Showing posts from 2012

A New Year's Prayer

This year has been difficult on so many levels for practically every person that I know or have encountered, even if it has been for very different reasons... This year gave witness to dramatic changes in peoples' lives and the world - punctuated by deaths, many of which were sudden or unexpected. Many souls moved on - and many more simply died to a way of life or some aspect within themselves... I believe there has been a discernible shift in consciousness in some areas - almost as if a tipping point has been reached. Still, there is much room for awakening... This year also witnessed many individuals charting a far different direction for their lives than originally envisioned - and not often by choice. Livelihoods were lost, as were sources of income, and communities were torn irreparably asunder. Many relationships ended as well... For years I have marked transitions in my life poetically, or by making entries on this blog. My entries were not as regular this year, and

Christmas Eve 2012

It has been a sacred week for me in many ways. So many blessings received... And one more, unexpectedly comes my way, as snow begins to silently and gently fall. I go for a walk, watching big flakes slowly swirl and dance their way on their flight down from the heavens... I began the morning with meditation, followed by listening to the most exquisite "Lessons and Carols," broadcast live from Cambridge, England. It is a holy eve, morning, and day - soon to give way to the evening, which I spend first with my sister and her family, and then it will be off to a late evening Mass at Holy Trinity Church in Georgetown. There we will enjoy Christmas carols before the liturgy, sung by a full choir, and accompanied by a pipe organ and brass ensemble. Could there be a better way to ring in Christmas? My heart is overflowing with gratitude and love for so many blessings received, and so many wonderful people in my life. I am truly blessed. And so, I leave you now with these q

12-21-12 Love and Light Everywhere

I arise at dawn on a cold winter morning that many believed heralded the end of the world, but I consider to be the beginning of a new era of transformation and awakening... On this day, the Earth offered her inhale into her exhale and there was stillness for a moment - a kumbhaka - a pause between breaths - a moment that is both auspicious and impregnated with the Presence of the Divine... I offer prayers, meditations, and Loving-kindness for those on my prayer and healing list - and for all beings everywhere... I am drawn to chant and tone - and to intone sacred seed mantras as I play my crystal bowls at noon, giving intent to clear vibrationally in all ways necessary - and wishing this for others as well, with candles lit and facing all four directions... My grateful heart is full for all the blessings received, and for sacred messages received from the Other Side earlier this week... Visitations from loving beings and angels wrapped and surrounded me in a sacred and holy ma

Perfect Love on 12-12-12

I read into the late evening, inspirational and spiritual words, and then close my book at 11:50 PM and begin meditating and praying, knowing I begin these prayers in the early morning of 12-12-12, and that it will bridge and include the time of 12:12 AM. I drift off into sleep eventually, and sleep deeply and well, for the first time in a long time... I arise in the morning mindful of the hearts and souls that will also meditate, pray, chant, and do yoga on this day, the last of its kind for 100 years... I go on a walk, do yoga, and sit down to meditate for almost an hour, before midday, once more including the moment of 12:12 PM, with candles burning in all four directions and all four altars in my meditation room... Daylight wanes, and soon it will be time for meditation once more at twilight... On this day, I give gratitude for all that is - and all that has been - for the lessons received, and for those I have yet to learn. I ask forgiveness of all those I have transgres

The Gift of Inner Reflections 2013

Every year at this time, I look forward to receiving the new Inner Reflections desk calendar published by the Self-Realization Fellowship , with inspirational quotes by Paramahansa Yogananda , accompanied by the most stunning photographs - a veritable feast for the eyes and nourishment for the soul. Call me an "old fashioned" kind of girl - but I really do prefer an Engagement calendar for my desk, inviting my glance every morning, rather than using the electronic apps provided by my mobile devices. Yes - I do love the "tactile" feeling of flipping pages, taking in the amazing photographs, and savoring the delicious quotes. And this year's calendar, does not disappoint! This is truly one of my favorite gifts of the season! The pictures are breathtaking and even haunting at times - and the quotes that are highlighted, always complement the photos exquisitely. For example: A picture of a palm tree stretches out horizontally atop white sands, its fronds se

A Christmas Wish

There is often one special holiday card that touches me each year during this season. It  becomes a special favorite for both its endearing and enduring message. It is the one I will retain and that will evade making its way into a pile of oblivion. Sometimes I happen to buy the card - unexpectedly running into it, and surprised by the joy it instantly gives me. Sometimes I receive it - its simple message warming my heart as soon as it arrives in the mail. Most cards simply leave me unaffected these days, and this year in particular, I had to search harder for ones I wanted to send out in the mail to those souls in distant places, that I have managed to keep in touch with, sometimes over decades... I almost inadvertently came across a card this year that I have enjoyed posting as my Facebook or Twitter status daily - choosing one sentence at a time, savoring it slowly,  absorbing and reflecting deeply on its meaning for me. I reproduce the entire message here, for I can think of no

