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Friday, October 29, 2010

Holding Space

The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.

Thomas Merton

It seems so perfectly reasonable to want others to be like we are…to treat us the way we treat them, to see the world through our eyes, to react and respond in the ways we find most fitting. How comfortable that would be…How perfectly relaxing…How delightful not to ever have to deal with comments or with behavior that makes us feel uneasy.

The reason we interact with the world in the way we do is because our behavior is the product of our experiences.
We have done some suffering and some learning and have come to some conclusions about the way we choose to live. And we are weary from the battle and desire to coexist peacefully with others in this very personal world we have created for ourselves.

The problem is that the same work we are doing for ourselves…that same task of making sense out of our lives and experiences and making mistakes and finding new ways of responding is also the work of every other human being.
And we are, all of us, on our own journeys about how we learn the lessons and what directions the path we choose will take us. Thus, the great variety in human behavior.

It is so easy to question why someone can’t see what we see or do what we do…and to be annoyed and irritated by this. But if we expand our vision past the feeling of the moment, we can see the maze of life journeys unfolding and intersecting each other…each in its own rhythm and pace which may very well not be a match for ours.

If we look to the example of a person very dear to us whom we love and care for…we can probably recognize that we want this person to do what is best for him/herself…even if it is not what we prefer. Love prompts that understanding, that acceptance, that behavior in us. And, if we view this loved one as a microcosm of the world, it is clear that loving everyone is wanting everyone to do what feels best to them…as each individual navigates their life lessons and journeys…not on our time line and schedule but on theirs.

We HOLD SPACE for them while they do this and send our blessings.
And when we hold space for another person, we support them but do not interfere with the work of their journey. We respect and honor others as they find their way and do not force them to behave as we would like them to. If we use the beautiful example of the way we, hopefully, treat someone we care for as a microcosm and extend it to the macrocosm of the world, we will be emitting a powerful and transforming message of LOVE as we send our blessings to every fellow inhabitant of this glorious universe.

Just as I choose to bring into my life
the experiences I desire,
I also practice
the Art of Allowing
HONOR THE PATHS of others.

Mystic Marks: Bookmarks for the Soul

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mum's the Word

It’s almost Halloween and I am a holiday junkie. The front porch is filled with scarecrows, corn stalks, bales of hay, a black cat and some very big (and I mean big) pots of chrysanthemums in purple, yellow and white. And though I love the color and texture of everything on the porch, the really big deal for me is putting my face right into the flowers and taking in their essence… the touch and smell and coolness…in other words, their vibration!

I take breaks during the day to go out and do this. It connects me with nature’s bountiful gifts and beauty. It lifts me out of my everyday tasks and says, “We’re right here…just waiting for you to enjoy us.” Yep, those flowers are smiling. I know it. They love to have someone get right in their faces.

Which reminds me…I am also addicted to hugging trees. I have a particular tree in the neighborhood that lets me feel its roots straight down into the earth. I used to look around before I approached the tree, but, naw…I don’t look around anymore. I just see that beauty and go for it.
I hug bushes, too. And have been for many years.

Although I am no gardener, I think that this is exactly the kind of high that gardeners feel when they do their thing.
Now here’s a really interesting fact I learned recently about plants and gardeners. If you are raising plants that you will eat, when you tend them with personal, loving care they produce for you whatever your DNA requires.

Now that’s mind blowing. And it sure tells you that the universe is alive and wanting to spread its goodness everywhere.
So have at ‘em…pumpkins, flowers, trees….the whole works. They’re just waiting for your perceptive eyes and glowing attention.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Amping Up the Vibration

Are you getting too comfy in your lazy boy chair? Or sitting at your computer? Watching the “Game of the Week” (guys, you know what I mean)? Watching a reality series? Or, have you become a news junkie? There are repercussions for all that sitting and I am experiencing one of them: back issues.

My most treasured practice recently has been to read, research and, most of all, compose at the computer…and I can be so oblivious to how much time I spend there. But my back knows. Oh, yes. It’s keeping track.

I read somewhere recently that we should get up every twenty minutes from the computer so I brought out a timer and am experimenting with setting it each time I begin working. Sneaking a peak at it, I am dismayed at how fast the minutes are moving. But my back is talking to me. And loudly. So I am going to listen and obey.

As I got up from the computer at the first ring and did some walking and stretching in the hallway, I found myself doing some interesting things. Getting grounded...really feeling the floor I was walking on. Noticing the sunlight streaming in the window. Thinking about what I could do that day that would really please me and make a difference in my life. Remembering my resolve to work on my health choices. And, best of all, feeling
GRATITUDE for the many blessings of my life.

