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.”

 

 

Nothing Stays the Same

Three weeks ago I began to write this post. As I came back to it, I realized that nothing stays the same. When we address what is going on inside of us, we can shift our experience of the world.

green dragonfly on tree branch

The dragonfly is a symbol of transformation and change. Photo by Ryan Delfin on Pexels.com

All around me people seem to be getting back into their social lives. Next door is having a birthday party. It started with kiddies enjoying themselves in the pool, then more family members and friends joining in with karaoke.

I feel apart. I can’t imagine having that much fun these days. Friends are moving away. Family is across the ocean. My community of likeminded souls in Kripalu is closed for the rest of the year. I am home in a lovely place with a man who is struggling right now. Lets face it, the cancer diagnosis and treatment over 4 years has taken its toll.

The vibrancy and appreciation of life has diminished. There is gratitude for being here … Yet the celebration has died.

We lost our middle dog Dilys, two weeks ago. She was such a bright spirit and cheeky wee dog. She made me smile, and still does with all those memories. The older dog Meghan isn’t doing well and has to take a lot of meds and special food to prevent kidney failure. Teddy, the young boy is enjoying the attention and becoming quite the man about the house. There is calm.

I tell myself “My external world has shrunk. I must ignite my inner world if I am to get through this.”

This was a notice to deep within. It’s time to acknowledge and accept fully what is happening right now. It’s time to ask myself what I can do to become excited and inspired once again! Can I relax enough to allow the opening of my heart instead of the evaluating and somewhat judging mind?

As part of my ongoing Retreat approach to this time, I had enrolled in two online experiences for July. The first was a 6 week writing experience and sharing with Roger Housden and a group of fellows on their own path to explore their inner world and awakening through writing.

The second, was a one day retreat with Jonathan Foust on self inquiry as part of the spiritual path.

Well folks, I am happy to report that both have ignited something that is ready to be expressed and to be celebrated. I am writing again, reaching out to others, and finding laughter and joy in my days. In the highs and lows of life, I have rediscovered contentment.

May we all find our way to live from our heart and our Middle Ground.

Namaste

 

Stepping Back into the World – Gently

Stepping back into life

Photo by Jas Poole

Dear Readers and Friends, I hope you are well and finding balance in these challenging times. The past few months have been interesting, to say the least … and they seem to be continuing! I am at a loss for words with what I see and hear around me.

At the beginning of the pandemic, I was concerned for others, yet I was filled with hope that we would all come together and support each other in creating a new way of life together; one that cared for each other and the planet. Yet the divisions and strife grow every day. People take sides and believe the unbelievable ….

My mind is losing hope, yet my heart still trusts in what is unfolding. I recall Osho’s words “Remember the emphasis on the heart. The mind lives in doubt and the heart lives in trust. When you trust, suddenly you become centered.”

On a personal level, I am also trusting in my own unfolding. As I wrote in my previous post,
Update-Retreat I have been nurturing myself in my cocoon, teaching yoga on Zoom and taking some online courses. At the beginning of July I began Roger Housden’s course for writers, non writers and poets called “Dropping the Struggle”. I am part of a group of ten who come together and write, prompted by Roger’s wisdom.

It has sparked my inner wisdom and voice again. I am stepping back into the world, gently.

I realize that we all struggle. Each of us struggles in our own way. Many of us keep it to ourselves and try to lock out the pain. Others weep more openly. Many more can’t admit or face this tender wound. There is a lot of confusion and pain in us humans. Especially now.

More than ever, this is a time for understanding, compassion and listening to others … and to our own inner voice.

We will get through this together not apart.I look forward to sharing some old, new and timeless insights with you.

Namaste

 

Inspiration – Light beyond Dark

green leafed trees

Photo by Jonathan Petersson on Pexels.com

“The dark does not destroy the light;

it defines it.

Its our fear of the dark that casts our

joy into the shadows.”

~ Brene Brown

Take a moment to reflect on how this appears in your life right now.

Instead of wishing the dark away, how can we embrace it and uncover our joy?

In this time of crisis, accepting the difficulties, the fear and the rollercoaster of emotions that show up is so important. Only in facing our fear can we allow the light to shine forth.

I have found the light when I shift my focus from anxiety to gratitude.

I am grateful to have the hot water to shower in the morning and wash my hands throughout the day. I am grateful that I can get food at the store. I am grateful for Spring and the changing landscape of colors and textures every day. I am grateful for the feel of sun on my face. I am grateful to have furry and non furry beings who love me. I am grateful for technology that lets me connect with people near and far. I am grateful to be alive and well.

Take a moment and reflect on what you are grateful for….

Notice the inner shift.

From anxiety to gratitude.
From fear to love.

There is a nourishing power here. Find your middle ground.

Namaste

Every Step is Holy

naked trees cover by snow

Photo by Tobias Bjørkli on Pexels.com

Every Step is Holy

By Danna Faulds

The journey from the known
to unknown, from the
unreal to the real, is rarely
revealed in advance.
The potholes, detours,
false starts, and quick retreats
are each honorable,
and even needed in the bigger
scheme, in the forest that can’t
be seen between the trees.

