Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Gratitude Journal Day: 24-30/ Becoming Fierce

On Day 23 of this daily walk through gratitude, I flew to Sri Lanka where I had the privilege of teaching at one of the world's most renowned eco resorts, Ulpotha Ayurvedic Retreat center. I inhabited an electricity free mud hut for 2 weeks while offering 2 yoga sessions daily surrounded by lizards, monkeys, and the most beautiful greenery dripping with flowers as if they were offerings back to the earth.
I restored and connected with such a special and varied group of radiant souls while we uncovered the fierce grace and bravery that lies within us all.
Letting go of the idea that yoga has to be nice, we confronted our fears, our joys and explored the edges of our flexibility in our bodies and mind. The beauty of Ayurveda is that it speaks to your temperament or dosha so that you can seek to find a greater balance between the constitutions. For instance, when there is too much grounding, you bring in more fire as a way of enhancing the uniqueness of you. So instead of taking elements of you away, you look for bringing more of another element into your life until each becomes a little more in line with the other. A return to wholeness that is already the essence of you.
I'm learning that instead of focusing on what I don't like or the stressful challenges presented to me, to explore what I want more of. Returning to the heart of what I desire and seeking it relentlessly. Becoming fierce. And like the flowers of offerings, looking for these desires to appear around corner with gratitude. 








Looking forward to connecting with my home community at the Love and Service Retreat in the new year. Will you join me to restore and refresh your spirit?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 23 / 365 Days of Gratitude

I have always loved writing hand written letters, snail mail. Growing up, I had an ongoing exchange with my Mamo, my dad's mother and artist until she passed away almost 10 years ago. I still miss those notes. They mostly talked of the weather, how she was feeling and what she was currently painting.

It truly makes me happy to brighten someone's day with a note of thanks. I have a project I've been at for almost a year, 365 Days of Gratitude Via Snail Mail to Extraordinarily Beautiful Souls. Check it out here.

Today, I am grateful to be a recipient of unexpected gratitude from author and friend, Chris Cander in her blog post. She wrote about her own experience here. It's touching. Take a moment to read it. Then, perhaps, write your own thank you note to someone who least expects it.




Friday, November 22, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 22 Surprises

Grateful for .... surprises! Students after class surprised me with a chocolate cheese cake- and most of all laughter and sweet friendship. (I'll spare you the photo in the big birthday hat!)

This #acroyoga class been a gift to me. Their dedication to play, to laughter, to learning has been a joy. I am so grateful to each one of you- for giving me the gift of your presence, your open heart, and desire to learn and grow. 

Thank you.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 21

They say it takes 21 days to make a habit and that feels about right. I wake up looking forward to what I might be grateful for each day.

Today I am grateful to all the many people who touch my children's lives in a positive way. Thank you for loving my kiddos and modeling character and integrity.

So many to list... but here are just a few: their dad; Vas and Raja, Chris Wright (son #2's teacher), All of son #1's middle school teachers; our family: Grandma & Paw Paw, Granddad, Aunt Kathy, Aunt Shelly & Uncle E, Uncle Craig & Aunt Tricia; son #2's doctors; piano teacher, TKD teacher, soccer coaches, and the bus monitors; mom squad: Ann, Debra M, Chin; all our many visitors who feel like our extended family.

I'm certain there are many many more. But these few interact with kids almost daily- or at least when we go home for special occasions. My heart overflows with gratitude.



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 20: I am (im)perfect

Grateful today for every little scar and freckle, bit of cellulite, nearsighted eyes in need of bifocals, bow legs, cavities in my teeth, and how one of my eyes squints a lot when I smile really big. 
Imperfections are just the map of a life lived fully. 
Freckles reveal the many fun days in the sunshine. Cellulite tells me how much I love coffee ice cream and chocolate bread pudding. My tired eyes remind me of how much I love to read. The bow legs that were never fixed by 14 years of ballet gave me a passion for movement and that led to teaching yoga today. My teeth are so white in spite of all the coffee I drink which makes up for the softness that give me cavities. And my squint reminds me that I love to laugh, and I want to do that more. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 19


Grateful to acknowledge that the more I learn, the less I really know. A philomath, I am constantly with a book in hands or podcast in my ears. I have 3 courses going on at once at the moment and while not able to complete any of them in a timely way, I find my mind eagerly soaking up everything from meditations, science, anatomy, philolophy, marketing, and an occasional fiction book .... Grateful today for this hunger to discover.

