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Posts tagged ‘Reflection’

The Shoulders We Stand On

I’ve been giving some serious thought to a concept shared with me many years ago by a Native American Elder. They said, “We stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us.” At the time I likened this to my upbringing that taught, “respect your elders.” I did my best to honor and care for them.

Interestingly, the teachings continue to deepen and unfold as you move through life’s cycles. This specific one has returned to me as I look around and observe life today.

Surprising to me is the realization that I am now one of those who has the next generations standing on my shoulders. From my place in life, I also see at least two generations living here on whose shoulders I stand, so do you. Recognizing that I have new ones standing on my shoulders has prompted me to look at myself and my life.

I’ve wondered what kind of foundation I’m creating for them. Will they be standing firm and strong or ungrounded and shaky? Is there a recognition of the beauty that life holds? Do they feel a part of a healthy community that values each being? Are they respectful of all life, including Mother Earth and her creatures? Do they feel supported in their endeavors? Are they growing and blossoming? Is the world they inhabit one of kindness? Do they see with eyes of compassion? Can they say that they love and honor themselves? Are they happy and wanting others to be happy too? Do they offer gratitude for what life has given them?

In all honesty, I know that there is work to be done for them to thrive and make the world a better place. That work starts with me and with you. Let’s observe how we are in the world and how we are with ourselves. Is there room for improvement within us?

My plan is be be kinder, smile more and share of myself in a compassionate and loving way. Additionally, I can teach what I’ve learned by living it each day. I will strive to create an open environment that supports and encourages the next generations, two of which are here for me.

Perhaps you have more or less in the way of the next generations living here, based on where you are in life. In truth, we all have responsibility to the future generations for our actions because we are shoulders that they will stand upon. Together we can bring joy, love and beauty to them by our conduct today. I invite you to join me.

We Are Powerful

We’ve been sold a story. It goes something like this: you are small, you are weak, you’re just one person, what difference can you make? Besides you are unworthy, you’re too this or not enough of that. You’re broken, a victim, so shut up, stand down, be submissive and struggle through.

The main intention of this story is to draw attention to our powerless over our own lives and over the events taking place in the world. If we believe the prescribed narrative we spend our time focused on our lack or smallness. In doing so we become saddened, frustrated, depressed, angry and hopeless. Our individual realities grow bleak as does the world’s condition. This particular story goes round and round upon itself with never a happy ending.

Fortunately, that story is false! It was concocted to keep us from remembering our truth. Pulling away the veil of illusion, we see clearly that we are powerful beyond measure! We are strong and vital. We effect change every moment by virtue of our being here. We are whole. Our bodies are made of the same substance as is contained within the stars of the Universe. We are indeed magnificent!!!

Claim your power now! Use your voice, stand up and be bold. Think about what is right and just for all. Let compassion, love, hope and kindness be your guides. You can offer these and like qualities silently or with actions each day.

Set intentions for the world through prayers, meditations, or with wishes. Focus your mind, heart and emotions on what you’d like to see for all. Send it out into the world with love. Start and end your day in this way. Know that it will be made manifest.

Quick, tell the others.

 

Finding Bliss

Thoughts on finding Bliss: 
Today’s treasures are not to be missed.

Splash, whirl, dance and play,
Celebrate with abandon this special day.

Release your burdens for a time,
Take my hand, as together we climb,
And reclaim all that is sublime.

There will be time to drink from life’s bitter cup,
But today let bliss take you and lift you up. 

 

What If…Musings

Today I have been occupied with “what ifs”. Rather than allow my mind to take me on an aimless and futile journey; I called on my inner wisdom to direct the introspection.

The following “what ifs” are not unique, new or even original. They have been around as topics of contemplation and discussion for millennia. I offer my thanks to those who have introduced them, studied them and sought to apply them to their lives.

And now the musings. What if the Universe really does have my back? What if everything I need is always provided? What if all I have to do is ask? What if this moment is perfect? What if there are signposts to guide me along the way? What if beauty is love and love is beauty, as my dream the other night revealed? (Note: I define beauty as the representation of the Divine.) What if we are all one? What if the world is headed to a more peaceful existence? What if the assistance I seek is already present? What if I am the one I’ve been waiting for?

