My Inner Warning System

Why can’t I just be satisfied?
The happy, fulfilled factor is always a temporary state.
Once I receive my desired dream, 
shouldn’t I feel bliss all the time?
Pesky little irritations should have no power.

Is it selfish to do what I want, for a change?
Like a short gratitude yoga practice.
Can that be allowed?

Is there space for me, too?
And when I can’t find the space,
Exhaustion, overwhelm, irritability
And frustration take the helm.

Each one is a teacher,
A guide that I’ve forgotten to put myself first.
The groundwork has not been laid.
So, of course, I am easily thrown off course.

When you’re stuck in the weeds,
All you see is weeds.
There is no space for a higher perspective 
To see a clear pathway out.
The pause button is lost, too.

Oh, this is my inner warning system 
That I forgot to check in with myself today.

When I connect to myself,
Through journaling, yoga, or meditation,
I remember that I always have a choice
And that I am a work in progress.

I fall.  I get back up again.
I remember.  I forget.
And that’s okay, too.



The ever changing thoughts
That flow to and fro
Like the incoming tide.
Sometimes the current is strong
And I get pulled under
Stuck in thought.

Good or bad
Time ceases to exist:
My current circumstance,
The coffee beside me,
The very breath itself.
I am consumed in thought.

What I encounter 
then is a choice.
Moment to moment
I can stop the monkey mind,
the hamster wheel
and I can break free.
I can return
to the ever present
changing moment.

The breath is my anchor.
It flashes into my conscious mind
And I find a silent reverie
Befriended by my own
Groundedness and strength.
I encounter the moment
Again and again.

The thoughts change.
The steadiness of my breath changes.
The moment is ever changing.
I can choose right now
to swallow the bitter pill
of being lost
and consumed by thought.

Or I can smile
and breathe
Knowing the choice
was always mine
and I am free.

What’s good?

“What’s the good word?” Anthony, my coworker, asked. I paused a beat. Took a breath and thought: what is good right now; right at this moment?

“The sun is out today,“ I said casually. It had been a rainy stretch of days.

“There you go! I knew you had something good to say instead of the grumpy replies I usually get: same shit different day.“

We then talked about framing our perceptions and choosing. Do we choose to see the positive or the negative?

When we’re caught up in the negative chatter, it can feel hopeless. Like we don’t really have a choice. Life is just happening to us and all around us. And we’re just helplessly bouncing around at whatever life throws at us.

It can be hard to change that framework when you’re in the depths of a hurried life, feeling unfulfilled, and sensing lack at every facet of life. Hearing and seeing it as true and never asking if this is all there really is? Is there really not enough?

Scarcity abounds when the media is filled with images depicting lack.

“The world is on fire,“ Jeff said to me in the evening right before bed.

Is it really?

This year the Colorado River and Hoover Dam is dangerously low. Lack of water. Drought. Too many people tapping into a limited resource. Last year California was literally on fire with the great evergreens near Yosemite ignited and raging.

How do we put out the fire? Why is it either raging or empty? Where is the middle? The balance? It must be here somewhere.

In the end, it all comes back to perception. How will I perceive today?

Today I choose to see abundance as my creative words flow. I appreciate my breath, my A/C during this heat wave, my loves enjoying their summer. There’s enough to go to summer camp and take our vacation.

If we look for the good: What can I appreciate now? What is lovely and beautiful? What is the meaning and lesson without being bogged down with the nitty-gritty cycle of scarcity and lack?

I can see potential. Problem-solving becomes easier. And I don’t feel so alone in my suffering or joy.


A less frazzled commute

How can I have a more relaxed morning? I feel it is a frame of mind.  I can choose to say, “I’m late!” and all the angst that follows.  Or I can just say, “I’m doing the best I can.  I got this!”  And I usually then feel less hurried.

My morning commutes used to be highly stressful. Then I realized the main source of my stress occurred when I was traveling in the high-speed lane.  As soon as I got over to the travel lane, I relaxed my grip on the steering wheel.  My shoulders relaxed a bit.  I took a few deep breaths.  Now I hardly use the high-speed lane when I’m driving to work.  I only will on the rare occasion when I have to pass another car.  And guess what?  I get to work on time!

I always seem to get there on time.

I don’t obsessively check the clock in my car during my commute. It doesn’t matter what it says.  I’ll get there when I get there.  And thank the stars I always do.

There’s a lot of road rage: angry, stressed, frazzled energy that crosses my path.  I could choose to feel the tension boiling beneath the surface where you don’t want to be the recipient on the tail end when I lash out.  I could charge full speed ahead in line with that energy or brazenly be “Me first!” with the tailgating and high emotions that follows.

Or I can choose to stay on my path: Just traveling.  Passing through.

We all have the same want: to get to our destination safely.  No one wants to get hurt.

How I react sets me up for good or bad. Is it worth saving a few more seconds?

The hardest part for me is being a passenger and relinquishing my need to be in control. I notice that at times I press my foot down on an imaginary brake when I think my husband is driving too close to a car in front of us.  Over the years, my husband and I tend to only have arguments when we’re on the road.  I judge his speed and length between cars.  I am unable to relax and be present.  All we want is to have a good conversation while we travel.

I can choose what to focus on. I can choose connection or outside factors beyond my control.  I want to let go of my need to be in the driver’s seat.  I want to make peace with the fact that I can’t control what other people on the road doing at that moment.  Only I can decide how I want to interpret my thoughts and feel my emotions.

What would you choose?