Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Sometimes when people have cancer, they will be asked to visualize the cancer cells as the enemy and to then picture them being aggressively attacked and moved out of the body. But there is a problem with this tactic. Only love is a healing energy. We can't use a negative energy to heal anything.
When we find ourselves out of balance—negativity only creates more imbalance. I know for me, focusing on what I perceive as wrong with my body or some other aspect of myself, only creates more discomfort—more imbalance. Learning unconditional love and acceptance is one of the hardest things to learn. In fact, I sometimes wonder if it is The One Thing that we are here to learn. Everything else puts us into a state of separation, fear, alienation, distress, and dis-ease.
True healing—on all levels—is always a by-product of love—for it is the quintessential healing energy. With our focus on curing, we have lost the necessary ingredient to actually heal. Where we are most out of balance is in our ability to reconcile and accept life and death—health and sickness. By being at war with death, we are alienated from life. Here on earth, we can't have one without the other. By embracing death, we can embrace life.
If I can embrace my imperfections, then I am free to embrace my perfections—if there are any—and if I'm not so sure about my perfections—then perhaps I should not be so certain about my imperfections.
It seems that we are all trying to escape from our self-made prisons of preconceived ideas and rigid views of reality that too often, paint us into a corner. "If I'm not _________, then I'm not OK." So, what if I'm not OK? Who is? Perhaps we are first called to be OK with "not OK" and to learn to practice the healing energy of love to ourselves. If only love heals, then love towards all that we consider 'not OK' with the world, others, and ourselves is probably a really good place to start.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
In his book, "Who Dies?", Stephen Levine tells the story of a Thai meditation master responding to the question of a student regarding how one can ever find happiness in life when all things are impermanent and pass away. The master was holding a glass of water and he responded that he dealt with this by viewing the glass as already broken. In this way, seeing it as already broken, he was able to enjoy it in every moment. Then, when it inevitably broke, he would say, "Of course". The idea is to view everything in life as already dead so as to better be able to be present with it in the moment—our loved ones, our spouse, our children, and ourselves. By doing this, the exquisiteness of life itself opens up to us.
I'm struck by the power in this idea. How many times do I suffer when I think of the loss of a loved one? It is almost as if the contemplation of the inevitable death of someone I love causes grief and suffering way before the event actually takes place. The real pearl of wisdom in embracing death, is that it allows us to be present for life, to be present in each moment, and to treasure the beauty of Now.
Rather than creating a careless recklessness, this creates an aliveness that recognizes that it is all passing away right before our eyes and with this discovery comes an enlivened commitment to be engaged with life. Life and death are intimate partners in the dance of life here on earth. By embracing death, we are truly free to live.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
|How do You See the World?|
We limit ourselves by the way we think of things, so that we experience our idea of how something is rather than just the experience of it. This is our mental model of reality. Am I experiencing my life just as it occurs, or my model or interpretation of it? Am I seeing myself as I am, or as who others and society have told me I am?
Try as I might, the filters of the past, of others' voices—these all create a mental model that severely restrict the reality of how I see. They imprison me. It is a dark glass, an opaque lens, and it affects everything I do and see.
Some have suggested that rather than trying to untie these 'psychological knots', that one simply focus elsewhere and stop giving them so much weight, credence, and power in the life. Rather than trying to clean up the mess, maybe it is more constructive to just learn to open to the mystery of life and somehow convince the mind that today may be one's last on earth and to simply enjoy it!
If I can imagine that I will be done with earth here soon, then what does most of what I worry about really matter? It seems the only thing I would be concerned with is that people know that I deeply love them. What else could possibly matter? And isn't that really the secret—to live with an open heart, living each day as if it were my last? This somehow seems to make each sunrise a treasure, each rainstorm a symphony.
Friday, April 5, 2013
Stephen Levine, in his book "Who Dies?", makes the comment:
Until we have nothing to hide, we cannot be free. If we are still considering the contents of the mind as the enemy, we become frightened, thinking we have something especially wrong with us. Not recognizing the mind as just the result of previous conditioning, nothing special. That all of these stories of mind which we fear so much can actually be mulched back into ourselves to become fertilizer, the manure for further growth. Which means that in order to allow these materials to compost, to become rich fertilizers for growth, we must begin to make room in our hearts for ourselves. We must begin to cultivate the compassion that allows the moment to be as it is, in the clear light of awareness, without the least postponement of the truth.
I love the use of the gardening metaphor here, and relating to 'our stuff' as the compost for growth. It seems like much of our efforts in life, much of my efforts, are to try and rid one's self of all the detritus that we perceive in ourselves. This is something that I have been more and more aware of—and that is that judgment serves no one—least of all myself. What really creates the shadow is when we disapprove of something that pops into our head. We push it back down where it then begins to grow larger in order that it might get our attention.
Levine is a Buddhist teacher and has worked with the dying for years. His ideas reflect the powerful teaching of being able to take the position of The Witness. By allowing ourselves to stand in witness to what bubbles up in our hearts, minds, and lives, we can sit in a place of non-judgment. I like to think of it as if I am sitting in a classroom, observing what is taking place on the stage of my mind, and open my heart and intuition to see what it has to teach me. Another metaphor that I have found powerful, is to picture sitting down with the personification of my thought or feeling and having tea with it and asking, "What are you here to teach me?"
I really think this is how we 'listen in on the ancestors'. Their voices, thoughtforms, emotions, and rigid structures present themselves to us in our ramble of thoughts and feelings. When I can step out of judgment regarding these for a moment, and just sit in witness to them, I get a really vivid, clear picture of what is present within my DNA. Not until I can regard this with love and compassion can I then choose to act, think, and feel in new ways.
