Thursday, December 22, 2011

We Birth the Light




I who am the beauty of the green earth
And the white moon among the stars
And the mysteries of the waters,
I call upon your soul to arise and come unto me.
For I am the soul of nature that gives life to the universe.
From Me all things proceed and unto Me they must return.
Let my worship be in the heart that rejoices, for behold-
All acts of love and pleasure are My rituals.
Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion,
Honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.
And you who seek to know Me, know that your
Seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless
You know the Mystery:
For if that which you seek, you find not within yourself,
You will never find it without.
For behold, I have been with you from the beginning,
And I am that which is attained at the end of desire.

* * * * * * * * * 
Starhawk's Charge of the Goddess
from The Spiral Dance
* * * * * * * * * 

Happy Solstice!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Got Needs?

Bee and flower ~ both getting their needs met.


For the past several months I have been in the relationship classroom of this ongoing soul college curriculum that has become my life.    In order to gain some clarity on this subject ~ and to improve upon my understanding of what has been missing (especially given the mixed messages from my family of origin) ~ I've done a lot of research.

Here's a valuable list I found just this week.  I am compelled to share it with you.


Basic Needs in Relationships

The need for good will from others.

The need for emotional support.

The need to be heard by the other and to be responded to with respect and acceptance.

The need to have your own view, even if others have a different view.

The need to have your feelings and experience acknowledged as real.

The need to receive a sincere apology for any jokes or actions you find offensive.

The need for clear, honest, and informative answers to questions about what affects you.

The need for freedom from accusation, interrogation, and blame.

The need to live free from criticism and judgement.

The need for encouragement.

The need for freedom from emotional and physical threat.

The need for freedom from angry outburst and rage.

The need for freedom from labels which devalue you.

The need to be respectfully asked rather than ordered.

The need to have your final decisions accepted.

The need for privacy at times.


from eqi.org



Based on your own experience, is there anything you would add to the list?



I wish happy, healthy relationships for all of us, in which our needs are gently nourished and sustained.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Tree and Me



Who asks the tree...

How much will you grow next year?
Have you decided what color your leaves will be?

And what about lightning?
Aren't you afraid of getting struck?

You'd better check to make sure your insurance policy is up to date!

Do you need more coverage against global warming?

Hey, will your seeds bear fruit?
How far will your roots spread?

You'd better drink more water.

And look, that tree over there is growing taller than you!
It's leaves are a deeper orange.
What's wrong???

No.

The tree IS the tree
It can be nothing else

The divine energy of the cosmos
fills its cells

just like mine

It illuminates life
or not

And we accept that
as the cycle of life

We see its splendor
eat its fruit
seek refuge in its shade
burn it for heat

never lamenting what it is not

never berating it for not being more


How is it that you
trust the tree

to just BE

but not
me?



September 2011
Journal Entry

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Following Bliss



"If you follow your bliss,
 you put yourself on a kind of track 
that has been there all the while, 
waiting for you,
and the life that you ought to be living 
is the one you are living. 
Wherever you are—if you are following your bliss, 
you are enjoying that refreshment, 
that life within you, 
all the time."
~Joseph Campbell

Monday, July 4, 2011

Liberation



Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu
OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti


May all beings everywhere
Be happy and free
And may the thoughts, words, and actions
In my own life
Contribute in some way
To that happiness
And to that freedom
For all.

OM Peace, Peace, Peace

* * * 

As long as space endures
As long as sentient beings remain
May I too abide
And dispel the miseries of the world

~Shantideva

* * * 

Until my last breath,
I will practice compassion.

~H. H. the 14th Dalai Lama

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

No Place Large Enough To Contain It




So Much Happiness

It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to
pick up,
something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs
or change.

But happiness floats.
It doesn't need you to hold it down.
It doesn't need anything.
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing,
and disappears when it wants to.
You are happy either way.
Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house
and now live over a quarry of noise and dust
cannot make you unhappy.
Everything has a life of its own,
it too could wake up filled with possibilities
of coffee cake and ripe peaches,
and love even the floor which needs to be swept,
the soiled linens and scratched records...

Since there is no place large enough
to contain so much happiness,
you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you
into everything you touch.   You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit
for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it,
and in that way, be known.


