Thursday, January 31, 2008

My Birds Of Paradise

It is not often I find myself kneeling in snow. But the other day, instinct and gratitude brought me to my knees. Following the gentle whispers I have come to know as God, I went for a cold and sunny walk through Akron park. Listening to the soft suggestions going on in my brain, I followed the road above the creek. It was on that road, bliss burst through and stopped me in my tracks. It was on that road in a tree to my left, my personal paradise revealed itself.

Hanging from the underbelly of a limb, hammering away, was a rare and glorious Pileated Woodpecker. The largest woodpecker in North America. I have seen this rare bird an average of once a year, flying quickly by me and out of sight. Suddenly, here it was, in full view without aid of binoculars, doing what woodpeckers do.
It stayed in my view for no less than 20 minutes, swooping from tree to tree, trilling and calling and hammering for bettles slumbering beneath the cover of bark. It was when its mate flew in and landed nearby, I fell to my knees. They stayed together, in my view, for 10 minutes. Calling and joining each other on successive trees. At one point they were even joined by my favorite bird, the red-bellied woodpecker, and at that moment, I had to consciously open my heart wider to receive such levels of joy.
The Pileated Woodpeckers flew off towards the creek, one behind the other, bouncing silently over the cold air. I turned my attention back to the whispers within and wandered through the park. I fascinated myself with my own footprints in pristine expanses of snow. I leaned against elderly hemlocks and suddenly, I heard the calls. The woodpeckers were back in my view. They regaled me with their presence for another 10 minutes before chattering their way along the creek. My smile was miles wide and a lightness lifted me 3 feet above the snow.
Had I chosen to stay indoors, I would have missed a glimpse into my personal paradise. Had I ignored the whispers and instincts, my knees would have stayed warm, but I would have missed the making of a life-long memory. So little effort brought so much reward. I heeded my instincts and happiness flew in.
{Tthe photo of Drycopus Pileatus, all 16 to 20 inches of feathers, is a stock photo image}

Sunday, January 27, 2008

What Do You Love?

Today, I want you to quiet your monkey-mind. The part of your mind that swings wildly from one illusion to another. From one worry to another. From one judgement to another. I want you to practice focusing the part of your mind that leads you into made-up trouble on something positive. Practice focusing for one minute. Yes, just one minute. I want you to think about what you love. Not who you love. That's another minute. This minute, I want you to think about what you love. Because it takes a bit of concentration and the monkey-mind must come to a rest while thinking positive thoughts.

While you're contemplating, I'll share with you what I love:

*The first scent of apple blossoms in May
*Orange roses
*The laughter of the red-bellied woodpecker
*Stained glass windows
*Lancet arches
*The color cerulean blue
*Rose petal tea
*European chocolate
*Hiking along a creek
*Autumn leaves
*Every single bird
*Skeleton keys
*The poetry of Pablo Neruda
*Hot wine soup
*Moonlight on snow
*Red shoes

Like me, you will find that one minute is highly insufficient for focusing on things you love. One minute could easily turn into hours. And those pleasant hours will seem like minutes.
You see, love is the secret to making everything more positive. Focus on love and illusion retreats. Focus on love and worries abate. Next time your monkey-mind is swinging out of control, take a deep breath and focus on anything you love. Keep a list handy of your personal, positive loves and refer to it in times of need. Add to your list on a daily basis.
When you turn your thoughts to something highly personal and highly positive, blood pressure drops. Tears dry up. Shoulders relax. Give your mind a needed rest. Focus on what you love.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Goddess Shift