The really challenging part is to find that neutral space, to 'catch' myself in the midst of my thinking or feeling in unconscious ways, and to actually tune in and listen to them. When I can do this, it is crystal clear that I am listening in to an ancient pattern—sort of like stepping into a crystalline form that has set patterns and ways of being. Then I can choose consciously about whether or not I want to participate in this or rather start to create a new and different structure and pattern of thinking.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Awhile back, I got another computer and transferred all of the information from my old computer to my new one, feeling confident that everything had transferred successfully. Some time later, when I went to look for an article I had written, I couldn't find any of my old documents.
I started to panic because I had erased and reformatted the hard drive on my old computer and had given it to my mom. The sense of loss that I felt was amazing! I felt like something had just died. What if I had lost everything I had written over the past several years? What if I was being asked to let go of it all and just move on from there?
There were all kinds of treasures besides my writing; conversations with dear friends, different teachings and articles that I had found of interest, and all kinds of things that could not be reproduced. After a short time of stunned grief and personal heartbreak, I started looking around to see if I could possibly find my imported information somewhere on my computer.
What I finally discovered, was that I could log into my old hard drive information by signing in under my old user name (who knew) and after a bit of time had set up my computer using my old profile. Voila! There was all of my old stuff and even my old screen saver. I then copied all of it onto an external hard-drive. Something I should probably have done before I ever migrated everything over to my new computer, and then I added it to my new profile.
What an interesting exercise in letting go. The thing that struck me is that this is precisely what we experience when we are dying; a letting go of everything that we have thought, or done, or produced in this lifetime. It is not really gone. But, we must release our attachment to it. During my brief moment of loss that wasn't really a loss, I realized that nothing is ever lost. Even if I couldn't recover the hard copies of the things that I had written or learned, their effects were still there. It is only my need for a false sense of security that has me hanging on to the need to have them present.
Perhaps I can go through my day with a little less clinging to what I think is real, that really isn't real at all...just a thought.
Monday, March 11, 2013
In "Being with Dying", Joan Halifax writes about pain and how pain is like an arrow that strikes the body. It is often followed by a second arrow, which is the story or meaning that we assign the pain. The second arrow is the arrow of suffering. We may have little or no control over being struck by the first arrow, although there is always incidence of self-inflicted pain, but we do have some control over the second arrow, the story or meaning we assign to the pain, which is really the root of where suffering begins.
The story we tell ourselves about why we are in pain, whether that is physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual pain, does make a difference to whether or not we suffer even more than from the original pain. How often do I assign a negative meaning from some source of pain that causes me to suffer even more? Frequently! There is the original source of pain, something that arises from living on a fallen planet, and then there is the story I tell myself about why it happened and what it means. "I am not good enough. I am not loved. What I have to say is irrelevant. I am socially inept. I am not..." And on and on. Assigning a negative meaning to my pain always causes additional suffering.
Joan suggests as an antidote to this that we simply sit in witness to our pain without assigning a meaning to it or telling a story about it that will deepen our pain and in this way try to alleviate much of the suffering that we create through our negative stories. If we think that we are in pain because we are inherently flawed, then our suffering will increase.
I am coming to the conclusion that true compassion must first be practiced with one's self. It is learning to witness one's own pain without assigning a meaning to it. I wonder if I can do this with myself? If I can learn to bear witness to whatever pain I experience in life without assigning a negative meaning to the experience--to be compassionate with myself? That would be truly healing. I suspect that the negative stories come from the ancestors. Perhaps pain is a way that allows these stories to come forward and be healed.
Thursday, March 7, 2013
|The butterfly was just as much itself as a caterpillar as it was as a butterfly|
Friday, January 4, 2013
2013. We’ve arrived at last at a place of new beginnings. What a wild ride we had in 2012. For me, it was a year of intense family responsibilities and much letting go of what I thought I knew about myself. What was it like for you? I’m sure that we each one could tell a story or two of what this last year meant to us.
With every ending comes the opportunity to begin again. The slate is fresh and clean and limitless possibilities await you. What do you imagine for the New Year? What exciting projects beckon? What no longer serves you? What attitudes make your life too small? What change and healing wants to flow into your life and out into the world?
There is a story of a very old woman who sat at her loom, weaving the most beautiful blanket that ever would be. Beside her an old dog slept. On the hearth, a pot of primordial soup bubbled and hissed. When she arose from her place at the loom to attend to the cauldron, the old dog awakened and noticed a stray thread from the loom. While the woman tended the soup, the old dog pulled all of the weaving loose from the loom, destroying the most beautiful blanket that ever would be. Returning from her task, the old woman found all of her hard work in a heap. Undeterred, she sat down, saying to herself, “I will now weave the most beautiful blanket that ever will be.” And with that, she returned to the task at hand.
Such is the journey of life. The world is woven over and over again, each time coming together in new and different ways. Regardless of what life has brought you this last year, we are always given the opportunity to begin again and to create the most beautiful life that ever was. In spite of grim reports in the news, a government that doesn’t work nearly as well as it should, a world that is too often in pain, and far too many have too little and too few have too much, we are invited again and again to imagine something better, something more beautiful, and something greater. May 2013 be the year that we weave the most beautiful world ever, the most fulfilling life, and dream dreams that break the limits of our imagination
Sunday, December 9, 2012
I came across an interesting quote by Chogyam Trungpa Rimpoche about the spiritual path and the process of surrender. It says:
The problem is that we tend to seek a painless and easy answer. But this kind of solution does not apply to the spiritual path...Once we commit ourselves to the spiritual path, it is very painful and we are in for it. We have committed ourselves to the pain of exposing ourselves, of taking off our clothes, our skin, nerves, heart, brains, until we are exposed to the universe. Nothing will be left. It will be terrible, excruciating, but that is the way it is.