The Season Invites Us to Journey Inward

Our ancestors lived in rhythm with nature. After the harvest, time was spent inside, repairing those things that were in need of repair before the spring and planting season commenced all over again. Our forebears adapted naturally to a season which invited them to go to bed earlier - and sleep much longer than we do today. The shorter days and longer nights helped them entrain with nature and journey inward, by perhaps reading a bit, or writing letters, or catching up with others. Even animals observed this practice of slowing down as they prepared for the barren winter with many settling down for a period of hibernation. But we - in this day and age - have accelerated our pace of living. With artificial lights we stay up much longer than we should and we throw off our natural inclinations and rhythm by succumbing to over-stimulation of all sorts. We in essence, do the opposite of what we are wired to do - going out at all hours of the day and night - sleeping very little -

Morning Stillness

"A simple but radical spiritual practice  is to accept whatever arises in the Now -  within and without."  ~Eckart Tolle The river was perfectly still this morning. And I considered how there is stillness, even in the eye of a storm - perhaps reminding me how the coming season becomes very much like a storm as we forget the reason for the season and why we celebrate the various traditions that we do. It's all ultimately about love - it's experience and expression in community with those we love, and those that are difficult to love as well... Those of you who have followed this blog over the years know that river is a metaphor for my life. It either reflects my current state of being - or teaches me what I need to learn... Last week, a dear friend gave me the book Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle. I had read it years ago, but took it as a sign that I should read it again. And so I placed it on my nightstand, that I could absorb small morsels at a time.

Honoring Our Ancestors

There was such a stillness at the river this morning. And though the air was crisp - the day also began in a very bright and quiet manner... I did my river meditations, very mindful of my grandmother, whose 107 birthday it would have been today. She crossed over into eternity just shy of 90, and mere days before the birth of a great-grandson... Years ago, she came to me through a gifted healer to deliver three messages. Two of them were meant for my mother, but one was meant specifically for me. I have treasured that message ever since. It confirmed that she was watching, following, and guiding me from behind the veil... Earlier this week, on my birthday, I participated on a conference call with Dr. Katy Poole, a Sanskrit scholar, yogic philosopher, and Vedic astrologer. She interpreted the signs in the sky for that day and in particular noted the significance of these signs for each caller on the line. I learned that the moon and the sun were in the same position on my birthda

An Auspicious Day

I awaken to a gentle falling rain and go down to the river to give thanks for the gift of life and another year of life as well. In many cultures, it is very auspicious for rain to fall on one's birthday. Though it is cold and windy, I do my river ablutions and step into the river, allowing my feet to get wet as a sort of baptism and connection to the spirit of this body of water. I say my river meditations and prayers and take in the broad expanse of the riverbank now almost totally denuded by the fallen leaves... It is a special day I am told - for this year my birthday falls during a total solar eclipse, as well as a New Moon - in addition to occurring during the celebration of Diwali - the Indian festival of lights. It is a time heralding transformation and change and I am also told, that a birthday on such a day brings abundance on many levels as well... In a year of so much change and transition I look forward to new beginnings and a change in direction, for as I have s

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

"Simplify, simplify, simplify!" ~ Henry David Thoreau I have loved this quote ever since I saw it on a T shirt in the gift store at Walden Pond, fifteen or more years ago. It seems that all of my life I've had this urge to simplify, yet at the same time I've struggled with all that it entails. Last week we moved my son into the first apartment he's had on his own. Up until now, he's had roommates since he graduated from college. This was his first venture living completely on his own. As I packed and unpacked his belongings, lovingly putting everything into its place, I marveled at the dimensions of his one bedroom apartment in a high rise, that while new and inviting, was much smaller than any of the apartments I had ever lived in. But, my son is a pretty frugal guy, and even when everything was all put away, there were still plenty of empty drawers and spaces. It got me to thinking - what would I choose today to bring with me if I had to downsize

