Who Am I – My Own Words

Storm_cloudsWhile I want to say thanks so very much for all the love you sent my way regarding the last post, I also would like to clarify that I really feel that I just paraphrased some of the ideas presented at the beginning of The Untethered Soul.  So here is my own response to the post regarding who I think I am.

I have been thinking about the concept of stripping away all the layers we assume as we move through the days.  Our roles, our physical selves, our thoughts and emotions.  Ultimately I do believe that those aspects of our being do not define us nor do they even describe who we are.  But with that said, I would like to state openly and honestly that, when things get stormy, I struggle enormously with separating myself from my Self.

Case in point – the past couple of weeks have been busy busy busy.  Last week of summer and first week of school.  Need I say more?  And when it gets hectic, this mommy gets snappy.  And a little grouchy.  And sometimes a lot grouchy.  And my kids seem to drop more clothes and shoes on the floor.  And the dogs intentionally shed extra hairballs just to annoy me.  And the dishes become like gremlins multiplying at an alarming rate in the presence of water.  And my husband (who is a very good and kind man) will casually say or do things that grouchy mommy isn’t able to laugh at the way chill mommy is.  The whole shebang is very un-Disney movie-esque and sends me into a serious funk.

So this time, I watch it all happening with my last post in mind.  I am highly aware that I am watching it and trying to be cognizant of my feelings and experiences without allowing myself to become those feelings and experiences.  I am trying desperately to be zen dammit.  But of course I recognize the whole zen vs. desperately zen dammit dynamic and I try to extricate the desperately and dammit portions.  But they won’t budge!

I know that I am a spiritual being having these human experiences – but I just can’t figure out how to tilt the scales back in favor of spiritual and away from human.  The mental chaos continues to plague me until suddenly, for one reason or another, it dissipates.  At that point, I feel like I can step back once again.  But am I really stepping back into my spiritual shoes?  Ironically I never actually left them, but it certainly felt like it.  This is the struggle I face when I try to figure out who I am.  Despite my belief that we are living players in this game of Life (but without the little pink and blue plastic stick babies – of which we all had 8 in our multiple plastic cars), I still get so caught up in the moments.

So when I want to find me – the me that I pray is the real me – I focus on the gaps – the spaces in between the noise, chatter, and emotional rip tides.  It doesn’t mean that I won’t stumble again or that the storms will fade forever.  But I know that as long as I keep seeking the Light in my Self, I can continue to get closer to who I really am.  That me can take it all in and then get back up, learn, grow and hopefully shine a little brighter each time.  That’s who I hope I am.

Who Am I?

Vortex_interiorSo my initial plan was to write a post covering the first four chapters of The Untethered Soul.  Well here’s the skinny – that isn’t going to happen.  So my new and improved plan at this moment is to just start with this question:  Who Am I?

The book opens by giving examples of how we perceive and define ourselves. Perhaps if you were asked the question, your immediate response would be that you are a parent, sibling, friend, or employee.  But is that really WHO we are?  No.  I recognize that my role as a friend or employee does not truly define who I am. As an example, I could cease to be friends with someone but I would still be me. The same is true with employment status. It doesn’t definitively define your existence.

Ok well let’s look at this physically. I am a tall woman who has been 29 years old for quite a while.  So does that define me?  Once again, it really doesn’t.  If I get shorter with age or ultimately decide that 29 has to go, I no longer fit those categories.  So do I stop being me?  Nope.

Well so then who am I if I’m not what I look like or the roles I serve?  Perhaps I am my thoughts and emotions.  But maybe not because those can clearly change and be changed in a split-second.

If I peel back the layers, I can see that I am the one who is having all these experiences and perceiving the occurrences happening around me.  Please notice that I didn’t say “the person” or “the human” because to me, we are so much more than that.

So with all that in mind, who do you think YOU are?  I would love to read your thoughts on the question.  Are we more than our experiences and the roles we play each day?

Listen Up Book Nerds!

Isn't this tidbit scrumptious?!?!  So adorable!

Isn’t this tidbit scrumptious?!?! So adorable!