~Naomi Shihab Nye

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Birthday Love

Today is the 44th anniversary of my birth.  It is a magical day of celebration and reflective gratitude.  With this past week's infusion of amazing Summer Solstice energy, I am still riding a wave of bliss that carries me delightfully through my days.

Three weeks ago, when I drove up to Lakeside, I listened to an oldie but goodie CD in the car.....
"The Touched By An Angel" soundtrack!  (I *loved* that show!)

I had forgotten the array of wonderful songs on the album, especially those pertaining to the theme of LOVE.

Indeed, LOVE is something about which I am learning and experiencing a great deal lately ~ on many levels.  There appears to be some radical love infusion coming into my life and, at times, my heart is bursting so wide open that I am brought to the verge of tears.

If there is one gift you could give me for my birthday, it would be for you to find a copy of this book and read it.  Chapter Seven is one of the most profound descriptions I have ever encountered on what it truly means to say the we ARE love.    It is the eternal essence of our being.

Here are some excerpts:

"Somehow we must begin to recognize that we live now and eternally as love.  I believe we are in this world only to learn and teach love.  The lengths of our assignments vary, but what each of us gives and is given is the same:  love....


As long as our bodies are alive, our job is to use them as a means of extending love in a form that others can recognize and receive.


We love another when we see that our interests are not separate.  This is always a union of higher minds and not an alliance of egos...


When we are giving true love, our concern is not with our own or anyone else's behavior.  We feel natural because we recognize that love is our natural state.  We are not aware of limitations.  We don't question the possibility of devotion, and we are not preoccupied with time.  We are only conscious of now and all it contains.  When we are extending love, we are free and at peace.  Attitudinal Healing shows us how to allow ourselves to experience this kind of love ~ the only love that is eternal."




Now, if you'll indulge me, here are some tunes from the soundtrack!  ENJOY!  :-)





Sunday, June 26, 2011

This Pilgrim Journey

Here we must deal with awe, fascination, and terror,
with ignorance, shot through with the lightning of certainty,
and with feelings of exuberance, love, and bliss...

~Francis Huxley


"In each of us dwells a pilgrim.  It is the part of us that longs to have direct contact with the sacred.  We will travel halfway around the world and endure great sacrifice and pain to enter the sanctuary, whether it is a temple, shrine, cemetery, or library.  
This is the way that is no way, but a practice...

Your practice is your path.
"The Way is uncontrived," as Lao Tzu said.
It is simply the way of seeing,
the way of hearing,
the way of touching,
the way of walking,
the way of being,
with humility."

~Phil Cousineau
in The Art of Pilgrimage


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Sun Dance



"Our sun our star that shines so bright
that gives us life, that brings us light
tonight we celebrate your name
tonight to dance with you we came
from near and far, from east and west,
from north and south, and what is best
is that we bring ourselves to thee
to give and take in harmony
your blessings on this holy night
in gold, in light, in truth, and right.

You shine upon us, golden bright
you shine in day, you shine in night,
and our hearts reflect your shine
true golden hearts be yours, and mine.

True golden hearts, true golden mind,
true golden body all combined,
now ready to make work and love,
empowered by our star above,
our center, our immortal soul,
that holds us safe and makes us whole,
our center, heart and soul of gold,
our riches, powers, love untold

And as the sun shines on our land
so do we fully understand
that each of us is born a star
a sun is who we really are
a sun that blesses, shines so clear
brings life and love to far and near

So let us celebrate the sun
so let us step into the sun
so let us draw the power of the sun

and now the sun dance has begun ..."

~StarFields




Happy Solstice!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Life on the Lake ~ Bugs*

*This post is for Gail. :)


Lest you think it's all fun and games up here at the summer cottage on Lake Erie...

Please allow me to introduce you to two of the extreme annoyances of being here this time of year.

Muffleheads

Thankfully they don't sting or bite.  But they are everywhere.  And, when they decay in large numbers, they stink.  They are attracted to light, so if you want to read at night, it's best to do so under the covers with a book light!  (Seriously, if you've got a light on, they will find their way inside and hover on the ceiling above you.)

