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Archive for the ‘Mindfulness’ Category

First PNW Forest Bloom February 2016

First PNW Forest Bloom February 2016

 

Affirmation for the day:

I am a sovereign, sentient* being. No one, no thing can affect my energy without my permission.

Now to put the affirmation to practice. Welcome every opportunity where you give your power away, because it is an opportunity for practice!

Helpful tip: Dr. Joe Dispenza suggests invoking the moniker “change” when you first start down the road with some version of “I don’t like/want/need this.”

Saying “change” is a good idea, but I’d add the breath. Conscious breathing gives you that wee window to make that choice to reaffirm and honor your sovereignty.

Say “change”, like you mean it, even if it’s silent. Then inhale for four seconds, hold it at the top of your head for four seconds, now exhale for another four. The counting with the breath will aid in interrupting any stress chemicals before they get a running start in the body. Repeat as necessary.

Now welcome your opportunities, and the chance to practice a whole new way of being! Change does take practice and commitment.

As this sovereign, sentient being, keep this in mind:

“Understand now — you can no longer complain.” Dr. Joe Dispenza

Bold statement, eh?! Because mostly everybody’s doing it, right?!

What’s wrong with complaining? It’s an outer reality-centric stance. It means you have declared that external circumstances dictate how you think and feel. One can’t be a sovereign, sentient being, and a complainer.

Complaining also says I am a victim of external situations and people. “They” or “it” make me feel such and such.

Complaining also releases stress chemicals in the body, that lead to disorder, illness, and decline in the body.

Yes, it can be hard to change old habits that have a well worn groove. How to change them then? One awareness at a time. Notice where the tendency to complain shows up, and consciously choose to withdraw your attention from it. But this is not a grin and bear it exercise. Won’t change a darn thing that way.

If your choices are to complain or stifle it, then spend more time in meditation or whatever leaves you knowing and feeling the “rapture of being alive”.**

The external world gets way less enticing when what goes on inside is a love affair with your God. You’ll eventually want that more than anything.

*  sentient being can be defined as a consciously aware being
** quote attributed to Joseph Campbell

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Cannon Beach - October 2014

Cannon Beach – October 2014

 

It’s been a very long time since I posted here, after 8 years solid of blogging! And I didn’t even say goodbye or see you later! So here I am — and so happy I have something to share with you today.

Briefly, want to add where I’ve been — I went through a major transition last year. My differently-abled son moved on to adult supported living last spring. I became progressively more ill as the year went by. Thanks to my naturopath, I got back on the right course, and just in time for October of last year. This is when I went to a Dr. Joe Dispenza “Progressive Workshop”, and learned exactly how it is that I made my body sick.

After that workshop true life changes began to take shape. I’ve just attended his next level workshop, the “Advanced”, and this one went even deeper. His work continues to be life changing in ways I never even dreamed possible.

The challenge with blogging about his work though, is it’s not just an intellectual process of gathering information, it has to be felt and experienced. This is achieved through meditation. So it’s been difficult for me to write about his work in a meaningful way. Today I think I have something to share that will be impactful.

About meditation — frankly when I saw him the first time, I thought — love the man’s heart, love his work, but I don’t know about this daily, sitting for long periods, mediation crap. Yet a couple of weeks later, I would come to commit to two days a week of at least 45 minutes of sitting meditation. Within another couple of weeks, I was meditating daily, sometimes multiple times a day. Now, I can’t not do it!

I posted this on my Facebook timeline yesterday, and some people said they really needed to hear it. So I share this now with you all, with the desire that you too, will benefit from it.

Two quotes from the workshop:

“Is the omnipresent always present with you? Is it possible you are not present with it?” (This is the secret benefits of meditation!)

“Stop arguing for your heavy baggage.”

At one point, Dr. Fannin was on stage speaking. He’s a big brain scientist, likes to measure things (I don’t). But he said one thing that I loved:

“How many neurons over a lifetime *dedicated* to worry?” (or fear, or guilt, or limitation of any kind)

I sat up and took notice when he used the word “dedicate”. He did not say spent, because it’s not like you hand over your money and get nothing back. Oh no, this dedication is an *investment* in worry, it’s not useless or wasted energy at all! It’s being used thoroughly, but in all the wrong places.

With that in mind, if you are a stock investor would you invest in a crap stock that signals your body to downgrade itself? Because that’s exactly what happens when we think and blindly surrender to thoughts and feelings that kick out stress chemicals.

We do uniquely have free will, we have a choice about where we direct our attention and therefore energy. Meditation helps with this tremendously. Settling the nervous system back down, time and time again, so we can come to live life in a less reactive, more mindful manner. There’s more benefits to doing his particular brand of meditations, but for now this explanation will suffice.

Now … back to “how many neurons over a lifetime *dedicated* to worry?” So while Dr. Fannin is speaking, I’m writing a rampage of turn arounds, here’s a portion of it.

How about … how many neurons dedicated to …

learning something new?
doing the uncommon?
being surprised by life?
being curious?
feeling vital?
feeling fed by life?
being present?
feeling awed by life?
feeling inspired?
feeling passion?
having a sacred relationship with your God?
feeling in love with life?
being at ease?

Ok, your turn … so much more could be said and *lived* here! …

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I was so impressed by a Jeff Foster video today, that I sat down to transcribe parts of it for myself and for all of you. He is one of many gifted spiritual teachers who is helping others practice compassionate awareness with self. I am always up for sharing that wisdom with all of you, so that we can all benefit.

Guest: I’ve been on this journey for more than 20 years…and I still hurt.

 

Jeff Foster: So this word … still — this is a huge one. This is the voice of the mind. After all these years, after all the healing, after all the courses, after all the books, why am I STILL feeling this? That’s one of the big stories of the mind: after all I’ve done, after all my insight, and my clarity, and my healing … why am I STILL feeling this sadness? Why am I still feeling this burning?

 

This word ‘still’ is very interesting because it implies an expectation. ‘By now’, that’s another way of saying it, isn’t it? By now this should be gone, by now I shouldn’t be feeling this. By now is the big lie. By now, is the great dishonoring of your experience. By now, still, I should be over this by now.

 

It’s so violent to ourselves, so cruel, so unkind. So quickly we go into the old story – why are you still here? I thought you would be gone by now. I’m so disappointed. Can you feel the self-violence in that? They just come, all they are asking for is to be allowed here now.

 

We go so quickly into – why are you still here? Seems like such a small thing, but when it comes to the voice of the heart it’s such a huge thing. That’s not the voice of the heart. The heart doesn’t say – why are you still here? The heart says, “aw, you’re here.” There’s no ‘still’, there’s no ‘by now’. There’s only here, there’s only now.

 

This idea that I should be “free from”. That’s the mind’s version of freedom. These are all your children: rage, doubt, joy, sorrow. They are all your children, and they come to you not to punish, or show you how much you failed, but because you are their home.

 

Sadness does not want to be healed. It wants to be held … which is the healing ironically. The word heal and whole are from the same root. It wants to be part of the whole.

 

You are presence. You are home and all these children come to visit you. Sadness will come and visit you, and she’ll leave and come back. If your heart is open, that never has to stop. That’s how you break the cycle of violence.

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Buddha Shovels Snow

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It’s been a long time since I posted any poetry from Billy Collins.  He’s an interesting poet – irreverent at times, addressing life even in its difficulty with equal parts depth and humor.   His poetry is accessible to even those who don’t like poetry.
I was having an online conversation with a Northern Michigan friend, speaking in metaphors about how even the most mundane, repetitive work can be honored as sacred.  She began to tell me how much this mirrored her day shoveling snow, and I was immediately reminded of this poem.  So for all my friends out there who weathered the snow and frigid temperatures lately, this is for you:
Shoveling Snow With Buddha

In the usual iconography of the temple or the local Wok
you would never see him doing such a thing,
tossing the dry snow over a mountain
of his bare, round shoulder,
his hair tied in a knot,
a model of concentration.

Sitting is more his speed, if that is the word
for what he does, or does not do.

Even the season is wrong for him.
In all his manifestations, is it not warm or slightly humid?
Is this not implied by his serene expression,
that smile so wide it wraps itself around the waist of the universe?

But here we are, working our way down the driveway,
one shovelful at a time.
We toss the light powder into the clear air.
We feel the cold mist on our faces.
And with every heave we disappear
and become lost to each other
in these sudden clouds of our own making,
these fountain-bursts of snow.

This is so much better than a sermon in church,
I say out loud, but Buddha keeps on shoveling.
This is the true religion, the religion of snow,
and sunlight and winter geese barking in the sky,
I say, but he is too busy to hear me.

He has thrown himself into shoveling snow
as if it were the purpose of existence,
as if the sign of a perfect life were a clear driveway
you could back the car down easily
and drive off into the vanities of the world
with a broken heater fan and a song on the radio.

