Rhythms

Drums play

Night and day

A beating

A rhythm

In the heart

There’s heat

Outside

It’s Cold

Allow

The rhythmic heart

To meet the world

Exactly where it stands

Life is lived

From Inside out

Deep love

shows itself

In the small space

Between these pulses,

Dancing

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What’s in a Prayer?

prayer-on-my-knees4

After dropping the kids at school this morning, I was on my way to the coffee shop (yep, I’m still addicted to my mochas), listening to the Bert Show on my local radio station, Q100. I like this morning show because they talk about random things going on in their lives and I can either relate to them or laugh at their situations. This morning, Bert, the namesake of the show, asked a question that is interesting to me, mainly because I have struggled just the same as he.

He has a friend with cancer. Unsure of how widespread the cancer is, the friend has undergone a test to find out. Today the friend is receiving his results. Basically, this friend will find out today if he lives or dies.

Bert’s dilemma is this (I’m paraphrasing what he said on the radio); Bert said, as a budding Christian, I want to pray for my friend, but I’m unsure what to pray for. On the one hand, I want to pray for his healing, and on the other, I feel like God has a plan for my friend, so it doesn’t feel right praying for intervention into what that plan may be. Maybe my friend is supposed to die and that is God’s plan.

The advice from the two other hosts, Kristin and Jeff, were to pray for peace, comfort and strength. A caller called in and said to pray for the doctors to be able to read the results correctly.

Apparently, the friend has already been through a round of incorrect readings. From what I can gather, it sounds like the poor guy has been on the roller coaster ride of his life, literally.

Like I said, I have also struggled with how I feel on this issue. Do I pray for healing? Is it OK to ask God to go against His plan if it means I get to keep in this life someone I love?

I have been to meditations called “healing circles” where everyone meditating pictures a person who is sick being healed – healed by God. I didn’t feel like I was doing anything wrong, or against God’s plan when I was doing it.

But still, when it comes to personal prayer, I’ve struggled, asking myself the same question, Is it OK to say to God, Please heal this person I love.

I didn’t know how I felt until the caller said to pray for the doctors to read the tests correctly. Suddenly, I was mad. I started talking to the radio, and I even tried to get Siri, from my iPhone, to call the Bert Show. Siri doesn’t know Bert’s number, by the way.

“Pray all you want for the doctors to read the results correctly, but now you are dealing with MAN! HUMANS who have FREE WILL,” I yelled. I immediately thought, praying for this will not get you anywhere. In my heart I felt that praying for something like doctors reading tests correctly is not prayer at all, but asking the doctors to not be doctors. I thought to myself, Doctors are humans in white coats doing the best they can to heal us, but in the end, they are human.

It was like something took me over, and I felt so strongly that her advice was in vain to the truth of what praying is about. It was a feeling that surprised me. And sitting here writing, I still feel the same. Although, I guess if it behooves someone, it wouldn’t hurt to pray for the doctors to read the tests correctly. It just wouldn’t be my choice of prayerfulness.

That’s not really the point, although it is what got me involved. And, I love that Bert has me thinking the question this morning, What do I believe of prayer and how do I use prayer in my life?

I have actually read books on the subject. Sermon on the Mount, by Emmet Fox is a book about The Lord’s Prayer. Many books on lovingkindness give prayer suggestions. One such prayer is, may there be peace in my life, may there be peace in the life of my family, may my community feel peace, may the world feel peace. In other words, it’s a kind of prayer ripple, starting with you and going out, out, out to encompass the whole of our world, and even our Universe. It’s a connectedness from the single to the infinite.

But, pondering my personal prayers and how I use prayer, here’s where I am today.

I know first is gratitude. I want to constantly let the Universe know how grateful I am for life; the Life Force that lives within me. I find myself silently saying, Thank You, a lot. It just comes to me in a moment and I express it. Nothing thought out, it’s just there and I say it – sometimes out loud and other times silently. It can be when I hear my kids actually getting along or just looking at a tree that I find fascinating. No matter what the “it” is, “it” is Life and I say Thank You.

