Time for an Update?

•November 14, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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I found that every thought, emotion or action I made while expressing

in the physical body had an effect on the Whole.

~Anita Moorjani

 

I was in the middle of a conversation the other day and something happened. In the blink of an eye, I had – unconsciously – gone from living from a full sense of self to a weak, shrunken version of myself. I went from responding to reacting. My senses felt numbed and it was difficult to fully understand the words being exchanged. Through all of this, there was no apparent change that could be seen on the physical.

 

It would be easier, actually, if there were a physical manifestation of an old insecurity being triggered. If, suddenly, I were to find myself in my five year old body, wearing my favorite Humpty Dumpty t-shirt. If that were true, at least my hesitant speech and blind stare would make sense. But, for better or worse, our physical state only very subtly reflects the belief system we’re running on.

 

Our childhood experiences create sets of beliefs about ourselves and the world. Our survival depends on making sense of things around us so that we learn how to respond. Negative experiences have especially powerful impact. I recently heard that negative memories take up more room in our brains; they carry more weight. So along the way, we develop a whole set of beliefs about who we are and don’t really realize that we’re seeing the world through the belief system that we’ve created. Negative experiences seem to have lasting impact, setting in place the “I’ll never. . .” or “I’ll always. . . “ beliefs. I’ll never be enough, be loved, be happy. I’ll always be alone, be broke, be in pain. . . .

 

So maybe it’s time for an update. Time to scan for any mental ‘viruses’ that are affecting our ability to function in our highest capacity. It would be nice if we could simply hit a re-set button. I haven’t found one. Instead, we can scan our experiences, especially the ones that included strong emotions, and notice if any themes are present. Our experiences reflect our inner state. If we bring compassion and curiosity to our inquiry, we allow healing. Our wholeness can never be lost; it can just seem so when we impose who we think we are over our true wholeness.

BE BEAUTIFUL

•August 24, 2014 • Leave a Comment

The definition of “beauty” seems vague. “The quality in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind. . .”. But what is that quality? Maybe it’s the WOW factor.

 

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The things that jump out, catch the eye, draw attention.

 

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In nature, it’s the unexpected: the bright colored flower in a sea of green, or the silhouette of a mountain arising from flatlands.

 

 

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Consider the things that catch your attention and notice the common quality.

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Maybe nature is trying to tell us something. Jump out! Catch the eye! Draw attention! What if each of us lived as Beauty? What if we nurtured and valued our exquisite uniqueness? What if there was no such thing as “normal”? (There really isn’t, by the way).

Live beautifully – today and every day.

Lessons From The Trail

•July 14, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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Hiking. I’ve long enjoyed hiking but, in the past, waited for visits to the mountains to venture out on a trail. Recently, I’ve started hiking The Florida Trail, small sections at a time, with a dear friend. There is nothing like being immersed in Nature. It is relaxing to the Soul. Here are some lessons learned from the experiences so far.

1. Prepare.
2. Notice the beauty in ALL things.
3. Change is constant
4. Endings are needed for new beginnings. Death brings new life
5. Be grateful for those who have blazed the trail before you. Learn from them and accept their gifts.
6. Enjoy the easy, shady times
7. Allow growth and expansion by receiving Nature’s nurture – sunshine, rain, breeze, dirt.
8. Pay attention. There may be hidden sweet surprises.
9. We live in a world of duality – old/new, light/dark, dead/alive. Enjoy the experiences – the “flavors”, for their own sake.
10. Create your home with attention and diligence
11. Flow WITH life
12. Live life your own unique way – independent of how you THINK it’s “supposed” to look or be.
13. Don’t wait for danger or trouble – just keep moving.
14. Trust Life Itself – it endures.
15. Notice the details
16. Feel the breeze. Notice THIS moment.
17. Fly. Soar. Be free.
18. Make a lot of noise when you feel you need to.
19. Bring along a friend. Share yourself with your friend(s). And listen whole-heartedly whenever someone honors you with their experiences. It’s possible to have real heart-to-heart connections at any moment – and life is much sweeter as a result.
20. Notice the abundance we’re surrounded in. “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26)
21. Keep on moving AND find times to slow down or stop. Pacing your way on the trail – and through life – can add to its enjoyment.
22. Sometimes the path – life – isn’t what you thought it would be. Don’t let the unexpected stop you or ruin your experience.
23. Assess the situation honestly before moving ahead. How deep is it going to get? Is there any way around the mud or flood? If not, proceed thoughtfully, consciously, joyfully. Know when it’s too much; it’s ok to backtrack and re-group.
24. When you perceive danger, don’t stop to take pictures.
25. Play with fear and learn to discern real fear from “mind-fear”. “Mind-fear” includes all the self-defeating chatter in our heads, all the “I can’t do it”s. Real fear is the perception of danger or risk, calling for a true assessment of the situation and a “fight or flight” response. Constantly living in a state of “fight or flight” is miserable and creates anxiety, even disease. Learning to know the difference is extremely valuable.

