Now, Transformed

The last of my May posts for my friends over at PsychicsForetell.

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Within our daily experience as keepers of home and gardens the spirits still move and speak if we but attend.  They slip in through the cracks, making themselves felt in little breakdowns in appliances, unplanned sproutings in the flowerbeds, and sudden moments of blinding beauty, as where sunlight glances across a newly-waxed table or the wind stirs clean laundry into fresh choreography.” ~ Jean Lall

There is beauty in the everyday.  I only need to be still with it for a time.  Despite all the noise of the world begging for my ear, I get to choose where my attention resides.  And I owe it to myself, for the health of my spirit, to give my attention to this beauty.

These are the things that feed the soul.  Simple joys and pleasures I often don’t even notice because I am just going through the motions.  It’s easy to fall into the habit of doing the daily grind with my mind and soul separate from my body.  Lately I’ve found life to be far too precious to just go through the motions for a single second.

So how then do I live a life fully embodied?  How do I let my soul into each moment?  I’m still figuring it out.  But I start with the beauty, the art that is in every moment when I look at it right. When I view the seemingly meaningless with an appreciation in my heart for the opportunity to view anything at all, the ordinary can be transformed to extraordinary.  Life can express art even in the darkest of times, times I tend to try to escape.   Times I go on autopilot.   But sometimes in seeing that art, some light can be found.

When I catch myself away from the task at hand, I reel myself back in with a breath.  And I give my attention to my senses and find an alternate way to view my now.   Right now a few birds are singing.  The air is thick with unshed rain and holds the scent of smoke from a neighbors grill.  A light is playing with an old bottle holding a crooked plastic poppy and casting a shadow of the flower on my wall.  There is a breeze, almost imperceptible inside my house, but the gauzy prayer flags give it away.

Despite all the work left to be done I could focus upon and even more work to be done on my grieving soul, there is beauty to be found here.   And there is healing and wholeness in its finding.  These moments that have been slipping quietly by have the potential to be some of the best moments of my life.  And so I will do my best to live them to their fullest.

What are you doing with your time these days?  What beauty is offering its grace to your soul in your life right now?  And how do you honor that in your life?  How do you embody that?  How do you allow your soul to experience the moment?
 

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Being In Pain, Being With Pain

Another post from May for the fine folks over at Psychic’s Foretell.  

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We live in a quick fix society. It seems like most people are overstressed and short on the greatest healer, time. So we seek to stop the pain and the stress. We address the symptoms by masking them or “sucking them up” and wonder why the disease lingers. And in our denial, we have created a crisis in our nation that is very hard for people to talk about. We are overprescribed and underserved. And when the prescriptions are through, many are left with a new disease, one of addiction.

Pain is a hard thing to manage. It isn’t pleasant. And it comes in many forms. It can be acute like the pain of a broken bone and it can be chronic, like arthritic pain. And pain isn’t limited to the physical body. We can experience mental pain and anguish, emotional or spiritual pain like grief. Whatever the form, we can’t be rid of it fast enough. But we must understand, pain isn’t the disease and stopping ourselves from feeling pain doesn’t cure us. It just numbs us for a time.

So then what do we do with pain instead? What about being with it? What if we accepted it? Now I’m not saying to someone who has a finger dangling off their hand to just be still and accept the pain. They see the cause and it can be fixed. But for those who struggle with a deeper pain, who suffer in a pain that doesn’t seem to have a source that can be “fixed’, is it possible to allow it?

I see time and time again, what we resist persists and what we allow is transformed. What if we allowed our pain its space? What if we were able to hold our pain and move through it? What does that look like? How does that work?

Honestly, I cannot say. I, myself, am writing this today as I move through grief. I am grieving a loss of someone who was trying to escape their own pain, fresh on the heels of another loss of the same kind. And I know I’m not alone even though most people don’t like to talk about pain, our own or anyone else’s. But maybe we can change things if we start there.

