Tag Archives: mindfulness

Listen Once Again

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Sea of Serenity

 

This morning while driving to the office, I found myself pondering doing so much for others and so little in the way of caring for myself. Y’all know what I preach…practice self-nurtuting, practice living mindfully, practice meditation, practice being one-with-Spirit. And really I do most of this, but when super busy and that autopiolot takes over, I lose making those daily conscious decisions that will ensure I’m taking care of me throughout the day.

Parenting, working full-time, being a caring friend to those I hold so dear, I find there is no second thought given to the needs presented before me, in fact no thought. I’m a natural-born nurturer through and through as are many of my friends (you know who you are). If this blog post caught your eye, you are probably a caretaker who walks with love and compassion for all others with little attention given to your own needs. Be sure of this…Spirit walks with you in every step and you are blessed.

There can be no doubt that in order to continue walking in love and compassion, we must also care for and nurture ourselves, for if we push the limits of our own capacity there will most likely be a wake-up call in store. Stress turns into all kinds of things, colds, headaches, body pain, sleeplessness, irritability, anger. Catch yourself before you fall, take care of you, especially if you intend to keep being that blessed presence in the lives of others. With the Holidays upon us it’s important that we get back on track. Today I offer a portion of the poem, “a sense of her feelings,” from Judith Duerk’s book Circle of Stones. The author speaks to learned behaviors cultivated in women and the need for us to listen to our own needs. Although the words speak of the feminine, this can most certainly be applied to men as well. I personally know several men who are caretakers through and through, these words must also speak to you:

“Woman has learned to ignore her own feeling needs, learned to be a ‘good sport’ hurrying along in a pressure-filled, production-oriented life. She has learned to brush her feelings aside as she pushes ahead for university honors, to pack them out of her briefcase as she heads, in a three-piece suit into the professional and political realm.

But somewhere, deep inside, is the image of a woman seated alone, in a beehive tomb, within the earth, weeping.

What if woman allowed herself to listen once again to her own sensitivities? What if she allowed herself to trust what her tears are trying to tell her?

No…not this way…No…your life has no meaning lived this way. No…No…Slow down. Rest. Fill the kettle slowly. Listen! as the water in its slender stream flows down to fill the waiting kettle.”

Honor yourself with self-nurturing. Listen and fill the kettle slowly. We are more than this…

“Look into Your Hand”

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A World in Your Hand by NixenG

My parents have both transitioned to Spirit. I miss them, especially my mom. This past Thanksgiving was the sixth year anniversary of her passing. She was our comforter, always there ready to listen and provide encouragement. In his book Peace in Every Step, author and spiritual leader Thich Nhat Hanh tells a story about looking “into your hand” to see those you miss. A mindful practice that brings us to knowing we are still connected to those we love and have gone before us.

Look into Your Hand

“I have a friend who is an artist. Before he left Vietnam forty years ago, his mother held his hand and told him, ‘Whenever you miss me, look into your hand, and you will see me immediately…’ Over the years, my friend looked into his hand many times. The presence of his mother is not just genetic. Her spirit, her hopes, and her life are also in him. When he looks into his hand, he can see thousands of generations before him and thousands of generations after him. He can see that he exists not only in the evolutionary tree branching along the axis of time, but also in the network of interdependent relations. He told me that he never feels lonely.” pp. 78-79

Gazing into my hand, studying the creases and lines, I remember sitting in the grass with mom searching for four-leaf clovers, picking raspberries along the river by grandma’s house and the rose she handed me on my 16th birthday. I remember putting up jars and jars of tomatoes in the summer and packing lunches with her in the kitchen for all us kids so we could go down to the lake to hang out for the day. It all comes back and suddenly, she’s with me again and I don’t miss her so much. She’s right here with me. Practice mindful moments, look into your hand. We are more than this…

Breathe Through the Ring

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mindful connection

How do you feel about your phone? About the ability to get texts, phone calls and Internet access anywhere and for anyone to contact you at anytime? I love technology, everything about it except its magic attraction is always in my face. Today while driving in our cars we’re talking to the air and no one cares, no one looks twice because they know we’re on the phone. (I like this because I can sing to my heart’s content and just look like I’m talking wildly, maybe I should gesture too to make it more realistic. Ha!)