"Be patient toward all that is in solved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves." ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 18

“I realized, it is not the time that heals, 
but what we do within that time 
that creates positive change.Diane Dettmann

Grateful today for the positive changes I've made in my life over the past month. I'm discerning when it's best to wait and how to not react. 

Sometimes, I work so quickly and become so emotionally drawn in by others that I have to remember to step away for a while to choose the best response. And, sometimes the best reply is none at all. 

Gratitude Journal: Day 17

Grateful for my ex-husband. An amazing father,  generous man, and an exceptional partner in parenting. I feel a kind and gracious mutual support that allows our children to thrive. Thank you.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 16

Today I am grateful to all my teachers- everyone who enters my life is my teacher. 

*photo: Nicolai Bachan, The Path of The Yoga Sutras 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 15

Grateful to have the opportunity to read from one of my favorite authors, Shel Silverstein in son #2's class today and talk about what it means to love yourself and cultivate a positive attitude. I love silly poems :) 




Gratitude Journal: Day 14

Grateful for love notes from my boys.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 13 Life is better with YOU!

Grateful for all the loves in my life. My sons, my family, mentors, students, friends... I cannot imagine my life without the net of support I have and continue to receive.

Some days are better than other days
But these days life is better with you
Some days are better than other days
But these days life is better with you
Life is better



Gratitude journal: Day 12

Silliage, like a scent that lingers in the air or a trail that is left in the water, is the impression that abides after someone leaves. 
I am grateful for all the traces left behind by the many beautiful souls who have come to visit or stay with us over this past year. Your imprint remains. You are our family. Come again soon, yeah? 



Sunday, November 10, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 11

Grateful for those who serve our country, on Veterans Day. You are the brave among us. 
Veterans Day honors the men and women in our military who sacrifice their lives every day. What they give up to serve and protect our country is astounding. What they gain, I'm not sure I will ever fully comprehend. Other than I can imagine that it stems from wanting to make a difference in this crazy world. I can see the dignity and depth of honor they have in serving our country. Just typing those words gives me chills. Perhaps only those wiling to trade their life for service can understand this kind of pride.
With each Veteran encountered, I've observed an unspoken kinship among them. An inner-circle kind of knowing they have without uttering a word. And, if they choose to share their experiences, their courage in exposing their vulnerability, creates a profound empathy among them. There is an understanding of what was procured through their glories and what vanished because of their sacrifices, loneliness and atrocities. I am humbled in their presence. 

***
If you'd like to show gratitude in honor of a Veteran today, there is an organization, Expedition Balance that is using it's resources to teach yoga and meditation to Veterans. Your support lends healing to Vets with PTSD. 



Saturday, November 9, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 10

Andrew Wallace Smith
Born November 9, 2005
In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 


Gratitude for today in a love letter to him....

