~ from cats, dogs and nature to the flowering of body, mind and spirit ~

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

i see you


More than the others, she now relies upon routine to ease her anxiety. Unable to hear and often confused, structure and routine are reassuring, the patterns that allow her to continue through each moment with a residual semblance of grace and connection. Routine establishes connection with the world around her, guiding her through the flow as her senses and mind release their vibrations as her soul moves toward freedom. The passage of time is non-existent for her, there is and always has been only the now, the present, but ‘now’ has become expanded, ethereal and difficult to grasp this year. Routine brings shape to the slippery present.


Sleep when it comes is deep and peaceful, a release from the insecurity of a nebulous now; her muscles become slack, her breathing almost imperceptible, her energy smooth and slow. It is in striking contrast to her waking state. Always a nervous individual, her worry as increased with age, varying from pacing aimlessly to crying as if lost, from tentative attempts to be noticed to outright obnoxious behavior. Meal times are crazy and chaotic because this is a vital part of her routine, an instinctual drive for survival that often seems to take on a life of its own filled with panic and frenzy. She is better then, for a while, able to relax and observe without so much tension, and often lays down in apparent total exhaustion. She adores being hugged and touched and really seen. I realized a year or so ago that it was especially important to her for me to stop what I was doing and give her my full, complete attention for a few minutes on a regular basis ... to tell her that I did see her. To let her know that I know she’s still here ... like she needs the external love and reassurance that, yes, her body is still here in the world of form and that she’s not only spirit ... not yet. She’s so sweet yet needy - a simple acknowledgement of her presence lights up her entire being.


She has taught me patience, awareness, love, an insight into the gradual aging process -- how small details can really matter and make a big difference. Compassion. That I don’t have to understand what is going through someone else’s mind to feel compassion and express compassion. That I don’t have to know their past to help them right now in this moment. To know that sometimes it is enough to simply be present ... I don’t have to do anything except be nearby, be available. None of the others have ever reached her level of what is often referred to as senility or dementia or Alzheimer’s ... the gradual loss of cognitive function. But her soul radiates through her body just as it always has. I sometimes have to remind myself, when my ego gets in the way, that it is an honor to share what I can with her these last few years, helping her in her fear, anxiety, or confusion when she has so selflessly given of herself to me all the other years and even now continues to give the beautiful gift of her unconditional love.


What goes through her mind when she is staring at the door in the evening? Is her behavior automatic? Is she guided by an inner knowing of which she is aware or is the reason obscure? She waits and stares because it is time. At this time, most days, something happens that is specific and part of her routine -- Ron arrives home from work. This activity completes the daily routine. What’s different now about her behavior? Now, even on the weekends, even if Ron saw her a few minutes earlier, after she eats, she goes and stares at the door that opens into the garage -- she waits. So, when I see her waiting, I go ask Ron to pretend to come home; he understands and obliges with love and sensitivity ... and then the routine is complete for Chiana, she can relax for the rest of the evening.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Don't Save It All For Christmas Day

This is one of my favorite songs ... and a favorite message ...
~ Bright Blessings ~

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

love and light begun


Lamps that gleam
and spread a dream
of love and light
throughout the night
to break the dark and stagnant air
to bring in ions bright and fair
that take away our ache and woe
exchange it with the need to know
from where it comes this light of truth
and how it speaks the might of sooth-
sayers leave broad hints around
tossed on the leaves upon the ground
that seeps into the earth we walk
and through our bones and sounds of talk
that drift upon the air once more
as we will wonder what's in store
we feel the journey 'neath our feet
as wisdom travels deep retreat
past loam and sand and roots of trees
where gnomes await on bended knees
to grasp the light of wisdom through the earth
and mine it into a brand new birth
they hide it in the pinkish rock of salt to sleep
and dream the day
when sunlight shall peep
through broken clay
and soil and sand
by work of beast, machine and man
and so once more the light will glow
through harnessed heart of love it shows
the beauty of all love is one
from rock to light to sun ...
we have begun
______________

While gazing upon my Himalayan salt crystal lamp, the candle flame glowing and flickering, I wrote the above. I love to step into a moment and simply write in rhyme as the pen flows across the page in a single stream of movement without pause - to write in release of control or perfection to allow a form without rejection to just come into being and the words to spring forth and shape themselves from one to the next.

And how appropriate that the light should call me this morning when yesterday was our Winter Solstice - a time of longest night followed by return of the growing light!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ritam


Ritam of the world that flows all around
Raindrops, oh-so-lightly pound on the ground
Trees that sway to and fro in the wind
Stop in a moment then start up again
As our blood flows with the ritam of heart
We are all one spirit - we are not apart
Listen to the sounds and calls of the earth
As Purusha and Prakriti in ritam give birth
Their children are the gunas that sing
Throughout life and join the elements to bring
Manifestation of Beings in our world of form
Into the ritam of life each ego is born
____________
I've returned home again from another marvelous experience - the second modular learning intensive down at Kripalu School of Ayurveda. The first week was more experiential, while the second week was 'bookish' in structure - both amazing.

The sanskrit word "ritam" has one meaning of "rhythm" ... we learned this during a drumming one evening, after which we were invited to take a few minutes and write about whatever the experience and our immersion into learning meant to us. Out of this experience came the above.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Roasted Chickpeas


While I didn't produce a fancy meal yesterday, I did try a new recipe from my Ayurvedic cookbook "Eat Taste Heal". The dish was roasted 'crunchy' chickpeas - something that sounded delicious and simple! I think they're yummy, although Ron isn't fond of them at all. However, next time, I'll have to roast them just a wee bit longer as mine didn't make it all the way to crunchy! LOL I used a Pitta-pacifying seasoning - flavor but not hot - and look forward to being able to have them more often in the future. After cooking them, I found quite a few recipes for 'roasted chickpeas' online so get out there and roast 'em up! YUM!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

giving thanks


So very many blessings to be thankful for ... I'm grateful every moment of my life for the gifts that surround me in memory and Now.