It took years for me to realize
that the very twists and turns
and shadows I labeled “problems”
were really sacred ground
grace disguised as obstacles,
the whole pass a pilgrimage,
mysteries baring themselves
before me all along the way.

 

Grace disguised as obstacles as we step together through our lives of potholes and detours… walking each other home.

Being there for our selves and others on this journey is the ultimate in grace.

Namaste

When You Lose Heart

“The next time you lose heart and you can’t bear to experience what you’re feeling, you might recall this instruction: change the way you see it and lean in. 
Instead of blaming our discomfort on outer circumstances or on our own weakness, we can choose to stay present and awake to our experience, not rejecting it, not grasping it, not buying the stories that we relentlessly tell ourselves.
This is priceless advice that addresses the true cause of suffering — yours, mine, and that of all beings”.

~ Pema Chodron, Taking the Leap

letting go in yin yoga

Reading these wise words I think of poses in yoga, especially Yin, where we lean in to the physical and emotional discomfort and embrace the sensations and thoughts that come up.

Surprisingly it is the poses of surrender and letting go, rather than strength building that can be the most challenging for us.

Our practice on the mat is a great metaphor for life. We learn to be present with whatever comes up and use our breath to lean into it. Accepting where we are in that moment.

Breathe into whatever is occurring …. knowing it will pass.

Let there be no blame, just presence on our mat and in life.

Namaste

There Are No Perfect Human Beings and We Can all be Assholes

“There are no perfect human beings! Persons can be found who are good, very good indeed, in fact, great.

There do in fact exist creators, seers, sages, saints, shakers, and movers…even if they are uncommon and do not come by the dozen.

And yet these very same people can at times be boring, irritating, petulant, selfish, angry, or depressed.

To avoid disillusionment with human nature, we must first give up our illusions about it.”

Abraham Maslow from Motivation and Personality

This reminds me of fellow blogger Ann Koplow’s Asshole song from her debut Fringe show in Edinburgh.

We can all be assholes!

So what?…

So expect others to have their good days and bad days.

So give yourself a break when you are not feeling on top of the world all the time, or if you know you have been an asshole.

So let go of the illusion – the beliefs about how you “should” be, and how others “should” be.

Accept that life is a series of highs and lows.

And most importantly – be kind towards the parts of you that are in the dark.

Embracing Shadow Self by Rita Loyd

Embracing Shadow Self by Rita Loyd

Hugs to all parts of you.

The asshole in me greets the asshole in you.

Silent Celebration

Free photo 83025747 © creative commons stock photos – Dreamstime.com

A catbird tries to fly
against the wind only
to be blown backward.
I know that feeling –
setting out with certainty
and arriving somewhere
entirely different. When
I respond with acceptance
to my unexpected
destination, the sun
clangs its cymbals of
light in silent celebration.

~ Danna Faulds

Stop trying to fly against the wind and fully embrace where you are in the highs of lows of life. Celebrate the unexpected… and the sunshine today!

 

Inspiration – Accepting the Whole of our Experience

amoebas dividing

“The real reason why human life can be so utterly exasperating and frustrating is not because there are facts called death, pain, fear, or hunger.

The madness of the thing is that when such facts are present, we circle, buzz, writhe, and whirl, trying to get the “I” out of the experience. We pretend that we are amoebas, and try to protect ourselves from life by splitting in two.

Sanity, wholeness, and integration lie in the realization that we are not divided, that man and his present experience are one, and that no separate “I” or mind can be found.

To understand music, you must listen to it. But so long as you are thinking, “I am listening to this music,” you are not listening.”

~ Alan Watts

This last line from Alan Watts really hit home. I recall sitting in meditation, and my mind telling me over and over again “I am meditating” rather than embracing the actual experience of what it is to be present.

How many times do we read something, and rather than absorbing its full meaning and the underlying feelings, we simply read words.

When we separate ourselves from the full experience and feeling, we detach ourselves from life itself, and become actors playing out our roles.

Next time, you find yourself detaching (Or splitting yourself into two like and amoeba) pause. Notice what’s  happening while its happening. Then ask “Am I aware of what I am feeling right now?”

Just When you Think You’ve Got it

unseen events

“Forests Edge” Photo by Mike Bizeau at http://www.naturehasnoboss.com

Many of us continue our path into 2019. We are on a journey of curiosity, inner exploration, trying on new ideas, committing to better behaviors, taking care of ourselves … and taking time out to nourish mind, body and spirit.

We see ahead clearly and then something comes along to bring doubt, temptation, discomfort or rejection.

So soon… Really?

The most significant lessons are unexpected. And they often come along just when we were hoping or counting on something else.

Let them be wake up calls rather than obstacles in your mind.

Be alert. Wake up.

The class of your life is in session.

Take time to pause and reflect on the real lesson waiting to be seen.

 

p.s. My thanks to Mike Bizeau for the permission to share this image.