Integrity

•April 9, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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Be Impeccable With Your Word.
 Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.               ~ Don Miguel Ruiz

 

In the shamanic tradition in which I was trained, it is the archetype of the Jaguar in the West direction of the Medicine Wheel who helps us to live in integrity and impeccability. It takes fierceness to live in this way. The call is far deeper than avoidance of small “white lies” and half-truths. True integrity requires a willingness to really see, both ourselves and the larger context in which we live, and make choices from wholeness and Truth.

Integrity is defined as:

  1. adherence to moral, ethical principles; honesty
  2. the state of being whole, entire, undiminished
  3. a sound, unimpaired, perfect condition

The etymology of the word reveals that the word “integrity” is rooted in being “untouched, hence, undivided, whole”. (in + tangere, i.e., to touch).

From a state of wholeness, we can see Truth and choose our words and actions accordingly. In our humanity, we are wounded – our wholeness “touched” – by sometimes less-than-whole experiences. Our choices are affected. Instead of being “whole, entire, undiminished” we somehow compartmentalize. Divide and separate. We don’t let our right hand see what our left hand is doing. We become jugglers and magicians. The choices we make from our wounded selves can be blatant or extremely subtle; we each create our own experience, after all. And what is tolerable for one may be unthinkable for another.

“This one glass of wine/piece of cake/extra serving won’t make any difference, right?” or “I’ll go to yoga/run/workout tomorrow” or “I won’t be able to make it because I’m just not feeling well”. There’s something of a slippery slope between full honesty and, well, not completely, absolutely true. And then there are the more blatant lapses in integrity: taking something that’s not yours because no one is looking, or cheating on an exam, or saying you’re single when you’re not, or . . . The list could go on and on in the ways that we have the capacity to mislead ourselves and others. There is a human thrill to getting away with something – but at what cost?

Maybe the different definitions of “integrity” carry a hint for the underlying blessing. Level 1 is more about playing by the rules then living in a deep, connected state. In Level 1, a person might find himself trapped in the lure of “false light” of having immediate needs met at another’s expense. Any apparent happiness is shallow and short-lived. It is only in experiencing our own wholeness that we can hope to move towards living in a Level 3 “perfect condition”.

We can call on Jaguar to assist us on the journey to wholeness. Always alert. Seeing, even in the deepest darkness. Fierceness and strength.

And in our commitment to integrity, Jaguar can also show us how to completely relax.

 

Photo found on Pinterest.

What I Know – A Story

•March 27, 2014 • 1 Comment

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I’m not sure now if it’s a dream or a memory. And what does it matter, really. Watching those kids play on the beach reminded me. I must have been about her age, playing at the water’s edge just as those two were. A wave took me, swept me out with it, the pull so strong I had no choice but to go with it. Then I was tumbling and rolling inside the wave. There was nothing else but the wave. I was part of it, part of the wave, part of the ocean, part of all of it. When the ocean finally spit me back up on the shore, I was coughing and catching my breath. I might have been crying, too. It was all so much! They were all gathered around me, concerned and telling me I must have been terrified. That must have been so scary! I was puzzled because I hadn’t felt fear. I had felt awe. I couldn’t explain the difference.