Next, I do pray for what I want, but it is more in the form of intentions I set. Like a prayer vision board. For example, I might pray to God and let God know my intention is to write, because I believe with my whole heart this is what You intend for me. I want You to know I’m here, listening to my “gut” and heeding my intuition that You have given me. I hear in my Heart this calling and I intend to fulfill my dream, which I feel is a reflection of You, God. Oh, and thank you for this calling!

I also pray a ton about motherhood. I pray, pray, pray that my kids’ psychology bill will be low later in life and they will both be who they came into this life to be. In motherhood, my go to is The Prophet poem, On Children. I pray I can be that parent.

This leaves praying for others. I find I see the beauty in people much more than in my past. I can look at someone and know in my heart they are precious. I see we really are One.

At some point, the huge gap in between someone’s teeth stopped being something that made me think, “Why don’t they get it fixed,” so much as, “Look how precious they look when they smile at me with this difference.”

I’m using a superficial difference on purpose, but it could be anything. My point is, I don’t pray for people to be any different than they are. They are as they are meant to be. It’s not my job or right to change them. Everyone’s journey is their own.

What if this person is a drug addict? Is that God’s plan? I believe not. In this case, I would say, God, please restore this soul to its soul state. Please allow this dead person to awaken to Life. To you. Deliver compassionate people into this Life before it is too late.

In my world, drug addiction is like cancer. Why would I pray for the drug addict to be healed and not the cancer patient?

Jesus healed the sick and infirmed. He even brought back the dead. Why would Jesus intervene for God and not ask us to do the same. Didn’t Jesus say, “Truly, truly, I say to you, He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to my Father.” (John 5:19)

If Jesus was a healer, and Jesus was to be the Christian example of living life to God’s fullest, wouldn’t God ask us to be healers also? And if we can’t directly heal, as Jesus could, wouldn’t we then be asked as healers to pray that Jesus intervene to our Father to heal our loved ones of any and all afflictions holding them from being the best human reflection of God?

Cancer is a killer and we are meant to live a full life – for God’s sake. Anything that disrupts that is not God’s will. It is Dis-ease in life. There are many who believe in the power of intention and this theory of Dis-ease, which translates into a life of disease, like cancer. See Louise Hay, You Can Heal Your Life. Another example is Feelings Buried Alive Never Die. Both of these books have “dictionaries” of health issues and what causes diseases. Others believe we came into this life with baggage from past lives and they can be healed.

No matter what your beliefs are, I now know that I believe in praying for healing. In my heart, I believe God would have me intervene and say, give me my loved one! And I say this knowing that any time I pray something in Love, God smiles at me; touches my cheek with that wind I feel which comes out of nowhere I can see. Even when I don’t get my way, I know God smiles when I ask for anything with a pure heart of Love.

So today, I pray that Bert’s friend be healed of his cancer in full. I pray he goes forward to live a complete life with his wife and child. I pray that even if he is eaten up in cancer and is predicted to die tomorrow, that Jesus come to this man to heal him in body and soul. Show us humans how it’s done! Give him Life, even in the face of death. I call on all of the healers out there in our world, and in the next, to heal, heal, heal this man of his dis-ease. And so it is, and it is so.

Now, should this friend have to give up this life and go to God, I will then pray, God, I pray you accept this soul into your grace to watch over his loved ones in this difficult transition. I pray for your Love to envelope this man and heal his dis-ease from this life; that he may be there for his loved ones, to look over them and guide them and keep their presence in this Life in grace. Amen.

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Making It

Mom's Soul Cafe

On an ordinary day
In an ordinary home
A plain piece of toast
Baking in the toaster

Bacon sizzling on the stovetop
And kids running around and around
at my heels
Laughing like children do

The dog barks
The cat meows
And the fish need feeding, again

I hear the musical, hello
Coming from that guise of modern living,
My phone.

