Where real change happens

Written by sharon on . Posted in Blog

Trapeze3

The Trapeze Story – by Danaan Parry

Sometimes I feel that my life is a series of trapeze swings. I’m either hanging onto a trapeze bar swinging along, or, for a few moments in my life, I’m hurtling across the space in between trapeze bars. But most of the time, I spend my life hanging on for dear life to that trapeze bar, the one I have for the moment, that carries me along in a certain steady rate of swing, and I have the feeling that I’m in control of my life. I know most of the right questions, and even some of the right answers.

But, once in a while, as I merrily or not so merrily swing along, I look out ahead of me in the distance and what do I see? I see another trapeze bar swinging towards me. It’s empty. And I know, in that place in me that knows, that this new trapeze bar has my name on it. It’s my next step. It’s my aliveness coming to get me. And in my heart of hearts, I know that for me to grow, I have to release my grip on the present, well-known bar to move on to the next one.

Now, each time it happens to me, I hope – no, I pray – that I won’t have to grab the new one. But in my knowing place, I know that I must totally release my grasp on the old bar, and for some moment in time, I must hurtle across space before I can grab onto the new bar – and each time, I’m filled with terror. It doesn’t matter that in all my previous hurtles across the void of knowing, I have always made it. Each time, I’m afraid that I will miss, that I’ll be crushed on the unseen rocks at the bottom of the chasm between the bars. But I do it anyway.

Maybe this is the essence of what the mystics call “the faith experience.” No guarantees, no net, no insurance policy. You do it anyway because, somehow, to keep hanging on to that old bar is no longer on the list of viable alternatives.

And so, for an eternity that can last a microsecond or a thousand lifetimes, I soar across the dark void. The past is gone; the future is not yet here. It’s called transition.

I have come to believe that this is the only place where real change happens. I mean real change, not the pseudo-change that only lasts until my old buttons get punched. And I have noticed in our culture that this transition zone is looked upon as a no-thing, as a no-place between places. Sure, the old trapeze bar was real and the new one coming towards me, well, I hope that’s real, too; but the void between us is just a scary, confusing, disorienting no-where that must be gotten through as fast and as unconsciously as possible. What a waste! What a waste.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the transition zone is the only real thing, and that the bars are illusions we dream up to avoid the void, where real change happens. Now, whether or not my hunch is true, it remains that the transition zones (paradigm busting times) in our lives are incredibly rich places, and they should be honored, even savored. And with all the pain and the fear and the feelings of being out of control that can accompany transition, the transition zones are still the most alive, the most growth-filled, the most passionate, expansive moments in our lives.

And so, the transformation of fear may have nothing to do with getting rid of fear, or making fear go away, but rather giving ourselves permission to hang out in the transition between trapeze bars. Transforming our need to grab on to that new bar is allowing ourselves to dwell in the only place where real change can happen. It can be terrifying. It can also be enlightening, in the true sense of the word.

Hurtling through the void, we may just learn that ALL ALONG we have always known how to fly.

Looks Like a Cup “Half Full” May Lengthen Your Life

Written by sharon on . Posted in Blog

Glass of water

Where we put our focus may lengthen our lifespan

Growing research suggests a “cup half full” philosophy may improve our physical and emotional health and even our life expectancy.

One of the largest such studies out of Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health analyzed data from 70,000 women who answered questions about how they viewed their future. Data analysis showed that women who scored higher on the optimism scale were significantly less likely to die from several major causes of death over an eight-year period, compared with women who scored lower. Numerous other studies duplicate these findings—indicating that to promote our optimal health and wellbeing it pays to be optimistic. (link below)

5 Simple Ways to Embrace a more Positive Perspective

Tune in to gratitude

Where you put your focus grows. Put a jar in your kitchen or somewhere visible. Think about something you’re grateful for that happened that day or a good memory and write it on a slip of paper that goes in the jar. This can be your own jar or The Family jar. Watch it fill up.

Tune out the negative

When you find yourself habitually focusing on negative situations or possible negative future events, stop that train of thought, acknowledge your negative thinking with curiosity and choose to turn to something that you enjoy – go for a walk, call a friend, turn on favorite music that you know lifts your spirits. Note – this may take persistence and practice.

Tune in to self care

Self care is not about being selfish but about being responsible for our bodies and minds. That means eating healthy, getting exercise, ensuring we get regular sleep, reaching out for help when we need it. It also means having fun!

Tune in to self compassion

Practice becoming more aware of the critic within you that may try to beat you up with overly high expectations. Be your best champion and show yourself forgiveness when you make mistakes.

Tune in to your local community

If you have time, look to make a small positive change in your neighborhood and feel a greater sense of belonging. It could be helping a neighbor, volunteering, baking cookies for a charity drive. Esteemable acts build self esteem and to be positive we need to have healthy self esteem.

Tune in to mindfulness

Mindfulness is akin to awareness of the present moment. Nature is particularly powerful as a means of tuning in to everyday miracles. Watch the sun set or rise, smell the roses in your garden, sit by the ocean, star gaze. When we purposely focus on the present moment and feel it fully, we nurture our capacity to deal with stressful events.

Harvard Study: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/optimism-premature-death-women/

An Autobiography in Five Chapters

Written by sharon on . Posted in Blog

Cobble street

 

Chapter I

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost…
I am hopeless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

 

 

 

Chapter II

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I’m in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chaper III

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in…it’s a habit
My eyes are open; I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter IV

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter V

I walk down another street.

Author: Portia Nelson