Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer and Family...

So far, Summer has been rich. The last couple of weeks I got to spend time with nephews I only get to see once every year or two. They grow so fast and grow up, too. And yet there is the same essence inside that has been there since the beginning. It’s so interesting to see how the layers of life add to that core - to see where interests branch off and make sharp turns or simply carry on and deepen. To see what changes, what remains, what is on the edge of becoming.

I feel lucky (in the absence of having a family of my own) to have these little guys in my life. There are pieces and parts of me that got left behind somehow, and it gives me an opportunity to explore with them. And at the same time I get a chance to share whatever wisdom I have gained this time around in whatever way I can transmit that. Most often it is by simply being with them, or taking them to the forest, the river, the sky. I try to open up a space where there can be wonder, or a voice can emerge of its own accord. How many of us are too busy to let our real voice bubble up and out of us?

While they were visiting, one night we did something I don’t do often - we all sat in front of the tv. Everyone was excited to watch Nik Wallenda walk across the Grand Canyon. This brought up all kinds of questions and feelings and speculations. Over dinner, folks seemed to want to wager about how he would fare, and this felt wholly wrong, yet was natural. Inside of me was the question of whether it was appropriate for children to watch this, considering that certain death was one possible outcome and to watch that would open up something that could not be simply closed back up again till maybe a later more convenient time (or never).

And there we all sat - a couple of us hiding our eyes from time to time, my hands and feet sweating and me wishing I hadn’t eaten so much at dinner. And then there was what people were saying. I was struck, again and again, by this man’s faith and the conversation between him and his father that was the sole sound on the tv (other than background noise of the helicopter and wind reports). Mostly, it was either Wallenda praising and thanking Jesus and God and his other father giving him words of encouragement and support. It looked (and felt) like he was having a terrible time of it - heavy winds coming through and the challenge of seeing things in perspective, with the wires and the visual effects of looking across such a great divide with texture and color and so many horizontals as to confuse the matter completely.

Mr. Wallenda would stop and crouch at times to try and settle the movement in the wire and regain a manageable rhythm. I can’t comprehend or imagine what it might be like to be crouched on a wire in the midpoint of a 1/2 mile stretch over a 1400 foot deep canyon, can you? Nor what it would take to stand back up and walk across it. Again, while my mother kept saying, “God wouldn’t want him to do this!” What an interesting response to this man’s action and prayer. And it begs the question, really, what DOES God want us to do? With our lives, our time, our money, our essence.

I kept being struck by this man’s faith and prayer as he went. I could relate to it on some deep level. It felt, to me, not unlike the humility I feel in the presence of beauty, and in the place in my work (both Art and Therapeutic Massage) where I know I must invite something other than myself to come through me - or rather become one with something greater than myself - in order to be authentically present and with an appropriate degree of pure faith that surpasses any notion of ego.

Some time ago, I had a line in my head that I wanted to work with - for a blog entry or some kind of writing exploration. It went something like this, “we are each of us, always, standing at a precipice” and would go on to talk about how each moment in time is an important point of choice that shapes us so powerfully. How none of these moments is insignificant. Not the moment I decide to linger a little longer in bed to keep feeling the hue of a dream, nor the moment I am pulling a weed in the yard or listening to a friend who needs to process something out loud along his path. Not only do our choices in these moments shape us, they shape the WORLD.

And so among my many thoughts and feelings about this whole Wallenda canyon crossing, was the question of what purpose it serves for a nation or a world to watch such an event. What does it do to us, individually? What does it do to the world? Is this a spectator sport? What if he had fallen to his death? What then? What does God want US to do?

I don’t know anything about Nick Wallenda, so I use my imagination and my logic and whatever accumulation of authentic wisdom I have come to up until now. I imagine that he is carrying on a family tradition that has powerfully imprinted his blood, his DNA. Imagine what those feelings on those wires does to one’s blood - the beauty, the powerful places crossed over, the rush of so many things all together, the required faith to balance the fear with love. I imagine this kind of experience surely must blur the boundary of self and universe or self and God. I imagine this must be his passion and the way he has learned to navigate the world, the way he finds his edges and where he knows how to grow.

I ask myself, what on earth am I here to do that would take all of my courage to do? I think, perhaps, this is the question I am getting at. I talked with some folks who thought it was stupid for this man to do these crossings with such risk - without purpose. But I think that sometimes it is the most powerful gift we can bear, to lean right into faith and do what we know is both possible and impossible in order to meet ourselves on the other side of it - to find a part of ourselves that will be entirely new from the experience.

And it reminds me that when I was recently considering a call (of the calling sort) I was feeling, a friend simply asked, “what is the most courageous thing you can do right now?”

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Let Everything Be Love


I was noticing the other day that I was beginning to grasp at something. Every now and then there is something I want that is not my everyday occurrence in life. Something nice or new and different. So last week I encountered something that attracted my spirit. It was exciting to know that my spirit can still be engaged in this way, and that I can interact in this energy. And as I felt this I noticed that I was becoming anxious and beginning to grasp. I was beginning to feel some kind of attachment to outcome. So I checked myself, and invited my awareness to be fully with the grasping and to shift around it, to let it go and be more receptive or simply be. It served to open me some, but after all, the grasping was still present. It is great to be in a state of not desiring or not feeling attached to things and people in general, but then sometimes this feeling serves a purpose - to let us know that we still have feelings and desires and that’s a good thing. It can orient us in the world to where we are growing or still need to grow.

