Late September Reflection with Teddy

cobweb time

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Late September morning light dances off dewy grass.

The sun creates dappled patterns through the trees.

Green and gold variations on an autumnal theme.

The hummingbirds have left on their southern journey.

It’s time to bring in their feeders and put out corn for squirrels … deer and crows.

Spider webs glisten and catch me unexpectedly as I walk into the new day with Teddy.

We stand together and breathe in the changing air.

He’s not as active now that his sisters are gone.

He’s okay with this. 

And shows me by licking my calf and wagging his tail.

Chipmunks and squirrels are now safe in our yard.

Teddy loves to simply hang out.

Life right now is like a long letting go breath.

Finding a new rhythm, balance and some peace.

We are going to need it in the days ahead.

Getting Clear about Transformation

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Most of us spend our time and energy trying to transform our experience of life. When things are difficult, we blame circumstances, someone else, or ourselves. We take on new things and make new goals. We may change jobs, move house, or get divorced, to move away from our circumstances.

We move away from the discomfort.

And we somehow find ourselves feeling the same way in the next job, the next house, the next marriage …

In this society we are constantly being pressured to focus on the external and to acquire things in order to be “successful” and to feel good about ourselves. The message is “you deserve better” or “this will make you happy”.

Instead of moving from job to job, wanting things to be different and wishing for events to change, pause and notice how you are resisting what you are experiencing right now. Are you telling yourself “I deserve better”? rather than trying to understand your experience.

It is the relationship with what is happening that is causing the pain rather than the situation itself. The relationship between you and the situation is one of resistance and frustration with what is.

But you are only changing the external situation, and the chances are you will start to feel the same again, unless you take time to look at what is going within you that is getting in the way of transformation.

What if our purpose in life is to understand our external experience and how we relate to it? or Seeing all of our experience as lessons in life?

When we start to look into our experience with curiosity and an accepting mind, we can bring about real change.

Its an inside out job.

Here are some powerful questions to ask yourself to bring about inner transformation:

  • How do I want to feel ….? at work/in my marriage/in my relations with my children etc. Imagine your future self and what it feels like.
  • How am I contributing to this situation? What attitude adjustment do I need to make?
  • What actions would support this? What do I need to do differently?
  • What support do I need to bring it about? What resources do I already have?

 

Haiku – beyond thoughts

calm young woman with shadows on face

Photo by Anderson Martins on Pexels.com

~
You are not your thoughts
Discover what’s beyond them
Find Your Middle Ground

~

One of the biggest steps towards awakening is to realize that we are not our thoughts. When we sit quietly we begin to notice that our thoughts come and go. We are not the thoughts themselves, so we can come to witness them, our beliefs and the stories we create about the world, our ourselves.

As long as we believe that what we think and believe is the truth, we will stay in an unawakened state. In yoga this is called Avidya, or ignorance.

This is especially hard right now, with all the conflicting stories, beliefs and versions of the truth that we are being exposed to.

Taking time to pause before reacting to whatever you are reading or watching is key. This is when you can step back and see if this is true or not. It may be contrary to what you believe, and therefore you think it is wrong. Or it may be exactly what you think, and it becomes the truth.

Be discerning rather than judging right or wrong.

This is a time to become a witness to our thoughts and stories, and our own susceptibility and gullibility as human beings.

Namaste

So Fortunate – Chanticleer

Being in nature is such an inspiration and brings me wholeness and peace … Yet, what truly lifts me up is seeing it through an artistic lens. 

I am so fortunate to live close to Chanticleer, a pleasure garden in Wayne PA. During the pandemic, there is limited attendance, but I visit when I can. It has sparked my desire to be there and pay attention to the evolving seasons and the curious beautiful experiences that are just around the corner… or right in front of me.

There is so much to be aware of, explore and capture. My iPhone is always at the ready!

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I’m curious … How is your artistic soul calling you in these strange days?