The voice on the other end says,
You are not ordinary
You are loved
You have made it to numero uno
And the masses think you are
Perfect

I jump and I scream
I think I did a cartwheel
Though I can barely
Recollect
The feeling

Because just as I let
It sink inward,

The toaster pops
The bacon is burning
And the kids still run at my heels

The dog barks
The cat meows
The fish are still hungry

And I was ordinary
Again.

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Time to be a Soul

It’s a little hard to write about my soul these days. I haven’t been going meditations for a while. I haven’t been to yoga since the summer began. No psychics, mediums or metaphysical anything for months. I even took a break from teaching Sunday-School this year at the Unity Church. My only explanation is that age-old reason: I’m busy.

Last October, I got my real estate license. I had a post license course to take after I got the license. It’s done, but it took a year (not because it was that hard, but remember when I said, I’m busy? Well, it applied to getting this course-work done too). Now, I’m practicing real estate. This is in addition to marketing work for people, making lip balm and deodorant, and other little ventures. Oh, and there’s the being a mom thing which pretty much takes any and all spare time (and the not spare time) I have and seems to become more demanding (in a good way) by the day.

Although I haven’t been acting much on my spirituality in the ways I used to, I do find that all of the time I had in the past to devote to my soul has given me the tools I can use now that I am feeling so hectic.

The times I walk my two dogs, I am able to take a breath, let my “list” go and find something beautiful to enjoy.

If I catch a little cat nap before picking the kids up from school, I put on a meditation from my phone that lulls me into a floaty space somewhere between relaxation and sleep. I doze off to affirmations of kindness and visions of those things I want to manifest for myself.

I have gone back to reading spiritual books, which I had not found time to do because of so much studying for my real estate license. I just finished, The Transformation by Ainslei MacLeod. He writes about how we come into this life affected by our past lives. It helped me to reconcile my feelings of missing something soulful if I’m not sitting on the mountain in a lotus position with my hands in prayer pose. That’s the vision I get of myself when I am immersed in my spiritual activities. He said, sometimes you can’t find spirituality on the mountain. You have to come down and live life.

This statement hit home with me. I’m definitely not on the mountain right now. But, because of all of my studies and actions in the past, I think I’m able to find deeper meaning in the activities of being busy than if I had not taken the time to see the soul-filled side of life. I feel like the people I come in contact with are important to the lesson. I’m encouraged to give them the real me, rather than pretend, or wear some metaphorical hat that I think they expect to see.

What I took from The Transformation is that we all came here with happenings in our soul’s past that hinder and help us here today. When we honor those qualities and overcome them, we move away from that “lesson” and on to the next. We get to stop the repetition. That’s why it’s important to live life and also to sit and breathe in that life with down-time; to listen to the whispers of the soul.

I also learned that spiritual acts big and small are part of a spiritual life. So, even when I am not going to all of my normal activities, I am still acting in spirit every time I’m honest, respectful, compassionate, or when I help someone, give someone a smile, donate to charity, or find a cause that I believe in and support. I’m finding out that there is no end to what I can do outside of a room full of like-minded people to still live a spiritual life. And that is my goal right now, to maintain a soul filled existence while conserving the time that I have to get done what needs to be done for now, so I don’t feel overwhelmed. At some point, making myself be somewhere just adds to the “to-do” list and becomes more stressful than not. Suddenly, it’s not something I’m doing for myself like it was before.

I really miss my friends from my activities at the metaphysical places I attend. And, I’m sure I’ll be back. In the meantime, I think I will be exploring my spiritual side in a different way than I ever have.

Today, I am enjoying living my oh-so-busy life from my soul’s perspective.

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I Love Juanita

I go to mediums quite a bit. Mediums are people who can communicate with the dearly departed. I am taken when they come up with something they could never know, like a name.

