Exhaling With Dignity

I have long known nature is my greatest teacher. During the past six weeks I have been given multiple opportunities to re-assess my life in grateful periods of stillness. When we are willing to watch and learn from nature we are given a visual classroom of how letting go of the prior existences of the physical opens doors for new transformations to emerge. An important lesson:  Nature has no need to cling and let go unwillingly with claw marks.

As I continue to surrender old ways of living life, situations that have become stale and disharmonious, I am able to exhale with new and welcoming breaths of awakened awareness. The result is more freedom of spirit within.

A few people I was confident I had released have reappeared lately. My inner Wise Higher Self at these times has presented me with the question “Are you sure you are finished with this?” My answer for each has been to see the humor in the reappearances, gratefully brushing off the residue of my past, and keep walking forward on my journey.

    When we see the amazing energy that claiming  the exhalation of letting go without any emotional attachment ,the practice of surrendering will become not just something we need to do, but will be an integral alignment with our co-creation of our Authentic Self alive in each precious moment. 

Surrendering has become increasingly seductive and I want more present moments of the conscious breath of awakening!

 

The Renaissance Of Resilience

Definition of resilience: the process of Adapting well in the face of adversities.
      I have experienced mental (clinical depression which no longer is present in my mind – body – spirit) and emotional ( addictions of which I have been in active recovery from for over thirty four years; dysfunctional relationships, and, PTSD stemming from trauma in my early years from which also I have healed completely) adversities. Other human adversities I have not personally experienced that others have lived through are social, financial, physical, and spiritual adversities. There was a long period in my life that the mental and emotional adversities had great power over me, becoming a proverbial ball and chain wrecking machine taking me into dark and deep abysses.
     Somewhere along my journey I hit my emotional bottom of allowing life situations to toss  me into the despair and hopelessness I was beaten into and about. I cannot tell you which straw broke the camel’s back, but the day did come that I made the decision to do life differently. I became a fiery phoenix rising from the ashes of my former powerless life.
     Much of the strength I embrace today has come from teachings of trees I have known… as I observed them Swaying in the wind without breaking, teaching me the Superpower of flexible bending. For quite some time when people and situations challenge me, my persistence and resilience anchor me ,even in the face of fear , to bend without crumbling.
     I have long heard the Universe will match the vibration I put out and that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear! I have been a witness of both of these truths several different times during the past few years.
     What I know deeply within my heart today is:
-A challenge or difficulty is an opportunity to learn from, not a situation to devastate  and paralyze me to my core
-Optimism and an attitude of gratitude strengthens my internal roots , empowering me to believe setbacks are only temporary, never permanent.
-Finding and participating in a trustworthy tribe of  a cheerleading network of supporters will increase my resilience, especially during the storms of life.
     My Renaissance of resilience was an earth shaking awakening that jolted me out of victimhood into a virtual springboard of positive actions.
      Being resilient does not mean challenges, heartbreak, or adversity don’t exist. Resiliency is a tool that can be developed, learned, and used in all life experiences.
     A few key resilience traits I have observed in myself and others are      
– The Ability to claim and name the struggle; never denying it doesn’t exist
– Acceptance  that  change is inevitable
– Taking a personal inventory of oneself and acknowledgement of one’s own strengths and use of them In various life situations
– Pulling In the support of one’s trust worthy tribe when needed
– Asking self :what actions am I going to take for this situation?
 -Creating a list of self caring activities that can be used to prevent overload of being overwhelmed in those times of adversities 
     Practicing resilience in times of unexpected and perhaps overwhelming situations can be one of the most successful tools in coping and also in bouncing back from unthinkable experiences. I cannot fathom a better time in our collective history than the present to embark upon a renaissance of resilience. I encourage you to find someone who is willing to be your guide in discovering the steps to resiliency that will pull you into the successful Warrior Stance you have been longing to claim. 

A Personal Relationship With Myself

I have lived alone for a few years by choice. Living solo during social distancing and extended quarantine times has opened me in ways I never saw coming.

I have never been a fan of cleaning. I do like the energy that comes after I clean but just the act of cleaning was never my thing. Lately I have found myself observing places that cleaning seemed, though novel, just could be beneficial!When did those dust bunnies have a family under my couch? How did cobwebs create cornered creations inside my gas fireplace?

