Thursday, December 3, 2009

So there...

Watch this video whenever you want to use your rocky (no pun intended) past as an excuse.

Friday, September 11, 2009


I have always struggled with the concept of faith. I still do. Faith is like that trust exercise where you fall backwards with the belief that the person standing behind you is going to catch you. I never did well at that game. No matter who was standing behind me, I couldn’t blindly drop back into someone else’s arms.

Letting go, and putting faith in God, the universe, a higher power, whatever, makes me feel like I am being weak and irresponsible, like I’m not tending to what’s mine to mind, and that I need someone else to take care of things for me because I can’t do it myself. I’ve thought about why I do this. Perhaps, it is because I am an older sibling , or the fact that I’m a steadfast, reliable Capricorn. Whatever the reason, leaving the consequences up to a higher power just makes me feel like I’m not keeping up my end of the bargain, that I am weak...that I (God forbid) need help.

As I get older, I question what is so wrong with needing help or not having all the answers. The level of anxiety I can carry around with me, regarding this, can get ridiculous at times. For the sake of my own sanity, and well being, what I am, thankfully, realizing now is that I really don’t need to be perfect, I don’t have to have all of the answers and the world certainly won’t fall apart if I stop trying to manage everything and leave things up to faith.

Life is always right on time with its lessons and, lately, my life has been unfolding in ways that I never would have planned. Needless to say, this has challenged my comfortable ways of operating and has really thrown my controlling, unfaithful self into a tizzy. I’ve spent years not only thinking about what I want in the future, but I’ve done so with the belief I know how these things should unfold in my life and, or at least I think I should be the one to figure it out. At this very moment, nothing is unfolding as I would plan it if it were up to me. This is exactly what faith is, believing that, in this moment, right where you are is exactly where you need to be, that all is happening as it should and that your meddling hands need not get involved.

I feel like I’m finally becoming smart enough to acknowledge that I may not know the best and quickest way for my life to go and that, maybe, this faith stuff isn’t half bad. From this, I realize that life is like a GPS system. All it needs is for you to punch in your final destination and it will calculate the best route for you to take. Sure, you’ll be doing all of the driving, the experiencing, the living and the decision making but, as far as what and how the journey unfolds, I am learning that this doesn’t have to be figured out by me.

So my message to you, and myself, is to have faith, knowing that wherever you are, is exactly where you need to be. That your journey couldn’t be any better mapped out as it is and that, on this route, you will pick up everything that you need to grow and evolve along the way.

With love,
The Dancing Shiva

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Inspirational Video Wednesday

Every Wednesday I will be sharing videos that I think are inspiring. Feel free to send me videos that inspire you and you think I should be posting. This one is long, but worth the time watch.

Remember, that no matter what today is, you always have the power to create your own magic.

With love,
The Dancing Shiva

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Trusting Ourselves

Often, when we feel lost or in some sort of pain, we have to rely on ourselves to get out of it.  Often, it is the lack of trust in ourselves that keeps us stuck there longer than we have to be.  We look for permission in others to tell us that our decision is the right one, that we are choosing correctly.  We hand over the resolution of what’s best for us to someone who is probably just as lost as we are.

Learning to trust ourselves means relying on ourselves to make the best choice for ourselves, even if it turns out to be the wrong decision.  If it’s wrong, you just choose again, and then keep choosing until you find your way out.  What you will discover that this process, while often longer, gives us experience and wisdom.  We learn that life is not meant to be straight and narrow and that it is, instead, meant to be a winding journey.  Once we accumulate knowledge along the way, we never need to walk down that path without a map.  We have added a new tool to our toolbox.

I have learned advice isn’t really worth much.  This is not to say that you don’t call on support when you are really having a hard time.  Sure, if you get a tire stuck in the mud you may be able to get out yourself, but certainly can get out quicker with a tow truck and someone who has experience getting a tire stuck out of the mud.  However, being a bit co-dependent by nature, myself, I always thought that when a friend was in need I had to run to their rescue and save them.  Yet, I’ve found that you usurp the opportunity for that person to work out and grow from their own problem by trying to fix them. Problems and suffering are not just here to give us a hard time, they are here to help us grow.  Trust that you and/or your friends are capable of that.  I’ve learned that the best sort of support I can give someone is just to let them know that they are not alone when they are working through something, and to let them understand that I believe in their ability to find their way.    For me, someone listening intently to me when I talk about something I am struggling with means a lot more than someone giving me tons of advice about how to fix it.  I can trust myself to find my way out and you can to.

