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Posts tagged ‘Mindfulness’

Self + Heart, Sacred Space

“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted.” – Jack Kerouac

“For one moment, try to not to get to a place. To not busy your mind + self with things to achieve, or decorate your walls. For one moment, try, to arrive with nothing in your pockets, no shoes on your feet, with only your body, + breath to rely.” – Sarah Blondin

We think we have infinite time with finite choices. Flip it. We have finite time with infinite choices. No more yesterdays, only today to grasp, embrace, honor and to set the stage for tomorrow. This moment alone, the fullness, all the colors and awareness of its depth.

Will you see it or will you let it pass you by on the way to somewhere else?

Will you be a spectator or participant?

Will you accept or reject?

Depart for a moment from the minefield of your racing thoughts. Breathe deeply. Fill your lungs. Release and let the pressure dissipate. Awaken all senses to this moment. Let your thoughts go, pausing to bring you back to equilibrium, to center.

Make your life sacred by immersing yourself in moments, suspended in mid-air of possibility, anchored in light. Do not leave this place until you embrace gratitude and feel the magnitude and immensity of being held by God. A holy, reverent reckoning and unexplainable ease.

When you arrive, you have just found grace. Hold onto it long enough to remember that it is always present. Let it soak into your being. It is not reserved for others. It is a gift for all. Given freely. No counting, no comparing, no scorekeeping. A river that flows softly on the surface and powerfully in the current beneath, it remains. A force to be reckoned with when it is recognized.

Suspend and detach from your thoughts, assumptions, judgments, worry, regret and fear to make space for love, forgiveness, joy, trust, gratitude, wonder and awe woven in the sacred ordinary. Take your hands off the wheel of the bike and steer from your core – heart, soul, spirit. Releasing from the mechanics and transactions to the magic and miracle of ordinary days.

“Scale mountains. Revel at the moon. Kneel at the foot of ancient trunks. Seek wisdom. Find kinship + holy teachers. Offer love to both, sour + soft living things. Roll precious stones in your palm. Carry clost to you, the quill of an owl. Burn the threads of flagrant grasses. Do what brings you closest to feeling the weight of goodness pressing up against you. But the most noble thing you can ever do is come to be a student of your own Self + heart.” – Sarah Blondin

Created and Erased

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.” – John Burroughs

“A Sankara is an impression made on the mind by our experiences in the world. These impressions color the way we see reality and can cut us off from clear awareness. When we observe nature, we can see these impressions being created and erased. All is restored, refreshed, and made new when we practice.” – Matthew DeRubertis

We pray for knowing rather than patience;
To be understood rather than to understand;
The finish line rather than the start and middle;
Holding tight to our stories to define us and others;
The past and future rather than the present;
Certainty rather than mystery.

Nature pulls us out of ourselves to see the expanse, immensity and sheer beauty of place, the gift of creation. Get into nature to observe and absorb what is being created and erased, restored and refreshed. Journey within to follow suit, to clear a new path, to broaden perspective, to create and erase, restore and refresh. Deeper and longer.

Expand rather than contract;
Wait with joy;
Listen for understanding rather than response;
Be kind to self so you can extend it to others;
Create a new narrative;
Finish the story, rather than the story finishing you;
Paint colorful strokes on the blank canvas of the day;
Embrace the mystery of living fully in the present.

Created, erased, restored, refreshed. Made new.

“There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.” – Lord Byron

Field Trip

“Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.” – Buddha

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” – Buddha

On our daily trip to the dog park yesterday, the girls and I wandered outside of the fenced area to the open field to wander through the maze of frozen cattails. The girls took off as fast and when they realized that they were out of my sight, they would loop back to check on me and to make sure that they still had permission to take the “field” trip. Permission granted with a smile and wave.

With great abandon, weaving, exploring, dancing, flying, all senses in play and at play.

Today is the first day of the week, the first day of the month and marks the meteorological spring. On the cusp of a new season, change is becoming more apparent. Change is always happening but it takes attention and awareness to see it, to enter it with joy and abandon. Each day is a blank slate, a white canvas to fill with colors.

This morning upon waking, I began writing an email in my head as I planned the activities for the day. After five minutes, I stopped the swirl and returned to the field yesterday with gratitude for a beautiful weekend and plans for a glorious day ahead. When we observe our thoughts, what field trip that they are taking us on and decide if we want to take the trip, we can break old patterns, stale reactions and respond with intention and attention to transformation and metanoia, a change of heart resulting in a change in way of life.

You write your own permission slip daily. Stop asking others for permission. Stop making excuses. No past. No future. Just now. What will you do and where will you go on your field trip today?

