i am reading the tao of inner peace by diane dreher. and right now, i’m in the middle of the part on simplicity. i suppose you could argue that the whole book is about simplicity, but there is one part really struck me. i’ve been thinking alot about life, and how we have the power to choose the life that we want to lead. we may not be able to choose the circumstances we find ourselves in, and they may be very crappy circumstances, but we have the power (always!) to choose how we respond to those circumstances. how we act. and react. we have the power to change, or not. and again, we may not be able to change our circumstances, but we can always change and choose our attitude.
but, we must be strong. and self-aware. and vulnerable. and flexible. and hopeful. all at the same time. nevertheless, we have the power to choose how we face the day when we wake up in the morning. will we see it as a day with opportunities or a day with “musts” and “shoulds”?
however, it’s not as easy as just flipping on a little positive switch in our brain. i believe that in order to be able to find the strength to choose to seek & spread peace, to choose to spread out positive energy, we must begin to be in touch with ourselves. but, we have that power, if we tap into it.
in other words, we must simplify our lives just enough in order to focus on what is really important. we must slow down enough in order to simply be with ourselves. we must center ourselves, so we’re not just living life and going through the motions, but really feeling alive.
the way of the tao teaches that “without the center, the surface means nothing… what we are brings meaning and purpose. beneath the restless surface of our lives lies a deep source of peace, power, and inspiration. we find that deep center in reflection or meditation.”
for the next 5 days i’m focusing on being present. living in the moment. slowing down. the next 5 challenges in june’s photo journey of simplicity are all about just being. and remembering that those quiet, alone, reflective moments are ones we need to remember to carve out each & every day. at least that’s what i believe.
quiet. alone. contemplative. present. alive. yeah, these are my focus words for this week.
i think that just being allows us to be with ourselves, which is sometimes difficult, but always a fantastic learning & growing experience. and right now, since we don’t have a tv anything in our apartment, life is pretty quiet and simple. part of it drives me crazy… but at the same time, i love the challenge. and i know it is good for me. i know that my soul needs to breathe. i know that i need to remember to be friends with myself. i know that i need to to just sit & listen, so that i can hear the heartbeat and music in my soul. only through listening will i know true peace. only through listening will i discover who i am. and remember who i am not.
i am not the labels that define and describe what i do or my relationship to others. i am, in fact, not defined by anything outside of me. who i am is found deep within my inner self. my soul. it is found in the same divine and sacred stardust, magic, spirit (or whatever you call it) that lives within each of us. of course, we are not all completely the same. we are created to be unique, beautiful creatures, each with unique, beautiful gifts to be used in the world; and yet mysteriously and wondrously connected to one another.
side note: i just became aware that i am in the midst of a magical, special moment in my life as i type this. my love is sitting in our empty living room, picking on her guitar, singing loudly, filled with emotion as the bare walls and floors provide an amazing acoustic experience. and i’m on the bed, typing away, books open beside me. both of us, soaking up in our own ways the simple beauty of this moment. being fully aware. fully alive. fully in touch with our souls. so, i can feel it. it is a special moment of connection and peace. a gift.
suddenly, as a typed that last sentence, lina began singing & playing the song that i heard her sing the night that i met her for the first time. she hardly every sings it. and right now, she sits in the other room, singing to my soul. memories are rushing back. memories of meeting her. of my year of death and rebirth. of knowing exactly who i am. of knowing exactly what dream to chase. those memories were from 6 years ago… and in this moment, i know that hearing that song from lina in this present moment was a gift and a moment of clarification that everything is exactly as it should be.
and i am overwhelmed. with joy. and security. and fear. and excitement. and hope. and i know that this crazy journey to the states is exactly right for us right now.
well i did not intend for this post to go quite like this, but it did. and it feels right. but, before i settle in for the night, i’d like to share with you a quote i put on my photo for today’s word.
i am a true believer in the power of living in the present moment. tonight, after dinner, my love & i took a walk in the evening warmth. holding hands, laughing, strolling. and as we walked, my love commented on everything she was seeing. and she told me that she was purposefully paying attention to every little detail. she was, in fact, soaking up the sun’s rays and the present moment all at the same time. and i could feel her joy and her appreciation for life. i could feel her being grounded in that moment, in touch with her center and with all that really matters in life.
so, my friends, i urge you to find a moment over the next few days and just be. do it every day. while you drink your morning coffee. or while you walk. or when you lay down at night. or when you eat. anytime you have a moment to yourself. just close your eyes. and breathe. and see what amazing ideas, thoughts, and dreams come to you…