Six years ago, I entered a hospital room in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with an extra 32 pounds on my already thick frame. Ankles so swollen they resembled the stump-like shape of an elephant’s. I was told not to eat and given my first enema. Hours pass as the medication given to me began to be absorbed causing volcanic waves of pain throughout my body. I called for relief. After anumber of sticks into my spine, the IV went in. Still able to walk, I moved in slow shuffles circling the hospital’s white corridors. Fiercely independent, sensitive and not wanting to be coddled, I wasn’t good company. My husband, engrossed by football on the TV, checks on me periodically. Finally, the doctor, a Korean man with a lazy right eye arrives, and declares that it’s time.
He pulls on knee high galoshes, removes the end of the 3 part bed made for petite little Asian women and forces my feet into the cold stirrups. Long after the pain medication wore off, I hear the soft whaling of a baby’s cry. Tears stream down my cheeks and I can taste their saltiness as I kiss an angel’s soft, bloody head. The nurses quickly steal him away to bathe, weigh and check a myriad of medical things required. Then, a tidal wave of nausea hits as I lean over and vomit an orange eaten nearly 10 hours before the labor began.
So began my journey as mother of not one but 2 boys, my first born over 10 years ago in rural Arkansas. I’m constantly amazed at how different the boys are. I try to refrain from comparing them to each other, myself or their father, in hopes that they come into their own fullness: their own mistakes, personalities, dreams, and identities. Constantly labeled as a child, I struggled to break free from the pre-conceived character traits given to me by both my father and mother.
My father’s words replay in my head: “You never listen to my advise. You will never make it on your own as a single mom, just stay married.  You’re too sensitive. Your son is not responsible.” And, occasionally, he realizes how harsh his words are, and he reassures me that I am a good mother. I am. I am a good mom. I’m certain he’s said a million good, complimentary things to me. It’s just curious how I can’t recall them. One negative comment can erase a dozen good ones. My mind can be selective. Words pierce like needles in my veins that lead to my overly-sensitive soul.
My mother: “You can become anything you desire- Ms. America, even! You are magnificent…” all good and positive words expressed in an exaggerated manner. I realize now that the over-the-top encouragement was used as band aids for my mother’s own lack of love and connection she deprived of in her childhood.
There is a Sanskrit word, Vajra which literally means diamond. It’s said that having vajra wisdom is like being a diamond. It can be used to cut but nothing can cut or break it. In my own life, I desire this diamond like strength and yet crave the ability to draw from the wisdom of experience without comparison, break the legacy of my parents patterns of behavior, create new paths for myself, and a doorway of possibilities for my children.
“Vajra sees things as they are rather than seeing things with ego, which makes us opinionated, judgmental, and sarcastic. The challenge for vajra types is to pierce through the fear of intimacy and embody tenderness through being vulnerable and open. The Movement from the reasoning, intellectual doubter in the head to the clear sighted, vulnerable warrior of the heart is the transmutation of vajra from neurosis to sanity. The challenge is as always, to stop living life from the head, and to live life fully from the heart.” – Adi 
In a love letter written to son # 2 before he was born, I share my hopes, dreams, and how it felt with him growing large within me. In a love letter I wrote today, I share how I desire in the years to come, that he will see me as a mother who tried her best to give him the freedom to be uniquely his own and “live a life fully from the heart”.
I love watching him explore who he is and who he has the potential to be. Giving him room for the grief, relief, misery and joy that comes with the winding, often messy path of growing up is the invocation of motherhood.

As published on Elephant Journal, November, 2011.

Gratitude journal: Day 9

Learning to be astonished. 
"My work is loving the world.
 Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird — equal seekers of sweetness.

Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums. 
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
 
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
 Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? 

Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work,
 which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.
 
The phoebe, the delphinium. The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes, a mouth with which to give shouts of joy to the moth
and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam, telling them all,
over and over, how it is that we live forever.
"~
 Mary Oliver, The Messenger

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 8


“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” ~ Elbert Hubbard. 



Grateful today for the friendships of the magnificent women in my life. 

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.” ~ Linda Grayson ~ Let me amend this by adding that if they know what you love more than chocolate...and they share, now that's a good friend. (Where's the mango sticky rice?!)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 7

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Gratitude for today: My boys still want to build sandcastles, and they want me to play, too.  They're not too cool for it, yet. ;)


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 6

"Nothing can be more important than the way we think."~ Eknath Easwaran

I can choose my thoughts as if they were the sacred work of my heart and soul, because they are. Grateful today for the power of thought.


Gratitude journal: Day 5



As I get older, it's less about having enough, it's usually more about being enough. There are days that I trail off and reflect too deeply on the past. Did I do enough this or that?

Then there are days like today, when I ease up on myself, and allow the gratitude to pour in and out from every direction. 

Today I am grateful for enoughness. 