I share the following by Mary Oliver ...

Every day
I see or hear
something
that more or less

kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle

in the haystack
of light.
It was what I was born for -
to look, to listen,

to lose myself
inside this soft world -
to instruct myself
over and over

in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant -
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help

but grow wise
with such teachings
as these -
the untrimmable light

of the world,
the ocean's shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?

~ "Mindful" by Mary Oliver

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

living into fullness


Life purpose is not limited to a job title or a single achievement. We all have dynamic, constantly changing purposes that make life exciting and challenging. Living into the fullness of your unique constitution is a guidemap to nurturing your deepest talents and passions, leading directly to true fulfillment in life.
~ Eat Taste Heal by Yarema, Rhoda, Brannigan

When I read this, I experienced one of those precious "yes!" moments. I don't have to limit myself to finding my one purpose! This has been a huge realization for me; something I knew but didn't fully realize until recently (months? years?). While some people may find they do have a sole purpose or a single powerful gift that engages them in life-long pursuit and joy, what about those of us who feel multiple passions?! So, while I may have to prioritize at times, I don't have to choose one purpose. And when each passion or purpose is seated in love, isn't that all the more glorious? Ahhh...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Truth


Truth in her dress finds facts too tight.
In fiction she moves with ease.
~ Tagore


Sunday, November 15, 2009

secret powers of the universe


"The wonders of modern science through its advanced technologies are merely a mechanical channelling of certain outer aspects of the secret powers of the Universe. These secrets are fully accessible through direct inner knowledge in a holistic and creative manner for those who know the yogic art of concentration."
~ Yogini, by Shambhavi Lorain Chopra

Friday, November 13, 2009

Healthy Bones & Calcium


We hear a lot about the calcium that women need as we age. Of course, it’s better to pay attention to getting enough calcium starting at the very least when we’re in our thirties! That said, most people turn to dairy products for their calcium source, but what to do when either dairy doesn’t ‘sit right’ with you or perhaps you’re vegan? In that case, you may take a tablet calcium supplement, but how much of that isolate is really absorbed without the natural synergy provided by Mother Nature? There are many books and recipes out there but I wanted to share with you one of my own personal whole-food favorites.

Evening Cup of Calcium Herbal Infusion

In the morning, mix together in a tea strainer:

3 heaping tsp oatstraw (delightful, mild flavor)
1 heaping tsp nettles (strong ‘green’ flavor)
1/4 tsp horsetail
1/4 tsp sage

Pour boiling water over this into a cup and let it steep, covered, all day. Contains approximately the same amount of calcium as one cup of milk.*

I drink mine either at room temperature (in the summer) or warmed (the rest of the year), and before or during the evening meal.

*Recipe slightly modified from Susun Weed’s book “New Menopausal Years” which I turn to constantly as an herbal resource.

There are also lots of whole foods to eat that contain good amounts of calcium, including kale, spinach and kelp! And taking Calc-phos tissue salts regularly will assist with maximum assimilation on a vibrational level. To learn more via articles, consults or classes, visit HolistiCARE.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Connect with Respect


Connect Respect Reflect
Heart Mind Soul

In the past week, it seems I've read a lot about relationships through friends, articles, books - everywhere! We are all growing into or out of relationships of all kinds. I delve ever more deeply into one while allowing natural distance to flow out of another yet not in separation but as recognition of and in respect for each path. From Source the vines spread. Like the ivy upon ancient grounds and walls, we all are twining, meeting, joining, dividing and ultimately transforming into a vision of vibrant vital life through death and rebirth.

With awareness ...

Connect with someone in open-hearted presence.
Respect their space in open-minded perception.
Reflect upon the message through the mind that dwells in the heart - through soul/Self.

Before speaking, I may pause, allowing the space in which to ask myself three questions before responding:

Are my words true?
Are my words kind?
Are my words necessary?

I read somewhere about these three questions (the source currently eludes me), and while the first two are reflected in many texts, it was the third that must struck me. Is what I have to say really necessary?! Are the words mere noise to fill the space of a conversation? Or are the words going to truly further meaning within the discussion?

I find myself writing more but speaking less, allowing for deeper listening, communing ... and opening the way, ultimately, for deeper connection to All ... people, animals, mother earth, source ...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Optical Delusion of Consciousness


A human being is part of the whole, called by us “universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
– Albert Einstein

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Loving Presence


"This and many other experiences led him to conclude that touch, compassion and human contact were essential components of any deep healing work, and that loving presence is the basic healing attitude upon which everything else ultimately depends.

This is so obvious and so simple that we are extremely liable to forget it and over-complicate things. We get caught in our need to know and understand, or we find the impulse to intervene and to direct or control what is happening just too strong to resist. I was grateful to Ron for reminding me of what is most important in this work we call healing, and for demonstrating so elegantly how it is only that rare combination of attentive loving presence and non-intrusiveness that creates the safe space in which our deepest wounds can gently surface to the light of consciousness."

~ Ian Watson (excerpt from his most recent newsletter, referring to Ron Kurtz)

Ian Watson is one of my favorite healers as his words always resonate so deeply within me. Someday, I plan on attending one of his retreats. Until then, I continue to gratefully read his books and articles, and to listen to recordings of his lectures. I appreciate the path he travels and the gifts of knowledge he shares.

May we all open to receive and share healing.
May we all be in loving presence with ourselves and others.