 
Pain is not a sign of weakness. It is not a fault of character. It is not a badge of shame. And the roads pain can take one down can be darker than we could think possible. So in the spirit of shedding light, I would like to share some information I’ve found helpful with this community. Just some ideas to help one live with pain, whether it be spiritual, emotional, physical or mental (or as in many cases, all of the above) or even someone else’s.
Try to allow it. There has been research that suggests allowing pain to be what it is and living how you wish to live despite it can be beneficial. The idea is to take the focus from avoiding and suffering through pain to finding what things are still good despite the pain. And then spending more time doing these things. Giving the positive perspective the attention.

Breathe. Connecting to our breath can do wonders to relax and destress, which allows us to better handle feelings of pain. Just pausing and taking a few mindful deep breaths can help us reset and gain clarity. There are even a number of yogic breathing exercises designed with specific outcomes in mind.

Move through pain, literally. Find a way to move if possible (*disclaimer: and okay by the doctor!) Bodies in motion, stay in motion. Even if it is limited motion, it is better than no motion. Find a way to move that makes you feel happy. Jog, walk, wog, lift weights, do yoga, play a recreational sport, dance, whatever. If there is a physiological reason not to move, we need to honor our limits. But if we are self-limiting because of overwhelming fear, anxiety or depression, it may be worth pushing those perceived boundaries.

 
Find support. Talk about it. We can’t fix what we don’t accept as broken and we can’t heal what we deny is hurt. The people who love us will love us just that same as we’d do for them. It can be uncomfortable at first to talk about pain or even listen to someone speak about their pain. But sometimes as we talk, we heal.
 

Give faith a try. I’m not looking to convert anyone. But there is something to prayer. Having a spiritual practice and deep faith can do wonders for a body. And it doesn’t matter what religion: Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Pagan or Love. Nurturing our bodies is great. Nourishing our souls too? Even better.

One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. ~ Carl G. Jung

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Mastermind

Another of May’s posts for the intuitive folks over at Psychics Foretell.

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Want to feel less anxious?  Reduce your stress?  Increase your focus?  Improve your heart health and immunity?  Yes??  Meditate!  Want to find detoxify your mind of negative thought patterns?  Clear your body of old emotions?  Find your inner guru?  Meditate!  Want a million dollars and a brand new car?  Okay meditation may not help you there, but it could give you the space to create a plan to make it happen!

Working meditation into your daily routine is one of the best things you can do for yourself without spending a single penny.  I could go on and on about the benefits of meditation and you can google it yourself to see it is all true too but I know how it goes.  Finding the time to be still seems to go against everything this world demands of us.

We live in a time where most of us have to work full-time, probably doing some serious multi-tasking to stay on pace.  Same goes for housework which, like job work, offers a fresh batch to do every day.  Then there is your handy dandy phone/computer/camera that enables you to be on call to anyone in your contact list 24-7.   And if you have kids, forget about it! Sitting still with absolutely nothing on your mind seems extremely counter-intuitive when you look at your overbooked schedule.  But actually, if you don’t take the time to be still in your space, your intuitive self is probably in desperate need of calibration.

For those who haven’t tried it, I will say it can be difficult at first.  But like any new thing, practice makes perfect.  Start small, even 5 minutes works wonders.  Then work your way up.  Find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed.  If there is no quiet in your home, grab a pair of headphones and listen to some white noise station.   Get comfortable.  You can sit on the floor, on a chair or lay down.  Whatever works for your body.  Set a timer so you can let time go.  And then just let thoughts pass like clouds through your mind without weight or attachment until the timer goes off.  Easy right?

I know it’s not that easy.  I spent the first part of my meditative journey cussing myself out for not doing something to make my to-do list shorter with that precious time.  And the more I tried to block it out, the louder my inner voices got.  Until I was able to just allow them to chatter knowing I AM doing something.  Something very important.  I’m taking care of me.  And slowly, they grew softer until I could hear the smallest, quietest voice speak within.  The voice of my truth.

Sounds hippy dippy to some, I know.  But seriously.  When we can clear the chatter, we begin to hear what we need to hear most: ourselves.  And it isn’t just “ourselves”  but it is our unharassed, unrushed, unscattered,  uncomplicated selves that speak in this space.  It is our peaceful, loving selves that are so glad we checked in on them speaking to us there.

