What if We Chose to Be Here?

It seemed like a simple question, but the more I pondered it the more I recognized it was rewriting how I told my story. For years, I’ve said, “I think I chose to be here” and in a recent conversation with a friend, I turned it around and said, “What if we all chose to be here?”

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It rearranges everything we’ve been focusing on. A few things fall from this premise and it is interesting to explore them, knowing full well the premise may be faulty. So, first, the most obvious is that if we “chose” we must have existed. Which, pretty much means we must exist after this body dies because we had to come from somewhere and we just go back. This is going back to a place from where we could chose what we want to experience.

There are many religions that have spoke to the range of possibilities, from returning here in a better or worse situation; living forever in a new reality that is either good or bad; or simply not existing after we are here. Truth is, no one knows for sure, but lets just stick with the possibility that we chose to be here for a while.

_____________

 

Believing we exist after we die,

has the power to eliminate all of the fear

of our own death.

_____________

 

When we no longer exist here, if we knew we existed somewhere else, it would make death a whole lot less frightening. Not necessarily for those we leave behind who suffer the loss of our presence and the emotional impact of losing someone you love, but for us, ourselves.

The idea that we may actually be able to choose to do this again, or that we might choose another set of parameters gives this inevitability known as death a whole new interpretation. It becomes more of a transition, a change in our reality, a new opportunity to chose to experience another life in an incalculable number of paradigms of reality.

You being you, even before you had the body you are in now, decided to experience life here. It allows us to refocus on the idea we wanted to come here and perhaps we should be exploring that instead of just getting by in a day. Why did you chose to be here? What did you want to experience, do, see, be involved in? You bought the ticket, and decided to go for the ride. What were you hoping you would get a chance to do? Trying to remember who you are and what your motivation was is a good place to start.

Even if this premise is wrong, and the only way to test it is to die, it has the power to allow us to think about life differently. We can look around with new eyes and see the world in a different way. A way that emphasizes why we would want to be here, what we enjoy and how we want to live.

Consider it for a moment. Is it possible you chose to be here? Perhaps, not in the exact situation you are in, but using a card game as an analogy, you decided to play cards and now you are faced with the hand you were dealt. How would you live differently if you no longer were preoccupied with prolonging your life, avoiding death and instead focused on the good things you enjoy around you?

It becomes possible to let go of the fear. We know we are going to die and if that is not a bad thing, we can now focus on living the most satisfying life we can imagine.

Nail polish is a Gateway Makeup

IMG_4079Turns out that nail polish was a gateway makeup for me. I have enjoyed trying out new colours, new textures and new finishes so much that I realized that it was a part of me that I wanted to expand. Then came the rest of the make up.

Doing my face, hair, jewelry, nails and clothing has become a diversion for me. It is easy to argue that there is not enough time, and I certainly would not want anyone to feel that they need to elevate this to the status of the mandatory work out, for instance, but it is an expression of who I am.

When I indulge in this rather unnecessary pursuit of the perfect outfit or a matching look I feel like I have reclaimed a part of myself. The little girl that cried when her mother said that the pretty dress was only for special occasions and that she could not wear it outside to play, is cheering. I have brought this piece of joy back into my life. A small, yet significant, practise of coneiya, reclaiming a part of myself that was lost and becoming more fully whole.

Creating an outfit, a look, is a form of artistic expression. I need to dress each day before I go out, or the neighbours get really upset! So why not put some thought into the outfit? I got some great advice. Stay away from black, white and grey. The advice came from a woman that encourages other women to dress for their own style and she did not say that ‘No One’ should wear these colours, they are just not the right colours, or lack of colours, for me.

So that is the point. If I choose to wear colours it brings me into a whole new arena of what to wear. I can spin through most clothing stores in a matter of moments. The black and greys make up 85% of the clothing. I only need to slow down if there is a colour on the rack. This saves an enormous amount of time!

Another tool I’ve been using is a colour palate. This is not a template of the colours I MUST wear, it is a guide to the colours that suit my personality. The idea is to choose those outfits that come in colours that resonate with this palate. Picking out nail polish with this colour scheme in mind is a whole new experience.

It has allowed me to get away from the pinks and reds and move into teal, a muted orange and a shimmering brown. These colours match the palate and so they match the clothing that I am choosing, automatically.

Now, unfortunately, I have a gorgeous nail polish on today, that doesn’t yet match anything that I own. It is a high gloss, monochromatic orange that ever so slightly approaches a brown. It is not brown, but it is not ‘bright’ orange either. The biggest decision was, Do I put on a second coat to completely eliminate the possibility of light shinning through the nails, given the wrong lighting? Or, do I stay with a single coat and maximize the shine and finish? I know that I could put a topcoat on, but alas, I’m not likely to do that!