Last week I made the mistake of hanging my clothes out on the line to dry.  (Silly me!)  I laid down for nap and, when I woke up, looked out the back window and saw this....



These two items weren't the worst.  My denim capris were *absolutely* covered (think swarm of bees) with muffleheads!!!   It was the point at which I almost had my first meltdown of being here.  I was torn between crying and throwing up.  And was subsequently thrashing around the side yard beating my clothes against the picnic table to get rid of them.   All thoughts of nonviolence escaped me.

Later that day I made a trip into town for groceries.  I realize yet another 'note to self' mistake ~ in that I had left my car windows down a bit for temperature's sake.  The muffleheads had gotten into my car and died en masse in the back window.  (Luckily, I remembered a car wash with a high-powered vacuum was on my way into town!)

You can read more about muffleheads here.

And be sure to check out this amazing photo of them swarming overhead.  We saw similar groups on our trip through the nearby Marblehead Quarry the night I arrived.


Mayflies (aka Canadian Soldiers)

They arrived in Lakeside last week.  One lady who called to book a reservation literally changed her mind when she found out the Mayflies were here.  They can be *that* bad.

Also harmless, they hatch out of the Lake and cling to every available surface.  They are much larger than muffleheads and have wings attached to a worm-like body.  They too are attracted to light and will die in large numbers around street lamps, eventually causing a noxious odor.


Mayflies on outside of the building where I work.

They crunch when you walk on them.  And the ground/streets actually get slippery with their remains as people trod on and cars roll over their carcasses.

You can read more about Mayflies here.

* * *

Jealous yet?  :-D



As a professed Nature lover, I am trying my best to accept this unique ecosystem and honor its importance to the bigger picture that connects us all.

Still...I have my moments of just being totally grossed out!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Revolutionize Your Soul


One of my favorite tunes from Susan Tedeschi...



And some local Lakefront chalk art. :)



Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dreamtime Visitors



For the past two nights I have been awakened by the sound of pyrotechnics going off just down the street.  Firecrackers, bottle rockets, Roman candles....you name it...they're letting 'em sizzle and fly.  It's been in the 1230am-1am time frame, just when I'm fast asleep.

Last night's episode went on for quite a while and I had trouble falling back to sleep.  The fear gremlin (there are a myriad of new mysterious sounds in the night here) was getting the best of me.  And I could swear I heard something fluttering back and forth up in the ceiling above my bed ~ and then something much larger crawling down the side of the house past my bedroom window.

Eventually, I gave up and just pulled the covers over my head in order to feel safe and get back to sleep.

Then the dreams came...

They were very active and vivid.  A large bear came into the cottage (through my bedroom window, no less) and, although it was not threatening to harm me, was cause for great alarm!

In addition, there was an adult fox with two baby foxes running around the place.  Like the bear, they did not seem intent on hurting me and appeared to just be frolicking about.

Nonetheless, in the dream, I called for help.  Though none came.

The dream continued to unfold in other ways that were equally bizarre and remarkable.  Whew!
I was kind of glad to wake up, actually!

Early this morning, on my way out the door for work I grabbed my Medicine Cards book.  I don't recall having ever dreamed about either animal before and wanted to gain some insight into the significance of their appearance in my nighttime visions.

And, just like Blue Heron last week, these two animal guides have some intriguing and relevant wisdom to impart:

Bear represents INTROSPECTION and "In Silence Is Knowing".
Read more about bear's message here.

Fox, on the other hand, brings the message of CAMOUFLAGE and ONENESS WITH ALL.
A description of fox's qualities can be found here.

As I adjust to living alone in this house by the lake, I am grateful for the presence of these Animal Spirits.  I feel even more connected to All That Is and 'seen' by the Universe with each guide gift that comes my way (even if they are during weird dreams of interrupted sleep!)

I know of no better place to embrace and live out the power of Bear and Fox than right where I am.  What peace!

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Gift from Great Spirit

"An inch of surprise 
leads to a mile of gratefulness."

~Brother David Steindl-Rast


Saturday evening I engaged in a long-standing ritual of walking along the lakefront down to the dock to take in the evening's sights and sounds and perhaps catch the sunset.  That simple but profound process is a huge part of what connects me to this place ~ and often what those of us who love it here recall during times of strife, when relaxation is needed or harsh winter days make dreams of summer warmth seem very far away.

