Thursday, October 8, 2015

Fullness and Order

I cannot believe it has been almost two months since my last entry here...

There have been so many times I have intended to connect here, but as the saying goes - life got in the way!

At the beginning of September, I finished my summer project, which was to go through every closet, drawer, and cabinet in the house - generally lightening my load and footprint on the earth. The result is that now I can see where everything is - and have passed on the many things I no longer need.

I also embarked on a life-changing course of coming into greater health and wellness, and now, nearly two months later, I am reaping the fruits of my labor and enjoying its sweet harvest.

This morning, it was both sunny and cool, and I was moved to take my coffee down to the river, as I began nearly every morning years ago. The river called, and I longed to just go and be by its banks. It was swollen and full and much debris hugged the boat ramp after days of very heavy rains.

There I stood, breathing in the cleanness of the air, breathing in and out many repetitions of LovingKindness for so many that I know in need: those undergoing illness and recovery, trials and tribulations, challenges, and pain.

They poured out of me, and I sent prayers and healing energy to the many in need that have asked and those whose images arose and spontaneously crossed my mind...

I sent the prayers and intentions out, and they were carried away by wind and waves - supplications that I know will be gently laid at the footsteps of the Divine.

Then I reflected on my own life - on the space that I have created for something new...

I still feel as though I am between worlds and lifetimes - between the here and now and the not yet - as if there is some role I have not begun to play but seem to constantly be in preparation for.

And then I had a beautiful image of the divine hands of Mother Mary, under a blue cape, showing me the many thousands I have encountered or connected with throughout my lifetime - students, readers of blogs and writings, those who listen to my daily meditations and those I have met online and through social media. And suddenly, the world got so much smaller.

it was comforting to see and sense those connections - especially those from other decades of my life, that have only been made possible through the internet.

I also thought of my recent trip to Florida for the wedding of the daughter of a friend from high school and college. Not only did I get to see them - but also my roommate from college. We spent days on the beach, walking, and talking and sharing a room - as if 42 years had never gone by.

And then, as I stood on the swollen banks of this river that has seen me through so much pain, sorrow - but most importantly - interior growth - and I had two more strong insights:

Everything has transpired in the Divine order of things!

And, my heart is full!

An incredible feeling overcame me - of being so full, and enveloped in a mantle of Divine Love and support, that in my heart of hearts I knew that all would not only be well - but that it already IS well!

Everything has unfolded according to plan. I do not need to wait for anything. It is all here. It has happened. It is done! Every moment where love is shared, where a prayer is offered - where compassion is extended was my reason for being here.

And then I prayed for openness of heart and spirit - to be cleansed and to have both my heart and soul be made whiter than snow. I prayed to embody more compassion.

Yes, a sense of fullness pervaded everything - and love - and a deep recognition that all was in the Divine Order of Things!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Turning Over a New Leaf

There are times when we are ready to turn the page...

Or, turn a corner.

There are simply times when change is inevitable...

There are moments in our lives when we are driven to release all that holds us back. it is truly a time when we feel compelled to toss out the old, to make space for the new.

There are times when a new life beckons. We hear it whispering in our ear. At first quietly, and then more loudly...

This is one of those moments...

I have literally finished with a major purge in my home, and I feel a lightness of being and a surge of creativity that has eluded me for a very long time. It is almost hard to keep up with myself and the thoughts that are running through my mind - literally a mile a minute!

And so I have also decided to make more healthy choices in my life as well - in terms of what I eat and drink, and this weekend held a "Farewell Party" for a number of items!

I arose into a new dawn. I went for a walk, meditated this morning, and then did some affirmations to support my new endeavors. Only then could I plunge into my activities for the day.

I breathe. Quietly, easily...

I hear the truck come to pick up the pile of boxes and bags outside. I give intent that these items go wherever they are most needed.

I arise into a new day.

I breathe...

I open new doors..

And a Voice deep within simply whispers:

"Be still and know...



