Elus is a Denver-based choir. Their sound is simply magical. Is it coming to the Christmas season I find it often struggle to get into the sensations of the holidays. Over the years I’ve gotten taken down by all of the commercialism. It just doesn’t resonate with me anymore. I’ve even had a hard time putting up a Christmas tree. Rather odd for a woman named Noelle. My gateway into the season consistently has been through the sounds of a beautiful choir and what seems to stir inside me. It always brings back to me the mystery and the magic of the holiday season and I want you to know that this choir is worth listening to. I’m attaching a YouTube video for you to listen to. If you live in the Denver area it’s worth coming to listen to them live. Their next event is on 12/18 at 7pm at Park Church. They are a nonprofit choir and could really use donations. Consider a donation or even better buy a ticket and come listen. I’ve come to learn this past year that community and friendship are essential to our lives. So is contributing to local businesses and charities. At this time of year I think it’s important that we remind each other of the importance of stepping into the mystery of the holiday season.
I am enthralled with light. The right sort of light is the hunger at the heart of my black and white photography. That moment when the piece I am working with suddenly strikes this perfect balance of white on black. As if a piece of me suddenly solidifies out of the ether, into this very potent now, that did not exist before.
Possibly it did not exist.
Maybe we are all manifesting ourselves, moment to moment, by what we create and connect within our lives. Versions of ourselves no different than photography filters. Each choice, each passion, each belief, steadily constructing this moment’s version of ourselves, that could change with the next decision.
It’s said that the distance between molecules is so great within us, that we are really made up of more nothing than something. That at a subatomic level what we think we are is ether, nothingness, vast empty landscapes of potentiality waiting to erupt into existence. Dynamic vapors each of us, winking into existence over and over again at such high speeds, we appear like something out of nothing. I am a snapshot, then another, and another after that. Each a version of myself I am in existence for the briefest of times before I wink out and become something new and fresh again.
In photography, I can pull out light and deepen shadows, dramatically altering the quality of an image. I can tweak the shades of gray and imbue a scene with opalescent highlights. I can do this in character and perspective, too. Change who I am, drawing out more of one quality over another. I need only change my mind, make a new decision, intend something I have never intended so powerfully before.
These days I lean toward more light, less darkness, but it’s there – my shadow side. She is, in every sense an old, if not often a deluded friend. But her delusions about how the world works, have just become the backdrop for seeing my way into more profound truths. My darker side is not an aberration, but part of my artistry. A necessary depth in the dimensional me I come to learn anew each day. She lurks in the dark spots of the wave, the dense parts of mountainsides, the vanishing portion of a blade of grass. My shadow is what sets the stage for my light.
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado: Photo by Noelle
It’s clear there is always some focal point or object at the center of my search in each image. Yet, it can only come by its contrast to structures around it that are darker. The contrast of white on black shows me something I came to see. When I slip into my imperfections, my ugliness, my sense of brokenness I am then, as with the photography, really looking for the light in the center of that now moment. My ego can confuse me into thinking it’s the darkness I have come to wallow in, but that is a delusion, too. I am walking in the dark, allowing it to show me where my lights are. I am feeling my way, rather than thinking my way to my edges or lack of any sometimes.
Look at any of these images and the sea of darkness far outweighs the light. In fact, at a qualitative level, the intensity of the light is in direct proportion to the amount of darkness that surrounds it. The greater the sea of darkness the more intense the bits of light.
Old Harbor, Block Island, RI: Photo by Noelle
Dark matter in the Universe, in a sense, seems to work this way, too. We can not see it with any known measuring scale or technique because it interacts with nothing known to us. We know it exists, however, by its gravitational pull on the objects we do see. It is the force that surrounds the things illuminated to us.
I feel this inside of me. The more I turn into what disturbs me, darkens my doorway, makes me want to pull away from myself, only accents how powerfully light the other parts of me are. They go hand and hand, this white on black. I am more complex by my awareness of all sides of my nature, not diminished by this awareness.
All of this is really to say we do not understand the darkness.
We do not appreciate its value, weight, and importance in understanding what we deeply wish to see. That each goes hand and hand with the other. We have such fear of pain and suffering we can not perceive what part darkness plays in our lives, inside our psyche, or in how things are unfolding all around us. We break things down into good or bad, right or wrong, but this really robs us of a larger context and meaning to the people, places, and things we interact with.