It’s hard for me to not answer the phone or a text. I feel compelled to be there, to be available “just in case anything comes up.” It used to be we had cell phones in our glove compartments (just as big too) that we used only for emergencies, now everything is important. Or is it… Thich Nhat Hanh has this to say about the telephone in his book “Peace in Every Step:”

“The telephone is very convenient, but we can be tyrannized by it. We may find its ring disturbing or feel interrupted by too many calls…The telephone bell creates in us a kind of vibration, and maybe some anxiety: “Who is calling? Is it good or bad news?” Yet some force in us pulls us to the phone, and we cannot resist. We are victims of our own telephone.”

Now mind you this was written in 1991. We didn’t have all the phone technology then that we have now. We can do so much more in so many ways, in so many places. Ah, and here’s the interesting thing, he offers a “telephone meditation:”

“I recommend that the next time you hear the phone ring, just stay where you are, breathe in and out consciously, smile to yourself and recite this verse: ‘Listen, listen. This wonderful sound brings me back to my true self.’ When the bell rings for the second time, you can repeat the verse, and your smile will be even more solid. When you smile, the muscles of your face relax, and your tension quickly vanishes. You can afford to practice breathing and smiling like this, because if the person calling has something important to say, she [he] will certainly wait for at least three rings…You are your own master. You know that you are smiling not only for you own sake, but also for the sake of the other person. If you are irritated or angry, the other person will receive your negativity.  But because you have been breathing consciously and smiling, you are dwelling in mindfulness, and you pick up the phone, how fortunate for the person calling you!” pp. 29-30

A totally, so different approach to answering your phone. In fact, why not broaden this a little bit and extend it to answering texts or e-mail’s you’ve received on your phone? Breathing in you remember you are interconnected with all to the Whole, part of Spirit, breathing out you smile, mindful of the moment, then calmly with a smile you answer or text, “Hello.”  We are more than this…

“What’s Not Wrong?”

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peace-filled

Today between tasks I stood for a moment looking out the window wishing, longing for peace and quiet. But the family needs me. The younger, the older and the in-betweeners. They still need me. I work to keep us housed, fed and educated. No one tells us when we’re young what it will take to raise a family and even if they had, really would we have listened? We meet, fall in love, dream big and dive full force into it all, nothing can stop us when we’re dreaming!

I wouldn’t change what life’s path has brought me. Except, I think I might have saved more so that when I reached 50 I might have had enough money to say, “I’m done working, I’m going to contemplate the nature of the universe.” I didn’t. So now I long for a day of solitude here and there without work or children. The free time I have is gobbled up with my job, school activities, homework, resume work for the older creatures and listening ears for all whenever there’s a need.

As I scan these words, I see opportunity. In the early 90’s I read Thich Nhat Hanh’s book “Peace Is Every Step,” an excellent book about living mindfully in everyday life during everyday activities. Knowing I need continue my role as both parent and breadwinner I resurrected some of my favorites of the very applicable daily practices in his book. Through the month of December, I’ll share a daily mindfulness activity with you. Maybe by New Year’s Day we’ll all have a little more peace in our steps and lives.

My all time favorite practice from the book is “What’s Not Wrong,” which I share a portion of below:

“We often ask, ‘What’s wrong?’ Doing so, we invite painful seeds of sorrow to come up and manifest. We feel suffering, anger and depression and produce more such seeds. We would be much happier if we tried to stay in touch with the healthy, joyful seeds inside of us and around us. We should learn to ask, ‘What’s not wrong?’ and be in touch with that. There are so many elements in the world and within our bodies, feelings, perceptions, and consciousness that are wholesome, refreshing, and healing. If we block ourselves, if we stay in the prison of our sorrow, we will not be in touch with these healing elements…Life is filled with many wonders, like the blue sky, the sunshine, the eyes of a baby…Awareness of the precious elements of happiness is itself the practice of right mindfulness. Elements like these are within us and all around us. In each second of our lives we can enjoy them.”  pp.77-78

