planetary awakening

Life is all kinds of strange. and there have always been people on soap boxes with “the end is near” signs. but only the dudes toting those signs right now have the backup of our nuclear capacity and unstable governments backing up their theory. Things are devolving, that’s for sure, and new fresh sprouts are popping up everywhere as well. It’s all happening. Where are we on the spectrum at any given moment in time?

I am fascinated by the concept of planetary awakening, this thought that the earth and the humans on it are not just continuing business as usual. That something exciting is going on and that the future does not equal the past. Humans have come out of caves, plowed fields, and now touch glass to communicate across the globe. We’ve come a long way, and planetary awakening could possibly be what is next.

Even if it isn’t, it is where I want to be focused. I want to be focused on potential and possibility. I want my thought, energy, time, attention and money to be supporting things that LOVE the earth, LOVE the people on it, LOVE all of the life systems on it and are actively engaged in making things better for everyone. More Respect. More Love. More Laughter. Living from a sense of wholeness in ourselves and a recognition of wholeness in others and in all of life.

Once you’ve got that as your backdrop, any other backdrop is mundane as hell.

But, once you have that as your backdrop, every single breath is an opportunity to breathe it into life. Every interaction is a chance to exercise it. Every word an opportunity to align with it.

And you can feel if you’re doing it.

you feel good.

So, an exercise here is to take a deep breath and imagine you’re six years old and your mom just gave you a puppy. and it’s yours. and it’s adorable in every way. and it is SO HAPPY TO SEE YOU.

Feel where that is in the body. All the places, all the sensations. That’s your magnetic north.

Now, imagine where the puppy runs into the street and a car is coming. Feel the sensation that creates in your body.

That’s your magnetic south.

(i can certify that no animals were harmed in this exercise.)

Do stuff that makes you feel more north. That’s evolution.

When most of our days are spent navigating feelings of fear, worry, compensation, shame… that’s devolution.

Now, devolution can serve evolution. Teachers like Thomas Hubl have us going into the trauma to witness it and hold it and redeem it – which pivots it to evolution. But without that intention, that work, it’s just devolving. and it hurts.

A Course In Miracles tells us that eventually, everybody comes to: “There’s got to be a better way.”

So far, I can speak highly as an evolutionary mindset as a much better way.

observed phenomena

youd think i’d know better, and i did even as i wrote yesterdays title, but i wanted to document a feeling.

I’ve noticed this for years. as soon as we comment on how well the children are getting along, they start fighting. As soon as I acknowledge any sort of awesomeness, it changes.

Change is the nature of things, that’s for sure, though we’re often looking for states to become somewhat permanent. I found this especially confusing when the kids were younger and I would finally get a schedule in place and have really just a day or two of “hey! this is working” and some randomizer would pop up and shift everything.

I often feel that i signed up for the constant change program.  I am certainly more interested in change than most people I meet, and I guess as soon as we get some mastery is a fine time to move on to the next thing, but it is particularly unnerving when the universe does it for you.

I had a particularly good, somatic sense of lightness yesterday. Today is different. Each day, even each section of any given day, has many flavors and textures. Our subtler experience of any phenomena can only be accessed when we address the macro.

What’s exciting is that i don’t need to feel as good as i felt yesterday to be ok. i finally have some understanding that the changeability is a boon. That impermanence is my friend. That the value of my being is not dependent on the experience i am having.

Swami Vivekananda says you can think you are the cat’s meow, as long as you are certain everyone else is, too. I love that. And it’s been super fun to incorporate…it is not what i was used to. i think i was used to either inflating myself and disdaining others, or just as commonly belittling myself while mystified at others’ capability, or having figured out some magic formula. parts of the path, perhaps, but really an unpleasant worldview to be walking around with. damn. bad preposition at the end of a sentence. i do that all the time. dang.

We are in this together. All of us. Like it or not. There are natural stages of development, and we’re all going through them all, or at least an unimaginably complex individual web. So, let’s just accept:

all life is sacred

know it or not, we are divine beings.

(knowing is enormously supportive)

we are evolving.

we can tell because that is the natural state of all expressions of life, so it’s really not that big a surprise.

evolution moves towards greater love, freedom and relationship

life is unfolding

there is so much we cannot control, and so much we control completely

this produces the dance of expressing ourselves in response to life

we do our best work when we are feeling wholeness

we contact wholeness through the body and the breath

throw in some devotion to life itself

heaven on earth.

even on the confusing days.

 

what it’s like to be happy

i feel happier in this moment, in a more active way, than i’ve been able to muster in a number of years. I’ve been fortunate enough that I’ve had plenty of contentment and harmony even during periods of great pain and confusion. these things have coexisted, but the pain is diminishing and the confusion is almost fully gone, so the contentment can upgrade to engagement and the harmony can make way for joy. and the joy doesn’t have a condition. i don’t have to accomplish anything or be received in any particular way. i have a pretty small circle of friends and community, but each is very special to me, and activated in a way that had been passive right up until, i think, my birthday. and now the aromatherapy fragrance is hitting the fan. I know who i am. i know what I am. I know how I serve. i am here. i am here. i am here. i have been saying these words since i came across them on a ferry ride to sicily (the work of Paul Selig) and now i have a felt sense of them that was really just a pipedream for several years. Perserverence pays off! Putting a single purpose first will eventually get traction. the traction feels good.

i just got off the phone with my mother. she is lovely. she’s also a nexus of some of my sensitivities. and in those moments with that phone call, the sensitivities were like cones in an agility course and it was easy and fluid and nothing got activated. I’ve been unpeeling layers of identity and diffusing triggers (and filling out radical forgiveness worksheets) for so long, i’m starting to feel the light on my face. relationships are funnier and more fun. i don’t have to like everything and i don’t have to solve everything, and those are big steps for me. and another big step? i genuinely am not trying to make something happen. i am just doing what is before me. and finally, finally, finally I have some pretty juicy stuff before me. and i am in a position to engage with a light heart, loving intentions, and no attachment to the outcome. do the work for the joy of the work, and leave the unfolding to life itself.  I credit Eric Klein’s Gita to bringing that sense into my receiving and giving.

that was a year ago right about now, i was copyediting Eric’s 40 day exploration of the Gita. I had just found out about a betrayal in my extended family. it was actually quite the clusterfuck. The Gita study during that time, a couple of hours per day, was such a blessing. Everyone should be so lucky as to be studying sacred texts during difficult times. Leading up to that help on the Gita I was trying to get Eric to do a program on slowing down. here, a year later, i just put up a course. i’m pretty happy about that. and now, i have to engage with the areas of discomfort. But, because I feel purpose, and because I feel engaged in what I feel is most important in life, I’m not worried about it. and that is a weird and wonderful new feeling.

what happens when we break free?

Over the past 6 months I’ve been faced with my own identities, just how many automatic identities I had and barely notice, each with all kinds of special conditions and ways of receiving and expressing information. Many of them i don’t particularly like. Some I’ve been able to step away from. some are still curling around my ankle as I try to pull it away…

Right now I’m in a particularly sweet spot, perhaps the counterbalance to May’s more tumultuous days, and facing them fully. Perhaps the very nicest part is not needing it to stay this way, or for this to produce some other result. I finally can give myself a break from striving.

it’s like we are on a plane going from new york to LA. Humanity is evolving, and our evolution is sure. I can say this because all of life evolves. Naturally. It’s just becoming and retreat, becoming and retreat (retreat is not the optimal word, but the right one eludes me and this gets the point across).

So, lately I’ve been approaching life as if we are on the plane. The journey is in process and the destination is sure. Now let us look at how we are spending the flight. Is this a pleasant journey? An anxious one? What do we want it to be? There are some people over there trying to get everyone to chant to get us there faster, and that might work, but it’s not necessary. by all means raise your voice in song, but for the joy of it – not to effectuate change…

As I can recognize some of my subconscious identities and detach from them, and detach from the stress of trying to live up to my potential or any other to do list, I can start to taste freedom. And freedom is sweet. Freedom is expansive. Freedom is exciting.

Now that I am fully accepting the notion that the end is sure, i’m not in a hurry any more. which is great, given how far down the ‘slowing down’ rabbit hole i’ve travelled. this lack of hurry, this actual feeling of trust, immediately followed by curiosity has replaced the feelings of ‘how on earth am i going to make this happen’ and fear that it might not.

Huge trade up.

who gets your time, attention and money?

When i first went to Tai Chi, my teacher talked about my movement leaking energy from basically everywhere.

I think most of us are doing that in a variety of ways, but very impactfully in the realm of economics. Most of us have values we prefer, and it is just lucky happenstance if a few of the multinational corporations capturing our credit card numbers might– at one point or another in the life cycle and supply chain of whatever it is I am purchasing– not be completely evil.

I used to give a talk at high schools that raising money for the rainforest wouldn’t be necessary if our purses weren’t full of environmentally-destructively produced makeup. There’s not much transparency, though, so how is a person to know?

