Happy Father’s Day

Yesterday was the “holiday” where we are encouraged to honor our fathers. However, I often question whether we should only honor them one day of the year as opposed to every day. Whatever the case might be, it is a wonderful gift of the heart to show the people you love that you care. In our home we have struggled with this prescribed holiday, as there is no father for my son. His father left this earthly realm when my son was 12 years old. Today he is 24 years old. He has now lived half of his life without a father. Writing these words brings tears to my eyes. Half of  a lifetime without a parent and still so young. Being acutely aware that this is not the worst circumstance one could have in life, I feel the blessing of all that is. Today I would like to pause and give thanks to my beautiful son for being such a wonderful man.

Earlier today before my feet even touched the ground, my sweet loving son landed on a big jet plane in Iceland on his way home, home to his childhood home we all once shared together back in a land that also seems far away from our present reality. You see he has been traveling for some 5 months now, backpacking all across Europe and into Africa as well. He has seen and experienced more than either his father or I have or will in the case of his father. He has grown, matured, and faced many pleasant and unpleasant circumstances some from happenstance and some by his own hand. Lessons. He has had many lessons on this journey. The real journey and work beginning that day on November 5, 2004 that seemed like a nightmare has led us forward to this sweet sunny summer day.

Standing in gratitude for your love, for your beautiful soul and spirit my gentle son. I wish you nothing but love and peace for the rest of your journey, but know that when faced with the darkness you have the tools to understand the need to rest there first, and then find the strength to reach for the tunnel of light. You have been such a beautiful blessing to me. I am so sorry you do not have a father, but you have the most important gifts right inside your very own heart. Savor the remaining days of your journey before I see you standing in Denver on Friday evening. I cannot wait beautiful boy to see your shinning spirit. Happy Father’s Day my beautiful son.

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We do not inherit the earth from our parents; we borrow it from our children. ~ Chief Seattle

 

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Words

Castaneda tells us that whenever the internal dialog stops, the world collapses, and extraordinary facets of ourselves surface, as through they had been kept heavily guarded by our words. Our words, so precious and yet so often profoundly misused whether by intention, lack of empathy, or simply by not being present to the now which sets in motion the potential to create great detriment in the world. Words, by definition are a meaningful sound or combination of sounds that is a unit of language or its representation in text. A meaningful sound, that is a powerful thought to take in, and of course, the meaning of the sound may present differently to the one that uttered the sound than to the one that digested the sound. Therein often lies the problem. However, what if we in the role of speaker were more fully present before exercising the usage of any words? This simple shift has the ability to require one to become more fully present, as well as hopefully creating less misunderstanding in the world. Such a simple and beautiful gift to quiet the mind, not necessarily an easy practice, but one that is doable and when one can attain this state if only for brief moments just as Castaneda implies, the world collapses and we gain knowledge of our inner most beauty. In these moments we also gain knowledge about others, the world, and our beautiful Mother Earth. Listen, pause, drop the urge to always be speaking and get into the habit of being present. To be present in the moment is where the extraordinary dwells.

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The Path of Least Resistance

What gifts are you grateful for this day? Are you able to acknowledge whatever has been brought to your door, be it sorrow or joy? Do you shut your heart to love, or open it fully with compassion to all? This can be difficult, especially when we consider opening our heart with love and compassion to those that we do not agree with in terms of their values, or lifestyle. Personally, I struggle with this one a lot! Today in the United States we are to honor those that gave their lives up to the war machine. This can be a difficult aspect to consider staying open to when we do not believe in war, which may result in judgment as well as conflicting emotions being wagged in the heart.

What one simple thing can you do today to let go of some of this judgment you might be holding onto to allow for more love to enter into your heart? Silence and meditation are wonderful ways to get in touch with your inner self and to begin to make small steps toward this place of non-judgment. Immersion into the depths of the silence of your own soul will surprisingly show you the path, and as we already intuitively know it is usually the one of least resistance.

Yesterday while on a mountain hike with friends we somehow missed the trailhead coming down. This was altogether easy to miss since at the top it was snow-covered and we were chatting rather than paying attention to our surroundings. What is worse is that there was a group that had descended before us and we began to follow their footsteps once we realized we had missed our own trail. This was silly for any number of reasons, not the least of which was they had communicated to us at the top that they had approached the summit from a different trailhead in a completely different direction than we had. At some point fairly close to the top, I knew we should retrace our steps to the top and proceed from there. None of us really wanted to as we had climbed the trail fast and furious on our ascent and were joyfully looking forward to descending, not go back up to the top again. This was a mistake, and as we proceeded down we kept going and also lost the other group’s tracks entirely. We kept this up until it was impossible to return to the top. We pushed through deep snow, climbed over many trees, and had tress falling down on us whose roots had been softened over the winter by the magical work of the snow. We trekked and trekked with me at the forefront until I looked up and saw the sky darkening with thunderstorms. In that moment I knew we had to be off of that mountain quickly. As I became quiet and stopped to rest my mind, I also spied a small stream, one that we logically decided to follow given we knew it would follow the path of least resistance. This was the best plan and we successfully walked out into a glorious field of tall grass, only to find we had no idea where we were. We kept walking until we spied a house, all the while the skies continued to darken around us. Luckily for us the first house we went to had someone home. This wonderful man, whose name was Brady, gave three of us and the dog a ride back close to our vehicle, which we had left at the original trailhead. As a side note, at the beginning of our hike we went into an area that was closed to all traffic, but someone was out and had moved the signs and as we talked to them they appeared to be in charge and allowed us to move on through. Wrong! They were in charge of nothing, and as we ran and walked the last mile plus down that road with the skies fiercely rumbling now, we were only too thrilled to spy our vehicle, however, we were greeted with one more reminder to stay present,  a National Forest Service ticket on the window warning us not to be in the area, it was closed. Luckily for us it was only a warning. We had made it safely back to the car and just as we closed the doors the rain began to pound down all around us.