----------------------

Animals epitomize Being Present; the photo is of my dear, sweet, goofy MacGyver who loved everyone he ever met - two-legged or four-legged, furred or feathered - and who shared his life with mine for over ten years until he departed his body in 2003. Gyver truly facilitated love and healing through his Presence; his heart was as big as the world.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I Say Grace

These words say it all ... as I was outside raking leaves, full bright sun shining through, enjoying the companionship of Ron and our love and our life ... the beauty of Nature surrounding us here in the countryside of Maine ... I say Grace ... thank you ...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

And to Her we shall return

Life and Death are not opposites.
Birth and Death are.
Life is always.

Because we were suddenly blessed with a balmy (67 deg) evening, I decided to go outside to the labyrinth to celebrate Samhain and honor those of my loved ones who have died. In many pagan traditions, this evening is when the veil is thinnest between the worlds and thus our connection is stronger to those whose spirits are no longer in the forms in which we once knew them. The forecast was for rain but, in spite of an overcast sky, we had only experienced the occasional light sprinkle.

I gathered some supplies and candles, and as I stepped out the door I heard some rain droplets pelting the dead leaves everywhere. I continued to the labyrinth, lighting candles on the outside at the four directions and a large one in the center.

As I spoke the names of my loved ones - two-legged and four-legged - who have died over the years, I honored their lives in form, expressing gratitude for the gifts of love, wisdom, and companionship they shared with me. I still feel compelled each year to ask forgiveness for any hurt I may have caused in whatever form it may have manifested. As raindrops fell on my upturned face, I realized that they represented tears of sorrow and joy, grief and pain; tears I have shed as well as those I may have been unable to release before. Tears of letting go.

The night was dark because of the overcast sky so the nearly full moon could only barely cast her glow through the clouds to silhouette our sentinel pines, but still I was drawn to walk the path. I wanted to release any negative emotions of the past - to set them free and let go of those that might be holding me back in some way. I asked my ancestors and loved ones to guide me, knowing we are all One, always, no matter where we are, on what plane in what incarnation -- we are still One - part of each other - connected through our joint experiences of love in the world of form.

So, as I walked the dark labyrinth, I turned off my flashlight, only the light of the candles at the four corners and center lit -- only the pale glow of the night sky that looked more like smoke -- keeping total blackness at bay. But I realized as I walked that the night was perfect. The path perfect. I shuffled my feet through the thick layer of leaves, taking small steps along the path, guided more by feel than anything else. The flat path a contrast with the edges of the large, dark rocks that lined the path, the hardness halting my feet when I needed to turn. I trusted my feet and the rocks to guide me -- and I embraced the reminder that I could also trust Gaia (Source, Infinite Spirit, She of Ten Thousand Names) and my loved ones to guide my path in this life of form, to help me know/see when to turn or pause or reflect - when to be tentative and patient or bold and forthright. To see that if I release the past -- my fears, the negative patterns -- then I can trust in love to guide my steps where I need to go.

And as I stopped in the center, releasing, I sighed from deep within, raising arms and face to the sky. Beautiful indeed. Light sprinkles of rain fell on my cheeks and I smiled in gratitude -- to Gaia, to my loved ones -- for love, guidance and wisdom bestowed now and to come.

Walking out of the labyrinth is a time to embrace, to welcome in joy and love, beauty and wisdom, the peace of knowing that all is as it should be past, present and future. As I walked, I sang:
"We all come from the Goddess, and to Her we shall return,
like a drop of rain, flowing to the ocean."

I felt the moon's glowing, healing energy pouring down upon me, infusing me, lighting the way. The path that earlier seemed so dark, was now far more clear, softly lit, water on tips of leaves twinkling like little fireflies. The message is also clear. My path is always right there in front of me and all I have to do is trust and step forward into the light of Love.

I am blessed. We are blessed.
I am never alone. We are never alone or separated.
I am filled with gratitude. We have so much to be grateful for.
I am loved. I love. We love.
We are all One.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Colors


"The influence of our daily lives creates a subtle imprint. It colors our consciousness just as a dye colors a cloth. This permeation of our consciousness by the subtle influences of our lives predisposes us to certain attitudes, which determine our mental happiness or unhappiness.

Cultivate contentment by cultivating inner sources of creativity and awareness."

~ Ayurveda and the Mind - The Healing of Consciousness by Dr. David Frawley

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Child I Was


Feeling tugged and pulled in many directions? That was me! Just when I think that I have set my course and planned the route and started the path -- whoopsiedaisy! LOL What happens? Life! And it's supposed to! It's called Being Present and actually experiencing LIFE. And you know what? I have all the time I need to be and do and experience and live because I chose to be here. I chose to experience this precious birth and all the amazing living - including the exquisite innocence of being the child I was - that happens between that moment and the one of death of this body. Every moment is a world within itself. Each breath is a miracle, flowing into the next and the next, but not in a linear fashion -- when I breathe in, does the air flow straight? No, it moves throughout my entire body! And when I breathe out, does the air go straight then? No, it expands or dissipates into the immense space beyond! Of course, even that perception is one of human limitation because I am air, just as I am earth, water, fire and ether, just as you are and just as everything else is in our world of form. And beyond that, we are all One without separation. But, I'm getting a little off track here. All of this blissfulness (feeling full of bliss!) is because this morning I was journaling about how earlier this year, I was sure that I was going to give my full attention to my writing for a while and really explore the creativity of writing in depth - plunge in, dive deep, explore the murky and the crystal clear expanses of that particular expression of life. That's what I thought. I sought out workshops and books, began using tools to encourage writing on a variety of levels. Then Ayurveda took hold, I thought by chance or maybe divine providence because my passion for it was instantaneous; the more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. Uh-oh. Decision time. Writing or School? Creativity or Study? Expressing or Learning? In which did I have more confidence? So, I started school, and then began feeling the pangs of loss! Where did the time go for my writing?! But, this morning, I was journaling and the full realization warmly enveloped me that I have all the time I need to do both. I don't have to choose because each has its place, and both are immersed in love, healing, creation and bliss. Maybe school is a higher priority at the moment because I'm on a set schedule, but I can still write and create whenever the urge becomes too powerful to resist. And without the experiences of living, where is the inner growth that will power the fires of creativity? And writing/school are only two facets of this magnificent life I live that is lovingly filled with Ron, our companion animals, family, and friends - and the many new friends I'm meeting. Is life awesome or what?! :-)