I looked into myself for guidance a few days ago and I came back with a very clear message that is proving useful in surprising ways. That message was “let everything be love.” To look into the world with the awareness that everything we meet is love. It is, of course. This way, if I am looking for this thing or that thing, or seeking love from this person or that person, I can slow down, look around and know that love is all around me - in each tree, each flower, each snake, bear, hawk, neighbor, each stone, every drop of water (and so on).

How welcoming this feels! I can stop grasping. I need not be looking for anything. I can simply welcome with each glance, every step, each new breath, the light breeze, the cool raindrop. Of course this is something that I have come to learn to do in my massage work and in my art work, but when it comes to attachments to things and people, there is a different sort of challenge - one that is not always so easy to move through gracefully.

But now I have a new tool. I can pause. And then I can refocus my awareness to receiving that which is all around me right now. I can become even more present to the air, the ground, the next person I meet.

Last night I was hiking with a friend. I have been hiking barefoot lately, and this is a hike that is not the most inviting for bare feet. In places it is full of sharp, rough, loose rocks and uneven footing. And it was getting dark. At some point, though, I reminded myself, “let everything be love” and I just had to laugh. My foot could now gracefully wrap around those rocks, as if accepting a gift of loving touch. They were greeting me to support me along the way. And each step became a meeting - in fact a joyful exchange.

No sooner had I fully absorbed and experimented with this lesson, then I walked squarely into a fresh, very gluey spider web. My head and hair were covered with this sticky silk glue and I started to flail and seek help to remove it (and hopefully its maker). And then, again, I just had to laugh. Here was another chance to learn this lesson. I walked right into this web and could now see that it did the only thing it could do - changed its shape to fit my head, as I destroyed it. It gave way and embraced me. As I was grasping at web, pulling it from my hair, I could only think, what a wonderful teaching, and it was not as yucky feeling when I looked at it this way. I just had to laugh.

Now I look forward to all the many more opportunities surely coming my way to learn each time, uniquely, how everything is love.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Gathering of Self

It’s been a busy Spring so far. Whew. I have really enjoyed working with some new folks in new places, and just when I had worked harder than ever and was looking forward to a few days off, I had an unexpected visitor who needed sanctuary and rest. Turns out they were also looking to meditate and as luck had it, a meditation retreat was just about to start over at CSA. So in fact it was a busy week, after a busy week - albeit a different kind of busy.

I’ve noticed in recent times what feels like a shift in the world of interpersonal dynamics, primarily in groups. The last few gatherings I have attended - a dream workshop in Big Sur, a massage workshop in Florida and this meditation retreat week - have all had a unique quality of equanimity and flow that feels new to me. In my prior experiences, I do not recall the same kind of grace in the interactions and flow. In all 3 of these, perhaps the difference was the quality of the presenters (all of whom feel enlightened, to me, and are working in both ordinary reality and at the level of higher consciousness). Perhaps it was the quality of the attendees. In all of these it could also be the energy of place. And of course in all of these, there is a new quality in my self. These are all true. These are all interdependent.

The uniqueness, to me, is the calm, clear, resonant quality running through it all. There is “flow” I spoke of in the previous post. People flow effortlessly together and seem to gracefully move amongst the group freely rather than in clique-like forms. Each participant appeared to connect deeply with each of the others whom they met with. I made deep connections with a few folks new to me who felt like old friends and/or family. I recognized them clearly and instantly as parts of me. Not as parts of my self, but as parts of the Self. I could see the calm, authentic clarity we reflected - each to the other. What a deliciously comforting sensation - to sit in an energy that resonates with one’s own and at the same time creates space in which to elevate it.

At the end of the first gathering - the Way of the Dreamer workshop, with Robert Moss, many attendees were saying how close they felt to each other and the group - so much so that the group decided to make a community online to stay in touch. There were deep connections made in an authentic way.

At the end of the second - the Resistance Release work, with Deane Juhan, we circled up. Usually at that time, people chime in with final thoughts and feedback and questions. We just all sat there in what felt like a gentle ocean of blissful satisfaction (a feeling that stayed with me even as I drove across northern Florida to see my mother that night for Mother’s Day).

At the end of the third - the Kriya Meditation Retreat, with Roy Eugene Davis, people were sharing long hugs with such a strong felt sense of deep appreciation for each other’s spirits and companionship along the path, it was palpable.

I guess, to me, this must represent that we are all coming this much closer to ourselves. That our level of comfort and wholeness within ourselves is evolving to a more complete love and acceptance and as we each and all approach this, we create more and more space in which to further the process and encourage it along.

And to me, it is always also the Beauty way. For it is the beauty in the world and in each other that holds the most open and encouraging frequency in which to experience natural, authentic expansion and spiritual unfoldment.

Speaking of unfoldment, I have continued to derive peace and pleasure from the lotus flowers in my little pond, so am including some more recent shots of these here, along with some shadow and water images from the last week or so.

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