Unknown “In my writing, as much as I could, I tried to find the good, and praise it.”  This is a quote from Alex Haley, author of Roots.  When I came across this quote, it landed with me.   It aligns with my intention in writing these pieces, of sharing my journey with you, and inviting you to share yours with me, and others near and dear.  Together we grow and evolve, toward the light, and into more awareness :-).

So why this title and topic, and why now?  I’ve been noticing recently how I create tension and stress in my life, how certain thought and behavior patterns conspire to create a sense of overwhelm, pressure, sometimes guilt and powerlessness.

This may not sound like finding the good and praising it.  But wait.  There’s more!

imagesI welcome these crunchy times as opportunities to explore the patterns, delve deeper, see what I can find out about the inner workings that lead me, for example, to want to solve all the problems of the world, right now, and to feel it’s up to me alone; to feel compelled to learn and read all those cool things; watch all the inspsiring videos, TED talks, on line or FB; to keep improving myself by adding ever new challenges and skills….and on and on.  You get the picture!

When that mode is “on top”, so to speak, there is a certain excitement and aliveness, granted, but mostly it’s exhausting.  When I am caught up in this mode of doing, I actually don’t have the chunks, as they say in NLP, to be, to notice the good, to feel my heart, to drop into my body.  Opening to the Good is one of the tools that helps me transform tension, dissolve it, allows me to be present, to notice the NOW, to drop into gratitude.

Cycling to a class this morning, I had cut it close, as is my wont, and was pressed for time.  I felt the hectic, the pressure, the critic inside, and then… I (happily remembered this note I was writing to you and) opened to the scarlet rhododendron blossoms, the stunning lemon green of the new leaves, the old lady walking her sweet little dog.  Then and there, I was a different person.  Living in a different reality.  One of presence, ease, OKness.   Radically magical.

Last weekend my choir sang a benefit concert which involved a ferry ride together, and time with choir members I hadn’t known before.  Normally I sort of keep to myself, but I decided to engage.  It was such a gift and pleasure to explore our common ground, hear each other’s stories, walk in other shoes, open my heart and mind.

UnknownAnd then we got to sing together!  Haydn, Purcell, Verdi, Mozart, Saint-Saens… What glory, and what good fun!  At the party afterwards, at our talented and generous director’s home, we played a Game that let us learn some fun and funky details about each other that deepened our interconnections.  (Of course each person only spoke about what he/she felt comfortable sharing!)  I am not fond of making small talk, and the “Game” was a perfect alternative, a chance to really engage with people I don’t know well in a meaningful way.  Wow.

I could tell you about the joys and pleasures of the walk with Mike in our glorious Rhodo Garden in Stanley Park; or the lovely weekend with grandchildren; the recent Skype with my family in Austria; the sweet evening with friends making music; the birthday walk with hiking buddies to experience the Great Blue Heron Rookery minutes from our apartment, the smell of hyacinths, … but that is not really needed.  Opening to the Good is available to us at any time, in any place.  And, “take it from me”, as Jimmy Buffet says, it transforms!

Rick Hanson offers this message in several forms. (He calls it Give Over to the Good in this one), and I want to acknowledge his wisdom and generosity.  Rick’s free newsletter, Just One Thing, is a deep and wise weekly reminder of many skillful means along the Way.  I treasure Rick, his warmth and dedication.

I chose this theme for my post today because it inspires me, and I wanted to share some wonderful good things in my life, and invite you to notice and celebrate those in yours :-)!

In closing, I invite you to enjoy this quote from Ann Patchett: “I have been accused of being a Pollyanna, but I think there are plenty of people dealing with the darker side of human nature, and if I am going to write about people who are kind and generous and loving and thoughtful, so what? In my life I have met astonishingly good people.”  And this includes you!

Your comments, forwards, tweets, and feedback, are all welcome.

Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self-reflection, and to mine our memorable moments for insights, meaning, and growth.  Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Follow me on Twitter, let’s be friends on Facebook :-)

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