So ask yourself, “What’s not wrong?” Appreciate the flocks of birds gathering to fly off for the winter, the laughter of your colleagues over lunch, sunshine on your face, being able to move from one breath to the next without effort. Start your practice today, include it every time you see something wonderful and ask the question again, “What’s not wrong?” I look forward to hearing from you. We are more than this…

Paint the Day

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One morning as my teenage son and I were leaving for school, he looked up at the monotone grey clouds and said, “Someone forgot to paint the sky this morning.” Wow, I thought. What a simple and awesome  statement. Glancing up at the canvas of clouds I thought he’s right, we can paint the day however we wish, it’s just there presenting itself in all its simplicity.

How do we paint the days? I know that sometimes I make things so complicated my head spins. Too many projects all open at the same time, the revolving office door, to-do lists, and home-life responsibilities that consume me. It really doesn’t have to be that way. I am a multitasker who welcomes challenge. Still, I do have the choice to paint the day in simplicity. How would that look?

First I would stop multitasking. I can hear you now, but wait! Aren’t you a craving multitasker with the ability to work in a fast-paced, multi-faceted job? Ah, true that but simplifying is appealing. What if I were to take the day down a notch? What if I prioritize each project according to deadline, shut my door at times, well at least to a crack, and concentrate on just one thing at a time, well that would certainly simplify AND provide greater accuracy (to which yes I admit mistakes have occurred, sadly yes).

Family member needs might be approached in the same manner. Helping my oldest with his resume needn’t be upon demand. How about scheduling time instead of being on 24/7. (Ok, I know I’m a mom, but I do have limitations!) Or when the middle daughter wants to sit and spill her guts just because she can and I’m sitting here writing, looking like I’m just playing on the computer. “How about coffee tomorrow honey? We’ll get a favorite latte and sit at the coffee shop.” Oh yeeeeaaah!

A conversation with a colleague about this very thing triggered movement. I was talking about the many tasks and detailed projects, she agreed too many details, then went on to say, “My hope is to simplify.” That one sentence did it.

“Simplifying would be fabulous. Totally and completely fabulous.” I responded thinking and I know how to do that, now I just have act. With a few last words from her I was hooked into making a change. She said, “I look forward to your next blog on the subject.”

You got me sister! Totally. And here it is. Paint the canvas of your day with simplicity. Choose to focus on the task at hand and leave the frantic multitasking to the adrenaline seekers. Take it down a notch, prioritize and remember you are just one person and that it’s O.K. to move from one task at hand to the next.  Addressing one challenge at a time, be it in the workplace or in the personal arena, gives you the opportunity to meet each challenge and do it well. (Thank you my friend!) We are more than this…

“Our life is frittered away by detail…simplify, simplify, simplify!” ~ Henry David Thoreau

The Gauntlet is Thrown

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What people speak out loud has meaning. Their words are verbal representations of themselves. It’s been stated that actions speak louder than words, but I listen to words and expect that what is spoken will be so. I’ve been labeled “Pollyanna” and told I’m naive, well then so be it, my belief in others will not be shattered. Maybe by believing people can live with integrity and expecting honest behaviors will wear down their facades. Maybe my belief that all are ultimately good will be an impetus for them to become more than what exists. I will not, I refuse to think any less, for we are connected all as One in Spirit. He is my brother, she is my sister, we are all part of the Whole.

Living with integrity means being honest, open and above all courageous. It means you will speak and act outwardly your truths with no deception, no deflection and with only good intentions for others. Do it. I challenge you, I throw down the gauntlet. We are more than this…

Daily Practice – Excerpt from Joel S. Goldsmith, The Contemplative Life

“…as we deal with the appearances of everyday living — national conflicts, international conflicts, family conflicts or individual conflicts — we realize that we are beholding only the activity of the universal belief in two powers. We never will know harmony unless we recognize that whatever we are dealing with is but a belief in two powers, and then establish ourselves in the realization:

         ‘I and my Father are one.’ In this oneness, the infinite All-Power, which is spiritual, is the only Presence and the only Power functioning in my experience.”