With love,
The Dancing Shiva

Monday, September 7, 2009

Leaning Into Pain Brings Peace

I started this blog after several months of living what I kept referring to as my own “Shiva Moments.”  I say with gratitude that I have lived my share of challenges in my lifetime.  While in the past, I’ve not always been wise enough to realize that, in the end, the best thing that could have happened to me was to experience the pain or torture I lived through, I’ve learned by now that there always seems to be a gem buried deep beneath the sorrow...if you look for it.  I’d like to think I’m wise enough, by now, to finally have reached a point in my own personal evolvement to understand that A) This too will pass and, B) It’s all for a good reason.  
The truth is, I can’t say for certain whether or not what I am living through right now is really as bad as my mind has decided it is.  Sure, I don’t exactly love everything that is happening in my life right now, but (bigger picture-wise) how can I really (really, really, really) know for sure that it isn’t for the best?  I actually have more evidence from past experience to support the assumption that what I am living through right now is for good reason.  Regardless of whether or not I like it.
I think the biggest disappointment in life comes from the fact that we expect not to suffer.  We wake up everyday hoping that we’ll make it through unscathed.  We skulk and slink around the edges of life hoping not to get targeted by pain and torture.  And, yes, some of us have done a pretty good job at playing safe and avoiding any hurt in life.  We feel triumphant because of it.  Like we have outsmarted God.  Yet, if you look deep into those pain-avoider’s empty eyes, you’ll see that the compromise for getting out of pain is missing out on living.  
We all get our fair share of pain and suffering but, don’t misunderstand me, I’m not expecting anyone to wake up expecting that life be dismal because suffering is inevitable.  However, I do think suffering would be decreased greatly if we just knew that we all are equipped to handle whatever happens today, and that we don’t necessarily have to like it, enjoy it or want to live with it forever.  While it is here, we will accept it.  Leaning into hard times may not be fun, but it is temporary.  Running from feeling and experiencing pain gives you temporary relief, but with pain and suffering that lasts forever.
Most importantly, do not blame yourself when your life is filled with some sort of tragedy.  In the past, when life hasn’t gone my way I have blamed myself.  I believed (and sometimes still do) that life sucks because I am doing something wrong.  That if I chose different, did better, selected a different route, said something else or had a different personality, I wouldn’t be stuck with this problem.  While some personal responsibility is always important to maintain, blaming ourselves for things beyond our control is an unnecessary burden that just prolongs suffering.  
When we can learn to co-exist with feelings, experiences and difficult situations, give ourselves the permission to feel the pain, hurt, grief, and sadness, and know that this will not last forever, knowing that all we need to do is our best.  This is when we truly learn to live.
With love,
The Dancing Shiva

Why Shiva?

What is, and who is, Shiva?  I’m not a Hindu and my total knowledge of this God Shiva worshiped by Hindus is quite rudimentary.  So, I will describe the Dancing Shiva the best way I can, from the perspective that inspired this blog.  
About twelve years ago, when I was 23 years old, I was reading the book: I Know This Much is True, by Wally Lamb.  In the book The Dancing Shiva was introduced as the God/Goddess of destruction.  At my young age, I was shocked to find out that Hindus worshipped a God who destroys things.  “Why would they do that?” I thought. Reading on, I found out that the reason such a destructive God is worshiped is because, in life, we often have to deconstruct what is old and not working any longer to build new again.  
At the time of learning about Shiva, my dad was quite ill.  In fact, only a few months away from dying.  My fathers sickness (and soon passing) was also on the heels of other tragedies that included, financial loss in my family, losing our home, my father losing a business, and more, all by the time I was 23.  Needless to say, at such a young age, I had experienced a tremendous amount of tragedy.  And, staring squarely at the next one to come, my dad’s passing, I was grateful to have found the concept of Shiva.  The Dancing Shiva gave me something to hold on to, a belief that my ransacked life was for a reason, that it was okay, that one day I may look back at it all with gratitude.  
I am happy to report that, twelve years later, I do.  
Now, this is not to say that I haven’t suffered since I was 23, or that I am so wise now that while I’m living in the middle of some new tragedy in life I’m happy about it.  I suffer like everyone else, kick scream and try to change what is happening when I’d rather not experience it.  However, even if it is fleeting, I’m always able to find some sort of grace about it while in the middle of it.  The concept of the Dancing Shiva allows me to be in “it” knowing that there is some sort of purpose behind it.   
The concept of a Dancing Shiva lives in many religions or belief systems.  We have the concept of the Phoenix rising from the ashes, for example.  The bottom line is, when you need inspiration, come over to this blog for a visit.  Know that you aren’t alone when you are struggling, that it isn’t for nought, that you are meant to be where you are and that maybe one day the reason for why you suffered will present itself to you.  Dare to believe there is a reason.  
There is a great story a yoga teacher once told me, that I will paraphrase here: Whatever or whomever knocks on your door, welcome them, for you don’t know what gifts they may be bringing.  
With love, 
The Dancing Shiva