“To share out your soul freely, that is what metanoia (a change of mind, or repentance) really refers to: a mental product of love. A change of mind, or love for the undemonstrable. And you throw off every conceptual cloak of self-defense, you give up the fleshly resistance of your ego. Repentance has nothing to do with self-regarding sorrow for legal transgressions. It is an ecstatic erotic self-emptying. A change of mind about the mode of thinking and being.”― Christos Yannaras, Variations on the Song of Songs

To Live Again

“The flower is the poetry of reproduction. It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life.” – Jean Giraudoux

“Music comes from an icicle as it melts, to live again as spring water.” – Henry Williamson

Spring is in the air, if only but for a moment. After two weeks of way below zero temperatures, we are getting two days of 40 degrees, a glimpse of the next season, a sneak preview in February. The slow melt of snow to water, ice to puddles, skating rinks returning to lakes. While the cold air of winter lingers, the sun and longer days take center stage to remind us of the certainty of seasons.

Glimpses, beams and threads are woven into the fabric of each day to pull us through winters, delays and desert time. Gifts of hope, inviting and guiding us beneath the surface of the obvious, beyond the oblivious and rush of mere activity into the deep waters of gratitude, grace and awe.

Examine, observe and absorb the sheer beauty in the petals of a flower, revealing complexity and simplicity in creation, in a single moment.

Winter is sure to return to finish its job, offering its final gifts of quiet preparation and dormancy to prepare for the emergence and awakening of spring bud and bloom. Open the gifts of each season, make each day holy with open arms and a grateful heart.

“The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring.” – Bernard Williams

Steep

“A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“Tea time is a chance to slow down, pull back and appreciate our surroundings.” – Letitia Baldrige

It’s going to break into the teens today and 20s this weekend. After two weeks of below zero temps, 20s will be balmy. Dog parking, snowshoeing and running will commence today with a deeper gratitude and appreciation for the outdoors.

The past year of a pandemic, weeks of below zero and weather extremes across the country have steeped us like teabags in hot water. It’s been long enough, the tea leaves have dissipated in the water, there’s no flavor left, pull us out already. The tea is dark and strong.

Our timing and God’s timing are rarely in sync, and God is always on time. While steeped and stuck in the hot water, in the desert and winters of life, rather than longing to be pulled out already, perhaps the answer lies in us listening quietly, observing with rapt attention and opening up our being to receive the cues, clues and signs that we are surrounded with in this present moment.

We have had a combination bootcamp/master class this year in self-awareness and gratitude, the first ingredients to empathy and transformation – the ability to go outside ourselves and see our connectedness to others, awakening to our shared path and grateful for what already is present. Rather than pass hard and fast on the left in a rush to what’s next and new, we can move alongside each other and continue our journey together on our journey to return home to authentic self and becoming.

The only way to the other side is right through the middle. Not around or about but through. We fritter away a lot of time looking for shortcuts and loopholes rather than do the root work of seed germination that’s required to break ground, unfold into bud and burst into beautiful bloom.

Do not forgo this time. Go deep until the tea bag has expended all the flavor into the water. Steep and when it’s time, savor.

Listen, Learn, Change

“I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.” – Larry King

For years, I have inconsistently practiced Julia Cameron’s method of Morning Pages– three pages of writing each morning to gain clarity, to center and unravel thoughts. I started doing them consistently for the past year and it has proven to be a worthy investment of 10-20 minutes each day.

She just released her 40th book The Listening Path, The Creative Art of Attention and it came in the mail yesterday. Her basic tools are still the same that she uses in her workshops and that began with her book 25 years ago – The Artist’s Way – Morning Pages, Artists Dates and Walks. When something works, stick with it. Keep it simple, repeat, unfold.

“With Morning Pages, we serve as a witness to our own experience, listening to ourselves each morning and thus clearing the way for further listening throughout the day. With Artist Dates, we listen to the youthful part of ourselves who craves adventure and is full of interesting ideas. And with Walks, we listen to both our environment and to what might be called our higher power or higher self,” states Cameron. “Focused on conscious listening, we become aware of a listening path: a path grounded in what we hear. When we listen, we are led spiritually. Listening for emerging truth, we become increasingly true to ourselves. Honesty becomes our currency. We are given a glimpse of our souls.”

Create rituals, non-negotiable daily practices and habits to hone your attention skills and expand your perspective. Listen. Learn. Change. Always growing, going deeper, returning home to self.

“We can change the world if we change ourselves. We just need to get hold of the old patterns of thinking and dealing with things and start listening to our inner voices and trusting our own superpowers.” – Nina Hagen

A Bit Longer

“Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.” – Henry Ward Beecher.

“Whether we like it or not, God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want.” – C.S.Lewis.

When I went into the kitchen to get my water with lemon and coffee to start the day, one of the stems of my amaryllis plant with three blooming flowers had broken overnight, holding on by a thread and laying to the side of the pot. I cut the thread that remained away from the bulb, filled a crystal pitcher and promptly put the stem in the water to see if I could hold on a bit longer to the full bloom. When it withers and has its full time, I will discard it, but for now I’ll linger in gratitude of the beauty that is available to me now.

Flowers, music, art, quiet time, reflection are simple ways to foster a sense of gratitude, deepen awareness of the present moment. We have an accurate count of what is missing in our life, perhaps even an inflated one. Focusing on the depth of the valleys, we forego the height of the mountains that exist along side concurrently.

