It’s simple. Design your life around your body’s needs rather than taking care of your body around your life’s needs.

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Humans are fascinating creatures.

Take for example webcams.  Innovative folks set-up webcams in their houses or cars or wherever, and “stream live” 24/7.  Yep.  All you have to do is type in a web address and you have complete access to watch someone else’s life instead of going outside and living your own.

Isn’t technology brilliant.

I usually skip commercials but for some reason tonight I’m watching Jeopardy in real time and just saw a commercial for Detrol LA. I am someone who, in 1998 cancelled her subscription to Life Magazine the first time I saw an advertisement for a prescription medication in there.

I’m appalled enough at the lists of side effects (which are really effects, just not the ones you want) but on this commercial the woman runs to the bathroom and the little figure which indicates this room is for “females” jumps off the door and starts talking with this woman and giving her advice! She is getting advice from and listening to the talking animated “girls room symbol,” who’s advising her to “have the Detrol LA conversation with your doctor.”

What?

Why is it the world seems more interested in “resting in peace” than living in peace.

I was adopted at birth. It’s a long Peyton Place type story, which maybe I’ll write about sometime, but the important detail for this story is that my mother believed, from the moment the lawyer handed me over to her from a taxi cab, that her husband, my adopted father, was my biological father and they she got “stuck” raising his mistake. And trust me it was evident in her attitude toward me. But…

This is NOT a poor me story.

I learned about her belief when I was 18 and getting ready to move from Cleveland to San Diego, when she sat me down and told me in no uncertain terms that the man whom she ridiculed and talked horrible about my whole life was my “real” father, and that she knew who my biological mother was, too. I happened to know her, she told me, or had known her until I was 13 when she had a falling out with the family.

After I moved my mother called my biological mother, had lunch, and learned that her assumption was NOT TRUE. And when I came back to Cleveland on a fluke visit, I re-met my birth mother and eagerly asked about whom my birthfather was. It was not my adopted father. My birth mother had been back in touch with my biological father since I came back into the picture, and he wanted to meet me, but in his own time. This too is another story, which I may write about, but onward to the point of this one.

It has now been 30 years since my mother had lunch with my biological mother, 30 years since I met my birth mother and birth father, and 30 years since the fallacy of my adopted father being my birth father had been shattered, and while I was speaking with my mother the other day it became clear to me that she still believes that my adopted father is my “real” father.

Instead of ridiculing her and getting in to a fight with her during this conversation it got me to thinking. Why does she refuse to let this story go? Why doesn’t she accept the fact that the truth is out? Then it dawned on me…she is too invested in it. She built her life around this story. This incorrect “truth”, in her book, is the perfect cause for all the misery she’s felt within herself and spread on others throughout her life. If this story isn’t true, she has completely wasted aspects of her life, and the pain of that loss is so great that it is easier to continue believing the lie, than embracing the truth.

This realization offered me a huge personal awakening. It got me to see how invested I am in MY story, about my mother, my circumstances and my childhood. That instead of accepting the circumstances in which I grew up in and instead of spending one more second wishing it were different, or fantasizing on what a better life I would have right now if only, that the moment I decide to invest in my future instead of in my past the opportunity presents itself for an increased level of joy and fulfillment.

So I invite you to review your life and see where you are investing in the past. How much energy are you wasting holding on to past hurts, fights, stories that show how difficult it’s been for you, because trust me, I could go head to head with almost each and every one of you when it comes to a hard life, but from this point forward I refuse to invest one more second in my story of how difficult it’s been and how I wish it was different. I don’t. My life path brought me to here and has given me the strength and some awesome tools to carry on. And from this moment forth I invest every present moment in my future, not in my past.

When I lived in San Francisco weeday mornings I would often enjoy a walk on the beach. I usually took an empty bag with me and picked up garbage along the way. There was quite a bit and I figured any little bit helped. I even brought gloves so I could pick stuff up without much thought.

One day as I walked and cleaned the beach a woman approached me, very interested in what I was doing.

“I’ve been wanting to get involved in this,” she said earnestly. “Who are you with?” She inquired.

“No one.” I said, fascinated she felt she needed to be with a group to pick up garbage on the beach.

“Just grab a bag and start.” I said and smiled as I picked up a coke can.

Distinctions are a great tool for keeping your perspective fresh and your vision clear. They work for everybody and are easy to use. They act as tuning forks, a set of parenthesis for examining existence. There are hundreds of them; once you begin playing with them you will come up with many of your own. Distinctions are tools for staying in the present moment, a commonly lamented sentiment, but what does it really mean?