The season will change and give way to another.

And all shall be well!"

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Reconnections and Transitions

This morning on my walk, I thought about a conversation I had with a dear friend yesterday who had just had surgery.

My friend and I spoke of the fragility of life as she has experienced it in her volunteer work in hospice. And late last night, I found out that another friend and former student, herself in hospice, had transitioned. I felt sad I was not able to say goodbye to her. 

One of the things my friend noted in our conversation, is that we all prepare for death in different ways. And I suppose, it is not unlike the way we choose to live our lives.

In many ways, this year has been transitional for me. It feels like an "in-between" time - somewhere between "what has been" and "what is not yet," whatever that may be. Sometimes the longest and deepest journey is the one we take within.

As I stand on the threshold of 60 years, I have been contemplating and reflecting on many things: What I still want to accomplish and experience, what no longer serves me, and how I would like to spend my remaining time here on earth. For example, I notice I no longer have any more patience for negativity - and most especially for people, situations, or things that sap my energy. I am very sensitive to boundaries - those that I establish, which I guard fiercely, and those I sense around me - in a way I have never been before.

I guard my time for solitude. For prayer. For creativity. I guess I can no longer say - I have all the time in the world.

I have spent months simplifying and am nearing the first and very comprehensive phase of a life-long journey. It feels good. I have created the necessary space in my life for whatever may come and whatever may be.

I have made recent important choices that give priority to my health. However many years I have left - I want to live them well.

But one of the most interesting things that has happened this year, is that I have made re-connections with friends, family members, colleagues and students, from all phases of my life! It amazes me, as I look back throughout the year, how many of these encounters have taken place - sometimes as often as twice a week! Some people I had not seen since the 70's, some since the 80's, and others since the early 90's.

This year I have met friends from grade school - and high school - and college. I have spent time with colleagues from my first teaching job. And connected with former students - the oldest of which are now in their fifties!

As my dear friend noted yesterday, it has given me the blessing of seeing and knowing the impact my life has had on others. And as another friend noted recently - there must be a a deeper meaning to all of this, particularly when I have served as the catalyst for the reunion of friends.

I am amazed and grateful for these blessings in my life! Sometimes I feel I am being granted an opportunity to re-live portions of my life once again, or to at least be able to look back and review them. It reminds me of the life-review that is often spoken of by those who've died and returned.

Earlier in the summer, as I recycled so many notes and papers I had held on to throughout the many decades of my life, I was deeply moved as I took the time to read and review many thank you notes, before I finally released them in deep gratitude.

It is truly a time for reconnections, greater simplicity and transitions. Maybe this is only the beginning. Or maybe I am being shown a way to ride into the sunset of my years with more gratitude.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sacred is the Pause

"Sacred is the pause
that brings us into stillness."
~Macrina Weiderkehr

The summer is flying by quickly. I hardly know where it it going...

I have not spent much time writing this year, but it has been a time of transformations none-the-less... 

During the last few months many of my friends have lost parents or dealt with their illnesses, and as many of us stare down a 6th decade or find ourselves already residing there - the reality of mortality stares many of us in the face.

So, it is a time to pause. To think. To re-evaluate our lives. To take stock of our journey thus far - the direction we have taken - and ultimately, to consider the weight of our possessions.

Sacred is the pause, indeed...

In these last few months, of change and transformation for many, the very act of deeply simplifying has beckoned...

I have roamed room by room - and drawer by drawer - divesting myself of things - sometimes brutally - only to roam in the same environs again and remove even more. It is my intention to live as "Zen-like" as I can - so that I can open closets and drawers and see very few things - and yet to be able to immediately see what is in there - and know that these things are there only because they are truly needed...

I am a good way on the road there...

How do we get to this point in our lives - where we become so overwhelmed by a lifetime of possessing?

I think back to all those years of purchasing things I did not use - that got put away - and lost in the process - some of them supposed status symbols, and other items just things I didn't even know I had. I have revisited memories of files, notes, letters, and cards, before they made its way into a recycling bin.