Then there were the piles of papers, cut out articles on oodles of subjects, and uncategorized markers ,pens , paint supplies, and artist pads. I have always known what lived in each pile of my artistic world that I coexist with, and eventually when searching for a specific item ,I could find it. With so much time on my hands I organized each pile, eliminated close to a ream of unneeded pieces of paper, and discovered CD’s of music from my many past lives. This cleaning and organization only took about eight days.

As my relationship with my quarantined self continued occasionally different and unexpected emotions arose.I hung out with them and they passed. I got deeper in touch with the spiritual practices I do daily, and really understood on a new level why I am who I have evolved into. Communing with nature, journaling, creative writing, breath work, dragon Yin yoga, chi gong, meditation, Reiki, stillness, prayers and doing sacred ceremony for the planet are all practices I have incorporated into my life for many years. It really has come a surprise to me that I took these practices for granted. I know that I chose to start doing each one of them for the benefit they provided. A wonderful Observation in the past month has been the realization that the life I have created for myself including all these practices I do has taught me to be kinder, more patient, and generally a peaceful person.

Making a conscious effort for self-care as well as keeping in contact with like hearted friends and relatives have been crucial elements in this new way of life.

I have been noticing I do not need nearly close to the amount of distracting activities I enjoyed only a month ago. Sometimes I wonder how will I have time to do what I thought I would miss when the quarantine ends. Embracing the opportunity of hanging out with myself has opened a world I was not really prepared to witness!

One of the most wonderful observations in my awakening to the absolute truth is I have had everything I needed for quite a while. I do look forward to face to face socializations again in the future. Until then I think I will continue enjoying my solo retreat feeling pretty comfortable in my own skin. If you had told me that I was actually going to enjoy this imposed Quarantine away from my social world I would have never believed it. This is just more evidence that I often cannot see the best is yet to come and the most wondrous things occur in our lives when we get out of our own way and experience what shows up !

The Practice Of Embracing Stillness

       I carried  for years a belief if I was not actively engaged in doing, and being busy at something… That I was unproductive and therefore not being useful. Carrying this further ,if I was not useful in society, I was not of service, and therefore not worth or of value  of much of anything. I always had to have noise Induced such as TV, music, radio, anything to stop me from hearing the thoughts coming from my head. Silence was my enemy.
     I begin meditating 35 years ago and have practiced yoga since I was a teenager. Of course I was quiet and still during those practices. Yet I still was not 
embracing stillness in most areas of my life. Looking back , I was always thinking; my mind had to be actively engaged because  (here came another belief) if I could figure out whatever or whomever was creating a conflict for me by using my great mind,I could find calmness and serenity. It never really gave me a successful solution though I kept doing the same pattern expecting a different result!
      Maybe it was my Aries ascendant that insisted on my being in constant motion because when not engaged in my slowing down spiritual practices I was a person in busyness and active movement constantly.
     During  the current  “forced stillness” of the world’s social distancing quarantines imposed upon all of us, I became most grateful that I have embraced stillness as a channel of peace.
     I cannot remember when I surrendered my need to be a workaholic and a busyaholic yet surrender was what I did. I have a feeling stillness was something I had searched  for most of my life but did not know how to find it or even that I wanted it!
     In my partnership with stillness gifts have come. It has brought me balance and showed me how to be present in the moment. I have been able to hear my inner thoughts more clearly and as a result, have gotten in touch with  both authentic and false beliefs that work and those that do not.  I have entered into a personal relationship with the person I really am, and opened to the Divine Higher Self who lives within me. Before I knew stillness it was pretty much impossible to hear my inner messages coming from the wise being who dwells within. The practice of stillness has empowered me to be more creative, to be more focused and present in all my relationships, and to detach with love and compassion from the chaos and drama of the people and world around me.
     If you think you may want to look for stillness in your own life you might try these things:
– Unplug  from your phone and computer for a certain amount of time each day
– Take yourself on nature walks in silence
– Choose to stop watching the news which  most of the time adds unwanted feelings of anxiety
– Declutter and get rid of the stuff taking up space in your home. When you are surrounded with stuff you have really no use for you have actually created an environment to get you more defocused, distracted and stressed mentally.
– Sit by yourself in solitude in a room for one minute a day and keep practicing until it is up to 10 minutes daily.  Pay attention to the thoughts that come up. This exploration of mental adventure can  begin to  help you perceive new ideas as creativity has an incredible outlet plugged into a new channel .
    S-h-h-h! Listen – – did you hear that? It was stillness being awakened within and for you.
     

Gratitude

I read recently a quote Eckhart Tolle made about fear. He said the world is experiencing a Forced Stillness that  is needed globally. He went on to say that fear is a thought form somewhere in the future that has not happened yet.