There’s a medium named Yvonne O’Brien who comes to Horizon Center for Intuitive Awareness the last Saturday of every month. She has a group reading for $35, where she goes around the room and each person gets about a 10 minute connection with someone on the other side. Her skills interest me enough that I have been multiple times, alone and pretty much with everyone I know who is interested.

Sometimes the messages are grand and other times not so much. She’s talked to my aunt Lillie, whom I never met. She pulled her name out of the air, talked about her love of baking, and said she has communicated with my daughter, Jessie, who is now six.

There was a time where Jessie told me she did not want to go in her room because there was a family in there. A little girl and other people and they were scaring her. I didn’t think too much about it, but given my background with mediums and psychics, I didn’t dismiss it that she was not really seeing someone. I told her I didn’t think they were there to do her harm and she should just tell them that they are scaring her and to please go back to the light.

She was probably four when this was going on. She had always been fine going to sleep in her room with the light off, and suddenly she was not good with that anymore. She had to have a light on and most nights she came to my bed, scared. She actually still sleeps in my bed most nights and I haven’t the heart to give her the boot. Surely she will not be sleeping in my bed when she is in high school!

Last night, as Jessie was going to sleep in my bed, she was writing in her diary. It is a little book with a cat on the front. There is a small piece of metal with two rings on it where a little padlock fits in the rings to lock up her secrets. Only Jessie has the key. While I was reading Jessie decided to record the happenings of her day in camp in this diary.

I helped her spell some things – turtle, river, camp. She’s still a work in progress on spelling and secret keeping, so she says I can read her diary and so can her dad. But, not her brother.

As she finished writing about her day, she said, ”Look mom, I wrote this, I love Jennifer.”

But as I looked at it, I saw something amazing. It didn’t say, I love Jennifer. It said, I love Juanita.

Spelled perfectly. My grandmother’s name. My grandmother that passed away four years ago.

I told Jessie, “That’s not my name. Do you know whose name that is?”

“No.”

“It’s my grandmother’s name. My grandmother was named, Juanita.”

“Juanina? Really?”

No matter how many times I said Juanita, Jessie said, “Juanina,” and she said it like jua-ni-na – separate syllables – as if it was the strangest name she had ever heard. Because, I had never referred to my grandmother by name to her; only by “grandma.”

“How did you know how to spell that?” I asked.

“It was in the air,” she explained. “I was in the living room and someone was talking in the air and spelled it for me. They also told me I am getting so old.”

“Did this happen today?” I asked.

“No, I did it when I was five. You were napping and I was in the living room and there was someone talking to me and told me how to spell it. But I thought I was writing Jennifer.”

 I love juanita 1

In the past, I sensed that Jessie was telling the truth about the people in her room. I believed Yvonne when she told me that Jessie was visited by Aunt Lillie. I believe. But something about this feels like such a gift. I spent my whole time walking the dogs this morning giving thanks that my grandma is well and still talking to us from her place in the cosmos.

It’s so funny how something can turn everything around. I feel lighter today.

Especially during the summer, I tend to get emotionally whacky with so much company day in and day out. Even the breaks don’t feel like breaks because they are nothing but stolen moments. It feels like I have to do something meaningful with the time because I may not get it again anytime soon.

I also tend to have chaos around anyway with my lifestyle. A prime example is last Saturday night.

This particular night culminated into me getting my king-sized bed all to myself. I was all alone, but far from lonely. I would say I was giddy with excitement.

Hubby decided to go out with friends, my son decided to have a sleep over with a neighbor, and I purposely bought my daughter an American Girl Doll movie to bribe her into her own bed. At 9:30, I was writing my dad an email from my phone, bragging about my heavenly situation where I was going to get my bed to myself. I read a book for a bit and turned out my light at 10 pm.

At 10:01, my dog jumped up and cuddled into the crook of my legs; that spot where she fits perfectly when I am on my side.