Monday, November 4, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 4

Grateful for the ocean. It reminds me that I am not in control (of anything). There is a bigger force at work. I might as well let go and be open to the flow rather than fight the tide.

“...hark, now hear the sailors cry, 
smell the sea, and feel the sky 
let your soul & spirit fly, into the mystic...” 

Sunset in Seminyak, Bali, 4 November 2013

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Gratitude Journal: Day 3

Son #2 handed me an early birthday gift: a rock. Today I'm grateful for rocks and the meaningful thought behind the gesture.  Collecting moments not things.

#boysareawesome

Gratitude Journal: Day 2




Here's a combined list of my gratitude with son #1 + 2's list...

Son #1
1.Vacation.
2. Football shoes, nice ones. They affect your playing. Seriously.
3. Living in Asia because it's cool and awesome. Everyone wants to know about the culture, and I get to share.
4. Having a family.
5. Weekends because I don't have school. But I do like lunchtime at school because it's fun. (sigh, from Mom. Ok, mom has some work to do here to change this perception.)
6. Breakfast. (Duh, growing teenager.)

Mom's list (aka, me):
1. Vacation with my son's.
2. My feet. I can walk, fly people, ride bikes, pick up things with my toes (impressing the kids)...
3. Living in Asia because it IS cool and awesome and enables me to show my boys that there is a whole, big, wide world out there and that they are blessed, oh so blessed.
4. Having a beautiful and supportive family.
5. Weekends because I get to play with the boys.
6. Coffee.

Son #2
1. Everything we have. And, everyone.

Well, that about sums it up. Youngest seems to be the wisest of the bunch.



Saturday, November 2, 2013

Gratitude journal: day 1



I find that gratitude grows everything. Appreciation through encouragement is the food of my soul. I don't need the approval of others in spite of my human cravings for it. In fact, I sometimes take the alternate route if I think others will think I'm seeking accolades or praise.
What I really want is to see other's shine. I believe that's what I've been called on this big earth to do: Enable others to see their own beauty and shine it big and bright by using their unique gifts and talents. Essentially paying it forward.
Because life right now is all about feeling enormous gratitude for simply being alive, doing what I love, knowing I'm loved and supported by close friends and living in sic a way that enables me to follow my passions, I'm embarking on 30 days of gratitude. Some days, I'll just be listing one thing, other days, many, and some days I may just be too busy feeling grateful that I miss posting about it! join me.
List away... and watch your heart swell with joy -- for you have far more to be grateful for than you think. Do it. Join me. and share your list.

grateful for:

1. dinner with a new friend while my son's play Uno over and over again so we can gab and support and listen and laugh.
2. listening to my favorite song, smiling knowing I will seethe artist live, oh so soon. (not sitting around. making sh#t happen.)
3. growing communities of retreats, one gorgeous person at a time.
4. wrestling, wading, watching and wiggling around with my boys.
5. Bali. incredible, magical and unexplainable Bali.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

peace is every step

Every morning you wake up to 24 brand new hours to live. It's a gift. Thich Nhat Hanh says that each moment there is an invitation to come back to the present moment and find peace and joy. There is "peace in every step".

According to Thich Nhat Hanh, here's how:  Smile when you wake up. Begin a practice of smiling. When you smile, you are dwelling in awareness and can approach the day with gentleness and understanding.

Then, practice conscious breathing. Say to yourself, I am breathing in. I am breathing out. Or, In. Out. Breath and mind will become peaceful and gentle.

It's so simple, and yet, I think we forget how much a smile can affect someone else. Try it. Smile at someone, for no reason. They will smile back.

Breathing is autonomic. Without air, you would only live seconds. And, yet we can change the quality of our breathing and our entire mood and posture can be lifted.

Making subtle changes to nourish my awareness each moment.


With gratitude to student and teacher, Yeshe Dolma for the book "Peace is Every Step".


How to stop running: Release your struggle and relax into the world.


“There is no need to search; achievement leads to nowhere. It makes no difference at all, so just be happy now! Love is the only reality of the world, because it is all One, you see. And the only laws are paradox, humor and change. There is no problem, never was, and never will be. Release your struggle, let go of your mind, throw away your concerns, and relax into the world. No need to resist life, just do your best. Open your eyes and see that you are far more than you imagine. You are the world, you are the universe; you are yourself and everyone else, too! It's all the marvelous Play of God. Wake up, regain your humor. Don't worry, just be happy. You are already free!” ~ Dan Millman

A friend told me recently to stop running... but I'm not. I'm quite settled, actually. I'm stepping into my self and what I love to do: teaching. That takes me to places some people may or may not ever get to see in their lifetime... and if it looks easy or busy or like I'm running, well, that's perception I suppose. Because life is sometimes hard more often than it is light and easy, I find myself waiting more than anything. Waiting for replies, waiting at airports- waiting more than being busy. I don't run anymore, either. I walk. Early. Because being late just makes me anxious.

There are days where I am shifting through figuring out what my "brand" of yoga is and how I can create a better connection to my students that will spark something transformative in them and still keep me inspired to teach.

On those days, I just keep coming back to myself. And, yes, as my friend told me, you have to learn to quiet the voices in your head that tell you that are you anything less than worthy. What helps quiet those voices are surrounding myself with people who push my buttons but also offer up support in a loving way. And, if you can figure out how to make me laugh and quit taking myself so seriously, bonus points.

“I think the only way to get through this life is laughing hard and constantly, mostly at myself.” ~ Shannon Hale

Our words and thoughts have so much power, don't you think? We can use them to build or destroy. If I have ever used them destructively, as we all do from time to time, it's been in a moment of complete loss of control triggered by fear.

So, thank you, friend, for teaching me that the world and relationships and life is often messy, and we have a choice in how we respond. Sometimes we just have to turn 180 degrees and walk, not run, in the direction of our own self and LIVE for we are already free.

May our hearts release all struggle and be filled with only love for ourselves and one another.


Autobiography

I took a sharp look
I took a long prowl
I questioned the serpent
I questioned the owl
I called up the mayor
I called on the sage
I tried reading Proust
I tried life on the stage
I went into therapy
I went out for sports
I suffered every ailment
from sniffles to warts
I went to the dogs
I went to the Pope
I climbed Annapurna
I fasted on dope
I dug up the desert
I delved in the sea
But nowhere I looked
could I recognize me

So eventually I
had to give up my plan
of escape to Siam
and accept myself here
just as I am

But it wasn’t easy

~ James Broughton

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

your soul senses the world that awaits you.

"We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started 
And know the place for the first time."
~ T.S. Eliot



For a long time, I've been repeating patterns. Reusing the same phrases and template for love and abundance over and over again only to awaken and find myself in the same damn hole. And, I have the nerve to ask how I got there? 
One day, we just awaken to our lives and realize: my god, what I have been looking for is right in front of me. It's been here all long, why oh why didn't I recognize it? Seize it? Jump on it and run away with it? 
Because what I was looking for requires change within me. Work. Effort. And, to do nothing, while painfully familiar, makes my soul cry out, why me? 
It's easy to do nothing. At least I know it. Nothing is familiar. Comforting, in a bazaar kind of way. It's like my favorite pilling, too small sweater. It gives me warmth but just doesn't quite look right on me. It fits but only because I'm forcing it to do so. 
Time to make radical shifts in my thinking in small increments. Change is cumulative just like compassion and laughter and hope is. One thing builds upon another and then, before you know it, the elephant before you has disappeared. Diminished entirely in the wake of the new habits created day by day by day. 
What needs to be pruned, changed, altered? Everything, I say which of course, isn't true. It just feels that way. Starting small. Just altering one thing at a time. Just one thing. Starting now.
Leaving sadness and sameness behind, my soul is thirsty for more for adventure, more joy. And, the fullness that I have found within me. 

For a New Beginning
In out of the way places of the heart
Where your thoughts never think to wander
This beginning has been quietly forming
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire
Feeling the emptiness grow inside you
Noticing how you willed yourself on
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the grey promises that sameness whispered
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.
~ John O'Donohue


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A hell of a good universe next door... let's go.



"A bouquet of clumsy words: you know that place between sleep and awake where you’re still dreaming but it’s slowly slipping? I wish we could feel like that more often. I also wish I could click my fingers three times and be transported to anywhere I like. I wish that people didn’t always say ‘just wondering’ when you both know there was a real reason behind them asking. And I wish I could get lost in the stars. Listen, there’s a hell of a good universe next door… Let’s go." ~E.E. Cummings

The sun peeks up over the hills and a slow, thick mist is hanging over the water. It's time to rise for early morning practice but the stillness that surrounds me keeps me under my dew covered blanket to reflect. 

I've found that while retreat location is elemental and significant,  it's the people that make it. I simply cannot replicate the atmosphere and energy that each unique person brings to a retreat even when I venture to the same location time after time. 

There is, however, something awakening and transformative about Thailand and Asia overall as a retreat destination. When your journey's end is challenging to get to, it's a commitment to voyage there. For those coming half a globe away, 24 traveling hours brings a sense of acceptance or resistance. Once arrived, if you can let go of the resistance and allow the flow of the experience to take you into the fabric of the culture, the magic begins.

It is the genius of the location when it transports you to another time and place in your being. It might remind you of where you've been in years past, a bit like déjà vu or be completely and uncomfortably unfamiliar. So much so that you realize you left your world behind with all the comforts of home and familiar haunts. 
If you saw her in these moments, you might think she was collecting her thoughts in order to go forward. But I see it another way: Her mind is being overwhelmed by two processes that must simultaneously proceed at full steam. One is to deal with and live in the present world. The other is to re-experience and mourn something that happened long ago. It is as though her lightness pulls her toward heaven, but the extra gravity around her keeps her earthbound.~ Steve Martin, The Pleasure of My Company
Finding the perfect ingredients for escape, healing and uncovering what you didn't know you desired in a place where time seems to stand still. There is only now, this moment. The luxury of time and simplicity whispers in your soul... be still. And your expectations melt away while all your senses come alive to the tastes, exotic colors and unusual alluring smells. 

In the quiet spaces, this setting simultaneously reminds you of everything  you've ever wanted to forget about home and everything at home you're grateful for. It whispers how you can live with less. Life can be simpler. Here, in the world's largest continent, the Internet spotty at best. All homes do not have air con and toilets, and toilet paper is still a luxury in some parts of this world. Everything and nothing is perfect. Drive for perfection begins to drop away layer by layer as you learn to be comfortable without what you once felt was essential and important. 
"You’ll ache. And you’re going to love it. It will crush you. And you’re still going to love all of it. Doesn’t it sound lovely beyond belief?" ~Ernest Hemingway, The Garden of Eden
World view expands, and you begin to see people and colors beyond your visual range. You feel infinite as time pauses. Just when you embrace a rainbow of experience, in this magical setting, it's time to journey onward. 

Going home, you feel free again and a new acceptance and appreciation for your past and future blooms in the rebirth. 

Retreat with me:


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

love in make-believe


“Until we have seen someone's darkness, we don't really know who they are. Until we have forgiven someone's darkness, we don't really know what love is.” ― Marianne Williamson

Cried this morning when I read this quote because isn't it so that we cannot see the beauty in others until we can recognize it in ourselves?

And, on the other side of that same token, we cannot be free, fully free to love without strings attached, unless we acknowledge that we are all broken, cracked and rough around the edges in some way. Our perfect little imperfections make us both prone to incredible blunders and to hugely wonderful things.

Focusing on to their darkness as a reason to not forgive that person doesn't allow genuine love to surface.

Without forgiveness it's just love in make-believe.

Monday, September 2, 2013

it begins and ends with love




Everything, absolutely everything is from the vantage point of our own filter or lens through which we see ourselves, our life and those around us.


