Category Archives: Peace

That moment when …

 

Sunrise on the Gulf Coast

Sunrise in Henderson Point, Mississippi. — Copyright 2018 Barbara A. Besteni

 

… you realize that glass of wine you just poured yourself is just a band-aid on your broken dreams.

That moment when you remember there are no quick fixes.  You want results?  Do the work.

That moment when you surrender to the fact that the most productive thing you can do when things appear to be at their worse is to stop and give thanks. Because when you force your overactive mind to its knees, the Universe steps in and says, “I got this.”

That moment when you recognize that jealousy and envy are poisons keeping you from enjoying the bounty that God created especially for you.

That moment when it finally registers that your heart is smarter than your head, and you start listening with your soul instead of your mind.

That moment when the line between right and wrong is obliterated because you notice that your internal moral compass is much more accurate than that of the one set by society.

That moment when you stop feeling guilty for being “selfish.”

That moment when you relinquish your need to be right.

That moment when you take back control of your life from those who “mean well” and are only “looking out for your best.”

That moment when you awaken from the hypnotic spell of the list of things you should be doing and start doing those things whose only merit is that you like doing them.

That moment when you comprehend that fitness and health are not the same. Because when you stop forcing your body to fit the unrealistic mold Madison Avenue has created for you, you finally achieve the healthy body you were meant to have.

That moment when you accept that you may never achieve fame and fortune by worldly standards.  But you will inspire people in more personal ways and doing so, you will fulfill your purpose for being here.

That moment when you remember less is more.

That moment when you discover your prayers are constantly being answered.

That moment when it hits you … you’re not going to live forever.

That moment when you discover that moment is now.

And now is all there is.

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Filed under Peace, sobriety, spirituality

Really, there’s nothing wrong …

Waveland

Waveland Mississippi Pier – copyright 2018 Barbara A. Besteni

 

That overwhelming sense of sadness that suddenly descends upon you … when there’s absolutely nothing wrong.

We all feel it.

If we look around, things on the surface look pretty darn good. We have everything we want, except that a nagging feeling of melancholy keeps hovering over our hearts like a Category 1 hurricane waiting to happen.  It may not cause a lot of damage, but it’s annoying enough to damper our mood for a while.

It’s a type of melancholy that makes teenage angst seem like an endorphin high on speed.

But why are we so afraid to admit that something is wrong?  Not just to others, but to ourselves? Is it because we fear that if we accept that there’s an emptiness inside us that nothing seems to fulfill we’ll finally have to find a way to fulfill it?

Better to be in denial and stay busy, right?  Maybe it will just go away.

But IT doesn’t.  And the more we pretend IT is not there … the moment we turn on the television, reach for our smartphone for the latest alert, troll through social media, IT is sitting right beside us, crowding our space, making us even more miserable than we already were.

And speaking of social media.  How’s that for a humbling experience, showing us that compared to others, our lives completely suck?  So, get with it!  Don’t just sit there, go do something productive to show your worth and post it on Facebook!

At the end of a day of aimlessly running around being “productive,” we reach for a glass of wine, or two, or 15, to take the edge off, but no amount of alcohol will drown out the truth that’s longing to come to the surface.  The truth that despite all the noise surrounding us every day, there’s something missing.

We grew up to be who we wanted to be, but along the way, we lost who we were.

Now, let’s face it.  All is not doom and gloom and I simply exaggerate just a tiny bit to get your attention.  I tend to do that. (Go ahead, roll your eyes in acknowledgement. I’ll take it as a compliment.)

There are moments when we glimpse happiness and fulfillment. Moments when we gaze into our significant other’s eyes, when we cuddle with our pets, when we watch our children grow up to be amazing people, when we laugh our asses off over the antics of animal videos on the internet, when we dance naked alone in our kitchens as if nobody’s watching and suddenly, somebody is. (I’m making that up. I only dance naked in the living room.)

But those moments are few and far between because we’re so busy doing all the ancillary stuff of life that real life passes us by.

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans – Allen Saunders  

So what is IT?

IT is that little voice inside of us, screaming for us to STOP! – Stop before our bodies break down and force us to do so. Stop before we look back and realize we missed so much frantically doing so little.

And how do we tame IT?

By doing the exact opposite of what we’ve been doing.

Instead of adding more to our already overflowing glutton-envying plate of to-do lists and tasks, we need to put down our forks, step away from the table and go for a nice long walk. (Or dance naked in the living room, if that sounds like something you might like.)