We discard and dismiss, racing off to what we think will want, only to be disappointed when we arrive to our destination and it is not what we thought it would be. It is impossible to find happiness outside of self.  It is the root, the start and the end. Embrace the present in deep gratitude and awareness while glancing to the future filled with hope and anticipation. The past, our circumstances, other people are out of the realm of our control. Our attitude and outlook is ours alone.

Lyrics from Kathy Mattea’s song Standing Knee Deep In A River sums it up well – “knee deep in a river, dying from thirst.”

“Why I ever let them go…
They roll by just like water, and I guess we never learn.
We go through life, parched and empty
Standin’ knee deep in a river, and dying of thirst…”

Root each day and every day in gratitude. Knee deep in a river, overflowing in abundance and satisfied with now. Capture and take full account of both blessings and burdens, valleys and the mountains. Stay a bit longer in gratitude, steeped in the present moment.

Mirrors and Souls

“You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.” George Bernard Shaw

Look into the mirror first before pointing it at others. Deep into your own eyes, beyond the surface of being judge, prosecutor and jury, to your very soul, with kindness and understanding. Quiet the critic and advice-giver to gently examine and fully observe your whole life, blessings and burdens, progress and detours, full inventory. Gratitude over griping.

Criticism has never grown a flower. Light, dark, nature, nurture, water, patience and time are the ingredients for full bloom.

“Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.” – Thomas Carlyle

When you have gone beyond the surface of the mirror through the door of your eyes to your soul, you are prepared to hold up a mirror for, not at, others to show them their own soul and light within. That is the purpose and the gift of the mirror.

Self-awareness, self-acceptance and love are the roots of empathy, healing and purpose. This individual lifetime journey will transform the world as we each discover our interconnectedness, the “we” beyond the “me,” the “us” and not the “other,” our similarities and the beauty in our differences.

Mirror and soul work – light the candle, be the mirror.

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” – Edith Wharton

Stewardship

“Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.” – Marcus Aurelius

“In the time one is given, the steward must make the most of the talents one is given by the Lord.” – Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

Pause.
Allow the river of life to wash over you;
Wander over race;
Observe over absorb;
Float over flail;
Gently hold over clenched fist;
Flow over upstream;
A net catching only what is necessary, releasing what cannot be held.

Shift.
Control to influence;
Map to compass;
Questioning to intuition;
Ownership to stewardship;
What we steward is cast forward, multiplied, remains through time.

Accept.
Cool water in the desert;
Blessings woven in burdens;
Depth beneath the surface;
Less becomes more;

What we grip, binds;
What we hold, embraces.

Steward your time, gifts, talents well;
Time is flowing, make the most of this life.

“Time is the substance from which I am made. Time is a river which carries me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger that devours me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire.” – Jorge Luis Borges

It is What it is

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness.” – John Keats

We are creatures who thrive on control and certainty. The past year has been filled with uncertainty and chaos. Lately, I hear a lot of people say “it is what it is,” a statement of acceptance, a prompt to let go of what’s not in our control. Some circumstances, other people, a pandemic, the past belong in this “bucket.” However, our attitude, thoughts, actions, reactions and perspective are not in this bucket. We have agency over these and should not “surrender” to mere acceptance and resignation.

As I look at the date today when I began writing, I realize that we are coming up on the one-year of the pandemic becoming part of the world’s everyday reality. I also realize that it’s in the backdrop for me, not the forefront. The distribution of the vaccine is in the forefront, promising hope and anticipation of getting to the other side of the pandemic and not returning to pre-pandemic times but to a new and even better tomorrow.

We are not there yet to be sure and many have lost loved ones the past year so we are amidst the grieving and trauma of what the pandemic has left in its wake. The dailyness of “pandemic” living has also taken it’s toll. Moving through grief and trauma, whether it be a pandemic or other life altering event, is the only way to the other side.

Daily rituals can expand “it is what it is” thinking to include anticipation of “what’s possible.” My strategies over the past year that have helped me move the pandemic to the backdrop rather than the forefront include training for a marathon, exercising, writing daily, going to the dog park with the girls and meditation/prayer using Insight Timer.

On Insight Timer this morning, I decided to listen to a Ted-Talk by Dr. James S. Gordon founder of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine on Fulfilling Trauma’s Hidden Promise. It is a compelling talk that offers strategies from a psychiatrist, which I am not so I highly recommend taking 20 minutes to listen. Optimism is a strategy and fuel for living that can break patterns that bind. Creativity and meditation are conduits to healing and joy.

“Trauma comes to all of us, and its consequences can be terrible. The good news is that all of us can use tools of self-awareness and self-care to heal our trauma and, indeed, to become healthier and more whole than we’ve ever been.”― James S. Gordon, The Transformation: Discovering Wholeness and Healing After Trauma

There is good news to be found in each day. Pursue it. Each of us are the authors of our own life, so choose the “pen” of hope, faith, anticipation and light to write a beautiful narrative and happy ending.

 

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