I look upon the shadows cast by these mountain trail wildflowers. They are of the flowers, of course, and yet they have a beauty unto themselves that changes throughout the day, as the sun moves across a boundless sky. The beauty of the flowers is bolder against the dark shadows that dance around them all day long. Even more delicious, the darkness of the shadow can only be experienced by the white sand that rests beneath the shadows themselves. White on black, black on white.
When I look at how my own goodness has come to me, or maybe it is better to say floated to the surface and shown itself, it’s on its arrival in my darkest moments. Its weight and quality are not understood exclusively alone, but by how I perceived the darkness around these pieces of luminescence within me. Or how it seems the darkness itself refracts back to me a light, I could’ve only seen by the very darkness I dreaded to face inside of myself.
I look at the image below and feel a deep sense of peace as the light of small leaves rises out of the dark forest floor. I understand the balance I feel inside myself, as the image finds its right balance of white on black.
So much of me is light petals on dark, earthy mulch.
If you enjoyed this piece, I would be honored if you checked out my book, Into Your Meditation available by clicking on this link or the one on the upper right hand sided of this post.
I look upon the hands that hold the image between them. I feel a shift of feeling here. Root-like veins cross the knuckles, age spots and deep creases over crepe like skin cover the bone structure. My fingers rise to touch the wrinkles at my eyes and mouth. Many years of wind, water and sun, metaphorically and literally, have weathered this form, too. Why do I, and so many others, not see the same beauty here. I see my reflection in the smart tablet screen. Do I see and experience the same grace and elegance as that moment on the trail?
Photo by Noëlle— Hand[/caption]
I look back at the images. Remember the feeling of magic and delight as I stepped into their presence along the red stone path. Felt the good fortune to see them with my eyes first, and then now, enjoying them again in a photograph. No wondering, just instantaneous recognition of something beautiful before me.
Can I translate that to my own body now? Can I step into the presence of my aging process that looks back at me in the mirror and see how gnarled, bent, stretched, twisted life has made me and delight in the sudden discovery. Know it is beauty, not decay. See it as persistent life, thriving against all odds, rather than life slowly destroyed by time? Feel the grace of me, as instantaneously, as upon the trail?
The tree spoke of no sorrow or loss, as I stood before it. I know this. My other senses, those beyond my five standard issue senses — tell me I’d feel their suffering if they felt pain in their change and loss. Something in me knows this to be a deep truth. They live in the world, as it is and become what each moment brings to them. Bending to what is, rather than fighting against it. In this way, I see now that the grace and elegance I experience looking upon them in their gnarled form, is as much from their bending with the present moment, than just mere form.
I can feel the world. I can feel it’s pulse and it’s movements. I can sense it’s shifts and it’s tides. I am more kin to the natural world, than I realize. Like so many, I am often lulled into a detached sleep from the natural evolution of all things by canned air, computer screens, shoe soles and walls.
I wish to return to this level of awareness. To be present to the weathering my path offers me. And in that presence, experience the beauty of my own changes — bent, twisted, bleached of all that was me — and know this as grace. I want to remember the wisdom that is inside of me, that is like the trees. Knows there is only what is here now and to bend to it. Allow it to shape me and alter my structure. Allow time and space to bring me into a new form that may have no appearance of it’s former self, yet is something that has become fresh and beautiful. Something so alive and tenacious that even faced with the elements of my own time on this Earth, I grow leaves of love, light and hope at the edges of all that I am.
If you enjoyed this piece, I’d be honored if you checked out my larger body of writing in my book “Into Your Meditation” at the link below or on the upper right hand corner of this blog site.
The surf comes slow and steady, lapping quietly only a few feet away, and never desists. She seems a persistent child, playfully pulling me ever further away from my thoughts. I match my breathe to her comings and goings, at first a difficult task. I am full of the busyness of life at work and the chaos of travel. Yet, after a time, she in her great depths and I in my shallowness upon the beach become one. My muscles sink deeply into the sand, as I rest motionless upon the towel.
