Some of us are stuck in the shallows Where life has a cautious desperate rhythm, punctuated by bursts of pleasure and hurt. There's a loss of connection with the depth of our being. Life has become the soap opera or media that we tune into. The deep is too dangerous to acknowledge, let alone embrace. We cling to the safety of the shallows. We want to feel connection, yet can't let go of controlling and comparing, resisting and resenting. Life is filled with distractions, must-see t.v. and others agreeing this is the way it "should" be. It is the shallow sea of a fearful and protective ego. When you feel caught up like this, take time to pause. Breathe fully and notice what is alive in you. Listen for the vibration from the deep. The untouched part of you that never changes. Finding your Middle Ground is the gateway to a new depth of being and living fully. The current may be strong and the transition may not be easy. It takes courage to be the swimmer you are, to dive in and wake up.
Last Sunday I had the opportunity of joining a writing circle on Zoom facilitated by Ali Grimshaw. I’m not sure if I see myself as a writer or a poet, but I was very curious to explore whatever came up!
My sincere thanks to Ali and the others for being in community in such a supportive and loving way. We came together as if we already knew one another, listened fully as the words came forth, and literally opened our hearts. It was an inspiring experience and I would recommend this to anyone interested in reflective writing and poetry from the heart. You can also find Ali’s poetry on her WordPress blog FlashLight Batteries. I look forward to jumping in again.
These are the inspiring words from David Whyte that resonated with me:
"We shape our self to fit this world and by the world are shaped again" ~ David Whyte, taken from Working Together I wrote: We are born into a world already formed by people with their roles, ideas, and ways of being. We rely on them to keep us safe. We adopt the views on life through the eyes of others to fit this world, and be safe. Then comes a time when it fits no more. From comfort to irritation, like a hair shirt that itches and rubs the neck raw. Was it just in a blink of an eye? We have grown, but have yet to learn life's real lesson. The world is always at work, shaping us, giving us hair shirts, and messages that go unnoticed until we wake up. Then we realize we have to take off the clothes of conformity and discover our truth. In the shedding we allow ourselves to be shaped anew. ~ Val Boyko
This is a re-post from December 2016. No matter the dance that comes along, join in and be a part of the future as it unfolds.
The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.
– Alan Watts
I love this message … especially as we move into a new era that is sure to bring about many changes here in the US.
What we resist only persists… and adds to our own inner struggle.
Stop resisting, and start to accept that we are in for … Something that is yet to unfold.
When the seeds of change open, there must be growth.
So let’s embrace it, join in it and dance with it.
Each of us is a part of a future that has not been written.
Something much bigger than ourselves is at work here… and we are a part of it, whether we like it or not.
Don’t be a wallflower.
Join the dance.
This is a re-blog of a post that is a handy reference on human needs – and how important they are to ensure that we get them met. As we continue through these difficult times, more and more stress and distress will impact us all. May we all get our needs met and Find our Middle Ground.
Every human being has needs. It is part of the human condition. We were born with them and will go through most of our lives trying to get them met. When our needs are met we can fully access our humanity. Bringing compassion and kindness to ourselves and others.
Over the years as a life coach, I took several courses in Non Violent Communication. In NVC, needs are acknowledged and embraced. There is a vulnerable beauty behind our needs. The essence of who we are as human beings.
There are three groups of core needs that once we identify, we can honor: WELL BEING – SELF EXPRESSION – CONNECTION. Needs get a bad wrap…. but they shouldn’t. The more we recognize them, the more we can evolve and grow as human beings.
We often aren’t aware of our own needs, and it can be a powerful self-discovery to identify the ones that are most important to each of us. The needs below are grouped into the three categories. Pause for a moment and identify what needs resonate with you personally:
Health and Sustenance
Safety and Security
Celebration of life
Here is a self inquiry exercise to explore your needs more. Take a moment and ask yourself:
What am I grateful for?…
What needs are being met when I feel grateful?…
Now think of a time when you were upset, possibly at work or with a family member…
What needs were not being met?…
In all likelihood it would be about recognition, respect and a sense of belonging.
Needs drive us and are essential for our well being. When our needs are being met it opens the door to be in connection with ourselves and with others.
We come to see there is no need to judge ourselves or others any more.
We are more able to center ourselves in our Middle Ground and handle the the highs and lows of life.
“He who creates a poison, also has the cure.
He who creates a virus, also has the antidote.
He who creates chaos, also has the ability to create peace.
He who sparks hate, also has the ability to transform it to love.
He who creates misery, also has the ability to destroy it with kindness.
He who creates sadness, also has the ability to to covert it to happiness.
He who creates darkness, can also be awakened to produce illumination.
He who spreads fear, can also be shaken to spread comfort.
Any problems created by the left hand of man,
Can also be solved with the right,
For he who manifests anything,
Also has the ability to
― Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem
Once the horror and grieving is over, let’s get to work with our right hands to bring balance and peace.
This is a re-blog and a helpful guide for reflecting on the past year and looking ahead to 2021.