I was struck with the reality and power of this statement and have found it to be so true in my own life. To surrender requires that we let go of everything that we think we know about ourselves or the universe. It is a process of death, yet it holds within it the seeds of new life if we can but keep on with the process and not flee from it because of the discomfort it brings into our lives.
The year 2012 has been a year of surrender. We each one have been invited into deeper relationship with this process and we are each one growing as we let go of the many false layers of identity that we have been burdened with through the process of living. As the teacher above points out, it is not easy. We must literally die to who we currently are. We may feel raw from our life's experiences, but take heart, new life follows this painful process. The seed that sprouts as a result of this death, is one that will blossom into the beauty of our own soul and Spirit. It can only emerge when all of the detritus of ego has died and has been blown away by the trials of life.
For me, understanding that the process of growth requires many mini-deaths, much letting go, and many times of uncertainty, has helped me to relax into the process of surrender. I hope that the thoughts above will be a blessing to you as well and that as we grow together, we can continue to be a great source of encouragement to one another as we each one take off our clothes, become more transparent and open, and learn what it means to be a Child of God living on a fallen planet in a human body.
Monday, April 16, 2012
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Getting started in any creative endeavor reminds me of dipping ones toes into the Well of Inspiration. You have to step in and get your feet wet and as you do so, you can feel the forces of inspiration welling up behind you, creating a wave that you can catch and ride upon. The challenge is in getting to the actual spring itself. There is always some muck to tramp through initially—some daily sludge between you and the inspirational thoughts—and if you’re not willing to do a little tramping, a little getting your feet muddy, you never make it to the well where the living waters flow.
I have often stopped short before I found my way and oftentimes I have not even begun because I could not feel the pull of inspiration. Yet it is always there if we are willing to make the trek through the mundane.
Taking this trek reminds me of attending to the to-do lists of life. If I find myself stuck, I must usually write the to-do lists first, empty my mind of my worries, and attend to the basic needs of my life and ego concerns. This is what trekking through the mud can look like for me. It is only when I have done this—when this is the very thing that is standing in my way—that I can begin to go fishing for a nibble of inspiration, stick my toes into some fresh water. Often there is a period of washing the mud from my feet, but then the water starts to clear, along with my brain, and my heart opens to the beauty and abundance of inspiration. It always feels refreshing and I emerge from the process feeling energized and cleared.
Perhaps the initial phase of writing, or any creative endeavor, could be called, “Walking to the Well of Inspiration”. It seems like there can be endless distractions along the way, and too often, I can find myself writing nothing at all. I wonder how often this is true with other creative endeavors in our lives. How often do we never get around to doing our art, our creative project, practicing our music, composing our songs, creating our sculpture, taking that class, writing that book, dancing our own dance? It seems that there is a lot of mud to walk through on the way to the Well of Inspiration and how many of us actually stop short of finding it?
The Divine Feminine resides in the Well of Inspiration and She flows out into the world through our creative efforts. If the world is to ever change, if it is ever to come more into balance, we must answer the call in our own lives to show up in new and creative ways. We must make the trek to the Well of Inspiration and drink deeply in the waters of life, letting the Divine Feminine flow out into the world through our creative endeavors.
We must sing our songs, dance our dances, paint our canvases, write our books, and show up in the unique and creative ways that only we can do. We must be willing to be seen and heard. We must be willing to clear out clogged springs and trek through the mud and do the necessary work in order for Her voice to be heard once more in the world.
Moving through our self-doubts and insecurities, we must be willing to show up in authentic ways. We must learn to speak for those who are not yet able to speak on their own. We must write a new story for our earth. We must paint a new picture. We must do this or else we perish. The time is here and we must each one find the courage to pick up our brush, our pen, and our microphone, to speak the truth, to write a new legacy, and to paint a new picture for our world.
The years of guns, violence, and suffering can be changed, but it is up to courageous women and men to provide a new map, to write a new song, to show a better way. The pen is mightier than the sword. Art is more powerful than guns. The Water of Life from the Well of Inspiration can heal a planet. We must be the carriers of its life-giving force.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
In July 2009, we experienced a front row seat to the current economic climate when we lost a major account. Our business was already slower than usual. This one account was keeping us afloat. When we lost it, there was a moment of disbelief and then a sense of being stunned. What really helped to change the outcome of where we ended up and helped us through the difficulty was letting go of the way things had been and starting to imagine what could be.
We put everything up for sale, the office, house, equipment, and some ‘toys’. We planned to keep just enough equipment to keep the business going. Everything sold within a few months except for our home. A year later, it too sold and we were able to buy a much more modest property free and clear.
Our journey has led us into exploring how to live a more self-sustaining, earth-friendly existence. We have been growing our own food, raising chickens, looking into the old-fashioned wisdom of a root cellar, and playing with the idea of breeding my two dairy goats so as to have milk and cheese. We are learning and doing things that we never thought we would do.
Not everyone’s story is the same, but the principles for design are. What is fascinating is that we each one have the ability to craft the future. We are not victims to what lies ahead, but we play a powerful and interactive part in how the future will look.
Chaos and disruption can provide amazing opportunities to practice design principles. What appears from the outside, as a reduction of resources and a loss of income has in fact been an opportunity to create an alternative reality from many existing possible realities. There were many choice points along the way, as I'm sure there will continue to be, but the learning has been how to appropriately imagine and direct energy in a positive way towards a preferred outcome.
We just had lunch with the realtor who sold our house last year. They came up to see our chicken coop and the changes we had made to the property and also to talk to my husband about building a root cellar for them. Having a lunch that consisted of quiche from my eggs, curried zucchini, fresh corn on the cob, and a salad--all from my garden--brought the conversation home a bit!
