Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Wonder’

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. 

 

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?

 

 

Little Teachers on Being Present

I’m learning to be fully present. It has happened quite by accident! Oh sure, I’ve had an idea of living in this way. I actually return to the notion over and over because my mind has run away from the present moment once again.

The reasons I check out from being fully in the moment vary. I might be replaying something from the past through my brain or I could be projecting the future. I may be in fear or hopeful. The possibilities my mind conjures are nearly infinite and to a degree moot. What is relevant is they are successfully employed in removing me from the present.

How then am I learning to be fully present, you may ask. It’s simple. My grandsons are teaching me.

They are ten months old and four months old. For them everything is about the present moment. There is no worry over past or future events. They set no goals to strive toward. While some people may conclude this is because they are focused on having their immediate needs for survival met; I suggest that it goes beyond these necessary and simplistic instincts. They both occupy each moment with the fullness of their being.

When I hold them, feed them and care for them, they gaze deeply and directly into my eyes. It’s as if they are engaged in knowing me to my very core and by doing so they are helping me to better know myself.

Nothing that they do is ever in half measures. Their smiles, laughter and tears are expressed with their whole being as is appropriate for what they are experiencing right that instant. The result is that their personalities are big. I think this is because they show up with their whole self and by doing so they are fully living the moment in a way that most adults have forgotten.

If you too are wanting to be fully present look to the babies and small children. They are wonderful mentors! As the biblical saying goes, “and a child shall lead them.” They are certainly guiding me in a beautiful way. To them and their teachings I offer my deepest gratitude! Aho.

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!

Rain Dance of Celebration!

The rain has found its way here once again! For those of you not living in Northern California this may not register much of an impact. To the many folks who do live here or live in a similar climate where rain is scarce, any falling of water from the skies is cause for celebration!

In response to the rain, my daughter was doing “the happy dance” at her place of work regardless of who might be looking on at the time. She is not alone. Many of us are offering up gratitude and stepping out in the rain for even a small twirl around.

Feeling the rain touch your face, hearing the gentle sound it makes, seeing the rainfall drench everything and everyone in its path, speaks to a deep primal part of us that knows water means life. It brings renewal to the earth and to each one of us. The rain cleans things up and makes a clear path.

This is most appropriate for this day. In many traditions this day is a time to reflect on what has taken place during the past year. It is a time to let go of things that no longer need to remain in our lives. Perhaps we have grown in some way and need different things in our life to help us. Today is also an opportunity to look toward what we would like to create in our life. The cycle of a year is at play as we discern what we have harvested this season and what we want to harvest next Autumn. Important work can be done on this day.

My suggestion is to allow the rain to fall upon you. Let it wash those things that no longer fit away. Invite the rain to fill you with a sense of renewal and hope. Take some time to imagine the clear path it is laying out for you. Then think about what you want to encounter on the path. Be clear in your intentions for next year’s harvest.

If you get stuck or are unsure how to proceed you can call on the ancestors. The veil between Spirit and our physical world is thin at this time. Take time to honor the Elders in Spirit, those ancestors who are easily accessible now. Ask for their assistance if need be.

But first: dance in the rain! At least get your feet wet. I’m betting it will make a difference in how you feel and will give you the openness to proceed.

 

 

 

New Growth in Unexpected Places

Yesterday I stumbled upon something very unexpected. I was tending my balcony garden by cutting back and removing all of the dead plants. This something I do around this time of year in preparation for putting in colder weather vegetables and plants. Some areas I put to bed and they remain dormant until the Spring.

When I started working on the tomato plants I got a surprise! There was new, vivid green growth on the stems. I was startled because I’ve never seen this before! Even the stems that appeared brown and brittle showed green life inside of them when they were cut. Upon closer inspection some of the plants were blooming. As I made my way around the plants on the balcony I learned that it was only the tomatoes who were experiencing this second life. I also found one tiny new tomato plant growing in another planter.

This small and surprising discovery shook me enough to prompt a deeper reflection. If you know me or having been reading any of my writing, you are aware that Nature informs my way of being in the world. When there is something different or unusual in what I see and experience in Nature I pay attention. Typically there is some deeper message being offered to anyone who is observant. In this instance, I thought, “I’ve never seen this before in all the years of gardening.” I started helping with the garden in my childhood.

What was the new growth of the tomatoes telling me? I have to tell you, it took me awhile to get my mind around the fact that there was new growth happening in a place and time that was unprecedented. I guess it is true for most of us that when something takes us by surprise or shows up in an unexpected fashion we need time to readjust to the reality of what is now, even if it has never been this way before.

Once I got past that, I began to think about the resilience of life. It may appear that things are shriveled and brown but there could be life force deep within. My own life has been like this recently. Parts of me that were sleeping or dormant are finding their way to the surface once again.

There are many factors that contribute to us losing some aspects of our self. At times we may shut down some of the many characteristics within us. Grief can be one of those traumas that send us to a place of withdraw or dormancy.

Happily, the tomatoes have shown that emergence and new growth can take place when and where you least expect it. Increased bounty of these beauties will be a boon to me. I am still pondering how abundance and the bounty of a second harvest may reveal itself. I plan to take this insight deeper as I study and learn more of the attributes of tomato from a totem perspective. Meanwhile, I am delighted to have learned so much about new growth taking place in unexpected places!

A Gift of Fox Medicine

Each day I like to start my morning by being outside. Luckily, my balcony affords me a gorgeous view of the Briones, which are rolling hills in Northern California. I begin my day there because Nature brings me to balance and offers inspiration. I am normally gifted with something that helps to direct my day and life. I say that it does because this concept correlates to my own beliefs and Native American teachings that remind us that life is sending us messages, information and guidance. Our job is to learn how to receive and interpret what is being offered.

I’ve witnessed all manner of wildlife and things simply by sitting still and observing the view. Today’s gift on the hills was the sighting of a magnificent, red fox. I saw it only moments before it bounded away into the corpse of trees, confirming my suspicion that it held messages for me. This fox approached the forest with a sense of adventure and lighthearted play.

Fox carries many attributes according to Native American teachings. What I took from the visit from this specific creature was the reminder that magic, the feminine, intuition, charm and subtle playfulness are the order of the day.

As I watched it bound away, I thought, “Why walk, when you can bounce?” Incorporating an openness to explore while playing really could be the definition of fun, at least according to fox. That is not all that fox offers though because a true adventure entails discovering our courage while testing our mettle. Fox knows that beginning the adventure with optimism and playfulness opens the realm to wonders never imagined in our past.

I full expect that the medicine of the fox is telling me to approach life expecting that an adventure awaits me just over the hill. I would bet it is already on the way. That is ok because fox also instructs that I will find magic when I honor the feminine and follow my intuition. I wish you could see my grin as I say, “Bring it on!”