Monthly Archives: April 2018

Emergency & Emergence

We’re facing a lot of emergencies right now on this planet. Big ones. Daunting ones. Perhaps unsolvable ones.

We have a variety of coping mechanisms in place to usher us through this emergency. Lots of it is Denial. Apathy. Dispair. Avoidance. Blame. Anger. Responsibility. Hope. Experimentation. The whole spectrum.

In my personal life, in historical data, in sappy movies, emergency leads to emergence. Something new that couldn’t have been possible before.

Sad bit is: if you duck out of the emergency, you don’t get access to the emergence.

OK, maybe you do, but in my personal life, historical data and sappy movies, it’s pretty rare. Just like winning the lottery. Possible. Unlikely.

Staying present in an emergency. Assessing needs. Responding. Holding a space of the emergency is happening and here I am to usher it through me and to resolution. Part and parcel with the resolution is the opportunity for the emergence, but typically only if you’d made the space for it.

Emergency! React! Run in the other direction! = No space held for emergence.

Emergency! React! Hide! Sit there and wait it out = Not much room for emergence.

Emergency! Slow Down. Hold It. Be fully present. Inquire into the nature of it. Listen. = Emergence can’t help but fill the space.

 

karma and kriya

I don’t belong to a specific lineage, and so my understanding of key terms have a variety of influences. For example, there are a number of different chakra systems with placement of the centers in different areas of the body. And each of those systems makes sense within itself, but it’s very rare to be able to reconcile them with any other system.

Similarly terms like karma and kriya. So. Many. Definitions. Who is right? Hard to say. So many perspectives.

For many years I was at sea with concepts like these. I found it frustrating that there wasn’t this golden road to God that was easily understandable and consistent. Thirty years in, I can say that I believe there is a golden road to God that is easily understandable and consistent, and that my frustration with all of the traditions, or their seeming lack of reconcilability, is like getting mad that all of the fingers pointing toward the moon are coming at it from different directions. The important part isn’t the finger. It’s the moon.

Karma has LOTS of definitions, but in general it refers to the cyclical nature of birth and death, cause and effect, and reaping what one sows even if it takes a few lifetimes. Karma is the fuel of the wheel of samsara, or being locked into this birth and death pattern. What can you do? It’s karma!

Turns out karma has a liberator, and it’s called Kriya. Kriya yoga has a number of different lineages and interpretations as well. But, Kriya yoga is different. Kriya yoga is the actions taken for God. The actions taken to consciously to move towards God. Consciousness is the key differentiator between karmic action and kriya action.

Karma is contained and executed by the unconscious patterns in our minds and bodies that keep our lives working in cyclical patterns. It will continue endlessly until consciousness is applied. Applying consciousness is Kriya yoga. Taking this pattern, untying it and setting it free is the solution to karma. It’s the Zen Circle. Stop the cycle. Therein Lies Freedom.

This paradigm is transforming my life and my health. When there is a problem, we take that as a sign of karma, we apply consciousness to the karma and we keep working different angles until we can interrupt the cycle.

 

It is hard for me to understand contentment with karma when the possibility of kriya exists. I am actually identifying this as a pattern to work on, because not everybody is interested in leaving the cycle. Some people are far more content on the wheel. It is absolutely out of my sphere of understanding, but that doesn’t make it wrong. Just different.

every choice counts

As I populated Scrivenor with the thousands of little notes about slowing down and waking up and my story and deeper truths, certain things fell into place. One is: slowing down=every breath counts and waking up=every choice counts

another thing that became abundantly obvious is that 15 minutes of stillness and 45 minutes of activity really works for me. i’ve employed it around holidays and times where I know I have a lot to do to keep me from overdoing it. overdoing it can cause ‘being wrecked’ for a day, or it can cause a major flare up (though thankfully i haven’t had one of them for quite some time. August, i think. but i think that’s because I started this policy in the fall. times of stress = 15 min rest every hour.

Hot damn. Turns out I can get a lot done in 45 minutes! Indeed, another thing that came out is that my “Ministry of Stillness” became “Ministry of Stillness & Inspired Activity” Because activity that springs forth from stillness has a lot of power. clarity. flow.