We discussed the opportunity that we each one have, to take what will inevitably be chaotic times as the economy and resources shift, and craft a preferred future, not only for ourselves as individual families, but how this might look as a community. Our little informal gathering has the potential to be the start of building a cooperative venture within our small community as we both start sharing our ideas and resources with one another. The secret to success is that there has to be enough energy and direction with a vision to actually bring it into fruition. But it is a possibility waiting to happen and an exciting one.
Much of what I have been learning is about how to be more self-sustaining. But we also need to learn how to create self-sustaining communities. What one learns in a garden and on their own property can be shared with other people. When we care whether or not everyone in our community is eating, we might also begin to care if they are getting medical services, have adequate shelter, and are able to live life in a meaningful way.
It is not about having more, it is about doing more with what we have. It is not about a few having everything they want, but the many having what they need. If we face the future with creativity instead of fear, with cooperation instead of greed, we will create a future that is stronger for our children and better for the earth and we can still leave a legacy that will inspire those who follow. We may not be able to change the world, but we can change our own lives and we can change our community for the better.
Monday, September 5, 2011
Friday, August 5, 2011
We are living in a time of deep disenchantment, disappointment and discouragement. All one has to do is turn on the news and you will find that you can no longer hide under the illusions of the past. While at first glance, this seems like a dismal thing, if we dig a little deeper into the appearance of things, we may discover that disenchantment can lead to enlightenment.
Things are beginning to appear more like they really are. We have been living behind of veil. What a shock it is to see that things are not the way we thought they were. Many of us have grown up believing that those in leadership were trustworthy and unselfish, that business has had our best interests in mind, and that politicians sought office because of their deep desire to serve humanity. Although some of these things may be true, we are always saddened to learn when they are not.
But the upside to disenchantment, disappointment and discouragement, is that you are no longer satisfied with those very things that have, in fact, been poisoning you. In mythology, it is the crone, the wise woman, or the old hag that out of mercy removes the rose colored glasses from one's eyes. It is She who helps you to 'see what you see' and stop making excuses for what is in fact, poisoning your life. Personally, I have found her medicine, although bitter at first, a needed antidote for those things that were actually killing me.
The story of Demeter, Persephone, and Hecate is one that I have found endlessly fascinating as it so beautifully tells the story of the three faces of the feminine. Hecate is The Hag, the one that scares you to death, literally killing off the part of you that needs to go. It is interesting that Persephone, who is so attached to the Loving Mother, Demeter, is forced to live part of the year with the Old Hag, Hecate, in the Underworld.
This creates a balance in her that no amount of loving could ever do. It is important to remember that the story at first appears as a tragedy, but the real truth behind it, is that Persephone becomes initiated into deep wisdom and is able to walk between the two worlds, in actuality, growing beyond what either of the other two women are able as they are polarized into their world to such an extent that they can only remain in that dimension. I believe there is a deep truth in this for our current situation. I know in my own life, it has been essential.
It is through discouragement that we give up on the old, worn out ways that no longer serve us. It is through disappointment that we learn to make better choices. It is through disenchantment that we wake up from the sound sleep that we have been in and learn to see things as they really are, removing the rose colored glasses that obscure and cloud our vision and work to create a new and better reality.
So we should celebrate this process of disillusionment, for through the death of what we currently know, we will experience the re-birth of something new and better. We may not be able to control the response of the whole, but we can control our own response to difficulty. I choose to let go of what no longer serves me and open to greater learning and awareness. By releasing my attachments to the way things are, I can make room for something better to move in.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
A couple of days ago, I was enjoying the sunshine on our back deck, when a butterfly appeared on the table and started crawling towards my leg. I say 'appeared', because I never really saw it fly and land. Perhaps it fell from the arbor above my head. Anyways, it eventually climbed up my leg that was resting on the table (I know, don't tell anyone) and then onto my arm and up to my shoulder. I spent probably 15 or 20 minutes with this butterfly.
Because it wouldn't fly, I decided that it must be a dying or injured butterfly and so was just hanging out or wanting some company as it passed on. Eventually, I had to go inside, so I carefully put a little twig up where it could crawl onto it and I set in down on the ground where there was a low-lying shrub so that it could eat if it wanted to.
I checked back on it yesterday, and there it was. Today, it had moved only a little bit further. For a dying butterfly, it was certainly exhibiting some longevity!
I decided something else must be going on. Maybe it was injured. So I sat down and spent some more time with it. It really looked very healthy, other than the fact that it won't fly. It was kind of clinging to whatever it was holding onto and tried to move by pulling itself along with its legs. Every now and then, it would kind of flutter its wings.
This butterfly was acting an awful lot like a caterpillar. Hmmm...I started wondering if it knew it was no longer a caterpillar. So, I got a twig and the butterfly crawled onto it and clung for dear life. I lifted the twig up in the air and shook it off, and sure enough, it took off flying. Not for very long, however, as soon it was clinging to the next blade of grass it could find.
So on the twig it went again and up for another flying lesson. This time it flew a little longer, then down it came. By the fourth or fifth flight, it was really starting to get some air time, fluttering around the yard looking like the beautiful Monarch that it is. It finally landed in a tree out of my reach, so the flying lessons stopped. But this was really a remarkable experience and, of course, raised the question, 'Where in my life do I act like a caterpillar even though I have my wings...' I guess one of the questions we have to ask is 'Do I have the equipment to do this? If so, why am I crawling instead of flying?'
Makes me wonder how often that fear blinds us to the natural gifts and abilities that are waiting on the shelf for us, but that we are too uncertain, too fearful, too careful to not color outside the lines to actually claim these gifts as our inheritance and as tools for our ministry in the world. Although there is a natural process of unfolding that occurs in our development, I think that there are times when we have those beautiful wings all ready to spread out and use if we can just give up our identity as caterpillars.