I encountered friendly people, an array of dogs, lovely flowers, and familiar houses, trees, rocks, benches, and more.  I stopped to ponder briefly at the bench and tree near the pavilion that were established in memory of my father 20+ years ago.

Then I proceeded out onto the dock, where I could see groups of people gathered around taking photos and chatting.  Suddenly, this magnificent sight appeared:


There it was ~ right in front of me ~ a majestic Blue Heron!

In all my years of coming here, I do not ever recall seeing one perched on the edge of the dock like this.  It was very tame and hung out for a long time ~ waiting for a nearby fisherman to throw it some extra food.  Smart bird.

It walked a bit up and down ~ even turning from side to side as if to say, "Here, take another picture of this side."  If folks got too close, it would flap its wings and fly a bit further out, resting in a less-busy section.  It tolerated all manner of onlookers.  One boy caught a Goby and left it on the cement.  The Heron quickly walked over and scooped it up.


I lingered quite a while, soaking in the mystery and magic of close communion with such an amazing bird.  I noticed its variety of textures and colors.  I looked into its eyes.  I watched its topnotch flutter in the breeze.  In those moments, the rest of the world fell away and I was fully present in communion with Great Spirit.  I felt a powerful sense of having been blessed by this incredible opportunity.


Of course, when I returned to the cottage, I immediately went to investigate the significance of Great Blue Heron medicine.  And...as usual...I marveled at the relevant meaning of its appearance.

Role = PeaceMaker

Lesson = balance between relating and standing alone

Element = Air/Water

Wind = East...Peace and Illumination

Medicine = Uniqueness

Keywords =

~ability to stand alone
~call to balance
~dignity
~uniqueness
~self-esteem
~exploration
~independence
~boundaries
~peace
~fluidity

You can read more of the essay here.


In spite of the maze of questions that remain in light of my decision to leave home and family to come spend the summer here ~ and the ever-unfolding ramifications that meet my days ~ I continue to believe it is where I am meant to be right now.

I choose to embrace this gift of Spirit and its meaning as affirmation of that I am seen and supported by forces greater than myself.  As a result, it is with much awe and gratitude I go forward on my Journey.


"Sometimes I go about in pity for myself, 
and all the while a great wind is bearing me across the sky."

~Ojibwa saying

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Scenes from the First Week

I arrived here safely at Lakeside this past Monday ~ and spent the first day with my mom and sister, who had come up over the weekend.  They returned home on Tuesday and I started work.  The new job seems to be going well so far.

A self-portrait as I head out the door to start my summer job!


I'm slowly adjusting to this new routine ~ and getting settled in to a place in which, even though I have a long history, I have not spent much time alone.  It's an altogether different experience being here by myself.

Hours and hours and hours of my life have been spent on this pier.

I hope to soon start some stories of Life By the Lake ~ sights, sounds, smells, etc.  Indeed, there is *much* fodder here for a variety of tales!  :)


I never tire of capturing the sun on and over the water.


Today, my first day off from work, I get to do one of my favorite things:  visit a LIBRARY!!!  I'll even get a new library card!  (It is, in fact, the same library I visited here as a kid ~ and the smell upon entering it takes me right back to those younger days.)  

Of course, I brought a TON of books and magazines with me.  Somehow, though, they are not holding my interest.  It seems I need to explore some new topics.  And I've got a nice summer reading list already filling one entire page of my journal.  Ahhhh...time to just sit and read in the shady breeze by the shore.  Lovely!

* * * 

Now, tell me...
What scenes have been gracing your life this week?

* * *

Sunday, June 5, 2011

To The Shore

Yet the Lord pleads with you still:  Ask where the good road is,
the godly path you used to walk in, in the days of long ago.
Travel there, and you will find rest for your souls.
~Jeremiah 6:16



Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Sheryl Crow Kind of Day

This week of endings and approaching new beginnings feels like a huge shift for me.  I'm doing my best to go with the flow and stay in the NOW as I move intentionally through the next several days.