And I also know it takes all kinds to make a world.  So while I crave silent spaces to sit still and listen, I know many others dread the quiet and can’t fathom the idea of sitting still on purpose.  If you are one of those people, don’t despair!  Can’t be still?  There are walking meditations. Can’t be quiet?  Try mantra meditations.  Diehard multitasker?  Make one of your daily monotonous tasks a meditation if you must.  Just meditate!  You are worth the time!

Stick with it for at least 3 weeks.  That is how long many say it takes to make a habit.  So at least give it that long before you write it off.  And understand, you aren’t doing nothing.  You are cleansing your mind.  You are mastering the fine art of controlling your thoughts so your thoughts can no longer control you.  Practice first by shushing that voice that says mediation isn’t for you!

Please feel free to share your mediation triumphs and trials with the community below.  If we can all find a little more peace in this world, we all can share a little more peace with this world.

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Tracing Constellations

One of May’s posts for the stargazers over at PsychicsForetell.  

I’ve only recently begun to study the science of the stars.  I used to kind of think astrology was, well, a little hokey.  Most horoscopes I would read were so vague it could apply to anyone reading.   They were pumped out for everyone in the newspaper.  How could I believe every Virgo in the world was going to have a rough day and every Libra would receive great news?  I just never connected to it.

Then one night I was standing outside staring at Orion’s belt.  The sky was big that night and I saw more stars than I had in a long long time.  I was using Orion’s belt to find Sirius the way my seafaring grandfather had done before when my mind became as clear as the sky.  I thought, how can there not be something about the stars?  Some kind of divine system, a key to understanding the cosmic intelligence that keeps this whole magnificent show going?

In that moment, something just clicked.  I connected.  I started thinking about how we can use the moon and stars to tell the time.  Our star, the Sun, by day and all the other stars in our sky by night.  We can tell the season and name the month by the positions of the constellations in the sky.  We can count the passage of months by the phases of moon.

And the moon is so close, its motion creates the tides.  And while the moon’s light may only be a reflection of the Sun, it is the moon’s position in the sky determines just how much of that light gets to shine upon us in the dark of night.  The Sun, our Earth’s prime source of energy, creates the Earth’s environment.  And it does so all within the tight tolerance of heat and light necessary for all this life, as we are currently experiencing it, to exist.  How can there not be something to the primal dance of the stars across the sky?  How can the moon’s waxing and waning with the ocean’s ebb and flow not also have a pull upon us?

So what do I think now of astrology?

Well, I don’t think it is hokey.  That’s for damn sure.  Everything exists in just the right balance to keep this material world together.   It all must move in such a  precise way for this fixed space and time to stay materialized.  And if I had spent as much time as the ancients staring at the play of the cosmos instead of a television, I might truly understand how these energies affect us, individually and collectively.  And I might actually then fully innerstand how the energies that were at play when I materialized on this earth have shaped my receptivity and reactivity to the ebbs and flows of the energy around me now.

I know the study of the stars is much deeper than words printed “for amusement purposes”.  I also know that statement is a disclaimer for some astrologists and a true representation of others.  And that’s fine.  It isn’t just for entertainment any longer for me though.  Things are starting to come together.   In the clarity of that night, I found a sincere reverence for the order of nature and a deep thirst for new information that will connect the dots.  And now I know where to look to quench it.   Up.

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Oh the Places We’ll Go . . .

Another piece written for the stargazers over at PsychicsForetell.  

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So often I have read in my spiritual journey that to attain true enlightenment I must be without desire. I struggled with this one for a long time. How do I be a desireless entrepreneur? How do I have no desires but remain motivated to succeed in life? How is that possible?

Then I worked it out in my head, actually in a blog I had to write about desire. I discovered it wasn’t about being actually desireless but about not allowing my desire to be the be-all-end-all of my world. I discovered that I couldn’t let my desires turn into conditions.

That’s where I had stumbled before. I would set a goal and that goal would become a condition that must be met for me to feel worthy, happy, or good about myself. So by this logic, until I attained my goal, I couldn’t be worthy, happy or good. Happiness is not conditional. It is a state of being, a perspective, a choice. In other words, my happiness was contingent on attaining something external and in doing so, I had effectively blocked everything else out from my vision. Until that goal was reached, everything else didn’t matter. And the reality is that most of my life resides in the “everything else”.

