Showing posts from 2017

What the Ducks Taught Me

I have been watching these ducks at the pond for the last few days, in the crisp morning air.

Sometimes they come closer, and other times they simply glide on by, oblivious to my presence.

A couple of days ago, after my meditation, I watched them for quite some time, and as they came closer, I felt myself merge with them, becoming one with them, and their breathtaking spirits! I was filled with love for them, and it expanded right out of my heart! I felt one with them - they were no longer Other, but a part of me, as I was a part of them.

"You are so beautiful!" I cried out!

"We are ALL beautiful!" I also thought. Yes - every living thing is - if we only take the time to notice it and realize it.

In that moment, there was such a sense of oneness and connection that I experienced, that went beyond these beautiful creatures.

In a world that seems so torn and divided - where just reading the morning headlines can be a virtual assault and vexation, shocking our systems into …

You Never Step into the Same River Twice - A Decade of Practices.

"You never step into the same river twice." ~ Heraclitus
Nothing is ever the same. Everything changes. This river, that I have visited - at times nearly every day - over the space of a decade, is not the same. But then neither am I.

I came to this river, suggested as a meeting place by a friend during a time of neediness and great pain and impending transitions. I came back, many a morning, feeling alone, having hit rock bottom, in the throws of deep depression, to do a rosary of spiritual practices: Lovingkindness meditations, Reiki chants, actual rosaries, prayers both traditional and spontaneous, the offering of blessings, and whatever else arose from the depths of my soul.

For several years I came, almost daily.

One morning, while sitting on a boulder by the riverbank, the river beckoned me to come inside. And so I did. I bought a kayak without even thinking about it, and spent a few years paddling upstream - repeating mantras, reciting prayers, while receiving a steady strea…

A Soul Untethered

Years ago, the book The Untethered Soul, by Michael A. Singer was making the rounds. Everyone I knew in the yoga world was either reading it or quoting it.

Yesterday, as I was journaling and reflecting on a manuscript a friend had sent me for review, I had this image of my life and my soul as coming unglued or becoming untethered from its source and its essence. 

This past year has been characterized by challenges and difficulties on so many fronts. Personally, the year was punctuated by the loss of several family members and friends, and I reflected on the fragility of life during my Thanksgiving meal prayer. I recalled a year marked by sadness but also by joy. In the end, I chose to focus on the many blessings received throughout the course of the year, thus laying the foundation for even more blessings in the coming year.

When we feel untethered it is a reminder that we are simply ungrounded. Events on the political spectrum and our personal lives were just catalysts and excuses for l…

A Decade of River Lessons

Every year on my birthday there are several rituals and practices I like to do.

Over the years, these rituals have changed somewhat. For a number of years I did a yoga Sun Salutation practice for each year of my life, reflecting on the major events of each one. I was always amazed by the long forgotten memories that would spontaneously arise!

Yesterday, I did a meditation reflecting on the events of the past year, month by month. It was a meditation taught to me by a friend over a decade ago. The past year had indeed been heavy, with many sad events occurring, but they were balanced with occasions to celebrate as well.

I reflected on significant deaths that occurred in my family - including those of friends not much older than I am.

But in the early morning, I went down to the river to do a number of practices...

Some years it has rained on my birthday. This is a blessing and considered auspicious in Eastern cultures. 

Yesterday it was cold, wet, and a little bit foggy.

Ten years ago, I star…

Love One Another

"We clasp the hands of those who go before us." ~ Wendell Berry
I am somewhat jolted out of my dream state, that is both vivid and lucid - having been visited by two wise beings that have passed on - one over a half century ago and a relative, and the other, a nun I worked with, thirty-some years ago.

I feel their presence - their eyes fixed upon me. It all seems so real, and then I am awake.

In response I am moved to make a special post on social media:

"Today, let us create a circle of healing energy. Receive if needed, Put some into the circle - If you can give. Let's Light up the world!"
I sit quietly in church, reflecting on my dream, receiving many insights about my visitation at this moment in time, and am moved profoundly. I also send healing energy to my healing circle, filling it up for all those who may need of it.

The chosen readings of the day stun me, and I see the connection between my dream and the messages received, and the  coming homily as well... (Para…

Hand Over Heart

I walk briskly on this crisp fall morning, with leaves falling all about and with many thoughts in my head and heart as well, and I am surprised to be pointed in a different direction today.

I arrive at a beautiful pond, and sit at the bench all by myself, with only mallard ducks and geese in the water to accompany me...

It is easy, at a tumultuous time like this to get caught up in all the drama. And I receive a message for that as I sit quietly in the stillness and silence, punctuated only by an occasional flapping of wings...

"Shine your Light! And let go of the drama!"
I feel saddened by how empty everything feels - and how small my world is becoming, and another message is given for that as well...

"You are never alone! You are supported in ways Seen and Unseen, close to you as your very own heart! Place your hands over your heart. Feel the warmth that arises. The comfort. The LOVE! Your angels and guides and loved ones, passed on, and still remaining, are as close to you  as your …

Moving from Doing to Being

I am moving...

Not physically. At least not yet.

But I AM moving and flowing - from doing to being...

It is part of letting go on a bigger scale - of all the things I once thought defined me...

Of all the things that once brought me joy, but no longer do...

On my brisk fall walk this morning, I realized, that I am moving from doing to being... I am letting go of one - and becoming the other. I am moving and flowing from doing INTO being...

I no longer want schedules, or appointments tying me down...

