today trascendence

FullSizeRender

“You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.” – Eckhart Tolle

Our anger, pain, and our sadness is fleeting. Our bad moods are fleeting. These emotional states often have such a grip on our hearts. But they are not who we are. We are the observer, the witness, the one that notices the rollercoaster of emotions.We are along for the ride.

These emotions, they come and go like a dense fog rolling into view and limiting our visibility only to later be burned off by the warming sun. And when the fog eventually lifts as it always does, a more sparkly, clearer, and truer sky is revealed.

Our souls are not fleeting. At the core of our beings, no matter what turmoil is going on around us, we are pure magnificence. Compassionate. Genuine. Loving. Light.

Even in death our light shines like a million shooting stars showering down on the earth blanketing those we love with a glowing embrace.

We are together in this. Our hearts, our souls at the deepest level are the same. We are one.

“In the end there are three things that matter. How well we’ve lived. How well we’ve loved. How well we’ve learned to let go.” – Jack Kornfield

We as human beings have this amazing capacity to be reborn at breakfast…everyday this is a new day, who will I be today? – Jack Kornfield

 

 

 

Advertisements

Life is but a dream

 

Life is but a dream…

Row Row Row Your Boat. I sang this to my baby girl today. And she smiled. Such a bright light. A bright light drowning out the noise.

The sadness, the horror, the violence. I bet the mamas of those slain men sang them this same song when they were babies. When their eyes shone bright with innocence, purity, and trust. Like all of us moms, they had dreams for their children, the loves of their lives, the pulse of their worlds, that they would grow up to be happy, healthy, and safe. Certainly alive.

They can’t drown out the noise. They don’t have the option to do so like I do.

We eventually go to bed because we have to sleep. We shut our eyes from pure exhaustion. For a moment in the morning we think we have been spared, that the nightmare from the day before was exactly that, a scary dream. Or it was actually someone else that it happened to. Which doesn’t make it anymore terrible and heartbreaking but it doesn’t impact your every breath in the same way.

You have survivor’s guilt but you bargain with the powers that be that you will behave differently, will be more giving, more helpful to everyone. You won’t talk shit about anyone anymore. You will not take one minute for granted. You are so thankful.

If only you could go back ,you think, and do things a tad bit differently. Kept a better eye on them. Kept them on the phone a bit longer. Not have let them go there. Told them to be careful. Told them you loved them louder and more often. But you don’t want them to live life being fearful of their every move. That is no way to live. We are free for fuck’s sake. This is the land of the free and the home of the brave after all.

But it is not your fault. You know that.

After a few very brief moments, the pit in your stomach is there again and it’s growing all the way up to your throat. You feel like you could throw up or you want to go back to sleep but of course you can’t. You want to numb it, take something, drink something, feel something else. Anything but this. Please G-d, anything but this. It has to be a mistake. It feels so surreal. Like you are just going through the motions.

Everything is different. Everything is tainted. You will never be the same. This is not a dream. This is real. This is very real.

People who pray will pray. People who paint will paint. Many will talk. Many will cry. Many will help. Many will not. Many will post to Facebook. Most don’t know what to do. Those of us who write will write. Because we can’t just sit here and do nothing. We don’t want to be insensitive. We don’t know if it is our place to say something, do anything, because we can’t possibly imagine what it is like. What they are going through.  We were spared, we are so grateful. This time.

It will be in the news, it will be everywhere. Constantly. Until it isn’t. Until the next horrific event happens. Until the initial shock and devastation is a little less raw. A wound. A scab. A scar.

Some reach out, some hide, some can’t take it. Some say helpful things. Some say annoying things.

For a moment there is something that gives you a glimmer of hope. Again. A glimmer of hope and peace. A view of the big picture. We can’t know, we aren’t meant to understand. We will do better. But then the light goes out. Again. And it happens again. Again. Again. Again.

We say ENOUGH! Or NO MORE! OR shout something else. But nothing changes. Or does it? Is it changing? We just keep being asked time and time again to come together and love each other more, and let things go more. To be more compassionate.

We can protest. We can lead with our hearts. We can sign petitions and write letters. We can speak the truth. We can volunteer. We can raise money. We can speak from our hearts, from our fears and insecurities. We can give voice to what we really think. We can talk honestly with one another. With our neighbors, our in-laws, our friends, those who are similar and those who are different, our bosses, people that intimidate us, our kids.

But more than anything, we have to stop being fearful. Because we don’t want to live being fearful.

This is the land of the free and the home of the brave.

But until we are all brave, we won’t all be free.

melodius

IMG_2165-1

There is Love in holding, and there is Love in letting go.”  –  Elizabeth Berg

“To see thee more clearly. Love thee more dearly. Follow thee more nearly, day by day.”  