It is not that we choose good over evil. Rather do we relinquish the good and the evil and exchange these for the spiritual. We do not prefer the good to the bad, but we renounce both good and bad, and consciously realize:

           Since God constitutes the law of my being. I am governed by spiritual Being, spiritual Law, spiritual Light, and spiritual Truth.

If we engage in this daily practice — and we must — we shall soon find that we have received in our inner being the secret of the universe, the secret of harmony, the secret of the Holy Grail. We shall find that we have the secret of life, once we know that the consciousness of the presence of God is the only reality unto us and that there is no two-law universe. There is only the spiritual-law universe of God. When we have that, the discords and inharmonies will melt gradually, but certainly and completely.” p.150 – 151

Slow Your Pace

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Who stood in front of you today?

The world turns in time, seconds, minutes, hours, days and in the midst of it you’ve looked into the eyes of whom? Fellow employees, friends, neighbors and those you don’t know but have contact with somehow. The young man at the check out counter or the elderly woman you passed on the sidewalk, did you nod? How bout’ a smile?

Rushed days, too much on our plates, little time between what needs to be done now and the next moment, we’re pretty much moving from one thing to another. Other people? They’re a blur. In fact, I’ve been one of those blurs. I’ve been one of those not seen. And I’ve been on the other side not seeing. During the upcoming holiday rush, slow your pace, remember to recognize all who cross your path with kindness and respect. We are more than this…

“Holy One, you call each of us by name and you treasure each of us individually as though no one else exits. Inspire us to respect and value each person who comes into our lives this day.” ~ Unknown

The Gift

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A few weeks ago I attended an anniversary service for a local spiritual community. During the celebration, while sitting in the meditative state, I turned my thoughts to contemplating all as One Spirit manifest.

Moving deeper into the meditative state, I was consciously aware of being part of the community of individuals at the spiritual level. We were observing our physical selves, yet simultaneously existing as both the observer and physical persons being observed. We experienced all present as Spirit’s energy living in matter. I was part of each individual present, all of us, each connected with each other were part of the Whole, and as we observed a great Love settled over the gathering, connected and interwoven we existed as One.

As we neared the end of meditation and the reflection song, “In the Name of Love” by Jennifer Corlett was sung, the words “Do you remember the call: Sung in the silent depths of you? Know that its power is deep in your heart, as a fire, a song, a dream,” stirred this great loving Presence, spiritual and physical merged, embraced.

Later, describing the event to a friend I told her, “I’m as excited as a child at Christmas.” Typically, this type of event only occurs while in deep meditation at home alone. As I become more adept at living prayer and meditation consistently through daily routine, I am experiencing conscious connection more readily. What a fantastic, awe-inspiring gift. The gift of conscious awareness and oneness. You dear reader carry this very same gift, all you need to do is sit quietly and connect. Practice prayer-filled, mindful living each day, each moment. We are more than this…

“O, that I might inhabit such a world, so peopled and so pressed at the borders with such fools as lovers are, those who know love’s deep contentment, who are awakened morning by endless morning to love’s timeless suns, those with eternity fixed in the registers of their blood, whose hearts are heavy with kindness, with the lives and well-being of others. O, for a world of such lovely fools, for a world of brave innocents, the beautiful and the betrothed, the healers and menders, who, impatient for heaven, summon the hereafter here and now and make a heaven of their earth…May you trust in the divinity and the inevitability of love.” ~ David Teems

Connection and Reconnection

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For years people have asked if I can teach them to read auras, perform intuitive readings, consciously dream and to connect with Spirit. My response? Of course, all it takes is a willingness to walk in Spirit and a commitment to meditative practice.

For me learning to turn inward to meditate was more an evolutionary process than a conscious endeavor. The big picture went unrecognized while continuously unfolding. Reflecting on the journey it’s easy to see that life experiences from childhood to present have brought me here. However while traveling the years it never occurred to me to see any type of end result. My focus was more on moving from one moment to the next just trying to keep up. I don’t believe I was meant to see what was coming. Instead this was a blossoming work in process, a necessity where I was to live only as physical with complete immersion in marrying, divorcing, completing college, becoming a single mother, working and ultimately growing spiritually.  I experienced these things in order to learn and relate to others, in order to write for you dear reader. How else might I understand what it means to struggle, to worry, to feel love, pain, joy, sorrow, to build courage and strength?