The energy that has been created around my decision to move to Lakeside is having a ripple effect in many areas:  I'm kicking long-standing habits (coffee and processed sugar), cleaning out closets, buying new clothes, getting a new hairstyle, changing my finances, saying good-bye to friends, forgoing my home garden and composting, re-structuring my relationships with Doug and Tanner...

Many a moment has found me overwhelmed and wanting to change my mind.  I am daily facing down demons of fear, mistrust, lack, uncertainty, and an overall sense of "this is too hard; this would all be much easier if I just decided to stay home".

And yet, the winds of change cannot be resisted.  They will get me one way or the other.

Might as well stop fighting and let go.

* * *

Here's the song that's been on my mind today.




Tell me in the comments how you're experiencing CHANGE these days.

Or ~ post the name of a song that has the word CHANGE in the title!  :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

In Which I Choose a New Life for the Summer

The alternate title to this post could have been, 

"In Which I Embody My Words for the Year:  Freedom and Happiness" 

In less than two weeks, I will begin a new adventure by living and working at Lakeside on Lake Erie for the Summer.  It's a very strange twist of fate that has brought me to this place ~ in fact the two words that keep coming to mind to describe it are weird and wonderful. 

The idea came to me about a month ago as an intuitive 'hit' during a morning meditation session.  I've done much pondering, rationalizing, and pros/cons considering since then.  After making the initial decision to go for it ~ and being hired for the job ~ I had a few days of anxiety and panic last week.  However, despite some family drama and fear-based gremlin attacks from my ego, I have made the final leap of faith to embrace this wonderful opportunity.

I will stay at my family's cottage and work full-time at the front desk of the Hotel Lakeside.  It is a lovely Victorian hotel that sits right on the lakefront.  You can read more of its history here.

Interestingly enough, I worked at this very same hotel front desk for two summers during my teenage years!  That was, of course, the era before computers, cell phones, email, etc....so it will be slightly different experience this time around!

The hotel is behind the trees on the right.

Here is a view of the magnificent (and popular!) screened-in front porch.
I adore this lobby!  
The Victrola (in the corner on the left near the first window past the fireplace)
was donated by my paternal grandparents.  
It still works and I love to play the old records when I'm there.   :)

Here's a view looking out over the Lake from in front of the Hotel.

I have A LOT to accomplish in the coming days before I leave.  That, in itself, could do me in energetically if I'm not careful.  So....I am approaching each day with mindfulness and setting intentions each step of the way.

My job at the Asian Arts Center has ended, so I am no longer driving the van or supervising 30+ kids every weekday afternoon.   This alone has given me restored energy and a chance to re-focus my time and reclaim my spirit.

Next week will be the final days of my nanny position.  Since last October, I have spent 10-15 hours each week caring for an adorable little girl who is now 16 months old.  She is my buddy and I will miss her!  It has been an honor to be a part of this family's life.  I have learned a great deal from this experience and know in my heart it is time to move on.

My yoga teacher training continues.  In fact, it is evolving and revolving in ways I never could have anticipated.  Yes, this summer change of plans will affect my participation in the training program. I have no idea how it's all going to end up ~ but I'm working with my instructors to co-create a plan.  

I remember once asking my therapist how to recognize and trust my intuition. (I have apparently developed a history of not trusting myself and reasoning away what my gut is telling me.)  She said "Intuition is never questioned by us.  If you back up and start analyzing, then it came from your rational mind.  Intuition is the *knowing*.  Then the rational mind does the step by step."  She went on to say the key is to integrate my intellectual, emotional, and spiritual selves so this process works smoothly.   Looking back over the past few weeks, I believe this particular scenario is a good example of how I've successfully done just that!

There are so many unknowns to this adventure.  And aspects that don't seem to fit in any comfortable box.  However, isn't that the point of where this spiritual quest takes us?  In spite of all the unanswered questions, I *know* this is the next right step for my journey.

 Here's the front porch of the cottage where I'll have plenty of time to contemplate.


And, of course, for those of you within reasonable traveling distance 
~ there is an open invitation to come visit! :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

The View from Here

Tanner on my crafting table with Lakshmi looking on.


