Update on Practice in Accepting Change and Letting Go

In my June 8 post, I shared my concern that the stairs near our Greenbelt site were being painted. I had come to the conclusion that it was a good opportunity for me to practice both accepting change and letting go.

When the stairs below ours were finished, I thought the optical illusion was cool but another concern arose. Our stairs are much smaller and closer together than those. I wondered if the bright paint would be overwhelming. I decided to stick with my decision to consider it an opportunity to not worry; to let go and accept whatever change came my way.

The stairs closest to our site were to be painted on Saturday. That afternoon, I decided to check it out. I was delighted with what I saw. The colors are beautiful. Instead of painting the sides of each step, like they did in the area below ours, the painters painted the cement border that goes between the various landings. They also painted the “bench” at the top of the stairs. (I put bench in quotes because it used to be the mount for a bulletin board.)

I’m so glad I decided to see this experience as a “lesson” rather than worrying or fretting about it. I couldn’t be happier with the results.

Practice in Accepting Change and Letting Go

The last week in April, a friend sent me an email that said an artist, working with Seattle Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School project, was painting staircases around Seattle. The notice also said that the next steps to be painted were the Hanford Stairs, the stairs that border our Greenbelt restoration site.

When I saw the photo I was concerned. I couldn’t imagine something so bright going through the forest. I didn’t understand how painting the stairs would make walking to school safer, but thought that anything that accomplished that goal would be a good thing. I liked that she was inviting community members to help paint. In addition, I knew that this unexpected change would be an opportunity for me to practice letting go and suspending judgment.

I took some comfort in the fact that the notice included a photo of the stairs that were to be painted and they were the new set of stairs that are below ours. Maybe ours would stay the same.

Last Saturday was the day the lower stairs were to be painted. Yesterday afternoon, I decided to walk down and check them out. From the top of the stairs they looked like this…. no sign of paint.

But when I walked to the bottom of the stairs and looked up, this is what I saw.

The bright colors still seemed strange to me but I had to admit that there was beauty to it. I loved that the stairs looked clear one way and fancy when you looked at them from the other direction.

This morning, I noticed that there was a lot of sand on the plants on both sides of the stairs near us. It seemed so strange and I couldn’t imagine what could have caused it. When I pointed the sand out to somebody later in the day, she said that the stairs had been pressure washed. In that moment, I realized that our part of stairs must also be part of this project and that they will probably be painted tomorrow!

I still think it will take me time to get used to this change, but I’m glad that I decided that the lower stairs were okay and even kind of pretty. I have no doubt that children will enjoy them a lot and I hope that it does indeed keep them safe.

From Darkness to Light

Sreejit, from The Seeker’s Dungeon, is offering a series of Guest Posts during the month of November. Writers will be sharing their opinions about what is keeping our world in darkness and their ways of moving towards the light.

I will be participating and thought that some of those who read my blog might be interested in writing for the event as well.  You are welcome to submit a post whether you are a blogger or a non-blogger; liberal or conservative; religious or non religious, interested in politics or not;  from the United States or anywhere else in the world. In other words, everyone is encouraged to participate.

Here are the details of the event:

To celebrate one year since the election of arguably the worst president in the history of the United States, the month of November will be Rage Against the Machine Month here at The Seeker’s Dungeon. The entire month will be guest posts on topics about how we should or could be doing better. Rage here shouldn’t be misconstrued as hate speech, but rather as passion speech – passion for life, passion for equality, passion for humanity, passion for the environment. I won’t be posting any hate, so don’t bother submitting it – strongly defined passions, however, I will certainly post. Keep in mind that you don’t have to agree with me, or my own unabashedly liberal agenda or worldview, but also understand that I don’t moderate the comment section. I’m not interested in creating a platform for exciting violence, but calling it out. In the comment section I allow people to represent themselves.

Your post doesn’t have to be about the United States or even politics, but should be about what is keeping our world in darkness and your own solutions for shedding light. Talk about where your own passions lie, your own causes, and the glass ceilings you are trying to break on through. Your essay should be between 800 and 5000 words. You can send them to sreejitpoole927@gmail.com and write Rage Post in the subject line. Please include a header image, a profile picture and a short bio, along with your blog address, or whichever other form of social media that you would like your name to link to. Also, be sure to edit your submission before sending it. I’m eager to hear what you all have to say, so let’s say it well.

To see the Guest Posts from Sreejit’s past events click here.

I hope to see you in the Dungeon!

Letting Go of Suffering- Week Twelve: Using Contracts to Heal

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A contract is usually an agreement between two or more people but you can also use contracts to make agreements with yourself. It is a structure that can be invaluable when you are serious about making changes in your life.

Here are some examples of this type of contract:

Example #1

Problem: I work 65 hours a week

Contract: I will work no more than 50 hours a week for the next month and will reduce my work time to 45 hours a week after that.

 

Example #2

Problem: I constantly criticize myself.

Contract: Every time I am self-critical, I will internally say the affirmation “I am worthy of respect. I will not harm myself by thought, word or deed.”

 

Example #3

Problem: I eat when I am not hungry.

Contract: For the next week, I will record every time I am tempted to eat when I’m not hungry. Next to the date and time, I will write what incident or thought triggered my desire to eat, as well as the emotion that followed the trigger.

 

Example #4

Problem: When someone asks me to do something, I automatically say yes, even when it is something I don’t want to do.

Contract: I will not say yes to requests without taking time to think about the request first.

 

In the next section, you will make a list of your self-sabotaging behaviors, such as those in the examples above. After you make your list, you will formulate a contract for each one. Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to commit to keeping a lot of contracts. The purpose of the first exercise is to help you learn how to write simple, clear contracts.

It is important that you word your contracts in a way that promotes you in being successful. For example, if you would like to exercise 5 days a week for 30 minutes, it would be best to start with a contract that says “I will exercise a minimum of 3 days a week for 20 minutes.” That way you won’t break the contract if you only do 3 or 4 sessions on a busy week. You can always do more than your contract requires.

Exercise #1

In the box below, list 4-8 behaviors you desire to change and write a contract for each one. If you have trouble identifying the changes you want to make, you might find it helpful to look through the Week 1 and Week 2 lessons of this course. If possible, complete Exercise #1 on the first day of this week so that you have the rest of the week to work on Exercise #2.

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Exercise #2

Pick two of the contracts from the list above, and commit to keeping them for the rest of the week. At the end of each day, jot down some notes about your experience.

52a

52b

At the end of the week, answer the questions below:

Was it easy for you to keep the two contracts?

If it wasn’t easy, then commit to continue keeping them. It takes time to change behavior patterns.

When you are ready to add one or two new contracts to the original two, write them in the box below.

52c

If you would like feedback about the contracts you write, feel free to put them in the comment section. I would be happy to answer questions or make suggestions.

Pen Photo Credit: Pixabay

 

See you next Monday for the thirteenth lesson.

To find the lessons in this series that have already been published click here.

A Change is Gonna Come

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The instant I pressed publish on my contribution (When You Feel Like Darkness Has You Bound) to this week’s Song Lyric Sunday challenge, I had the urge to also find a protest song.

A Change is Gonna Come, was released by Sam Cooke in 1964. It became an anthem for the Civil Rights movement. When I listened to the song and watched the video that went with it, I knew I had found my protest song. The video has photos from the 50’s to the present. By the end of viewing it, I was crying.

The lyrics are on the video but I will also include them here:

It’s been too hard living but I’m afraid to die
Cause I don’t know what’s up there beyond the sky
It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

I go to the movie and I go downtown
Somebody keep telling me don’t hang around
It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

Then I go to my brother
And I say brother help me please
But he winds up knocking me
Back down on my knees

Ohhhhhhhhh…

There been times that I thought I couldn’t last for long
But now I think I’m able to carry on
It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will

 

A Time of Change

This is an amazing time in which to live.  Since June 18, the Pope took powerful stands on environmental and weapons issues and the U.S. Supreme Court voted to preserve the Affordable Care Act and to uphold the rights of gays and lesbians to marry.

Due to a horrific shooting in South Carolina, Confederate flags are coming down across the South and there is a movement to have it removed from the South Carolina statehouse.  Businesses such as Walmart, eBay, Target, Sears, Etsy, and Amazon have banned sales of the flag.

A friend just sent me a video that talks about the history of the Confederate flag.  I learned much from watching it and thought some of you might also be interested in viewing it.

 

 

Amritapuri- Then and Now

I just discovered that Amritapuri has it’s own Facebook page.  I had no idea.  It contains old photographs as well as current information.

This is a photo taken in 1996; after the ponds and backwaters behind the temple were filled in but before the auditorium was built.  I had totally forgotten this phase in the development of the ashram.

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How different it is today.

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23 Affirmations for Letting Go

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1.  I learn from every mistake.

2.  Change is a necessary and important part of living.

3.  I honor my growth.

4.  I treat myself and others with respect.

5.  The old lessons were for then. It is time for me to move on. Continue reading “23 Affirmations for Letting Go”