Sunday, February 18, 2018

.....until it becomes a burden

One of the items on my ‘things I love about winter list’ is how deserted the beach is when we go there for walks.  Phoebe can be off leash, chasing birds and stretching out her legs without a soul in site.  Sometimes I bring a ball to throw for her.

She is part retriever and therefore does ‘part’ of the retrieving process.  She runs like the wind to go get it, skidding ungracefully in the sand and diving in to scoop up the prize. Then when she is supposed to bring it back, she doesn’t.  She carries it around and stays a comfortable distance away. I will eventually get it from her each time and then we repeat the process. 
She loves when we bring the ball. The ball brings her joy……until it doesn’t. The longer we walk the more tired her mouth becomes from carrying it. She will lay down, dropping it but keeping a close paw on it just in case. Every pile of seaweed and shells that she desperately wants to sink her nose in requires placing the ball in a spot where she can both sniff and keep watch.  I eventually sense that I should take the ball and put it in my pocket to set her free. The ball has become a burden.

Are we any different?  We acquire many ‘balls’ that bring us joy…...until they too become a burden. The big house. The nice cars, with equally nice payments.  Jewelry, clothes, electronics. They make us feel so good when they first arrive. But then we must house them, clean them, pay for them and keep one close paw on them in case anyone tries to take them. They, like the ball, at times become a burden.

When I first met my teacher she asked a group of us “How would you be if suddenly everything was gone?” I ponder this often and my deepest self knows I would be fine. Yet as I work to clear out my own home I find myself holding something up that I no longer need but still place it back where it was due to some memory, or potential some day in the future possible use. Sigh. Attachments.

It got me thinking. Wouldn’t it be nice if we each had someone who would sometimes notice and put it all in their pocket for a while so we could run free? Untethered, with nothing binding us to one spot.  Free to follow our heart and run like the wind…..

How would you be if suddenly everything was gone? 

Softening my grip, 

Sunday, February 11, 2018 watching me

As everyone including me knows, your first colonoscopy should be at the age of 50.  Last month I turned 56 and still test less.  I didn’t want to do it.

I wasn’t necessarily afraid of the test itself, although visualizing the actual procedure makes my arm hairs stand up, but everyone’s description of the prep had me running for the hills.  I am not a naturally thirsty person, so the thought of quickly having to drink 16oz of anything, much less something unpleasant, turned my stomach.  But last year my gynecologist looked me in the eye and said, “get it done before you come back next year” and here I was at yet another birthday.  So I made the call. 

I was picturing having weeks to mentally prepare but they had a cancel for only 4 days later.  I took a deep breath and the appointment.  I decided then that I would use the experience as an opportunity to observe myself.  To watch the stories, thoughts and resistance that were bound to appear. 

I want to share a few things from me observing me……

The appointment was Tuesday afternoon meaning Monday was prep day.  I found myself on Sunday thinking ahead to the next day.  ‘I am going to be starving…… how am I going to drink that…… I am going to be spending the whole night in the bathroom…..I will be exhausted’.  Hijacking a relaxing day at the beach house with worries of the future.

Nope. Having none of that, as I took my virtual eraser and wiped those thoughts off the chalkboard in my mind.  Replacing them with plans for long walks and images of going out to eat and watch the Super Bowl that evening. Letting Sunday be Sunday. That eraser is a tool you acquire for life’s toolbox with a steady mediation practice. Choosing thoughts.

Monday 6pm.  Noticing what it feels like to be hungry.  Sudden compassion for all of those around the world that feel this daily.  Now its time to drink.  I heard a straw is helpful (and it was).  I watched myself naturally finding a dristi (gazing point) on the wall ahead me and an internal mantra arising of ‘sip and swallow, sip and swallow’.  Slowly.  Focused. Relaxed. Over and over and over. Done. In the asana practice we use a dristi to settle the mind while holding an uncomfortable pose. Not to distract, but to focus. Steady the eyes…..steady the mind. 

Tuesday 2pm.  Lying on the prep table while the nurse takes my blood pressure and pulse.  Aware of my breath. “You seem relaxed” she says.  I look her in the eye. Huh. I guess I am. 
The doctor is running 15 minutes late and she asks if I would like a magazine.  Yes, I begin to say, thinking that will keep my mind busy……..but then, no thank you. I am going to be quiet.  I am going to be here. I look out the window next to my bed while being hydrated through the IV and watch the birds. Resting. 

When I awake from the procedure (during which I was in a deep restful sleep) I mindfully eat the animal crackers, which seemed like the most delicious ones I ever had. Memories of riding in a shopping cart in the grocery store as a toddler where my mom would give me the small red box of animal crackers with the carrying string and circus pictures on it.

Three hours later I taught my two classes.  A slow healing practice.

We don’t do yoga to be able to stand on our head. Yoga and meditation are practices to teach us how to be comfortable when things are uncomfortable.  To remain present, grounded and in touch with our inner world even when we are doing the things we don’t want to do.  When there is pain. When there is sorrow. When the world seems to tilt. I took my yoga off the mat this week.  I intend to continue doing that.

I am now in the world of post-colonoscopy,

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Sunday, February 4, 2018

......tuning into intuition

Ok, before I begin can I get a big round of applause for Ms Moon!!!!! The display she gifted us with all week was no less than spectacular. Here, here!

Each holiday season I give a small gift to my students. One year it was journals, another was Lavender essential oil and once it was the Yoga Sutras.  All things that have been instrumental on my own spiritual path in the hopes that others might also be moved with their use. This year it was crystal pendulums. 

As beings of energy we have intuition.  Our body and higher consciousness most often know things way before the mind does. Like when you get a sense about something before it happens. A room has a negative feeling when you enter. Or that nagging sense that there is something you should be moving forward on but you can’t get the mind to back you up.  A pendulum is one tool to help you tap into and trust that intuition.

A pendulum will guide you with yes and no questions.  Once the two of you have formed a bond, it will know your vibration for ‘yes’ and the far different note your body plays for a ‘no’.  Even when the mind cannot decide. Over time it will always move in one particular direction for ‘yes, let’s do this!’ and some other movement for ‘no, that isn’t right for me’.  

Here is a quick video to demonstrate.

Now I can hear some of you out there right now.  “That is a lot of hocus pocus……she is swinging it……that wouldn’t work if I did it…….has there been any scientific studies done on this?” But you should see some of the emails I received soon after handing them out!

“Wow!!.......That is amazing!.......It made different movements for me immediately…….How is it doing this?......That’s kind of scary!”

If you choose to bring one into your life, you first want to spend time with it to make a connection. For a couple of weeks, wear it in your pocket or keep it on your desk.  Sleep with it under your pillow. Or any other way you can give it the opportunity to sense how your body acts as you move through all of the decisions you make each day. Be patient as you get to know each other.

Then practice with simple questions that are clearly yes or no.  Keep doing this until you begin to visibly know the difference in movements. Patience.

Next work with questions that aren’t life changing.  Should I wear the green sweater today? Should I have eggs for breakfast? But then if the answer is yes…..put on that green sweater and start cracking the eggs. Heads up here– harder than it sounds. Building trust.

Over time you will feel comfortable using it for bigger life questions as a guide.  A confidante.  It will provide you with the answers that you already know deep within.

As a being of energy and light your power lies waiting for you to tap in.  Then….watch out!

I am not Fred,

Sunday, January 28, 2018

.....drawing down the moon

Not sure if you’ve noticed, but the press has been giving a lot more attention to the moon. Over these last couple of years there seem to be articles and internet posts about almost every full moon. Giving them names. Explaining what a ‘supermoon’ is (for something I had never heard of, we seem to have had a lot of them lately) and telling us when, where and how to best see her. 

Perhaps the weather people have worn out their ‘storm talk’, where they were beginning to name even rainstorms. The moon may be acting as that much needed new eye-catching headline. Whatever the reason, I think it is great!
This week I will be wrapping up the moon month meditation.  I discovered the other day in my moon research that there is a name for someone who loves the moon.  Selenophile.  I confess to being one, which I am sure doesn’t even need to be said. And the peak of the romance comes with a full moon which we will have Wednesday.

You may have already seen the news ramping up on this, but Wednesday’s full moon is yet again something rare. Let me see if I have this straight -  Full moon, Supermoon, Blood Moon and eclipse all rolled up into one neat package.  Oh, and Blue Moon, as this is the second full moon in one month.  Whew! First time in 150 years they say.

But all full moons are amazing. The energy at its peak offering us expansion, growth, lightness, love, fertility and celebration.  The full moon is the gala and we are all invited.

You will probably read this week about when to go outside, where to stand, lens to use…..but let me offer something that may not be mentioned.  Drawing down the moon.

This Wednesday night (or even Tuesday or Thursday as the energy lasts three days) find a time after sunset to go outside or in front of a window where you can see the moon.  Stand with your feet wider than your hips and planted firmly. Roll your shoulders back so the chest has a slight spread, giving the heart more room, tilting the heart up slightly.

Then imagine unzipping the front of your body by taking your hand and tracing it down the front of your torso.  You can then have yours arms hanging down with the palms facing forward or even spread your arms wide to open further (the neighbors won’t mind). Close your eyes and allow the moon rays to shine into you.  She will enter your throat, the heart, the belly, the hips and all the way down to the pelvic floor. Soak her in. 

When you feel complete, zip yourself back up!  And don’t forget to thank her 😊

Give it a try and let me know how it feels.  It is a powerful ritual and you may find her energy staying with you for quite some time……

Being 'mooned',

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Sunday, January 21, 2018 ego and ms. heart

Received an email the other day from a friend with updates on some life changes she had made. One of the most difficult was choosing to move into a position at work that had a little less overall responsibility. Moving out of the spotlight and into a more supportive role. She commented how ‘ego’ had to step to the side.  Her note brought back a vivid memory for me. 

About eight years ago a financial role became available in my organization and I was encouraged to apply. I had all the credentials, knew the organization well and was respected.  It meant a pay raise, more visibility, a great boss and potential for upward movement.  It also meant longer hours, some travel and tighter deadlines. I remember feeling slightly hesitant, but Mr Ego was right there pushing me from behind like a stiff wind.  Forward movement led by what I ‘thought’ I should be doing. I CAN do this.

Paperwork, interview and waiting. 

Skip forward a couple of weeks.  I am on a beach vacation and I have come back to the house midday to check in when I see a call had come in from the hiring manager. I can still see myself standing there in my bathing suit, sunglasses still on and sand stuck to my calves as I return the call, my heart pounding.  He tells that he has selected someone else. 

Mr Ego leads the charge on my first reactions…..  What?? I rarely get turned down. How embarrassing.  What will everyone think?  Ugh….how do I go back to the beach and tell all my family and friends.  

But somewhere buried deeper inside was a much smaller voice saying – Thank God!!!!  Ms Heart was patiently waiting for me to hear her. After a few deep breaths, I did.

If I had been listening inwardly from the beginning, I would never have applied. A healthy ego is necessary but when it begins to take the front seat, with its concern on our outer appearance, it often tempts us to follow paths that while may offer financial or social rewards may not provide the inner peace we all seek at the end of the road. The heart knows what we long for and gently guides us in the right direction when we are quiet enough to hear her, and brave enough to listen.  It takes courage in this fast-paced world we live in.

And the ultimate irony is that when we follow the heart, spending our limited time here on this planet doing the things that bring us joy, we are so much richer. We are at our most powerful. Leading life from the heart is – as my friend put it –  liberating!

So I moved Mr Ego to the side, while Ms Heart, my sandy legs and I marched back down to the beach to let everyone know……..

Willing to be vulnerable,

Sunday, January 14, 2018

.......Mmmmmmmmm for moon

Oh Moon……I forgot what a great friend you are.

The Moon Month meditation program that I am leading began with the full moon on New Year’s Day so we are about half way through. I am personally observing her each day, reading facts and writing my daily email, so she is high on my mind.  We are spending a lot of time together. 

We are reconnecting……..  
As the full moon she rises as the sun sets.  Every night forward she rises about one hour later until she finally meets up with her cohort – the sun.  She the feminine, he the masculine.  Early in the month I would see her rise when going to bed as she lifted like a balloon through the leave-less trees in the east sky.  As I lie on my pillow I could watch her over my feet.

Mid night bathroom trips find her peering in through my south facing window lighting up my tremendous grandfather oak out front.  The pair together causes a catch in my breath. My companions.

As the month progressed I found my sleep interrupted in the wee hours.  As if she wanted to be sure we didn’t miss an opportunity for some quality time.  My toes now tracing a pink half-moon hanging in the sky. Reconnecting……

This week, she is a crescent rising in the east sky as I run through the sleeping town. No matter how many twists and turns I take, when I look up, she is following me….reminding me of the game we played as children trying to get out from under her rays.  Wherever you go, there she is. All of us under the same moon.

In the energy of this final waning moon we are asked to let go.  Old angers, judgment, fear of moving forward, belongings……….  Let go to make room for the new. As I step into my closet it pleads for me to clear some space.  I vow to the moon that I will.  Doubts I have been harboring lately – exhaling them away.

So by Friday night after dancing and then soaking in the hot tub (two moon energy openers) with the window open to feel the unusual 60 degree wet warmth, I could feel her move in me.  The wind picking up and blowing through my hair as I lie in bed with the skies suddenly opening to allow a deluge of yet more water to pour down on the earth.  Surrounded by her. Held. Reconnecting…….

If you want to feel more, connect with the moon. She offers intuition as your guide, allowing the twenty four hour thinking mind to take a much needed rest in the back seat.

MMMMmmmmmmmm………………..feels good.

I love you moon,

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Sunday, January 7, 2018

.....New Year intention

It’s that time again!  A new year.  Like a timer that goes off and causes us to pause and consider what it is that we want. 

When I was young we would each declare a New Year’s resolution……only to be completely forgotten within a few days. You could be pretty bold with your resolutions, knowing no one (including you) was ever going to be checking back in on them. I have now replaced them with intentions.

An intention differs from a New Year’s resolution in many ways:
  • Intentions are not reserved for Jan 1, but are done continuously.  Month to month, day to day, even sometimes hour to hour.  An intention could be set for something as simple as your drive home or a single meditation.
  • Intentions are always in the positive.  Instead of “I will lose 10 pounds”, try on “I am the perfect weight for me!”   Or replace “I will worry less” with “I trust life completely!
  • Notice how intentions are always in the present.  No use of the words will, plan to or going to.  But AM, HAVE, FEEL!  As if they have already happened.
  • Unlike resolutions which lie swept under the bed, covered with dust, intentions are alive. Repeated mentally each day.  Written down.  Posted in view.  Spoken out loud (even when it feels like you are pretending).  
Finally, with an intention you let go of what you ‘think’ you should do, and state instead what you ‘want’ to do.  Then you feel ownership.  A deep desire to make it real. 

Another nice practice at the start of a year is to find one word.  A word that has the feeling tone that matches your vision for the next twelve months.  A word that when you say it, or even think it, your insides scream yes! My word last year was ‘fierce’.  

I have been waiting for my word to come to me.  Expansive, flourishing and bold passed through but no fireworks went off.  But then the right one showed up.  I realized when I saw it that I have already been using it in some of my marketing materials and it fits my visions for growth, using my voice and movement forward.  It also weaves beautifully into my passion for plants.  My word is…….

Blooming. I am blooming!  And the picture I took this week of an Amaryllis displays it perfectly.

Ok, your turn. What is your word this year?

With an open heart,