Now I’m even considering upping the game. What if I spend 20 minutes in stillness every hour. and 20 minutes in past-looking activity (admin, editing, cleaning) and 20 minutes in forward-looking activity (planning admin, writing/creating, learning). over the weekend i’d spend 45 minutes cleaning the house and 15 minutes resting, then 45 minutes on this project and then 15 minutes resting. back and forth. over and over, although somtimes a double set of one or the other, too. it happened extremely naturally and effortlessly. when my arms hurt, i’d know this wasn’t the time to clean. just listening and going slowly.

I also had a charged emotional experience, although less charged than those things have gotten me in the past. and i had the uncomfortable feelings these things can bring. and i stayed present to them. and i did my best, which often may or may not have been adequate. But it was fully authentic. I had choices where I could have soothed a situation, but I would have had to say something I didn’t believe. And I opted for staying true even though it clearly and obviously made me a big jerk.

Then, thankfully, I pulled out the book i picked up at the last library visit and put aside until after I finished my project of the weekend. It’s called ‘the clarity cleanse’ and while i’ve only read the preface and intro, it spoke exactly to my soul and my emotional field with a culture that wants you to filter your truth to be acceptable, and how when you are taking responsibility for yourself and your health, you have to take on the openness to be entirely candid about all of it.

responsibility and blame

Gay Henricks had a book and in it I read* each person has to take 100% responsibility for the relationship. It’s not 50/50, it’s 2 100%s. I have to do the work that allows me to stand in the moment and take 100% responsibility for my life at this moment, and then I can take 100% responsibility for our relationship. And it’s an interesting nut to crack.

If one often meets his destiny on the road to avoid it (and let’s face it, our destiny is WHAT IS HAPPENING, so here it is) we can “try” to do a lot of things and end up doing quite the opposite. trying to do things is exhausting. just being has to be the starting point. and when i’m trying to ‘just be’ quite a bit comes up, and when it comes up, I try to address it with an open heart.

Over the last decade I’ve been unraveling the emotional traumas in my body. and as i’ve done so, my symptoms subside or lessen to a very functional level. and as i relax more deeply into that level, things come up to be transformed. and that’s uncomfortable. but its awesome. and as you can see something at its source, and go in and bring the fullness of your current knowledge and wisdom to it, i find that very often you see that it’s no longer needed, and in that state can “drop it” because you’ve integrated it in the moment. it no longer holds the energy. and as i’m addressing the psychological work, the physical un-doing has literally gotten me to the point of needing to relearn how to stand and walk. One of the best parts of my 4 days were two daily walks (tucker usually tends) because i used them as practice for my dropped-sacrum walking. it is something that is very very slow for me, but it is the foundational change that i am in the midst of. And, like everything, the more I practice, the more it integrates. The physical journey, the mental journey, the emotional journey and the spiritual journey are like the 4 ventricles of the heart (i don’t know if that’s the right word) they beat as one.

As i’ve reached understandings of causation of patterns and held the supporting beliefs up to the light of day, things are unwinding, but in my description of the causation has been, of course, from my perspective. I experienced this situation as this, acted accordingly built a belief. belief gets activated as a trigger, examine it, let it go – at it’s pace. life proceeds at the pace of integration as Eric Klein would say.

The cast of characters in my drama are lovely people. everyone is doing his/her best. big hearts. Also: the cast of characters in my drama. Deliverers of my karma (again, Eric Klein). Not the cause of anything, the activator of something. Hello, messenger. thank you, i will inquire into that. Enter story. Dismantle story. Be Free.

I thought I was explicit about not blaming my family for my condition. My condition has everything to do with my life, with my beliefs and responses and desires and what i’m growing into… I had to stop trying to figure out how to life the life i wanted and feel into the areas where self-sabotage had the reins, and be curious about that dynamic and find the deepest truth available to you in this moment. Has everything to do with the present. Releasing the past in the present and thus creating the future (Course In Miracles)