It is true that many humans fear the unknown, fear they will not get what they want, or fear they will lose what they have. In the incredible time we are all experiencing with social distancing, self and regional imposed quarantines, and confusion over a virus many are in a perpetual state of fear.

As with almost everything I have experienced in my adult life, I look upon this time as an opportunity. An opportunity of really paying attention to the motives , underlying core issues, and belief systems of each of us is being shown. Will we take advantage of this time which is unlike one most of us has ever seen? Or will we continue to search madly for anything that we can use to distract ourselves from looking deeply within and continue doing the same thing repeatedly expecting different results ?

I know well that little ugly fear girl that lives within me. She is not pretty, and I cannot control her. She is always there, sometimes hiding, sometimes screaming to be heard . She wants me to focus on the suffering of the world, to dredge up those awful experiences from my childhood that I had no control over, those dysfunctional and chaotic relationships I freely participated in, blame others for the state of the world, detest and complain  the fact my gym right now is inaccessible to keep my 68 year old body toned, think about the losses I and others are dealing with…the list is endless!

There were times in my past  I felt I was fighting a battle for my very survival, fighting the universe in my battle to outwit, out manipulate, out work, out relationship, beg, and please this Universe as if it were a dragon to be slayed and beheaded. I screamed and cried at this cruel world, and a crueler God who let horrible things happen to me and others. I was the victim and was losing the war.

I cannot tell you the day or month it happened but one day I began to crack just a sliver of open mindedness and hope in my tightly wrapped armor of mistrusting all would turn out better. I seemed to remember reading of the alchemy in ancient times when lead was mystically and magically changed into gold. I really believed that happened and was possible. I began uncomfortably shifting my perceptions. My awakenings never begin giving me happiness  or even in the middle of them are they very comfortable!

My awakenings have come at different times in my life. I do not remember asking for any of them to crack the egg I was inside wide open, leaving many bits of shell around me. I do not remember asking for this Universe to show me how  I was walking around in a multitude of fears , denying it , and refusing to own it all. I do remember questioning what the hell is going on here! I do know now looking back my path of awakening has never been in a straight line. It has always been in a spiral of up/down, in/out, twisted/curved, and topsy/turvy.

The alchemical transmutation we are all experiencing in 2020 is the cracking wide open of the eggs of humanity. We still get a choice. We can choose  not to  use this enforced stillness to see the selfish, self righteous , shadowy behaviors we have tried to hide especially from ourselves. We can focus on the awfulness of the media’s interpretations of what is happening. Or…we can take this time as an opportunity to wake up, admit what we have been doing and believing , own our disconnections with each other in using social media/texting/emails as intimate forms , and accept responsibility that we have allowed our fears which are usually thought forms of some time in the future that has not even happened yet to bring us to a shaking halt, blocking us from the best versions of ourselves.

I am vowing to drink the kool aid of my illusions  and spit out the lies I have bought into. They are indeed in me,  subtle, but when the enforced stillness came I really heard my thoughts…all of them..the good/the bad/the ugly/the beautiful. .and sent the deceptive ones to their room! I kept the ones that said how can I love myself in this moment? How can I forgive the unforgivable?  How can I love those who refuse still to awaken even more? How can I allow that little fear girl to live inside my belly and still hold my head high, looking the Universe straight in the eye, and through tear-stained cheeks yell THANK YOU!

We have a chance, you and I, to do life in a new, different way. We can surrender the old worn out ways. We can love this planet with full acts of blessed kindness. We can accept we are ONE species, and shine our Light upon each other. We can rise above all our Sister Fears, and stand in strength as the Warriors we really are. I remember who I really am. Do you?

 

The Opportunity Of Social Distancing

I usually take myself on a personal retreat in a remote canyon in New Mexico once a year. During this time I am traveling alone, and use this time to reflect on where I am in my life, what intentions I have set , and ask myself how I want to be living my life.That being said, it is my choice to look at how I do life and ask myself am I showing the world the best version of myself ? Even though I am in the canyon alone there are people around me,  I do have conversations with others.

However, this time in the world due to mandatory social distancing my focus is similar to my yearly retreat with an added slant. I live alone in the woods, have not owned a television since 2013, and am pretty quiet. I have noticed these thoughts coming up that I do not usually notice. I see this as an opportunity during the very strange time we are now experiencing to really take a closer at any obsessions, any ideas, any truth that comes up. One beautiful thing that has been revealed to me is the acknowledgement for the majority of time is I really do walk my talk. I have spent much of the past 34 years doing much inner work, surrendering old beliefs and ideas that no longer worked, clearing away any old resentments, and working on forgiving myself and others. All this being said, I still know in spite of lots of inner work with being as self honest as I can be, I still have some subtle things  that have raised their heads for me to look at deeply.

I have gotten the chance to see stories that I create that are scenarios of different areas of my life. The good news is because I am not going to my office, not seeing clients in person , and not doing all the things that I usually use to distract myself with I hear my stories . The reason this is good is I immediately, as soon as I hear the story, can stop..pause…and create a better version of the story: I.E. a better version of myself.

The other major awareness is each time I hear on social media or in other communication means of people blaming so many things and other people on the reason our world has come to a stop, or have seen people hoarding, being seriously selfish and self centered, I have had the opportunity to ask myself: Do I really love the person showing their behaviors and actions exactly as they are in the moment? I claim I do. I want to be that person. Yet, there have been brief periods where I am wanting others to change, to be a better version of themselves, to treat each other and the planet better. Therein lies my opportunity! When I catch myself being judge, jury, and executioner–which I have noticed more quickly in this time of social distancing from others—I can pause, send love and light to said person(s), and when I can do that….I can embrace the opportunity to accept and love myself exactly for who I am in the moment!

Shazam..what a magical, incredible time of re-learning, re-setting, and re-framing my thoughts and possible actions that have always followed my thoughts.

I am changing, I am shifting. I am loving myself and others more! This is awesome!

I cannot wait to see how these opportunities continue to unfold. I still have  hope more people will take a long, hard look at how they treat themselves, the planet, and each other. My part is to keep doing my inner work, keep sending love and light to all beings, and to be grateful for this time the Universe has given each of us to choose to re-set and re-structure. Life is amazingly magical and it all came about in the blink of an eye!

 

BECOMING AN ALCHEMIST

All my life I have been drawn to the ancient practices and stories of the Alchemists who turned lead into gold. I forever longed to be an alchemist.
As I reflect on all I have walked through and overcome in my life, I see I AM an alchemist ! I have watched myself rise above fears, changed self sabotaging beliefs, survived a major brain bleed without needing any rehabilitation, and come to a place of peaceful resolution of healed PTSD and clinical depression.
I did not accomplish the rising above my suffering alone. I did not even know I had the stamina and the courage to transform – – yet I have !
Today freedom from my core woundings and self-destructive patterns that touched and affected every relationship in every area of my life only came when I was completely sick and tired of being sick and tired. I consciously died to the old skin and I wore a new vibrant one replacing my inner demons. I assure you it came with much discomfort, resistance, and fears.
As spring approaches I am reflecting upon my alchemy and how it blossomed and opened.
-I began by journaling daily… Really looking at what I needed and wanted to change in me. I gave myself lots of time and slowly a practice involved which I call self reflection.
-Over time I gradually stopped repressing my emotions, memories, and inner thoughts that previously I had used anything – – work, complaining, relationships,addictions— anything to keep myself from feeling what I had been stuffing inside myself for years.
-I discovered finally what I valued. Doing that helped me to own my positive traits along with my shadowy negatives. In order to see some of my shortcomings I needed to ask those I trusted for help because there were elements about myself I was in denial about, refusing to acknowledge to myself at times. Looking back now, I see so many of those traits were projected by dysfunctional romantic partners. I can now bless those men who acted out my own disempowering, unhealed characteristics.
– I began daily setting intentions on whom I believed the best version of myself was and visualized that woman in every area of my life being “HER” . Somewhere inside of me I knew that’s who I was becoming and would forever be!
I continued alchemizing and fine-tuning the me that I have come to love and respect.
My inner work will continue as I become more aware and my transformation keeps evolving. YES, I am a true alchemist, and your own alchemy awaits you too.
All it takes is our willingness and determination to be the best version of ourself possible.