10:05, Jessie shuffles into my room to get in my bed; she and four of her favorite dolls. The dolls thankfully had a sleeping bag on the floor.

10:30, phone rings. My neighbor says my son wants to come home. I tap my Fitbit (my fitness and sleep monitor) out of sleep mode, get up and walk down to the neighbor’s house to walk him home. He says he’s sweaty, and his friend is making too much noise for him to sleep.

Back at home, I get in his bed, tap the Fitbit back into sleep mode, and close my eyes. I tell myself, Nathan’s bed is comfy, I can just sleep in here.

Only, then the dog, Joe Cocker, our cocker spaniel rescue, starts to bark. Hubby is still out and I guess Joe Cocker is missing him. I go back down stairs and put Joe in the office where he normally sleeps. He barks.

I get back up, put him in the basement where he usually hangs out with Hubby until bedtime. I close the door and go to my bed. Joe puts his mouth to the crack of the basement door and barks, with little howls in between.

Oh. My. Gawd. I think I am going to have a hissy fit! My heavenly night of sleep has been a nightmare from the time my light went out.

I doze off, there’s a dog barking in my dream.

1 am, Hubby comes home. The dog barks his greeting, which is just a continuation of the missing-Hubby bark because he never stopped that, and Hubby puts him in the office. He stops barking and I finally go to sleep.

6 am, Iris has the audacity to wake me up for her walk! I tell her I am sleeping longer and I pull her into a cuddle until 7.

I write about this night not for sympathy (ok, maybe a little sympathy for that night would be nice), but to say this is how life feels much of the time when I’m awake. It’s unpredictability to the max. Just when I think things are one way, that’s just not it. Still, I accept it whole heartedly as the life I have created and love.

And, I take grace and peace where I can get it. And last night, in between the chaos, I found grace, in the form of my grandma telling a little girl to write three words: I love Juanita.

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Cleaning Up

Not too long ago I wrote a post about feelings and mantras – that I don’t think every feeling has to be ignored for the sake of feeling happy.  I also said that I do believe in mantras and in affirmations. And I do.

For instance, the other day, I was upstairs attending to a few things while my children played downstairs, quietly. A little too quietly. So that when I came down stairs I expected something, and something is what I got.

The two, 6 and 8, had taken Costo, bulk-sized, paper towel rolls, about seven of them, and proceeded to make “roads” down stairs in the kitchen and living room. As well as, by the time they finished, “mountains.”

When I say there were paper towels everywhere, I mean no exaggeration. There were paper towels every where. And this was before summer break had even begun.

paper towels

Just a small portion of what was all over the place.

I find I use mantras a lot in the presence of my children, and even more during the summer.

I subscribe to a book I read a long time ago called Mommy Mantras. I love the author’s use of mantras and I relate so much to what she says about motherhood. This book is a great resource for any mom starting, and even the seasoned mother, who needs to just take a breath now and again and say something to get her through the tough times.

Like I said, I believe mantras do have their place! I like to use them once I am there (in a situation) as a reminder that this too shall pass. I can remind myself who I am, and what I stand for. Not that I always succeed, but I can try.

I also love a good mantra in meditation. A chant. It keeps the mind focused.

I take a yoga class where we do chanting, mostly in Sanskrit. Here is an example of a Sanskrit chant that opens the yoga class.

Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo

Literally means: to call upon the creative energy of the universe, the divine, to transform light into dark

Ong – the energy of the active creative element in the universe

Namo – to call upon

Guru  — that which transforms dark (gu) into light (ru)

Dev – that which resides in the etheric or divine realm

When we chant this before yoga, we are asking that the creative energy enter our practice and transform dark into light, for us.

To some, it seems strange, but after practicing the use of chants I see how it connects us. The voice during a chant becomes one – it is unity at its finest.