So in understanding this, I separated the outcome from the desire. I focused on the desire only as much as to discern the best direction to take and then allowed life to unfold that way it just does. In that way, I am not so far-sighted I miss what is right in front of my face in the present. In that way I am living in the present, which is the only place we can actually live.

But how do I apply this understanding? I no longer make my desire my destination but instead just a part of my navigation. It not only eliminates the contingency mentality where I can only have happiness if I get there, but it also allows me even more room to grow in more directions than can be allowed with a linear have/have not scenario.

Instead of being focussed on the picture of myself living in my dream reality (which I haven’t lived so therefore don’t really know what that looks like), I focus on the pieces of that dream reality that are within my reach now and use them to start moving forward.

I weave my life using the warp strings I know are part of my Truth. The foundation of all my desires: Love, Integrity, Gratitude, Joy, Compassion and Faith. My weft strings that make up my picture, those I will choose in the moment. The colors and patterns will evolve as they will and the picture will be what it will be. I will not bind myself to weaving some still life picture of a place I haven’t been to. Not when the vibrancy of this fluid life is here begging me to jump in and create with whatever love is available to me now.

So yes, I do still have desires just not ones that are fixed in space and time, but that move with the dance of life. I desire to grow and fully express to my highest potential. I don’t dare limit my potential by picturing what that is and making that picture my focus. I focus on the weaving with love and joy in my heart and I have tenacious faith that my finished piece will be the more beautiful than I can imagine for it will be an expression of a life truly lived. And what can be more beautiful than that?

Weave your life upon your truths and allow the art of your life to unfold how it will. Do not limit yourself with a picture of there from here. Become yourself by creating your art from here to anywhere your heart leads.

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Office Cube Survival

Another of April’s posts for Psychics Foretell.  

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It is an all too common story.  You are a spiritual warrior.  You strive to be a source of clarity and peace to all around you.  You work on your spiritual game like an athlete in training.  You feed yourself with the right foods, feed your mind with the right thoughts, mediate with the right intentions, and constantly look for ways to enlighten yourself and become a better human being.

And then it’s time to go to work out in corporate America.  And let’s just say it ain’t no dream job.  In fact it is a nightmare.  Maybe you push meaningless paperwork across your desk in your windowless cubicle and feel undervalued, unmotivated, and have a restlessness about wasting all this precious time doing something that makes you feel like less.  Or you feel an unhealthy amount of stress over some quota that means nothing at all in the grand scheme of your life whether it is hit or missed.  And you suffer through endless meetings that go nowhere while sitting across from that guy whose incompetence is visible to all but management and  you ignore the bickering between two department heads as you wonder if that guy’s incompetence is strategic or true stupidity.  And either way, you find yourself imagining shaking the cuss out of him.  And you do this day in and day out all for the mighty dollar dollar bill y’all.

Before Daffy Ducking out of my cubicle to pursue my own gig, I felt this pain.  For more years than I care to admit, I undersold my life energy to get really good at something that, as far as I can tell, meant absolutely nothing to anyone in the end.  It was one of those “if we want to know your opinion, we will tell you it” kind of environments poorly hidden behind posted mission statements and motivational posters that gave an appearance of giving a shit about morale.  It seems to be the way at too many offices these days.

So how do spiritual warriors cope when they find themselves stuck in the rat race, even if only temporarily?  Well here are a few strategies that I found to be effective in keeping my sanity and maybe some can be useful in your office.

Imagine you are on a sit com. Yep.  Pretend you are on The Office.  This is great in the situations where the people you have to interact with just ain’t your kind of people.  If you have security cameras, look at them as if they are your audience.   If not, just imagine the camera.  When said people come to your desk, give your camera a look after they leave.  You know the look.  The one that says, “Really?”  Hell, talk to it if you want.  If they catch you, they will probably think you are bat-shit crazy and avoid you in the future.  Win-win.

Play music. This may not be possible in every office setting but if you can, play it!  If you have to keep it quiet for those around you and don’t have to work the phones, use earbuds.  Pick something that makes you happy, something positive.  Or if your work doesn’t require a high level of attention, play a podcast or a comedy routine.  Learn something new, expand your mind, or make yourself laugh.