Transforming Anger

     Whether it is discrimination ,aggressive acts, violence ,or unfair treatment of ourselves or of others —- each experience has triggered anger within us. For many years I wanted to believe it was THEM versus ME. The truth and the real issue is I and we have carried a core belief that we are separate from others. This belief is not true. We really are one and the same. Breathe into that for a few minutes.
     If and when we are willing to do our inner work and intimately come face to face with accepting  and knowing who we really are on all levels, our  journey into inner peace has begun.
     Anger is not a bad element for  it is a human emotion . When we make a decision to stop fighting and trying to  Run away from our own anger ,we have a golden opportunity to transform it into love and compassion. Really, anger is an integral part of our humanness that we were each born with. The issue, as I see it, is when anger turns into rage and then adds to our own internal suffering. When this occurs our suffering is a catalyst and even a justification  for hurting ourselves and others.
    I reached a time in my own life that I was sick and tired of my suffering. I started seeking ways to transform.I offer some suggestions that may just help you to transform your own anger.
– Get yourself grounded and calm. Get gut level honest and ask yourself :what am I really afraid of in this moment and in this situation?
-Once you know the answer to that,  then ask What would love do with and in this situation ?
This helps to bring a cool, calm, and smoothing creative feeling as we breathe into our intense passionate emotions.
-Finally, breathe and transmit this new found  loving compassion straight into the heart of your anger.
     We can each learn to mindfully support, embrace, and respond with kindness to our anger when we remember a solution. By choosing this self caring strategy we are more able to nip negative actions we previously directed at ourselves and others. By transforming our own anger into peace, we energetically send this blessing out Into the world. What an honor to know that the work we do for ourselves we do for all beings! We can daily reflect what we are choosing to radiate out into the world. We truly always have a choice.

The Beauty Of Darkness

Throughout my life my perceptions of darkness have evolved from believing darkness is evil,  to being in fear of it , and into my now present partnership of the witnessing of deep inner healing as a gifted result of welcoming darkness. As I embrace the YIN side of my experiences I welcome the feminine energies of intuitive and creative seeking as a journey into the void. This quiet, reflective place I repeatedly return to is the deep symbolic womb and the dark cave…where I often find comfort.
      As I write these words it is the time of the new moon and on this day I am reminded of nature’s brilliant way to honor darkness as it is ushering in the light that follows. We don’t have to wish the light to come… It always follows the dark night and the dark moon without our demanding it.
     My consciousness craves the darkness and  when I am willing to allow myself to partner with it’s quiet, calming solitude, I am rewarded with peaceful balance.
      I invite you to, instead of forcing YANG actions and the need to escape your inner darkness, to remember how we each spent nine months in the dark presence of the womb at this  life’s initiation waiting for the divine perfect timing to transition into the light of our human existence. Divine Timing is always perfect!
      I offer some suggestions in facing your own inner darkness:
– Embrace your vulnerability. When uncomfortable in your own skin, you can dive into the edginess and open your eyes fully to what is revealed.
– Trust the process. Know that this too shall pass. Don’t try to skip this crucial step. The journey into the murky, sometimes messy re-birth  of new awakenings of walking in the darkness will help radiate the light that surely will come afterwards.
– Breathe into the experience and allow the emotional feelings to present themselves even when your ego/reptilian brain tries to convince you to run, distract, and escape! By feeling it all fully and surrendering, we are actually creating energetic spaces for new beginnings. It really is an initiation.
– Journal,  then share with those you trust. Ask for assistance when needed. Creating your tribe composed of those who hold your tears equally with your joys is a community alliance. You are never alone in your journey when you have a   compassionate tribe that is always with you both in spirit and in physical presence.
     Just as an ancient oak tree allows its roots to explore deeper into the dark soil below,  as its trunk and branches reach for more light, we can courageously learn to except with love the beauty of darkness as a direct linkage to the light.
       

THE POWER OF COMMUNITY

For a lot of my life I have been a lone wolf, but I am convinced now more than ever we each need the connections that stem from finding our tribe , our community. The connection with like hearted people is what I and maybe you crave.Being a cog in the wheel of community inspires me to feel I am part of the greater good.

There have been times as I have changed over the years that I need my community to be modified. It is never been about “they” are wrong or I am right.It is about the vibrations. As my vibrations raise to higher levels I am no longer aligned with past situations exactly as they were. I find I am even called to do things differently than before – – even in the community I find myself.

When I feel stuck or stale in a current community I ask myself these questions:

What values, support, and beliefs do I need from my community? What am I willing to offer and what/ how do I need to receive what I need from my community? What like- hearted ideas do I need from community? Do I repeatedly show up as my authentic true self in community? If I am showing up and presenting as an illusion and fake me such as being a people pleaser, I do not believe I will ever find the community that works. What are my passions and interests? Does my community align with them?

Being a lone wolf has its benefits but being part of the tribe with connections helps to bring each of us into balance. It is always, for me, a matter of reaching out to find those connections I crave.