I let go of "shoulds" and "having to" with great abandon, and supplant them instead, with "I want to." This presupposes living in the moment...

I go through my house, and find new homes for articles that will still bring joy and be of use to friends who are educators and at the forefront of shaping a new generation...

I give thoughtful consideration to what I have, and to whom it may still be of use...

Yes, I let go...

Of collections and what I considered prizes...

It is …

Offer and Surrender Your Intentions

Recently, a friend suggested placing my intentions in a special container - a prayer box, or jar, or whatever I might find suitable.

It is a practice that I've turned to time and time again, but it seemed to once more draw me, in this moment, in our world, where there is so much need on so many levels.

I had a prayer jar I have used in the past, but wanted something different, so I re-appropriated a small box with dancing Sufis, or "Rumis," as I like to think of them, which I had gotten in Istanbul.

I wrote my intentions, and put them into this box and lit a candle, and sat down to meditate.

I have done this many times before. But this time, I added the practice of surrendering my intentions. This does not come easily to me.

Yes, like many, I ask for things often. But I also seem to have a roadmap for how things should go - how they should be solved. The notion of asking and surrendering, and trusting that all would be resolved in its own time, in the best possible way - that…

Bless the World With Your Eyes

This time of year is often referred to as the High Holy Days by my Jewish sisters and brothers. Though I am not Jewish, I love many of the traditions and rituals of this season, especially those dealing with atonement, reconciliation, and forgiveness. It reminds me of the Sacrament of Reconciliation which I grew up with in my own tradition.

Recently, I was reminded in a reading, that the Talmud calls for the expression and offering of no less than 100 blessings a day!

So many traditional Jewish prayers are in fact blessings of one sort or another.

To offer 100 prayers in a day may seem daunting. But if we considered blessing everything that we laid our eyes on during the course of our day, it might become easier than we thought possible...

Bless every person you come across in a day.

Take it one step further, and bless every sentient creature and being. Bless the bees for their function and how they contribute to the pollination of our food.

Bless all the material things you use during the …

Wipe the Mirror Clean

I wipe, and wipe, and try to clean mirrors and glass doors, to no avail.

I remember a friend told me to use a razor blade to get the soap scum off of shower doors.

Feeling overwhelmed from being pulled in many directions for a while, I decide I need a task that will provide an outlet for all my frustrations. So I go to Home Depot to buy a really big razor blade designed to scrape tiles and glass doors.

I come home, and settle down to my designated task. and remember a yoga teacher that once taught his students that holding up a mirror will always show us where it is we need to do our work.

So I work at cleaning the very big contractor mirror in my bathroom, that twenty-seven years ago seemed like a good idea. And then I get down on my hands and knees and commence scraping years of build up that I neglected to really see and which has occluded my vision.

Ironically, I have an eye doctor appointment scheduled for tomorrow. It seems my eyesight has dramatically changed for the worse in the la…

Accept What Is

Accept what is. As it is. In this moment. Now!
This is what comes to me on my drive back from my weekly meditation group.

it is an "aha!" moment!

It is an unexpected Eureka experience.

And all of it seems so crystal clear to me - and easy!

Except that it isn't.

But in the moment I held that thought - which came to me uninvited, it did seem so easy. 

I saw myself sitting contently - watching thoughts go by like clouds on a sunny day - thoughts coming and going. I simply observed them for a while, and then thought to myself: 

"All pain, and sadness comes to us  because we do not accept what is.  And really, that is all we have to do,   is simply accept what is.  AS IT IS.  In this moment.  And that moment.  And EVERY moment.  Now!"
Could it really be that simple?

Well, there is only one way to find out! I will just have to try it! 

I will have to commit to letting things go by - and not trying to edit or change them, allowing things to be as they are, accepting them in the moment in w…

May All Beings Be Free From Suffering

We live in perilous times, or so it seems. But if truth be told, we are always in the midst of conflicts somewhere on our planet.

It just seems that everything appears more persistent and in our face constantly.

Like many, I am overwhelmed by the suffering of those in the path of destruction everywhere - certainly those in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey who will spend months if not years trying to recovery from the devastation - but elsewhere as well. The constant struggles in the Middle East and Africa don't always get our attention - such as the cholera epidemic in Yemen, and the endless civil war in Syria, but they are no less deserving of our compassion and assistance.

The truth is, many are suffering everywhere - and we often forget they are our brothers and sisters. They need our positivity, our well wishes - but most especially our lending hands and the sharing of our resources. We must be Good Samaritans.

There is a beautiful meditation practice often referred to as "L…

Keys to Happiness and a Blue Butterfly

Happiness is, more often than not, elusive.

But it really depends on how we define it - or what we think makes us happy.

This morning, I read an interview with Oprah Winfrey. The interviewer had to wait for her to finish a photo shoot with the esteemed Annie Liebovitz, who was very apologetic for keeping Oprah longer than expected. Oprah's response caught me my surprise. She told Liebovitz not to worry. While she was with her, she was fully present to those moments and those experiences. Later she would be with the interviewer, and then she would be fully present in that moment with him, no longer thinking or concerned with the photo shoot. 

This is the first key to happiness I thought, being fully in the moment. Not in the past - and not in the future.

That is not to say that this is an easy task!

Earlier this week, I listened to a webinar where the presenter said something very similar. She noted the past does not exist - it is only a memory we insist on bringing back to life. That m…

Your Life and Work Matters

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.

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…