For the women I know and love, and the women I have yet to know and come to love, and the women I will never have the privilege to meet, take heart, Dear Ones. We are individually and collectively in the midst of a shift. A shift of magnificent proportions. A shift of focus. A shift of purpose. A shift instituted and driven by the force of Love. We are in the midst of the Goddess Shift.
If you are awake and aware, you have no doubt felt the effects of this shift. It is felt in the hours of depression that seep into your daily round. It is felt in the tears that fall for unclear reasons. It is felt in the yearnings for something that cannot be named. It is felt in the unexpected happiness that swells in your heart when you peer through the doorway of a new-to-you world. The seeping and falling and yearning and swelling are signals that the life you have been leading is asking to evolve. Evolution is pressing at your window, asking you to let go of outmoded self-deprecation, outmoded dependencies, and outmoded excuses for playing small.
The upheaval or unease or new twinkle in your eye is shifting your personal evolution into a higher gear. A gear that is needful to keep pace with the coming opportunities to blanket the world with more Love. What is required to blanket the world? Women in charge of themselves. Women who have slurped rancid water from gutters and risen above those gutters one limb at a time. One small effort at a time. One small prayer and one pound of emotional strength at a time. Women who have found the strength of Goddesses in the marrow of their beings and lifted themselves above the manic fray. This is what Love requires to heal the world of its ills. You are being asked to heal yourself, so you may assist in the healing of others.
Upheaval and depression and new ideas that catch your attention are shifting you out of your old lesser-self and ushering in a refined, more balanced inner beauty. The shift can be painful, depending on how invested you have been in playing small and dismissing your value. The sooner you understand how important you are, how precious you are and how much your personal gifts can contribute to the healing of the world, the sooner the shift becomes bearable. Navigable. Enjoyable.
You are a participant in this Goddess Shift because you have something no one else can contribute to the healing puzzle. You have a brand of love that the world cannot balance itself without. Keep rising up one limb at a time. Keep crying until the vision of your true beauty becomes clear. Keep telling yourself you are capable enough to fulfill your needs. Keep exploring. Keep praying. And along the way, keep one hand out to help the next shifting Goddess stay on track.
See yourself. Heal yourself. Allow the shift. And do your part to blanket the world with Love.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Winter's Opportunity

In the depths of winter, a quiet form of despair can seep into our minds. A weighted apathy can slow our pace. A disinterest in the world can shut us away. We wonder where our enthusiasm went. We wonder where our passion went. Friends don't satisfy us. Books don't satisfy us. Food is always on our minds. We feel stuck. Bloated. Impatient. We worry this will not pass.
In the depths of winter, we put on the death mask. The mask is an opportunity to turn away from the world and look within. It is an opportunity to embrace stillness. In that stillness of the death-mask experience, we are invited to look at our true selves. We are invited to relinquish our false and fearful selves. We are invited to die to all that holds us back from realizing our full potential.
The death mask, with its accompanying despair and apathy and disinterest, is a divine tool of transformation. The only way to transform and move towards greater levels of happiness, is to see ourselves clearly as we are~ beings deserving of joy and goodness and loving kindness. We must turn away from the world and its distractions to see and hear the truth of ourselves. We must turn away for a time, to uncover new worlds within. To know ourselves more intimately. To attend to the rage and the shame that holds us back. To feel how beautiful we are.
We must die to the false beliefs we have stubbornly held about ourselves. We must die to the idea we are less than others because of our life circumstances. We must die to the notion our every life-affirming wish cannot come true.The death mask is ours to embrace. We are not stuck. We are transforming. Through the gifts of despair and apathy, we can choose to turn inwards. We can choose to use winter's opportunity to heal our darkness and reveal our light.
{This is a post from last year. Although the idea of friends or books not satisfying me does not apply currently, I re-read this post and thought to myself, "if this notion would apply to even one person right now, and they read it and it helped in even a small way, it is worth re-posting." If that person is you, my highest blessings go with you.}

Monday, January 14, 2008

My Essential Yoga

This morning, my world was turned upside down. In a good way. All because of Yoga. I have been the blessed recipient of unintentional private Yoga lessons each Monday morning since last September. I joined a new studio and have been the only dedicated soul to claim Monday mornings as the best time for my practice. Each week I am inspired and planted more firmly on a course of contentment. Each week I am asked to set an intention for my session and my forthcoming days. ( Today: "go with the flow") Each week I get stronger and more willing to find out just what my body can do. And what my body can do is more than I ever thought possible.