I grew up with dysfunctional dynamics, as most everyone does. and how we respond to them and how we develop our outlook on life and who we are in relation to it and what we want – that’s sortof the earth-dwelling self. This isn’t the road i want to go on right now

what i want to finish with is blame, because blame exists at the level just below responsibility, and i think that’s actually the step FROM blame. Like, releasing blame is the prerequisite for getting into responsibility. And the deeper we release blame, the more we take full responsibility for all aspects of our experience, wow. life transforms. Having taken a lot of responsibility for every aspect of my experience here on earth, ‘blame’ becomes more and more something to appreciate – thank you for pulling my trigger, because i bring my full presence to this trigger. You don’t “make me feel” a certain way, this trigger you push activates something within me that I need to sort out. I need to take responsibility. I take it into the caverns of my heart, and go through and meet myself there, with the full resources of my whole self, not reliant or dependent on anyone; but fully in relationship with everything.

 

 

 

*that’s gramatically bad, but i did it because i don’t know if gay hendricks is a man or a woman, so i couldn’t figure out to say if he or she wrote it. my mother in law’s name is gay, so i have this feminine association, but i think that’s not applicable here

always in a rush & the face of glory, 2 ways

I was born in 18 minutes. or so the story goes. my parents were on their way to the doctor’s office when my mom’s water broke and they redirected to the hospital. My mom says the nurses were basically ripping her clothes off as they wheeled her into the delivery room where I promptly popped out.

As a young girl, my mom would have me run into the store because she knew I’d be in and out with exactly what was necessary. No one else could quite be counted on to keep focus, to discern details, and exit the store with mission complete.

I was in a rush most of my life, and I still struggle, wondering why i think i need to “make that light.” i’m often running late, so the rush was a function of that for a long time. Anyone who has known me can see that my relationship with time is not normal, both to the positive and the negative.

Perhaps its no surprise, then, that my body just called a time out. in an attempt to get things situated, get my poop in a group you might say. probably not. you probably have more tact than that.

I, however, could not be more surprised. and, i know this is weird, but delighted. i was on a wobbly road. all the things i was rushing for, trying to get done, trying to prove, trying to bring into the world – they were all effects. i was running around chasing effects with about a 50% success rate which was enough to make me think i was getting somewhere (eventually).

This slowing down business? It really was my face of glory . It really is. I am going to cheat today and just send you to my favorite face of glory synopsis instead of writing it:

Wow. Hi. Back from the internet. I just learned about the actual face of glory – Kirtimukha, which is the story of the disembodied head at the entrace to many temples. worth a read:

Kirtimukha – The Face of Glory

But, now back to slowing down and my previously considered ‘face of glory’ which i understood to mean the most abhorent thing – the one thing i just couldn’t do… Ok, so not seeing that story (the one I read and enjoyed is from Eric Klein at Wisdom Heart, but he also called it the face of glory, which i now sortof can’t call it anymore, so i’m on the fence. anyhow…)

A baby tiger was orphaned and found its way to a flock of sheep. Because he was a baby, he wasn’t a threat to the sheep and they welcomed him into the herd. He grew up doing sheepy things, eating grass, sortof bouncing when he runs, doing what the shepherd said, and baaing.

One day, a hungry tiger spies a flock of sheep and sees the adolescent tiger amidst the wool. He walks over and goes “WTF?” to which the adolescent tiger replies, “baa.”

He takes the younger tiger by the neck and carries him to the side of a pond. “Look at your reflection!” he commands the young tiger, “you look like me!”

the young tiger responds, “baa”

Incredibly frustrated, the tiger snags a sheep and kills it, freaking the young tiger out mightily. He comes to the adolescent tiger and drags him to the fresh meat, with the young tiger being all “cat who doesn’t want to go somewhere” resisting (those of you who have tried to put cats in a travel cage know what i mean).

The blood touches the young tigers mouth and he goes, “ROAR!”

That which is most unthinkable to you may just be that which brings you alive.

For the tiger, it was the taste of blood over grass.

For me, it is slowing down.

 

more in a day…

Some psychic lady on a pier when I was less than 20 said to me: “you can get more done in a day than many could in two weeks. (pause) “you just never know what day it’s going to be!” I liked that little tidbit. I felt it was true, and a funny way to say it.

I have not had many of those days in the last decade. But I’ve started having a couple here and there and I like it very much. Alas, I am noticing that it happens in perhaps direct reverse correlation to my “needing it to be so to be ok.” I’ve gotten quite comfortable with a day’s plans being set in the trash. I am willing to follow my body wherever she leads me, and if she wants stillness, she gets stillness.

