Ommm Joy: Gratitude Flow

Newest post for the fine folks at the Storm.  Check out how they are spreading their joy this month.

Heart shaped tree during fall

I was going for a deeper backbend.  For me, that’s not all that deep.  The whole time I kept trying to get my head lower.   I moved from my head and was stuck in my mind’s idea of how much further I should be.  I was focussed on that future place with no respect for the truth of who I am now.  And I had made my happiness contingent on my success.

But that’s not how it works.  I can’t pull myself into a deeper bend.  The body will resist as long as I resist accepting its truth. I can’t force it.  I have to learn bend and still have room to breathe.  I have to make space for the bend by opening the opposite side.  In this particular case it was my chest or, more rightly, my heart.  So I tried again.  

I pushed my heart open and expanded my chest then went back.  My head last to follow.  I wasn’t where I wanted to be but still I could breathe and I was closer than I was before.  And that feeling, that inhale within the deepening of my bend, it was bliss.

As I inhaled freely, I felt the air, felt the life moving through me.  Like the wind. I was grateful for that moment.  I held that inspired breath and found joy in my awareness.  And filled with the vibration of this joy, I followed my exhale down into a forward fold.  Until I was empty.  And I held that emptiness and listened.  Somewhere in that beautiful silent space between breaths with all the life dancing outside of me just waiting for me to breathe it in, I understood something deeper. Universal message received.

It’s all right there in the moment.    All the joy I could want for is there.  All the bliss, all the love.  They only exist in the moment and are never contingent upon what may or may not lie ahead.  It is easy to see this in the gentle breezes, but still there when I’m bowed by the wind.   When life deepens my bend, I must move from the heart to capture my fullest piece of this wild wind.  I must let it fill my lungs with life and sit with it in that quiet space.  Here I can see all that I have to be grateful for and know all the joy my life already offers if I choose to accept it.  And I do.  With deep gratitude and an open heart, I do.

Life can expand or contract us, depending on our view.  Is it a backwards bend or a heart opener? They are one in the same. As long as there is breath in our lungs, there is something to be thankful for.   Somewhere in the space of our gratitude, joy unfolds before our eyes.  And begs us to expand our hearts to allow it entrance to our souls.  We can open ourselves to love in every moment and let love open our eyes to the joy of life.  The choice is ours.  Be grateful, choose love, find joy.

“The purpose of life is to watch and experience living. To enjoy living every moment of it. And to live in environments which are calm, quiet, slow, sophisticated, elegant. Just to be. Whether you are naked or you have a golden robe on you, that doesn’t make any difference. The ideal purpose of your life is that you are grateful – great and full – that you are alive, and you enjoy it.”

Yogi Bhajan

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Uncommon Indecency

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She voted for Trump.  And she voted for Clinton.  Do you feel anger towards one of them?  Disgust?  Hate?

What if I told you she voted for Trump after being forced to find the words to soothe her terrified autistic son who was told by Clinton’s ads that he was in danger.  Or that she voted for Clinton because she, once a victim, couldn’t vote for someone who felt an appropriate response to sexual assault charges was “she would not be my first choice”.  They both voted against the careless and irresponsible way the candidates handled their campaigns.  They both voted with their conscious against the ugliness and terror that was brought into their homes.  And when it was all decided, neither felt any less afraid.  Still hold one of them in contempt because they didn’t vote your way?

Our candidates personally attacked each other with open hostility and with such a vehemence that their blows struck us all.  They made us despise the other side, made us want to fight, made us want revenge.  Then, at the pique of our frustration, they shook hands and told us it was over.

They left us battered and confused with no place to put our anger and our pain.  So we turn it on each other. They made us feel like we were fighting for our lives but it was really all just another campaign.  They broke apart all of our common ground with an uncommon indecency and left us alone on these broken islands wondering where we go from here.

I think we are all owed a sincere apology from our “representatives”, our leaders. Maybe they were only mirroring our own disdain or maybe they saw a limitless well of poison to draw from to lace their divisive darts.  Either way, they should have done better by us.  They should have been better for us. Because she deserves better.   And so do we all.

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A Word to Those Who Wish to Lead Our Nation – Divided We Fall

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Here we are just days away from the election.  Not a single one of you has taken office and yet most of you have already made decisions that have weakened our nation.  The choices you have made in your campaigning have crippled us all.

The mere mention of the election sends us, ALL of us, into fight or flight mode.  Attack or avoid.  Neither are good responses to the issues facing our nation.  These responses are inspired by fear.  The fear you have created as you bombard us with all your messages of hate for each other.  You who are to be our nation’s leaders, our legislation, and, seemingly forgotten by you all, our public servants.