I also believe in affirmations. When the tape in my head tells me I’m not good enough, I can always pull out an affirmation and solidify my place in this universe as a child of God. I belong here, I have a purpose and I am numero uno with someone, even if that someone is just me and my Maker. (I know my mom and dad think I’m pretty cool too, just in case I need human validation.)

I love Louise Hay, You Can Heal Your Life, Emmitt Fox, The Power of Constructive Thinking, and abundance books that call upon positive thinking and affirming words to bring about what I want in my life. I have plenty of books about affirmation and I love every one of them.

I believe whole-heartedly in prayer, meditation, affirmations, and mantras as a way to a more overall positive life and a way to have well-being in what can be a hard road called Life.

I also believe we are not here to just be happy. That was the purpose in the post about feelings. Someone said that they thought I was angry when I wrote that post, but I wasn’t. I just think we get a tad caught up in happiness and ignore that we are meant to have feelings, but we are not meant to dwell on those feelings.

When we dwell, the feelings have become habit. And habits are meant to be broken. Sometimes I think people try to talk themselves out of those habits. It is my opinion that words will lift us up and talking does a lot, but a physical smile can literally change the chemistry of the brain (even a fake one). Laughter has been a known cure for cancer.

I do suppose just talking can be a good starting point. But, I think in the talking and the doing true happiness is ours for the taking.

P.S. I think I should say something about depression. I do not believe all depression is a habit. Depression is real, and I know personally. I am on medication for it. Today, I am also taking music therapy, yoga, exercising, going to church, and doing more for the depression than I did when I first got on the meds.

I now want off, but I am having a hard time getting off. I notice that I become weepy and have thoughts that are not my own, no matter how much I tell myself they are not mine. I get scared of myself when I become that person.

It’s a hard call. I think when I got on the meds it was what I knew. Now that I know better would I do things differently? Probably. But, I have already made my decision based on what I knew at the time. I think, based on my history and where I was, I wish I would have had the same resources I now have in my life. I wish I would have known how to combat my chemistry with more natural methods. But I didn’t.

I trust that anything which has happened to me and any decisions I made about medication for depression were for the greater good. My goal is to use natural methods to get off of the meds, and I am doing it. But it’s not overnight. It takes time. And I’m willing to use what I have available to me today.

This is a personal decision, one that I believe each person has to make on his or her own, but it’s good to know there are methods out there besides medication if you are dealing with mild to moderate depression.

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Father, My Rainbow

A cloud

Follows me

 

Rain falls

Upon my

Upturned face

 

I come as a child

 

I breathe

Deep

And I ask for

My Father

 

I seek

In solitude

Embracing

The rain

 

I follow

The cloud

To its end

 

Yielding

 

I openly allow

All

To rain down

Upon me

 

Not because

The rain is

Sweet

(Or even because it is bitter-sweet)

 

But because

Within every cloud

And after all of my

Rainy days

 

I know

There is a rainbow

 

Arching

Dizzying lights

Dancing

Colorful motion

 

How do I know?

 

Because my Father,

He said so

 

And me,

I am still His Child

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Realized

The words of someone wise

Roll around in my brain

Like sweet rain water

On the hottest of days

 

I relish

The insight

Of what can be accomplished

With words

 

I completely

Give

Myself over

To the quote

 

I hang on to

Each and every expression

As if it is the last

 

And I see with clarity

Why I love words

Because even though the body of life

Dies

 

The words

And the soul-full

Live on

Forever

 

Good-bye Maya Angelou. Thank you for the beautiful, wise words.

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Why Do I Have to Suffer?

I normally try and keep things light hearted here. I love to share stories to make a point, but today I just want to “talk” about something I believe.

I recently read a Facebook post. The person posting said they were unhappy, and someone else said they just need to decide to be happy and voila, happiness can be theirs. Change your attitude change your world kind of logic.

Image

Why?

I do agree that we can change our thoughts to change our lives. Please do not get me wrong. Positive thoughts are great. But I think (pun intended) we should go a step further when deciding to just be happy.