"We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are."
~ The Talmud


We perceive things and forget to step back and view the entire picture. It's like the scene in Ferris Bueller's Day off where they hop around Chicago seeing all the famous sites, including a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago. Cameron stands, viewing the Impressionist work of A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat. Through pointillism, the arrangement of dots form shadows and light and characters and nature and beauty. All at once he feels like he is apart of something greater as if he were in the composition containing a seemingly infinite number of dots of color.



Just like the mind blends color to form an object, our minds blend our circumstances to reveal one thing. If we step closer and even closer it reveals the secrets and misunderstandings and the hidden images that make up the whole of the masterpiece.

You and I are made up of the sum of our experiences and when we look at people at their face value rather than the radiance just underneath their mask, we're tempted to make false assumptions, jump to conclusion or assume things about them that perhaps aren't true.

My job is to remain pliable as I gather new and better information that enables me to see the entire painting. Can I allow my perception to change and harness judgements? Moment my moment, perhaps.

Judgement is the thief of compassion, just like comparison is the thief of happiness. In the end, every dot, every work of art, every human healing begins and ends with love. It's the journey of a lifetime that extends beyond my comprehension.



And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
void,
likeness, image of
mystery,
I felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind.
~ Pablo Neruda

Monday, August 26, 2013

Laughing at the sky



"I wanted strength, and I received difficulties to make me strong.
I wanted wisdom, and I received problems to solve.
I wanted prosperity, and I received a brain and brawn to work.
I wanted courage, and I received danger to overcome.
I wanted love, and I received troubled people to help.
I wanted favors, and I received opportunities.
I received nothing I wanted, but I received everything I needed."

~ Hazrat Inayat Khan

In January, I claimed this the year of happiness, damn it. In reality, it's been the year of radical acceptance and transformation. 


Doing Deepak Chopra's 21 days of meditation, hearing day 18's message was like peeling off dead skin from a sunburn before it was ready to come off. I can feel the skin underneath, red and raw but then after a day or so my body adapts and the old and new skin appears one and the same. 

Titled "Miraculous Independence", the mantra for that day was "All I seek is within". In other words, the love we're seeking is already within us. It's ironic that I know this and still to hear it this particular time in this exact way was so earth shaking. Sometimes I have to hear a message over and over for it to penetrate my soul. 

This is worth repeating: all you desire is already in you. Wholeness doesn't come from another person or thing or with someone doing your work for you. You are already complete. 

Healing happens when I begin to see and treat myself as if I were the most precious being on the planet. Because I am. And, so are you. So what's holding you back from taking flight, precious one other than the obstacles that you perceive to be in the way?

With inbox at 650 messages and over 150 unread, I sit to pick my way through what is urgent and what is not. I pass quickly over an email that I flagged a while back from a dear friend and author who often sends me a note of encouragement. Here is what she shared about struggles and transformation that inspires me to continue to fly, this time minus the sunburn effect. I openly receive everything I need. 


"One day a small opening appeared in a cocoon.  A man sat and watched the new butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole.  Then it seemed to stop making any progress.  It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no further.  So the man decided to help the butterfly, he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily.  But is had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.  The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body which would contract in time.  Neither happened.  In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings it never was able to fly. 
What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were Nature’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon. Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life.  If we all went through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us.  We would not be as strong as what we could have been.  We would never be able to fly."




Thursday, May 30, 2013

Is What You Want Worth the Wait?

All this yogic talk about being "in the flow of life" or allowing "The Universe" to provide or reading into everything as a sign to "let go" (aka quit) has me a little annoyed.

Yes. I certainly believe it's easier to ride the flow of life than to row upstream. However, I'm seeing this "in the flow" talk being used as an excuse to take the path of least resistance. 

Be willing to wait. Wait.

There is something to be said about the passage of time and the experience you gain because of just plain old practice, hard work, sweat and patience. Instant gratification is instantly gone. Working toward a longing or goal that takes not only effort but the passage of time has a sweetness to it that you can only taste after a period of time. Certainly not right away. 

It's a balance of intuition, letting go, focus, vigorous effort and self restraint. 

Dig in and wait. 

What's your hurry?

Good things will come.