I tried to show them, later, through my drawings and flower arrangements. But all of my creations were met with a slight smile and nod. They couldn’t see! It was amazing to me. They were mostly frantic and fearful and it was so confusing. Life was so sweet and so good. I swore I would never be like them, forgetting how to see what was real and true and so, so beautiful and alive.

I’m older now then I probably ever imagined being when I was that little girl. I, too, have spent more days than I like to admit in “frantic and fearful”.  The responsibilities seem to command my attention. Money and time seem so damn real and limited! Time is especially interesting – so limited-seeming now but with some promise of enough “later”.  So many people putting off for “later” the things that are really the most important right now!  It sometimes seems we have it all upside-down and backwards.

Maybe a tumble in some wild waves would set me straight. Except I may not be able to walk after! Best that I simply remember the tumble, the wave, and let my choices and my creations come from there.

Where Are You Living?

•March 13, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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I recently went through a dramatic life event, as we all frequently do. We all experience rich life storylines. I believe it’s a large part of the purpose of our lives: to “taste” the amazing range of emotions and physical sensations.  Our stories are compelling – especially when they hit us in our hearts and guts. We can feel gripped by story, unable to let it go. Our active minds take the pieces of the story and ponder them, consider them, sometimes mixing in “what ifs” and “if onlys”.  We tell, and re-tell the story, seeking understanding, compassion, sometimes even pity, or pride. Within the story, our hearts may be broken or our pride may soar or despair may threaten. The possibilities are endless.

 

Although the possibilities are endless, they are also limited. We can never find our way to true freedom from within the story.  When within the story – when living in the effect of the circumstances of our lives – the possibilities are limited because we believe that the only truth is our human story. Within the story, we forget the essential Truth – that we are creating the very stories that we feel so gripped, and sometimes even tortured, by.  We are cause, not effect.

 

More and more, it seems that the people who come into our lives and agitate us the most, hurt us the most, shake things up the most are actually angels in disguise. It takes something quite compelling to shake us out of our small beliefs about ourselves.  We are creatures of habit.  Something or someone has to wake us from our lethargy.

 

When we’re gifted with grace and able to step outside the story, we can see the big picture. From an awareness of our spiritual-selves, we can see the gift in the apparent tragedy. We can awaken parts of ourselves that have remained dormant. From outside the story, we experience gratitude for the miracle of all of our experiences.

 

I’m fascinated by our capacity to go back and forth – to be inside and in the grip of the story and then to step outside. Even powerful, miraculous insights about events in our lives don’t stop us from slipping back into the tragedy.

 

We remember and we forget – and then we remember again.

“Why?” OR “What do you want instead?”

•February 24, 2014 • Leave a Comment

 

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It sometimes feels like there’s a toddler living inside of me. She’s especially interested when something goes wrong.

 

“WHY?”

 

She is incessant in her demand to know why.

 

While doing Pilates recently, I was working on correcting the way my body wanted to move; the habit I had gotten into was creating pain. My Pilates instructor was guiding the new movement.  “Why does my body want to move in a way that hurts?” I asked her. She replied, simply, “We don’t concern ourselves with why, we just correct the movement so it no longer has to hurt.”

 

Huh.

 

There’s value to introspection and contemplation. Self-awareness is a key component to peace of mind and freedom.  But too much pondering the “why” of something becomes a drain of energy. Once a general sense of intellectual understanding about an experience is reached, time and energy are more valuably applied to what’s wanted now.

 

What do you want instead?

 

We create from the energy that we emit – magnets for experiences that reflect our energetic state of being. If our energy is bound to the “why’s” of the past, the greatest likelihood is that we’ll continue to have the same kinds of experiences, over and over again.

 

Looking back to understand “why” has a false appeal. If I understand, I can fix it or change it or control it – whatever “it” happens to be. Or so I think.  But life is far more complex than I like to admit.  Even if I know WHY, nothing changes until I choose differently.

 

On the other hand, consciously spending time on creating something new and unknown can seem a little daunting. The intellect far prefers things that are known. Somehow, I have to convince that little toddler within that it’s time to play, to color outside the lines. I have to let myself know that it’s safe, that I am safe, that safety runs far deeper than the next event I am about to experience.