I believe we’re entering an era of paying closer attention to our expression and sphere of influence. We have more responsibility to do so now than ever before, and I believe technology is bound to develop a quick, intuitive solution that will render the cloak of secrecy and exploitation useless, as iphone did to those dreadful flip phones.

I don’t know the pace of change. It’s never as fast or slow as I expect. Always a surprise. And so, in the planning, it is best to get joy from the planning without expectation that it will *actually* be the way things turn out. Plan for the best and accept better still. Or worse still. Or what comes. The treat there is knowing that whatever comes, good, bad or in between, it is both illusory and temporary as well. And still you will be, at the end of the day, a unique expression of life itself noticing itself. And tomorrow may be better. Or worse. It matters not. Experience at all is the miracle here. And any observation of Life Itself shows that cycles are in constant rotation.

I’m not sure why we have to repeat lessons, over and over. Sometimes it’s because we’re missing the point. Sometimes it might be because we’re finally unwinding something. Sometimes I think it might be to see when we can approach the lesson with a calm heart and curious openness. And sometimes, we go into a situation with a calm heart and curious openness and then the energy storm hits and we lose it. In seconds. Dang. But, at least we know where to go back to when the storm is over. Maybe next time it will take minutes. That would be a quantum improvement, even though the improvement my brain would like to see is utter completeness and never having to think about it (whatever it was) again. Yeah, my brain rarely gets what it wants, but my life almost unquestionably gets what will most naturally evolve it.

And evolution is what I am after!

life is funny

I haven’t written in a while, although I’ve been writing quite a bit. life is full of paradox.

what is most interesting to me today is that we are all such a hodgepodge of good intentions and questionable execution, yet often those with questionable intentions have good execution. Why do you suppose that might be?!

I posted my first course on Udemy. It’s called, “Slowing Down: What it Means, Why it’s Good, and How to Do It.” It’s about an hour and a half long, in 33 three-minute segments. It’s a start. It’s the very beginning, and it’s nice to have the beginning begun.

Where things go from here will be fascinating. I am happy to say that I feel as surrendered as I’ve ever felt, and every deep mindful breath helps me be even moreso. Surrendered to Life Itself as It moves through me. and is me. and looks at itself with these eyes.

That is some exciting shit. Hate to be profane, but there it is.

I am dedicated to evolving. it’s what gets my attention. right now i’m delighting in the idea that evolving is shifting the focus from the “self” as the collection of moments and memories where life is building the self over time, to the perspective of the oak tree within the acorn. The acorn breaks open and begins building the oak tree *out of thin air*

I used to think that the acorn used nutrients and built the stem that started up through the dirt, but that’s not the case at all.  The water and nutrients extracted from the soil make up only a tiny portion of that seedling. That seedling is expanding from within the seed and growing. Miraculously. just like the rest of us. I want to find a good link here. i wish i could remember where i first read/saw this.

anyway

I’m super excited because I feel whole. I feel like i have plumbed my depths and am willing to continue if the need arises. I’m not afraid of the fragments – fragments are an opportunity to integrate. I’m not trying to avoid anything or achieve anything. i’m breathing. smiling. breathing. listening to my body, moving according to the magical confluence of how I feel, what is needed, who is available and what’s in this moment. Bringing our best selves to the present moment.

this requires being in touch with our best selves. the part of us that has been learning from all of our mistakes and circumstances. The part that shows up on behalf of others we love when our advocacy can make a difference for them. That fullness of presence is an energy field and the more we visit it, the further we can expand into it and start bringing it off the meditation cushion and into the day. We can address this wisest part of ourselves every time we have a curiosity of judgement. It’s there. In us. Just waiting for us to ask.

Thomas Hubl was talking about our bodies our not as old as the time we’ve been on earth. our bodies are hundreds of thousands of years old. Your body has so much programming you cannot even begin to understand. There is so much going on and unfolding naturally that our conscious brains rarely can acknowledge it lest we believe life is totally outside of our control.

Life is definitely outside of our control. But it is the foundation of our creativity. Big difference. Important distinction, but I am out of time. Hope to explore this more.

 

Milestones

I am one day into my fifty-first year, having turned 50 yesterday, and i’ve got to say, so far i like it. I did, of course, have a particularly delicious lead in. Now that I am here at the keyboard, i can’t even chronicle the last few days. it is too tender and sweet.

And there are so many good things to talk about.