The list could go endlessly on, but what if I take the time to reflect upon each one currently listed? What if you did too?

I could have listed other “what if” questions that take me into doubt, fear or anger. Instead, I decided where to focus my awareness. My experience is defined by wherever I place my attention.

On this day, my choice of “what ifs” gave me an consciousness of the magnificence of life. I discover unity, compassion and faith when I come from my inner knowing. The key I believe is perception.

 

Create more Light, more Love, more Laughter!

I did not arrive at today’s post by saying, “I feel fabulous! Today I’m going to write about sunshine and rainbows.” Nope; I’ll hold onto that topic for another day. Honestly, I’m writing about creating more light, more love and more laughter because my attention has been drawn to the anger I spew into the world.

Just yesterday I was headed down the road when a car traveling at a high speed nearly clipped me as I started to change lanes. Thankfully I saw her in time and corrected. She continued on her way while I screamed, “Bitch, slow the fuck down!” She drew alongside me just in time to see me finish venting my rage. At the same time I looked in her window she was waving a hand and saying, “Sorry.” I watched as she continued weaving in & out of traffic never once modifying her speed.

Where was I headed? Oh you’re going to enjoy this one! I was on my way to yoga class. Yeah, we’ll get back to that in a minute.

About a week or so ago I got up in the morning and there were dirty dishes piled up in the sink. The counters were disgusting! I live with other people who work outside of the home. This wasn’t the first time this has happened. The house standard is: if you cook dinner for everyone then the other people clean up. That morning, as I’ve done in the past, I got angry. I cooked dinner so there was no way I was going to clean up too! I fumed. I told myself I wasn’t going to do them. I started to blame and judge those living in my house who left the kitchen a mess. I began to fall into a victim role thinking things like; “just because I’m home they expect me to do it.” On and on.

Then something shifted. I started to see that dirty kitchen in a whole new way. I thought, “I’m going to clean this up for me. I want a clean space.” I put on some music and started scrubbing. While doing this I was peaceful. The anger, resentment, judgment, etc. had all faded away. I began to reflect on how fortunate I was that I had loved ones with which to share a meal and living space. I began to offer gratitude that I wasn’t alone or lonely. I expanded that to include having plenty of fresh food and water to consume.

Once the kitchen was clean I left for yoga class. On the way there I reflected on the how differently the morning turned out. You see, in the past the kitchen scenario played out as I described but I never shifted my awareness. I carried the anger around all day. I stewed and held onto my anger and righteousness. In fact, I cultivated it until I talked to one of those people I lived with. Then it came out. I slammed them with it and punished them. In essence, I created a wedge between us and I felt justified. What this mindset really does is allow me to hold my anger close while distancing myself from other people.

I thought about my relationship and impact to the whole. What influence or effect does my anger have on the web of life?

I look around and see so much violence, so much judgment and tension in the world. I see people bashing each other in the political realm. Today, I even saw someone comment that they thought a post about taking a contract out to kill a person running for President was funny. Really? When is it ever funny to imagine killing someone?

It is not okay to project anger onto others for any reason. Just because they look, think, act or believe differently from me is no excuse. Diversity is expressed nearly everywhere in life; just look around you to perceive that truth.

The day I attended yoga class after shifting my perspective on the dirty kitchen, at the end of class my teacher said to the room at large. “That’s the thing about yoga. It teaches you to see the places of darkness within you. Then you have the choice to change it.” I agree.

Even though a little over a week later finds me screaming at another driver on the way to yoga class I keep working on the insights I receive. That’s the thing about a spiritual path, it keeps reminding you where your work resides until you fully integrate the lessons. Every spiritual path is meant to grow you in this way.

And so I ask you, where is the darkness within you? Is it possible to shine the light on it, offer love to yourself and others and laugh over your past antics? Will you join me in committing to creating more light, more love and more laughter in the world? I deeply hope you do. The world needs us. I need you. Peace.

 

 

Mid-Winter Celebrations

Today is a day celebrated in many cultures as the mid point between winter and spring. There are a variety of rituals and celebrations that are held both in the spirit of hope and in an invocation of welcome.