Take your breaks. I remember working through breaks in the hopes of catching up or getting done earlier.  But there really was no catching up or being done.  So I started utilizing my breaks to do mini yoga sessions.  I spent most lunch breaks doing headstands on a grassy patch between the shipping lane and the parking lot.  But if yoga ain’t your thing, go for a walk, go outside and breathe, or if it gets really bad one day, go scream in your car until the frustration passes and you start laughing as you realize how crazy you look to anyone watching.  Just go do something that gives you a mini reboot to help get you through the day.

Find your tribe. Find the people at work that get it the way you do.  The ones that build you up or crack you up.  There is a lot of grace to be found in humor.  Maybe have a motto.  (Example: I had “Illegitimi non carborundum” on my computer screen – it means “don’t let the bastards grind you down”.)  Or maybe whistle the mockingjay call from Hunger Games when you see each other on bad days just to say you are in this together.  Whatever.  Find people that help you stay strong.  If you have tribe in HR, email them when you are feeling especially feisty to find out the company policy on b*slapping a co-worker.  Obviously you aren’t going to actually slap anyone (really don’t do it!) but asking if you can sure does take the edge off.

I’m sure there are other ways to keep yourself sane when you are in a less than ideal job situation.  These are just a few tried and true methods I used that worked for me.  In the end, I had to face the fact that I wasn’t right for that place.  I’m motivated by growth and at the time that place had no room for me.   And that is okay.  And maybe that is where you are at too.  Or maybe you just need to find a way to make it more pleasant knowing you make your real living outside of work.   Whatever keeps you from losing all that glung glung zen you work so hard to maintain, do it.  Remember that no job is more valuable than your health.  When work has you stressing, reframe the situation with that perspective.  Illegitimi non carborundum!

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Good Vibrations

Originally written in April for Psychics Foretell.  

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How messed up is it that I have lived parts of my life as if everyone’s opinion carries greater weight than my own.  Just like that saying, I used to stifle the urge to dance because, well, I’m not a great dancer and I didn’t want to be the next bad dancing video gone viral. I’d stay put despite my tapping toes and heartfelt want to dance. It was better to not make a fool of myself than to have fun. I wouldn’t want to try certain things because I worried I wasn’t good enough, wasn’t smart enough, wasn’t whatever-I-believed-everyone-else-was enough.

And yet when I thought, I would think as if no one is listening. I would be as nasty as I want. As foolish and unkind. As unforgiving and critical. I would allow these vile qualities to thrive in my head-speak which I would find repulsive if I heard out loud. My nasty tirade would stream on mercilessly as if no soul could hear. But someone was listening. Me. Oh and the entire universe.

The same universal energy at play in the stars, in the planets, and in the oceans is at play in our beings. We each have a slice of this life force to use however we will. That power is not outside of us but within. So in that way, we are our own source. We are co-creators of this universe. When we speak to ourselves in our minds, we would do well to remember this truth for we are speaking in front of all the powers that be. All the powers that create and destroy and create again. Our thoughts shape our reality. The energy of our thoughts is the product of what we feed our minds and becomes the vibration in this world we tune into and sing along with whether we realize it or not.

There is a higher frequency of my mind where I can dance giving zero cusses what anyone might think because the voice of my joy is clearer on this channel than the voice of my worries. If anyone can’t be down with me because I like to dance (albeit poorly), I understand that they ain’t the people I came to get down with anyways. And that is okay. I need to surround myself with vibrations that will elevate me on this journey. And everything I see, hear, taste, and touch carries a vibration.

I control how I perceive my world by choosing the frequencies I surround myself with and choosing the vibrations I shake with. If I have fed my mind, heart and body with the energies of Truth and Love, all will be right in my world. When my world is right, I’m in harmony with the universal song that makes the whole world go ‘round. And that right there is my jam.   Ooo I think I wanna dance.

Dance your body like nobody is watching and speak to yourself like you are conversing with the entire universe. Because you are. Change your dialogue, change your frequency, change your world.

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