*This post from May 9th was apparently swallowed up in the black hole of blog posts when Blogger had issues two weeks ago.  (Sorry!)  I've re-written it to the best of my memory's ability.



There are endings ~ and many options for new beginnings ~ coming my way over the next month or so. And I'm going my best to stay focused, practice good self care, welcome the ever-changing feelings, and BE present as I go with this flow.

I've spoken before of my adoration for the Osho Zen Tarot card deck.  It never ceases to amaze me in its accuracy and ability to cut right through to the (often hidden) truths of whatever matter I need to discern.

Just the other day, while contemplating (and, of course, trying to make sense of!) the upcoming endings and multiple options before me, I asked for its guidance.  Here's what I pulled:

POSSIBILITIES



REBIRTH



(And when I asked what I should be DO-ing during this time of change...)


PATIENCE


How amazingly appropriate!

I'll soon reveal the specific nature of these big changes (a few of you have already been given details).

In the meantime, check out these two blogs with very similar names.  They're neat! 
(And I had no idea they existed when I named mine.)


and 



See you back here real soon!

:)







Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Heavy On My Mind


On a Chicago Street ~ Summer 2010


The weight and wonder of material possessions is a subject that continues to cycle through my mind and heart these days.

Ultimately, coming from a family where *many* cherished items have been passed down through generations, and then coming to terms with the fact that I, being childless, will be where they stop ~ is giving me great pause.  If there's no one to pass this stuff on to ~ and it no longer resembles who I am becoming ~ then why am I keeping it?

It seems that, in my several-year quest to unearth my authentic self and fully embrace this persistent mid-life transformation ~ the quandary of 'too much stuff' is one of the final frontiers requiring navigation.

It is entirely possible that a radical unburdening of my possessions is about to happen.

After all, my word for the year IS freedom, right???

* * *

Click here to read an interesting article about consumerism, with a fantastic quote by Thoreau.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

As We Gather for Easter




* * *

The Five Contemplations

1.  This food is the gift of the whole universe; 
the earth, the sky, numerous living beings, 
and much hard, loving work.

2.  May we eat with mindfulness and gratitude 
so as to be worthy to receive it.

3.  May we recognize and transform 
our unwholesome mental formations, 
especially our greed, 
and learn to eat with moderation.

4.  May we keep our compassion alive by eating in such a way 
that we reduce the suffering of living beings, 
preserve our planet, and reverse the process of global warming.

5.  We accept this food so that we may 
nurture our sisterhood and brotherhood, 
strengthen our community, 
and nourish our ideal of serving all living beings.

* * * 

from Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life
by Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr. Lilian Cheung



You may read more
on the Five Mindfulness Trainings

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Healing Begins

There is *nothing* more relevant or important I could post today than this.

Please allow yourself to soak it in.

And then, if you feel so inclined, share your experience in the comments.


*Update: Unfortunately, due to abusive and violent feedback, the original video embedding has been removed. You can view the video by clicking here.



Saturday, April 2, 2011

Compassion in Action, Devotion in Motion


This past week I have felt like one, big, exposed, raw nerve.   After an intense weekend with lovely friends, which included YogaDance and Kundalini yoga, my body and spirit were in need of some serious restorative time.  A great deal had apparently been brought up and out for transmutation.  It took a good two days or so before I came back to homeostasis.

The way I have been feeling humorously reminded me of the above episode of Ren & Stimpy.  Ren has a horrible toothache and the cartoon painfully portrays his stinky, throbbing mouth and naked nerve endings.


In the midst of my sensitive state, I still had to maintain may daily routines.  Working with the students in the afternoons was quite remarkable as I attempted to keep my peaceful center among the cacophony and crass attitudes of 40+ kids in a busy martial arts classroom.  Oy!


Other sights, sounds, personalities, and experiences have touched my sensitive state as well.  It's been a week of reflection and continual self adjustment.

*Craving* spiritual solitude and insight, in addition to physical renewal, and soul clarity, I am pleased to end the week with an evening of Kirtan.  In the presence of my beautiful teacher, Laurel, and her talented husband, Dan, tonight I will gather in satsang with fellow devotees on the path of enlightenment.

