Wishing You Light and Love for 2020

It is the end of the year, actually the end of a decade, and the sentiment of “what have I done” seems to emerge as an echo in my mind at this time of the year. Sitting down and making a list of all the things one has accomplished is always a good way to positively check-in, but for me it goes even deeper than a list. Letting go of the past and all of its burdens is a wonderful way to ring in the new year.  I oftentimes employ journaling as a method to accomplish this, and then a ritual of burning what I have written down is a powerful way of releasing it all.  At this very precious time of year, look into the silence of your soul and be grateful for all that you are.  “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think” said a very wise character named Pooh.  Here is to a new decade, new goals and dreams, but first make sure you leave behind all the baggage that does not need to come forth into this new space.  Take the time to honor yourself. 

We will open the book.  Its pages are blank.  We are going to put words on them ourselves.  The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.

~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce

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John Lewis

May we never forget the work and the courage of this man, and most importantly, may we never forget that sometimes “good trouble” is necessary to bring forth change.

Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble. ~ John Lewis

(1940 – 2020)

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Reverence

Reverence.  Such an important key to life and to living a compassionate, loving life.  And yet, our behavior and values are so shaped by ideals that lack reverence, we no longer know what it is to be reverent.  When we strive for our own safety at the expense of another person’s safety, we are deprived of the protection reverence provides.  When we judge someone to be superior and another inferior, we depart from a reverent life.  When we lose reverence, we become human beings using other human beings.  Simply put, reverence is the experience of accepting that all life is of value.  

Today we sit in a country torn apart by racial inequities.  We have a police force that often times uses brute force to control others.  The ‘other’ is often times judged as being inferior.  Seeing people that don’t look like the reflection in the mirror can promote fear in many.  Add to that the ability to have power and control over others, and people can and do dissolve into brutal and decisive behaviors.  

My wish for all of us on the planet is that we move more toward a place of reverence.  When we can hold reverence for all life, we can become compassionate and caring human beings.  May we never forget George Floyd and the many others, and may we hold them all with reverence for what is hopefully a change in this country. 

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Time to be Slow

This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes.

Try, as best you can, not to let 
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light. 

If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet 
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with beginning. 

JOHN O’DONOHUE 

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FEAR

Some days I struggle just to be on the planet.  Have you ever felt that way?  It all gets so overwhelming, and I most definitely was raised to be a ‘good girl’ and never complain or feel dissatisfied.  So much of what comes at us on social media is this positive message to stay light, with no time given to feel or experience the darkness we all encounter along the path.  Don’t say what we feel about politics, or how the world is going for it might offend someone.  It reminds me of the time when my late husband died and we found what a bloody mess he left with his estate and a dear friend counseled me that I should remain silent, after all everyone held him in the highest regard  – no need to sully that story!  Seriously, how can anyone tell someone else not to sit in their own darkness, or speak about it with others?!  I often find in my grief work with other widows and widowers that is part of the journey, sharing your story so that they can see a light at the end of their own tunnel. 

It takes courage to use one’s voice.  This was the very premise I began this blog with many years ago now.  I started writing and sharing my story so that others would know they were not alone in their darkness.  Imagine my surprise then when I recently found that someone had taken my very words and used them as the backbone for a short snippet on giving advice, and that this person has a Ph.D in Psychology, or purports to at any rate.  I mentioned it in a good-natured manner in my comments hoping that they would reach out and say, yes you inspired me and thank you.  Nothing.  After giving it pause, I have decided to not follow his blog any longer, for I am starting to notice a trend of this in his posts.  What I wish if he reads this, is to please not take credit for others thoughts and writings.  You know not how we arrived at our place in time, and some of us, like me, are not as highly credentialed as you, and just sharing our souls one word at a time in order to help the world find a crack where the light can begin to get in.  By plagiarizing us, it doesn’t give you any higher standing, and in fact does not solidify you as a professional.  It also stings.  You could have taken my words and given me the credit and then added your own thoughts around it all.  I have done this with many others in the past, and it is a BIG reminder to me to always be certain I do this especially with photographs that I might not have taken.  

Being mindful is my lesson, and to always give credit where it is due.  Mostly, to hold onto my voice and never allow people to run me over; I don’t have to be a ‘good girl’ and it is not being negative to speak of my shadows. Let go of fear, and rise.

F E A R has two meanings: ‘forget everything and run’ or ‘face everything and rise’ the choice is yours. – Zig Ziglar

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Happy Summer Solistice

Happy Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, where the days are longer, the sun shines brighter, and the temperatures are warmer. Well, it is suppose to be that way, however, as we greet the day in Colorado most of the state is cool and there is even a fair amount of snow as low as 9,000 feet above sea level. Not so sure what this says about our climate, but for certain it is representative of climate change. My own mood has followed the weather a lot lately, and I am not always certain that is a good thing . . . or not! Giving in to the rhythms of nature is perhaps the best gift we can give ourselves. Bowing down to the Earth and rooting ourselves can help us weather the storms of life. When we still our mind and remove our human mask, we might hear the ancient whispers in the wind, the voices of all our relations. Free your soul, open your heart, and listen to the wisdom the Earth is trying to teach and the healing it can bring. On a day like today in Colorado when we think it should be something that it is not, therein lies the message to slow down, enjoy, savor it all and take a moment to pause and give thanks for all that is now. Tomorrow everything changes.