Ending the Month With a Grateful Heart

While my immediate area managed to skirt the worst of what Hurricane Sandy had to offer - particularly when it merged with a couple of winter storms - I cannot say the same for friends in the New Jersey and New York areas that were simply devastated... As I watched a lot of the news these last couple of days, many referred to these extreme weather situations as the "new normal." We have indeed witnessed things pretty regularly that are both extreme and catastrophic. I think of the earthquake here last year, and the "Derecho" storm this summer that wreaked havoc in scorching heat and left us without power for days. In the midst of all these situations I cannot explain, I simply choose to have a grateful heart. I am reminded of Meister Eckhart's often quoted saying: "if the only prayer you ever say is thank you, it would be enough." To begin and end every day with a grateful heart is a practice - and its fruits are a blessing. I went down t

Returning to My Roots

Today, I celebrate the birthday of a child I once knew, now a young woman. I gave her the gift of a rosary to mark this occasion. This particular rosary contains a relic from the Chapelle of the Miraculous Medal in Paris, where Mary appeared to St Catherine Laboure and asked that a medal of her image be struck. In this year of many changes, but really, in the year or so prior to this one - I found myself drifting back to spiritual practices that had nourished me in my youth and young adulthood - such as the saying of rosaries, novenas, and so forth... While in the last several decades I immersed myself in the study of Buddhism, Hinduism and Tantra, and Judaism in the decade before that - I never veered too far from what a dear friend once referred to as my "default setting." As a theologian and educator for nearly twenty-five years, I was blessed with the opportunity to teach comparative religions - a subject near and dear to my heart. When in Rome - I do as the Romans

Closing One Door and Opening Another

This year is slowly moving to a close. The days are getting shorter and the darkness is getting longer... It has been a very interesting year, and those of you that have been following my posts, know that it has been tumultuous at best - at least during the beginning of this year. My yoga community as it was, disintegrated, and after nearly three quarters of the year, portions of it have reassembled - or are in the process of doing so so. There are now several groupings that have been drawn to each other either through similar beliefs and convictions, or simply because of geography. Then there are those who are more or less opting to go it alone and give way to a whole other way of being, without the benefit of any support system that had been there previously... For many years, yoga defined a large part of what I did - who I was - and where I put my energy and effort and resources. But that is no longer true. In the process of letting go of my community and re-imagining my life

Good Intentions

"A good intention clothes itself with power." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson This morning was rainy, misty, and foggy at times. It was the kind of day that makes you want to curl up with a book and stay home. I did stay home, and read a couple of newspapers from cover to cover, and skim read portions of several books I received in the mail as well. It was a perfect day to lose oneself in self-reflection... A few days ago, I reviewed two of the goals I had set for myself this year. At the very beginning of the year, I placed two labels on a couple of drinking glasses. On one, I placed the word "compassion," and on the second, I placed the word "healing." My intention was to cultivate greater compassion towards myself and others throughout the course of the year, and to open the door to greater healing in my body, mind, and soul as well. As I reviewed the three quarters of the year that have already gone by, I noted many subtle and not so subtle ways in wh

Conquering Fear

Do we ever really conquer fear? What are the things you fear the most? I have a fear of crossing bridges. But not just any bridge... Most of my life I have had this recurring dream. It involves crossing a bridge that is very narrow and has no railings. It has a steep incline and is high above the water. I cannot see where I am going - and I cannot see land on either side. It's really more of a nightmare. Last week I made myself cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. I have only driven across it once before. I'm fine if someone else drives however. Going towards the bridge from the Annapolis side is the most frightening for me, because it has a steep incline that is also curved, and it is quite visible as you approach it. I nearly hyperventilated while crossing it. And it takes four and half minutes to cross it if there is little traffic. I made myself do it to conquer this fear. Or at least try to make a dent in it. It's what psychologists refer to as "Implosion Th

A Day Filled With Sevens

I am graced, once again, with a beautiful day... I begin the day early because there are many domestic duties to be undertaken. Still, I make my way down to the river and the view is quite stunning. A little bit of fog danced on the surface of the water and it was so reminiscent of the light foam topping a latte. It was crisp, and cool morning as well... Several times today - I came in contact with the number "7" - seeing it in different places. Right now my sight glances to my inbox and I see that I have 7 emails waiting there... I make a right turn on a street called "Triple Seven." I know from my theological days that the number seven is of major significance in biblical literature. Is is symbolic of completion and fullness. God created the world in six days - but on the seventh, He rested. I read online earlier, that five is the number of grace and of free, unmerited favors. On the other hand, seven is perfection itself - and symbolic of the Holy Spiri