God would have said: go out into the world and enjoy your life

God as understood by Spinoza. Inspiration from Stephen Paul and the 17th century 💝

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Did you know that when Einstein gave lectures at the numerous US universities he was invited to, the recurring question that students asked him was:

Do you believe in God?
And he always answered:
I believe in the God of Spinoza.

The ones who hadn’t read Spinoza didn’t understand…

I hope this gem of history, serves you as much as it does me:

Baruch de Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher considered one of the three great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy, along with René Descartes in France, and Gottfried Leibniz in Germany.

Here’s some of his wisdom:

God would have said:

Stop praying and punching yourself in the chest!
What I want you to do is go out into the world and enjoy your life. I want you to enjoy, sing, have fun and enjoy everything I’ve made for you.

Stop going to those dark, cold temples that you built…

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Live this Day

dawn sunset beach woman

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This is what I have to say to you. Enjoy today to its fullest.
Rather than making arrangements for tomorrow,
do the wonderful things you have longed for.
Open your heart to the joy that lies in the gift of this day.

How easily we take our days for granted,
until we realize they cannot last forever.

Being in the now is the most exciting time you have ever known.
Live today on the edge of your seat, craning towards the horizon,
ready to meet whatever comes your way.

Changes will surely come one by one.
You are ready when you lift up your heart to meet them.

Namaste

Haiku – the answer

man wearing black cap with eyes closed under cloudy sky

Photo by Kelvin Valerio on Pexels.com

~
The world draws us out
Yet the answer lies within
Find Your Middle Ground
~

When we connect to our center of being, our Middle Ground, we begin to attune to our authentic self and feel empowered. The external demanding world loses its pull and power. We feel more able to be true to ourselves.

If we really want this, then what actions can we take to make it happen?

Most of already know this … Turning off the cellphone, not watching local news or feeds of coronavirus updates, or Trump twitters that churn up our minds, fears and egos, and unsettle our hearts.

Becoming centered is more about us connecting to our heart, rather than our head. The analytical ego-mind, gets all too easily pulled into the drama and fear. When we touch into our heart and the felt sense of the body, we connect to something greater than ourselves. That which is beyond.

Take time today and every day to Find Your Middle Ground.

Authenticity and Tension

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Are you dealing with constant tension in your body? … Have you considered that you might be living out of alignment with who you truly are. Could you be living an inauthentic life?

These are powerful questions that came up as I was revisiting John J. Prendergast’s book: In Touch How to Tune in to the Inner Guidance of Your Body and Trust Yourself. (Highly recommended for seekers, meditators and yogis)

Our body is a powerful teacher about how we live our lives. It stores trauma and joy and everything in between. When we tune into the sensations in our body we can begin to not only release the tension but become more open, authentic and true to ourselves.

“Tension is inevitable when we live a lie and try to appear different from how we actually are. We don’t want to appear vulnerable or needy. We don’t trust that we are fundamentally enough as we are, even with our struggles and shortcomings.

We compensate outwardly by trying to do things that will prove our value to others. We also edit our self image as we describe our life to ourselves and others – the image maintenance project.

Often, this habit becomes so automatic that we are unaware of it. We unknowingly adopt a mask and mistake it for our real face, assuming that our chronically tense and armored body is natural. It is normal, but it isn’t natural.”

Natural is about feeling in balance, nourished and connected to ourselves.

The Seasons of Our Heart

 

As I sit with the sadness and the grief of losing both of our girl Welsh Terriers – Dilys and now Meg,  I allow myself to feel the pain and loss. This has been a summer season of worry, stress and heartbreak. Now there is space for peace.

The words of Kahlil Gibran come to mind.

“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

Just as the stone of the fruit must break, so that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.

And if you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy.

If you accept the seasons of your heart, as you have always accepted the four seasons, you would watch with serenity the winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen. It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.

Therefore, trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility.

For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen.”

 

 

The Voice Inside Your Head

This poem from Steve Taylor is so clear about what happens when we begin to face the voice inside our heads.

voice inside your head Photo by Elina Krima on Pexels.com

“One day you’ll grow fed up with the voice inside your head
with its constant murmurings of discontent
its fear mongering thoughts of the future
and its questioning of every choice you make.

