Archive for July, 2010

I begged my husband, please let me read you this poem, it means so much to me (appended below).  He says he doesn’t like poetry unless it’s one of my poems.  Sweet.  He relents, I begin to read him this poem and am not half way through it before I’m crying.  It’s one of those poems where I wondered — did the author go inside my heart and read what was written there?

How did he know I’ve been afraid?  How did he know I thought I’d dump every idea of exploring consciousness and life?  I tried to convince myself, I’m older now, I don’t need to make the grand experiments anymore.  Maybe I don’t even care anymore.  Maybe I’ll never care again.  Maybe this small, safe place is where I belong.

I thought, if I don’t make big, bold footprints in the world, I won’t be noticed.  Big, scary things won’t happen to me then.  You see, if I’m not noticed, I can’t be hurt.  I’ll just go over here and carve out this small, quiet space and I’ll be protected.

I didn’t decide all at once that I can’t live happily like that.  I didn’t exactly turn a corner all at once either.  I tiptoed up to it, peeked around the corner and retreated.  Then I’d do it again and again and again.  Until one day I could say, I invite my true sense of adventure and exploration back in.  I invite Life back in again.

I turned the corner because I am a devotee of expansion more than I am a devotee of fear.  This is the path of my heart and soul.  I choose to follow it now.  Again.

* * *

For A New Beginning

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plentitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

~John O’Donohue~
To Bless the Space Between Us
A Book of Blessings

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Ever wonder where the repository is for all these things we are advised to “let go” of?  Is it in some remote location where the other half of long lost socks and gloves go?  I don’t know but I have pondered how it is that we actually do “let go” short of changing the subject — so I’ve come up with a process of sorts.

I encountered a meditation at the end of Sonia Choquette’s audio book, “Trust Your Vibes”.  There’s an instruction in it to let the part of you that calls itself “I” to move out of your right eye.  This would be the locally focused “I”.

I decided to adapt this and use it for all fears, judgments, perceptions, beliefs, any thoughts that are not in harmony with my highest good.  When a thought like this is felt, stop and release it, let it go, through the right eye.  My friend Ahmee suggested adding the words — “not real” as she releases it.  Another idea is to say — I release you and return you back to your “native nothingness”.  Native nothingness is a phrase used by Florence Scovel Shinn.  Saying “not real” is equivalent to I release you and return you back to your native nothingness, the latter is a little more disruptive of the dissonant thought.  I think anything that disrupts and disturbs a pattern, can help change it.

There’s also a grounding exercise that Sonia uses with one hand on the heart and one hand on the belly.  I decided to adapt this too with a small meditation that can be done at any time of the day, as many times as you would like to use it.  Right now I like to begin my day with this and then sprinkle it throughout the day.  It is one hand on heart and one hand on solar plexus or the upper part of your belly.  Take four slow, deep conscious breaths with the solar plexus expanding on the inhale and collapsing on the exhale while mentally repeating the words: allow Spirit to flow freely through me today.  Allow me to have thoughts that support my highest good today.  Add anything you feel called to say in this short meditation.

This breathing exercise of four conscious breaths, as instructed above, can be used at any time of the day without the hand on the heart, etc.  Feel yourself tightening up in the middle of a meeting, or in traffic, or at any time, stop and do those four, slow, full conscious breaths.  This will pull your awareness away from what isn’t serving you and summon a new and refreshing energy.

That’s it for today, just a few tips to help us all recall our way back to home base.  I’m attending a retreat in a few days based on Chinese face reading.  This is put on by Jean Haner, author of the Wisdom Of Your Face.  I would love to come back with more ideas to share with everyone.

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Here’s a question from the weekly powerful question:

“How can I demonstrate my gratitude for a part of my body that I have judged as unattractive?”

Now before you even answer it, read this too:

“You may choose, of course, to work with the Question as you see fit. However, you might want to consider reflecting upon the Question without seeking a specific answer too quickly. If an answer is arrived at too soon, the answer is more likely to be based upon what you already know rather than what you might be able to discover over time.

