The Answers

At the end of mine and Mark’s first two years of marriage, I had managed to pack on 25 pounds.  My “newlywed 25” came from learning to cook and following recipes meant to feed 4-6 people.  That left plenty of food for second and third helpings, which I happily indulged in.  On New Year’s Day 2001, I watched Richard Simmons on QVC.  I knew his food-mover system was for me and promised Mark we would not regret buying it.  When it arrived, weeks later, I immediately began the diet.  I had amazing results.  I kept a food journal, measured my food, watched my portion sizes, moved the windows, and exercised EVERY day.  Within six months I had lost 35 pounds.  I was smaller, fitter, and hotter than I’d ever been in my life.

At my job as a second grade teacher, I became the poster child for weight-loss.  Soon my co-workers formed a weight-loss club that was a small scale version of The Biggest Loser.  Everyone put money into a pot and the “biggest loser” would win the prize.  I gave everyone a little presentation of my experience with Richard Simmons’ food-mover system.  I made hand-outs of my diet tips and lent my food-mover books to a couple of people.  I just knew I was giving them the answers and they would all follow suit and lose lots of weight just like I had.  At the end of the competition, the winner had lost about 10 pounds…which meant that as a whole the group definitely didn’t meet my goals for them.  It was the first time I clearly saw that just because something works for me doesn’t mean it will work for anyone else.

The same idea can be applied to the spiritual life.  Everyone seems to have their answers and they often present them to others as the ONLY answer.  I’ve written before about the ashram I visited almost two years ago.  During the visit, I was able to sit with others at the feet of the guru.  He is a beautiful, loving, enlightened soul!  He seemed to channel spirit as he spoke to us…right up until the moment he said ___ yoga is the way to reach enlightenment.  I left there that weekend in the hopes I could begin this yoga practice, even considering one day going back to train as a teacher.  Once I was home, I did two yoga sessions and that was it.  So did this mean I was incapable of becoming enlightened?  Or maybe the guru’s answer wasn’t mine.

In 2003, while we lived in Texas, I picked up a book on Meditation.  I read it and was so excited and inspired, BUT I could not meditate.  I told Mark about the techniques in the book.  “Can you imagine how great life would be if I could do this and make it work?”  But I could NOT do any of it.  I realized it was an answer, but not my answer at that time.  In 2007, when I began my own meditation practice it did change my life and it became a valuable tool.  I started telling people everywhere that they should meditate and that it would solve so much for them.  I still think this is true, but I also think there are a lot of times and ways a person can meditate.  I sit on a pillow, cross my legs, close my eyes, and inwardly repeat a mantra.  Some people sit in a chair, lay down, or chant out loud.  But you can also meditate while you shower, mow the lawn, drive to work, exercise, or prepare a meal.  I think it is important to go inward and silence the mind (as best you can by letting thoughts come and go), but again this is an answer that will only work when and if you are ready for it.

Businesses, individuals, and organizations will present their ideas as THE answer.  They count on people buying into that claim.  Their survival relies on it.  With it your life will be better, without it your life may fall apart.  And lots of those answers work for lots of people a lot of the time.  But there is nothing, no matter what you are told, that fits every individual all of the time.  With this in mind it is good to pay attention to the feelings and thoughts that come to you when you are presented with a new answer.  Make your own way and seek your own answers.  Also, in my opinion, you don’t have to marry any set of ideals.  We are all free to change our minds and allow our thinking to evolve!

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8 thoughts on “The Answers

  1. meddlingmom March 17, 2010 / 6:34 am

    About meditation, I agree with you…it is helpful and can be done anywhere…I wanted to mention to you that something else I have found to be useful in really moving to a different level of understanding of myself is to do stream of consciousness writing…that is when you decide to write for a specific number of minutes without restricting yourself to a subject …you just let words flow with no regard to spelling , punctuation, penmanship…you might be writing, I don’t know why I am doing this stupid exercise or anything. If you allow yourself the freedom to BE FREE in this exercise, you will always learn something about your feelings that you did not know before. It is wonderful…. it is also a great exercise to do in a small group of people who you love.

    Also, I have learned that I am 100% responsible for my life and its outcomes. This is very freeing to know that I am the expert and that everything I need to know ultimately will be told to me by my heart, mind, soul and body if I allow it to speak to me and be heard…Obviously this also means that I will observe the world and people and hear what is offered; I will make sure I incorporate the wisdom of others.

    I hope this has been useful for you.

    Take a look at my blog if you have the chance:
    http://www.MeddlingMom.wordpress.com
    and my website:
    http://www.chaoscontrolcoaching.com

    • lesleehorner March 17, 2010 / 7:48 am

      Thank you so much for visiting the blog! I love what you have added here. It is so true and we are “told” from within what is right for us. Sometimes we are actually told and sometimes it comes in offerings from others and we know from our response or how many times we hear something it is for us. I have been getting guidance to do the type of writing you’re talking about from a lot of different sources. I did a bit of it to prepare for my book study today (Ask Yourself This) and some interesting stuff came up. I have yet to set aside time to do it daily though, seems that maybe I should consider making that time. Thank you again for visiting.

      Leslee

  2. Sabreena March 17, 2010 / 11:43 am

    I would love to learn to meditate. I think it would help my stress level. I haven’t found the info I need to walk me through getting started though. I don’t want to do anything too involved, just something easy and quick to help keep me centered when I need it. Any suggetions?

    • lesleehorner March 17, 2010 / 12:35 pm

      The easiest first suggestion is to try sitting (I sit on a pillow beside my bed and actually put my clock on the bed in front of me so I can open my eyes and peek at the time) with your eyes closed and focus on your breath for 10-20 minutes. I think people get easily discouraged b/c they think they are supposed to stop their thoughts. It is nearly impossible to stop your thoughts, the important thing is to catch when you are wrapped up in thought and put your attention back on the breath. I have been meditating now for 3 years and I still think A LOT during meditation, but I also have some really nice moments of silence that make an amazing difference in my life. I meditate 20 minutes, twice a day (most days). I think that’s a good goal to ease up to. I have released a lot of stress and overcome a lot b/c of meditation.

      Thanks for stopping by Sabreena and asking questions!

  3. Karen March 17, 2010 / 8:54 pm

    I like your blog precisely because you don’t preach to me as a reader. Instead you share your experiences and say how things are for you on your journey.

    I often find myself telling others about the latest book I’ve read, or recommending workshops, instead of asking them how they are or listening to what they have to say. It’s important to remember to listen I think and be aware that everyone is different.

    I’m interested in meditation and mantra and look forward to reading more from you on these topics.

    • lesleehorner March 18, 2010 / 8:35 am

      thank you, Karen! I went to a retreat a couple of years ago and one of the rules of sharing was to never say “you should do this” but rather “here is what I did that helped me.” I try to follow that advice in everything, but am not sure that I always do…

      And improving the listening skills is always a goal for me. 🙂

  4. Barbara March 19, 2010 / 9:58 am

    Thank you for this post, Leslee. I needed to hear that this morning and it touched me.

    • lesleehorner March 19, 2010 / 10:17 am

      Thank you, Barbara!

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