What could we have down to have made all of this easier? We could have been more mindful at the top when we began our descent. We could have gone inside and used our intuition, which to be honest at some point in the bushwhacking coming down I fully believe we did when we paused to listen and found the small stream which we then followed. This could have all turned out so very differently, but we were blessed in that moment when we found our inner space and listened. Where we lost our way was in the moments when we were no longer being mindful.

Hiking is simply a metaphor of life, one needs to pay attention wherever they are to their inner voice and be quiet, ushering in compassion and non-judgment for all, including the war machine we are to celebrate on this Memorial Day. We can simply turn inside and choose to honor those who surely must have also been loving human beings even if they were lost for a moment inside of the machine. What is clear is that we all get lost for moments and can easily take the wrong path.

Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom. ~ Buddha

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The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Rumi

This poem touches my soul.  When I observe these words at the very core of my soul, I become much more aware that however I am feeling in any moment to do so with grace. To understand that sitting with my shadow is not to be met with shame, but rather to know that this shadow side also offers up many wonders. When I can stand in the awareness of knowing all that I am experiencing is for the growth and richness of my soul, I am left standing with heartfelt wonder and appreciation of the universe and remain fully open to my guides. For this I give abundant thanks.

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Simple Joy

We commit ourselves to many things in life, our families, work, education, love, and more. Sharing our universal truth allows for the emergence of our light as well as our darkness to be known to those we embrace. What happens when you let go, when you become vulnerable? Do you find that when you make yourself vulnerable that this place of opening often frightens friends and lovers? And if so, what feelings do you experience, which ones do you hold onto and for how long?

I pose these questions as I have had a lifetime of experiences with others of opening my heart. For some this has been overwhelming and they have stepped back, for others they have wanted to share in the journey. When one risks love and vulnerability there is nothing richer then to share in these moments with other human beings, or our beloved animal friends. What can shut us down, and we must be careful of this, is when another shuts us out after our opening. All to often it seems the course of human suffering arises in these moments and we human beings react in such adverse ways when we feel we have had our heart wounded. We have waged wars, sought revenge, power and control all to sooth our hearts and egos. For that is where the problem seems to occur, we transfer that pain to our ego and it becomes us, the mask we wear.   We close off to the world; we are no longer real or vulnerable. We are coming from a place of shame as opposed to joy.

Joy is the place to sit, not in shame. When someone rejects us, and that can be as simple as the person that cuts you off while driving your car, doesn’t allow for you to merge into traffic, races to beat you in line at the grocery store, these don’t have to be complicated rejections, for they can all cause you pain if you allow for that energy. In order to just be in life, with no ego or agenda, attempt to see the world as good, keep your ego in check, and keep opening your heart up time and again. The world is hurting, that much is clear, and if just one of us can hold our hearts open even in the face of rejection we will have given back the god love we came here with, pure and simple.

A joyful spirit is evidence of a grateful heart. ~ Maya Angelou

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Simple Words

What power do we allow words, simple messages, to bring to our life? We may allow for them them to bring us feelings of joy, happiness, sorrow, pain, and a happy heart, oftentimes simultaneously. Having received messages in my lifetime that have been traumatic as in “I am sorry he didn’t make it”, “I am sorry you have a brain tumor”, makes this morning’s message from my son that said “in Roncevalles” all that much more appreciated and joyful, and I immediately felt ‘heart happy’. It is amazing the capacity words have on our heart. They can shut down one’s heart or open up ones heart. Or can they? The words themselves have no power, they are but simple letters or symbols organized in a fashion that forms what we know as a word. They only have the power we give to them. Words only have the power that we allow. Yes, we have responsibility for how we receive words, how we use words, and how we feel as a result of the words we hear.

What does all this mean? It means we have responsibility over how we will react. It doesn’t mean that we should refrain from feeling hurt when someone hurls insults at us, abuses us, or disrespects us in any manner. All of these things do cause damage to our soul, especially traumatic events over which we have zero control. We are left feeling powerless and hurting. We need to be able to acknowledge this kind of pain, not sweep it under the rug. It may require therapy, medication, meditation, lots of self-care and more. Don’t neglect yourself.

However, what we do have control over is how we will react in any of these situations. Yes, how we will speak to the person that delivers the bad news, runs us off the road, and in general abuses us. We may choose to hold onto our power surrounding our reactions. Admittedly, it is much easier to hold onto your power when the words are soft and loving and the actions are joyful then when they are on the other side. However, we can develop these skills with good self-care and practice. As a facilitator of journey therapy, which yes really does help especially in times of stress, I encourage everyone to journal daily for a minimum of 15 minutes. Journal around a subject, an emotion, your feelings, perhaps in the form of an unsent letter to the person that you feel betrayed you in some fashion. When you have written the letter, allowing for all of your emotions to be fully expressed, take the letter and hold a ceremony and burn it, or destroy it in some manner. Set those words free from your soul and feel the cleansing and healing that occurs in this ritual.

Today my message was one of joy, I know my son made the first leg of his journey to walk the Camino de Santiago (his second) with his fiancé on the French route, taking the Napoleon Way over the Pyrenees. It wasn’t the best of weather, nor the worst, it was what it was and they are grateful, as am I. Wishing you a joyful journey wherever you are at today.

We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us. ~ Marcel Proust

 

 

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