The child I was at nine years old is smiling and happy this morning; she is being and doing, stretching and growing, and alive. Hug your inner child and help her to dance and live!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Degrees of Silence


What would a Day of Silence mean to you? I was thinking about this today because I will be giving myself a Day of Silence soon and wondering what can I let go of to increase the serene silence of most of my days. I mean, I do most of my work from home and I'm a homemaker - that means very little verbal conversation with people until my husband gets home at night. I do talk with the animals who live in our home, and I occasionally sing or answer the telephone, but generally most days are days of relative silence around here which is what I created and what I enjoy. So, how to take that a step further?

To reduce what comes out of my own mouth, let's see... I can rely upon body language with the dogs and cats; when I sometimes go silent (being introspective, or studying or maybe a sore throat), they become more attentive and responsive - but not always - so that will be interesting. No answering the phone! And, if I need to go out to run an errand, put on one of those little pins that says "In Loving Silence" so others know why I'm not speaking -- or hang a big placard around my neck to that effect! LOL That's pretty much it for my own voice. It would be really simple to do.

What about the noise/silence surrounding me? Do I have any interest in reducing that during a specially designated Day of Silence? What could I do there? Again, our home is pretty quiet as I don't usually have music or anything playing in the background, just the normal, everyday noises of the animals. I suppose I could go somewhere? Somewhere that I don't need to do any talking myself, but is also quiet surroundings. In the summer that would be easy -- head out to a national park and walk or study there. And we still have some mild weather days left this season so I could maybe manage something to that effect if I wanted to take the silence to that level. Do I want to? Hmm, I'll think about it!

Setting aside an entire Day of Silence is an interesting proposition! To be alone with one's thoughts without distractions? Or to be unable to communicate verbally with other people? To have the external silence in order to find the stillness within? What might happen?!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Healing

A dear woman who was one of my roommates at KSA sent this video link a week or so ago and it brings peaceful tears each time I listen to it. I listen and feel like a blanket of warmly compassionate energy envelops me. Further, I had occasion to use it this weekend while giving healing attention (love, Reiki, remedies) to one of my cats - with powerful results. The CD can be purchased through Snow Lion Publications (I ordered a copy yesterday).

Friday, October 16, 2009

Best Sandwich EVER

Okay, first off I realize that this is probably one of the worst food-combining choices, and as I learn more about Ayurveda (tastes, foods, digestion, AMA, etc.) I'll probably look at this sandwich objectively and think "OMG, I can't believe I ate that!" However, having been blessed most of my life with a 'cast-iron' stomach and overall fast metabolic rate (although I'm realizing now that I'm nearing 50 that the metabolism could use a boost) -- Go Agni! -- I confess that I'm drawn to some very strange combinations. So, this isn't necessarily a recommendation - and I won't make it myself very often probably, especially once the fruit is no longer in season - but I just have to share the recipe! LOL Here goes...

Use Tapioca/Rice bread, toast it, smear peanut butter on both sides, then put a big ole tablespoon of Pomegranate seeds in the center, spread them around, and smash those sides together! Voila! Positively mouth-watering scrumptious!!!! Best sandwich EVER!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Yogini


"Yoga is being in touch with the very pulse of the universal energies, and vibrating in tandem with their gentle throb."

~ Shambhavi Lorain Chopra
Yogini: Unfolding the Goddess Within

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pomegranates etc


For class last night, I set out a nice little display of apple slices and pomegranate seeds which lent a festive appeal while also being a healthy, seasonally-appropriate snack. Thankfully, I had learned a clean, relatively simple way to extract seeds from pomegranate (immersing the fruit in water as fingers dislodge the seeds) and they were worth the minor trouble -- yum!

The class was titled Transitioning Into Autumn and I had such fun with it! We started with learning about various flower essences that provide emotional support, whether for letting go of the warmth we liked or dreading the coming cold, or in the case of fears or anxieties surrounding the current Swine Flu hype. Then we listened to a three-minute resonance remedy for flu prevention, followed by discussion about three Homeopathic remedies for cold/flu prevention or to 'nip-it-in-the-bud'. In addition, there are two cell salts perfectly suited for transitioning from summer into fall/winter. With all these situations, I mentioned how EFT could be helpful.

Then, we moved into lifestyle and the many ways available to support our bodies, minds and spirits, including some that are part of the daily and seasonal routines in Ayurveda. It was exciting to be able to already share with others some of the lifestyle tips I'd learned through my KSA studies. I also mentioned a few simple yet deeply grounding techniques.

I enjoyed the class so much that I'm pleased I'll have another opportunity to facilitate it this Saturday at a different location! I'm deeply grateful to be able to share this supportive and self-healing information with others.