Today is significant because it is at this point that the ancestors took time to both acknowledge their journey and fortitude in surviving the long winter and to look toward the coming spring. This pause gave the people time to show their faith that they would see the spring arrive once again. Spring meant that the earth would wake up and the land and her creatures would grow and produce which equated to life for the people.

The ritual ceremonies allowed the people to participate in honoring the cycles of life. I imagine they felt that this celebration was vital in bringing forth the spring and renewal of life. They saw themselves as a part of the whole of nature not separate from it. On a practical note, the preparation, ritual and celebration gave people a tangible relief from the harshness of winter while still being enmeshed in its reality.

I find this sense of optimism and faith expands hope within me today. It is a conscious reminder that yes, the light does return, yes, there will be new growth and new life. Yes, things can begin anew even amidst the dark and cold. Let us celebrate that knowledge!

Whether or not you practice modern rituals marking this day, consider lighting a candle in honor of the light returning. Place the match to the wick in reverence of all renewal of life. Think of the hope it may ignite to see something new and vital grow within you. Remember that even in times of darkness you can offer your knowledge that the light always returns.

Digital Detox Discoveries

A few weeks back I made some unexpected discoveries courtesy of a concussion. Now that I’m feeling much better it seemed timely to share what I learned. While I am not recommending having a concussion to anyone, I am suggesting that the insights gained could be applied to enrich our lives.

Our brain is the control center for everything in our bodies. It commands our response and reaction to the world around us. While these may seem to be obvious statements, they in no way convey just how much our whole existence depends upon a healthy working brain. Having a concussion gave me a more comprehensive understanding of this reality.

When you have a concussion the doctor instructs you to rest. This translates to: no driving, no reading, no television, no computer, no texting, no use of the internet. In short it means no technology what so ever!

My eldest daughter, Sara, termed my convalescence as a “digital detox.” Thank you Sara for the term that led to today’s post.

You may wonder exactly what is it that you do all day when you are required to detox from digital technology. It may sound easy, yet you quickly learn that even regular daily tasks are initially too much for the brain. The doctor told me, “You will know when you’ve done too much because all of your symptoms will return.” For me that was true. It took me a few days to accept that I really did have a concussion and was truly going to have to rest, follow the directions given by the doctor and let the healing process unfold.

What you do is simply rest. I spent many hours lying down or sitting in my chair watching nature. This was fine with the brain. None of my symptoms amplified or returned if I was engaged with nature. I actually believe that watching the birds, animals, clouds, trees, sunshine and rain benefited the brain. It seemed from my perspective that the brain liked this activity .

However, there were others that the brain did not like. One day, a couple of weeks into recovery, I became really frustrated to the point of being angry. That emotion rose up in my body like a flame. The brain’s response was to have an immediate headache and dizziness ensued. It was crystal clear to me that the brain does not like anger and frustration.

Any activity requiring intense concentration or focus such as any use of technology, including my cell phone, tired the brain out. After very brief uses of technology I would begin to develop headaches or “wonky” brain as I called it then. I would have to lie down and close my eyes until my brain was steady again. Reading from paper magazines or books did this too, although I was able to undertake this activity for a longer period of time before my brain demanded a rest.

As time progressed I was able to paint or engage in creative activities without problems. I had a smaller window of time than normal before I became weary but the brain seemed to enjoy the process.

I find these discoveries fascinating! If I pay attention my brain appears to be telling me that being in or observing nature is a positive experience for the brain and my whole self. Creative expression is also a renewing experience. Conversely, too much technology is taxing to the brain and therefore to my body. Anger, frustration or other emotions like them seem to cause distress to the brain which translates to my entire being.

One other thing that happened has me still pondering the effects. When I struck my head, yes, it did result in a concussion, but my heart chakra got blown wide open. The walls of protection many of us put around our heart were disintegrated when I obtained this concussion. My brain shut down or stepped aside and my heart space opened up fully. An interesting phenomenon don’t you think?

Perhaps the most vital discovery is this: allow the heart to be the control center from this point forward.

I wonder….how might life be from this context?

