some without...and let me say that most of these, I have been familiar with for a long time, but I have discovered new truth in the words:
Eckhart Tolle..."Is there something you need to do? Get up and do it now."
Problems cannot be solved at the same level of thinking at which they were created.
A student of Zen happened upon one of his teachers sitting between a pile of hot peppers and a pile of stems, the teacher's face bright red and he was crying. The student watched for a moment as the teacher bit into one of the peppers, continued crying and tossed the stem into the pile. Quite confused, the student said, "Master, what are you doing?" The teacher, through his tears replied, "I'm trying to find the sweet one."
"Try not, do or do not. There is no try." Yoda
"Don't try to be a great man..,just be a man, and let history make its own judgments." Zephrem Cochran
"If you're going to do something, do it well...and leave something witchy, so people know you were there." Charles Manson
"Find that thing in life that you don't do well, and then don't do that thing." The most interesting man in the world
"Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself. Do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it." Bruce Lee
"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there. You must go beyond them." Bruce Lee
If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got
"Work very hard." Andres Segovia
"You can't build a reputation on what you're going to do." Henry Ford
Resistance is futile
"I am fearless in my heart They will always see that in my eyes I am The Passion; I am The Warfare I will never stop Always constant, accurate and intense" Steve Vai
Something we used to whisper to each other right before going on stage when I was in the Wartburg Ritterchor: don't suck.
Some of you will make some of the same connections that I did with all of these ideas. As I am fond of saying, common sense is anything but.
These are my late night revelations...
If yoga feeds my body's need to move and stretch, then do yoga.
If martial arts forms practice strengthens the body and clears the mind, then practice forms.
If practicing guitar scales improves dexterity and focus, practice scales.
If fast food pollutes body and mind, eat slow food.
If taking three joint lubrication pills works better than two, take three.
If playing malfouf (Arabic rhythm) brings joy and inspiration, play malfouf.
These things in theory are so simple, so plain to see. My friends, I am often slow to change. My wife would say this is due to my birth under the sign of Taurus.
One more quote, from Maya Angelou I believe: You did the best that you knew how to do, any when you knew better, you did better.
It's time I did better.
So I lied...one more quote, a paraphrase actually from Thoreau: I went to the woods because I wanted to live deep, to suck out all the marrow of life; to put to rout all that was not life, and not when I had come to die, realized that I had not lived.
I had those lines read at my mom's funeral. It was both an expression of great sorrow and my grieving, passive aggressive way of stating to the world how angry I was with my mom for dying the way she did. Long story short, she neglected her body, her mind and her spirit and at 58 years old, she left this life due to heart disease, uncontrolled diabetes and morbid obesity. She was trapped by the enormous pain body she carried around for most of her life. She distracted herself with food and books and solitaire. I wonder if when she came to die, if she realized she had not lived.
My judgement of my mother's situation may be harsh. Almost fourteen years she's been gone and the nature of her passing still feeds my own pain body.
What troubles me more is that I am following in her footsteps. At age 33, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I ate whatever I wants to, and I did not stay active...and I have been denying the diagnosis ever since. To be fair, I have been taking my treatment more seriously in the past few months, although living alone has not helped my food choices and my activity level has decreased.
But no more.
My thoughts tonight are quite simple: do the things that feed well your body and soul. Put to rout all that is not life, so when you come to die, you won't have to realize you have not lived.