Months ago, I read the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering by Marie Kondo, at a dear friend's suggestion, just as I was in the midst of disposing of much. The book seems to have taken many by storm.

This journey towards greater simplicity has become an imperative. Disposing is at times incisive - and my actions almost surgical. One thing gets pulled out - something else gets left behind...

Do I really need this or that?

Or, as Kondo suggests - we should ask of each item as we touch it: "Does it bring me joy?" If it does, you keep it. If it doesn't, you thank it and send it on to where it may be needed.

I feel like I am doing my son a favor. He will have less to go through and dispose of. A friend who has much recently told me, it is for her nieces and nephews to worry about it all...

But, I feel that all these "things" stand in the way of whatever the next step in my life is.

As I went through books yesterday, I picked up Miracles of Mind, and just happened to read this:

"For a person to be able to regularly access [a] harmonious relationship with the universal field of energy, he or she is likely to lead a simplified life, unencumbered by multiple activities or numerous stressful interactions..."

I guess I was meant to find this. Simplicity enables one to truly embody a life of healing.

I long for greater simplicity - to live more gently on the earth, and in my home monastery, as I cultivate more deeply my own pilgrim heart.

But that, is another entry altogether - a growing desire and need for pilgrimage, and not totally in a traditional sense!" Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Choose Love

It has been a long time since I have made an entry here...

Longer than I ever have in nearly 8 years...

So many things have happened, and I wanted to document them them at the time - events occurring in my life - and in the world as well. Some were magical. Some improbable. Some were mystical - and many, just surprising...

But solitude, seeking solace, journeying inward, and nurturing my spirit prevailed instead. It was all the Divine order of things...

But it doesn't really matter...

Throughout all that has happened - and all that has not - I had but one lesson that was presented to me over and over again.

I summarize it in this way:

"Choose LOVE!"

Whatever the question, the answer is always the same:

Choose LOVE!

Whatever the tasks and the challenges at hand,

Choose LOVE!

Whatever life presents to you - whatever the slights, or the triumphs,

Choose LOVE!

Every time we choose love, something changes. Something shifts. Something improves...

There is hope. There is joy. And there is love.

Take a moment today to consider what weighs most deeply in your heart and in your mind. And then choose love. Even if it seems impossible. Choose it nonetheless. Watch your life change. Subtly at first. Watch your perspective broaden. Watch how your heart embraces your sister. And your brother. For every person on this planet is both your sister and your brother.

Choose LOVE!

For what else is there? What other response can we choose? What else matters?

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Choose Joy

"Choose joy."

No matter the question or the situation - choose joy...

This is the message I received, just a week ago today, when I experienced darshan with Mother Meera for the fourth time in the last few years. The moment I looked into her infinite eyes, it was like gazing deeply into the cosmos and into Eternity. Time stood perfectly still. I sat in my seat and meditated afterwards, feeling her hands still placed on my head, as she continued to purify my soul.

Every opportunity I have darshan with Mother, I receive exactly what I need...

The first two times, my life was tumultuous and I was in such a state of need, but by the third time I had navigated rough waters and left it behind, and so my experience was lighter, more blissful, and joyous...

This time, it was all about joy - feeling joy - embodying joy - becoming joy - and most importantly - I was prompted to share joy...

Everything I read or came across during the course of the week was a reminder to experience and spread joy...

I change the background picture on my laptop and Facebook page and inscribe the caption "Choose Joy" next to beautiful pink magnolias blooming against a radiant blue sky.

This is not to say this is an easy task - for it is truly not.

I am gently reminded to begin and end each day in joy. To choose it. Mindfully.

As I prepare to embark on a journey, I am reminded to take peace and joy with me and to abide there as much as possible.

And if I do this, and I continue to practice it, some day I may forever abide in a state of joy that will spill into the next life. And it will be Endless!

Choose joy!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Back Into the River

This week, for the first time in almost three years, I went back into the river...