As we come to the end of 2020, its natural to reflect on the year that has gone by, as well as to look forward to the new year. I dropped New Year Resolutions many years ago – Getting into action in the dead of winter is extra hard work.
This is a time for reflection and semi-hibernation before the juices start flowing again in early spring.
Instead of New Year Resolutions I practice “kind sight” instead.
Here is a journaling exercise that you can do at a quiet moment now that the rush of the Holidays is over. I like to think of this as a Middle Ground moment. A time for being present, reflecting and allowing our inner wisdom to inspire us for whatever comes next.
Take a few moments to let yourself get settled and comfortable.
Start by reflecting with “kind sight”on the past year. “Kind sight” simply means being kind to yourself, instead of being critical and hard on yourself. With “kind sight” we are able to see mistakes as lessons, and life’s challenges as times of resiliency, courage and personal growth. This surely has been a year for all of that.
Ask yourself the following questions and write down your answers:
What happened during 2020….
What was a highlight?
What was a lowlight?
What was a surprise?
What do I feel proud of?
What do I feel grateful for?
What did I learn (or am still learning) from either the highlights or lowlights?
Some people do a month by month reflection, while others evaluate each area of their life (career, family, health, hobbies, learning, contribution, spirituality, travel, environment, self-care, personal growth)
Once you’ve reflected on 2020, write a Future Gratitude Letter:
This is a letter to yourself written a year in advance, describing all the things that you are grateful for during the year. Start with the date December 31 2021 and address it to yourself.
Include who you’ve become and what you now have or are moving towards. Be careful not to include anything that feels like a “have to” goal or something that you “should” achieve.
This is a letter of “kind sight” for the year ahead. The key is in the energy. If your energy feels uplifted when you think about the things you’re grateful for in a year’s time, then you are tapping into your own inner wisdom.
It’s a wonderful process, very revealing and enlightening, especially over the next year. Let the creative tension and intention begin its journey.
Last week I found myself feeling weary about the ongoing confinement and fear of infection so close to home. I realized I had to shift my perspective and find some light for the dark days ahead.
It was a week of “letting the dishes sit in the sink” in order to allow the stuck bits to release themselves rather than being forced. (This phrase is one of John J. Prendergast’s that he shared in a Zoom meeting exploring his latest book The Deep Heart. – Highly recommended!)
I went to sleep asking how I can make the most of the time ahead… and I woke up one morning with these words: Imagination. Creativity. Enthusiasm. Connection. These traits are available to us as human beings, and are essential for personal transformation and advancement of societies around the world. These are the gifts to use to take us through challenging times.
Imagination isn’t just for our entertainment but for our survival. If we cannot imagine a different way of being or a better way of doing things we would never be able to change, relate to, and adapt to the world around us.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”~ Albert Einstein
Take some time and ask yourself. “At this time, what is my imagination curious about and eager to explore?”
Matthew Fox writes in his book “Creativity”:
“Chaos reigns in our world today … What do we do with it? Creativity has an answer. We are told by those who have studied the processes of nature that creativity happens at the border between chaos and order. Chaos is a prelude to creativity…
We are creators at our very core. Only creating can make us happy, for in creating we tap into the deepest powers of self and universe and the Divine Self.”
Pause and ask yourself. “What is calling to be created out of this chaotic time?”
“Enthusiasm means there is deep enjoyment in what you do plus the added element of a goal or vision that you work toward. When you add a goal to the enjoyment of what you do, the energy-field or vibrational frequency changes. A certain degree of what you might call structural tension is now added to enjoyment, and so it turns into enthusiasm. At the height of creative activity fueled by enthusiasm, there is enormous intensity and energy behind what you do. You feel like and arrow that is moving towards a target – and enjoying the journey.”~Eckhart Tolle from “Oneness with Life”
Begin by making a list of the things you enjoy. Then ask yourself “What do I enjoy doing that I can set a goal around?” Feel the energy shift and go with it!
At the beginning of the pandemic, I slowed down and stepped back. It was an opportunity to Find my Middle Ground and find contentment within myself. The Spring and Summer were times of inner connection, retreating from the world and spending time in nature. This practice of being alone, however, can lead to a sense of isolation, especially when we can’t meet in person with those we love.
Connection inwards has shown me how important relationships with others are. We are all in this together, and will get through it together. There is hardship, illness and death for so many people. For those of us who are secure and well, we must reach out to others who may be struggling and let them know that we care. They are not alone.
This quote from Brene Brown comes to mind:
“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”
Moving forward into Winter, I plan to use my imagination and creativity; to inject enthusiasm into what I enjoy, and to connect authentically with others.
I’m curious to hear what this may have sparked in you.
When the chips are down
be grateful for the journey
Nothing has gone wrong
Change your perspective
Breathe in acceptance and love
Find your Middle Ground
When something goes wrong in our lives, we often spend a lot of time going over what happened. Our ego-mind goes into analytical mode, trying to figure it out, so it can fix it, or come up with a story that is acceptable. I found myself in this state earlier this week.