Often times a Question itself can prepare you for something that is larger than you can now imagine or do. It can draw you more deeply into possibilities and the unknown rather than to an answer, particularly if the question is approached from the perspective of “what if” rather than “how.” You might, for example, ask yourself the Question at times when you are feeling emotions, such as fear, joy or sadness, and simply notice what you feel in your body or in your heart when you ask the Question. Then simply move on without attempting to come to an answer.

If you allow a question to maintain its creative tension, you might be surprised at what you discover!”

I love that on two levels, the powerful question and the asking to suspend a propensity to get in there and do something about it, adopt an easy fix, instead to be open to something beyond that first impulse.

If you watched the film What the Bleep Do We Know?!, you saw the main character write love notes on her body in the pivotal bathroom scene.  She wrote on the parts of her she previously saw as revolting.  Then she lay in the tub to soak these messages in.  I did that, too.  My kids, when they were younger, would exclaim to any body who’d listen: Mommy writes on her body. :)

There are parts of my body I’ve looked at and said yuk.  I’ve joked and said in my next life, I’ll come back with no cellulite.  But you know what — in this life all joking aside, I’m done with looking at myself physically, emotionally or otherwise and naming any part of me as bad, wrong, inadequate or not good enough.

These days, I walk a singular path and that’s the path of the heart.  This path only knows how to say yes.  Yes to life, yes to me, yes to love.  It doesn’t matter what word I write on my body or the sky for that matter, what matters most is a kiss of yes on my lips.  Yes to this precious physical vessel I have the privilege of inhabiting.  Yes to all of me.

A single put-down is a tiny insult to the framework of who we are.  Are you done with insults big and small to yourself?  I sure am.  I’m ready to embrace the many ways I now say yes to myself.

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“This day will not come again.” ~ Thomas Merton

First blush of morning erupts
Songbirds usher in fresh beginnings

* * *

This day shall not come again

* * *

Summer afternoon arrives on the tuft of a breeze
Expectant sunflowers bow their ample heads

* * *

This day shall not come again

* * *

Evening huddles in city streets and forests
Day surrenders to the gentle hush of another night

* * *

This, too, shall not come again


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It was the mid 1980s and for the sum total of one evening I thought I was in love with him.  But most of the time we were just very good friends.  His name was Stan Easton.

I was in nursing school.  My schedule was hectic and beyond busy.  Stan called one day.  I wasn’t at home.  I often wondered if things would have been different had I been home to take that call.  A few days later, he ran a tube from his car’s muffler into his bedroom and died.

Before his death, he had trouble sleeping.  I loaned him a Judy Collins album to help him sleep.  On it, Leonard Cohen’s song: Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye.  He still had the album when he died.  What I wanted to say to him then and still do, is exactly that — hey, that’s no way to say goodbye.

Although I fault you not for what you felt you had to do and I imagine your hair upon the pillow in an eternal “sleepy golden storm” … forever there, forever loved, forever remembered.  “You know my love goes with you, as your love stays with me, it’s just the way it changes like the shoreline and the sea.”

I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm,
your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm,
yes, many loved before us, I know that we are not new,
in city and in forest they smiled like me and you,
but now it’s come to distances and both of us must try,
your eyes are soft with sorrow,
Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye.

I’m not looking for another as I wander in my time,
walk me to the corner, our steps will always rhyme
you know my love goes with you as your love stays with me,
it’s just the way it changes, like the shoreline and the sea,
but let’s not talk of love or chains and things we can’t untie,
your eyes are soft with sorrow,
Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye.

I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm,
your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm,
yes many loved before us, I know that we are not new,
in city and in forest they smiled like me and you,
but let’s not talk of love or chains and things we can’t untie,
your eyes are soft with sorrow,
Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye.

~Leonard Cohen~

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“Desiderata — A Poem for a Way of Life” by Max Ehrmann

“Desiderata” by Max Ehrmann, was published in 1927, and became very popular in the 1960’s and 1970’s. It was out in the stores on posters in much abundance!  There were several variations of it, and it was even disputed to have been “found in Old Saint Paul’s Church, Baltimore, dated 1692”.

Actually, Max Ehrmann, an Indiana poet, wrote “Desiderata” and several other books, as well. When his poem became so popular again, and it was quoted as ‘anonymous’, his wife who was then a widow, proved that it was indeed written by her husband and copyrighted in 1927 and registered with the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress.

“Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly & clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull & the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud & aggressive persons,
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter;
for always there will be greater
& lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.

But let not this blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.

Especially, do not feign affection.

Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity & disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.

Many fears are born of fatigue & loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees & stars;
you have a right to be here.

And whether or not is is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labors & aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery & broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy”.

“Desiderata — A Poem for a Way of Life” by Max Ehrmann, published
by Crown Publishers, NY.

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Praise should be the permanent pulsation of the soul.

An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered.  An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.

The way to love anything is to realize it may be lost.

Thanks are the highest form of thought.  Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.

…we are made to be astonished.

A man in peril can only save his life by risking it.

The worshipper never feels taller than when he bows.

Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.  <smile>

The most astonishing thing about miracles is that they happen.

There is a road from the eye to heart that does not go through the intellect.

It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun, and every evening “Do it again” to the moon.

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Been listening to Abe, the most recent, for just a bit today.  I wondered how long I was going to poke around in the problem/solution before I was done.  Then I thought I better quit poking unless I want said problem/solution bigger.

Then of course it occurs to me this “better quit poking” is all about control/fear.  I cop to all of it being about control/fear.  I get up in the middle of the night, open the shades to check outside and make sure there isn’t what? a boogeyman out there.  Some new contrast to come bite me in the ass, when I’m not looking, so if I look it will bite less? :)

This whole idea that I have to glean some message out of what happened, learn the lesson, grok it, understand it, make sure I expand out of it, is also all about control/fear.  As if, if I really get the lesson, I pass go and I won’t be sent back to contrast jail.  Perhaps I’ll visit but I won’t miss my turn.  So there.  :)

I am still poking around, I guess.  When my Mom said don’t touch the stove, it’s hot, I had to check to make sure.  However, this is not the same as putting my hand in the fire.  I am just checking/poking around in temperature levels, got that Universe?  Good.

Bless my little pea-pickin’ fearful self.  What I really want to do is pluck the full ripe blossoms and let the juices spill out over the corners of my mouth.  I want pea-pickin’ fearful girl to fall away and slip off of me like so much of nothing.

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So I purposely haven’t written about the big event that happened at our house the night after summer solstice, when it is said “the veils are thin”.  If you read Songbirds Amidst the Wreckage, then you might have guessed it.  I can say that several changes have been made in my life since then but still I sense there’s something more.  Maybe there’s a whole string of something mores.  Until I can write a happy, expansive conclusion to that particular event, then I’ll write other things or quote some of my favorite people and maybe re-run a few oldies but goodies.

I’ll be out of town three times this month which is good because my inclination has been to curl up at home and stick with what is known and what is contained and unchangeable.  Instead, I’ll stretch myself again into the nether reaches of this great country we live in.  Ok, it’s only Pennsylvania, Portland and the Cascades but it is departing from the familiar comforts of home.

For now, I leave you with a poem from Mary Oliver.  One of the great poets whose words leave an indelible ink stain on my heart.


May I never not be frisky,
May I never not be risque.

May my ashes, when you have them, friend,
and give them to the ocean,

leap in the froth of the waves,
still loving movement,

still ready, beyond all else,
to dance for the world.

~Mary Oliver~
Evidence: Poems by Mary Oliver

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As you follow the path of life
every now and then, flirt wildly with it

Begin each day with only
an eager yes on your lips

Leap into the wide open arms of
all things immeasurable

Then, flow like water
spill over the edges of your life


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