I go within to the place of sacred stillness where time no longer exists and in the space behind space, in the pause of my breath, I meet you in divine silence, merging into oneness, touching the infinite, lost in love. ~𝖪𝖬𝖲
I realized today that I had yet to write an entire blog post since December 30th. I wondered for a moment how that could have happened when I set up reminders to write at least once a week. Clearly, I have been ignoring my reminders. It did not take too much pondering to figure out what happened to my almost consistent schedule.
I slow down even more in the winter. Lazy evenings curled up with a good book -I’ve managed six since January 1st! An even mix of fiction and non-fiction that kept me hooked. The last book I read, This is Your Mind on Plants by Michael Pollen, was not what I expected. I thoroughly enjoy this discourse on how particular chemicals in plants have the ability to alter our lives for good or ill. The section regarding caffeine was delightfully engaging, to say the least. Pollen’s comments on the evolution of plants are very thought-provoking and make one wonder if humans are as innovative or advanced as we like to think. I highly recommend picking up this best-selling tome. Now in-between books, trying to decide what to read next as I am waiting for a book to call to me, as one always does.
Meanwhile, while I deliberate whether I dive into fiction or non, hubby and I are watching some binge-worthy tv. Our obsession is Shrinking and Ted Lasso, and both shows share writer Brett Goldstein who also plays foul-mouthed Roy Kent on Lasso. Of course, my favorite character! The show is delightful, and Jason Sudeikis is a trip to watch. We could all learn a little from his character. The empathy and kindness shown in moments of upheaval allow us to see there is always a higher path from which to act. The writers brilliantly move through topics such as divorce, anxiety, and coming to terms with one’s flaws in a way that touches the heart and tickles the funny bone. Yes – I have cried in every episode, usually followed by laughter that brings tears to my eyes. We are very much looking forward to season 3 only a month away!
W.B. DROPS BY FOR A VISIT
Anyway, I set aside time each weekend for writing, but recently, my friend writer’s block decided to visit. This used to frustrate me to no end, and I would attempt to force words to flow. Of course, this approach doesn’t work with words or life. We cannot force anything to happen and expect a pleasant outcome. Everything in its own time.
I sit at my laptop bright and early Sunday mornings, intent on bringing to life a new meditation, blog post, or next chapter of one of the two books I am working on. Sometimes I manage one sentence and find myself stuck. When this happens now, I walk away. If I continue to attempt to write well-developed content, it usually sounds choppy without any flow. Thus, it becomes an emotionless diatribe that begs to be deleted.
The other conundrum that precludes me from keeping a consistent schedule is migraines. It is impossible to think, let alone scribe a meaningful paragraph when your skull is throbbing, and there is a sensation of spiders crawling across the brain, not to mention the crazy visual disturbances and cognition issues. I am lucky if I can spell my name.
So I no longer set goals or deadlines. When things happen, they happen. I choose not to view myself as the victim of my health. Although challenging, my condition has allowed me to have patience and become more in tune with my body, mind, and spirit. If not for the migraines, I would not have found this path, which includes meditation, reiki, and yoga.
The relationship between my illness and path is not one of cause and effect; these aspects arise mutually when viewed from a witness perspective. It sounds cliche to insist that we discover our strengths through our weaknesses, yet it is profoundly true. Hardships arise when we are called to express our authentic truth. Do we have the wherewithal to open ourselves to the possibility of self-forgiveness and growth? Can we stand aside from our bias and see the situation from all sides, dropping the act of victimhood and taking responsibility for our choices and life path?
The things we want to bury and look away from become stepping stones to freedom if we muster the courage to face them head-on. It comes down to how we choose to deal with fear. I do not believe that FEAR is false evidence appearing real. FEAR is real. It is an evolutionary trait that assists in keeping us safe from harm. The problem lies in allowing fear to develop into anxiety. When we turn away from the fear instead of exploring it from a safe space, we can unwittingly encourage it to transform into debilitating stress and anxiety. Please do not think you should go at this alone. Talk to a trusted friend or therapist about your fears and learn how to shift your perspective toward transformation instead of stagnation. Fear can be used as a catalyst for change in the correct set and setting.
Remember, everyone experiences setbacks, anxiety, and fear at some point. Our human existence is a tapestry of emotion and experience uniquely our own yet shared by all. Again, by reminding myself of this interconnectedness, I can extricate myself from my thoughts and feelings, creating space for growth and understanding which invites me to live a more conscious life.
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.
a thing intended; an aim or plan. “she was full of good intentions”
2. MEDICINE; the healing process of a wound.
I have realized that the power of intention can dynamically impact your life, but never more so than in these last couple of months. I have experienced a tremendous energy shift due to my intentions. Over the next month, I will share how setting an intention daily has opened me to new experiences and opportunities and how intention can help you shift not only your perspective but your life.