After two sleepless nights of going over an unexpected and disturbing event, and trying to come up with the answer that would make me feel better …. I woke up with the answer. In the calm of the dawn, there was no answer other than to breath in love and acceptance. To allow the heart to open and the mind to let go of trying to fix the unfixable.
When we move from our heads to hearts, transformation happens. Embracing loving kindness and simply allowing the things to be that we can’t control, shifts the energy and brings about balance.
I came across these words from The Deep Heart by John J. Prendergast
“It is enough that we listen and follow moment to moment. It is enough that we are open, are available, and take the next obvious step and see what happens. It is enough when the ordinary mind bows down to the wisdom of the heart and trusts the movement of a wiser current. When we surrender to it, a natural authority in the core of our being guides our life quite beautifully”
It is enough to trust our hearts and come from a place of love. When we do we are living from our Middle Ground.
Follow this link to find out more about finding your middle ground.
Photo by SplitShire on Pexels.com
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?
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.”
This is a (provocative) post for women, mothers, sisters and wives.
What if this is the time to let our sons, husbands, partners, colleagues, brothers, and adult children … find their own way?
In this stay-at-home working mother era, how many more times do you want to hear: “Where is the …?” “What have you done with my …?” “What’s for dinner?” …”What do we need at the store?”…
It seems to be such a habit for most of us to jump in to solve, find, soothe and show the way to support our males and children. We tell ourselves: “they need us”… “what would they do without us”… “we are good at this”… And we keep serving them and making sure their needs are met.
Isn’t it time for a shift in attitude and perspective? If you are tired, frazzled and feel out of balance, then the answer is absolutely YES.
You may be happy (to a point) to have your adult children home, but its up to you to set the guidelines and educate them about their role in this new family state. Reverting to the old ways doesn’t work any more, especially if you are the mother.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
“Am I contributing to old fashioned patriarchal habits from an earlier generation?”
Or consider “Why is it okay for the kids to disturb me rather than daddy when he is in his office?”
“What am I teaching my children about taking responsibility… equality… independence… speaking up?”
This is an opportunity to create a new era of true equality and get Mankind and Childrenkind to step up to support one another and the family.
To the women out there staying at home, does this ring true? Is there more pressure than ever for you to take on the role to support and ensure your menfolk and children feel comforted and loved? Are you depleting yourself by spending more time soothing and ensuring their needs are being met? And are you receiving the comfort and love that you want? Are you truly taking care of yourself? Are you getting your own needs met?
My heart goes out to you.
What if you let them find their own way and you gave yourself the time, space and nurturing that you desperately need.
Step back from taking care of everyone else. Instead of letting resentment build, speak up from your heart, and come to a new agreement on shared responsibilities at home.
Do this for yourself. For them. For the new future ahead.
This is not about making our country like the past, its about building a new future, and it begins with each one of us at home.
Today I attended a powerful meeting via Zoom from Michael Meade and the SAND community. SAND represents the cross pollination of ideas from science and spirituality. Michael Meade is a renowned author, and scholar of mythology, anthropology, and psychology. He took us into todays’s crisis and explored the myths and stories from ancient sources that can help us navigate this time of transition and transformation.
Where we are today is Liminal Space.
The word liminal comes from the Latin word ‘limen’, meaning threshold – any point or place of entering or beginning. A liminal space is the time between the ‘what was’ and the ‘next.’ It is a place of transition, a time of waiting and not knowing.
Liminal space is where real transformation takes place. When we learn to look into the space beyond, we find new insight and can follow our calling in the next chapter of life.
Author and theologian Richard Rohr describes this space as:
“where we are betwixt and between the familiar and the completely unknown. There alone is our old world left behind, while we are not yet sure of the new existence. That’s a good space where genuine newness can begin. Get there often and stay as long as you can by whatever means possible…This is the sacred space where the old world is able to fall apart, and a bigger world is revealed. If we don’t encounter liminal space in our lives, we start idealizing normalcy. The threshold is God’s waiting room. Here we are taught openness and patience as we come to expect an appointment with the divine Doctor.”
A threshold of waiting. Between the step before that was the past and the step forward into the unknown future. It is often seen as a sacred time where we retreat and contemplate the world as we have known it, and our place in it.
It feels just right for these times.
As I was exploring I came across more inspiration:
Sing to the shadows, sing and do not fear
But sing them into love little by little.
Begin the song exactly where you are.
And so I start again here in the middle.
– Malcolm Guite, The Singing Bowl
Yes, sing and transform fear into love. Start in your Middle Ground.
Coincidentally (or not), yesterday I attended a Kripalu Let your Yoga Dance class via Zoom with Jurian Hughes. We paused, then moved, danced, breathed, sang and found our own joyous rhythm in community. It was so uplifting.
Each one of us can find the joy and open our hearts to love. Find your voice, your song, your passion, your joy and a new rhythm for these times.
I truly believe that when we do this we will be better prepared to meet the collapse of the old and embrace the new.