Another year has rolled past and for me it was at times a painfully slow roll. It reminded me of a class in college almost 25 years ago. The professor was a mild mannered, aging hippy; complete with ponytail tied, not with a rubber band, but a piece of old leather cording. I was a geology major and just as granola as the professor. He was very knowledgeable and the cadence of the class, stratigraphy, was on par with how long it to for the strata we looked at to have morphed from sand to stone.
The classes and field trips were well planned and enjoyed by most. (As I am sure, dear reader, you are aware that there are always a few humans who need to complain no matter what.) Anyway, about two weeks into classes, as we were learning about the law of superposition, our quiet peaceful professor suddenly turned from the chalk board (yes, there were chalkboards in college-that’s how old I am) and began a rant about his ex wife, loudly, emphatically with gesticulations and maybe spittle.
Then just as fast as it began, it was over and he turned back to the chalk board continuing the lesson as if the whole diatribe never happened. Clearly he was a catastrophist! A uniforitarian would never exploded like that!
These outbursts happened randomly in every class I had with this professor. Initially it was shocking- was he crazy? A few screws loose? Overtime we adjusted to it and it became a normal part of his classroom experience.
The effusive eruptions didn’t make him a bad teacher, on the contrary it showed depth, a story- more than meets the eye. He wasn’t just an aging hippy teaching a bunch of ungrateful kids. This man had a life, hopes, fears, dreams. The outbursts were breadcrumbs leading the inquisitive on down the path of human experience just as the eruptions of pain and confusion I encountered this past year, were breadcrumbs leading me deeper into the mystery of my deteriorating health.
By following the trail, patterns began to emerge; both with my health and the life of my professor. Allowing a patience to settle over me- I am able to see more clearly into the patterns of detail. By pausing and stepping back, becoming the witness, I can see the forest through the trees, blossoming with awareness.
The shifting moods, subtle yet complex, were easily noticed by anyone paying attention. My professor suffered from bouts of depression and anxiety. The outbursts were his coping mechanisms when not wanting to take meds; a full release of energy- and a prompt return to normal.
Was there a clue here for me? My confusion, tremors and other symptoms had to be breadcrumbs leading me to the path of healing. I only needed the patience to persevere and not play the victim to my heath. With the belief firmly established that healing begins within, I used these random outbursts of bizarre symptoms to discover the patterns.
If the pattern of trees makes a forest then my pattern of symptoms would lead to a diagnosis. So like any good geologist, I got out my field notebook and began sketching out the layers of life that were impacting or being impacted by my symptoms.
It’s amazing that it takes catastrophe to look at the stratigraphy of our lives . Where is the fault? Where have we allowed the pressure to build to the breaking point. Where can we find small moments of release as to not completely shake loose our moorings later?
These insights along the rocky shore of healing has led me towards deeper inner wisdom and a softening of spirit. Patience, it seems, has been born of cleaving layers of sediment crashing through me. What else can you do with tremors, but ride them out, knowing this too shall pass and calm will be restored once again.
And in the calm lies stillness and elucidation; for from the pressure of living comes forth the diamond clarity of truth – all of life is an ebb and flow of pain, joy, suffering and love; leaving traces of each story to become fossilized in memory.
And in the calm, what I discovered classifying my pain and suffering was a pattern of excess and scarcity. It is between these two extremes a balance can be found. Overdoing it, taking on too much leads me down a path of deterioration. Doing too little leads to stagnation and eventually down the same path of deterioration.
However when conditions hover in the sweet spot between the two extremes; this yields a slow yet steady pace, allowing for the unexpected & reveling in its mystique. Set backs are no longer boulders blocking my way, but a chance to meander creatively around my inner space getting a fresh view, creating new neural pathways.
When we can witness our story, layer built upon layer, lessons and meaning emerge from the patterns. We can learn from our past, adjusting our patterns to create a path of fertile soil which holds within it the sediment of our memory, allowing for new growth and experience to ripple through our lives.
Wishing you a peaceful 2023.
Inner Wisdom Meditation
What if we were able to view our struggles as Grace?
I know that might seem like a crazy question to ask. You may be thinking “How could she ask me to look at my struggles my pain, my suffering as grace?”
…and 15 years ago, I would have agreed with you.
My perspective has shifted. It did not happen overnight but through a process shedding the ideas, beliefs and constructs I had learned to believe about who I actually am.
From where I’m standing now I can look back at every perceived struggle, every bit of pain and suffering; whether it was spiritual, physical or mental, and see it has been Grace. Every decision I’ve made for good or ill has led me down the path my soul required I walk in order to learn the lessons needed in this lifetime; to live with an open heart and not one filled with fear.
When I release the need to view my struggles through the eyes of victim-hood, and instead, the through the eyes of a student being guided by a master teacher, I am better able to release my attachment to outcomes and remove my expectations from situations of which I have no control over; moving through my days in a state of flow, not constriction.
In doing this, I am also better able to forgive others. When we forgive ourselves for misguided judgment it becomes easier to forgive others. We learn that we are not perfect and neither is anyone else. We are each learning day by day, moment by moment, breath by breath.
I am not the person I was yesterday. You are not the same person you were last week . Each new choice opens us to the pure potentiality of our experience.
We begin to hold ourselves and others to a standard of GRACE, not perfection.
Since we usually tend to focus on what we put in our bodies, I thought I would share a little about being mindful of what we put on our bodies.
The health and beauty industry thrives on promises to remove cellulite, wrinkles, blemishes, etc… But at what cost to our health and that of the environment. Numerous ingredients in cosmetics, shampoos, and lotions contain possible toxic and carcinogenic ingredients. In addition, some exfoliators, which contain tiny plastic beads, are polluting our lakes, rivers and oceans.
The majority of these beauty products are packaged in plastic as well. Plastic is cheap and convenient. As we all know, plastics containing BPA and other harmful chemicals are used routinely for beauty products. Actually, some organic and natural products use plastic packaging.
It seems almost impossible to get away from using plastic. We have eliminated quite a bit in our house, but feel the little we have is too much.
Hence learning to make my own products. I strictly use glass or cosmetic-grade metal containers, which are reusable.
It is also more cost effective to make things like lip balm and body butter. You can buy a pound of raw Shea Butter for less than the total cost of the product(s) that contain only a small amount of the Shea Butter. The next time you are in the store, take a look at the unit price of your favorite face cream, then take look at the ingredients. I guarantee you are over-paying for your 2 ounces of serum that contains barely 1/2 ounce of argan oil. You are paying for packaging and the label.
Not into making your own products but want peace of mind knowing you are getting a product that is safe for you and the environment?
Check out Environmental Working Group to see how your current products rank as far as ingredients goes and maybe you’ll find a healthier alternative for you and the Earth.
Also check out Grove Collaborative for reduced plastic and more sustainable options. We love their products and the special seasonal options!
Being mindful of what we put on (and in) our bodies allows us to not only take better care of ourselves but of our loved ones and the environment.
For more information on plastic pollution follow link: