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Image by Rassouli

The words below in quotes are by US Andersen and adapted by Kelly Howell from “The Secret Meditation”.  My comments are sprinkled throughout in italics:

“I know that I am pure in spirit and that I always have been and always will be.”

Breathe in, I am pure in spirit.  Empty the breath into a golden pool immersing you in pure spirit.  Feel what it means to say and feel this about yourself: I am pure in spirit.  Honor whatever comes up and breathe with it.  From the time you were a mere “seed”, you were pure in spirit.  This is a Universal Truth that is an unending, never changing, constant. 

“I am one with Universal Mind and I know this mind is perfect and I may rely upon it for guidance in all of my affairs.”

I am not alone.  I was never really alone, though I could pretend otherwise.  When puzzled for answers, I needn’t try to figure things out all on my own.  I can ask for Divine Guidance at any time.  It is always available to me.  The answers come when I rest in the quiet, open, receptive places.  Actually they come no matter what, but I can’t hear them if I’m not in receiving mode.

“I rely upon this power for guidance in all of my affairs.  I know and recognize my one-ness with all things.  I know that all form and all circumstance are the creation of an Infinite Intelligence that is within and around me.”

By relying upon this power, it leaves my mortal mind with nothing to figure out.  Relying on this power means faith and trust are my constant guides.  Beyond mere words, trust and faith, is the umbilical cord that keeps me continuously connected to Divine Infinite Intelligence.  I take action now when the prompt comes from within, inspired action.

“I know my purpose in life is to reach ever upward and outward to expand in knowledge, and love and unity.  I place my future in Divine hands.  I turn over each problem of my life to that great All Knowing mind to which all things are possible.”

“I am merged with the infinite power of love that surges through me.  The limits and inhibitions of my past are gone and each day is a new birth, another step on my journey towards one-ness with God.  I do not seek, I know.  I do not strive for I am guided.”

How can one not be seduced by: I am merged with the Infinite Power of Love that surges through me?  Doesn’t it make you want to drop everything right now, be still and breathe that precious life giving breath and melt into the arms of Divine Love?  Certain now you are renewed forever lying here, resolve to remember this and return the moment should you ever forget.

This I must repeat:

“The limits and inhibitions

of my past are gone

and each day is a new birth,

another step on my journey

towards one-ness with God.

I do not seek, I know.

I do not strive for I am guided.”

I hope you all enjoyed the writing of US Andersen, Kelly Howell and my comments today.  It moved me to tears.  I plan on printing it, so I can carry it around in my back pocket.

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I renewed a former passion of mine in hiking last year. Many of the pictures you see posted here lately are from these hikes. I am a forest lover through and through. But I had no idea that this time hiking would take me on a journey to healing a long standing fear that I’ve had since I was a teenager – the fear of being a woman, alone, and in a secluded area.

I start my hike and the fear comes up, it doesn’t just bubble up either, it’s right up close and personal. Then I stop and look around me and see how all life seems to support another – a “dead” tree becomes home to moss and mushrooms. A leaning tree finds another to hold it up, they begin to grow together. Everything is supported in one way or another. Maybe I am, too?

I walk further up the mountain, the fear is back. I consciously breathe, hand over heart, and let it be present, not with its story, just the pure, raw emotion. Let it be. Breathe, let it be. As Tara Brach says: permission to be here.

On this one particular day, my hike was my daily Facebook blessing, which I will share with you below. By the end of that hike I turned in gratitude before my descent. Where there was fear, I found comfort, and a space to allow the fear to come to rest.

Fear comes, it goes, big fears, little fears, doesn’t matter. Maybe everything, at it’s heart, is just calling us to simply be with it fully, whatever it is.

Blessings Day 665: so excited to get to the mountain today, I knew she’d be shrouded in mist! It’s as if Mother Nature turned the dial up on awe and amazing! Every step another awe-inspiring experience, so I could hardly keep my eyes to the trail. Deeper and deeper I strode into her mysterious, murky womb to know ever more – this place is holy. This place is sacred. This place is healing.

 

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In the rhythm of late afternoon I came this Christmas day to all that is holy to me.

Here, where there is no “dead of winter”.

Here, forest so teeming with life, it sprouts up tiny green, fresh and new through a carpet of dead leaves.

It takes root, births light, sustenance, and flows in ever widening rivulets down the mountainside.

I flow along … a happy wanderer … led by grace.

Happy Holidays Everyone, from my neck of the woods to yours…

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This is my latest favorite find from Pema Chodron. On her FB page, she posted the link to a HuffPost article about her recent appearance on Oprah’s “Super Soul Sunday”, with some beautiful tips on ending suffering or any level of general discontent:

“You breathe it in,” Chödrön says. “It’s as if you breathe it into your heart and your heart just gets bigger and bigger. Every time you breathe in, the heart gets bigger and bigger, so that no matter how bad it feels, you just give it more space. So when you breathe in, you’re open to it, I guess you could say. And then when you breathe out, you just send out a lot of space.”

“Sometimes I say, ‘What does your heart feel like?’ People will say, ‘It feels like a rock.’ What does your stomach feel like? ‘It feels like a knot. It’s as if my whole body was clenched… because I’m so miserable,'” Chödrön says. “So, breathe in and let that heart open. Let the stomach open.”

Do six deep in-breaths, she suggests. It’s a practice that Chödrön calls “compassionate abiding,” and with it comes an enlightened view of the world’s connectivity: You are not alone.

“When you breathe in, you can recognize that all over the world — right now and in the past and in the future — people are going to feel exactly what you’re feeling now. A feeling of being rejected. The feeling of being unloved. The feeling of insecurity. The feeling of fear. Rage.” Chödrön says. “Human beings have always felt this and always will. And so you breathe in for everyone that they could welcome it, that they could say, ‘I haven’t done anything wrong.’ Embrace it.”

 

 

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I’ve been off scouring the Internet for the creme de la creme of helpful tools for mindful living, and found this little gem from Eckhart Tolle:

“Suffering needs time, it cannot survive in the now.”

Wow! Talk about ending suffering in one sentence or less!

Ah, yet I know it can still remain just a concept without self awareness. And sometimes habit mind is already off and running before awareness kicks in, what to do then?

So I also found this exercise which is a perfect grounding tool to help bring us back around to fully inhabiting the present moment:

“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)

I have used this exercise several times a day since I first came across it, and have also found it a successful tool to use during night time wakefulness, especially when it’s accompanied with being anywhere but in the now. Great tool over all to use day or night!

And finally one more mindfulness quote. This one is from Thich Nhat Hanh who is a beautiful resource for walking meditation. I am especially appreciating him right now as he was seriously ill earlier this fall, but seems to have recovered.

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”

Try that, even if just for a few moments – habit mind takes a holiday, while your feet are kissing (and connecting with) the earth and the result is pure bliss!

May we all experience less suffering and greater freedom and peace!

 

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It doesn’t interest me if there is one God
or many gods.
I want to know if you belong or feel
abandoned,
if you can know despair or see it in others,
I want to know
if you are prepared to live in the world
with its harsh need
to change you. If you can look back
with firm eyes,
saying this is where I stand. I want to know
if you know
how to melt into that fierce heat of living,
falling toward
the center of your longing. I want to know
if you are willing
to live, day by day, with the consequence of love
and the bitter
unwanted passion of your sure defeat.

I have heard, in that fierce embrace, even
the gods speak of God.

~David Whyte~
RIVER FlOW: New and Selected Poems

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A few posts down I quoted some from Tara Brach, she illustrated the use of a question that I then used. Using that question became the pivoting point out of a dark place I was in at the time. The question was:

“Ok, what is actually happening right now?”

The ice bucket challenge is en vogue at the moment. Asking myself that question was like throwing a bucket of ice water on myself – it woke me up! I could see immediately how all my suffering was from past and future thinking.

And with that question, I followed the breath into the body and I let myself feel the breath move, feel where it got stuck, be with that, and continue breathing some more. A softening then begins to happen, because I’m inhabiting this moment fully present in the body, my home here on earth.

I don’t recall Tara’s exact words but it was something about those of us who have experienced a lot of wounding in our lives, benefit by a regular spiritual practice of some sort. Now that I’ve emerged from that dark place, I’ve taken her advice to heart. I’ve continued to practice this question many times a day, any time I recognize I am in a story. It’s a new muscle I am learning to develop and flex.

What I have found is, the question can so effortlessly turn my attention to right now. Yet, I noticed something else was temporarily at bay in the background. It, of course, was the story that jibed with wherever the breath got stuck.

I listened to another talk by Tara Brach “The Freedom of Yes”, and I heard her respond to the story with this statement:

“I give myself permission for this. Permission for this. Permission for this.”

The next time I had an opportunity to use that original question – “Ok, what is actually happening right now?”, I followed the breath into the body and I felt the familiar tightening right in the solar plexus. Being with it and breathing, I gave the tightness a name and gave it permission to be there:

“I give this struggle permission to be here.”

I did not go into the attendant thoughts that match struggle, I’m still staying present in the body, and breathing slowly and consciously, repeating – permission to be here, permission to be here.

If you try this, observe how it softens, how you start to relax, a truce has come, the inner struggle is dissipating because it’s being met with at last, acceptance. Struggle is defined by our unwillingness to be with whatever arises. When the unwillingness is dropped, that’s the sweet spot.

My dear friend has always said: “whatever you can let yourself have, you can let yourself release.” I’ve heard these principles said dozens of times in different ways, but until someone could mentor the way in for me (Tara Brach), it looked good on paper, but was a nebulous concept just the same.

I hope this was as useful for you, as it was for me, and a deep bow to Tara Brach for the wisdom, support, and inspiration!

 

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