We've developed our persona as a caterpillar to a high degree and become attached to whatever furry coat we've been wearing and our many pairs of cute feet, and our comfortable mode of transportation. The heights of a butterfly are truly dizzying in comparison and there is a danger that we just might choose the safe route. I guess what I've discovered, is that there is no safe route and that butterfly wings are every bit as pretty as furry coats and that perhaps, with a few flying lessons, everything will be just fine!
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
It’s June 1st, and I’ve got my woolly sweater on and am cuddled up under the down comforter trying to keep warm and it’s noon!! Something is really wrong with this picture. I’m watching the rain come down for what seems like an eternity. We have had months and months of it. It’s the new moon, a great day to set intentions and plant new seeds, if only I could get out in the garden and get something done. Ah, surrender, surrender, surrender.
Ironically, there is a major drought going on in parts of the country. There are folks that haven’t seen the lovely, low-hanging clouds that bring on a good, steady misting of rain and turn everything a lovely, vibrant green for quite some time. They are looking at clear skies wondering where in the world the rain has gone. I can now tell them. It’s here. I’m looking at it and would happily share it and balance things out, if only I could. But, God hasn’t entrusted me with that much power yet. Probably, just as well.
Pondering the imbalance of things makes me once again surrender to the idea that we are all in the midst of business-not-as-usual. The weather patterns are not predictable. Jobs are not predictable. What the world will look like when you wake up tomorrow morning is not predictable. The only thing that seems predictable is that things will change, and they will most likely change sooner rather than later.
So, how do you keep your balance in the midst of imbalance? I’ll share a couple of things that I do. One of them is that I have to keep my energy moving forward. By this I mean that I can’t afford to dwell in the past or get sucked into fear and angst. There is so much desperation, fear, anger, frustration, and sadness in our world right now; that if I allow myself to tap into it, I can guarantee that I will soon have more of it to keep me company.
By moving forward with something, I can change the direction of the negativity that can dog my footsteps. It doesn’t have to be something earth-shattering, it just has to be something that keeps my focus in a forward, positive direction. Sometimes that is as simple as a hot cup of tea and a rehearsal of my blessings. Other times, weather permitting, it is a walk outside or through the garden. Today, weather not permitting, it is getting warm and putting some thoughts on paper. Other times, it is filling out a job application, or calling a friend, or taking a nap.
Gratitude is the other piece that helps to create balance in my life and it also has an energetic motion that propels me forward. It is difficult to be depressed or fearful when I focus my energy on how I have been blessed and what I am truly grateful for.
Expressing this gratitude to others multiplies the effects as then another is blessed by knowing that they have made a difference in my life. Gratitude is like an alchemical operation that changes one thing into another. By being grateful, you can turn sadness into a deeper appreciation for your own personal growth and development.
I don’t know what you’re facing, but I can guess that it is not business as usual. I invite you to focus on moving forward rather than backward and to use gratitude as a fuel to help propel you there. I know for me, remembering that I have the power of choice in regards to how I will respond to life, gives me the courage to choose those things that take me where I want to go rather than be pulled into some place that I would rather not visit again.
So this new moon, in spite of the rain, my intention is to stay focused on all the beauty that I am surrounded with, the potential that awaits, the seeds that will get planted and blossom, and great gratitude that I am safe and warm. There is so much to be thankful for. My heart goes out to all that don’t have even these basic needs met. Many blessings to those who are in need right now and many blessings to you!
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Ruth Stout,(1884-1980), having since moved on to greener pastures, is my new hero. She is wise, witty, and independent and was way ahead of her time, not only in her mindset, but also in her organic gardening practices. Her book, "The Ruth Stout No-Work Garden Book" is a compendium of wit, wisdom, and attitude.
I have been on a journey of simplifying my life and working on becoming more self-sustaining in my lifestyle, but I also want to do this in a manner that leaves me time to do something besides grow my own vegetables and raise my own chickens. The following videos give you a sense of the delightful person that Ruth Stout had become, but you get a glimpse of her gardening methods as well. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did. Perhaps we can all learn to grow our own food, develop a deep sense of joy, and relish living the way this woman did!
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Apart from the issues of gender lies the greater awareness that the feminine resides within all of us. The feminine principle is the principle of receptivity. It is the womb that incubates and grows all of our creative projects whether that is a child of humanity or newly decorated room or the next masterpiece to hang in the Louver. The feminine is Sophia, the principle of wisdom and she is also the face of creation. She is you. She is me.
In balanced partnership with the masculine principle, we find beauty, order, and equality. When balance exists between the two aspects in creation, the masculine and the feminine, we find health and harmony. In a world where both principles are honored and appreciated, we would see wholeness and an environment and ecology in balance.
Instead, we find ourselves in a world that is out of balance and too often, lives that are out of balance. We are over-achievers, over-doers, and over-exploiters of our environment and resources, whether those resources are natural or personal. As a result we are living lives that are over-extended and too frequently short on creativity, joy, and health.
As a result of our imbalance and tendencies towards patriarchal practices we live in a world where we see a continuance of a rape of women, molestation of children, war against each other, and an ongoing depletion of our world’s natural resources. Truly, it is time to awaken to our collective and personal need to honor and bring into balance the feminine principle within our culture. In fact, our survival depends upon doing just that.
I would suggest that we could begin by making some small but necessary changes in our own lives. We must first begin by learning the art of saying ‘no’. Learning to take care of ourselves and saying no to doing more, having more, and being more is essential to restoring balance to our lives. Saying ‘yes’ to a simpler lifestyle and taking time for some meaningful spiritual practice in our lives is key to restoring the feminine principle.