Yoga is helping me to understand just how open I really am, even when there are too many days I think I am closed. It is helping me to understand how willing I am to try new things and how willing I am to be my own best support system. The postures and breath work are aiding me in stability and awakening me to my inner resources. If I can hold myself in a position longer than last week, I know I am getting stronger on all levels of my being, not just the physical. If I can reach just a bit farther than last week, I know I am becoming more flexible in all areas of my life.

So, this morning, when I was encouraged to try inverted postures, I knew my world would be turning upside down this week. With the help of my instructor, Kathy, I managed 2 handstands. With the help of a wall and Kathy's encouragement, I managed 1 smooth headstand. Strength keeps building, new perspectives are being embraced and if my world does turn upside down, I will have the fortitude to meet it. Hopefully, with grace.

{For anyone Yoga-curious living in the Buffalo, NY area, please give my new friend, Kathy, a visit at her studio. Find out how Yoga can change your perspective about yourself and build strength on all levels. Essential Yoga is located at 9830 Main St. in Clarence, across from the post office. Call 716-759-7303 for rates and class schedules.}

Photo of inverted Kestrel is a stock photo image. One of my favorites...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Frost and Clarity

Very little is clear. Frost and hesitation and doubt are obscuring my view. Both inner and outer. Decisions feel too big to handle, yet the perception of light is there. Just beyond my doubts. Just beyond the limitations I have outgrown, yet still choose to shield myself with.

Very little is clear. But I have decided to relax. I have decided to take the new road and put my needs and well being in the hands of God, instead of thinking I have to figure everything out on my own.

Logistics. Safety. Funding. Sanity. I'm handing it over. I'm going to take a nap. Or maybe read a book. Or create something with my hands. Or attend to the needs of someone else. I'm going to let go, and let God steer and make it clear. I'm going to let go and accept the outcome labeled, "this is for your highest good".

I'm going to live in the moment and trust. Trust that my life and its details are of interest to the Loving Energy that made me. Trust that, with little effort and worry, decisions will come easily and the light of truth will be revealed.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

3 Things~ Lao Tzu

I have just three things to teach:
Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These are your three greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.


Sunday, January 06, 2008

A New Day

The word of the day is "new". New music to listen to, new tea to drink, new curtains to hang on my window. New-to-me effects on my computer to play with, new authors to read, new business to lift out of my brain and into the 3rd dimension. This day and this month and this year are all about new beginnings. Numerologically, 2008 is a "one" year and ones mean new beginnings. New opportunities. New adventures. New levels of awareness.

The most important "new" of this day and this month and this year for me will be a new mindset. It will take a conscious effort on my part to be open to new things, new people, and new thoughts. To welcome anything new and fresh and beneficial, I will need to change my mind about the way I see my world. I will need to disregard and move beyond inhibiting patterns of thought, like the one that covertly tells me I don't quite deserve the same level of goodness I see others allowing themselves to have. Or the one that overtly tells me that to be seen is to be made vulnerable. And vulnerable is not in the comfort zone.

This is the time in my life, this is the year in my life to come out of the comfort zone to a greater degree than I have previously felt capable. Because, really, what am I waiting for? Why hold back any longer? Approval isn't going to be any more forthcoming from outside sources this year than it was last year. So now is the time to say," I need no one's approval but my own. I'm doing it anyways". It will be up to me and my new thoughts about myself to invoke the adventures I crave and deserve. It will be up to me to think differently and say "yes" to opportunities. It will be up to me to create, through my thoughts, the world I'm ready to embrace. Come hell. Come high water. Come sputters and doubts and quaking boots.

It's time to travel more. It's time to create more. It's time to stop denying myself goodness. There are new hearts to welcome and new levels of compassion to attain towards myself. Join me, if you will, in making 2008 the sworn year of new and positive beginnings.