Life Lessons with Erin…

13 Jun

So this is a completely different post than I’ve ever done. It’s actually the first time I’ve ever written about such things other than just for myself, in my journal. But the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve come to realize that these are exactly the kinds of things I should be sharing every now and then. Why? Well, because they make up a huge chunk of who I am and who I strive to be, they’re where I’ve spent alot of my time learning and growing over the last couple years, and most importantly, maybe someone reading these words will take away something neat. So yeah, I’m setting a new little goal for myself to make this kind of post a more regular thing here on Thomas Wanderings. I hope you’ll enjoy and that you’ll finish with a little food for thought.


When I’m struggling, and temporarily forget who I am, I am always relieved to know that EVERYONE shares this human experience at some point. So in the spirit of keeping it real, here’s a little story…

I’ve been in Germany for nearly a year now. When we moved here last August, I never dreamed that it would be this long before my first visit home, but alas, life and visitors and other plans and bank accounts…Regardless of the reasons- and even if I had made it home sooner- the fact remains that just being here in this experience requires enormous amounts of self-care.

I suppose this is where I’ll plant my first little ‘wisdom’ nugget. Self-care. That’s an obscure term for alot of people and even for those who are familiar with it, there’s oftentimes still a stigma around it. Taking time regularly and frequently for yourself- to grow, to learn, to broaden, to rest, to relax, to center, to ground…It comes in all different forms and varies from person to person, even from day to day in the same person! Meditation, exercise, journaling, massage, physical activity, therapy, art, prayer, REST…Self-care is simply making yourself a priority and taking whatever steps are needed to be- and to feel like- the best version of yourself. And beyond that, it’s understanding and accepting that there’s nothing selfish about any of these things. Most of us were raised in a culture that glorifies busy-ness, sacrifice, hustle, modesty…But that can change.

I exercise every morning, and stretch out on the ground for a bit afterwards. Through this practice, I’ve learned that anything can get us present (back into the flow)- if we let it.

Well, last Friday, I didn’t let myself.

I woke up feeling grumpy. The truth is, I’d been in a funk for most of the week. Language barrier issues, cultural issues, a huge array of emotions about my upcoming trip home… And you know what? Here’s Nugget #2: Like attracts like. My mindset, despite me trying to change it because I know better, was that ‘nothing is going right.’ Everything that happened, I would greet with the inner dialogue, ‘Oh, imagine that. Something else not going right.‘ And by Friday, well, I was fit to be tied from the moment I opened my eyes.

I started the day in my happy place, on my bike.

Ok, let’s ride and get to inner peace.  Everything else will fall into place.

With each passing mile, my thoughts just kept bouncing around back to everything that was pissing me off, everything on my To Do list…everything other than how good it was to be in that moment.

Shit, I’m not present.

Twenty three miles are finished and I notice I’m even less at peace. And now I’m just a hot, sweaty mess dripping all over the floor.

I’m in a state of resistance.

So rather than just stretch out, I jump on my Yoga mat, hit play on my favorite iTunes Zen channel…That’ll have to do

I stretch and breathe, and the resistance keeps building and building. Now I’m a couple hours into my day and I’m not at peace. Well this is a terrific start to the weekend. What to do?

Surrender-my soul whispers.

As a diehard creature of habit, opposer of change and student of life, I’ve been here many, many times before. And I’ve learned, and can only validate that, no matter how much of a ‘spiritual gangster’ we are, we’re not exempt from feeling the human experience. I sure like to resist anyways 😉

Peace is not the point, being is. Just be.

Next on my agenda for the day were some errands around the city. I usually enjoy running errands here because they’re on foot (I probably use my car 5 times a month, if that?) and I get to spend that time alone with my thoughts, taking it all in, enjoying being outside…I had high hopes for Friday’s errands. And to help ensure my solemnity and anonymity, I put on my sunglasses, put in my ear buds, and headed out with my ‘Can’t Help But Be Happy’ playlist streaming directly into my head. Sometimes it’s just nice- and perfectly OK- to use barriers like these to make yourself less approachable, to make it less likely that you’ll have to tell someone you don’t understand or speak their language, to not make eye contact.

And as I’m leaving the last store on my list, I start to cry. Ahhhh, finally. Relief.

As I walk, I let the tears roll behind my sunglasses, doing my best not to question what they’re about. Because it never matters. Once finished, I was able see clearly again. Sure, it doesn’t change anything around me, but it does cleanse the lens:

I always have a choice- we all do. And the kindest choice available seems to be to show up for myself like my own best friend;

I’m not at peace. And I accept myself and this experience fully. I accept that I am not at peace.
(Thank you Eckhart Tolle for this awesome insight!)

That’s what I needed to actually feel expansive again: Acceptance.

We are all spiritual beings having a human experience- not the other  way around as our thoughts would often have us believe. And as these beings, we know that we’re here to feel good and that JOY and PEACE is our natural state.

We know that we’re in charge of what we think and how we feel. We create our reality. It’s the nature of our primitive brain- what we focus on is what we attract more of, and is what becomes our reality.

The ego, well, my ego, just looooves to poke around whenever I don’t feel good.

Ego: Ooooh, you don’t feel good?! That’s bad!! You should be feeling better than you are! How long have you been working on this stuff? You know what to do, so why aren’t you feeling good? This needs to be fixed right now! Get to inner peace already. See, if you are in charge of how you feel, why aren’t you peaceful ALL THE TIME. You suck!

Here’s the thing: no matter how empowered or awakened or knowledgeable we are, we can’t get around the nature of things. And it’s part of the human experience to have emotions that don’t feel pleasant. And that’s just fine.

The soul knows not to evaluate and just to accept. The ego judges that as weak and passive. It’s all about choice and consequence. We can’t ride or meditate or intellectualize our way around pain. It all begins with the judgement of the ego that feelings are ‘bad’ to begin with, and that in turn those ‘bad’ feelings need ‘fixing.’ That kind of pressure to always be happy, to always be peaceful, is just another way the ego is grasping, which just leads to more suffering.

When we radically accept ourselves and our situations as they are-life gets a lot more enjoyable and downstream. Which brings me to another nugget: Choosing to live a life that’s downstream. We’re taught from an early age that ‘anything worth having takes alot work,’ that we don’t ever want to be ‘lazy,’ that we must ‘fight hard for what we want.’ Well, that’s not always true. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that life never involves hard work, but rather that by changing our perspectives and our methods, these periods of work can be much gentler, a much better fit. We aren’t salmon- we don’t have to constantly fight our way upstream. We can CHOOSE downstream.

Soooooo, that all was last week.

Currently, I feel more energized, relieved, and downstream- more able to show up fully to life. Am I totally peaceful and centered? No. But I trust that the more I choose radical acceptance and surrender into feeling, dealing, healing what is…the better I feel. In the meantime, I keep taking the steps that I know help me to stay present, centered and grounded. Bottom line: I’m willing to fully accept myself and this moment.

I am definitely having more fun this way 😉


Eckhart Tolle Quote 1

Thanks for allowing me the space to spread my wings a bit today. Hope everyone has a great week ❤

One Response to “Life Lessons with Erin…”

  1. Eleanor June 13, 2016 at 10:58 PM #

    GREAT words sweet Erin. Soon you will be a block away and we can talk and talk and talk more. Everyone will be so happy to see you and Neve! Can’t wait! Love you. Eleanor

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