A lot has been said recently about the importance and significance of making Gratitude Lists…How it nudges us past our preoccupation with ourselves…How it makes us remember the many gifts we have been given…How it moves us into a higher vibration.

And this might be the greatest gift of all. THE VIBRATION REWARD. Because when we move into a higher vibration, we can no longer exist in the world of
Why Me? and that kind of thinking.

So I am resolved to set that timer each time I sit down to the computer and each time I sit in my lazy boy and…oops, just heard a ring. Got to go. And, while I am strolling leisurely through my home and enjoying the sunlight and beauty of the day, I’m feeling GRATEFUL for that beautiful reminder of how to take care of my body and soul.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dancing With the Stars!

It’s Monday night, eight p.m. and the bouncy, brilliant theme song of Dancing With the Stars beams into the room! Die hard sports fan are busy with Monday Night Football but I’m ready for a lavish evening of musicality, costumes and lights. Once the dancing starts, my feet will not stand still. No matter what command I give them. Dancing with the Stars is talking to some primitive longing that cannot be denied in the human soul. A longing to move, to feel, to be completely engaged in the moment. And the dancers are expressing it with passion and artistry.

The background stories on the stars and professionals are so interesting and amazing. Jennifer Grey, who performed an intricate Argentine Tango last week with Derek Hough, suffered for years from a neck injury she got in a car accident. Now she wants to prove that she can do what she had never expected of herself. Florence Henderson, TV icon, has been glowing with delight at the sheer joy of being one of the dancers…her already huge eyes growing even bigger…revealing the intense drive of her spirit. Others have told stories of hardship and pain and frustration, sharing the extreme difficulties involved in practicing so many hours each day. But something is obviously driving them…To excel? To achieve their personal best? To let the soul shine? To be so absolutely lost in the moment? Whatever it is that propels them forward, it’s real and it’s palpable and it shows in everything they do.

And their passionate desire to dance, to compete, to reach for the stars is complemented so beautifully by the AFFECTION they always seem to develop for each other. They are thrilled when they perform brilliantly but they are also thrilled when their fellow dancers do so. They celebrate each other, supporting, praising and encouraging each individual. They hug one another during moments of triumph and despair. Notice their eyes and you will see a world in which people have CONNECTED with each other.

This is an assembly of individuals where all the performers are expressing their emotions (in one manner or another) and dancing their hearts out and encouraging and applauding each other. Watch the way this group swarms around the couple that has been eliminated at the end of the Results Show on Tuesday night. With warm and affectionate hugs. With a world of empathic emotions on their faces. They are a family of friends and they want the best for each other.
A microcosm of a beautiful universe. The one we would all love to live in…where everyone is a part of the greater whole and knows it…embraces it…loves it.

When head judge Len Goodman announces at the beginning of the show, Live From Hollywood, maybe he’s really saying
Live From A World To Come!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Help Me Understand

I worked for many years for a wonderful boss. I loved going to work every day and that says a lot. I felt appreciated, valued and enjoyed. And I had fun. All the time. The office “crew” I worked with was composed of delightful, bright, fun-loving and creative people who embraced life with a passion. And my boss recognized, rewarded and even inspired this. One of his favorite sayings was, “What am I running here…a country club?”. And that’s exactly the kind of work atmosphere we had. Open, creative, silly, passionate, caring and, most of all, hardworking. We would do everything it took to get the job done and get it done superbly but we had so much fun it didn’t feel like work.

My boss and I gave many gifts to each other as we collaborated and negotiated our way through our work life. Whenever something urgent appeared, we went quickly and very efficiently into action. And one of the many other important ways we helped each other was to advise the other when it was time to "Cool Your Jets." Not that either of us wanted to hear it at the time, but it always came when it was most needed and most helpful for stabilizing the situation.

Of all of the many things I appreciated about my boss, the greatest for me was his use of the beautiful phrase, Help me understand. Whenever we had locked horns over an issue or I felt misunderstood I would invite him to join me in a conference room for a private conversation. And he was always eager to comply. As I explained to him (usually with intense emotion) what my issue or problem was, he always sat close to me and gave me the most exquisite eye contact, following my story and letting me explain everything. Afterwards, he would almost always say, “I was not aware you felt this way at all. Help me understand.”

.three words which became for me one of the biggest lessons of my life. I found this phrase to make such a difference in the feeling I had about my work life. And I find this phrase to be so important in the context of interpersonal relationships. The potential applications are unending. I have so admired the ability of my boss to drop into that beautiful state of caring and I have come to realize how important that message is, especially to someone who is feeling lost or misunderstood.