The more coats of nail polish, the longer the whole process takes and you know where I’m going with this, the less likely it will get done at all. So, I’m sending a warning to all of those individuals that are playing with nail polish. It may be a gateway makeup.

Beauty and Style

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had a friend visit. We communicate regularly about work and family things but it is usually a text or an email. Sometimes there will be a call, but we are not the type of friends that would talk on the phone for hours and discuss all of the minor and major changes in our lives.

She was in town, which is rare because she lives on the other side of the country, and she came over for drinks on the deck. She looked fabulous! Now let me explain. We are both professional women and in our offices, the dress is casual, non-conspicuous. I have often thought that I would shop in a men’s shop just to buy the right type of suit (I never did this) but it is the predominant type of clothing that everyone wears, so it made sense to buy something and add a nice blouse or a scarf or something to spruce it up a bit.

So, she shows up and she looks great. She looks just as she should. Her clothing is comfortable and fashionable looking and I am astonished at how nicely she is dressed. I mention it and she tells me about a website that has directed her on how to pull together a look. I am intrigued.

Well, let me tell you. It makes all of the difference in the world. I have largely ignored the world of fashion. All of the new looks and styles are lost on me. I am no longer 20 something and built for the runway fashions. I usually go into a store and see what I might wear and whether or not it fits and that is about it.

This fashion website is different. It takes you through an examination of your personality and says what type of clothing and colours would look best on a person with your natural way of being in the world. I knew that it had made all of the difference for my friend, so I started to examine the material.

A whole new style in how I dress and present myself seemed to be in order. As I age, the texture of my hair has gone from poker straight to unmanageable. Despite my best efforts to find a style that suits me, and is wash and wear, I have been finding that I simply could not find one. So, like the universe usually does, it provided a possible solution.

There is a funny feeling that comes over you when you feel like you have found something worthwhile. The site was filled with all kinds of real women in before and after photos. I had seen an example in real life and I was intrigued.

So this is my newest thing. I am slowly changing my look to better reflect who I am as a person and it is bringing joy into my life. I have never embraced how important it is to have a style of my own, beyond, clean and well groomed and it has been eye opening. Many of my friends and co-workers are amazed at how much better I look.

The most astonishing thing for me is how fun it is. Because you are looking for types of fabric, colours and cuts, rather than buying the latest fashions, it makes it possible to shop at the thrift stores and find high quality, gorgeous pieces that suit you. These are pieces that cost very little and yet enhance your look. Wow! The little girl that played dress up and put on makeup has been re-invited into my life. As the practise of Coneiya teaches us, embracing your entire self is important to your happiness and this little girl had been ignored for too long.

 

Stranger than Fiction

100-0201Stranger than Fiction” a movie I rewatched recently on Crackle because I enjoy the messages in it. The movie takes a stab at determining if self-will or destiny reigns supreme. It asks, “How do you want to live your life?” Ultimately, it examines the relationship we have with ourselves and the world around us. As a Coneiya (ko-NEY-yuh) practitioner, this is one of the things that I teach awareness of.

We can get so caught up in the conversations we have with ourselves that we completely miss the life we are supposed to be living. In the movie, Harold Crick counted and calculated every aspect of his life and experienced it through numbers; 32 teeth brushed 76 times. Then he became aware of a second voice that was not his own, “With better vocabulary.

Symbolically, this second voice could represent the fact that the voice in our heads is NEVER who we are. It can be difficult to realize this because it is our closest companion, but it is simply the word generating part of our brain, doing what it does best, which is generating words. When you are having trouble making a decision, who are you arguing with?

It wasn’t until Harold found out that his death was imminent that he was shook out of this trance. This is apropos because many people are ripped out of this self talk delusion because of a great loss or tragedy. The delusion is thinking that the voice in our heads talking to us all day is very important, perhaps the most important part of who we are. It is not. These words are just a series of things that we’ve decided to say to ourselves, like, look both ways before you cross the street. We repeat truths in neuronal assemblies like deep treads in a well worn road. The trick is to get out of the rut and start taking control of how you steer.

Another message that I like in this movie comes from a man helping Harold during this difficult time in his life. The man suggests that Harold enjoy his life to the fullest in the time that he has left. This inspires Harold to buy a guitar and learn how to play it. It is important to include the things in our lives that we enjoy.