Yes, this same river that for several years, beginning in '08, first invited me in, and then beckoned... And so, I obediently responded to its calling, bought a kayak, and without any experience, launched myself off from the shore into a Great Unknown, relinquishing all control over where it would take me - both inwardly and outwardly...

For the next few years, in stillness and silence, the River taught me all I needed to know. It yielded up its secrets, as I was companioned by blue herons and the bass fish that occasionally jumped out of the water to give me the once over...

I forded into the waters and mists in the fog, performed penitential rituals during the High Holy Days, and chanted mantras in various sacred languages, over and over again. And in my ear the River whispered over and over again - "Let it go. Do not fight the current. Just flow"... and many more such sayings.

I paddled upstream, sometimes laboriously, repeating the Magnificat in Latin, during one cold Advent - and floated downstream on a sunny and warm summer morning...

So many insights were granted...

But then, three years ago, I needed to replace my vehicle, and no longer had a truck to haul Grace, my kayak down to the river...

A month ago, I decided to buy an inflatable kayak and so I did. And on Monday, the first truly warm and sunny day of the last couple of months, I launched back into the water. On this day, my husband started a new job, and I - teaching a new yoga session. So it was fitting that I paddle into the river once more, in search of new and great spiritual adventures!

It will take some getting used to kayaking again. It takes time to inflate the kayak, and it has a different feel as well - but I am grateful just to have the opportunity to commune with the river once again...

I am rusty, and a little hesitant in the water - I will have to regain some of that confidence I had paddling in a more solid boat - and yet my spirit now is lighter and has transcended so much of the sorrow and grief that first propelled me into the water, so in a way, my new vessel is a metaphor for this current phase of my life!

Yes, it seems fitting indeed, that on a day of so many firsts - and on a day which was also the day after Easter and the Resurrection - I should resurrect the practice of something I have loved and which fed my spirit for so long!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Vernal Equinox New Moon and Eclipse Offerings

A gentle snow falls, on this day of triple plays - of the Vernal Equinox, a New Moon, and a Solar Eclipse. A powerful confluence of energies conspires to shift things within us and catapult us into transformation!

I am excited to see the breathtaking beauty of what will perhaps be the last snowflakes until winter dawns once again...

I head down to the river and am blessed to have it all to myself. The graying sky for a moment reminds of The Mists of Avalon - and I half expect the mists to be parted, revealing a hidden magical kingdom!

Out in the gentle snow fall, with an occasional cardinal hopping from one snow laden branch to the other, and geese flocking in formation, I speak my prayers, my affirmations, and my Lovingkindness recitations - offered up like a Litany of saints...

I speak my prayers and intentions out loud in hopes that they will move mountains and shift energy, for indeed it is right and just - and necessary - as proclaimed in the Catholic liturgy.

I reflect on a host of astrological interpretations of the signs in the heavens, and settle on these insights as the ones from which I derive most consolation:

"Return, return return... and enter the stillness through meditation, prayer or ceremony offering gratitude for the gift of Life and All that Is...

From simple acts of kindness, beginning with the Self, the revolution will birth forth from within each of us. For as we heal, we help others heal. As we shift our vibrations, we contribute in unseen ways to uplifting the energetic web that connects us all...

We might call this a pivot point, a time of choosing new options and releasing the old. It is a time for breakthroughs and insights, when we can ride the energies of change into a new future...

Practice the Law of Allowing. That is create the space for others to find their own answers... If you want to help other people, role model a great life. When you do what is right for you, it is right for everyone else. The Law of Attraction is matching your energy, words and behavior."

To create the space for others to find their own answers by modeling a great life - that is what calls to me. For living a great life does not mean a life of fame or wealth - but one of profoundly touching those around us, as a beautiful soul reminded me yesterday...

And so, on this day, I recommit once again to being the best that I can be and to contributing in every possible way to making this world a better place.

For more information and to see the entry from which the quotes were taken: