Posts

Showing posts from 2017

Your Life and Work Matters

Image
I rise in the early dawn and go for a walk, in the crisp cool air. 

The sun is rising a little later than it did three weeks ago, and the the coolness of the morning and delayed dawning, serve as a reminder that the fall season is not far behind.

I receive subtle messages with every step I take it seems, but the one that is thrusted upon me most powerfully is simply this:


"Your life matters. Your work matters. Whom you touch - and reach,  all throughout the world, matters."
It's message will not be ignored. Those on the other side seem to be literally yelling it into my ears. And so it comes up again and again in various permutations.


"Everything you do, matters."
Nothing that I - or you do - is without significance. Each one of our actions has an impact. And I believe, if we put all of our actions together in the balance, for most of us, the good deeds outweigh the bad. Really. There are few exceptions. This I believe. Firmly. Strongly...

It is the little things that ma…

I Am Well. It is Well. All is Well.

Image
Re-entries from vacations are always hard. At least for me.

I spent two weeks visiting loved ones, walking several beaches for hours, generally disconnected from the news and media. It was heaven!

I lived in an alternative universe. One where all was well...

I came back to a generally quiet week of doing laundry, catching up with household chores and getting re-acquainted with my previous rhythm. I relished the silence and lack of appointments and commitments to slowly gather my bearings, coming back to a very different plane of existence.

I had a week to re-adjust with a lot of time to walk, reflect, write, and meditate - gratefully living the life of a true contemplative. Luckily, I have one more week of relative quiet, and then I hit the ground running with a flurry of activities as the summer fades and I head into the fall.

I reminded myself almost hourly to breathe. Every day as soon as I awoke, I expressed gratitude for the experiences and connections I was able to make during my tim…

Lessons From a Soul's Journey

Image
I reflect on lessons transmitted to me and hopefully learned, over a two week period of visiting dear ones, but of also journeying more deeply inward.

I walk oceans, grounding my feet - sticking my toes in sand, waves, and foam - and ultimately my soul - deeply breathing in the fresh salt air, which purifies, and bathing in salt water that detoxifies.

I am conscious of the gift of this time, and of all that nature generously offers me.

I share milestones with life long friends, gal pals, and BFF's, and the wisdom garnered from decades of our combined life experiences and ages. I add to these the insights culled from morning walks, and gathered along with shells from the many shorelines I visit.

I marvel at animal visitations, and the messages they leave at my feet, including the gift of numerous feathers.

I culminate the nearly two weeks of my soul's sojourn with Sunday liturgy, and the spiritual nourishment of the Eucharist, ever attentive to the homilist's words, which seemed…

Gifts from the Sea

Image
"Cooperation is key for you at the moment. Let go of ego and work it out." ~ Pelican
I walk the shoreline of the ocean, as often as three times a day. Sometimes more, hungrily trying to make up for my many years of absence.

With each step I bathe and ground my feet in the healing salt waters.

Every time I visit, I receive gifts from the sea - of insight. Of wisdom. And actual physical ones as well.

Sometimes I receive shells. Yesterday an un usual rainbow colored one appeared at my feet on a long walk.

Yesterday I also received a pelican feather. Not once - but twice!

Mind you, I rarely receive feathers, but recently two came to me - one from a cardinal and another from a vulture. I quickly looked up their meaning as totem animals.

I have been treated to a convocation of pelicans, gathering daily in the same general vicinity, so yesterday I looked up the significance of pelicans. Here are some of the insights I come across from several sources:

If Pelican appears to you, it is trying …

You Can't Step into the Same Ocean Thrice

Image
"You cannot step into the same river twice..."

This quote, attributed to Heraclitus, arises in my heart.

I stare in awe, at the broad expanse of the ocean in front of me, having risen to meet a new dawning and say to myself - 

"You cannot step into the same ocean thrice..."

You cannot step into the same day.

You cannot hold on to anything - therefore, you cannot hold on to any of your yesterdays - or the days that are yet to unfold. 

You cannot hold on to what was - or what will be.

You cannot hold on to love - or to your relationships - you cannot hold on to your past - or to any part of your life.

But somehow, we manage to hold on to the things that take away from our magnificence and that make us small - like fear and resentment. And attachment. We will somehow allow those things to consume us, sometimes for a lifetime - keeping us apart from others, and impeding our growth and development.

But these things that we latch on to, do not define us. They are not who we are. …

Gifts of Divine Sight and Sacred Pause

Image
I am halfway through an incredible journey, of visiting life long friends and family, and making many connections. Many moving pieces came together easily and quickly.

A dear one said to me recently, that this trip would be a time of great significance. She was right...

I am so happy to spend days walking the beach, grounding my feet in sand and salt water. It has been years since I've had that opportunity, and this time I will spend time on three beaches and two coasts.

A few days ago, as I walked along the shore and looked at the crashing waves, waiting for the sun to peak through clouds every now and then in the early morning, I was struck by the luminosity and the clarity of the waves - how very silvery and radiant the water looked, how I seemed to be able to capture every little detail in the dancing foam.

Mind you, I cannot see very well.

And yet, in these moments, I was so present, I was able to "see" with a different sight - that went beyond the physical eyes...

I was …

Practice Self Care

Image
These past couple of weeks or so, I have delighted in practicing self care. 

It seems that practically every book I've read recently makes some reference to practicing self care, and most importantly, loving ourselves.

For the first time in years I am actually whittling down a pile of books I have been meaning to read. I tend to read non-fiction, so often I do read inspirational books, and a lot of self-improvement, but this year I am reading a number of historical works as well, and brushing up on the main characters and events of the late 15th century, to the mid to late 16th century, a period I have found fascinating, because of the strong women who lived and ruled then.I am especially interested in what was happening theologically, and the rising movements of the time.

I also decided to brush up on my French, and have been using Duolingo and some old textbooks to do so. I have wanted to do this for years! Every night, I carve out some time to do my lessons.

My daily routine includ…

Love Yourself First

Image
I finished reading three books this week, and in all of them I found this essential message repeated, over and over again, in various permutations: 

Love yourself first, then you can love others.

Appreciate who you are. Do not put yourself down. Do not sell yourself short. The poet Rumi once wrote:

"The whole Universe is inside of you. Ask all from yourself."
You have everything that you need. Right now. In this moment. A dear soul reminded me of that last night. No matter how bleak, or dark things may be - there is a Light that shines within you. Why?

Because you ARE Love - you are a fragment of the Universal Force that binds us all.

But, you have to recognize it. And accept it first.

Then you can shine that Light and Love for others.

But start with yourself.

Today.

Tomorrow.

And every day!

(Photo by Veronica Martinez)


Your Life is Your Practice

Image
"The awakened mind has two attributes.  One is compassion, what some would call love. The other is clarity, what some would call sight. They are not really two things.  Each is a function of the other. When you see, really see, you just love. When you love, really love, you just see. You see things as they are, not as you expect, and in that wide open space is love." ~ Karen Maezen Miller
In the book "Paradise in Plain Sight," the author, Karen Miller, dedicates nearly two decades of her life to restoring a Zen garden to its former glory. This is no small feat. Along the way, she also seeks out a Zen teacher because she deems that her life is lost.

"Your life is your practice."

This is the message he entrusts her with.

How simple is this? How pure? How unique? And yet how challenging?

"Your life is your practice."

Your life is the medium and the message. 

Your life is the vehicle for the manifestation and the embodiment of love.

Your life is the WAY...

We spend o…

Enjoying and Loving Your Life

Image
"Each of us inevitable, Each of us limitless - Each of us with his or her right upon the earth, Each of us allow'd the eternal purports  of the earth, Each of us here as divinely as any is here." ~ Walt Whitman, (Leaves of Grass)
"There is nothing more impoverished as the deeply unawakened heart; and nothing enriches us more, and brings more life and meaningfulness, that the awakened heart." ~ Christina Feldman
It amazes me how every day one can receive the messages needed, if one is open to them.

Last night I was reading a chapter entitled, "Making the conscious decision to love your life," in Lorna Byrne's "Love from Heaven: Practicing Compassion for Yourself and Others." 

In this section of the book, Lorna, who has had a life long ability to see and communicate with angels and beings that have passed on, states that to love is our most important mission in life. Love is indeed our essence. And so, to experience a love and zest for life, is of paramount…

To Risk Change

Image
I awaken drained and exhausted, after several days of sadness and heaviness for the state of affairs in this world, and the perception of my own.

Everything in the news seems to consist of a blockage - an impediment for communication, compromise and collegiality - a challenge that is seemingly insurmountable, and yet in my heart of hearts, I know it is not true...

Did not Gandhi once exhort us to be the change we wanted to see?

Messages come from so many different places, and I receive two that are particularly notable, one as I finish the book that I am reading, "Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy," by Anne Lamott:

"...Things that grow are what change everything.  Moments of compassion, giving, grief, and wonder  shift our behavior, get inside us and change realms  we might not have agreed to change...  The world keeps going on.  You can have another cup of coffee  and keep working on your plans.  Or you can take the risk and be changed..."
And then this:

"When we med…

A Little Bit of Mercy and Compassion

Image
"A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just." ~ Pope Francis
Yesterday, after I finished reading the Sunday papers, I noticed I was very sad. Practically everything I read was depressing. The despair felt contagious. I was overwhelmed by the state of affairs in the world. How did we get this way?

I thought to myself, we need more mercy and compassion...

It so happens that I have been reading the book "Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy," by Anne Lamott, a very timely little tome indeed!

I quoted this book in my last entry, but now I am knee deep in it.

Ironically, on page 51 (Psalm 51 is the Miserere, one of my favorite and most recited, I could not help but note), Lamott offers this explanation:

"Misericordia is Latin for 'mercy,' from misericors, 'merciful,' which is 'to pity,' and cor, 'heart.' Mercy means compassion, empathy, a heart for someone's troubles. It's not something you do - it is something in…

Let Love Flow from Your Heart

Image
We live in troubling times...

We live in sad times...

In a time of much despair...

But, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other. We have forgotten that at our essence we are Love. And we can shine that love. We can increase the Love that is on this planet. We can make a difference...

Every book I pick up recently has the same message.

The world needs your love and mercy. The world needs your kindness. We come into this world as pure love, but we forget who we are at our essence.

So, let's take a moment right now to remember who we are.

Yes, right now!

Stop!

Find a comfortable seat. Close your eyes...

Place one hand over your heart. And your other hand over that one, as if you were holding or caressing your own heart...

Feel your beating heart. Listen to it...

Visualize that every heartbeat pluses with Love...

FEEL that Love!

Let it embrace you and saturate every fiber of your being...

FEEL it's warmth!

Your heart and body is filled to overflowing!

Now send that Love out! Send i…

Practicing Radical Kindness

Image
The world needs your kindness...

And it needs mine as well...

It needs ALL of our kind acts, if we are to survive as a nation and as a planet...

I have been reflecting on this a lot of late, wanting so desperately to withdraw further from the world, and I've already done a good job of that. Yet, I cannot ignore so much of what I read that brings to mind the urgency of needing to change our directions - as peoples, as nations, as religious traditions, as leaders, and as the trampled and abused earth that we live on. 

I am forced to weigh the impact of my actions, of my thoughts, of my words...

The Dalai Lama has often written that kindness is his religion. He has taught that we do not need complicated philosophies or religions to abide by - we just simply need more kindness. We just need to exercise more kindness overall...

The story of the Good Samaritan especially comes to mind here. A man of a different tradition and nation - chooses to make a difference - he exercises kindness and me…

A Divided Heart

Image
Sometimes we must live, caught between one place and the other.

Sometimes, we are unsure of where we are and how we feel - or where we are going.

Sometimes, we must live, with a divided heart.

The insight came to me, on my walk yesterday morning, as the day began to steam up.

Why is it that we often feel divided?

We can be divided within ourselves in so many ways:

Divided in what we think - and the guilt that we have for thinking that way...

In what we we want, as opposed to what we have...

Where I work, and what I really want to do...

Where I am, and where I want to be...

Where I live, and where I want to go...

Who I am with, and who I want to spend time with...

Who I see, and who I yearn to be with...

How I spend my time, and how I really would prefer to spend it...

How things actually unfold in my life, and not how I wish they would do so...

The choices I made, instead of the ones I really wanted to make...

Why must we live with a heart and life divided?

Things rarely go as they should, or at least…