Is there someone in your life who would love to hear those words from you?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Ichabod's Night Life

It was a windy night in Galway, Ireland. I was visiting my daughter Rachel who is on sabbatical there and I was sleeping in her guest bedroom. Rachel’s apartment house is located on a peninsula on Galway Bay. It sits literally in the middle of the harbor and, if you look outside of her window, you can see sailboats of all sizes lined up and moored to the docks.

On this particular evening I was awakened by the sound of someone apparently working on a boat in the middle of the night. There was a persistent clanging, actually two different clangings…and it felt like one was agitating the other. My daughter had told me earlier that she slept with earplugs because of the harbor noises, but I didn’t feel a little background sound would make a difference to me. I was wrong.

That night I tossed restlessly for hours, growing a strong frustration that vibrated every time I heard another sound. I could hardly believe that someone had decided to work on his boat at this hour. The logic was beyond me. I went to the window of the bedroom and parted the curtains. The boats were sitting in the water, magically illuminated by the mooring lights. The scene was breathtakingly beautiful…and there was no one to be seen working in the area. Confused, I looked further and discovered that the wind was willfully whipping the branches of a very tall tree against the night sky.

So, I thought…it’s the wind I have to deal with and decided I would try to use my consciousness to slow it down. (I had read on a couple of occasions that it is possible to move a cloud so I thought I would try changing the wind speed.) I was finally able to slow it down enough so that I could get some sleep but decided I needed a better plan as I am not yet practiced in the art of cloud/wind transport.

We checked the anticipated wind speed for the next night and, sure enough, a very windy evening was in the offing. I decided to see what resources I could call up because I did not want to go the ear plugs route.

Remembering a very important lesson I had learned from a book called Courageous Dreaming by Alberto Villoldo I decided that I had to change my story about the clanging. The first night it had represented a series of constant intrusions into my night of peaceful sleep. Now I decided to call up my imagination and create a new story. In this scenario the clanging actually was coming from a phantom sailor called Ichabod. I was asleep on the lower deck of a boat with several sailors. Every night the phantom Ichabod made an appearance on the top deck and proceeded to adjust the masts and moorings, clanging away as he worked. Everyone on the boat knew Ichabod and held a great affection for him. Ichabod’s appearance each evening signaled that all was right with the world…and with the clanging reminder of his presence, everyone slept soundly. Including me.

The next morning I ecstatically celebrated the beautiful way I had been able to “dream” myself into a peaceful place.

Telling myself a new story has become for me a new way to deal with the challenges that present themselves in my life. And it’s not always easy. And sometimes I forget to do it. But, oh, when I can remember this lesson and make it happen, I am overjoyed with the knowledge that I can change the way I perceive my reality. I was over the moon about Ichabod. Rachel, too. She has even adopted him as a guest in her harbor home.

In creating this story I followed Villoldo’s advice to create my story (or dream) by flying to the level of eagle which is spiritually based. I framed the sound as a peaceful resonance and that is what it became.

If you have a story in your life that is bringing you suffering, I invite and encourage you to call on your power to paint a picture that will soothe and comfort you, delighting your soul and bringing you the peace of Ichabod.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Irish Taxi Drivers

“Hello, luv…good morning to you…and are you here on holiday?” This is the beautiful way I was greeted nearly every time I stepped into a taxi in Galway, Ireland.

I have just returned from a trip abroad to visit my daughter Rachel on sabbatical there and I truly must say that the taxi drivers in Ireland so warmed my heart. I was able to sit up front with them in what we would call the driver’s seat here in the U.S. as the steering wheels there are placed on the right side of the car and so I got the wonderful opportunity to ask a few questions and learn so much about their lives.

I heard about pride in their families, about their wives and children (names, ages and personalities), about how the college aged kids were driving them to the “poor house” and how they had learned to step out of the fray and, thankfully, let their brilliant wives negotiate with their teen aged daughters. I heard about last night’s christening celebration that threatened to turn into a brawl until the taxi driver stepped in and told the offending party to get his priorities straightened out. I heard many comments about the recession and how it had dampened somewhat the spirits of the Irish. (I can hardly imagine what they were like before!) And, when I mentioned that I was visiting my daughter but leaving soon, I heard the comment, “Not to worry for we’ll be keeping an eye on her.”

The sense of living life in the Present Moment and embracing it with such passion are so strong in Ireland it is truly amazing. If I had known what I could find there in the open hearts of the Irish, I would have gotten myself to the Emerald Isle long before this.

Whenever I left the taxi, I always commented to the driver my wish that he have a beautiful day. And I always received a beautiful smile and blessing in return.

Irish eyes sparkle with fun and mischief…and delight in what the day will bring. What a lovely inspiration!

I am now determined to find the “Irish” in everyone I encounter and am set on uncovering this beautiful gift embedded in every human heart!