As I continue meditative practices and living mindfully, the abilities and skills continue to increase in strength as well as the conscious connection with Spirit Collective. This is a time filled with anticipation and excitement for whatever communication or lesson may appear next. Every once in a while there’s a quiet spell. When it gets too quiet, when nothing appears I begin to feel a deep longing for connection. Author John O’Donohue speaks to this longing saying that “our persistent, if vague longing is a divine urgency for the Creator and the created to become one again.” That burning desire keeps me searching, it keeps me learning, it keeps me moving toward Spirit, toward the Whole. It is divine urgency leading me to connection and reconnection repeatedly.

Today contemplating the long weeks of quiet just passed, I realize I’m standing in the midst of a new phase of growth. Unexpected events and people have moved into place and with them opportunity. A divine and graced orchestration I wait now for the Creator to draw me into what’s prepared. Join me. If the willingness is there, if you’re interested and feel the urgency, write, let’s talk and find time to sit together in quiet communication with the Creator. We are more than this…

“Earth’s crammed with heaven. And every common bush is afire with God; But only he who sees takes off his shoes, the rest sit around it and pluck blackberries.” ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browing

The Right Time

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Living in Grace means allowing life to unfold, while still moving forward in creating the life you desire. What does that mean? Seems like an oxymoron doesn’t it? Letting things happen, but still taking steps to create?

According to my own dreams and intuition, along with observations of the general direction of the life path, it’s clear to me that I am right where I should be. I’m in a job surrounded by like-minded colleagues, socializing with supportive friends, watching adult children move up and out of the house so that I have the time and energy to write not only this blog, but to reflect and write pages of material. I have opportunity to meditate more frequently and to begin pulling together the stories of experiences that have been collected over many years for a book. All experience has led to this.

The education and maturity to write couldn’t just materialize. It was necessary to move through a variety of experiences and develop the skills required to write the book. Today while walking the woods at lunch, I realized that all pieces are in place. I have every single tool necessary, the environment, the education as well as the encouragement. It surrounds me. Now back to my first statement. “Living in Grace means allowing life to unfold, while still moving forward in creating the life you desire.” I could change the end of the statement to “forward in taking steps toward life purpose.” Of course that insinuates that you actually know what your life purpose is.

In 1999, while working on my Bachelor’s I took a creative arts course that required us to create a simple drawing or painting that illustrated what we thought our life purpose was. I painted a simple hillside with a woman sitting under a tree writing a book in the sunshine. The book’s title, “More Than This” and painted across the skies “Life’s Journey is a Workshop for the Spirit.” How serendipitous. This blog carries those exact words throughout the pages, thirteen years later. I knew then I would write a book. I also knew it would be some time before I’d be ready. It was necessary to trust in the mechanics of Grace. A single mother with four children at home, ages 4 through 17, working a part-time, my plate was full and running over. I knew there would be a time, but not then, not yet.

Now the baby is 17, a senior in high school. I’ve acquired a Bachelor’s, Master’s and post-graduate work in writing and I’m in a position to pull all the pieces together. What does it take now to move things along? Commitment and desire on my part. Grace provided everything I need, now it’s my turn to act.

What has Grace provided for you? Looking over the timeline of your life days, what do you see it leading to? Is there something you are meant to act on? Are you ready? Do you have the desire and ability to commit time and effort? We are more than this…

“May some good thing, some outrageous and unexpected advantage, some liberal and immeasurable portion of good come to you. May it have the odd stamp of inevitability sealed within it. May it come labeled and with your name on it, impatient for you, by some express delivery, unstoppable in transit, blessedness within all of your specifications, all the peculiar measures of you, that rescripts all your doubts and misbeliefs, and topples your little inner kingdom where dreams and longing have slept too deep and too long and thought things impossible.” ~ David Teems 2004