Posts Categorized: Remembering

Wise in This Lifetime

Last week I made a lovely connection with a young woman by surprise. We were participating in an event where the leader requested my very least favorite group exercise: gazing in the eyes of a stranger.

I realized it would be far easier to drop my opinion and see what happened than to keep my story. As it turned out …(drum roll)…

Slow-Mo Life in Mid-Mo

Last week I made a cross-country plane trek to visit my family in Mid-Missouri. It’s nearly impossible for me to make the trip without leaping into high gear. From the details of preparation beforehand to shuffling bags from car to fight to shuttle, by the time I arrive at my mother’s “gracious adult retirement center,” I leave skid marks.

And then I’m there. With my mother and about a hundred other folks in their eighties and nineties. At first it feels like I’m moving underwater or become a character in a slow motion movie. My mind leaps and bucks at being so tethered. It seeks a job.

A Mind-Clearing Habit

I have a habit of throat clearing. It seems there’s often a froggy sensation that simply must be cleared. Until the other day, I’d never thought of the possibility of clearing other parts of the body…or the psyche, at least in any kind of routine way.

An idea came up last week when we co-hosted a couple of amazing musicians. Their names are Gina Sala and Daniel Paul. Both are highly respected for kirtan, a kind of meditative music most people associate with yoga classes. Kirtan is sometimes described as “yoga for the voice.”

Deep Spring

At my cabin in the mountains there are many deep springs. As in deep pools of water bubbling up from below, with temperatures ranging from cool to dangerous. The water below ground is visible because the mantle of the Earth is a little thinner here. Even though I know where the springs are, they’re always somehow a bit of a surprise, a catching of breath, a tender mercy of heat on a snow day or chill in a heat wave.

Since I love playing with words, I’m thinking of Spring (the season), in the same way. Here I was, trudging through the mud and rain, and I come upon a clearing. A deep pool. Not too cold, not too hot, a blessing of refreshment and inspiration.

The Daylight Bloom of Night’s Dreams

I’m a dreamer, and I respect (and sometimes remember) my dreams, in all their vivid and jumbled details. I made it a hobby more than thirty years ago to study them, at one time logging three or four dreams a night for several months. This has offered a window into the subtle realms of healing. From time to time, I delve deeply into the symbols and the details. This is great entertainment, but often there’s way much TMI to decode or recall. Over time I’ve found reason to trust the process, which is beneath and beyond what my conscious mind can grasp.

Resistance and Freedom: Ebb and Flow

“We change like the weather, we ebb and flow like the tides, we wax and wane like the moon. We do that, and there’s no reason to resist it. If we resist it, the reality and vitality of life become misery, a hell.”

~Pema Chodron.

This past year I’ve been exploring this thing we call Resistance as it shows up in my life and the lives of friends and clients. This general sense of “stuckness” we label and attempt to eradicate is a force field that manifests and shifts its shape and sucks us in.

We can begin to believe the voices that convince us of one of two things: that we will fail at whatever we want most, or that we must fight force with force.

But often there’s a simpler path, the path of least resistance, which can take us into the flow of our best lives. Read More>>

Beyond the Persistence of Resistance

“What you resist persists.” – Carl Jung.

Projects are looming in my world. Some big. Some little. But they all loom, like a cloud over my head. Always there. I’ve come to understand that this is good news. It means I’m getting very close to a new breakthrough of my heart’s work. I can know that I’ll probably enjoy the process once I start, that it’s really quite small.

Yada Yada Yada. Sometimes all the rational thoughts in the world don’t seem to make a difference. Even knowing all these wise things sometimes doesn’t seem to dispel the persistent cloud of dread also known as resistance. Read More>>

Resistance and the “Here 2 There” Trail

(This is the second of a five-part navigational series on the nature of “resistance,” exploring its challenges and hidden gifts).

There’s a trail in the ancient forest near our summer cabin. It’s a tiny footpath with a story that many years ago the trail was laid by lovers who beat the path from the top of the hill to the bottom, breathlessly rushing into each other’s arms.

Unless you know where to look, you’d never even see the markers. They’re burned into a slice of cedar and hung precariously on a branchHere 2 reads the one at the top of the trail; There is on the other end. Both signs sport arrows. Coming across them in the woods I always feel like Alice in Wonderland and I fully expect the Mad Hatter to show up around the next bend, pointing in four other directions and cautioning me that which way you go “depends upon where you want to get to.” Read More>>

What’s Your Trellis Look Like?