Golden


Golden glow everywhere
it fills the air
as trees share leaves
on grass carpets weave
sunshine patterns
from limbs now bare

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Reflection


When I was at KSA, the day before we were to take our exam, I decided to still my nervousness by walking the labyrinth on the Kripalu grounds and inviting within its healing energy. The path is grass, lined with trees, tall grasses, and Cosmos* flowers. Pausing at the threshold, I set my intention to release any fear, anxiety or expectation surrounding the exam and then walked to the center holding that intention. In the center, I gave thanks for the many blessings in my life. And as I walked to the exit, I welcomed peace, calm and the knowing that everything would happen as it was meant to regarding the exam and future studies. The experience was beautiful and filled me with contentment.

I do a similar ritual of release and invitation when walking the labyrinth that Ron and I created on our own property, and yet find each experience to be unique because every moment is changed from the preceding one. In the winter, when our labyrinth is covered with snow, I sometimes use a small hand-held labyrinth as a focal for meditation, consciously moving my finger along the path each direction.

Today someone directed me to a wonderful on-line cyber labyrinth that one can follow along at Gratefulness.org -- give it a try!
________
* It just so happens that the Cosmos flower essence (the very first essence I bought of this range years ago) is for:

Positive qualities: Integration of ideas and speech; coherent thinking; mercurial expression

Patterns of imbalance: Unfocused, disorganized communication; overexcited speech, overwhelmed by too many ideas

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Study


So, the early part of this week was a bit overwhelming to me. Returning from Kripalu, and realizing what lay ahead of me, I became temporarily overcome when viewing those myriad tasks of school, home, caregiving, volunteer work, and a few other projects. How could I fit everything into the coming days and weeks? I used to do it. Prior to 2003, my life was chock-full of "busy-busy" - like most people I knew - and I spread myself fairly thin which was exhausting. Then, through conscious planning, Ron and I created a simpler, less hectic life for ourselves which has been beautiful and serene. How do I maintain that deep sense of peace while still achieving the new goals I've set? I have no desire to return to that more intense lifestyle of earlier years. I realized that along with adding the KSA studies, I would need to, at least temporarily, let go of a few other self-assigned projects I had recently taken on. A gentle reminder to myself that I don't have to be Superwoman even if that is what society seems to expect from all of us! All I need to do is come home to my center, my Self, my Soul, and The Way is clear ... the current supporting ... the flow divinely inspiring and gently guiding. We take on and we release. I felt the strong tug of attachment when I let go of a few things in order to open space for studying. This time of year supports the natural release as the plants relinquish leaves that are no longer needed - does a tree resist the loss of its leaves? - while at the same time we gratefully harvest the fruits that will continue to support us through the coming time of inner growth and contemplation. The study of Ayurveda is a study of balance: observing the natural cycles within their continual flow of creation/preservation, conversion/transformation, and destruction/propulsion.

The 48th verse of the Tao Te Ching (various translations) encourages this natural 'go with the flow' harmonizing; I don't feel this verse negates learning so much as promotes releasing any struggle in order to move with(in) the current of life. As a student, I seek knowledge with wisdom - balance as dynamic, not static - because life is change.

Learning consists of daily accumulating.
The practice of the Tao consists of daily diminishing;
decreasing and decreasing, until doing nothing.
When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.

True mastery can be gained
by letting things go their own way.
It cannot be gained by interfering.

[translation provided by Wayne Dyer]

* * *

A man anxious for knowledge adds more to himself every minute;
A man acquiring life loses himself init,
Has less and less to bear in mind,
Less and less to do,
Because life, he finds, is well inclined,
Including himself too.
Often a man sways the world like a wind
But not by Deed;
And if there appear to you to be need
Of motion to sway it, it has left you behind.

[translation by Witter Bynner, 1944]

* * *

The student learns by daily increment.
The Way is gained by daily loss,
Loss upon loss until
At last comes rest.

By letting go, it all gets done;
The world is won by those who let it go!
But when you try and try,
The world is then beyond the winning.

[translation by Raymond B. Blakney, 1955]

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Learning


I returned home yesterday from twelve intense, marvelous, incredibly beautiful days at Kripalu School of Ayurveda. The experience was a remarkable one that I thoroughly enjoyed on every level of my being. I hope to share some details of that experience later on, but meanwhile, I share here a simple view of the Berkshires from the school.

Ron took fantastic care of the kids while I was gone, so I had no worries at all and could completely immerse myself in the learning experience. However, I was, of course, thrilled to return home to my loved ones and have spent the time reconnecting through lots of hugging, touching and many cuddles all around!

A final thought...

sama dosah samagnis ca sama dhatu mala kriyah
prasannatmendriya manah svastha ityabhidhiyate
~ Sushruta Samhita

One who is established in Self, who has balanced doshas (biological humors), balanced agni (digestion), balanced dhatus (tissues), well functioning bodily processes that allow for the optimum release of mala (wastes), and whose mind, senses and soul are blissful, it is said is a healthy person.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Hummingbird Rescue


Today Ron was home (normally he's at work on a Wednesday!) and saw a hummingbird in the garage. We left both doors open but the little fella just wouldn't leave. Finally, Ron saw him again and the poor little guy was just sitting on a beam, not moving. Ron thought he was probably tired and thirsty/hungry (knowing how much energy they expend so quickly) and we had no idea how long he might have been trapped in the garage so ... Ron simply reached up and gently cupped the hummingbird and it didn't struggle or anything - nothing, just sat there. He took it outside and it just kept sitting in his hand, its little eyes closed. Poor thing. So I got it some sugar water and some 'emergency' flower essences. Ron tried a couple times to put it down but it flew right back onto his hand! So he sat with it for about 15 minutes and continued to offer it the water which it *was* drinking a little at a time. Then, it started opening its eyes wider and standing up straighter and then ... finally flew up into the trees! :-) It was really a remarkable experience for all of us.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

To Grow, Let Go


The brief essay in Ian Watson's newsletter today caught my attention; the title is "When you reach dry land, ditch the raft!" The short but valuable message is that we acquire certain skills, roles, etc. (the raft) in order to accomplish certain things in life (cross a river), but that doesn't mean that we ought to carry those along with us forever if they're no longer needed. Ian says:

"It is commonplace to associate growth with increase, accumulation and acquisition, but this is only one half of the equation. Letting go, shedding and relinquishing that which is no longer needed is the other, less visible part of any growth process. If you wish to grow, you must let go."