Once the World Was Perfect

By Joy Harjo

Once the world was perfect, and we were happy in that world.

Then we took it for granted.

Discontent began a small rumble in the earthly mind.

Then Doubt pushed through with its spiked head.

And once Doubt ruptured the web,

All manner of demon thoughts

Jumped through ~

We destroyed the world we had been given

For inspiration, for life ~

Each stone of jealousy, each stone

Of fear, greed, envy, and hatred, put out the light.

No one was without a stone in his or her hand.

There we were.

Right back where we had started

We were bumping into each other

In the dark.

And now we had no place to live, since we didn’t know

How to live with each other.

Then one of the stumbling ones took pity on another

And shared a blanket.

A spark of kindness made a light.

The light made an opening in the darkness.

Everyone worked together to make a ladder.

A Wind Clan person climbed out first into the next world,

And then the other clans, the children of those clans, their children,

And their children, all the way through time ~

To now, into this morning light to you.

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Letting go of Fear

Love is what we are born with, fear is what we learn.

How do you grow strong at your broken places? We are all broken and wounded in this world. Some of us choose to remain broken. What keeps us in the darkness? Most often it is fear. Fear can stop us from living our best life, from going after our dreams, speaking our truth, doing the things we long to do. Fear can be paralyzing and controlling. It keeps us small.

When you look underneath painful emotions like anger, shame, and depression, you will often find unresolved fear. To release these fears and other self-defeating patterns, which keep us small and isolated, we can practice mindfulness.

There are a number of books written on the practice mindfulness, and many ways to incorporate it into daily life.

As a yoga teacher, this is precisely what I try to share with my students. Coming to your mat isn’t just about the physical asana practice; it is also about learning to quiet the monkey mind. I teach The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali to my students in an effort that they might carry a little bit of their practice off their mat and develop a practice of mindfulness. I feel it is important to use all the yogic tools we have access to, in addition to meditation, to alleviate discomfort (fear) and bring us closer to a sense of steadiness where we might shine the light of awareness on the fluctuations of the mind.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras describe kleshas as impediments to spiritual growth. There are five (5) kleshas, or negative mental states that cause suffering. Yoga Sutra 2.9 specifically classifies abhinivesha as fear of death. As one of the kleshas, abhinivesha works to block enlightenment and liberation. Many yogis also interpret it as general fear and anxiety that causes suffering. This fear can prevent one from living their best life. Yogic practices, such as meditation and pranayama breathing exercises, provide methods to overcome abhinivesha.

Personally, I believe that the clinging quality of abhinivesha holds priceless insights into what really matters to you. As you let go of the things you hold dear, you gradually affirm that each one is not, after all, as important as you once thought; and as you progressively let go, your life’s goal and ultimate purpose becomes more and more clear. Just like coming to one’s yoga mat, it is a practice that one must come to over and over.

To escape fear, you have to go through it, not around. ~Richie Norton

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Loving the Earth

Mary Oliver’s poem “Wild Geese” has long been a favorite of mine, and seems most appropriate for Earth Day. Let us come together in an effort to be better stewards of our Mother Earth while allowing the world to offer itself to our imagination every day.

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting ~

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

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Kia Kaha Christchurch

For my son and his wife who lived in the beautiful land of Aotearoa, for all my friends there, and for those that lost a loved one, my heart is heavy and I am sorry for such madness.

My heart has an ache today, not unlike all the other days that came before it whenever I was made aware of some senseless act of violence. It is hard to fathom the depth of hate and cowardice that it takes to shoot people in prayer, just like it is hard for me to fathom any act of senseless violence. We humans are so fragile, and yet we treat one another with such disregard. Anger is everywhere, from the person that flipped me off last week while driving, to the man who is supposed to be the President of our country, a nation founded on FREEDOM and DEMOCRACY.  He calls out hate and further instills this madness of white supremacy, as do many others similar to him. My heart is broken. Where are we going my friends?  Hopefully we can move ourselves into a place where  we live the personal reality of peace, from which point we can become peacemakers. Our individual energy will then be able to align with the realities of other peacemakers, generating a wave of goodness throughout the world. This is how the phenomenon of faith within our awareness joins with others and becomes a great agency of transformation that creates a new, peaceful reality.  We can continue to shift this energy and create a new peaceful reality, remembering that there is no separation among us and that we all belong to each other.

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. ~ Mother Theresa

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Sisters

my-quotes

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