Sunday

Sunday evenings are my favorite.

It’s good to take a few minutes each day to unwind, but I include Sunday evenings to my daily unwind time.

Every culture uses something that pleases the senses to help in their prayer or meditation practices. Incense or some kind of fragrance is helpful, because it alone can set the tone of a room. And smells are one of the things that we remember and associate experiences with often. Lamps or candles are often used too; I prefer oil lamps because the flame is steadier than the flicker of a candle; inviting the witness to slow way down and come home for a little while.

Early on, I developed a way to learn by just observing. What to do, what not to do.. Observing is a way that I try to use to see things around me. Something that I learned about a long time ago has been coming up a lot for me lately; in all areas of life. It’s a statement that goes “People don’t see the world as it is, they see the world as they are”.

I see this showing up all over the place. Mostly between people. One of my favorite exercises to help slow down involves going into the woods and noticing how different all the trees are. And realising that we don’t judge the trees for being tall or short, straight or crooked, thick or thin. We just accept the trees for what they are and move on. We don’t get hung up on the fact that one tree might not have gotten enough sunlight and therefore grew a certain way, we just accept the tree for what it is and we move on.

I think that this is a practice that is desperately needed now with how we’re seeing each other. Chances are, we don’t know someone’s story and how they’re managing their life as a result of their story. All we see is how they’re managing their life.

I think we need to see people more like trees, and less like how we think they ought to be.

Self Sabotage

This photograph is of myself, maybe around 8 or 10 years old. Probably around the time when I was deciding that I needed to hold back and protect myself because I didn’t have the confidence or support system to help me see that I could be accepted and loved for just for who I was and that I could do anything in life that I set my mind to.

It may sound counterproductive, but sometimes when we’re working on ourselves we can hit sort of a plateau. Or, sometimes its more obvious and the thing we hit is like a wall. We just can’t seem to get past something. Its as if we’re putting the brakes on our growth process.

But why?

Sometimes, we can come up against a part in us that doesn’t want to heal or change. As a result, we can participate in self-sabotage. It actually makes a lot of sense. We all have a part of ourselves that is scared. And because when we start to heal, when we grow and our hearts open more, this can make us feel vulnerable. The part of us that is scared and wants to keep us down isn’t really sabotaging, its simply trying to protect us from pain. This part of us can be scared for many reasons, but often it comes back to knowing our own value. For example, if we don’t know our own worth, we can unconsciously think A), that we’re unworthy of whatever opportunity that is at hand, and/or B), that we’re keeping ourselves safe so that we won’t have to show up and risk experiencing an unwanted emotion.

It can be that we don’t have the confidence that tells us we’re able to do anything that we set our minds to do. By realizing that we’re not broken or that there isn’t anything wrong with us, that we’re just trying to protect ourselves from what we perceive as pain, it can really lift a veil on life and help us to welcome challenges in our lives.

Getting a little more clear and learning to know our own value. Just because we’re here and for being whoever we are, we are worthy of all of the love and grace the world has to offer.

Sensitive: The Untold Story

I found this documentary inspiring and personally validating.  This was my own childhood, described to the letter.  

Twenty percent of the population has been identified as Highly Sensitive.  And both men and women EQUALLY make up that 20 percent population.  Some of most creative people in the world are also in the Highly Sensitive category.

How relevant this is today, and also very consistent with the type of work that I do with people.

So glad to see this coming into more mainstream focus and awareness.

The film is currently on Amazon’s streaming service, and also at  http://www.sensitivethemovie.com

Sit with it

Sit with it.

Instead of drinking it away, smoking it away, sleeping it away, eating it away, sexing it away, or running from it,

Sit with it.

Healing begins by feeling.

Fire Ceremony

A practice that can be done at year’s end to help usher in the new and escort out the old is to take some time and write (hand write) down some things that you want to release and then burning the paper in a fire.

It can be as simple as a single word, or as complex as you need it to be. But spend time on it; at least a couple of hours. You can do this over several days, but don’t rush or skimp on your writing time.

Then on New Year’s Eve, you can light a fire. It can be a small fire bowl, a fire-pit, or your fireplace. Safely light a fire and sit with the fire for a few minutes’ time. Don’t rush this. Close your eyes and sit with your fire and what you want to release for a few minutes. See what you want release, see how much you want to move on from it. Then see the smoke rise in your mind as you release what you need to.

When you’re then ready, safely drop your paper(s) into your fire. See the paper burn up, and the smoke rise, releasing you. Anything that’s held you back, it’s time to let it go. .Allow yourself to experience whatever you will about this as your paper burns away; anger, fear, anxiousness, sadness, loss, gratitude. Let it all out like the rising smoke from the burnt paper.

Close with an affirmation. Close your eyes again and say goodbye to the past once and for all, and to whatever has been holding you back. See yourself in your new life without what you released. Feel the relief, like a weight finally off your shoulders. Take a deep breath and let the exhale extend, like the last bit of release.

It can be helpful to write out your new intentions, something on paper as a reminder to create your new life. Re-visit in three months to check your progress. And finally, re-visit next year to see how you’ve done.

Let’s all make 2021 our best and most free year yet.

Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.

Don’t go Unconscious

Pema Chödrön is one of my favorite people.

She’s the only American Buddhist nun, a renowned speaker and teacher. But she started out as typical as you and I.