Our votes are supposed to be our votes of confidence in your ability to do the job.  Instead, you have made it a vote of protest against your opponent.  What kind of cussed up leadership is that?  Spending all this money to infiltrate our homes and try to scare us with the horrors of your opponent instead of inspiring us by telling us what you hope to do and why.  What we see is that you can’t discuss a topic civilly and openly when faced with an opposing view.  And you hope to lead us to a better place?  HOW?

Regardless of who I support, I will be one of your constituents.  I do not agree with any single one of you on all the issues, probably like most of us somewhere-in-the-middle-of-conservative-and-liberal folks.  When your opponent speaks about their opinion on a subject, you are responding to us all on the matter.  So show us all a bit of respect when you speak!  Somewhere down the line you got it twisted that this is about you.  It isn’t.  It is about us, all of us together.  It’s best you start remembering this truth!

And here’s another wake up call.  We aren’t electing you to bitch and moan on our behalf.  And that’s about all you will be able to do if you can’t figure out how to work together.  How do you expect to work well with the people you are bashing?  Half the people you are personally attacking and insulting right now will be the people you have to work with to make your change.  I’m sure you will work real well together now that you all have displayed so much contempt for each other.  Way to go!  Good job jerks!

Tell me it’s not too late to turn this ship of fools around!  Stop talking about how you are going to act once you get the job and and start acting like someone worthy of the privilege.  Do you really wish to strengthen our nation?   Quit exploiting the cracks and tell us how you plan to mend them!  Stop showing us how to tear each other apart and start recognizing those you mean to serve!

You are working for my parents.  You are speaking in front my children.  Be mindful of that!  You are representing my hometown, my home state, my homeland.  You are working for ALL of us.  Do you understand that?  If you win, you will be representing your opponent as well.  The way you treat each other is a reflection of the way you will treat us all.  Act like you know!

Ridicule, fear and hate don’t get us where we need to go.    If that’s the only way you know, you won’t solve any problems.  You’ll be one.

So I ask you this:  If you get elected, can you drop the party line?  Can you do the right thing just because it’s the right thing?  And the right thing is not what serves your ego, not what looks good for future elections,  not what gets a few of you ahead while leaving most of us behind.  Can any of you put aside your differences, work together and get it done?

If not, please just take your ball and go the cuss home.  If you can’t see we are all on the same team then we, the people, don’t want to play with you no more.

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Ommm Nourish: Them Belly Full

Full length portrait of little girl dancing in the park

This month’s blog post for the soul tribe at the Storm. Go see what nourishment they are offering here.

We are all dancers in this exquisite symphony of twirling galaxies, shining stars, and spinning planets. We are part of the ebb and flow of the tides and moons, water and light, emotion and perception.

We have within us the same ingredients of everything that ever was and will ever be. We are magnificent, wondrous creatures. Each one of us a mix of all the elements, a unique embodiment of darkness and light, spirit and earth. We are spiraling magnetic beings, each with our own north and south, living in a world with its own north and south. All these moving parts and pieces, each with their own attraction and allure, constantly pulling at us and begging us to dance some more.

We were made for this dance, made to live, made to experience this world. We were given everything we need to laugh, love and create. And also everything we need to hurt, fear and destroy. And it is up to us to find our particular balance within the scope of everything. It’s a balance each soul must strike with its own divine infiniteness and this rigid space and time. We must reconcile all that is contained within us, knowing we contain a bit of it all.

And while we may seek to rid ourselves of some of these pieces, we would be left with a false account. We instead must seek to nurture our whole being, accepting the scary bits, the ugly bits, the nasty bits. For these parts of ourselves that we’ve judged as unworthy of our affection may offer us the deepest nourishment. Just like the bitter herbs that cleanse our bodies, the bitter parts of ourselves remove the limits we’ve unconsciously set upon our capacity to love.

Our fears, our suffering, our weaknesses hold within them the strong roots of compassion that remind us that every soul’s struggle is real. When we open up fully to loving ourselves, faults and all, we finally understand what it is to love and be loved unconditionally and we taste the vital sustenance only this love can provide. We cannot hope to love anything truly, knowing nothing is perfect, if we deny our own imperfections our love and acceptance. But if we can instead find the value in the depths of our darkness, we can know also the fullness of our light.

The world offers us so many ways to nourish our souls and honor our truth. We must learn it isn’t selfish to find ourselves worthy of the feast, even if we aren’t always our best. Then we must take our seat at the banquet of life, say our grace and get our fill. After all, we cannot hope to feed the love in the hearts of others if our own hearts are aching with hunger. The well nourished heart beats to the rhythm of the wild and infinite soul within us all. When we feed on those things that righteously sustain us, we open ourselves to the sublime truth of life. And through our unbound love we share the beat that reminds us all that we never truly dance alone.