That is so obvious that it feels silly mentioning it, but too often we get so fixed in our patterns that we don’t even stop to think about how we would want to spend our time. We decide that we will do all of the things that we enjoy when we retire or win the lottery or at least not today. Adding joy to your life today is much more satisfying than listening to all of the things that you have gotten into the habit of telling yourself.

How do you want to live your life? What have you done today that was enjoyable? How much of your life is routine? Are you telling yourself that it is not OK to focus on what you love?

Harold had become unobservant. He was counting everything around him and calculating instead of engaging in his life. What are you focused on? How much you eat, shop, drink, watch television? What you SHOULD be doing with your time? Those rumours you heard? Time to wake up and pay attention. Cool movie. I recommend it.

 

 

Nailpolish is a Gateway Makeup

IMG_4079Turns out that nail polish was a gateway makeup for me. I have enjoyed trying out new colours, new textures and new finishes so much that I realized that it was a part of me that I wanted to expand. Then came the rest of the make up.

Doing my face, hair, jewelry, nails and clothing has become a diversion for me. It is easy to argue that there is not enough time, and I certainly would not want anyone to feel that they need to elevate this to the status of the mandatory work out, for instance, but it is an expression of who I am.

When I indulge in this rather unnecessary pursuit of the perfect outfit or a matching look I feel like I have reclaimed a part of myself. The little girl that cried when her mother said that the pretty dress was only for special occasions and that she could not wear it outside to play, is cheering. I have brought this piece of joy back into my life. A small, yet significant, practise of coneiya, reclaiming a part of myself that was lost and becoming more fully whole.

Creating an outfit, a look, is a form of artistic expression. I need to dress each day before I go out, or the neighbours get really upset! So why not put some thought into the outfit? I got some great advice. Stay away from black, white and grey. The advice came from a woman that encourages other women to dress for their own style and she did not say that ‘No One’ should wear these colours, they are just not the right colours, or lack of colours, for me.

So that is the point. If I choose to wear colours it brings me into a whole new arena of what to wear. I can spin through most clothing stores in a matter of moments. The black and greys make up 85% of the clothing. I only need to slow down if there is a colour on the rack. This saves an enormous amount of time!

Another tool I’ve been using is a colour palate. This is not a template of the colours I MUST wear, it is a guide to the colours that suit my personality. The idea is to choose those outfits that come in colours that resonate with this palate. Picking out nail polish with this colour scheme in mind is a whole new experience.

It has allowed me to get away from the pinks and reds and move into teal, a muted orange and a shimmering brown. These colours match the palate and so they match the clothing that I am choosing, automatically.

Now, unfortunately, I have a gorgeous nail polish on today, that doesn’t yet match anything that I own. It is a high gloss, monochromatic orange that ever so slightly approaches a brown. It is not brown, but it is not ‘bright’ orange either. The biggest decision was, Do I put on a second coat to completely eliminate the possibility of light shinning through the nails, given the wrong lighting? Or, do I stay with a single coat and maximize the shine and finish? I know that I could put a topcoat on, but alas, I’m not likely to do that!

The more coats of nail polish, the longer the whole process takes and you know where I’m going with this, the less likely it will get done at all. So, I’m sending a warning to all of those individuals that are playing with nail polish. It may be a gateway makeup.

Beauty and Style

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had a friend visit. We communicate regularly about work and family things but it is usually a text or an email. Sometimes there will be a call, but we are not the type of friends that would talk on the phone for hours and discuss all of the minor and major changes in our lives.

She was in town, which is rare because she lives on the other side of the country, and she came over for drinks on the deck. She looked fabulous! Now let me explain. We are both professional women and in our offices, the dress is casual, non-conspicuous. I have often thought that I would shop in a men’s shop just to buy the right type of suit (I never did this) but it is the predominant type of clothing that everyone wears, so it made sense to buy something and add a nice blouse or a scarf or something to spruce it up a bit.

So, she shows up and she looks great. She looks just as she should. Her clothing is comfortable and fashionable looking and I am astonished at how nicely she is dressed. I mention it and she tells me about a website that has directed her on how to pull together a look. I am intrigued.

Well, let me tell you. It makes all of the difference in the world. I have largely ignored the world of fashion. All of the new looks and styles are lost on me. I am no longer 20 something and built for the runway fashions. I usually go into a store and see what I might wear and whether or not it fits and that is about it.

This fashion website is different. It takes you through an examination of your personality and says what type of clothing and colours would look best on a person with your natural way of being in the world. I knew that it had made all of the difference for my friend, so I started to examine the material.

A whole new style in how I dress and present myself seemed to be in order. As I age, the texture of my hair has gone from poker straight to unmanageable. Despite my best efforts to find a style that suits me, and is wash and wear, I have been finding that I simply could not find one. So, like the universe usually does, it provided a possible solution.