What if we were to just allow ourselves to feel what we are feeling? If you are sad, maybe you need to be sad. If you are angry, maybe you need to be angry. If you are anxious, maybe… well you get the point.

I don’t believe in turning off a process in order to be happy, because maybe happiness isn’t the point. Maybe learning from the emotion is the point.

I’m not saying, wallow, or live in an emotional state. But emotions, like thoughts, are fleeting. They don’t last. If they do last then rather than just turning my thoughts to happier thoughts, I take the time to dig in and find out why I’m not able to recover from something that should be short-lived. Just like in meditation, when I stand outside myself and watch my thoughts go by, when I feel something, I often step outside my thoughts and ask myself questions. What about that feeling makes me want to stay stuck? What do I want to do about it? How far am I willing to go to get unstuck? Am I willing to get out of my comfort zone?

There are traditional and non-traditional ways to move forward from a mind-set that has become HABIT. But in my opinion, thinking or affirming ones way out is not the best idea. Mantras and affirmations certainly have a space in life, but if you don’t believe what you are saying or thinking, what good is it? Sorry, but I do not buy the fake it ‘til you make it philosophy. We end up telling ourselves a lie and really never getting to know ourselves better. Isn’t that what a hurt heart and suffering in our lives are about? Getting to know ourselves better to become a more authentic version of ourselves? Maybe someone we are happy with? Someone who stands and lives in truth, whatever that truth may be?

Suffering is meant to break us open. As Mark Nepo, author of many books including The Awakening, says, Life will either break us open or we can shed willingly.

When life is breaking us open, either by an event that causes suffering or a feeling we can’t shake, it’s time to shed willingly. Otherwise, we just repeat the suffering over and over again. I haven’t found an affirmation yet that has gotten me over my body image issues. However, taking a music therapy class that is making me dance around and sing is getting me so out of my comfort zone that now when I say I love my body, I actually mean it. I love that I am able to sing out loud. I love that I can dance. Now my mantras about my body mean something.

And that is just one example of something I need to deal with. Feeling sad? Get therapy. It maybe something as simple as getting a massage or going to dinner with a  friend and talking. Taking music lessons or dance. Give blood. Visit a sick friend. Go on a mission trip. Get a pet — my dog has done wonders for my soul. Go to a guided meditation, or a workshop. Nature is one of the best cures for anything we are suffering. Pray. Write about your emotions, let the writing sit for a week then go back. Are you still feeling the same way? Is the emotion becoming a habit? What can be done? What are you willing to do? Is acceptance part of your vocabulary? There’s a saying, what we resists, persists.

Most humans love a community — don’t suffer alone! I have found that the fastest way to happiness is finding HELP rather than trying to think happy thoughts or affirm happy sayings.

Sometimes our scariest, hardest, most fragile feelings are the most helpful for living an authentic life. Facing what we feel is not bad, even if it is not happy; even if those around us are not happy with us.

Like I said, I love a good affirmation, especially if you find one that feels empowering, but that affirmation probably gave off that feeling because it either resonates already or heals something there ready to be healed. Asking your soul to think itself happy is just not fair to any part of you or those around you. It feels shallow to me.

The soul is here to suffer, overcome suffering, suffer some more and eventually… after the suffering is over and the healing of all that we came here to heal is done, be happy all the time. That happiness is called Enlightenment and very few people can be there all the time. Until then we should take happiness when happiness is there, in the present moment, and not try and cling too tightly. And, in the suffering, we also should not act clingy, but allow it to pass at its own pace.

It’s the clinging we need to be aware of more than the emotion. Again, repeating from above, it’s like meditation, watching the thoughts go by like a cloud, standing outside, looking in. That is what we can do with emotions too. If we can get perspective, by standing outside of the moment and ask ourselves questions about how we can best serve the suffering then happiness comes faster and faster.

Today I ask myself, am I suffering? Why?

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A Rant or a Rave? OK, Rave It Is!

I considered making this a rant, but I decided to come from a different place; from my soul.

It’s my dog. She wakes me up most every morning at 5 am to go out for her morning walk. Since the day she’s come home to us she has woken me up between 5 and 6 am. Even on weekends.

I know I could change it with persistence, but there’s a reason I would rather not. It’s because even though it looks rough from the outside and feels rough some days, overall, I like it. I love getting outside before the sun is up.

I used to get up in the mornings, pre-Iris, and sit on my porch. A cup of tea in hand, I watched the sun rise on the trees; leaves fluttering in the morning air, golden highlights, and shadows on each tree creating a beautiful backdrop for silent meditation and reading.

Once Iris came, I tried to keep everything in my routine, but quickly found that porch-time was giving way to dog walking time. It turns out though, for me, it’s been a move to practicing an authentic meditation I didn’t realized I could have.

In walking before dawn, I found out that trees have partners; trees on my walks that grow together from the base and split but stay side by side, living their lives in tandem. There is a tree in the shape of the number 4. I’ve seen a tree that grows up then stretches forward and outward from its base, leaving me wondering how in the world it is standing. Deep roots?

photo 1     photo 2

When we travel, Iris gets me up just the same as at home. She and I walk around, she smelling the place silly, and me noticing. Houses, the beach, the moon, how the stars look in this place compared to at home. I notice bushes and grass and leaves. Iris has been in my life for a year now, so I have seen all of the seasons come and go and how the landscape changes as those seasons pass.

By now, you might be picturing me walking the dog on a clear morning, where the stars and moon are visible. But, I have walked her in the rain, the sleet, the snow, and the wind. I have layered up in two coats and put a blanket over the coats.

I love that too. As an adult, I don’t find myself rushing out to be in the elements. But once I am out there, breathing in the air, and walking, I find myself liking it.

I can see how those before us, those that lived under the stars and the moon, would want to know all there is about our Universe and what those moon cycles mean and how the stars are connected. I love to see the changing moon – not just its shape, but where it is located in the sky changes.

And that is the point – I am no longer sitting on my porch observing, I am now more in a state of experiencing what I was observing. From the start, without any planning about it, I started paying attention to the elements in front of me. I listen to my footsteps. It is such an acute time for my senses, I feel very mindful – aware of nature, aware of my dog, aware of how our ancestors must have felt being outdoors so much more than I have been in my lifetime.

I encounter so many people who say they cannot meditate because they just can’t sit there and not think. But, meditation can be anything, as long as we are PRESENT for the moment. Walking, gardening, cleaning the house, jogging… the list goes on. Meditation is not only about sitting. It’s about being in the moment no matter the activity. It’s about allowing those thoughts to come, but deciding to envision that thought as a cloud, passing by. This lets us know we are not our thoughts.

Meditation is all about disconnecting from thought form and recognizing we are MUCH, MUCH more than that. We are divine for goodness sakes!

Seeing ourselves as more than thought allows for the space to know that the tapes that run, that one that says, “You are messy, stupid, and ugly,” or whatever are just not true, they are nothing more than a thought.

Meditation allows us to observe that thought from a different standpoint, outside of our minds.

Of course, I still subscribe to the sitting. I believe learning to sit and watch my thoughts from the inside out is a wonderful skill – one developed over time, not just in one sitting. I like saying to myself, “Huh, wonder where that came from?” Or, telling myself “This can wait; now it is time for spirit.” However, active meditation is a great place to start to see how a quiet, mindful experience can change a moment into a seed of inspiration for more. More peace. More quiet. More careful attention to for what we want in this life to be.

Today, I have gratitude for my dog, Iris, and the depth of experience her early-bird disposition has brought to my life. And… if you haven’t tried it recently, nothing feels better than going outside, a chill in the air and coming back to get back in the bed on a weekend and sleeping until waking up, again.

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