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Posts Tagged ‘Inspiration’

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If you sit for long enough with sadness, fear or anger, or some strange energy or urge you can’t even name, in a place of no hope and no expectation, it eventually breaks apart, its imagined edges and boundaries dissolving into the vastness, and it reveals its deep intelligence, and its benevolent nature.  At the core of everything we run away from is everything we long for. And we’ll never know if we run away. ~Jeff Foster

Jeff Foster asks us to consider sitting with any feeling without hope or expectation.  It’s not that he’s asking us to have no hope, he’s asking that we sit with the feeling with no intended, purposeful gain in mind.  In other words, you don’t sit with it because you’re privately hoping if you do, it will simply go away.  That’s virtually the same as not accepting or allowing the feeling.

When I was 17 an event that would change my life occurred.  Lately, in the past few months memories of that event popped up seemingly out of nowhere, and with them was the rawness of the pain associated with it.  My first response when they popped up, was to want to forget about it.  I was having none of it.  The next time one of these memories popped up, I chastised myself: get over it, Bethie, move on!

Still the memories continued, asserting themselves at the oddest of times catching me completely off-guard.  I thought I might go to a trusted friend, until I realized I could be that trusted friend.  I remembered how there was no support for me back when I was 17, and in many ways it was the antithesis of support.  I learned to “stuff” the feelings, but the feelings were having none of it, they’d been stuffed long enough.  But they didn’t just want to be heard, they were reaching out for that support, that caring, that nurturing which it never received.  Recognize me — they cried out — be there for me, understand me.

Finally, I sat with the feelings.  I listened with the open heart and ears of understanding and acceptance.  I “mothered” myself and treated the feelings with the same attention a healthy Mother would give to her wounded child.  The memories began to dissipate, their intended purpose apparently fulfilled.

In the words of my current beloved mentor and teacher, Jean Haner: “All any feelings wants is to be welcomed with tenderness.”

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“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”  ~ Frederick Buechner

I believe, in between the pages of all of our lives, is invisible Grace.  Undeniable grace is at work always.  It doesn’t need our belief or faith in it to be made visible … but be made visible, it surely will be, if you are willing to see it.  

There was a morning I was shook awake by a loud bang.  I eventually made my way downstairs, opened the front door, and found a car on my porch.  I would come to see there were three cars spilled out like so many colored dice across my lawn.  As dawn broke, I would hear the songbirds herald the day – that was Grace.  

One day just before I started this blog, my son was in an ambulance racing to the hospital.  I hurriedly followed along in my car, rounded a bend, and saw Mt. Rainier in all her rapturous glory.  I wept with true gratitude in that moment.  That was undeniable Grace.

Look back on your life and see how it’s always held you, guided you, and somehow … against all odds … picked you up and set you down on the shores of calm water.  This is life’s golden promise and gift to you.  

Grace, simply is and always will be.

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Well, it’s almost Valentine’s Day and despite the title, I am not going to talk about Cupid.  However, I do want to touch on the concept of two arrows.  This is based on a Chinese proverb:

There are two arrows in life.  The first arrow is the one that hits you from some painful experience.  Perhaps it’s something you did or said, or something someone else did or said.  It’s that initial hurtful sting to the heart, that’s the first arrow.

The second arrow is the one that we keep shooting at ourselves again and again, re-living that pain or hurt.  One could say there are infinite second arrows, but not when we choose to live life consciously.

I took the proverb “to heart”.  Wrote it down on one of my homemade well being cards, and now I keep it in a prominent place.  I can go long periods where I don’t re-visit a painful event, and then suddenly there it is again — another shot to the heart.  Guess what?  It doesn’t feel good.  It’s not supposed to feel good!

Yet, there’s another way of being and engaging with life.  The shot to the heart comes, and rather then staying there and swirling in the pain yet again, I can say: ah, it’s the second arrow on a continuous loop of re-runs!  I choose now consciously, lovingly, kindly … not to go there.

It’s a simple — no, thank you.  Then turning back to my passion, my life, all that lights me up, and affirming — yes, thank you!

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Mandala

 

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“Each person’s life is like a mandala – a vast, limitless circle. We stand in the center of our own circle, and everything we see, hear and think forms the mandala of our life. We enter a room, and the room is our mandala. We get on the subway, and the subway car is our mandala, down to the teenager checking messages on her iPhone and the homeless man slumped in the corner. We go for a hike in the mountains, and everything as far as we can see is our mandala: the clouds, the trees, the snow on the peeks, even the rattlesnake coiled in the corner. We’re lying in a hospital bed, and the hospital is our mandala. We don’t set it up, we don’t get to choose what or who shows up in it. It is, As Chogyam Trungpa said, “the mandala that is never arranged but is always complete.” And we embrace it just as it is.

Everything that shows up in your mandala is a vehicle for your awakening. From this point of view, awakening is right at your fingertips continually. There’s not a drop of rain or a pile of dog poop that appears in your life that isn’t the manifestation of enlightened energy, that isn’t a doorway to sacred world.”
(From Pema Chodron’s newest book, Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change)

The above was posted on Pema’s Facebook wall this week.  I have her book and I highly recommend it.

Our lives are an ever unfolding, ever widening mandala – the landscape of our lives.  It’s rich, it’s all encompassing, and I wouldn’t trade a single part of it.  It’s emblazoned with all of me: my shame, fear, doubts, my hope, faith, dreams, wisdom and so much more.  It’s warm, pulsing and teeming with triumphs, crescendos, and the rawness of sadness and pain.

If you want to know the one thing I know for sure … here, in this rich, vibrant mandala of my life, nothing, not a thing at all, needs my mending.

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“And for this year, my wish for each of us is small and very simple.

And it’s this:

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.” ~Neil Gaiman

Are you all in with life?  You see, the only thing that really stops us from taking risks, being all in, and making mistakes, is fear.  But did you know underneath that cloak of fear, is you?  It’s your courage, it’s your trust, your insight, your wisdom, and your dreams.  It’s the well you draw from, the will to overcome your greatest fears.  All those resources are there for us to tap into, just below that layer of fear.   Beyond the field of your greatest fears lies a vital, grounded, pulsing life force.  That is who you really are!

“There’s a moment when fear and dreams must collide.  Someone I am is waiting for courage.  The one I will become, will catch me.  So let me fall, I will dance so freely, holding onto no one.  You can hold me only, if you too will fall…away from all these useless fears and chains.”  Cirque du Soleil lyrics to Let Me Fall

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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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So this is it.  You missed the memo somehow.  The one that came with that elusive owner’s manual for This Being Human.  And now it seems there was a quota of thoughts you were given.  You are down to your last thought.  What shall it be?

Stop for a moment and take a deep breath and let that last thought come.  What is it?  How do you feel as you are thinking it?  Do you want to jump for joy?  Do you feel like sinking down into that thought?  Did your shoulders relax?  Did you breathe a little more freely?  However it felt in the body, remember it and then let it go.

This is the moment, the alpha and omega.  It’s a do over for your life, starting now.  Whatever that last thought was: now begin there and go forward carrying with you the memory of how it felt.  Remembering now that the thoughts you give yourself to are precious just like you, choose the ones that support and uplift you.  Choose the ones that sustain a warm and inviting self-rapport.  Practice this and your outer world will rise to meet your inner world.

What was my last thought?  Very simply – thank you.  How did it feel?  It felt as if a burst of energy surged through my body and I wanted to rush out the door and greet everything with those two words: thank you!  Now, this is where I begin.  And to my readers – thank *you* all so much.

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