One day you’ll turn to it and calmly say, “I refuse to listen”
then stand back and look away
turning your attention to your surroundings
or to a quietness and spaciousness you can sense inside you, just behind the voice.

The voice is so self absorbed
that at first it won’t even notice its being ignored
and will carry on chattering away to itself.
You’ll still hear its complaints and criticisms
but they won’t convince you any more –
your’ll doubt them, laugh at them, reject them.

And gradually, without the fuel of your attention,
the voice will become more hesitant
will stumble and slow down, leaving space;
until eventually that self assertive drawl that demanded to be heard
and seemed to submerge the rest of reality
will be no louder than a whisper, like a gentle breeze
that seems to be part of silence.”

Yes – this is how it can happen when we recognize that the voice inside our head isn’t who we really are. It doesn’t speak the truth. The thoughts and anxiety that appear are coming from a place of fear and powerlessness from when we were young. It has kept us safe… but then it can also take over and become the harshest critic and judger of ourselves, others, and the world.

What would it be like to start to ignore this voice and reject it?

Many of us think there is something wrong with us to have this voice. That it shouldn’t be there. That it shows a dark side of ourselves that we don’t want to admit to.

Yet, there is nothing wrong here. It is part of who we are as humans. And it is something for us to step back from, recognize and face so we can change it and transform ourselves.

Peace is on the other side of this long journey.

Namaste

Meet Yourself in Your Heart

 

petals and heart shaped cut out

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The obstacle you are facing is a special gift

It is there to bring clarity and new understanding

Instead of finding ways around it or fixing it

And creating stories to make you feel right and in control

Take time to face the challenge

To ask your intuition and heart

“What wants to be known?”

Let the answer reveal itself

There is freedom beyond this pain

When you meet yourself in your heart

Namaste

What is Beyond Struggle?

curious isolated young woman looking away through metal bars of fence with hope at entrance of modern building

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

~

Step out of the past

Let go of struggle stories

Find truth in the now

~

 

I feel a real connection to others who are struggling right now … and who have struggled in the past. Have you noticed what that feels like? A shared struggle feels oh so familiar… and somehow comforting.

Many of us come to see that the struggles of the past are re-enacted in our present lives. 

We all have challenges and conflicts within ourselves, especially the thinking mind with its tethered beliefs and judgments, along with our conditioning from childhood.

It all diminishes our ability to be open, to tune into intuition and heart felt sense of being. It keeps us trapped in our ego-mind and small self. 

When we identify with our struggle, its so easy to let it overwhelm us, and we literally become the struggle.

The struggle become how we identify ourselves. “I am stupid… I am a failure… I am not worthy… I am unlovable… I am an addict… I am a bad person” … etc

Many of us get attached to our personal struggle and some will find the courage to share it and reach out to others who understand.

Our struggle story can be very personal, yet it acts as a bridge of connection and community. All human beings experience struggle, and when we find similar souls, we feel validated and supported.

Yet the struggle is still a story. Created by our fearful, controlling ego. When we embrace the story, it makes us feel right, stronger and more able to deal with the external pressures. We actually lose touch with who we truly are, rather than connect deeper into our true sense of being.

This is such an important part of the journey, but it isn’t the end. It can backfire if it ends here. When we get attached to our story, we stay stuck. 

Struggle keeps us attached to our ego and small self. It takes us into the past and makes us anxious about the unknown future. It prevents us from being present to the goodness that is already within us, and to open up to the higher Self and power beyond our separate small lives.

For those on a spiritual path, as long as we identify with our struggle we cannot awaken.

The struggle story will never set us free. 

We will be free when we choose to open up, accepting this part of our history and ourselves, face it, feel compassion for it and then let it go. This is challenging and important work.

We must truly want to move past our struggle if we want to awaken to the freedom beyond. What is beyond struggle? When we come to recognize, befriend and let go of ego.

Beyond ego is beyond struggle.

On your path to awakening, what part of your struggle story are you willing and ready to let go of?