Tag Archives: ego

Attitude of Gratitude–Day 34–Creative Process

The final countdown to Easter Sunday has begun, and I will admit that I find myself a bit relieved. This Lenten promise has been fulfilling for me, but I am curious to know from my readers how they’ve experienced my gratitude writings. Part of my reason for writing comes from an innate people pleasing place. I write because I love to, but I love to because I love what my writing does for people.I love to observe, digest, share and inspire with my writings and recently I haven’t quite felt like I’ve been achieving that.

Last year when I wrote about gratitude during Lent, my life was significantly more interesting. I had just moved somewhere new, I had a brand new job, and I was experiencing so many new highs and lows. This year, I feel like my life is a lot more predictable. I have a schedule that I follow and I can usually tell you where and what I will be doing a week or two in the future. Maybe every once in a while I have some SUPER AMAZING news to share that will make my readers feel inspired, but more often than not, I just living my Long Island existence…A.K.A. kickboxing and drinking wine.

Personally, I have felt a sense of boredom with my own words recently, and while I still give thanks everyday, I have found myself wondering if my little moments of gratitude are thrilling enough for my readers. Even more so, if the repetitive nature of my schedule and the gratitude that follows suit, will keep my readers engaged and interested. I have been doubting my writings because they feel monotonous to me.

So I guess I can say from a place of honesty that this year’s Lenten promise to write about giving thanks every day has been upheld in my heart, but that I am frustrated by the challenging of writing for an audience. As usual, though,it is the most frustrating moments that I am able to find the most interesting things to be thankful for.

This year’s gratitude promise has turned into a true challenge to my ego. The constant furrowing of my brow when trying to come up with a topic that I deem creative and interesting enough for my audience of 400 followers and my mom’s Facebook cohort, has created a few unwelcomed wrinkles on my face. I haven’t felt very in touch with the element of creativity that I need to drive my writing forward in this past year, but then again, is exactly why I renewed my Lenten promise. How can I be creative if I don’t practice?

I am thankful today for the process my writing takes. I am thankful for the moments where I have bursts of creative energy that inspire me and that inspire my readers. I am also grateful for the opposite–the moments that are dull and repetitive–the posts that have already been done before, whether by me or someone else. I am grateful for them because they too are part of my creative process. Maybe I have to write one hundred stupid blog posts to get one really worthy piece of writing. But one thing’s for sure, if I write nothing I will never produce that one worthy piece let alone a multitude of worthy pieces.

In general, I am grateful for my writing, which allows me to observe, digest, share and inspire others. I am grateful that I sat down today and plunked out nonsense until it turned itself into something that I am ok sharing with the world, and I am grateful to this space that the internet provides me to ramble on and on about the things that matter most to me. Last, but not least, I am grateful to those of you who’ve made it this far through my blog today– a gold star for you.

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Managing changing relationships. A yogi toolkit!

Dear readers, I’m pleased to announce that all of this writing I’ve been doing lately has paid off! I’ve been published in the Elephant Journal! Please click the following link and give a read! Thank you all for you inspiration and support! Lots and lots of love!

Lizzie

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/05/managing-change-in-relationships-a-yogi-toolkit-lizzie-guerra/

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Attitude of Gratitude–Day 32: Humility

Today, I’ve committed to writing my gratitude post about humility, though, admittedly, I am not 100% clear on the definition of the word itself. Perhaps because it’s one of those multi-faceted words that, as you begin to define it, evolves.

For me, humility often is associated with the quieting of the ego. It’s the force that de-puffs our chests and softens our footsteps and accepts our limitations. Being humble is also an act of gratitude and appreciation towards ourselves and others. A humble persons pays a compliment, lauds the successes of others, practices radical listening and does not make comparisons. What’s more, a humble person remains open to their surroundings. They embrace each moment with a sense of awe and wonder. They are connected to the gentle ebb and flow of the universe and remain in child-like wonder of the big picture.

Practicing humility is not something that I often think to do. In our culture we’re not taught to be humble. We hoard and brag and strive to get ahead at the expense of others. Paradoxically, we’re taught from a young age not to hurt each other’s feelings so we feign humility by disguising our accomplishments. But this too, is an act of comparison, because it stems from the belief that my success will make you feel inadequate. The result is often times a silent party full of self-approval and the simultaneous down-putting of another person.

