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?

Live this Day

dawn sunset beach woman

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

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

Real Yoga

silhouette of man sitting on grass field at daytime

Photo by Spencer Selover on Pexels.com

For most people, yoga is a type of physical exercise that takes place in a studio or gym. It’s advertised as being good for the body and helps you become more flexible and fit.

I hope readers of this blog now realize that there is so much more to yoga. Modern yoga has dropped much of the older yogic practices, such as working with the breath (Pranayama), locks (Bandhas) and cleansing practices (Kriyas) which were key to yoga as a path to awakening.

Rather than lamenting how things are not like the old days … I will share some timely wisdom from Judith Lasater:

“To practice yoga in its deepest sense is to commit to developing awareness by observing our lives: our thoughts, our words, and our actions. There are many yoga techniques that can support us along the way, such as yoga poses, breathing practices, and meditation. But these are not ends in themselves, but means to the Self.

The real beginning of spiritual practice is evident when we accept responsibility for ourselves, that is, that we acknowledge that ultimately there are no answers outside of ourselves, and no gurus, no teachers, and no philosophies that can solve the problems of our lives. They can only suggest guide, and inspire.

It is our dedication to living with open hearts and our commitment to the day to day details of our lives that will transform us. When we are open to the present moment we shine forth. At these times we are not on a spiritual path: we are the spiritual path.”

~ Judith Lasater, from “Living Your Yoga” Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life

I feel honored to be a guide on this journey to awaken our true Self.

Namaste

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

 

Wu Hsin – What Is

table scraps

“Too much time is squandered on

What was and

What might be

Leaving only table scraps for

What Is”

Wu Hsin  from the Lost Writing of Wu Hsin translated by Roy Melvyn

Table scraps have their uses… yet can’t sustain us.

Pause and take time to Find your Middle Ground.

Embrace each moment fully and nourish your very being.

Namaste

 

Inspiration – Let it Go

This poem from Danna Faulds really resonated with me this week. Her work is such an inspiration.

let it go

Let go of the ways you thought life
would unfold: the holding of plans
or dreams or expectations – Let it
all go. Save your strength to swim
with the tide. The choice to fight
what is here before you now will 
only result in struggle, fear, and
desperate attempts to flee from
the very energy you long for. Let go.

 Let it all go and flow with the grace
that washes through your days whether
you receive it gently or with all your
quills raised to defend against invaders.

 Take this on faith: the mind may never
find the explanations that it seeks, but
you will move forward nonetheless.
Let go, and the wave’s crest will carry
you to unknown shores, beyond your
wildest dreams or destinations. Let it
all go and find the place of rest and
peace, and certain transformation.

~ Danna Faulds

COVID-19 is changing our society and the globe. It is reaching deep inside every one of us and turning our world upside down. Our dreams are on hold. Our faith is being questioned. We are being asked to let go of what we have thought is “normal”.

In our culture we are conditioned from an early age to expect to shine as an individual;  to make plans and achieve goals; to stand out above others,  pushing to succeed, strategizing to overcome and competing to win. We are also expected to be good consumers in order to achieve status and happiness and to show how successful we are. We thought that the pursuit of material things was the pursuit of happiness.

Many of us have been questioning these old ways for some time, and have come to realize that the wellspring of happiness lies within us, not in the external and material realm.

COVID-19 has changed all that. The old way of being doesn’t work any more. We must come together as a community, rather than compete against each other. We must work together to overcome the challenges that society faces now and in the future. We must embrace our global humanity and support each other, and our planet to sustain us. We must get creative and use our amazing minds for good rather than greed.

When we allow ourselves to fully experience life’s highs and lows,  it becomes clear that happiness doesn’t come from what we acquire or attain. It lies within us.

To find happiness we have to bring our attention into our inner world and let go of trying to control the outcomes of our life.

When we pause we transform.
Create this space for yourself.
Find your Middle Ground

Namaste

Become the Singing Bowl

adult adventure after the rain countryside

Photo by OVAN on Pexels.com

Singing Bowl

Begin the song exactly where you are,
Remain within the world of which you’re made.
Call nothing common in the earth or air,

Accept it all and let it be for good.
Start with the very breath you breathe in now,
This moment’s pulse, this rhythm in your blood

And listen to it, ringing soft and low.
Stay with the music, words will come in time.
Slow down your breathing. Keep it deep and slow.

Become an open singing-bowl, whose chime
Is richness rising out of emptiness,
And timelessness resounding into time.

And when the heart is full of quietness
Begin the song exactly where you are.

Malcolm Guite

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

Life Isn’t Personal

Photo by Sebastian Voortman on Pexels.com

The universe continues to unfold in each moment

Let it

You don’t have to control or hold on to anything

Just take time to pause and listen to your inner wisdom

Trust it’s soft voice

Mistakes and challenges have helped you grow into who you are today

Embrace whatever happens, knowing that you will continue to learn and grow

Nothing has gone wrong

Life continues in its highs and lows

Don’t take it personally

We are all in this together

Let Go and Find Yourself

” In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself. 

It will be a permanent Self, rooted in awareness and creativity. 

Once you have captured this you have captured the world.”                

~ Deepak Chopra

close up photo of woman with her hands tied with rope

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

Life is a journey of letting go in order to discover what really matters. Yet we find ourselves clinging to the past and the very things that bring suffering and hold us back.

Letting go is a part of the natural rhythm of life.

Letting go:

Of every exhalation

Of the day as we fall asleep

Of our children as they grow up and leave home

Of things that no longer serve us

Of a past that weighs us down

Of relationships that no longer nurture us

Of roles that we have outgrown

Of over thinking

Of our habits and conditioning

Of “me” “I” and “mine” as we experience our connection to something more than our little self.

  •  Take a few moments to pause and reflect on all the things that you have let go of in the past…
  • The things that you are working on right now…
  • And what you might still be holding on to…

Trust in your ability to let go and embrace it fully with an open mind and heart.

In taking these courageous steps every day we come to know our true permanent Self and move towards real freedom.

Namaste

A Question for the Future

This time of year can bring many questions and refections. Here is question to ponder. Enjoy this Middle Ground pause.

oooOooo

At this time of year it’s natural to reflect back and then look forward to what the New Year might bring.  Some of us set game plans and goals to accomplish… Others have intentions around our own evolution and inner journey…  And some of us like to stay in the present moment.

You know how I enjoy shifting perspectives and seeing things in a new way. Seeing things differently can bring clarity and break us free from conditioning and “stuckedness”.

I came across this question and knew I had to share with you. Go beyond your analytical, practical mind, and open up your intuition.  Let your inner guide answer this one.

Imagine your future self gives you a box and says the object symbolises your destiny.question mark boxWhat do you see when you open the box?

pause

Your box is as big as your imagination. It can be as large as a landscape or a small symbol that represents something more. Be open to whatever shows up.

This is what lies ahead for me.

tender heart

I pictured a rose quartz heart in a simple little box. It represents an open heart; self acceptance; bringing peace and compassion for self and others.

What’s in your destiny box?