At mid-morning, the beach is not yet busy, and the gull’s calls are distinct from the din that comes with afternoon beach goers. I open one eye and see a large gray-breasted gull inching toward me. He is surveying for any booty to steal, pirate thief that he is. His beak nods dismissively, as he finds nothing and walks on down the beach. I find a sudden longing that he stay awhile longer. He speaks to me of sea and sky, salt and sand.
The ocean laps, my eye closes and the meditation drops deeper still.
There is no effort in this sort of meditation.
The Earth and sea work on me, as they have on the driftwood that litters the beach around me. Softening my edges, tempering my life force, wearing away abrasiveness, leaching from me all that is no longer essential to my purpose and form. Clues are there – tasty salt upon my lips, a breeze lifting my hair – that unseen forces work steadily at this disassembly. An effortless altering of my biochemistry. We think it’s back to some baseline peaceful state, but I think it’s to a new version of me at peace that is forming. I am not the same, as I was before. The same as other peaceful times. The quality I know as peace, changes as I change. Each return to me, from a wound up person in the throes of life, shows me a me I have yet to meet.
Thoughts barely rise, before the sun evaporates them off my mind blurring my sense of where I end and the sand begins. This feels essential. A kind of reset where I am wiped totally clean before rebooting to my new form. It is hard to remember when I used to lie here and pull my other life with me onto the beach towel. Endless, frenzied thoughts about life elsewhere, hardly noticing the call of the sea and the gulls. Somewhere inside of me, I think I have always known my troubles only existed if I kept thinking about them. That they would evaporate if I wasn’t there tending to them and where would that leave me? If I gave up thinking about them, then I might not exist anymore either, for who was I without them?
What a tragedy, not being me, once seemed.
Now I call the wind and the sea to me, ravish guests to an abundant feast. There is nothing I won’t give them. There is nothing they can’t have. This ship has beached here and has lost all defenses. Pirate gulls and marauding wind, my treasures, such as they are, are yours for the taking.
If you enjoyed this piece, you can find more in my book of meditations called “Into Your Meditation” available on Lulu.com, Amazon and Barnesandnoble.com.
Today, I send into your meditation a Kaleidoscope.
Imagine you have picked up a beautiful kaleidoscope off the shelf in a lovely, out of the way shop you stumble upon, down an unexpected alley. The shop is full of all sorts of curiosities and beautiful trinkets, games and pieces of art. You have been wondering the shop for a few minutes, enjoying touching and admiring many things when you come upon the kaleidoscope.
There’s something of the unexpected in a kaleidoscope. You never know what patterns and beauty you will see within. Thus, you follow your impulse and pick it up. You are surprised at how substantial it feels in your hand. Clearly very well made of a porcelain-like material, with these intricate designs and writing that appear similar to Sumatran script down its sides. The rims are made of gold and you find yourself even more entranced than a moment ago.
You place the kaleidoscope to your eye and peer in. As with all kaleidoscopes the objects that create the patterns within are made of rich colored glass, but there are also beads of gold and silver that seem to refract light into the glass. When you turn and face the sunlight streaming through the shop windows the colors explode in every direction, bringing to life the most amazing patterns. Each turn of the scope gives ever greater delight. It’s as if you can feel the colored patterns seeping into your body through your eyes. Whatever the price, you decide you must have it. You can’t help feeling there is something truly magical about this kaleidoscope and an immense good fortune for having found your way to this shop. You want to look into it again and again.
And there is, of course, something magical about it. This kaleidoscope is your human life and the viewer is your spirit gazing through it.
Your life was chosen from a myriad of options in the divine shop of human existence. Your life was an intentional decision and there was such delight and sense of wonder and eagerness to see what patterns this life you are living would create. Feel the power in that. There were an infinite number of choices, and your spirit chose your life to experience itself through. Not random, not accidental and not the last trinket on the shelf some unlucky spirit got stuck with. No one is a lump of coal in some spirit’s Christmas stocking. Everything about your life was a magical moment of conscious decision and creation, entered into with pure joy and awe.
Pay close attention now and let us see something even more powerful and unique about this kaleidoscope. It’s size is of your design. The number of colors within it, your choice. The number of times it’s turned and the pattern allowed to change, your decision. Each of us are sovereign beings with complete freewill. The limitations we experience are of our own choosing. The level of diversity, depth, color, range, complexity of our nature is something we build and create daily.
It’s important to understand there are no wrong choices. No matter what we think of the events of our life or the changes we’re experiencing our highest self is always delighted with the patterns of our nature. It peers into us only with the eyes of love and wonder, and as such it can see nothing else. It does not see the person you harmed or the person who harmed you the way you see them. It does not interpret your losses or successes or those of your enemy the way you interpret them. It does not see the unexpected, as unexpected, or the confusing as confusing. It sees into your life with immense clarity and vision that envelopes all of who you are and all of whom and what everything else is, simultaneously. It sees the beauty and grace in all things.
There is never disappointment in our beingness or even a hair’s breath of regret in the choice to live through us. All those feelings of discord are only our level of disengagement with that love offered freely and without restraint or limitation.
Your higher self is an infinite being. It can live an entire lifetime gazing enthralled at one particular pattern that never changes, reveling in the patterns beauty. It can spend ten thousand lifetimes, turning the scope again and again, seeing millions of configurations if it so chooses. Nothing is ever lost to it. Nothing is squandered, diminished or thought less of for being the pattern it is. It knows only delight, excitement, wonder at what it sees in the pattern it is witnessing now, for no matter how far down a hole we may think we are, it knows completely our potential to climb out. It waits with delicious anticipation for us to take our next step toward love, in each and every moment. It will wait a minute, it will wait ten thousand lifetimes with the same anticipation. It’s infinite. Only love and potentiality matter to it, not time.
This life you are living is a kaleidoscope. You are choosing the limitations of the tube, the color of the glass, the aperture of the spy hole… all of it. Even more fascinating, at no time, does your spirit rail against the limitation of the tube, either. For the tubes limitations are what allow the formations of patterns. They are chosen limits, until one decides to change the limits for something smaller or broader, depending on what serves us. Spirit can’t look into vastness and experience an individuality. It must confine itself for a time in a human life that has distinct edges, created by our beliefs and perceptions. We may decide to change a belief and expand our point of view or our way of being, but we chose to be inside this tube for a time. And in that choice we are playing with the limitations we set to ourselves to build our kaleidoscope. We wanted something we could look through and that decision gave us this very unique and specific life.
We have a fixed sense of who we are, our personalities in particular, largely because we’ve created – through our beliefs – the limitations we live within. It is an illusion though to see them as fixed. We can make them so, if that serves us, but if the confines we’ve found ourselves living in have become constricted, boring, dull, diminished, dark, negative, self-limiting, imprisoning, than truly we need but turn the glass tube. Make a decision to change. Make a decision to imagine ourselves as something new, and the tube begins to turn. The colored glass and metallic balls begin to tumble and who we are shifts into a new pattern.
Do not let your old stories of who you are define who you can be. Disengage from other’s points of view of who they think you are, and ask yourself if that is who you wish to be? Allow yourself to imagine that any configuration of you, that no longer serves you can be let go, freed up, re-designed into something else. As Einstein said, “Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another.” You are pure energy, in a constant state of flux and evolution. Know the limitlessness of that!
As you sit today, see if you can feel the porcelain tube with it’s magical script etched down its sides turning just a little and then allow yourself to open to whatever comes next.
If you enjoyed this piece, I would be honored if you checked out my book, either at the Amazon link below or the Lulu link at the upper right hand. Many blessings to you…
First, this from the Enneagram Institute’s daily quotes:
Wisdom teaching about waking up: “Awareness is vitally important in the work of transformation because the habits of our personality let go most completely when we see them as they are occurring.”
I’m sitting in a meeting and someone I don’t care for much, speaks up. No surprise, I don’t like their idea. A very non-spiritual, unenlightened or even kind thought crosses my mind. I catch it almost as quickly. I’m immediately disappointed in myself. I note that the thought comes with a feeling of tension in my belly and irritation. I breath to relax and notice my left toes are curled up in my shoe. I release them. Another breath, but my chest is tight. My brain is wanting to give a rebuttal to my colleague. History has taught me the rebuttal will fuel more than I care for. I hold my tongue, but feel the effort causes my jaw to tighten. I breathe again, and relax my face and shoulders.
I now notice my thoughts are quickly winding into a story. I ask myself, “Why are you telling yourself this story now?” The answer back is “I’m still irritated and I’m right.” Since I’m not giving that impulse to rebut my colleague’s statements sway, my brain is unleashing the tension in some sordid tale where I, of course, am more brilliant, kinder, innovative than my counterpart in the meeting. I breathe again. I feel the boat that sails on the sea of peace within me listing a good bit. I feel my deep desire to be right, to have greater influence over the meeting battling inwardly with the part of me deeply rooted in peace, that wants to let go of this whole mental and emotional affair I’ve got going.
My mind suddenly throws up a picture of an old circus ride from my youth. The Gravitron which spun you round and round with centrifugal force. I feel like I’m watching myself on one side of the ride and feeling myself on the opposing side, simultaneously.
I check in, my toes are curled up again. I unravel them, take another breath, and loosen my tongue that I’ve cemented to the roof of my mouth, apparently, to not speak up. I’m still irritated, but the self-inquiry has infused curiosity in there, too. I feel a sense of command over my reactiveness arriving, that’s comforting somehow.
I breathe again and relax my butt cheeks, loosen my hands in my lap, undo the tension that’s grown behind my eyes. The activity has taken me off my colleague. The meeting has moved on. No decisions were made. I feel relief. I relax. I note the pettiness of my thoughts, the need to grab control over an outcome I desire, the tension that built, the emotional ride I took myself on all aloft inside of me. I breathe again, letting it all go with a growing commitment.
I query myself on what is at the heart of this? Why does this person’s character disturb me so or their ideas?
The answers arrive like parade floats passing across my mind. I’m competitive: a familiar idea and I feel the yucky feeling of catching that in me, yet again. They have a condescending tone when they speak to me. I feel that even yuckier twinge of unworthiness or ‘less than’ vibe roll through. If I’m wholly honest, I might have to admit they are smarter than me. Again, competitive, and an idea I’m not willing to concede quite yet. An amused smile crosses my lips as I catch my own arrogance. I feel the outcome on the issue is outside my control, and feel a helplessness there. I dig down deeper and sense a boredom in the meeting and have the very unpleasant realization, that some of this internal drama was simply to give my mind something to engage. That might be the most unflattering notion to me of all of them. Drama as a kind of mental amusement. My desire to rebut likely had a need for attention, too. Huh… some self-esteem issues there and I’m finding the ‘drama as antidote for boredom’ returning to my mind, as if it has bells on its feet.
I move from looking inward to looking outward. I see the politics of the issue that are affecting my colleague and me. I sense the uncomfortable temperature of the room and the length of time I’ve been in the meeting and how all of those, too, are affecting what is happening to me here.
I check in. My toes are curled up in both shoes now, my shoulders have risen up, my breathing is shallower, stomach tight, the irritation – now focused on myself – has grown. I don’t care for much of this, but also see the value in witnessing these things in myself. I don’t try to change what I’m seeing. I breathe and let myself see them as I detach from them. I feel my meditation practice in full swing. I am a witness to my personality’s various machinations. They are there, noted honestly, but I focus on offering myself compassion. I breathe into it. Unravel everything one more time, only this time, I keep going for several minutes. I focus on a point just outside the window. I let the noise of the meeting pass over me, as clouds traveling the breadth of the sky. I stay this way until I feel myself return to a monk sitting quietly in the conference room chair.
Now, I am ready to practice some ho’oponopono with my colleague. The Hawaiian prayer of forgiveness, “I love you, please forgive me, I’m sorry, thank you”. By the time I begin, I see the gifts I’ve been given of insight into my personality’s weird little dynamics. I’ve had the chance to disengage the machine and return myself to center. The boat floating inwardly on my sea of peace is no longer listing.
When I begin the Hawaiian prayer I mean every word. My colleague has not changed at all, and I may never be close friends with them, but the part of me that was attaching who I am, to who they are, has been unhooked. As such, I can see them more clearly. They, like me, have the same little shit show going on inside their personality. That single insight softens my heart tremendously. A gift to me of awareness. I’ve been shown something and given the chance to practice a new pathway, charter a new course. I don’t ask myself for perfection. I might have to repeat this little scene at some other point today, tomorrow or next week. This is the path. I am not the same at the end of the meeting, as I was at the beginning. As the quote indicates I am, by means of my awareness, transformed.
Day in, day out, this is the road we travel. Thousands of years meditators have been walking this path. I am comforted to know I am in good company.
If you liked this piece, consider checking out my book either at the link below to Amazong or the link above to Lulu.com publishing. Thank you
Today, I send into your meditation Jeopardy: Part I: Consequences. This from A Course in Miracles (ACIM) which I have doctored slightly to remove gender-specific/religious specific wording.
I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace.
I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise.
I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace.
I do not feel guilty, because Spirit will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision, if I allow Spirit to do so.
I choose to let Spirit do so, as it will bring me that peace I seek.
(Chapter 5: A Course in Miracles by Helen Schucman, 1976)
I read this prayer often. At the heart of it’s value to me is the undoing of consequences. That single line may be the greatest gift I have ever allowed myself to receive. The allowing of true forgiveness to wipe clean what I did not see, what created error, what took me down paths that thoroughly blinded or caused me to harm myself or another. It makes clear, I can allow my karmic path to be healed and set anew. It is a gift I take with immense gratitude and appreciation, for surely my mind’s efforts at offering me the same have never come close to delivering this peace, as those sparse few words have.
Much of our ‘stuckness’ is in our laboring, incessantly, over those consequences. As Lady Macbeth so eloquently demonstrated to all:
Out, damned spot! out, I say!–One: two: why,
then, ’tis time to do’t. –Hell is murky!–Fie, my
lord, fie! as soldier, and afeard? What need
we fear who knows it, when none can call our power
account?– Yet who would have thought the old man
to have had so much blood in him.
The Macbeth’s had indeed committed a horrific crime, yet for most of us this is not the case, but you’d be hard pressed to believe that by the weight of our suffering over what we have thought, said or done. We desperately want a reset button and fear we are in jeopardy of something bad happening to us. We can labor hours over misspoken words to a colleague or dissect every moment in an event where our actions took us astray. We see consequences around every corner for us not being our best selves and don’t know how to make right what we have done or not done, as the case may be.
Sadder still, many of us are so frozen by the fear of consequences we can’t make any decisions at all. We see trouble down every path. Thus, we make no choices, and in so doing, live a life that unfolds by the ‘no-choice’ choice, that never feels like a life of our own. A life by default.
This is, of course, reinforced in a world that seeks justice more than it seeks healing. Desires rightness more than it desires wholeness. Or possibly, we confuse the first in each instance, as the pathway to giving us the second. We don’t know how to forgive and heal ourselves in such a way that the guilt, shame, anger, and fear are truly relinquished and our mind’s made clean again.
I use dry eraser markers to write on my bathroom mirror. A brilliant idea given to me by my dear friend Nancy Markow who facilitates groups on intentional living. I write many things to myself on the bathroom mirror, in many colors, but one is never erased and written boldly in black so that I can always see it.
“I am not in jeopardy and neither is anyone else. I can be free, I need but ask.”
I read it every single day, sometimes twice…. or three times… depending how spiritually-centered I am. If I’m in a good place, than the reminder comes simply, if I am off kilter and running amuck, the reminder is a life vest I offer myself when I am barely treading water. It brings me back to the present moment, because my sense of jeopardy will always take me either into the future or the past. It robs me of the present. It sucks away any awareness of this precious now and what I can/could do to assist myself and truly live my life consciously.
Fear of consequences keeps us victims to our past, our mistakes, and our unworthy, imperfect self-perceptions that we seem to always be diligently trying to improve and correct. Our own efforts, however, will never clean our minds or heal our choices, as relinquishing what we’ve done, with the humble request to be healed, to be made anew, to start again, to be assisted in finding a new way.
Sit for a moment and imagine the feeling of picking up a sponge and a heavy bucket of bleach and water and attempting to clean a wall covered in every misspoken moment of your life written in spray paint. Feel the weight of that bucket. Feel the enormity of that job. Feel the effort it will take. Now, imagine you kneel before that same wall hands free and open and humbly ask that it be erased, that the consequences to all be healed and that your mind be freed to see a new way. Imagine a love so great that in that instant the wall became clean and the air was free to move in and out of your lungs without restriction once more. Feel how the muscles of your shoulders and belly relax. Feel how open your heart becomes in that instant to that very same love. Feel the lightness of being that comes with releasing such a burden.
Imagine in this moment, that is exactly what is being offered to you. A force of love so great, consequences are not beyond it’s reach to heal. What if you let that love in? What if you gave yourself that?
If you enjoyed this piece I would be greatly honored if you would check out my book using either the link above at right or the link below. Thank you.
Today, I send into your meditation The Griffins. A few nights ago I dreamt of two golden griffins. The dream had a number of twists and turns, but at the end I found myself on a dirt road, traveling through a valley toward a mountain ridge, on the back of a gentle and warm yak. Not a bull, a yak. It seemed to be late summer, early fall as it is now in the Northern Hemisphere. The vale was golden, the sky a twilight blue. The road wove into a wood as it began to ascend into the mountains. I remember thinking of the old saying, “The oxen is slow, but the Earth is patient”. I felt no sense of hurry and a feeling of contentment pervaded my attitude.
As I rose up the side of the mountain I came upon two golden griffins (body of a lion, head of an eagle, often with talons for hands and paws for feet). They were sitting at a small cafe table, in the middle of this wood, enjoying cups of tea from fine bone china, outside a small cave opening. I couldn’t imagine my good fortune, stumbling onto this Wonderland-esque scene and turned the yak off the road toward their table.
The dream changed quickly and I found myself entering their small cave instead. The inside of the cave was much larger than the outside betrayed. Inside were many children, seemingly impoverished by their clothing, but all beside themselves with joy. At first they asked me to help them with their financial circumstances and I eagerly sat down to help. In no time, however, I found myself on the floor with them, laughing and playing peek a boo, while they climbed all over me and the room in which we sat. The feeling was of being immersed in a sea of puppies. I remember all of these happy faces with brown and blue eyes, smiles – some of them missing front teeth, and all of them full of energy. We played for I don’t know how long, but sometime later, I awoke.
First let us visit the Griffins. This from Wikipedia, “…because the lion was traditionally considered the king of the beasts and the eagle the king of birds by the Middle Ages the griffin was thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature. Since classical antiquity, Griffins were known for guarding treasure and priceless possessions”
Logically then, we would assume my golden griffins were guarding a particularly special treasure, yet no precious metals or diamonds did I find in this cave-dwelling. In fact, little tangible material at all. The children were in rags and some of their faces were smudged from having been playing in dirt or mud. The few furnishings were made of plain wood and of simple design. The space lacked any adornment or embellishment, yet the room was aglow with a golden light, as if filled with gold itself. All of what we consider prosperous or providing security was absent.
Thus, it would seem the treasure here was joy, playfulness, spontaneity, freedom to be oneself, foolish silliness, community, friendship, and laughter. The bounty was a warm lap to climb into, a hug, kisses on cheeks, races and hide and seek, followed by more let’s pretend. Every child looked well-nourished and even their hair shined in the luminous light even as their clothes were not. The concern for finances seemed almost a ruse to get me to sit on the floor with them to play in the real richness of the moment.
I have thought of the dream often since I had it. At first, the exotic nature of the griffins was my main focus, as you don’t dream of golden griffins sipping tea very often. Yet, over time, I found the children the clearer gift. The source of most of the magic. The message seemed clear. The treasure in life isn’t stuff. Its the joy, warmth and love we are capable of sharing and spreading like contagious giggles with one another. Playfulness is a wealth every man or woman possesses. Delight the food of gods, that nourishes beyond measure. This gift, not piles of precious jewels, were what the golden griffins were attracting me too, so sublimely as they sat daintily sipping tea. They weren’t guarding me out, but enticing me in. Once I’d turned toward them, my destination into the cave was immediate.
So I say in this very moment, do not let meditation be the only source of profound spiritual connection you give yourself this day. Find someone, anyone, to laugh with, to hug, to love deeply, to surprise and be yourself with, to step out of your routine and be completely spontaneous with. Laugh more than you complain today. Smile often at all whom you meet, there’s bounty in that simple gesture. If you are lonely, and find a short list of friends to turn to, then commit now to change. Even if to do so will force you out of your comfort zone, be inconvenient and make you risk seeming foolish. Do not impoverish yourself of the great richness this life has the potential to offer all of us, if we’ll stop worrying about what anyone else thinks and begin, even with small steps to follow our bliss. Lay down your financial woes, breaking their dominance on your mind. Invest in the present for the gifts that lay here for you, if you’ll just turn off those old roads you’ve traveled for so long.
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Today, I send into your meditation hypnotized. Recently, I have been playing with the Enneagram and one of the quotes from The Enneagram Institute really struck me:
“Reflect on this teaching about Transformation today: The important thing is to set aside some time each day to re-establish a deeper connection with our True Nature. Regular practice serves to remind us over and over again that we are hypnotized by our personality.” (The Wisdom of the Enneagram, 347)
Oh… that I could say pride in my personality was not something I have struggled with. That I have not found myself totally enamored with my own awesome persona. Humility and clarity have taken more decades than I care to admit and more effort than building a pyramid with no tools should take. I have spent a good deal of my life hypnotized by my own personality and believed this was the whole point of a life. This…. THIS… is who I am.
To constantly improve on this person I believed myself to be was the crafting of ages, to be admired surely. Minimize the defects, enhance the attributes and be glad when most people only notice the latter. I could not, did not see myself clearly.
The last several years has seen a deep humbleness settle upon me that I bend to willingly and with joy. I wonder that I struggled so hard and for so long. The more I let go of what I think I know about myself and the world, the more I see how vast my blindness goes. As I embrace how limited my vision in most things is, the more humility seems a simple choice, no different than donning a coat in acclimate weather. Where once stood a great pride for my impressive bits of knowledge squirreled away for important occasions, now lives a quieter woman living a significantly simpler life. Where once it seemed important to impress, now the house of cards lies neatly stacked again in it’s box. There is far greater interest in being awed by the immensity of galaxies, the depths of a human heart, the tales of summer winds to direct me home, than to intellectualize my spiritual path. These days it seems wiser to be quiet and clear, than loud and cloudy.
In my youth, I saw humility as a sign of weakness and a lack of confidence in oneself, failing to see my pride was the absolute telltale sign of a weaker internal sense of self and the ear marker of someone who didn’t value themselves in any real, authentic way. The humbling was, as it is for all of us, painful but now I see so clearly it’s necessity. Our personalities are such weighty things we drag around with us like a hermit with it’s shell. Wrapped so tightly in these personas it’s hard for anyone to really see our light, including ourselves.
Humility has brought me great comfort, as a cat curled upon my lap. It softens me, and makes tender my view on virtually all that I could gaze upon. Humility brings silence unabated, while pride breeds a ceaseless chatter to sustain itself. To be humble is to let go at ever greater levels and there is such deliciousness in that unwinding out of what we’ve built. The fascination with oneself makes us miserly trolls trying to hold on to every last trinket we think enhances the view. While there is immense spaciousness in humility, because the stories to sustain the personality have fallen away. We are left with a simple cotton robe, rather than armor made to deflect anything that can disturb the personalities precarious hold on itself. In that robe we have a sense of movement and ease.
Humility is a divine grace we enter, as we let fall away the lifetime of stories we’ve used to construct our sense of who we are. In our humility we become authentic, naked, empty of what serves the ego, and full of what serves the spirit. As we allow this to permeate all of our being, we see. We see with new eyes. We hear with new ears. We experience the Universe and others in wholly new ways. Our intuitive voice rises and our heart leads the way ahead.
And so today I bow to each of you. May the scent of dirt fill my nose and consume my lungs, as I revel in the fantastic nature of my nothingness. May my eyes see only divine’s great work and the beauty in all things. May I live all my days wondrously blind to all that does not heal and become so deaf I can no longer hear the din of war and only the ocean’s surf that sings of peace. May my steps slow, knowing there is nowhere else to be, but in this precious moment given to me. May the path to serve open before me, as long as my legs have strength to move. I am now, have always been and will always be your humble servant.
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Love these moments
That feeling when you know you are on the edge
A cliff of sorts
A place where you can feel your previous self just falling away
When leaping is just the next logical step
Not even a grand gesture
Just the natural unfoldment of life
You look down and the height is nothing to you
It’s nothing to freefall into this unknown
It’s what you were made for…….. flight
So few of us get this
Little in life is a grand gesture
Do the work
Have the discipline
Step into the little fears, day in and day out
Then when you reach the cliff
It feels simple
A precipice that was made for you
Made for your exhilarated moment of freedom