In order to fully comprehend humility, however, we must fully comprehend the source of all things–love. I chose Christ as my role model, as we are in the Lenten season, but anyone who truly preaches a message of love can fully grasp the concept of humility. The source of all things is love–and when we can look behind the cloak of illusion, when I can love a stranger, as I love myself or those close to me, is when I break through the surface of humility. As I delve deeper below the surface, my humbled human form realizes that there is no separation between myself and another, myself and the beautiful flower on my side table, nor the things that we consider ugly and oppressive. The particles in me are the same particles spread through everything in the universe.

Today I am grateful for renewed perspective; I am a part of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. I am small and humble, yet undeniably significant.

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Attitude of Gratitude–Day 29: Leggo my ego

Like any self-driven human being, I set standards, expectations and goals. It’s a way for me to measure my successes and to track my personal growth. Though the legitimacy of my progress is evident with just the slightest bit of self-reflection, I often run the risk of not living up to my own expectations. What’s more, I am also frequently let down by the actions of others whose standards, expectations and goals do not match my own.

Today I’m writing this post for multiple reasons, though particularly as a chance for me to acknowledge the fact that yesterday I failed to write. Not writing yesterday isn’t something I feel any panic about, though I do feel a sense of self judgement and disappointment because I didn’t complete my task sans flaw. I know I could just write two posts today and call my guilt good, but I’ve decided against that course of action because I want to reflect on the validity of leniency and letting go.

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Every so often we need to cut ourselves some slack. I once had a yoga teacher who said, “I don’t make my classes hard because I want you to push yourselves beyond your limit. I make them hard so you can recognize where your ego is telling you to do more than you are capable of on this day. When you find your personal limit, you are not weak for backing off, you are strong for telling your ego to let go.”

I remember being wowed by this statement, and it has never left me. I needed this reminder while I was walking the Camino. One day I pushed myself too hard and walked 40km. My tendonitis flared back up and, though it killed me to do so, I had to let go of the idea of walking every kilometer of the trail. It wasn’t going to be possible in the time frame that I had so I took the bus. GASP. But the lesson I learned that day was perhaps more valuable than the walking itself. I had to tell my ego, which wanted to boast that it walked EVERY SINGLE STEP, to be quiet. On that day, I couldn’t physically walk and I was stronger for recognizing this and taking the necessary measures so as not to hurt myself any more.

This lesson can and should be applied to ourselves as often as possible, but it is also very useful in relationships with others. I’ve had relationships, both friendly and romantic, where I’ve pushed myself to my limit in the search for perfection. My ego, is the part of me that registers disappointment in others. It’s a comparison of my desire with theirs that, when unequal, generates hurt. When my ego rears its head, which it does every so often, it takes the strongest part of me  to tell it to back off. My ego wants to attach itself to a story of disappointment, but my higher Self is so much bigger than that.

Letting go in relationships is probably the most challenging thing we, as humans, can do. In an attempt to control and perfect, we fail to see that everyone is on their unique journey through life. I’ve seen this with parents who push their children to be something they don’t want to be for the sake of monetary gain and “success”. I’ve also seen this with friendships and romantic relations where, though their paths have diverged, one or both of the people cling desperately to the past out of fear for the present.

What I’ve learned through both observation and experience is that the healthiest relationships are those grounded in non-attachment. This doesn’t mean that we don’t  care for and communicate to our friends, families, and partners, rather, it recognizes that their journey is transpiring simultaneously alongside our own. In order for them to live out their personal truth, they must go forth, alone, with your blessing, support and love. Attachment stunts those we love. Ego is attachment, love is its opposing force.

So today, my dose of gratitude is for yesterday’s non-post. I am grateful, once again, for the life lessons I’m learning through this writing experience. Sometimes these lessons come from a place of quiet awareness and non-action, and I’m grateful that I was attentive enough today to see this. I am truly grateful to my higher Self, which took the opportunity to learn as opposed to judge, and I am grateful to my ego for letting go of its self expectations.

 

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Attitude of Gratitude — Day 13 : Letting Go and Letting Long Island

Today I was given a very valuable insight, which came in the form of an improvised mantra–Let go, and let Long Island.

For a little bit of context, my recent move to Long Island is probably the biggest culture shock of my life. I’ve traveled to, and lived in places that many people can hardly pin point on a map, let alone pronounce. Ouagadougou anyone? However, the contrast of my lifestyle and where I am now living  has never felt more stark and pronounced as I feel it here. Pretty much everything from the accent to the driving etiquette is a foreign to me.

I can honestly say that I am SO grateful for my new job and all of the opportunities for self-growth that it is affording me. However, I have felt myself resisting this culture shock deep down in my DNA. Upon analyzing it, I see that the resistance is coming  from my ego.