Born Deirdre Blomfield in New York, she grew up a 60’s girl, and experienced life the way that many others did; marriage, children, divorces, substance abuse… After her last marriage had failed, as she searched around for some answers, she stumbled across an article written by a Buddhist monk, that was talking about using emotions for growth rather than trying to get rid of them or shut them down. That struck a chord with her, so she got interested and followed that path and ended up Pema Chödrön.

While doing a project yesterday this particular talk came up on rotation on my music. I’m glad that I keep stuff like this because I can listen now and have a different interpretation as opposed to years ago when I first caught wind of her and her lectures.

It’s about practicing remaining present enough with yourself during a highly emotional circumstance so that you can recognise that brief 1 or 2 second moment before you react.

In this split-second, you can as yourself, ” Wait a second.. I feel that I’m getting upset”. I’m feeling anxious, or triggered or whatever it is. It’s about taking that brief moment and noticing that you’re about to react.

Its in that moment that lies your choice. You can just stick with whatever you’re experiencing and ride it out, try to separate yourself from what you’re experiencing or you can fly off the emotional handle and go unconscious about it. Just the few seconds that it takes while you’re registering this process can be enough to begin to gently dissipate those high-energy emotions and allow a much clearer response to whatever the situation is.

If you’ve ever noticed a stone dropped into a lake; the initial “plop” it makes is one thing; but the subsequent ripples that the stone being dropped in the water make can actually be bigger than the initial stone created in the first place. If the stone is large enough, the ripples it makes can rock a rowboat on the other side of the lake.

Something that I thought I’d share in case it resonated withsomeone else. Your inner peace is definitely worth preservation.

#sunday #choices #innerstrength #peace#pemachodron

The Hero’s Journey

There is no such thing as a Hero’s Journey that doesn’t involve entering a dark thicket, battling savage beasts and facing your own despairs.

After all, the Kingdom can only be entrusted to someone who is willing to die for it. In order for any kind of growth to occur, you must be willing to kill off the part of you that is no longer serving you so that something new can grow in its place.

#growth #personalgrowth #evolution #evolve #herosjourney #josephcampbell

Veterans Day

On this Veterans/Armistice Day we salute all veterans and active military personnel, with appreciation for their tremendous service to our country.

But not all Veterans have had such a welcoming homecoming experience.

The transition from civilian life to one of military is tough enough. But returning home after duty is a completely different kind of transition for many Veterans.

No more rigid environment. Nobody setting your schedule for you. No more camaraderie with the other troops. You’re in charge of your own life again. And if you saw combat, it can be much more emotionally devastating. It can be very difficult to make that psychological transition back home and back into civilian life again.

If you see a Veteran, not just on Veterans Day but any day; thank them for their Service but also sincerely ask them how they’re doing? Your question may spark a need for support. Below are some resources available:

In the Detroit area, Veterans support can be found at:

Detroit Regional Offices of Veterans Services

https://www.benefits.va.gov/Detroit/veterans-services-orgs.asp.

Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, which connects Vets to Benefits and Resources

https://www.michiganveterans.com

The Michigan Veterans Foundation offers support in the form of:

  • Veteran Rescue Program
  • Transitional Housing
  • Vocational and Life Skill training
  • Health care services
  • PTSD Counseling
  • Transportation, meals and clothing
  • Substance Abuse Intervention
  • Legal Assistance and Housing Placement

http://www.michiganveteransfoundation.org.

The Michigan Veterans of Foreign Wars provides assistance will filling out and submitting VA forms and processes, and also offers a Buddy to Buddy program that can pair up Veterans that can support each other to help handle the transition back to civilian life.

https://vfwmi.org/di/vfw/v2/default.asp?pid=8899

Painting info:

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), “The Homecoming,” 1945. Cover illustration for “The Saturday Evening Post,” May 26, 1945. Norman Rockwell Museum.

Autumnal Equinox

A snail knows who he is and what he needs to do. Doesn’t have to question anything, his instructions and destiny are already programmed into his DNA.

People on the other hand, have the ability to discriminate; to choose this or that, consider outcomes, weigh consequences.

Today is an Equinox on the planet. At 3:50 in the morning today in the Northern Hemisphere, time was equal for a moment. But now in the North, the days will grow shorter and the nights longer. Generations ago, this season began the gathering work from the fields and gardens. Harvest. Stocking the cellars for the winter months, ensuring that enough exists. Preparing the outdoors and indoors for the forthcoming seasonal changes.

And internal preparation as well. For our interiors, the Equinox is about weighing and finding balances. What is useful, maybe meaningful and therefore kept, and what has served its purposed and needs to be released?

All this is a great reminder that time is not linear, but cyclical. With each day becoming more and more short, the hope of returning light happens; which is exactly what happens in the Southern Hemisphere, where days are getting longer, warmth returns, seedlings begin to sprout.

We enter and leave seasons just as nature does. It’s important to remember that things like Equinoxes support our internal questions of what is true and real for us. What is present, right now. And are we on a path that supports whatever that is for us?

Because our interior systems are synchronized with the heavens, times of year such as this and certain others offer a natural support mechanism for such interior inquires. Its a good thing to clear out clutter as one season leaves to make room for the next season coming in. This is a good time to ask yourself if you’re carrying around anything that needs to go.

A snail knows who he is. He doesn’t have to question anything; only where his next meal is coming from. We have the ability to look deeper at life, but only if we choose to be a little more conscious about it and less accidental.