All morning long we work side by side,
me with my commentary
and he inside his generous pocket of silence,
until the hour is nearly noon
and the snow is piled high all around us;
then, I hear him speak.

After this, he asks,
can we go inside and play cards?

Certainly, I reply, and I will heat some milk
and bring cups of hot chocolate to the table
while you shuffle the deck.
and our boots stand dripping by the door.

Aaah, says the Buddha, lifting his eyes
and leaning for a moment on his shovel
before he drives the thin blade again
deep into the glittering white snow.

~Billy Collins~

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FullSizeRenderToday I bring you an excerpt from Jeff Foster’s “10 Shockingly Simple, Life-Changing Principles of Spiritual Awakening”, click on that link to see it in its entirety.

Tough to pick just one to highlight from the 10, so I will pick the one that is most likely to trip me up.

“6. ACCEPTANCE IS NOT SOMETHING YOU ‘DO’, IT IS WHAT YOU ARE

Acceptance doesn’t mean that an unpleasant thought or feeling will go away; it may stay awhile. Don’t try to accept it (as this is often resistance in disguise) but acknowledge that it is ALREADY accepted, already here, already part of the scene. Treat it as if it perhaps will always be here! This removes the pressure of time (trying to make it go away, wondering why it’s “still here”). It IS here, now. Bow before THIS reality. Be curious. And allow any urges, any feelings of frustration, boredom, disappointment or even despair, to come up too and be included. They are all part of the present scene, not blocks. Even a feeling of blockage is part of the scene!”

Sometimes my attempts at being fully present with what comes up is actually an insidious hidden agenda to change it, make it go away, so I don’t have to feel it. This will fail every time, because it is not meeting the moment as it is. What a relief, just as he writes – if it’s here, it’s already accepted! How do we know that? It’s here now! It’s that simple.

I also absolutely love – “treat it as if it perhaps will always be here”. I think most of us have something we bump up against. How much better does it feel to honor – this (whatever it is) is here now. Sure maybe it’s been here before, maybe it will be here again, but all I have before me is this moment. There is no “it’s always been this way, it will always be this way” in this moment.

Be well, and at peace my friends … and have a look at the rest of the above article, and another really good one (also, by Jeff Foster), which I have previously posted a link to is “40 Surprising Truths About Suffering”.

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These are two useful mindfulness tools from my “greatest hits” of 2014. I still practice both of these. The first is very calming, grounding and restorative, and useful also with nighttime wakefulness. The other is a great one from Tara Brach, helpful when thoughts are regretting the past or projecting into the future – it is an instant pivot! Finally, I conclude with something new, and equally impactful, from Byron Katie.

“Take your thumb and connect it with your pinky, take 5 deep breaths, in through the nose, out through the mouth.  Do the same with your ring finger, then your middle finger, then your index finger.  Then finally, bring all 5 fingers together and take 5 deep breaths.” (excerpted from thespirtscience.net)

This last greatest hit from 2014, is just one simple question quoting the mindfulness teacher, Tara Brach. I put this question on one of my homemade “well being” cards. It’s a great reminder, and especially useful the moment you even start to dip a toe in the waters of suffering.

“Ok, what is actually happening right now?”

Deceptively simple, isn’t it? But incredibly powerful!

And lastly, I’ve appended the Byron Katie quote below. The last two sentences are especially helpful if you are arguing with what is, which is to say feeling like anything, whatever it is, should not be happening. That is the very heart of suffering, and that’s why I am committed to bringing you (and me) tools to help ease it. Be well and at peace, my friends.

“Things are happening to me. Stressful thought.

Things are happening for me. Positive thought.

Things are happening. Truth.”

 

 

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This poem is one of my personal favorites that I’ve written. I wrote it after having gone in and through a particularly difficult time. It continues to bring me solace today.

past the borders of happiness and unhappiness
a rim of fire oaks bid me on the blue horizon

smooth hand like leaves held me there
while the first hard rain fell

I kneeled and leaned into the heady fragrance
of an ancient wisdom revealed
beneath the old rough timber

it spoke of the delicate balance in being
at once firmly rooted while gently yielding
whenever the fall winds swept through

I heard of the necessity of winter’s annual arrival
for stillness is the silent cathedral of the earth

I learned that what drops away gives rise to rich black loam
so that nothing that is cherished ever perishes

listening intently now, the old knowing timber whispered
how it never seeks to contain what cuts deep

no, you give it up to the low slung clouds overhead
to be carried on the wings of the air

©heartsdeesire

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