This morning I woke to a sleeping house. What a rare and amazing gift! My husband was already awake and meditating so I decided to join him. Lord knows I need it.

We sat on the floor of our dusky bedroom while tiny dust particles mingled with the determined morning light. *We listened to the sweet subtle voice on my husband’s phone  as birds chirped along in the background. The gentle voice guided us to name our feelings.

Anger, anger, frustration, disappointment, anger, fear, sadness. And then…identify any sensations you are feeling and where you are feeling them...warm, warm, hot, hot, face, tight, stomach, throat, bubble, tight, tight, TIGHT!

By repeating the name of the sensation, the sensation itself starts to melt, losing its hold, losing its power and making room for more space. The sensation, neither good or bad, just is and often goes as quickly as it comes.

But first, it needs acknowledgement. Not judgement or understanding, just acknowledgement.

Then we soften because we allow. We feel it. Even if it stings and hurts.

Much like getting stuck in an undertow while swimming in the ocean, when we swim against the current, we lose our strength. But when we swim with the current, we find our breath and are able to let go and stay afloat.

We breathe. We flow. We keep going. We must keep going.

After my daughter left for camp today, I drove my son to his camp, and then took my baby girl to a coffeehouse I hadn’t been to in over a year. I went there yesterday too and then went back again today because it is just that warm and welcoming inside.

I felt comforted just by being there. Maybe even held. And as I was about to leave, I made a new friend.

She told me I was her hero when I said I had 3 kids. After telling me that she was a social worker with two kids who started her own business helping developmentally challenged adults and is also currently getting her Master of Arts in Psychology, I told her she was my hero! I could feel courage, confidence, and kindness emanating from her like the beaming sun.

Then we hugged. Twice.

Joy Joy Joy. Warmth. Grateful. Heart. Heart. Happy.

I’m not sure I would have had the space in my heart for joy, gratitude, and a new friend had I not allowed the anger and sadness the space to just be first.

We breathe. We flow. We keep going. We must keep going.

*We used the app for our phone Calm: Mediate and relax with guided mindfulness meditation for stress reduction at http://www.calm.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a way to be here

GardeniaFullSizeRender-8

“It’s clear to me that a crisis like this requires us not even to think of G-d. Like the writer says, to go beyond thinking. Into a place of forgetting, even. Maybe even beyond creating, receiving, aligning. Maybe this sort of crisis requires the individual to unlayer down to our most true naked nature. Where there is just the beating of the heart. And the breath. Held by love.” – Laura Munson from This is not the Story You Think it is.

Yoga.

What I like most about yoga is this: My teacher’s soft voice like a lullaby.

And the sound of her feet sticking to the floor as she moves generously from student to student dropping lavender oil on our palms. I can’t help but hope she comes over and presses those healing hands onto my shoulders in savasana, melting the stress away with her alchemy and warmth.

In those moments, I am reminded of what it feels like to be a little girl, safe and secure as the adults work magic around you. Drifting off to sleep, you can hear them talk in hushed voices in the room down the hall. My dad is there too; big, soft palms gently caressing my face, putting me to sleep.

It works every time.

I like feeling stretched out like a lazy cat laying in the sun. Like there is more space between my shoulder blades and rib cage. I like feeling like there is room to breathe.Like I just grew three inches in length.

I like that my neck no longer feels stiff and my hamstrings no longer tight.

I like that when I am drowsily rolling up my yoga mat, the one that has a big bite mark on the side from when my rambunctious puppy ate it 3 years ago, that I feel like I have visited my therapist as well as the spa.

I like that yoga is a reset button so even if I had Heathbar Crunch yogurt yesterday and afterwards, I may just have a piece of pumpkin bread, I am still detoxifying and exercising now.

I like it best when my teacher says, “Find a way to be here.” Because sometimes here really hurts. Especially when attempting a split. But there is always a way to be here.

Find a way to be here. I repeat this to myself today in class as I smell the gardenia, and the lemongrass and ginger. Find a way to be here, I think, when here feels like my heart is breaking. Find a way to be here, I think, even when here is tight and chaotic. Find a way to be here, I think, choosing to pick a new narrator of my story because anxiety is no longer welcome.

But the soft ocean waves of others breathing as it rolls in and out around me, inviting in light, softness, authenticity, and grace certainly is.

This is the way to be here, through breath, through our beautiful breath that whispers to us, also in a hushed voice, that we are whole, and never truly broken.

But, are you happy now?

photo-1422327571285-01fb2ebc228f

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the now the primary focus of your life.”  – Eckhart Tolle 

Sometimes when I find myself ruminating about the future and existing in fear of the unknown, I remember this story.

My brother and my son are good friends. Once when he was visiting and my son was about 6, the two of them had a little heart to heart. My brother was telling him how sad he felt that he had to leave later that day.