She’s also wanting expressing this gospel of slowing down. Of making contact (every breath counts) with stillness the place where we meet our internal teacher.

I have 4 days without my family at home, which is unusual. I have a pipe dream list of things i’d like to get done. i may as well write it out.

Weekend Retreat

Be slow and Listen

Standing and walking with tailbone to floor

Rest 15 min/hour

tai chi, book of truth, meditation

instinctual eating

clean the house while re-listening to Claire Zammit’s Feminine Power course

set up files for all projects

transcribe all the little notes in the house into scrivenor

get as much writing as i can towards 30/30/website

URL purchase

template/design purchase

So, It would be thrilling to get all of that done, along with good walks with Toffee (which is hard with the tailbone situation, but i’m just going that slow. i should probably also throw the ball for her so she gets some cardio…)

But slowing down is most important. Being slow is the win. Any activity has to stem from that stillness and retreat back into it. Listening to my body and being ready to do nothing, and being ready to do whatever it’s calling out for. Might I blow this whole list and binge watch some show? I can’t imagine I would, but that’s mostly because I don’t know of any shows that I’d like to watch (I wish “the good place” had more episodes, but then again, not having it so may help me focus).

Anyway, for maybe the first time in my life I really mean it: I do not need to “do it” to “check off my list” to be OK. I am OK, and I get more and more OK as I respect the natural flow my body is facilitating if i am listening. All those expectations are directional incentive that “if there is energy, here is something ready to be energized” and if not, I still like the flags in the ground that list represents. We will see what happens.

What happens will be what I prioritize, and that will be very interesting indeed.

the power of positive thinking

i think positive thinking is very powerful, but there are few things that trigger me more than someone’s certainty that one’s illness can be reversed through positive thinking, which, oddly enough, i think it can. but i don’t think it looks like what we think it looks like.

Addressing illness has revolutionized my life. I believe my body has led me on a journey I couldn’t have reached any other way. Every bit of me was certain my ultimate victory was out there somewhere, when i just became good enough to finally achieve it. I was on track with dozens of pictures that meant success, if only i could match them. My body snapped me out of that mindset. success became a moment-by-moment endeavor, with it’s primary characteristic not matching some picture, but meeting the moment with an open heart. Big difference.

I believe our bodies are on our side. They’re pointing us inward, to just be with ourselves, as we are, as they say ‘in sickness and in health’. i just took so many things for granted while in health, illness has shown me so much to appreciate.

i think what closes me up when someone mentions illness all being in our thinking is that i feel it comes from a place of finding a magic enchantment that will cancel-cancel-cancel a belief and to prove you did it right, you get better. I think i tried that a lot, for years, and didn’t get better. it wasn’t until i married my thinking with every single everyday practice that i started to get healing traction. It wasn’t just think a new thought. It was, it is, more like: let me be with the thought i’m thinking, with who i am, with what i do, with how I meet life.

The truth is i’m tender about it because i failed. i couldn’t think the diseases away. it took a whole new relationship to thinking, to my body and life and habits. and perhaps those changes were supported or even steered towards by including positive beliefs (I say a series of meridian affirmations every day.

the power of positive thinking is more than affirmations, though, and to the degree that i consider the world as the open and dynamic expression of life that it is, instead of the fixed, flawed, frustrating world that also seems to present itself, positive thinking really takes hold. Kindof goes back to the ‘is the universe friendly’ essential question, and when your internal answer to that is ‘yes” positive thinking is pretty natural, I think.

my journey to healing is becoming less and less an intellectual (thinking- positive, neutral or negative) exercise and more and more a physical, stillness-based solution. I’d say I need to experience at least 2 hours of stillness in my day. that still leaves 14 or so hours of activity, and my activity level varies within that time. Sometimes I am energized and moving through things. sometimes I am like molasses. sometimes i spend another 10 hours pretty darn still. i’ve come to trust that listening to my body’s energy level is more important than any set of activities that would’ve allowed me to feel successful in the day. My whole world really did get turned upside down. and i quite like it. I’m still working on it, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a whole person process, not just reciting an affirmation. Or maybe it can be that, too. Of course it can. But I am happy that I’ve found a way or series of ways that are moving me in the right direction.

