Stopping to catch my breath I realize that deep within my,

more than 30 year odyssey,

I have turned a corner and faced another wall.

In the back of my mind I contemplate that it may be only the beginning.

The quest exists within a labyrinth for which I don’t hold the key.

It is for some, a journey within a maze they quickly find the solution for,

one with many happy successes and defining paths along the way,

none without their struggle.

Often I find myself frustrated that I cannot seem to find my way.

I cannot feel angry at the happiness of others –

because their paths have often been interlaced with mine,

so I cherish that I shared in them.

There are paths that have led me to brief happiness-

and others to moments of pain, suffering, and despair.

It is through the latter that I can recognize-

the glimmers of pure joy and clarity.

Eventually, I find my way along another path.

I catch my breath once more and force some courage out to follow it.

The labyrinth is deceiving in that light appears sporadically-

and does not mark how far the road will be.

It is not my purpose to know how deep or complicated my journey will be

or how far along I am within it-

only that I am trying to learn from it.

Every adventure has its ups and downs,

every step, a consequence.

Perhaps there are many ways to travel this road

and I often choose the rockiest path unknowingly.

In effect, I must be strong even though I always feel the opposite.

I have helped others find their way and in turn I lost my own.

A hand always finds me and guides me to a softer road

and then: I turn, distracted, and start another route.

This last one that I’ve travelled is a tough one,

because it splits in many ways.

I once again stand straight and tall and begin to walk,

even if I’m somewhat weary.

I know that I am not a tracker-

unsure of my direction.

I am only hopeful that a future path will be amazing,

like some I’ve passed along the way;

maybe that new road will be smooth and scenic,

giving renewed energy for those more bumpy

lying hidden in the wonderland

and thunderland that is my labyrinth of life.

Image

I am sitting here by the river one day as my mind begins to wander.

I think how peaceful I feel at this very moment before I quickly wish I have something else.

That reminds me of how alike I am to others in a way that feels uneasy.

I always hear of women and men talk about what they want in life.  Usually, their wants or desires are not realistic, but nevertheless, remain aspiring. Ultimately the picture I get of what the ideal life should be is painted in black and white and is straight out of an episode of “The Beaver.”

I find this amusing since most people will laugh at the idea when they are made aware of it.  However simple or comical the idea may be it is obvious when they talk or complain, I among others, that their wants are somewhat delusional.

Each complains of the faults in their boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife, as if they would expect a perfect companion, an ideal soul mate that understands them and predicts their every thought.  It exists in stories, after all.

In each of us is a flaw, or many… among them is the ability to complain – better described as: “sharing your feelings.”  It is in our very nature to communicate with others our experiences in every way possible.

Somehow our environment leads us to believe that acquiring things or people we do not yet have will quench our thirst for life and ease our suffering in a way that will make everything smooth and simple and – ever so enjoyable.

I’ve heard of men speak of money as if it fixes the very core of each individual.  If they had a big house and a nice car, they could find a good woman, and have a great kid, and live happily ever after with their dog and camper for family trips.

A younger man might say, “money can get me a nice car that can get me through college, and get me laid, and make me popular, while I get smart, and make more money, where I’ll end up somewhere in the older guy’s place.”

A young woman might say, “money will make my family feel happier, and get me where I want to be, and help me get smarter so that I can get a great man that will love the idea that I am the real man of the house, and will help me with chores, and help raise our children in our very nice house, with our happy extended family.”

An older woman might say that money would help her take care of her family so that her kids and grandkids could live happily ever after.  She’s already come to the idea her soul-mate isn’t quite what she imagined.

In the end, the person without money wishes they had it because it would fix everything.

Those with money realize there are bigger things to worry about that cannot be fixed with money. Then, they move on to the conclusion that perhaps a different companion might help, or a higher status, perhaps more things- maybe some anti-depressants will fix it… whatever ‘it’ is.

Those that are in love feel they need to have more things to keep the ones they love, and are constantly bewildered by the lack of empathy their partner expresses.

Those with kids expect them to be well-behaved and prosperous.

Those without- want kids or don’t understand the need for them.

Those that are not in love badly yearn to be, and then those that suffer modestly wish for a slightly better life; but, once that life is acquired- it is no longer satisfying.

And then…

I am abruptly slapped with a reality check and revert to feeling peaceful.  However brief my peace will last, one thing is certain- happiness is created by something inside you that nothing or no one can change.

Our happiness is usually corrupted and tainted by the idea that it takes someone else or something more- it is an illusion and a flaw we all possess but hopefully one we can surpass.

This is a stressful time for all of us, it seems chaos comes and goes in cycles. We all know stress can’t be good for our well-being but what you might not know is that it suppresses your immune system making you more prone to disease or infection. For those that are already affected by an auto-immune disease like Rheumatoid Arthritis, then your condition can get worse with high levels of stress.

I dedicate my life to learning, researching and teaching. Here’s a combination of things you can do all together or pick and choose what works for you. I have discovered the following recommendations based on my own experiences:

Tai Chi is excellent for relieving stress and anxiety.

Exercise is general helps improve mood, balance your metabolism, and gives you energy while increasing your libido.

Certain foods help reduce stress. Try: coldwater fish, Lemon Balm tea, nuts and seeds, carrots, blueberries, avocados, leafy greens, dark chocolate, Lavender tea, Passion Flower tea, oranges and grapefruits or California Poppy.

Some of these foods can be used in essential oils. Oils can be burned or used in diffusers and can do wonders in relieving stress. Lavender and Lemon Balm are two of my favorites.

Our absolute favorite stress reliever of all is sex. Making love works wonders in reducing pain as well and much like good food and exercise, it helps you produce endorphins that make you happy in many ways. So make love, eat well and exercise and I guarantee your stress tolerance will increase- If anything, it can’t hurt. 😉

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