There is a funny feeling that comes over you when you feel like you have found something worthwhile. The site was filled with all kinds of real women in before and after photos. I had seen an example in real life and I was intrigued.

So this is my newest thing. I am slowly changing my look to better reflect who I am as a person and it is bringing joy into my life. I have never embraced how important it is to have a style of my own, beyond, clean and well groomed and it has been eye opening. Many of my friends and co-workers are amazed at how much better I look.

The most astonishing thing for me is how fun it is. Because you are looking for types of fabric, colours and cuts, rather than buying the latest fashions, it makes it possible to shop at the thrift stores and find high quality, gorgeous pieces that suit you. These are pieces that cost very little and yet enhance your look. Wow! The little girl that played dress up and put on makeup has been re-invited into my life. As the practise of Coneiya teaches us, embracing your entire self is important to your happiness and this little girl had been ignored for too long.

 

Respecting Body Signals

IMG_0231Like Pavlov’s Dog I immediately began to drool when I received the notice for the annual HK5K in my inbox yesterday. Immediately I began to plan my training schedule and start to think about how much work I would need to do and when I would have to make a commitment to doing the work. Then, I had to revisit my promise to myself. I have made an agreement with myself to love myself and treat myself properly. In coneiya, it becomes clear that we cannot punish ourselves, put ourselves down or disrespect ourselves if we are “one”.

Last year was a disaster. I was pumped up to do the run and my daughters had agreed to do it with me and then the world conspired to make sure that I wasn’t ready. I had a two-week bout of unexplainable diarrhea that came and went and left me feeling drained and tired. I never found out what caused it, but I was definitely under the weather. Add in company from out of town, unexpected knee and foot pain and it was a disaster waiting to happen — but I had already said that I would do the run and I was allowing myself to be pulled along by the commitment that I had already made to my daughters.

This year, it will be different. Isn’t that the final war cry of the about to be defeated? I decided that instead of looking externally for a workout schedule, like I did last year, I would develop my own. In my mind, and based on some of the training plans that I used decades ago as a competitive swimmer, I would aim for a 10% increase in distance. This is very easy to calculate when you are on a treadmill because you can actually watch the distance tick off and then stop when you complete the right distance.

So I calculated increments increasing by 10% and put out a schedule of running every other day, except of course, where I already had plans in place. I fleshed out my schedule to four runs a week by adding in smaller runs, where necessary, the day after or before another run. These smaller runs would be one half the length of the previous run so they should be easier.

The schedule was complete and it gave me a full two weeks before the race to determine if I would be capable of running the full 5K before I had to commit to the race. There would be no need, this year, to tell anyone that I was training, until, of course, I was certain that I could do the run. If I never got to the level of running then no one would be the wiser and I would have established a pattern of exercising on the treadmill that would continue – theoretically – into the fall when I have to close the pool and I begin my desperate search for a new form of regular exercise.

So day one, I napped. Now, I know that that seems ridiculous, but I am trying to treat myself like I care about myself. This is in stark contrast to societies messages of “no pain no gain” and the like. I do not think that it is simply your force of will that gets things done. Coneiya teaches us that it is when your mind and your body agree and respect each other that the most lasting progress is made.

Anyone that has ever dieted and lost weight, short term, can attest to the fact that the iron will of your brain sooner or later fails. There is simply no way that most of us can use the army sergeant part of our personalities long term. Self-flagellation, self-criticism and unrealistic expectations ultimately lead to self-hatred, insecurity a sense of failure and loss of hope.

That is not where I wanted my new running schedule to take me. Last year, buoyed on by peer pressure and the belief that I could just put mind over matter, I ran the 5K with my daughters to end up ultimately hurting myself and then doing very little physical activity for several months afterwards. This is not a good thing.

So I napped, felt refreshed and then strapped on my running shoes. I have a sweet set up in my bedroom. The treadmill is off to the side and I can see the television from where I run so I put on Netflix. Did you know that all of the seasons of Star Trek the Next Generation are now on Netflix? True story. If anyone can support me through my run it is Jean Luc Picard. But I digress…

The plan was to run one kilometre. I have run much more than that in the not so distant past so I was not worried. I did the required three-minute warm up and turned up the speed to represent a slow run. This is always a point of contention with me, myself and I. At what speed are you running? If you are doing a slow jog at the speed of a walk, is that considered a run? I chose a speed that was moderate to low based on my personal experience and began.