so much to write about

two things are on my mind that i’d like to capture. one is how many choices we make per day, and how many of them are conscious. the other is what kind of person i want to be, i am, i am growing into. these come from two thoughts – the feelings i felt when i first got sick (“but, i’m healthy. i consciously make healthy decisions all the time”) and the feeling that I am finally who i have always wanted to be (the byron katie book really helped me recognize that. i’d been feeling it, simply because things keep opening up, but this put those feelings in the context of ‘who you are’ and who you are right now is *enough* but so. much. more. than enough. you are, i am, we are, s/he is a abundantly radiant presence. That’s tough to get at first, everything seems so wrong (climate, politics, education – you name it) how can everything be enough. but this is a conversation away from the other two…

putting some words around the person i’ve always wanted to become – and beginning to have more laughter has really put the crescendo on it – is light and open and life-positive and funny. Huh. I thought there were going to be some paragraphs here, but that about sums it up. No, of course ‘living in a state of appreciation’ and ‘celebrating loving relationships’ and conundrums like ‘stillness/action” and “service/healthy boundaries” and things like that have to be in there, too. Appreciation. Presence. Willingness. Curiosity.

So, as more and more moments are getting clocked in that column, my heart is opening and my patterns are coming up for the looking at and i’m less rushed and annoyed and frustrated. i still have remnants of many of my drives for old paradigms of success, but i have a presence of mind that reminds me of my only goal: evolving, ever towards love. That clears things up pretty fast.

Which leads to the second idea. Thinking I made healthy choices because I enforced a bunch of predelections (margarine, aspartame and msg are bad) and occassionally ate meals other than pasta.

What I realized when my body took the reins was that I was making 5 or 6 healthy choices a day (exercising, a piece of fruit, not having a donut, meditating (“sometimes”) – 5 or 6 healthy choices a day, but you never knew which ones on which days or at least I sure as heck didn’t). What I didn’t realize is that I was making 100+ decisions every day. So the 5 or 6 kindof sucked as a ratio. and I was making 20 mediocre decisions because a better decision felt too hard. and 20 more that were admittedly bad decisions (but were expedient, made someone else feel better, or went directly against my gut for some reason or another). More than 50 decisions remained that I was completely unconscious of. Decisions I’d made dozens or more years ago that no longer had any relevence to my life but had become habitual and so are still on payroll. More than half of my decisions were habits so entrenched I couldn’t even see them.

I’ve been working on this for a long time, on wellness, on connection to nature and others and universe, on Life Itself flowing through me with fewer and fewer obstructions. Of being an instrument of love itself with fewer and fewer sour notes. And as i’m able to be present enough to focus on life as it is unfolding in the moment as being absolutely what it is and what it is is divine, different old habits and patterns keep ramping up to the surface to be addressed, acknowledged, invited into awareness. Yeah, so that’s way better than the ‘you’re not good enough’ whip cracking mental activity i had going on for the first 50 years…

 

inner critic

tai chi really socked it to me today, showing me how caught up i still am with the whip and the inner critic. stuff i have been actively working on unplugging day in and day out and here is a place it has largely ruled the roost right under my nose.

The radical notion that all is well really goes against everything i used to live for – the need to prove and validate my self and my opinions, to line up on the “right” side of the line, to resist that which would hold me back. All being well eliminates the need for all of that jazz. all of the stories, all of the attachments… poof!… all is well. let me sit and bask in that. if only for a moment

basking in the sensation of all being well even just for a single intentional breath – a deep breath in and out with the accompanying thought ‘all is well’ – is a game-changer.

these 30 prompts or cues… the idea is to cue that intentional breath at least once per day. And if the prompt actually sticks, it will probably add two or three cues for breath throughout a normal day. then if a couple of key cues get integrated, you find yourself taking excellent moments of connection 20+ times per day. Effortlessly. Because you’ve got these microhabits. Intentional ones born of experience and intention. Get good at it and you have  lovely path to ‘prayer without ceasing.’ Connection consistently throughout the day. High aspiration.