IT is a cranky toddler screaming for attention. But IT knows what’s best for you.   Because IT is the you that you lost somewhere between the playground and the office conference room.

And the only way to quiet IT is to do … nothing… except the hardest thing of all …

Listen.

 

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Filed under Grief, hurricanes, Peace, Sadness, spirituality, Uncategorized

Judgment and Expectations …

Serenity

Serenity along the Gulf Coast in Waveland, Mississippi – Copyright 2018 Barbara A. Besteni

 

“Serenity comes when you trade expectations for acceptance.” — Unknown

All of our disappointments come from unfulfilled expectations and pre-conceived beliefs of how things should and shouldn’t be. They are the reference points we use to judge if something is good or bad, right or wrong.

If our expectations aren’t met, we are quick to label the feeling of disappointment as “bad.”  On the flip side, if we do something that makes us happy, but we believe it’s “wrong” because doing things for ourselves is “selfish,”  we add a dollop of guilt to the ice cream and miss out on the “guilty pleasure.”

But why should we feel guilty about pleasure?  Does guilt absolve us of our “sins” any more than saying ten Hail Marys absolved us of the sins we exposed in the confessional as children? (You Catholic children of long ago know exactly what I mean.)

Most of our expectations and beliefs are self-imposed, crafted from the residual fibers of the protective garments given to us by our parents, our teachers, and the society in which we grew up … garments meant to protect us from life’s harsh climate.

But many of those garments are no longer in style.  Some we have outgrown and should have been discarded long ago.  But because they are sewn into the fabric of our being, we continue to wear them, adding additional layers of emotional clothing on top, suffocating the very life force struggling to free us from the prison of our past.

“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.” — Margaret Meade

Unfortunately, we took our early life lessons at face value and never learned to completely think for ourselves. We entered adulthood believing the boogeyman still lived in the closet and children in countries we’d never heard of would die if we didn’t eat everything on our plates.

Is it any wonder we’ve grown up to be a nation where mental illness and obesity are so prevalent?

But what if we entered each day with no preconceived notions or judgments of what is good or bad or right or wrong?  What if we had no expectations?

What if we put on our grownup pants and simply lived life day by day, absorbing the gifts each moment has to give without spoiling them with expectations of how things should or shouldn’t be?

Would we be better off?  Would we be more fulfilled and enjoy life more if we simply stopped expecting and started living?

Could we miss something we didn’t get if we hadn’t expected to get it?

“You can’t lose something you never had” –                                                                            Kate Hudson, ‘How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days’

Do you miss not having brothers and sisters?

It’s a question I’m often asked when people find out I’m an only child.

But how can I miss something I never had?

Sure, I can imagine what it must be like to have a sibling, or two. But miss it? No, I can’t possibly miss an experience I’ve never had.

It’s like asking a person who is blind from birth if they miss seeing. They have no concept of seeing with their eyes, no reference point by which to judge a visual perception of the world.  So, no, they don’t miss seeing because their reference point doesn’t include sight as we know it.

Let’s take it one step further. What if we eliminated the reference points we use to judge right from wrong?

We use religion as a barometer to keep us “moral.”

What if the 10 Commandments were not meant to be taken literally?

I’m not suggesting we rename them the 10 Suggestions. I am suggesting we expand our understanding of them, and all religious beliefs, to free us, rather than inhibit us.

Ten Commandments aside, many of the religious “laws” we were taught are man-made.

Eating meat on Fridays, for example, meant an eternity of hellfire when I was growing up Catholic in Brooklyn.  I always felt sorry for my Jewish friends who were going to hell because apparently no one had told them that eating a Hebrew National hot dog on Friday meant eternal damnation.

This all started sounding very fishy to me as I began to question religious authority. And had I had the benefit of Google at the time, I would have learned that since it is believed Jesus Christ suffered and died on the cross on a Friday, Christians set aside Fridays to unite with Christ’s suffering.

By not eating meat? Oh, please.

I’m not saying we should live life breaking all the rules and thinking only of ourselves as if there weren’t other people on the planet. But how amazing would it be if we lived life as it was meant to be … free of expectations, taking each precious moment and savoring it, sprinkling it with gratitude for the miracle that we are given at the beginning of each new day.

I’m full of questions today. Unfortunately, I don’t have any answers that will work for you.  I only have answers that work for me.

Are you ready for serenity? Release the expectations and judgments that are keeping you grounded and welcome acceptance.

Then watch the magic happen. Peace.

 

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Filed under Barbara Besteni, Peace, Uncategorized