Nothing went well. The first thing that I noticed is that one kilometre was not only out of reach, but was not even a consideration on the first day. I determined that I could go half a kilometre and then maybe a break and then run the remaining bit in as many pieces as it took. My logical mind was busy doing calculations. I could stay on my “schedule” if I just did the kilometre in pieces. I know from experience that I improve quickly once I am making an effort, so it is just a matter of doing the work.

Wasn’t gonna happen. Not only did I not make it to half a kilometre, it was difficult to make it twenty percent of the way. I struggled to get up to the even number, which is a testament to how foolish I can be. It is just as easy to remember any number, but I insisted with myself that I get to the even number. It took all that I had.

Then I walked. I was still convinced that I could walk until the blood flow regenerated my body and my breathing decreased somewhat and then I could do perhaps another twenty percent. If I did a total of five of those I would’ve run my kilometer even if I had to walk in between. My brain just does not stop doing these calculations.

Wasn’t gonna happen. Well, after a short walk I tried to run again, at a slower speed, (is it actually running? – can’t say) and I only made one tenth of a kilometre. So now what to do, what to do? I walked again. I was exhausted and I was aware that my legs were too weak to push myself too much further. That is the mistake I made last year. Despite knowing that my legs were getting wobbly I continued and hurt my knee — my good knee. I lived to regret that and I was not willing (or capable for that matter) of continuing the exercise.

So, I made a deal with myself. I would finish the kilometre. Yes folks, I managed the kilometre. One kilometre with a combination of sixty percent walking and fourty percent running was all that I completed. The good bits are that I did not hurt myself. Even this morning, the dreaded day after, I am a little stiff but not in pain. I respected myself and I am proud of that. Being a highly competitive person it is difficult to admit to this failure, so publically in my blog, but I’m trying to be honest. I’m sure I’m not the only one that can’t run a kilometre after not running for over ten months.

My new perspective on this is that I’ll continue. If I respect my body signals and do not hurt myself, I will continue to run on the treadmill. Isn’t that better than giving up or having to stop because of injury? Having running as a regular practice is a good thing even if I never run in a 5K for the rest of my life and I haven’t told anyone yet. I’m confident that my daughters don’t read my blog.

So wish me luck! My second day of training I am aiming for 1.1K. I hope that I can run more than 40% of it!

 

Stranger than Fiction

100-0201Stranger than Fiction” a movie I rewatched recently on Crackle because I enjoy the messages in it. The movie takes a stab at determining if self-will or destiny reigns supreme. It asks, “How do you want to live your life?” Ultimately, it examines the relationship we have with ourselves and the world around us. As a Coneiya (ko-NEY-yuh) practitioner, this is one of the things that I teach awareness of.

We can get so caught up in the conversations we have with ourselves that we completely miss the life we are supposed to be living. In the movie, Harold Crick counted and calculated every aspect of his life and experienced it through numbers; 32 teeth brushed 76 times. Then he became aware of a second voice that was not his own, “With better vocabulary.

Symbolically, this second voice could represent the fact that the voice in our heads is NEVER who we are. It can be difficult to realize this because it is our closest companion, but it is simply the word generating part of our brain, doing what it does best, which is generating words. When you are having trouble making a decision, who are you arguing with?

It wasn’t until Harold found out that his death was imminent that he was shook out of this trance. This is apropos because many people are ripped out of this self talk delusion because of a great loss or tragedy. The delusion is thinking that the voice in our heads talking to us all day is very important, perhaps the most important part of who we are. It is not. These words are just a series of things that we’ve decided to say to ourselves, like, look both ways before you cross the street. We repeat truths in neuronal assemblies like deep treads in a well worn road. The trick is to get out of the rut and start taking control of how you steer.

Another message that I like in this movie comes from a man helping Harold during this difficult time in his life. The man suggests that Harold enjoy his life to the fullest in the time that he has left. This inspires Harold to buy a guitar and learn how to play it. It is important to include the things in our lives that we enjoy.

That is so obvious that it feels silly mentioning it, but too often we get so fixed in our patterns that we don’t even stop to think about how we would want to spend our time. We decide that we will do all of the things that we enjoy when we retire or win the lottery or at least not today. Adding joy to your life today is much more satisfying than listening to all of the things that you have gotten into the habit of telling yourself.

How do you want to live your life? What have you done today that was enjoyable? How much of your life is routine? Are you telling yourself that it is not OK to focus on what you love?

Harold had become unobservant. He was counting everything around him and calculating instead of engaging in his life. What are you focused on? How much you eat, shop, drink, watch television? What you SHOULD be doing with your time? Those rumours you heard? Time to wake up and pay attention. Cool movie. I recommend it.