We have less than a week left in Whitefish, Montana and are so glad we made it up here to this beautiful place.
The town is now covered in a blanket of snow which makes it look even sweeter. It has great restaurants, coffee shops, a second hand bookstore and a crystal store called ‘The Rock Shop.’
Last week I added this baby (a Montana Amethyst) to my small crystal family and I gotta say, I am quite enamored with her.
Despite the cute stores, art galleries and beautiful boutiques, however, Whitefish remains very unpretentious. The people are down to earth, grounded and friendly.
People look you in the eye and say hello. You get the feeling people really mean it when they say, “have a great day,” at the supermarket.
The other day, I went to the post office to send a few gifts and got into a conversation with two women who worked there.
One lady was saying that a customer had made her cry that day and that she was mad with herself for “letting it get to her.” It seems that even in friendly Whitefish, people lose their cool in the post office at this time of year.
All I could do was nod and smile and say, “Yes, I’ve been there,” thinking back to my days as a flight attendant when that one rude remark from a customer or co-worker would send me into the bathroom in tears.
“Hurt people hurt people,” I said to her. She was wearing a fluffy white headband with a gold angel halo sticking out of it; making the effort to be Spirited in the silly season.
She inspired me, this woman at the post office with the angel halo.
It got me thinking about all the times I have been rude to people out of my own pain. I still do it occasionally, and whenever I look back on the situation I think, “I was so mindless in that moment.”
What I mean by ‘mindless’ is that I get so focused on ‘me’ as in the ego me who wants something or has some kind of objective I need to fulfill so I can be happy.
Whether it’s getting someplace fast in traffic or sending a letter or getting into the shortest queue, when I caught up in what I want to happen and something gets in my way, I react negatively because I lose perspective.
This is something I have made progress with over the years, but it still comes up.
And when it does, it always brings me back to my responsibility to remain mindful. The best way I have found to remain mindful is to become aware of my breath.
I remember doing a breathing exercise in a high school drama class and I hated it. I did not understand how it was relaxing at all. It made me feel very uncomfortable.
It shows how out of touch with my center I have been for most off my life, that I could barely tolerate becoming aware of my breath; the source of my very existence.
Now, things are different. I find focusing on my breath very soothing and have been trying out some yogic breathing exercises since my workshop with Tommy Rosen in San Francisco.
‘Breath of fire’ for detoxification and rejuvenation, ‘alternate nostril breathing’ for calming and balancing, some Kundalini breathing meditations and just slow, deep breaths.
Becoming aware of my breath and practicing breathing exercises brings me into alignment with who I really am rather that what I think. It helps me stay grounded, connected, centered and present. The fact that this gift has been under my nose (literally) for all these years makes me slap my forehead.
I could have avoided a lot of pain and heartache due to my separation from myself if I’d realised! But I’m glad I finally did.
I cannot tell you how many years I struggled with being reactive and not knowing how to shift it. I berated myself, hid behind pride and really had no idea if I would ever be able to change.
I still suffer with it sometimes. In comparison with my former self, however, I have made leaps and bounds and I think that is the important thing.
Aside from the breathing, self compassion has become key. It was the missing link I recently discovered which has allowed me expand so much more. Now, when I get off track, I treat myself with kindness instead of heaping shame on top and it has made all the difference.
During the ‘silly season’ I am trying to remember that the mean people are the ones who are hurting the most, just like I was when I was very disconnected from myself (and still am, at times).
I am becoming aware of Grace by centering in my breath; the Life Force which so graciously fills me with everything I need to have this amazing human journey.
And I am going to laugh, play, dance, sing, eat and appreciate the whole damn thing because life is a wonderful celebration! This is IT folks, Life is calling us to embrace everything it has to offer! I am learning that what is possible for me (and for all of us) is a wilder, more magical existence than I could have ever imagined.
I wish you all the infinite blessings that Life has in mind for you, and an awareness of the breath which allows you to enjoy them.