Our evening will center around the Ramayana ~ and we will be singing chants for Sita, Ram, and Hanuman.  (Hanuman!  One of my favorites!)  Hanuman represents ultimate devotion.  You can read his story here.

And, if nothing else ~ and in spite of my raw-nerve state ~ I can confidently say that I am devoted to the process....the ongoing (and sometimes arduous) process of waking up to my True Divine Self.

* * *

Here's a link that will take you to MC Yogi's version of a great song for Hanuman. :)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Comfort the Disturbed and Disturb the Comfortable

Yesterday one of our 3rd-grade students was suspended from school for upturning his desk and throwing his chair across the room.

Perhaps he is the wisest one of all.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Taking Flight

The car I drive is a 1994 Honda Accord with 186,000 miles to its fame.  We call it the Spaceship Accord because large areas of the clear coat and paint have worn off ~ perhaps like the outside of a space vehicle upon re-entry through our atmosphere. :-D

Tomorrow I will embark on yet another Spaceship Accord adventure
~ all the way to Erie, Pennsylvania!


Yes, I am going to Embody Bliss at the delightful Lilypad residence of Marcy & Christine ~ oh, and Lilly, Daisy, Toby, Tuppy, Blueberry, and Elizabeth!!!

I was there once before, in the summer of 2009.  And I expect many wonderful, life-affirming experiences this time as well.

Kindred spirit connections

A visit to Her Majesty Lake Erie

Many fresh animals investigating my luggage and lounging on my air mattress

Some of Marcy's incredibly delicious homemade creations

Several adorable cups of the-elixir-of-life-espresso
GNOMES!!!

All, of course, under the watchful spirit of Miss Zoe!

I hope this first full weekend of Spring finds you embracing your inner Bliss Chick and forging an adventure of love, laughter, creativity, kinship, nourishment, healing, and whatever else your Soul Self might be most in need of right now.

Make it so!  :-)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bonjour Printemps!

HELLO SPRING!!!

There is a song I have been trying to find for over two weeks.
I heard it on the radio and was immediately smitten.
And this morning, my persistence paid off.

At the time, I thought of BlissChick, musing that it would be a perfect tune for her.
After watching the video just now, I am even more convinced of that.
(See if you can spot the reason(s) why!)



Unfortunately, the video cannot be embedded.

Please click here to watch it...

And join me in welcoming Spring!!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Do Your Own Thing

Yesterday afternoon one of our students, a 10-year old boy from the 4th grade, asked me this question:

"Ms. Lisa, what do you think it would be like if I had never been born?"

What followed was a powerful conversation about every person's own unique purpose on the planet and the divine spark within each of us (that often times doesn't match up with what others think about or expect from us).

Although this particular kid can be *extremely* difficult and challenging (sometimes even downright scary) at times, in that moment I saw his divinity.  I affirmed that he is indeed here for a reason ~ pointing out his amazing talents and abilities.  I acknowledged his pain and sympathized with is experience. I tried, as best I could to someone of his age, to put the whole karmic thing into perspective and explain that, regardless of what others think about us, the most important thing we can do is to be true to ourselves.  (In the midst of all the pain, suffering, confusion, heartache, etc....which is what prompted his question in the first place.)

How interesting that my own needed medicine is often reflected back to me in the words I offer to others.


As I continue to move through my midlife transformation, I am becoming impatient for some definitive answers to the BIG questions.  (Much of this,  I find, has to do with the expectations of myself and others.)  I want to be DONE with this 'mess' and be delivered to some neatly packaged set of circumstances where I can finally say (and present to others), "Ah-ha!  THIS is IT!"  "See, it has all been worth it because now I have/am _______________!"

Yeah, right.

I'm getting that it doesn't work that way.

A few nights ago, I came upon a PBS special by Brene' Brown.  What a treat!  Having dabbled in her writings/blog/research just a little bit ~ and knowing others who find her work incredibly valuable, it was great to finally hear her speak and receive her powerful wisdom.

I immediately started taking notes.

One thing she mentioned stopped me in my tracks...

"We must live without pleasing, perfecting, or performing."

WHAT????

Shit.  I wouldn't even know how to being doing that!!!

