Seeing The Beauty of the Dungeon

Today was one of those days when I realized, again, how one day in your life can change everything you know.  And how everything that you now complain about could seem like heaven to some, or at a different time. Just like Beauty and The Beast. She was living in her village, doing the life of villagers which she thought to be a “provincial” life. But when she was trapped in the dungeon later, her old life seemed like heaven and she yearned for it.

She made the decision to see the beauty in the place here and now and find the magic. She made it seem so wonderful that when the time came, she almost hated to leave.

How can WE make every day so wonderful that we hate for it to end? Even when we are tired, or sick, or can’t seem to get anything done. Or maybe we are sick with worry over a child or a grandchild.

As difficult as this is, it really is just a blip in our life that we can never get back.

Eckhart Tolle wrote an entire book on it which states a good place to start:

  • “Everytime you walk up and down the stairs in your house or place of work, pay close attention to every step, every movement, even your breathing. Be totally present…..
  • [or] When you wash your hands, pay attention to all the sense perceptions associated with the activity: the sound and feel of the water, the movement of your hands, the scent of the soap….

He states the way to measure success in this practice is:

The degree of peace that you feel within.
Eckhart Tolle

This weekend we watched old family movies. When my kids were little I would just sit the camera in the room and record our everyday life. As we sat now and watched our lives in the seemingly mundane moments of yesteryear, the feeling I got was that any of us would give anything to go back there for a day. To just know what we know now. We would surely make that day like heaven! We would hug tightly and look deep into the eyes of that little 9-year-old who now struggles with SUD and just smile at their innocence. We would look at our aged parents and say:

"Do you know how much I appreciate all you've done for me, for raising me and sacrificing for me?" 

I would tell my teenage kids to enjoy that day because in exactly 12 years you are going to be looking at this tape of this day and say “Wow. I didnt have one bill to pay, I didnt know real sickness or real pain or sorrow. My heart hasn’t been broken into pieces, I haven’t had to watch my child suffer through surgery or through an illness or through the pain of loneliness or the world’s unkindness. And yet I still was sassy, or was onery, or miserable because THAT day didn’t go right  or someone said something wrong to me.”

THAT DAY can never be given back–just like today can never be recouped.

The whole theory of being present & mindful is such a struggle for me. I believe one reason is that I am always searching–searching for a better way. Searching for more personal development, searching for positivity and kindness, When I don’t get it I pout. Then I look some more. On and on it goes while each day disappears. Until one day we realize all our chances are fast being used up. Chances to help someone have a better day. The chance to help my patient feel better about being holed up in a 12 x 14 room for weeks on end. The chance to make a difference.

I just want time to slow down. I want to feel every second. I want to live every second. Not to always be looking ahead. I want to live while I can. Life is just too short for weeds, and just long enough for wishes….

It’s funny, I wrote the first part of this blog a few years ago when I was a skilled rehab nurse for mostly the elderly. Today I have a little different perspective.

I don’t necessarily want to hold on to today. Today doesn’t feel great. I know I “should” because things can always get worse.

Some days I wake up with the incredible realization that my son is still alive! A gift that many don’t have. I feel deep reverence on those days until the devil gets his way and needles in little spears of fear.

The challenge of battling those thoughts is what drives me. I read. I write. I practice self-care as much as possible. I try to beautify my little condo to help make my “mind dungeon” {of addiction} tolerable. I cook healthy meals for my husband and try desperately to not talk about my son often. I try to get out of the house and go places fun and interesting. I try to support my other children- when invited.

Whatever is going on in our lives at any given time; we can hopefully make the effort to make our dungeons a palace.

What If It’s Just Ok?- Tɦɛ ʟɛɢɛռɖ օʄ ȶɦɛ ɮօɖɦɨ ȶʀɛɛ

How to wake up from perfectionism/projectionism

Photo by author

What if you didn’t feel worried?

What if you didn’t have this fear inside you?

What if you didn’t let your mind project the worst-case scenario onto a one-sentence FACT of the here and now? In other words, is the story that you’re mulling over in your mind true to form for what’s right now in front of you?

Rebecca Undem

What if your emotions were NOT driven by the “pain of neglect” or the “fear of loss.”

Over the years, as I’ve watched office politics play out, I’ve noticed that most behavior or conflict is rooted in the fear of losing their job. Why else would someone backstab or elevate themselves to look good?

What if you were not ‘that” afraid of loss? Loss of your job or your lifestyle. What if you were secure enough in your abilities or the future that you were able to be completely true to yourself and others ALWAYS- not just when someone is watching.

It’s a double edged sword to be human with motivation and drive- and EGO. It provokes questionable behavior in order to achieve and fulfill the ego’s desires and needs. Once that works well for our ego’s needs of power, or worthiness or MATTER-ness; the target gets bigger and more dangerous. We want to know we matter. Our ego wants to ONLY MATTER.

The more we try to achieve our version of perfection or worthiness (and what we want to portray to others) the LESS authentic we become.

To avoid this, a constant self-evaluation is required. Any emotion that we feel comes up, it’s sometimes therapeutic to look at what the basis for the emotion is. Most anger, jealousy, confusion, and sadness come from a fear of loss. We’re afraid of losing what we hold dear. Our reputation, our habits, our house, and of course our family.

The more we feed into our fears and our faults, the more power they have over us.

People who have lost their homes and businesses often come back stronger than ever because they’ve battled that fear of loss.

As humans we are always trying to improve our life. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s when we “can’t see the forest for the trees.” As the old timers- my parents (& now ME!) Used to say. It’s when we make ourselves miserable at what we think is wrong in our lives & our attempts to fix it. We just seem to HAVE TO have that thing that we currently want.

But we all know the goalpost keeps moving. Those who have achieved all the money they need, soon turn to power as a replacement. Or prestige, or sexual fulfillment or going batshit crazy for a ’cause’. Anything to fill that hole of fear of loss.

I’m not a perfectionist in the sense of organization, detail to appearance, and OCD behaviors- at all. But I am an over-thinker and a “If-Only” idealistic & slightly glass-half-empty person.

Perfectionism, in itself-is actually a form of self-harm and therefore a symptom of low self worth. It’s self- harming because IT CAN NEVER BE ACHIEVED & your subconscious knows it. So you will continually seek out more ideas and situations to fulfil that never ending goal.

Says Me

“Even if you cross off your to-do list and become everything you ever wanted in yourself……. You will ALWAYS find something else to feed your inner perfectionist.”

Matt Kahn
Gertrude Toll- pinterest

Not everyone resonates with my guru guy Matt Kahn- aka MY KIDS! But I want you to put this video on tonight and just listen as you fall asleep. Listen to how it’s okay to “come as you are.” You can be as the Buddha sitting under the Bodhi tree peacefully meditating surrounded by demons to which he is immune to. It’s deep stuff, but I prefer it over shallow, trivial stuff.

Many books and programs teach mindfulness and meditation. It’s something I struggle with. But the power of training your mind to just be- in the here and now has incredible benefits. There’s no overthinking, projection, anticipatory grief, living in the past which brings up MORE pain of LOSS instead of cherishing sweet memories.

"Almost all sadness comes from thinking about the past, and all worry from thinking about the future - present mindedness is your only safe haven. Only in the present is your mind free to do what it does best - solve problems. The easiest way to leave the past behind is to remember that love does not live in the past, only memories - love lives in the present." Bryant McGill
Photo by

May you be your own version of the Buddha under the fig tree. Relishing in your own grace of “good enough.”