I’ve had dozens of blogposts running in my mind these last four days when I’ve remained largely pixel-free. Sweet moments of understanding, of recognition. Acknowledgements of patterns in nature and of nature itself. Harmony. Effulgence. Right now? Nothing. And they were good, too. I miss them and hope they come back. Ideas I wanted to explore and consider and share…

I feel like I’ve been praying for a very long time with periods of the feeling of progress, but this past weekend was like a firehouse of the love and gorgeousness of life itself showered upon me again and again. I have had the full spectrum of emotions and relational struggles this past year, doubts and discomfort and enduring, but in these days, no question, the universe said, “everything’s ok. in fact, everything is flipping beautiful. and loves you. and everyone else. a lot.”

Nice message!

There were a few moments of personal triumph, too! Like not voicing my frank opinion to a person who was struggling. I am pretty free with that and I think I am going to stick to the Japanese, you’ll need to ask three times. i was always a one-time gal, and as I reflect back, i often spoke preemptively to any asking at all. But my opinion was meaningless, and she needed to just be pointed back into herself, and it was gratifying to really feel into that. So this is a good step.

This is also funny: I was describing my experience to my friend in these glowing terms, how amazing it was, how wonderful it was, and then i said, i was so cold the first night that the second night I slept with the hair dryer so when i woke up to the cold sheets i could warm them quickly. She was aghast. visually repulsed. she was like, i am never staying there, good god that sounds awful. And I had to laugh. Because yes, it was a drag, but just a little drag compared to all the big awesomeness, and the hair dryer solved the drag, and i was just so happy, but yeah, now that i hear it through your ears that does sound kinda bad.

But when you’re in love, nothing else matters. Where there is love, nothing else matters – from my 8 nights with Ganesha. But that’s a story for another session…

not what I thought. again.

It’s funny that we even trust our thinking, it is wrong so often. the thought stream is this largely generic constant progression of swirling miscellany, and yet we assemble it in such a way as to give it great personality and meaning. There is great wisdom in the human mind, but that drops precipitously when we talk about the human thought stream. In general, that’s just swirl.

Nevertheless, i get caught up in them as much as anyone else, and I start believing them. and that is almost never useful. Understanding the difference between being caught in the thought stream and accessing your bonafide individual learning for application to a situation is like night and day. In Sweden, in my case. I can go for long periods not accessing the thought stream (because I am too busy being in my body, in the moment). that’s like summer in Sweden.

Then i’ve got those spells wherein I just swirl around the thought stream and everything stays dark. that’s the winter in Sweden. The thought stream is not light, it’s not progressive, it’s got all kinds of stuff in it, but none of them lead to freedom. Even the thought of freedom is a bondage unless the experience of freedom can be accessed through the thought (which it can, but the thought stream doesn’t let that happen much. because experiencing the freedom means taking a break from the thought stream long enough to touch that freedom. that’s a longer break than the thought stream allows.)

I’m shooting video for the udemy course. it’s fun, but i’ve got too much information and i’m not much for scripting. my test days were easy and went well. yesterday i tried to dive in now that the setup is right, and yeah, it didn’t go as i expected. what it did do: it went as it went. for better or worse, some experience has been experienced and chances are it will contribute to the better execution of the overall project as it continues. But, silly me, i thought i’d be done by now.

And I’m not. And I might miss my deadline. And I’m ok with that.

Part of my practice is finding things curious instead of good or bad. Trusting that if this didn’t happen, it’s for the best. Trusting whatever happens. It’s freeing. And it keeps me out of the thought stream. Because the thought stream is just going to tell me all of the things that “it not going as well as I’d hoped” means. It means I am all sorts of undesireable things, and it may even mean that i suck. But if I’m not in the thought stream looking for meaning, i can be experiencing the meaning that is happening, which is never good or bad, it always just is.

The knowledge of good and evil.  The judgement of good or bad. That is definitely when things started to get complicated…

finding a safe space

I didn’t realize, until i was developing this program, how important a safe space is, or rather, i thought the emotional safe space was necessary, i knew having a container for your experience – but it’s also a physical safe space we need.

I didn’t recognize until a few months ago that I didn’t have a comfortable place in the house other than bed. things are fine, the couch is a stupid depth, and the chairs are pretty comfortable but not ‘release the body’ comfortable.

So I made one.

Built out of foam shapes. It’s super comfortable. my feet rest up on my bed, which relieves a lot in my back and neck. it’s great. i wish i understood this sooner. spending even just a minute a day (it’ll never be shorter than that because it’ll feel so good to relax, you couldn’t take just one and then have to go through the effort of getting up)

But, let me tell you, I look for moments to spend a minute or 15 in this safe, comfortable space, just breathing and relaxing sometimes thinking, but always coming back to the breath and body release.

i have been doing this (breath and body release) for a long time, and it continually gets more interesting. but having a daily place to achieve that i think is a big part of continued wellness. it’s a wellness enhancer FOR SURE.