The feminine aspect is nurturing. It creates a supportive, loving environment that helps a fetus to grow. Whether that fetus is an actual baby or your own soul, a potentiating, protected environment is essential for survival. An environment that is too crowded with noise, materialism, and self-destructive practices will only result in a premature abortion of whatever it is we are trying to cultivate and grow in our own lives or in the world.
By simplifying our lives we are saying no to all of the distractions that promise to make us more successful, more beautiful and younger by simply consuming, purchasing, or participating in behaviors that ultimately just lead to more stuff and a waste of resources. By simplifying our lives we are saying yes to creativity, renewal, and a sustainable life that is in balance and although may look less ‘successful’ by the world’s standards, far exceeds the levels of success that we tend to measure our worth by.
This Mother’s Day, I would suggest that we measure our worth and our success by the simple fact that We Are. Rather than a litany of all the wonderful things that Mother does—let’s celebrate the fact the She Is. Let’s embrace the fact that within all of us, male or female, we can celebrate the feminine principle and let’s remember that the very world that supports us is worthy of our honor, respect, and careful attentions.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Monday, April 11, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Winter, long, the days drag by.
Wondering, waiting, hoping.
So unclear the end result
What does God have in mind?
The nights mirror the darkness inside
The questions, the fears, the unknown,
Ultimately striving for balance and peace
Where God, am I to be?
Fervent, anguished, perfected in wait,
I long to see the day.
When enlightened I go about my day
Wondering, waiting no more,
A heart, open and filled with light,
Comes only from one that is empty.
Though carved by adversity, its destiny joy.
Perfected ever in trial.
Eternity dawns with each new day.
The future, a myth of the mind.
The past, but a memory dim.
The power is always in now.
So restless one with answers so few
Reflect on the gift of today.
What seems so elusive and beyond your control
Lies ready to serve you each day.
Yes, ready to serve you each day.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Writing unlocks mystery.
It gives voice to the unspoken thoughts of your heart.
Where there was silence or angst,
Meaning spills forth and overflows,
Cascading into insight,
Tangible essence where once was murky fog.
Vagueness, now clear.
Sparkling ripplets in the form of words.
Clarity. Perhaps movement
And the birth of something new.
Wisdom rises up to speak
And prudence makes way for her voice to be heard.
Silent no more—she shares the secrets to be revealed,
The love that wants to pour forth,
The healing that wants to happen—
That is eager, like a bubbling fountain,
To wait upon your questions.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Love unites. Fear separates. We are clearly seeing the results of the hate that we have sown in our country. We will never win by tearing each other apart. Let’s focus on finding solutions, honoring differences, and saying no to fear-mongering tactics.
These are lessons that we learn in kindergarten and yet somehow we have regressed from being responsible adults to spoiled children who play at government, religion and ecology like it were only a video game that when the sign flashes ‘game over’ we can just begin a new one.
Although we may blame the recent tragedy of the Tucson shooting as a bizarre occurrence perpetrated by a mentally ill gunman, we cannot help but question the culture that he grew up in and that glamorizes violence and conflict.
We have a choice that we each need to make as individuals. We have the power to say ‘no’ to violence. Here our a few ideas of how to reduce the violence in your own life.
- Say ‘no’ to violent video games.
- Say ‘no’ to watching violent movies and shows.
- Say ‘no’ by writing a letter to your senator and representative telling them your dislike of using negative rhetoric, fear tactics, and disparaging remarks of others opinions and beliefs regardless of where they stand on an issue.
- Say ‘no’ by refusing to engage in negative speech towards others.
- Say ‘no’ by focusing on solutions instead of entertaining fear.
- Say ‘no’ to assault weapons. The only purpose of an assault gun is to kill people.
- Say ‘no’ to talk radio that perpetuates fear and misinformation.
There is an old adage that we would do well to consider. Garbage in, garbage out. There is no way that we can fill our minds and emotions with negativity and expect that we will produce a beautiful loving society and healthy well-balanced children. These are changes that we can make in our own lives. Where there may be needed legislation regarding gun control, there are many things that we can do by just using our power of purchasing, writing a letter, and developing our own self-control.
I challenge us each one to be the change we want to see in the world. Just say ‘no’ to fear. Say ‘yes’ to love. Love unites. Fear separates. Let’s unite.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Today is the darkest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. In addition, there is a lunar eclipse of the full moon making this an event that has not happened for over 400 years! It seems that it is a day worth celebrating and paying attention to.
This raises some questions for me as I contemplate the idea of what is being eclipsed in our world right now. The mental and emotional planes are littered with negativity. Fear, hate, depression, violence, discouragement, and prejudice are the thoughts and feelings that are eclipsing hope, love, peace, joy, goodness, patience, and acceptance. It is a wake up call to each one of us who is working for the Light to step up to the plate and make sure that we do not contribute to the darkness.
War, intolerance, financial irresponsibility, and gossip all work to undermine the good that is seeking to make a difference in the world. Let’s take just a moment to consider how we might be contributing to the problem and how we can make a difference.
Religious intolerance that leads to war is one of the primary ways that the forces of darkness use to destroy and control humanity. Our very strongly held religious beliefs can actually lead to intolerance and violence if we hold our beliefs above the value of another human soul. Unfortunately you see this within all of the world’s major religions. Indeed, every war currently being fought is a religious war—a war over religious beliefs that lead us to kill one another.
Consider who is most repulsive to you, who just pushes your buttons, and whom you would never share a meal with and you have just met your own intolerance and prejudice. Pick an issue that you feel strongly about, I mean, really strongly about and then have that threatened and consider to what extent would you defend your belief—to the point of harming another soul? Perhaps not pulling the trigger, but you could certainly put them in their place during conversations with others. Not that we would call this slander or gossip, which can be as devastating as causing physical harm.