Now a little about the first definition of intention, and in the next blog post, we will take a look at the concept of intention as medicine and its healing effects.
Merriam-Webster defines intention as a determination to act in a certain way; what one intends to do or bring about; and the object for which a prayer, mass, or pious act is offered. Most are familiar with setting an intention, but how does it work?
Manifesting intention has to do with the power of thought. Our thoughts are energy, and every thought we have puts energy into the world, gently influencing the nature of existence and our view of reality.
Here is a simple example. We have all woken up grumpy at some point and decided it would be a miserable day; everything that can go wrong does go wrong kind of day…. that is intention in action. Our first thoughts in the morning set the tone for the entire day.
I am far from a morning person. Yet, I recognize that it will be miserable if I am grumpy every morning because I have to get up earlier than I would like to get to work on time. Grumpy mornings lead to grumpy commutes and gloomy work days, which turn into weeks and years. Is that really how I want my life to be? Complaints every day because I have to wake up at 5:15?
Do you know what to do? We make a CONSCIOUS CHOICE to be grateful every morning. If we wake up, AWESOME, that means we are still alive! YAY! BE GRATEFUL! That simple.
Waking up grateful does not ensure a pleasant day, but it is the first step to realizing we can INTEND how our day will go. You can try it for a week. As soon as you wake up, before you get out of bed, be grateful for something. Say, “I am grateful for _________.”
Want a simple suggestion to start with? Try “I am grateful for my breath.” Notice if this allows you to be more mindful of your breath during the day. Do you find yourself breathing more deeply, more diaphragmatic breathing?
Take note of any subtle shift in awareness that may occur.
…and I’ll be back to see how you did and tell you how setting an intention in the morning changed my life in 1 short month! Until then…..
Today we will take some time to think about “the fool’s” journey through life. This theme is represented in literature with works such as “the Epic of Gilgamesh” and ”Alice in Wonderland,” among many others. Joseph Campbell, an American writer and professor, described it as the archetypal hero story. These themes are prevalent in our lives as we grow from child to adolescent to adult, gaining insight and experience along the way. We begin our journey as the uneducated novice (infant) bound in pure awareness, with no sense of self – hence, the fool. Our modern language has negative connotations associated with the word FOOL; however, when examined through experience, we see that societal trappings and norms unencumber the fool. The fool experiences life in all its splendor, tasting experience for what it is. There is no shame, no guilt – only pure being. As babies, we have no sense of self (as in self-consciousness); purely instinctual beings. Our whole experience is based upon survival- cry to be fed, changed, consoled. All our energy is concentrated in the root chakra. As we grow, we develop a sense of separation, of otherness. It is at this point our energy moves into the sacral chakra. We experience the partition based on sex and slowly become aware of the power sex and sexual identification has in our lives. Like the fool/hero on the journey, we must come to understand that power is limited, controlling, and lacking Love. If our karma in this life allows, we move into the third chakra, some of us developing a stable sense of self, or we become lost in the anxiety of trying to fit in. Most people are living through the energy of the lower 3 Chakras. Progress moving the energy upwards becomes difficult due to our physical plane of existence constantly telling us we need more to be happy, loved, and fit in. Beings stuck here are trapped by instant gratification-always seeking outside of themselves. The fool/hero, however, can move beyond the physical plane of power after some time. This shift can happen gradually, or some trauma can rend open the heart instantly, allowing the experience of the power of unconditional Love. This subtle energy will enable us to bridge the gap between the lower and upper chakras. This Love can assist us further on our foolish yet heroic journey. It allows us to see the world for what is in pure Love. It invites gracious speech and action and opens our intuition to allow a depth of understanding: everything is exactly as it should be every moment. This is the most difficult pill to swallow. War, greed, and suffering are all intrinsic parts of human existence, and they are the opposite side of the coin of Love, compassion, and empathy. At a point in history, we began to see everything as duality (Eve eating the apple/Gilgamesh and Enkidu), and we lost the pure taste of awareness. Those whose karma is ripening for awakening feel the “something not quite right” in how we are told to experience life. The fool’s/hero’s journey is never straight, and it is a crooked path with many missteps and falls along the way. Take time to look at your life from the perspective of storytelling. Can you identify early life moments where energy stagnated in the lower chakras? In working with these ideas, we must remember that we are most likely not fully awakening in this go-round, and we are the fool – just beginning to open our eyes to the light of truth. This is a journey of many lifetimes, unpredictable and long. With this realization, which cannot be intellectualized, we begin to see the face of god in everyone we meet. No one is better than us, no one less than us. All god, all one; All beings are moving toward the light in their way, in their own time. The person that cut you off on the highway is god; the megalomaniac, hell-bent on persecuting other beings, is also god. It is all energy in form and all one. Ram Dass says, “ it is all grist for the mill.” Everything we meet is the path. Namaste