I believe my most effective path to deep, peaceful stillness has come from these micro habits. I didn’t really like sitting down to meditate for a half an hour twice per day. adopting that only came when I really was going to be sitting there still anyway (else activate pain). Anyhow, the technique of mini-loading my day (too small to fail) starting getting me to experience deep conscious breaths upon certain cues. Those moments, those simple breaths, became so delicious i started looking for more cues. and started sitting just to bask in a group of breaths at a time and from that sprouted a practice that absolutely adores days i get 2 half an hour practices in, but doesn’t beat myself up about it when I don’t.

But i know meditation brings out the inner critic in most people the way tai chi is bringing it out in me (and hopefully kicking it out for good, which i believe tai chi absolutely capable of doing). Seeing this is helping me realize how little inner critic remains in my meditative life – a place that also used to be a stronghold. But that all changed with Eric and Devi Klein of Wisdom Heart really getting the point across that:

  1. all meditation is good meditation. sitting counts 100%, even if you’re jumpy & distracted. its a practice not a perfect
  2. Getting distracted is not failure. it’s a cue to bring yourself back. you’re building a muscle. ‘where do i go when i get distracted?’ right back to the breath. it’s a good habit, and one that i absolutely want to cultivate.
  3. sitting for sitting’s sake. detachment from the need/expectation  of a certain experience. practice & nonattachment.

 

the quickening…

since the beginning of the year life has taken on a more active pace than i’d been able to sustain in probably a decade. i’m able to sustain it, and indeed it seems that for all of my slowing down there is an increased speed that I can’t control, making the slowing down practices all the more important to incorporate into my days. i notice i still feel guilty when i am resting, even after all of these years. Not every time and not intensely, but it’s still there. Nonetheless, the pace is picking up. i can feel it. and luckily it is corresponding with a renewed wellness.

If we take the middle 30 days of my body’s 2010 crisis as a 10 pain/intensity (which it wasn’t. it was 7-8 with moments of 10), and prior to losing my filling I was at a 6 and since losing my filling i’ve mostly been a 2 or less, with a 6 month decline into 3-4 last year. Anyway, I’m mostly under 2. but with a bit more energy and a bit less self care requirements. and if i keep the self care in there, i’m less than a 1. but still with range of motion restrictions in my hip. and wobbly fingers.

but that’s just physical. emotionally, the healthy concepts i’d read about and tried to work to put into practice have begun to settle and take root. I’m able to feel connected in easy ways. I’m not trying to advance an agenda, so I’m not measuring moments by how well they serve my envisioned future. I just embrace them in the now. what a difference.

spiritually, i am so excited i can hardly contain myself. and why would i? at the end of the book ‘the sacred science’ (about plant medicines of the amazon) nick polizzi asks a series of questions ending with “who are you at your core?”(paraphrase)  and the answer was so clear for the very first time. I had the palpable understanding (much like i had a palpable understanding of the yin/yang being a real principle in and through and all around us) that at my essence, I am just life itself expressing itself. Just like everyone and everything else.

That has been my idea of heaven for some time: the recognition of God unfolding everywhere. That everything is just dripping with God-Love. Anything else is just a story. And some of those stories are interesting, or worth paying attention to, or unavoidable. But beyond all the stories, we are just an expression of life. here for a lifespan, in keeping with our species general development, sure to die and to be replaced by the next generations. Life. expressing itself. all across the universe. and in, through and as us.

It is a radical idea to consider that “there is nothing wrong here” to literally love what is. that right here in this moment, i am enough, life is enough, everything is resplendent if we only have eyes to see it as so. Isn’t it so obviously worth a try? It takes hold very quickly and whisks us into virtuous circles and synchronicities.

But to finish this idea of the quickening, If 10% of my practices took root the first 20 years of my spiritual practice, and maybe 30 to 50 percent during the last decade, I feel that things are integrating at quite a clip the last year but markedly the last 4 months. the feminine power course was a real catalyst, great paradigm shifting, visionary direction. Add in the Thomas Hubl and of course Paul Selig’s work, and I am just feeling the evolution of myself and life itself towards ever greater love, freedom and order. it’s exhilarating and i’m grateful.