The people have spoken!! Or technically…written. It sounds like most of you would like to blog about the books we read. Completely unexpected given that many of you are bloggers! ;)

So here’s my plan to get this moving. I’m going to write a post on the first four chapters of “The Untethered Soul” sometime in the next couple of days. If you would also like to write a post (either before mine or in response to it), please let me know. I would love to add a link to your post in my corresponding entry. Does that work for you??? If so, let me know! :)

***Completely random side question – Can anybody possibly explain to me how one underlines in WordPress. I have tried repeatedly and I just end up with weird spacing. What am I doing wrong here??? It bugs me to pieces to use quotation marks when I should be underlining a book title. I know – it’s seriously dorky, but it really bothers me! Suggestions?? Thanks!

Question for the Bookworms

bookworm2I mentioned the idea of starting an online book club a few posts ago and definitely received some indications of interest. The book du jour (or really du next few weeks) is “The Untethered Soul.” Amazon affiliate links to the book versions are below.

Soooo here is my question – how would YOU like to do this? A couple of possibilities are tackling a few chapters each week via a blog post or potentially going through a free conference call service in order to have an actual live conversation as a group. Honestly I like both ideas. What do you think? And do you truly want to participate or are you just kicking around the thought? I’m completely okay either way. I just want to have an idea as to the number of participants to be able to gauge how to move forward. Please let me know! :)

Paperback

http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=as_li_qf_sp_sr_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&index=aps&keywords=the%20untethered%20soul&linkCode=ur2&tag=momofjoy-20

Kindle http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003TU29WA/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B003TU29WA&linkCode=as2&tag=momofjoy-20

Big Worry in a Little Package

small-packageMy daughter is typically carefree or running full throttle in high energy mode (no idea where she got that!). But when she starts to worry, she reeeeaaally digs deep. One frequent concern she raises is with regard to going away for college. She doesn’t know where to go or what she will specialize in, but she is certain that she wants to stay close to home. She brings it up over and over again, and I continue to reinforce that we will be supportive of whatever choice she selects. At that point, I also remind her that she is six years old.

And then this evening she brought up how she wanted to live with us in the new house forever (we are building a new house that is supposed to be THE house we will live in for many many years to come, or if my husband gets his way, until the kicking of the bucket has come to pass). So when she mentioned living with me in the house, she also wanted to discuss her being able to sleep in my bed when she was older and also a mom. At this point, I asked her if she was planning to be married but also quickly clarified that her older brother would not be a suitable marital option – talk about a buzzkill! (She didn’t know that was against the rules.) Well after she recovered from that bombshell, she decided that a couple of boys she knew “would work.”

I explained that there were still a few remaining points she might need to contemplate. 1. Most married men don’t want to sleep with their in-laws (Don’t tell me if you do. No part of me wants to know that.). 2. She could wait a bit and pick someone down the road who might be the perfect fit at that time. 3. She didn’t even have to get married if she didn’t want to. That was a great choice, too, if it was what she decided.

Well she was still struggling with the whole “husband not wanting to sleep in the same bed as his wife’s mother” thing but I told her that I was pretty inflexible in this department. Nevertheless we agreed that she could live with me forever and ever if that was her choice. Thankfully that soothed her little soul.

I don’t know why she stresses about all this stuff, but it absolutely plagues her. She melts my heart completely and totally. I adore that she loves us so much that she can’t imagine ever leaving us, and I certainly don’t look forward to the moment when she will.

I wonder if this is how God sees us. All wrapped up in our worries and waiting for the sky to come crashing down on us at any moment. Although we aren’t sure how our lives will play out, we will always be cared for and we will always have a safe loving place to call home – forever and ever. And that soothes my little soul.

Much love and light to all of you. Joanna

More Meditation

This is exactly what I look like when I meditate.  Except I don't wear earrings.  And I am in  sweat pants and a ratty t-shirt.  And my belly is full of scrambled eggs and cheese.  And my hair is blonde.  And I'm ten (twenty) (ish) years older.  And I'm probably talking or looking around the room.  But other than that, this is exactly what I look like.