Metta Practice at the River

The changing of the seasons is upon us... For the first time since last winter/early spring, I made my way down to the river in a fleece and mittens and my Grover flannels, and pumpkin spice coffee. I only ran into a couple of people briefly. Do you suppose they had any inkling that I slept in those flannels? The colors here, down by river, have been resistant to changing - perhaps because of the long drought we experienced this year. I watched leaves slowly fall off the river birches and maples hugging the river bank... This truly is a season of change. It seems that everyone I speak to is undergoing change of some magnitude or other. I hold my cup of coffee, taking in the expanse of the river before me - stopping to respond to a few texts - having only assimilated into the iPhone brigade barely less than twenty-four hours ago. For someone who always embraced all aspects of technology wholeheartedly, it is ironic I am the last one to come on board with this. I just couldn'

Stillness in the Heart

I went to the river this morning, after perhaps a week of abstaining from its healing waters, for one reason or another... It was a brilliant morning and the river was so still - the trees, which have slowly begun turning colors and embracing their harvest hues, were vibrantly reflected in the river - with a clarity reminiscent of a mirror's clean surface. There was a slight crispness in the air, though the promised warmth of the day was also making its presence known and felt. In all ways, all things pointed to a truly magnificent day. Yesterday began as a slightly rainy day during which many all over the world, commemorated the passing of St Francis of Assisi, also known as the Transitus. On this day, many churches welcome four legged friends of all kinds and other animals to receive a blessing. For me, it was a Transitus as well, as I more firmly let go of something that had helped define me for five years. I knew this was necessary to give birth to the new. This morning

Seeing Freshly

Fresh   To move Cleanly. Needing to be Nowhere else. Wanting nothing From any store. To lift something You already had And set it down in A new place. Awakened eye Seeing freshly. What does that do to The old blood moving through Its channels?   ~ Naomi Shihab Nye ~ This was the poem sitting in my inbox this morning... I cannot begin to tell you how it spoke to my heart.. These last few weeks and days, as I shared in my last post, have been punctuated by visible attempts to lighten my load and to being observant - what things do I need to shift in my space, both physically and energetically? I've listened to my intuition and followed its inner promptings. Yesterday, on my walk, I received a profound insight. As I struggled with what I must do next in several areas of my life, a message unexpectedly came through for me very loud and clear. All along, I was focused on re-making myself - or re-imagining my work, my online presence, and so forth. But all of a sud

Make Room for the New...

The much needed rain alternates between a fierce pouring at times and a gentle flow that is rhythmic and soothing at the same time, without once letting up. It provides a wonderful backdrop to my morning meditation... The rain feels very cleansing and it is a reminder to me that as we change seasons it is good to cleanse our bodies, our hearts, our spirits, and our living spaces as well... It is a time to let go of the old - in order to make room for the new...  And so, I go through my home - room by room - weeding and cleaning them all out of things that have outlived their usefulness, if they ever really had one - decluttering as much as I can - filling bags with clothing and boxes with appliances and other household goods for donation, which are promptly picked up by the end of September. Yes, out with the old - to make room for the new... I am inspired to re-arrange my living room space - which has practically never been used in almost 22 years! It was never warm or invitin

The Gift of a Blue Butterfly

I was given a gift today. It was the gift of a blue butterfly... After a lazy morning, sleeping in and moving slowly, I went for a walk, listening to Andy Williams tunes, like the song - "Try to Remember that kind of September..." The day was warm, and beautiful - and I thought to myself, I do live that kind of September where life is now mellow..." Half way through my walk, a blue butterfly flew almost directly in front of me and then perched itself on the branch of a Leyland Cypress on the edge of the path. It spread its wings magnificently, and stayed there - unwavering, for what seemed to be an eternity... I looked at it, only inches from me, and was surprised it did not move, and seemed not afraid of me in anyway. I was determined not to be the one who moved first. Almost immediately, I felt my heart flooded with incredible love for this creature - for all creatures - as I thought of loved ones in my life. In that moment, time stood still and I felt a deep

A Day for Atonement

I sit in meditation, mindful of all my Jewish friends, commemorating Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, on this beautiful and sunny fall day... I contemplate my sins - and give intent to cast them away - intending to do so with a ritual of Tashlich by the river, to follow my morning yoga class... I consider all the things within my soul that lay unforgiven. I consider all those that I need to forgive, and all those I need to be forgiven by as well... I even consider forgiving the unforgivable - unspeakable crimes such as those of the Holocaust, and those perpetrated in the Killing Fields of Cambodia, just to note a couple... I consider other examples of genocide and still other unspeakable crimes such as the rape of a child. There are others I do not wish to dwell on... After my class, I head down to the river with cracker crumbs in my pockets and empty them into the river where a swirling legion of tiny tadpoles circle around the crackers. I step into the river in my crocs as car