I was a lazy gardener this summer.  It took me until August to reclaim the garden beds on the side of my house, having torn down all the vines last year to paint. It was immediately obvious that the clematis and Virginia creeper were not thriving.  Without the support of a structure to hold them up, vines sprawl, unable to reach to the sky.

Sound familiar? Without the stucture of routines and rituals, I notice my direction and inner focus begins to sprawl, too.  Not to mention my waistline, but that’s just one of the signs I’ve lost touch with the structures of daily life that sustain me. Creativity and inspiration require routine.  I learned this when I taught writing.  Classroom routines set the stage the most imaginative writing.

So now that the school year is almost upon us, I look at my own trellis.  Morning quiet time to meditate, to stretch to write.  A food plan that sustains and fuels my body.  A calendar that allows me to manage the complexity of my appointments. A daily check-in on my To-Do list. Each year I examine my trellis and see how it needs to be strengthened. This outer focus is a big part of the commitment I make to my inner growth. I keep experimenting with ways to make this easier, and technologies from I-Cal to scheduling programs to blog support makes it all work better for me at this time. But I’m still very fond of the classic approach of a small calendar in my pocket with a to-do list.

The creeper is now climbing a standard trellis, and the clematis is climbing an innovative trellis consisting of a large chain suspended from the roof. But both now have all the support they need to flourish.  And my own new new trellis, the infrastructure that will sustain my spirit and allow it to bloom,  is almost in place.

What does your trellis look like?  What will sustain your growth in the coming months? Now that the sprawl of summertime is coming to an end, it’s a good time to ask the question. And to allow your own unique trellis to be constructed from your answers.

The World is Full of Yes

This is my newest morning mantra.

I believe in morning mantras. I like to remind myself, as soon as I come to consciousness, of something which I know to be true, from my own direct experience. I have discovered again and again all the ways the world answers my longings with invitations, and each offer is a Yes to my own essential self, my own kind connection with Life.

First light of day has some sacred juju. There’s a thin veil, a softness between worlds. Every single morning when you wake up, there’s a distinct second when some part of you declares yourself “awake.” There’s a nothing in the nanosecond between asleep and awake.  And then there’s a something, as you move from the distant lands of dream into this multi-storied existence we inhabit daily.

On this side there are lists, memories, plans.

Also the mindless habits of yesterdays past. They  get rebooted, too. In a nanosecond.

A very valuable nanosecond.

Because there is a moment no longer than a blink of an eye, before the old hardwiring is launched.

In that moment the world is full of yes.

It’s as if a shy part of me is waiting to be heard and knows just when and where to show up in the early morning. I set an appointment with it, set a timer (with a kind, gentle signal), and there she is, patiently waiting.

Early mornings offer a soft launching pad for this new relationship with life. In that moment, the world summons us, if we can catch the new wave. Yes to gravity. Yes to movement. .Foot on floor. For me, sitting quietly in meditation before picking up my journal and engaging in my writing practice opens the doors to Yes. Then perhaps I capture a dream, perhaps I begin with a list of possibilities. Perhaps I begin with a perhaps. My pen shows me the way and slows down mind enough that it can be heard. The Yeses expand as the day unfolds.

The World is Full of Yes. When I begin the day this way, I live beyond gratefulness and into possibility.

How do you greet that Yes with your own? Here’s how it might look to live into the yes of possibility:

  • First, if possible, Go to bed with enough time to awaken gently.
  • Get the harsh alarm out of the picture except in urgent situations. If you must use a timer, set it on a soft setting.
  • Don’t jump up. Luxuriate in the liminal time between sleep and wake. Come back to your body gently with a blessing of awareness and slight rotations or stretches.
  • Give yourself a few minutes of quiet, meditation or prayer. Evoke a new relationship with life by affirming it.
  • Invite your mind to wander and discover all the ways your world is full of yes. ~When the time is right, follow that flow to what’s next. When you’ve allowed time to engage in an early morning practice, there’s time to explore your world in slow motion.
  • Instead of mechanically moving to email or robotic old habits, move back into stillness. with a yes to the invitations of the Universe.