So, I'm left wondering...

Is there something that I need to let go of today?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Road Less Traveled By


Two roads diverged in a wood, and I --
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
~ Robert Frost

Who hasn't heard these famous lines or read this poem at some point? Even people who don't read poetry probably think it rings a bell ... "hmm, that sounds familiar." I've always felt a kinship with this poem. When I was young, I thought about that path less worn but didn't yet have the courage to travel it; after a few life trials, I found my strength - at least the outer edge of it - and chose to follow my heart and inner guide along a less traveled road. And a winding road it has been!

The poem was mentioned today by a Homeopath I know and respect. A discussion was in progress regarding the resistance - even animosity - that allopathy (conventional medicine) and Big Pharma have against natural modalities including Homeopathy. We can become discouraged and give up or we can remain true to our hearts and healing paths, staying strong in our knowing that these methods are powerful, and provide people with deep self-healing. We don't heal and neither do the remedies; we merely provide the catalyst because each individual (people or animals) has the ability to bring themselves to healing -- whether spiritual, mental, emotional or physical, on whatever level that individual needs to heal.

So I am content to take the road less traveled by; it has made all the different to me - and to those I've met along the way.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Self-Healing and Empowerment

The approach of Ayurveda is not only holistic in its applications but also emphasizes empowerment. The great Ayurvedic sage Charaka said, "What the patient knows is more important than what the practitioner knows. The successful Ayurvedic practitioner is not the one who heals the most patients, but the one who teaches his patients to heal themselves."
~ excerpted from the Foreward to Ayurveda Nature's Medicine

This wisdom has always guided my own approach with clients and is also why I enjoy facilitating classes.

Catalyze
Awaken
Revitalize
Empower

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Imagine, Entering Into Joy


Following is one of my favorite passage meditations; I often read, reflect and meditate upon this passage before I go to bed as it has an incredible stillness within the words that seep into my senses and bring a quiet serenity and grounding. I suggest reading it aloud, slowly, giving attention to each phrase, soaking it up, then closing your eyes and repeating the phrase to your innermost recesses.

When the passage refers to "he made us" or "his word", I replace those with the feminine "she" or "her" to enhance my connection, but even then I am not relating to a 'being' per se -- rather, I am resonating with an incomprehensible infinite source of creativity and creation that is within me, within all of us, and woven into the tiniest thread of our universal tapestry.

You can also listen to this passage as read by Eknath Easwaran.

Imagine if all the tumult of the body were to quiet down, along with all our busy thoughts about earth, sea, and air;
if the very world should stop, and the mind cease thinking about itself, go beyond itself, and be quite still;
if all the fantasies that appear in dreams and imagination should cease, and there be no speech, no sign:
Imagine if all things that are perishable grew still – for if we listen they are saying, We did not make ourselves; he made us who abides forever – imagine, then, that they should say this and fall silent, listening to the very voice of him who made them and not to that of his creation;
so that we should hear not his word through the tongues of men, nor the voice of angels, nor the clouds' thunder, nor any symbol, but the very Self which in these things we love, and go beyond ourselves to attain a flash of that eternal wisdom which abides above all things:
And imagine if that moment were to go on and on, leaving behind all other sights and sounds but this one vision which ravishes and absorbs and fixes the beholder in joy; so that the rest of eternal life were like that moment of illumination which leaves us breathless.

~ Saint Augustine

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cramming with Chai


Okay. Not really healthy. I admit it. Well, sort of healthy in that it's organic and all natural but not in that it's got caffeine AND sugar (evaporated cane juice). And certainly not healthy in such large amounts as what I've drank today and likely will be in the coming week! LOL But, I'm down to the wire on my A&P studies - last chapter and final test - that simply HAVE to be done by early next week because I start KSA on September 13th and have an assignment to complete for that course prior to the first class! And, I'm running a bit out of steam when I need to be stepping it up... So, enter Oregon Chai Tea Concentrate. This is my 'jolt' of choice. I knew that it was stimulating to my system from pre-health food days (I found Oregon Chai about a decade ago and immediately fell in love) but I generally have tried to keep it to a blissfully decadent one cup (maybe two) on special occasions, taking it with organic rice milk instead of cow's milk. However, during the past year, with my return to vegetarianism and heightened food awareness, caffeine and sugar have been exceedingly minimal. So, today was quite the stimulating blast to my metabolism!

While the wonderful self-healing modalities I use like Flower Essences, Homeopathy, herbs, bio-algae, and energy work are incredible supports, they still work within the template of my own constitution and Vital Force. So, the temporary measure of a Chai Tea 'lift' takes me a step more intense than what I would naturally be able to achieve. The beautiful thing about the natural modalities is that they also will support me during this temporary shift into a higher gear than that in which I'm normally comfortable, allowing for a dynamic equilibrium that is outside my usual patterning. The Flower Essences allow me to focus the extra energy from the Chai Tea, while some natural remedies can help my system to detox some of that excess caffeine and sugar so as not to overload my organs. Balance all these with awesome nutrition and I'm doing GREAT.