We only have to look to the staggering economies around the globe to realize that we have all over-indulged beyond our means. Greed has overrun many institutions, families, and individuals. This is a tough lesson for all of us as we examine our own need to have more than we use and look at the incredible price that our giant carbon footprint extracts from Mother Earth.
So, what can we do? I suggest that there are four simple practices we can do that will help to make a difference.
- We can practice tolerance and acceptance and work towards understanding and changing our own biases and prejudices. Each person is a precious child of God. Until we can fully embrace this idea, we will continue to destroy one another.
- We can intentionally generate loving and positive thoughts that we incorporate in our spiritual practice. This helps to clean up the negative mental plane that surrounds our planet.
- Monitor our own emotions. Every time we indulge in hate, fear, anger, depression, and sadness, we contribute to more darkness in the world. When you find yourself in this state, have a list of things that will help you through them. Pray, read, go for a walk in nature, meditate, call a trusted spiritual counselor. Do something to turn yourself around rather than be controlled by the darkness.
- Practice voluntary simplicity. Cut back on what we use and consume. Become more eco- conscious and more fiscally responsible. We might not be able to change the world but if we change small things in our own lives, it will make a difference.
Source is seeking to partner with us in ways that we cannot even begin to imagine, but we must do our part. The first step is to hold a clear spiritual intention and volunteer to be of service. The second step is to generate a clear mental picture of how that might look. The third step is to form a strong emotion that holds the vision in place, and lastly we must do something to help our vision come to pass. This is a powerful formula for creating change and bringing more light into our world. Let’s each do our part to bring the Kingdom of God to Earth.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
The kitchen is a magical place, really. Just think of all the things that can be done there? Cooking and meals bring us together. They can unite hearts or bring up the places where we are out of sync with one another. As another holiday approaches, what are you cooking up?
It seems that what we can cook up many different experiences. It all depends on what type of ingredients we choose to use. If I gather together some pumpkin, flour, sugar, eggs, raisins, and nuts, I end up with really yummy pumpkin bread. If I put some vegetables, broth and spices into a pot, I end up with a hearty vegetable soup. What I end up with depends entirely on what I put into the pot.
Cooking reminds me of the ancient art of alchemy. Alchemy was the process of transforming lead into gold. In cooking we take ordinary ingredients, things that on their own are useful and nutritive, but when combined with just the right things, turn into something far more than they were by themselves.
There are other ingredients that we work with on a daily basis as well. Things like joy, love, hope, peaceful intentions, creativity, happiness, and abundance. These are the ingredients for a life well lived. How liberally or generously we apply these and in what combination determine what we will have for supper each night.
There are other ingredients as well, that combine to create a different type of meal. Things like despair, hopelessness, criticism, depression, hate, bitterness, discontent, jealousy, and malice make for a very different meal. The one sustains us and the other poisons us.
Alchemy involves changing one thing into another. How do we change hopelessness into hope? Hate into love? Jealousy into loving acceptance? Scarcity into abundance? To change a negative into a positive is true magic. I would suggest that we must become more aware of what we are actually putting into our alchemical pots. Too often, we toss in ingredients by habit, totally unaware that our own negativity is poisoning our lives.
By observing our own habits and intentions we can begin to become conscious creators of our environment. When we see something that is less than helpful for us or for our world, we can offer it up to Source for transformation. By opening ourselves in this way, we allow the Spirit to move in and make needed changes in our hearts. This leads to an alchemical transformation in our lives. We can then more consciously choose to be a force for good in the world instead of darkness. We can make better choices about what we cook up in the world.
As Thanksgiving approaches, what are you cooking up? Love? Hope? Peace? Abundance? Gratitude? May you cook up something wonderful and that will feed your soul and the soul of your family. Blessings to you this Thanksgiving season.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
It’s time to vote again and passions seem to have never run higher about who is right and who is wrong. I’m reminded of a saying from long ago by Charles Dickens in his book “A Tale of Two Cities”. It goes, “It was the best of all times and the worst of all times.” The same could be said of today.
What makes the difference? How can we participate in the best of times rather than the worst of times? If you listen too much to the media, you will be inclined to live in the worst of all times. Is this really true? Is it really the worst of all times to live in? Could we possibly be living in the best of all times?
I would suggest that it is a choice of whether or not we live in the best or the worst of all times and that choice is ours. Some folks are currently living in the best of times. There is more possibility to create and navigate the world than there has been for a very long time. These folks are living in a high creative, high potential environment. The world is at their fingertips. They have a huge storehouse of tools to use. Information and technology are their servants. Some are using these tools to innovate healing modalities. Some are using the increased consciousness of humanity to help eliminate world hunger and find a cure for cancer. In fact, the advances in sciences and humanities if advertised on the news every night, would astound us!
There are other people who are living in the worst of times and they are getting worse by the moment. They live in constant fear of not having enough. There is a threat around every corner, a monster in every closet. They fear shortages while living in plenty. They fear catastrophe with each new day. In fact, if you listen to the news every night, you would be astonished at how awful things really are. It’s probably not safe to walk out of your own door!
What truly makes the difference here? Perhaps it is you. Perhaps it is how you choose to see the world. Perhaps it is all depends on the condition of your heart. I would suggest that we live in the reality of our own making. I’m not saying that we don’t experience the effects of the world we live in, that bad things do not happen, or that there are not some serious concerns that need addressing. I’m suggesting that how we choose to participate in our world makes all the difference in the world we live in.