This is exactly what I look like when I meditate. Except I don’t wear earrings. And I am in sweat pants and a ratty t-shirt. And my belly is full of scrambled eggs and cheese. And my hair is blonde. And I’m ten (twenty) (ish) years older. And I’m probably talking or looking around the room. But other than that, this is exactly what I look like.

So I have continued to partake in daily meditations per the aforementioned 21 day challenge. Admittedly I ordered a completely different Chopra series that focuses on abundance, but I’m still meditating daily.

Thankfully the mental madness seems to be toning down a bit. I focus on the Sanskrit mantras and repeat them over and over again when I start down the mental chatter path. When I say that I repeat them, I mean that I recite something in my head that sounds relatively similar and hopefully has a comparable number of syllables. Hopefully effort counts in the abundance manifesting world. Being the eternal believer, I have a strong feeling that it does. And if not, well I’ll just have to attract better Sanskrit pronunciation skills. :)

Any updates your way??? I’d love to hear if you have been trying anything new or even just getting back to your tried and true practices. No matter what, I send you wishes for a wonderful week! Much love to you. Jo :)

What Did You Mean By THAT

calvin_arguingI renamed this post over and over again and ultimately settled on the title above. Some version of this comment is a frequent reaction in my head (and at times, out loud) to something said that manages to rankle me. It’s that unnecessary jab or snarky dig or tacky comment that could have been kept in the other person’s noggin. Or at least that’s how I choose to read it. But here’s the skinny – that’s stupid on my own part.

I’m not saying that we should never react to anything or expect to have flat emotions with regard to negative commentary. But sometimes we (I) get riled up about things that don’t warrant the reaction.

I recently heard Dr. Wayne Dyer give an awesome piece of advice in one of his books – stop being so damned offended at everything.

I am most definitely a novice at this line of thinking but heaven knows that I am trying. Dr. Dyer is absolutely right. I am working to become aware of the innumerable moments when I can opt to go bananas (in my head or even worse not in my head) or I can just chose to keep going unaffected. Or even better, I can recognize that the comment was nothing more than a comment. In one ear, out the other, and keep breathing and living. Makes so much sense.

So maybe there is something that happened today or recently that you can choose to move past. Maybe it’s something bigger and doesn’t seem that cut and dry. At the end of the day, the person you are punishing the most with your anger and resentment is you. You deserve peace and happiness. Don’t get in your own way!

Hope the weekend is a good one. Big hugs! Jo

Meditation Mental Madness

tornadoThis is how I envision my brain mid-meditation – a swirling flurry of thoughts wreaking havoc on anything in the way. I took Misifusa up on her offer to join her in the Chopra 21 day meditation challenge (link below). My hope was that I might have better luck at keeping my thoughts at bay but that fantasy was quickly shattered. This is how it played out…

I am settling in listening to the soothing sounds of Mr. Chopra. I like this music. Maybe I’ll buy this meditation set. I am calm and focused… I am in the presence of miracles… I am drawing miracles into my life… I am wondering why my headphones are sitting funny on my head. And my ear itches. Argh this pillow is bothering me. Pay attention Jo! Focus on the miracles and the music. Focusing… But I need headphones that will let me meditate with my head turned. Where are my ear buds? And why are they called buds anyway? Woman- focus! Something about miracles… What was it I was supposed to think about? Umm miracles are good and I like them? Shoot just stick with the ommm… Ommm… Argh back to the itchy ear! Do I have ear fleas that are brought on by meditation?? Doggone it Misifusa did you infect me with the invisible meditation ear fleas via your post! Forget the imaginary fleas and hear the music. Feel the calm… She was right! I can’t focus either!! When did I become unable to focus again! Oh shoot the meditation is over. Maybe I’ll try this again.

Start the recording again… Okay Mr. Chopra – I am calm and ready for the music. Bring it! I’m listening and quieting my mind… Miracles… Miracles… Darn you imaginary ear flea who has reappeared solely to bother me during my mediation replay! Forget it. Maybe I’ll have better luck with day 2.

