Gnarled

Photo by Noëlle — At Garden of the Gods

I stare at its gnarled and boney presence. Ripped up by its roots, bent away from it’s natural form and twisted into something barely recognizable as tree in the psyche.

Many still have leaves green and thriving at their tips. Life tenaciously holding on whilst facing winds so brutal nothing holds shape against them. It takes years of wind and water and baking sun to create such beauty. I look at the image closely, pondering the story that lies in every turned branch. Graceful, elegant are words that arise, even as the limbs seem tortured in their present form.

Photo by Noëlle— At Garden of the Gods

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]

Photos by Noëlle— Hand

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.

Photo by Noëlle— Garden of the Gods

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.

Phot by Noëlle— Garden of the Gods

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.

Photo by Noëlle— Garden of the. Gods

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.

Healing Comes with Awareness

image

Ohsu.com


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.

image

Soft.net

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?

image

Espritsciencemetaphysiques.com


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.

image

In5d.com


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

Not Broken

Sunset storm over the Rockies: Photos by Noelle

Sunset storm over the Rockies: Photos by Noelle


Fiery warrior
Sweat covered face
Bitter salt in mouth
Broken
Broken
Again and
Again
Dirt in nails
Bloodied thighs
Will not break!
Broken
Broken
Again and
Again
Thirsty for more than water
Desperate for more than home
Bags of tricks all gone
Broken
Broken
Again and
Again
Spirit crushes there is only gnashing
Sprirt tears away there is only wrapping
Spirit loves and venom comes spitting
Broken
Broken
Again and
Again

Broken
Nothing left, such tragic weeping
Confusion consumes a rotted mind
Broken
Broken
Again and
Again
Bleeding out old stories
Quiet, a battlefield stretcher
Blindness and fear pool in the dirt
Broken
Broken
Again and
Again

Love, a silent dawn
Sleeping, an old hound at the feet
Reliable, loyal, persistent as the sun

Fiery warrior
Sweat covered face
Only salt in mouth
Rising
Rising
Again and
Again
Not dead, just empty
Not lost, just arrived
Not broken
Not broken
Again and
Again