That is when my son looked at him, and with his coffee colored eyes, said, “But are you happy now?”

 

 

the choices we make

IMG_1030

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” – Haruki Marukami

I learn something new every day.

Many days, it is the same lesson in disguise. Over and over again. I think I will be learning it for the rest of my life.

The lesson is this: We create our own reality. We choose how to share our energy within this reality and what thoughts and actions we want to focus on next.

I don’t mean that we make shitty things happen. Sometimes really bad things happen, and it is completely out of our control. It is simply not our fault.

Some people believe that nothing is random. But there is just too much sorrow and extreme suffering in the world for me to believe this exactly.

I do believe however, that no matter what happens, something good can come from it.

We choose what we want to believe.

And it may take a long time to arrive at this place. And it may take a lot of conscious practice. This is, after all, not an easy task especially when bombarded constantly by grim news.

While I was in college studying abroad on a program called Semester at Sea, I had the opportunity to visit The Peace Memorial in Hiroshima. There, where the atomic bomb caused such vast devastation that nothing grew for decades, were now proud trees and smiling children taking photographs with tourists, many of them American.

Inspired by the true story of a young Japanese girl named Sadako, colorful handmade paper cranes symbolized prayers for hope and peace. The story tells us that even while Sadako was dying from cancer, she folded hundreds of origami cranes in an effort to turn her attention towards praying for personal healing and the healing of the world. And with every crane, she made the brave decision to move toward hope and not away from it.

When coping with harrowing circumstances, it is as if we have been split open and the contents come spilling out, sometimes against our will. We may feel like we have little control over our feelings, thoughts, and reactions.

But turning toward our difficulties, not away from them, is what enables us to make the next thoughtful choice.

We also then become more empathetic to the fragility of the human condition. Maybe then we are more inclined to access the wellspring of compassion that lives deep within our hearts softening into our reality.

I have to admit, I get frustrated with people often. Sometimes I stew in this. But after awhile, I choose to believe that we are all trying to do the best we can with what we have been given. And the time between the stewing and compassion is becoming perhaps a tiny bit shorter which is helpful!

Because of the hardships that we endure as humans, our resilience grows and our souls bloom. We can also use these opportunities to become more aware of who we are; our values, what motivates us, and what we need to feel our best. We learn to honor our innate wisdom, surround ourselves with supportive people whom we can trust, and persevere by attempting to find meaning in our struggles.

And always we get to choose what to think and do next.

Fortunately, there are many people who have showed us the way. These uplifting stories are about ordinary people who choose to focus on the solution and not the problem, on the bright side instead of succumbing only to darkness…even though there is nothing wrong with the darkness, and it is an important place to pause from time to time.

Recently, I saw a story about a man who opened up the only store in his neighborhood in New Orleans. There had been no redevelopment there since Katrina. Not one single business. But this kind and determined soul literally spent all of his retirement money on opening a convenient store to help out his neighbors.

Along with selling the essentials there, he provides perhaps something far greater; a sense of community, respect, and hope where there had been little since the storm.

His choice was born from love. He chose to believe in abundance, not scarcity and made a courageous decision without knowing if he would ever be able to save the kind of money he had before.

I am always reminded that I too have a choice as to what to do next when yearning for things to be different than they are.

For example, when I am missing my dad, I am greeted with the eternal knowing that, more powerful than the sadness, is my desire to honor him and bring what I loved about his generous spirit to life.

So I envision what it was like to be in the same room as him. What stands out to me is that he profoundly appreciated the little things; the colorful hibiscus in the backyard, a gin and tonic at the end of the day, hanging with family, the celery in the tuna fish my brother-in-law made, and taking friends from the East Coast to beautiful spots in Arizona for a “50 cent tour.”

He never talked about the potency of living in the moment and looking for the silver lining. He just lived it.

So this morning when I found my tweezers in the car after declaring that someone had most definitely come into the house (again) at night and taken them, I celebrated as if I had won the lottery.

And why not celebrate?

We can always try, as hard as it may sometimes feel, to find something, even if it is one little insignificant thing, to be grateful for. This has become something of a mantra for me.

And these moments inspire other opportunities for gratitude to arise because gratitude begets gratitude. For a brief spell, we may even get to reside in the space of feeling thankful for all of it.

Because there is beauty and potential even when we feel there is none.

And while our genes are powerful and our circumstances heavily influence who we are, what we choose to tell ourselves is equally as important to our well – being.

Being human is the whole enchilada…the whole messy enchilada.

None of us have it totally figured out. And contrary to what we see on social media, no one is happy all of the time. No one is perfect. No one escapes loss. Or disappointment. Or failure.

But here we are.

And still we have choices to make.