Each Progressive Spirit

“Each progressive spirit is opposed by a thousand mediocre minds appointed to guard the past.”
~ Maurice Maeterlinck

I read this quote today in someone's email and immediately thought, yep, that's about right - except that I might at times feel it's more like ten thousand mediocre minds! LOL

However, after contemplating the quote a bit longer, I realized that the key elements speaking to me are that the Spirit is opposed by the Mind in order to resist the Now. This brings the quote home on a more personal level, doesn't it? Instead of looking 'out there' for someone to blame, we can ALL reach for the truth in ourselves ... touch and embrace our own "progressive spirit."

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Lily Pad Pond


While driving back from Yoga class this morning, I spotted a Lily Pad Pond! Now, maybe they're all over the place in Maine but I've never seen one here before! I had to stop and take some pictures and drink in the sight - it was glorious! And, as I'd walk carefully along the bank - it was pretty good sized - I'd hear "kribbit...PLOP!" as the frogs leapt off their pads even though I tried not to disturb them. I received this serene gift and feel blessed.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Companioning

I was introduced to this term a few months ago and, while it is mostly used in relation to those providing support to the bereaved or dying, the essence of this teaching can be applied to almost any situation in which we are providing support to someone who is suffering. When we bring love and compassion into being a supportive presence (we are then Being, not Doing), the following will flow naturally:

-Companioning is about honoring the spirit; it is not about focusing on the intellect.

-Companioning is about curiosity; it is not about expertise.

-Companioning is about learning from others; it is not about teaching them.

-Companioning is about walking alongside; it is not about leading.

-Companioning is about being still; it is not about frantic movement forward.

-Companioning is about discovering the gifts of sacred silence; it is not about filling every painful moment with words.

-Companioning is about listening with the heart; it is not about analyzing with the head.

-Companioning is about bearing witness to the struggles of others; it is not about directing those struggles.

-Companioning is about being present to another person's pain; it is not about taking away the pain.

-Companioning is about respecting disorder and confusion; it is not about imposing order and logic.

-Companioning is about going to the wilderness of the soul with another human being; it is not about thinking you are responsible for finding the way out.

~ Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt


Tuesday, July 28, 2009


How beautiful the leaves grow old.
How full of light and color are their last days.
~ John Burroughs

This quote touched me - our old people or those who are dying can indeed age beautifully, bringing their inner Light forth to color our days with wisdom and peace.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rejection of Form or Society?


I was mulling upon this topic this morning ...

My entire life (except for those brief periods where I sought to 'fit in' with peers and society's expectations) I have rejected restrictive clothing ... shoes, underwear, bras, tight pants or shirts. I'm barefooted except when absolutely necessary! Pretty much anything that feels like another layer of 'skin' upon my form. Loose and airy clothing are preferred. I don't have 'sensitive' skin per se and don't get rashes from tight clothing, neither have I ever been overweight so it's not a matter of 'hiding' my body -- in fact, skimpy, minimal clothing is fine as well.

So where does this rejection of restriction come from? Is this a rejection of bodily form? Or a resistance to the restrictions of Society? Or both?

Tight clothing has often infused me with the sense that I cannot breathe or expand or move. Granted, my bodily form has the Tubercular Miasm -- and I am a primarily Vata type in constitution -- poor circulation in both body and society (always having been a 'solitary' person, comfortable in small groups, one-on-one, alone, or out in nature) -- don't pin me down to one view as I always like to see the 'other side'. So there is certainly an 'air' and 'circulatory' quality to the form as I experience it.

Is there a part of me that remembers what it was like to be pure Spirit moving freely and easily through all mediums?

Over the past decade, as I made choices that consciously supported this need to feel 'free' -- leaving restrictive jobs or people while embracing things that contribute to openness like flower essences, spiritual seeking, Hatha Yoga (love those 'chest openers'!) -- I feel like a bit of me expands more with each passing moment?

Does everyone feel this growing expansion as they age? Do some embrace it and others resist it?

When we see monks or nuns in their voluminous robes, are they enveloped in robes to obscure the human form or because the loose materials allow for the sense of expansion beyond the world of form?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Nature's Disclosures to Humanity

I was drawn to Ayurveda through learning Yoga and, having taken further steps to study and understand this ancient self-healing modality, I am grateful to be able to share it's gifts with family, friends, and clients.
Ayurveda emphasizes self-care and self-knowledge because at its deepest level of healing intention is for the individual to know herself (know her Self) and be in awareness of her own life and destiny, fulfilling her purpose. Ayurveda brings a sense of deeper principles and spiritual integrity to health care - a sense that is strongly holistic - and is definitely not the kind of truncated materialistic medical system we have today that ignores any broader or deeper meaning to life.

This approach is not a theory, but a way in which Nature has disclosed to humanity the organic workings of the life force. Further, the terms used in Ayurveda ... are part of a natural language for organizing the information revealed by direct perception.

(quotes: Frawley, AIVS study course)

The self-healing of the Ayurvedic system will entwine seamlessly with the modalities with which I am already familiar such as Flower Essences, Homeopathy, Biochemic Therapy, and Reiki, as well as with Yoga as I continue to study and learn more.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Energy Movements

A few years ago, I found an article online that described Seven Energy Movements. I decided to try them for a year and they were wonderful in helping me realize the power and vitality of conscious breathing. In fact, they led me to practicing Yoga! Use the link below and enjoy the experience!