So much for day 1. This was a major heads up reminding me to include meditation in my daily spiritual routine. With a little practice, I know that this level of noise will subside (or at least significantly slim down). Although I would have liked to have experienced a quiet mental moment, I was thankful to know that I wasn’t alone in my battle with the chatter. And I couldn’t help but laugh at myself and the similarities to Misifusa’s post. Hopefully I will have better luck this evening.

If you do decide to give this series a try, please let me know how it goes. Maybe you can inspire me with your mental discipline. Or perhaps I’ll just get to make fun of you (with love!) for also having a noggin that won’t shut up. Either way it sounds like a win! ;)

http://misifusa.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/um-om-day-one-i-need-help/

https://chopracentermeditation.com/home

The Untethered Soul

The Untethered SoulA few weeks ago, a dear friend suggested that we read and discuss The Untethered Soul. I wasn’t familiar with the book, but I told her I would make time to read it. Although every line didn’t resound with me, it was an easy read and I found a great deal of wonderful material in the book. I am going to suggest that we read this for the first book club discussion.

The Untethered Soul:The Journey Beyond Yourself
by Michael A. Singer

This is a small portion of the book description given on Amazon:

“In The Untethered Soul—now a New York Times bestseller—spiritual teacher Michael Singer explores the question of who we are and arrives at the conclusion that our identity is to be found in our consciousness, the fact of our ability to observe ourselves, and the world around us. By tapping into traditions of meditation and mindfulness, Singer shows how the development of consciousness can enable us all to dwell in the present moment and let go of painful thoughts and memories that keep us from achieving happiness and self-realization.”

Perhaps some of you would like to read it and share your thoughts online, too. I am going to read it again before sharing any detailed comments of my own. Please let me know if you have any interest in participating in an online group discussion of the book so we can determine timing and possible ideas as to how we can go about sharing our views.  In the meantime, have a lovely weekend.

Much love and light to you all!  Joanna  :)

***A friend suggested that it might be a good idea to include the Amazon links for the book in case you wanted to order directly through my affiliate site. I have included links for the Kindle and paperback versions. I will try to remember to do this for any future books discussed on this blog. Thanks again!

Kindle edition – The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

Paperback edition – the untethered soul

Just Give Me a Hint

puzzleAs I tried unsuccessfully to go to sleep on Thursday night, my head buzzed with thoughts about how one (I) would logistically get a local spiritual group started. It was a swirling jumble of mental chatter that led to an extensive series of prayers asking for some serious guidance. I felt strongly that something would happen soon, and I hoped it would be a clear and easy message to interpret. That isn’t always how signs go, but it sure is nice when it appears that you have received a direct answer.

If you happened to read the series of comments in response to that post, you might pick up on a repetitive theme – books about spirituality. One comment from my dear friend and amazing writer Gina (professionsforpeace.com – she is AWESOME) even went so far as to talk about how she had previously gotten together with others to discuss these types of books. Although I have been in book clubs before, I have found that I struggled to finish the types of books people selected in the time given. I love fun reads but I personally tend to move at a faster pace when a book is centered around spirituality, faith, or self development. I guess it makes sense as that has been a lifelong interest for me.

BooksThe comments included the names of books, authors, and ideas as to how a group might get together. The funny thing is that my post didn’t say anything about starting a book club or asking for book-related ideas. Nevertheless that’s the theme I saw again and again in response.

If you really know me, it is highly likely that you know that I am a tremendous believer in signs. I consider them to be angelic hints put in our path to guide us. The trick with hints is that you have to be willing to take them. Well you’ve got my attention. It looks like books will be the starting point for this new chapter (did you like my fabulous and funny book pun there???) in my journey.

Thank you all for allowing your angels to send a little loving advice my way via your typing fingers. Your responses have guided me to an idea that doesn’t scare the pants off me (and trust me – I am a girl who needs pants). I can get a book club together, and it can be started with two people or twenty. We can bring all sorts of topics to the table and just see where it goes. And I’m not worried about being judged – bonus!

So thank you again for the expedited and clear delivery of the hints I requested. I don’t know where this will lead, but it is really exciting to be moving forward. Much love and light to you always! :) Joanna

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