 

 

Journey of a Lifetime

When on a spiritual and personal quest to discover your self and purpose in life, you are instructed to focus on the journey. We are told that everything is part of the journey without necessarily being shown what that means exactly. Added to that vague concept is the structure and conditioning of our culture that emphasizes success via accomplishing goals. Needless to say, it can be overwhelming and frustrating at times.

Some recent changes in my life have helped me to better understand that it is ALL about the journey. Every little thing that occurs gives me a chance to see myself more clearly and in doing so I begin to shift my consciousness to seeing the Sacred in each moment. Oh, it may not seem like such a moment at the time. Quite the opposite you might think!

Take my morning for example. I was headed to the city (San Francisco) and the traffic was brutal! I experienced frustration and had some descriptive words for a few of the other drivers. Trust me when I tell you that none of them were complimentary. I found myself closing the gap at the bridge toll gates so that no one could get in front of me. I was striving to get ahead and stay that way….and then something happened.

I began to see how competitive I was being about simply waiting in line. That awareness took me further when I began to reflect on my morning. I realized that my behavior was a form of control. Wow! Who knew a simple thing like a traffic heavy highway would lead me to  seeing myself more clearly?

Once I got that insight I was able to shift my focus. I began to carefully look around while in that line. I observed other drivers and understood that we are all on a journey. Perhaps they were going to work, venturing out for fun or something else. What I saw were people like me in a small step of their life journey.

I am certain that today’s experience was brought to me directly from the Divine. How else would I have recognized an area where I could let go of control? Where would the connection I felt with strangers on a journey come from if not this event?

We all have a journey of a lifetime, one that is specific to each individual. You may not even have to travel to some ancient, distant land to make the discovery. Just be open and show up for your own journey of a lifetime!

Message of Hearts

Something pretty amazing took place in my life several years ago. I can not recall the circumstances of my life and what was taking place at the time. The only thing I remember is the hearts.

I began to notice heart shapes in nature. Several times a week I would see a heart. They could be anywhere; in a cloud formation, in the separation of bubbles as I did the morning dishes, in the shape of leaves.

Once I was sent into the woods to sit quietly for an hour. When I looked up there was a leaf directly above my head. It had a heart-shaped hole in it where some tiny bug ate the leaf away. The shape was a perfect heart! I recall that I had difficulty not laughing out loud when I saw that one! I was supposed to be silent while there, so I laughed inside.

There was a time when I didn’t notice them at all, but I’m sure they were still there. After the flood of seeing them every week for several years I did not see them as frequently. I lost my awareness of them and the gift that they brought me for a while. During that time I was working on internal baggage. I did see them but it was much more rare.

The other day I went for a walk and noticed a heart-shaped leaf. Actually, it was a leaf that had been walked on and was broken, but the shape the pieces of the leaf took was a heart. I’ve been seeing them again for quite a while now. So long, in fact, that I can’t pinpoint the exact time that I began to notice them again. I see them everyday now, usually several different hearts in a day.

I’ve never questioned seeing them. I did not ever feel the need to ponder why they showed up for the first time or examine what is happening that I still see them today. There could be some deep message from them that I don’t yet understand, but it is a mote point to me. Here’s why: every single time I see them; whether it was the first time or is ongoing; regardless of if I share that experience with someone or not, I smile.

The hearts make me smile because it is like Mother Nature, the Universe, and the Divine, are sending me a message of love. A reminder that love is here right now. This is not even a conscious thought when I see them. I know, understand and receive the message of the hearts at a level of sacredness contained inside of me. My response is to smile. You may have guessed that the smile is from my heart. It is my answer to the hearts sent to me.

The Four Directions of the Medicine Wheel (And How They Affect Your Life)

Do you want to better understand the wilderness along with your interactions and connections with Nature? Check out: We Are Wildness. Their mission is “to help improve the health of the planet by inspiring people all over the world to reconnect with Nature.” I invite you to visit their site to learn more.

You will also find; The Four Directions of the Medicine Wheel (And How They Affect Your Life), a guest blog post, that I wrote for them there. Follow this link: http://wearewildness.com/four-directions-medicine-wheel-affect-life/ to read all about it!