First of all, to stay somewhere you have to be there in the first place. While physically our bodies are always in the present moment, mentally and emotionally, most of us bounce around between the past and future. The truth is lasting change can only occur from the present moment.

Applying the appropriate pair of distinctions to any situation can instantly snap you into the present. Here are some examples.

Comparison vs. Discovery

Comparing is a natural phenomenon, and unless you’re comparing things with the intent of discovering something, it often stems from a feeling of inadequacy, yours or the object of comparison.

Comparing yourself to others as incentive is brilliant because it forces you to discover capacities within yourself,” it they can do, so can I”. In this way a role model’s success, be it a family member, friend or public figure can serve as fuel for your own persistence.

For instance if you are starting a business you might compare your methods with someone else’s and find a better way or if you are a chef compare recipes to find a better cake (we all want better cake, don’t we?) But when you feel like a shlump after comparing yourself to your college buddy who just made a million in the stock market or the hostess with the leastess after comparing yourself to your sister-in-law, the Martha Stewart wannabe, who not only cooks Thanksgiving dinner perfectly, but makes all her own centerpieces, you are wasting your energy and the power of your focus. These comparisons only lead to misery and you’re feeling less than. Instead of setting yourself up for feeling bad I have a recommendation. STOP IT!

When my cat Einstein died I got a new kitten rather quickly. I found myself continually comparing my new cat to my old one until one day when my neighbor came over. He saw the new cat, Olivia, and said, “Oh, you got a new kitten.” I looked at him and said, “Yea, but she’s no Einstein.” I felt bad comparing her but was still really smarting over losing my boy.

“Well,” he said, “You’re in the marvelous stage of discovery.” And as heaven parted and the angels descended upon me paying saxophones, (I like those better than trumpets) I understood the power of his statement.

I understood that I could discover this cat, her sweetnesses and quirks, or I could keep comparing her to Einstein, and never give her a chance in my heart. I also saw that I could apply this tool in every area of my life, discovering what’s going on in the present rather than comparing today to past events.

Perception vs. Reality

A popular belief commonly bandied about these days is “you create your life.” This information is true and false all at the same time for several reasons, one being The Universal Laws, which are immutable and work exactly the same for every one. They are the guidelines, which govern all things in this Universe; consider them the structure of creation. Becoming familiar with them and incorporating their principles into your actions will keep you continuously in the flow.

The thing that disturbs me the most about “you create your life” thinking is the negation of some sort of reality. (The Secret should have been kept secret.) In my estimation, reality is not just what you make it. There is a reality in any given situation. You may never get to it for any number of reasons, but that does not mean it doesn’t exist.

All of us have fertile creative minds, implanted with different reference points for navigating reality. This means we perceive things based on our own previous experiences. Two people often look at the same landscape and see different things, and can experience the same moment and leave with sometimes quite opposite impressions.

Perception vs. Reality is a good tool to use to check yourself, especially when things are going negatively or you find yourself feeling one thing but reacting to another. It’s a tool that invites you to slow down and check in.

Just the other day I was sitting outside with a friend and we both were looking a cat in our new neighbor’s window. Robert kept describing a black cat and I kept telling him he was crazy, the cat was Siamese. We continued to call each other crazy until we realized there were two cats in the window. Perception: You’re crazy. Reality: Two cats.

Or another example…let’s say your friend looks at you funny and you interpret it to mean he’s angry with you but not telling you. It’s too uncomfortable to ask so you just begin interacting with your friend, compensating for the fact you think you’ve done something to piss him off. Perhaps you go out of your way to be extra special nice or maybe mutant behaviors start showing up and you start misinterpreting every little thing. Until you find out the reality of the situation or let go of the perception your relationship with your friend will be askew.

This tool invites you to check your perceptions, see where they stem from and if they are accurate. Don’t rely on misinterpretations, reality is not always what you think!

Reaction vs. Response

This is another brilliant distinction that, if you incorporate it into the fabric of who you are, offers the opportunity for satisfying growth. As you interact throughout your day life’s laboratory continually sends you stepping stones to clarity. You can either REACT to things coming at you, which is based on some past experience being triggered or you can RESPOND, which comes from a place of choice in the moment. Every time you find yourself reacting to anything, which is responding with more emotion or charge than the situation should normally arouse, follow the feeling back to the first time you remember feeling it, feel it and let it go. Just the act of noticing shifts everything.