June 21, 2018
“Leave it,” my friend says to her dog over and over as we walk. Because the dog picks up a scent, or hears something running in the woods nearby, or just wants to follow any old urge to take off running in the direction of something enticing.
“Leave it,” my Friend says to me over and over. Because I, too, am picking up scents all around me that I want to chase – like the worry over this or the habit of thinking along these lines. Temptation to chase my way down a thought path I’ve been on again and again that’s never gotten me anywhere but that I’ve gotten so used to following, I barely even notice it’s what I’m thinking about.
And my Friend knows full well that for me to CHOOSE to give in to this particular temptation means I’m getting off MY path, and am I really willing to keep making that choice?
So as we’re becoming more and more aware of how our thoughts impact, and even create, the experience of our lives . . . “leave it” – two little words to remind you in each moment that YOU get to make that choice. And that you get to make it repeatedly until a new habit is created and you don’t (sigh of relief) have to chase those things around anymore. Phew.
March 23, 2018
Off to tai chi class I go, not knowing that I am about to take away something completely unexpected. Yes, I’ll be learning a form that I have wanted to learn for a really long time, and I’m eager for the experience, but what I don’t know is that my teacher will say, on day one, in our very first interaction, something so simple that he’s said a thousand times before, that I’ll take away and manage to turn into my very own practice.
My tai chi teacher comes over to me, the beginning student. Holds the fingertips of my hand up to cue me to let my elbow and shoulder drop.
“Relax,” he says.
I am, I think, and try to relax, but he sees through it.
“Relax more,” he says.
I think I am. Could it be that I don’t know what it feels like to relax, not really?
Finally I feel the tension release from my upper body, and my shoulder drops.
He smiles knowingly.
I think I’ve mastered relaxation.
April 26, 2017
When this fighter showed up in my art journal, I thought she’d make for an interesting and revealing journaling prompt, since what we’re always trying to get at is self-awareness. Here’s a step-by-step prompt for you to work through. I’d set aside about 20 minutes for this one so that you don’t have to rush through the process. [continue reading…]
April 12, 2017
My preference is usually gentleness. However . . .
Some days you just need a good swift kick in the pants.
Pull yourself up by the bootstraps?
Put on your big girl – you know.
I’m just not a fan of any of these sayings, but . . .
My family loves to watch Speechless each week. The mom, Maya, has this matter-of-fact way about her that appeals to me, plus, it helps quite a lot that she’s charmingly British. So in one episode, someone tells her something that she’s done and she says very frankly, “I don’t care.” For some reason, I found myself saying this, over and over out loud and then
These girls showed up in my art journal.
They were bizarre and were dripping with the usual elements of Resistance: doubt, fear, confusion, excuses, reasoning – you know the routine. And my girls knew just what to say. [continue reading…]
October 6, 2016
Because I’m incorporating art making as a daily practice this October, I was eager to find this list I wrote in my journal the last time I was doing a daily art challenge. Dare I admit that it was in June 2015 and that I stuck with it for three whole days? Well, even that is part of the process, I remind myself.
24 life lessons learned through art: [continue reading…]
September 3, 2016
I wonder . . . what DO they hope to achieve,
leaping around at the tippy top of the tallest trees in our yard?
pushing themselves to the very limit of what they are capable of?
Well they certainly aren’t quivering on the ground, filled with fear at the possibility that they’ll leap and plunge to their death. In fact, nothing in them says that this is even a possibility. In their minds it isn’t, and so – in reality it isn’t. [continue reading…]
July 7, 2016
“Do you really think he does that,” my husband asked at the end of the interview, knowing perfectly well that if I am actually perking up and listening to an interview on the golf channel, of all channels – it’s got to have some sort of non-golf related lesson. Life lessons learned from . . . the golf channel?? I know.
“What did you change?,” the announcer asked. “How is your game improving so drastically?”
We wait to hear the golfer’s answer of hard-earned wisdom, the swing keys he’s developed, the pre-shot routine, yeah, I know the lingo. The golf channel is on a LOT in my house.
Without skipping a beat, the golfer surprises me by saying something along these lines: [continue reading…]
June 2, 2016
I once had a coach tell me that 95% of the people she works with don’t take action. That figure is simply staggering to me. I’d like to pretend it couldn’t be true, but I know it is.
I always believe, though, that it’s possible to be doing things in a whole different way.
It doesn’t take a lot of paying attention to notice how often we, and the people around us, can be heard saying, “I want to (fill in the blank).” We could start feeling sort of, or COMPLETELY, irritated with hearing ourselves say this same thing over and over and over again, sometimes for years, even decades. It can be disenchanting to think of us all, with these dreams, big and little, bubbling up inside of us, and here we go about our days, stuffing them back down. No, no, you can’t come up, I’m living here, don’t you see. And all those dreams are trying to do is bring you calm, to help you be more of who you really are. [continue reading…]
April 28, 2016
Little karate kids running down the mat, like a red carpet, as fast as they can, leaping into the air to kick the pad their teacher is holding, trying to knock him off balance.
The kids go through, working their way down the line, laughing as their teacher falls down, exaggerating his movements, flailing through the air.
The kids are thrilled!
Next kiddo up
runs down, kicks the pad.
Her teacher does not go flying.
Not this time.
In a quiet voice, he tells her calmly, gently,
“You didn’t give it all you had.
Give it everything you have,
do not hold anything back.” [continue reading…]
March 26, 2016
What are your “trigger thoughts,” those thoughts that set you off and spiraling? You know the ones – your brain scrounges around when it’s got nothing better to do or when things are going really well! or when you’re tired, until it finally stumbles upon the very thought that will upset you the most.
Now why would I ask you to voluntarily go looking for those thoughts when we spend our days trying to keep them away?!
Because I want us to realize that, contrary to how it feels, these thoughts CANNOT HURT US. They don’t feel good, they feel threatening actually, but they don’t have the power over us that we give them. [continue reading…]
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