What do I mean? I mean that my whole story, everything that I identify as me, contradicts the Long Island stereotype. I wear my travels like badges of honor and boast my Vermont roots proudly.  Seriously,  I’ve been drinking my water from mason jars since before it was hipster, and today I wore my clogs because they are comfortable AND I think they’re cute.

Something about being here has brought out the crunchiest granola parts of me, as if my identity feels the need to hyper exert itself as a defense mechanism against the drunk Rangers fans on the train, the inconsiderate drivers and the mile long strip malls filled with Starbucks and nail salons.

So this evening, when I wound up with my colleague, Caitlin, at a Miller’s Ale House chain restaurant in an Outlet Mall, I could feel myself about to go all judgmental on the place. Intuitively sensing this within me, she said, “Let go, and let…. Long Island.”

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I laughed, partly because it was really funny, but mostly because the mere thought made me incredibly nervous. To be honest, though, I was instantly humbled by the advice. So much of me has been actively trying to make myself feel at home in my new apartment and with my new staff, but I hadn’t quite accepted the fact that Long Island (in all its glory) is going to be my home for the next few years. I kind of just assumed I’d delve head first into my job, make friends with my staff and escape to New York City  when I needed a healthy dose of culture and entertainment. No part of me had even considered giving Long Island a chance…OK, well maybe some vineyards on the North Fork or a swanky day in the Hamptons, but aside from that, no way.  Fortunately, as we pulled up to Miller’s my ego awareness switch flipped on and I realized that if I wanted my life here to be pleasant, I would need to nip the ego in the bud,  drop the judgement and adopt the mantra, “Let go and let Long Island.”

So today, I am grateful to Caitlin for the humbling, to my awareness for recognizing my ego and actively choosing to let go of the judgement. Furthermore, I’m grateful for the reminder that resistance to change amplifies negative energy and that it’s healthier to go with the flow.

I’ve learned this lesson a million times over, and somehow throughout every period of change in my life I have to continually be reminded to let go. Let go of your ego, let go of your story, let go of expectations, because if you can you can approach each situation from a place of higher consciousness. When we are in tune with the Self that is within all of us, there is no limit to what we can achieve.

So I am going to get down with Long Island and embrace all of its quirks. The non-judgement will be a practice, but I think I can honestly say I’m up for the challenge of going with the flow, and of course, adding some Lizzie flair to Long Island!

ImageOk, not judging starting………………………………………………now.

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What is Love?

With Valentine’s Day just around the river bend I have found myself thinking about love. I was feeling like I was shutting down and being bitter about it all, and so I asked myself what would be necessary to keep my heart open and the love flowing freely. I went around in circles until I realized I didn’t know what love actually was. Sure I have felt it, but I’ve never tried to define it. It’s one of those feelings that isn’t exactly easy to pin-point because it varies in degree. However, like any type-A person, I knew I had to try to hash out what love meant to me, and I, of course would do so by making a nice and accessible list.

I wrote “LOVE IS…” and then let the pen flow.  But before I tell you what came up, can someone please cue the Haddaway music?

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Love is ego-less. It doesn’t compare or contrast. It doesn’t need an identity. It is everything and nothing. Love just is.

Love is communication. It speaks from the heart. When the heart feels deeply it shares its sentiments with the world.

Love is spirit. It is the uniting force that threads the universe together. It is an omnipotent energy with the power to create and destroy, to re-create and re-destroy.

Love is vulnerable. It expresses all of its deepest and scariest truths.

Love is intimate. It brings people together physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

Love is a kind act. We express love through action. How we treat others is ultimately how we treat ourselves. Through kindness to others, we bestow love on ourselves.

Love is trust. Love knows best. Love knows all. Love sees the bigger picture and it trusts the journey.

Love is reciprocal. Give it. Take it.

Love is real. Love gets real. Love is not a mythical unicorn. We’ve all experienced love’s many truths and lessons.

Love is non-attachment. It doesn’t need to control or be controlled. It allows itself to flow freely in non-resistance.

Love is passion. It is the driving force within us that allows us to create and support life. Love is music, art, food, travel, politics, sports, religion, work.

Love is healthy. When given the proper care, love grows and blossoms like a beautiful flower.

Love is barrier-breaking. Love sees no borders or boundaries. It knows only one language, that of itself. It makes no distinctions of race, class, gender or creed.

Love is soulful. It emanates from the deepest part of our being and seeps from our pores.

Love is unique. It differs from friendship to friendship, family to family, couple to couple.  It is colorful and funky. It wears polka dots and floral, suspenders and bow ties.

Love is you.

YOU are love!

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