Because this is our one beautiful, messy reality.

love note for nature

trialing light sunset

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

I believe that what you sing to the clouds
will rain upon you when your sun, has gone away” – Michael Franti

Recently I committed to doing what I love, not because I am good at it, but just because it brings me joy.

I am not a poet, and I know it. I am scared of criticism and others thinking, “What the Fu#@ is she talking about?”

But I am going to share this poem anyway.

Because I wrote it a few weeks ago after a blissful walk with my dog in the throes of peace and gratitude.

My hope is that maybe it will inspire you too…not necessarily to write poetry, although, that would be great, but to risk making an arse out of yourself for something you love.

My friend Lori reminded me recently that it is better to try and to fail, than to ignore that which we have been wanting to do but haven’t, because of the fear associated with it.

This is a thank you note to the beauty in nature that always leaves me feeling supported, seen, cared for, and a part of something big, beautiful, and mysterious.

 

The long low hoot of a morning Dove

The sky – a robin egg blue

or the color of a jacket and skirt my Nana wore

I run my hands along the clouds

dipping my finger tips in a cool pool on a hot summer day.

 

Squirrels playing hide and go seek; jumping, leaping

from branch to branch.

A red cardinal glancing at me through the window

dappled light shining on his bold, bright feathers

bearing witness to my pain.

His presence, his peace, guiding me

letting me know I am never alone

there is always someone

or something

loving us in every moment.

This, is how we enter the world

and this is how we leave.

 

The gentle rhythm of palm fronds swaying sleepily

dreamily in the wild wind.

The fleeting sunrise and sunset

limitless

a mysterious ballet with swirling purples, pinks, and creamsicle-colored

silky ribbons held in the sticky hand of a joy-filled child.

 

The sun’s rays breaking out behind a cloud – stretching wider and brighter

with welcoming arms of warmth and kindness

embracing those who pause long enough to notice

the wispy, white-winged angels.

 

The moon; big, bright, and yellow

rising over our Earth

like vanilla flavored birthday cake.

At night, the freckles of light

flicker on the water

diamonds dancing, sparkling with truth

as the phosphorescence

in the dark wet sand

like stars, wink

underneath my feet

lighting the way – a magical, gem-strewn path before me.

 

A dolphin; smooth and gray gliding under the waves wearing a smile

always a smile

swimming fast, faster

playfully birthing hope, tears, and life.

A seagull’s cry on the cliff overlooking the thunderous waters.

 

The smell of damp leaf-covered earth

on a raw chilled-to-the-bone morning.

A canopy of Sycamores overhead.

 

Monarch butterflies flying

like pieces of stained glass

under a witch’s spell

tickling my shoulders.

The twigs and leaves of eucalyptus trees

with their heavenly smell – clean, crisp, pure

perfect air

they are my saving grace.

 

One can hear the butterflies – listen –

their wings singing, undulating, flapping freely

without a care in the world.

Sage, rosemary, basil

healing, soothing, purifying

earthy, and sun-drenched.

 

I place the succulent leaves to my nose

inhaling slowly and deeply

coveting the blessed reprieve

from stifled, suffocated, shoebox air.

 

The fragrance of frangipanies, of gardenias

and jasmine

intoxicating

and uplifting,

promising spring

an evening filled with laughter and a tingly buzz.

Brightly colored paper lanterns

swaying to the sounds of Spanish guitar.

 

I hike up a mountain to the summit blanketed in white.

I walk by a bee and a bear

by the crater filled with ice

by the house with the barking dog running

back and forth in his yard with an invisible fence.

While Maple leaves float about like dancing sprites in skirts of red, orange and yellow.

 

The stroll in the glittery new fallen snow

a mint in my mouth

leaves me feeling cool headed and warm-hearted

for the first time in a long while.

 

I wait for a kiss under a Dogwood tree

as it showers the pavement below

with pink – purple confetti.

 

The sanctuary of the beach

the temple of the trees

the sunrise on a strangers face

nature is how I understand

and relate to God.

 

The cycles of the seasons,

day break and night fall,

elephants

leaf-cutter ants

monkeys, bamboo

tide pools, rocks, shells, and sea glass

thank you for showing up here.

I relish the abundant gifts of diversity, simplicity, and majesty.

 

Thank you Nature for the gentle nudges

and signs,

for the rain,

and the plentiful flowers and weeds

fruits, roots, and vegetables.

 

Sometimes I fear you

but always I have faith in you.

I will do my best to trust my intuition

and this journey

to love others unconditionally

and to be present for you

in your sorrow and triumph.

 

Thank you Nature for the reminders to be

and to share joy

simply because we are alive

and we matter and how we live matters.

We are valued because we exist.

 

We are all connected

an intricate tapestry, an essential web,

an integral part

of the family of things.

 

For more inspiration…copy and paste this link to watch Alanis Morissette’s lovely video, Big Sur. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyNUeVkzKYU