Archive for December, 2009
One of my renewed commitments to myself is to follow impulses and allow my intuition to guide me more often. That’s a New Year’s resolution that I’ve started working on in the past two weeks.
This morning, as I was having a conversation on the phone with my friend Fred about being true to one’s self and being happy in what one does, I followed an impulse and grabbed Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love from my bookshelf. For those of you unfamiliar with that bestseller, it is “a meditation on love in its many forms – love of food, language, humanity, God, and most meaningful for Gilbert, love of self.”
I looked for a passage in the book that I had highlighted a couple of years ago. There it was on page 260:
“I keep remembering one of my Guru’s teachings about happiness. She says that people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you’re fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don’t, you will leak away your innate contentment. It’s easy enough to pray when you’re in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments.”
I read that passage several times and questions formed in my mind. Ah, the Fishing for Soul process continues.
I asked myself, “How tightly am I holding on to my happiness? How and why do I let my thoughts move me away from my innate contentment?”
In response I heard, “Pay attention. Pay attention. Pay attention.”
Another book, Iyanla Vanzant’s Yesterday, I Cried, beckoned to me. I pulled it off the bookshelf and said, “Show me what I need.”
The following quote by John Randolph Price is on page 253, at the beginning of Chapter 17, which is titled ‘What’s the Lesson When You Get the Lesson but Don’t Know What to do With It?’
“Truth must be realized individually.
It must be realized by you, otherwise it is not your Truth.
Only your Truth, not the truth, is expressed in your life, not anyone else’s.
How do you find your truth?
By seeking and finding the teacher within.
You see, the Teacher and the Truth within are one.”
And so it goes…
Today I am grateful for early morning calls with my action partner, questioning myself, exploring my stressful thoughts, Byron Katie, Rosa and Lorna, my intuition, my blog, my wise cat Wicca, hot tea, Truth and Happiness,
Thanks and peace to all!
“Motherfucking faggot,” I heard the man say as he barreled past.
“Is he talking to me?”
I looked around the subway car. There were four other people waiting for the #3 train to leave the 148th St. station, three women and a young man.
“Maybe he had a run-in with someone before he stepped into the train,” I assured myself.
A familiar uneasiness had crept in. I looked down the subway car at the big guy who had just sat down. He was staring at me. Or was he?
“Why are you looking down there, Joe?” I asked myself.
“What are you looking at fucking faggot?”
“I think he’s talking to me NOW!”
I pretended not to hear him and looked down at my Blackberry.
“Why am I nervous? Why the hell am I letting this guy upset me? Focus on something else, Joe. Be compassionate and tolerant, just like you think he should be. Do I LOOK gay? What am I saying? I AM gay. What the heck does ‘look gay’ mean? Great, now I’m thinking in stereotypes. Shit. Am I a stereotype? Am I dressed ‘gay’? Maybe it’s my shoes. Are my pants too tight? I’m sitting down, he can’t tell if my pants are tight. Mom once told me I looked like a girl in grade school. Where was that memory hiding? Remember when that guy called Byron Katie a fucking bitch? She said ‘Yes, thank you.’ Thank this guy for recognizing the truth: You are a man who has sex with men. So what? Oh, this is some conversation I’m having with myself. Compassion and tolerance, Joe, come on. Asshole. I could kick his ass. If I had a baseball bat I’d break his friggin’ skull. Asshole. I don’t need a bat, I’ll use my hands. Fucking asshole. He’s really messing with the wrong person.”
I laughed at myself. “Yeah, now I sound like him. Very good.”
I was so immersed in my violent, stress-inducing thoughts that I barely noticed my alleged gay-basher getting off the train. A deep breath. Now could I be tolerant and compassionate?
It’s a day later and I still don’t know if he was really looking at and talking to me. Funny what the mind can do.
How many gay men, people of color, women, Muslims, Jews, obese people, etc. experience what I did today? How many of us allow the kind of thoughts that I described to run rampant without taking a closer look at the source of the torture?
Why do we think that others must change for there to be peace? Like the song says, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” Will you let peace begin with you?
My affirmation for today is: ‘I am peace.’
Today I am grateful for the man on the 3 train, my brilliant mind, my loving heart, my fear and anger, my friends and family, gay men and women all over the world (Uganda, Rwanda!), warm clothes, Always Economically Viable, Robin Coley, Byron Katie, and this blog.
Thanks and peace to all!
‘Say what you like, do what you feel
You know exactly who you are
The time is right now
You got to decide
Stand in the back or be the star.’
– from Madonna’s Beat Goes On
Yes, I’m quoting a line from a Madonna song. I’ve been listening to 2008’s Hard Candy on my iPod during my workouts at the gym. The music, especially Beat Goes On, inspires me to move faster and push a little harder. The quoted lyrics have also grabbed my attention as I review this soon-to-be-ending year and decade, and look forward to 2010.
As the new year approaches I am envisioning myself in some new, unexplored geographical locations, growing my business as I speak in bigger venues, reaching more people through my J.O.B., forming new and powerful professional and personal alliances (that would mean I’ve got a new love, baby), and happily sharing more of myself with the world as I shine brighter and brighter.
I am ready. I am willing. I am open.
Madonna’s song rings in my ears: ‘The time is right now, You got to decide, Stand in the back or be the star.’
There is no time like right now to step into your greatness. Go on, be the star. What are you waiting for?
I’d like to send a shout out to my Facebook friend Thomas who often quotes Madonna song lyrics in his status updates to great affect. Thanks for your humor, intelligence, and inspiration Thomas! Rock on.
Today I am grateful for my Facebook friends and their endless stream of humor and insights, the world wide web, my computer skills, Jennifer at the new mani/pedi place in Chelsea (thanks for the tip Leslie!), my dentist, clean sheets, heat and hot water, my happy cat, bare trees, my body and breath, and the god/goddess in all things.
Thanks and peace to all!