(Although upon further contemplation, I realize I have indeed come a long way in overcoming my tendency to do those things, I also realized I am still hardwired to live that way ~ and they are often my default mechanisms when I am not fully engaged in living my own passionate life.)

Still, those words stupify me.

In what followed as a 'down the rabbit hole' experience ~ where a click on a blog leads to a book ~ and another book ~ and an author ~ and an "Oh, yeah, I think I have that book upstairs somewhere."... I am now reading, When the Heart Waits by Sue Monk Kidd.  It is the perfect companion to give words to what I continue to feel as I remain in the chrysalis of transformation.

And there, on page 9, I again saw THOSE words:


"The overarching roles that created the theme song for my life ~ Perfectionist, Performer, Pleaser, Good Little Girl, submissive church-goer, passive and traditional wife ~  began to lose their music.  It's anguish to come to that place in life where you know all the words but none of the music."

Later in the book, on some randomly opened page, I found this story under the title heading of Authenticity:

"In another Hasidic tale, a rabbi named Zusya died and went to stand before the judgement seat of God.  As he waited for God to appear, he grew nervous thinking about his life and how little he had done.  He began to imagine that God was going to ask him, "Why weren't you Moses or why weren't you Solomon or why weren't you David?"  But when God appeared, the rabbi was surprised.   God simply asked, "Why weren't you Zusya?"


The spiritual journey is one of becoming real.  Waiting can offer us the gift of authenticity.  It can help us give birth to a new way of being true to ourselves.  As we wait, we discover that it's okay ~ really okay ~ not only to imagine who we truly are inside but to say who we are, welcome who we are, and even BE who we are.  (pg. 196)


One of the points Brene' made in her show, when discussing how her family began to re-prioritize their choices, was to ask, "What brings us joy?"  Through this exercise, they found that the things on their "to acquire" list (car, house, bigger TV, etc) were not in line with what brings them joy (more free time, travel, less work, time spent outdoors, etc.)

And, even though I have *known* this before ~ why I keep forgetting I have no idea ~ what makes me happy is simply being own self and doing my own thing.  Looking back, I can see that I have been a rebel for my own cause from a very young age.

It's really that simple, I need to just DO MY OWN THING.

With Zig markers and colored pencils I wrote that in my journal this morning.  In large, colorful, block letters.

DO MY OWN THING
BE MY OWN PERSON

And from today forward, it will be my new mantra.

You see, one of the main reasons I divorced FB, was to get all the other voices out of my head.   Some well-meaning voices, perhaps; but *way*too*many* voices of expectation, direction, invitation, exhortation, ramification, education, invalidation, frustration, manipulation, comparison....on and on they go...

...ultimately just muddying the water in what is actually a very clear pond of Truth right before me.



What/who do you see in your pond of Truth?


And in yet another powerful example of trusting my own self, yesterday I had this timely affirmation. (When faced with a week of fatigue ~  in need of much rest and healing, yet feeling like I "should" be out and about ~ doing more and being productive (aka pleasing, performing, perfecting), I read these words) from Cathy Pagano:

This Virgo full Moon is dedicated to the Hermit within each of us.   A hermit usually lives in seclusion from society, going off to live by himself in the forest or desert, where he deals with his inner issues and complexes, thereby gaining wisdom and knowledge of life that he passes on to those people who are questing for their life's purpose.   We are called to be both the Questor and the Hermit, taking time to understand our inner life and finding the voice of Lady Wisdom within so that our outer quest can bear fruit.   So take time this weekend to meditate on what direction your life will take in the coming years.  

HA!

Right on track!

And the miracle of today's message from the Universe, is that it really is quite simple most of the time...do my own thing.  :)

"It was not your intention as you came forth into this physical experience to ask the world to change in order to accomodate your opinions of the way things should be, by eliminating all the things you do not approve of and adding to the things you do approve of.

You are here to create the world around you that you choose..." 

~The Law of Attraction, page 32




I can think of no better advice for you today, dear reader, than to simple BE YOURSELF and DO YOUR OWN THING.

Because, like God reminded Zusya after that fact, we are here to be ourselves.

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly
trying to make something else
is the greatest accomplishment."

~Ralph Waldo Emerson