There is sustenance to be found in every morsel of life. Love teaches us which parts feed our souls and which feed our soils. Open your heart and be nourished.

“When we feed and support our own happiness, we are nourishing our ability to love. That’s why to love means to learn the art of nourishing our happiness. Understanding someone’s suffering is the best gift you can give another person. Understanding is love’s other name. If you don’t understand, you can’t love.”
Thich Nhat Hanh

 

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collective disease

Writing this after binging on the news – all the anger and hate. And all the reactions that come from the same place. And this political undertow trying to catch hold of our ankles in these fear filled waters in hopes to create a bigger divide. Feeling exhausted and thinking of never watching the news again in favor of ignorance but the level it is at now makes me realize there has to be a shift and it has to happen now. This disease is a collective one. We can’t ignore it because at its root it is so very subtle we don’t even realize we too are infected. 

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Ommm Simplify: You Be You

September’s theme blog for the gang at the Storm.  Go see what they have in store for the community this fall.

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When I think of simplifying my life, I think purge and purify.  Purge my life clean of what I
no longer need.  Take on no more of what I do not want.  And purify that new found
space by filling it with things I love.

Simplifying my life, however, won’t necessarily make it uncomplicated.  Life is
complicated by its very nature.  Always shifting, always in motion.  My simple life will be
busy and active no doubt.  My shift towards simplicity is more subtle; a bit deeper than
shedding activities or junk from the closet.  I do not seek to make life less complicated.
Life it what it is.  Rather I intend to make my response to life less complicated.
First, much like tackling my closet, I will organize my mind.  Get it aligned with what I
desire to do with my life.  Discard the thoughts and their patterns that block or confuse
my path.  And train my mind to seek out the thoughts and patterns that can lead me
where I want to go.  Practicing my brand of simplicity  will require diligence and
discernment.  Lord knows this world isn’t always steady and neither am I.

But I figure if I allow my mind fertile ground to cultivate only positive thinking, my
response to life can only be positive.  My thoughts, quite simply, are the seeds of all my
words and actions.  With my mind well acquainted with my higher self, and organized in
such a way that I can access her quickly, I am more likely to answer any difficulties with
kindness, humor or grace.  If I can be more mindful of my decision to act or speak (or
equally mindful in choosing stillness or silence!) I will surely cultivate a more positive
experience every time.

Simple, right?  But it ain’t easy!  As I write this, my day was pretty smooth.  Tomorrow
may find me much less tolerant and with a strong taste for bad habits.  Days will come
where kindness and humor may be far from me.  Days where I just can’t see the light.
Here I will rely on grace.  Grace for the circumstance, grace for the moment.  And if I
can find it, I’ll give my negative self a listen.  Sometimes she just needs to have her say.
If I’m wise and able, I will test her thoughts against my center and discern if there is any
truth in what she speaks.  Then move from there.

If I’m neither wise nor able in the moment, I will have grace for my whole self, same as I
would for any friend, and thank the stars that tomorrow is a brand new day.
This will be my way.  Simplicity as a daily practice.  Feed my mind with nourishing
thoughts as often as I can.  Create space in my soul where only love is allowed grow.
Know well who I am and how I wish to live.  Then openly meet each moment where I
am, as I am.  And I will move from there.  Simple.

Life is rich in complexities.  It is what allows this experience to be all our own.  Life can
only be what we make of it.  So make it the best you can.  That is your power.  That is
your magic.  Train your mind to seek the beauty of life.  Take to heart your own recipe of
kindness, humor and grace.  Tweak that recipe however you need as each day comes.
Magnify the love and purge any thoughts that limit your belief in your own divine
magnificence.  And simply move from there.

“Life is very simple.  You shouldn’t be overbearing, over­decorated or overdone.  The
greatest majesty belongs to a living being whose behavior is simple and pure.”  

– The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan, July 9, 1981

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Fraa-G-lay. Must be Italian

  
Fragile.  Like waking.  Or is it the sleep that is fragile?  That moment between where the dream escapes.

Fragile like all of the ‘tween times.  Dawn – so quickly broken into day by the sun.  Twilight so easily silenced by the night.

Fragile. Like stillness in a fluid life.  Easily drawn back out into the experience.   Like peace in a polarized world.  Easily forgotten that we create the experience.

Life seems fragile.   But life itself is quite resilient.  And love and the human soul, the same.  Like Truth, these things are unbreakable.

Yet though they are unbreakable, they still can be handled with care.

 

 

 

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