I feel about sitting/laying in this space the way I used to feel about cigarettes.

I don’t feel that way about cigarettes any more. Not one bit. Which is shocking to me because i have ALWAYS in the back of my mind known that if the conditions were right I would certainly smoke. and who knows, i may still, but it’s sortof repugnant to me more than nostalgic, which is a category it has always held. positive nostalgia. but i’ve worked through enough coffee enemas that I will probably never subject myself to it again (it often gives me terrible pain, but the coffee enema usually solves it. TMI, i know. but my time isn’t up and it’s what came out.

so, yes, a safe place. a seat you feel good and can relax, and a safe emotional confidant – this is loam for getting into the stillness of the body from which all action flows and all tension relaxes.

ohmygoodness, i do love me some stillness. But it’s too much to write about it without doing it, so i’m a little short on my time because stillness in my safe place awaits and i can’t resist it!

Wait! I’ve built my current safe space in my bedroom, with my knees up. i think i could do this with a yoga mat and a pillow in the midst of traveling. finding a comfortable position. Wow, this is such a big deal. and this is where i so admire my college friend Lauren Hall for the work she does with supportive housing in SF. And I leave it at that cuz i want to talk about it more, but another day: stillness calls (but i did end up making the time)

Infinity

Driving along the canyon road,  I was thinking about a dog that’d gotten bit by a rattlesnake. I wondered how many rattlesnakes lived in that canyon. I figured the number is finite, but to have a finite number you have to have a border or a boundary, saying, “within this designated space, there are exactly this many rattlesnakes. today.”  because along with a spacial boundary we need a time boundary as well. To get to a finite number you need to point to something very specific.

The I thought about how much life is in the canyon. and i believe the answer is an infinite amount. Even if you identify some geography and say “how much life is in that space” you can’t really itemize it because everything about it is in an unchanging state of changing. So at one nanosecond, the ratio between dirt and grasses, trees and insects, fungi and molds, reptiles and animals has one answer, but a nanosecond later, this lizard has lost its life, these insects have had a boon to their economy and water  conditions changed as algae bloomed. It is not finite. yet life is in the finite. in it. infinite. right there, and everywhere else, too. infinitely.

The permutations of life on earth are at least relatively finite. Massive changes plop down (fire. books. electric light. plastic) and switch up the dynamics endlessly, but there are so many endless variations, all playing themselves out. The infinite. In the finite. And back again.

___________

I want to end this post here, because there’s a completeness of the feeling I had and I fear going on much more will come from struggle and I want to come from curiosity and openness. but i’m not out of time, and so I want to continue to write. I’ve spent so much time on the Udemy writing I have somewhat neglected these postings. but only kindof. isn’t that the story of my life. i am ready to transcend the stories, perhaps exactly through including them, but that’s another story. The next story I want to talk about is grief. and i still have 5 minutes. so here we go.

In my experience of grieving my health and the missed expectations, I imagined my grief sitting next to me on a porch, looking at a stunning view. Most of the time we just sat there, me and grief. sometimes we talked, but not too much. it didn’t necessarily change my pain, but it changed my relationship to the pain. Whether or not you are in pain we can all learn from this lesson of presence, befriending the ostracized and just being.

Spending time in this way, I began to accept my body as a teacher, as an instrument of life itself, expressing. I turned my attention to fulfilling my role: tending my time, feeding and caring for my body, choosing my worldview. And my worldview mostly looked like: I am certain i can make a best of this. Little did I know. It began to make the best of me. But that’s another story…

Allowing the grief, feeling where it sits in the body, relaxing into it and breathing. Asking it questions. Feeling the changes, listening to them. spending time just being in a state of listening – not a state of thinking, but a state of feeling. I read the other day that you can’t do both at the same time, and in my experience over these several days, as i am present in the body my mind pauses, but then i pop back into it to report on whatever that feeling was so i can judge it as good or bad or anything else. That dynamic usually gets a fraction of a second in a feeling state and the next 30 seconds- to several hours- thinking about it. That’s the pattern we’re changing the ratio on. More feeling, breathing, smiling – it naturally pushes aside the worrying, fretting and trying to control. just for a second. but, oh, what a second.

I love them so much I want to be a collector. but the only way you can collect present moments is in the present moment, but you get all of it instead of the piddly little bit we allow ourselves as we are rushing to “do”