The context that we create by our choices determines how we will see things. If I choose to see each person as a child of God, this determines my context for seeing the world. If I choose to see chaos as the building blocks for creating something new and better, then I can see the breakdown of our current systems as an opportunity for creating something new.
Rigid structures allow for no change. In order for there to be needed changes in our world, some things must die off in order for something new to be born. This happens on a personal level, a local level, a national level, and a global level. This context helps me to see the day we live in as an exciting time, a time when high creation is possible. I have the choice to participate in a loving, collaborative way or I have a choice to participate in a fearful, hateful way. Interesting when we look at it like this. What makes the difference in the future we will live in? You make the difference.
So use your ability to choose to cast a vote. But do so with compassion and caring, not with malice and discontent. Do so with love and not with hatred. Remember, the seeds that we plant, we will be the plants that grow. Remember that it is the intention of your heart that casts the seeds. Be conscious of what you are truly sowing. We do more than choose a candidate, we choose how we are going to show up in the world and we are each creating the world of the future. I want to live in a world where differences are honored, people are respected and cherished, and love is the motivating principle behind all that we do. Choose wisely. We will live in the world we create. This is not about them, it is about you
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
reside seeds of compassion, harmony, and love
lying dormant until the time comes
when they must rise and sprout and grow
into the beauty that God desires.
The soil needed to make them sprout is being prepared
through the breakdown of all we know
and falsely cling to.
Through the process of decay
we will see new birth.
We must trust that what appears as an end
is merely a new beginning.
Death is a birth
and by dying to what is
we will be born into what may be.
As the caterpillar dissolves its old form
in order to become a butterfly
that crawls not upon its belly
but soars into the sky above,
so we must dissolve our old broken systems
and false selves into the watery abyss
in order to be born again with gossamer wings.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Admittedly, we often live in a mundane world instead of a magical one. I wonder what makes the difference? Why do some folks go around seeing and feeling the beauty of life and others see only the troubles? I wonder what makes a difference in their experience? Perhaps it has something to do with perspective.
Not too long ago, I was walking down our winding driveway feeling the burden of the many things that needed to be done to complete our remodeling and move. I felt exhausted and tired. My perspective focused on the immediate moment of feeling too much to do. Then, my perspective shifted and I looked at the circumstances from what I would call a higher perspective. What kind of soul would chose these events? Hmm…this did put a different perspective on things. I suspect it would be a rather courageous soul, a soul who wanted to grow and stretch, a soul who was ready to put off some of the materialistic burdens that had accumulated in order to better serve and enjoy life.
From this perspective, the burdens did not seem so great. In fact, I could laugh! What a wild and crazy soul I must have to chose this chaos in which to build a new life. What had happened? Same circumstances, different perspective. I went from feeling tired, to laughing, from being overwhelmed to being encouraged. This indeed is magic.
Magic is simply changing the way we see things. By making a conscious choice to view my life as divinely directed I am suddenly no longer a mere victim of circumstances, but a wild and courageous soul growing and serving in the best way I can. I must simply choose a different lens from which to view the world.
Imagine, if you will, what your life would look like with a different lens? Imagine, if you will, what the world would look like with a different lens? Can you imagine the Garden of Eden? Can you imagine happiness and bliss? Can you imagine peace and loving kindness towards all of creation? Indeed, if we can imagine it, we can create it and our lives and world will change. What are we waiting for?
Monday, August 30, 2010
Richard and I moved a lot of dirt yesterday. We had two seeming mountains of earth sitting beside the new pad for my folk's manufactured home. We are trying to save some money, so we decided we could move this dirt ourselves using our small Case Uni-loader and our Gator which has a small bed and dump on the back that we normally use for cleaning stalls. So Richard would put a bucket full of dirt into the back of the Gator and I would drive it back behind the arena and empty it and then come back for another load. Anyway, to make a long story short it is a bit like emptying a bathtub one cup at a time. Richard estimated that there was about 150 yards of dirt sitting there. Now we are down to about 25 to 40 yards, about 2-3 truckloads worth instead of the 7 or more that were there.
This was certainly an experience in the mundane, and somewhat consciousness altering. I have heard of using repetitive, mindless activities to shift consciousness. I think this one qualifies. I drove past the animals dozens and dozens of times. Richard and I were laughing last night that even they seemed to tire of the repetitive activities of the day. Our goat, Tulip, was at the salt lick, and Richard said, "Yeah, she would say, 'there goes Mom, there goes Mom, there goes Mom'. I think we were all in a bit of a trance by the time it was said and done. We finally quit out of sheer insanity!
Laying in bed last night, I was still going in circles and wondered if one could use this disorientation or whatever to end up in a new place all together. During times of abundance, we would never consider doing this. We keep finding ways to cut back and scale down. We probably saved about a thousand dollars. My how times have changed!
I look at folks who still have an income and steady work and wonder if they realize how many people in the country have lost that sense of security. It seems that we don't really understand what is going on until it comes to pay a visit to our front door. It makes me wonder how many things I am oblivious to because I am not personally experiencing it or am aware of it. I'm also aware that if I did become aware, it would be quite overwhelming.
It brings acute awareness to the concept of judgment and how we too often make judgments about this or that because of our lack of awareness into the true nature of someone's circumstances. We wonder about so many things and yet see so little. Soul covenants, personal karma, group karma, genetics, just to name a few, are pieces of the complex puzzle that from our limited perspective make it impossible to have a complete picture about anything.
Anyway, I had much time to contemplate what the earth elementals would do with the dirt moving. Thought of Jesus' words about if you had enough faith you could say to a mountain, "Move" and it would move and was wishing that my faith were that large. But, in reality, we have moved a mountain. Our manifestation rate is just quite a bit slower than Jesus' was. But we are learning...