Friday, July 24, 2009

calm and clear far and near


calm and clear far and near so dear
to those who call our names and spirits home
to feel the wind and see the light
and know the deepest heart's delight
as on we go through spring and snow
and seasons we enjoy to reach our
path's awakening and so we bring
our souls as one as all to Source to cleanse and
become calm and clear

shadows are my friends who share the
secrets of our changing souls to see
the truth and alert our hearts to
crossroads in the trails ahead or
those that mark a turning point
shadows stretch a blanket of revealing form
upon a resting soul

feeling a broad deep contentment with
overtones of inward energy
yet it wants to flow outward

like a well bubbling up within my chest
effervescent and lit from a source beyond
reflecting change and potential

dreams are stilled at night and real in daylight
bring a soul to feel the light
no more to dwell in dark of night
so shall we all join souls and pray
in peace and love and bliss today

like a bliss within is vibrating all my cells
to resonate with all the beauty and potential everywhere
and in everything

that our evolution is on a brink of breaking out of its channels
to overflow all areas of Being in all parts of the world at one time

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Come Home to Our Self


We are rarely our Self

We are victims of our feelings, of our perceptions, of our emotions

We are like something … like a leaf floating on the ocean and the waves push us

We don’t have our own sovereignty over the situation

We allow ourselves to be carried away, pulled away by our feelings, our perceptions, and our mental formations … our wrong perceptions

And that is why it is very important to come home to ourselves

And master the situation and be the master of our Self

We do not live our own life

We allow our life to be lived by the circumstances around us

When we have been victim of what is happening

We can rarely be ourselves and become master of our situation

Therefore it is very important to come home to ourselves

~ transcript from video:

Thich Naht Hanh - Day 1 of 5 - Parts 2 & 3 of 11

I encourage anyone who wishes to "come home to their Self" to view these videos; I have found them such a joy.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Use the Light


Use the light.
Come home to your true nature.
Don't cause yourself injury:
This is known as seizing the truth.
~ Lao Tzu (the full passage text and audio clip by Eknath Easwaran website)

This portion of a passage (#52) from the Tao Te Ching held deep resonance for me this morning (I received it in my Thought For The Day email in-box), so I share it here with you. Following are a few other translations, although I have included a bit more of the full passage in some of them; the message is so beautiful.

Discover that nothing is too small for clear vision,
Too insignificant for tender strength,
Use outlook
And insight,
Use them both
And you are immune:
For you have witnessed eternity.
~ The Way of Life According to Lau Tzu by Witter Bynner

Seeing the small is called clarity;
keeping flexible is called strength.
Using the shining radiance,
you return again to the light
and save yourself misfortune.
This is called the practice of eternal light.
~ Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life - Living the Wisdom of the Tao by Wayne Dyer

Seeing into darkness is clarity.
Knowing how to yield is strength.
Use your own light
And return to the source of light.
This is called practicing eternity.
~ Website (attributed to translation by S. Mitchell)

See the subtle and be illuminated.
Abide in gentleness and be strong.
Use your light, and return to insight.
Don't expose yourself to trouble.
This is following Tao.
~ Website (attributed to translation by Walker)

See the subtle and the clear
It is the empty source of light
There is no danger in this place
That is forever in plain sight
~ Website (interpretation by Jim Clatfelter)


Friday, July 10, 2009

Mindful Alignment

“When we apply precision and mindfulness to our asana alignment, we can experience a sense of physical equanimity that supports the arising of equanimity of the heart and mind. For example, we may be tempted to power our breath through our body, but using that kind of air pressure just creates tension and is ultimately a practice of aggression. Letting go of other temptations or habits, such as muscling into a pose, is part of the process of developing a mature, intelligent, and inquisitive yoga practice. Pushing, pulling, wishing, and hoping will not create the conditions for balance, equanimity, fluidity, spontaneity, and confidence to arise. The invitation of yoga is to get organized with precision, be gentle in the process, and then relax, watch, and wait.”

~ Cyndi Lee, article titled Riding the Waves of Alignment

Friday, May 29, 2009

Angels of Peace


"Let us not be justices of the peace, but angels of peace."
~ Saint Therese of Lisieux

I've always felt that there was a conflict in "enforcing" peace. Within that context there is aggression and an inability to "walk the talk." What happens if we don't force peacefulness upon others? What happens if we simply are the peace we want to see? What comes up in our minds when we contemplate being peace instead of forcing peace? Fear? Resistance? Superiority? Anger? Ego? Is war necessary? What can we learn about ourselves through this reflection? How can we bring peace into our own lives?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Clever Girl


Morgana is so clever. I sit at the kitchen table studying. She comes over to me, nudges my elbow with her nose, and waits. I smile but continue with my studies. She nudges again. I smile. She comes around to the other side and nudges. I smile and ask "do you need to go 'outside'?" She wags her tail. I move my chair back. Pooka gets up from MORGAN'S BED and comes over to me eagerly to go 'outside' while Morgana quickly and quietly goes over to HER bed, lies down, and starts chewing on the bone left there. So, without having to move Pooka herself, she gets the bed AND the bone. Clever. And Pooka doesn't even realize what Morgana did because she didn't make a big deal of it ... and now he sits staring at me. Waiting. Too cute.

(The photo is from a few years ago. Morgana (on the right) is much more clever these days - older and wiser at 10 years.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Color & Fragrance


"Like a lovely flower,
full of color but lacking in fragrance,
are the words of those who do not
practice what they preach.

Like a lovely flower
full of color and fragrance
are the words of those who
practice what they preach."

~ The Dhammapada, translated by Eknath Easwaran

This entry drew me in. How many times have we listened to someone whose words are powerful and inspiring yet we see how they live and are left wondering where the Truth is? However, that view leads to judgement of others. Better that I attend to my own flower within - do I exude both color AND fragrance? Do I express the Truth I feel inside as well as permeate the air around me with the essence of my actions?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Conscience


"The human voice can never reach the distance that is covered by the still, small voice of conscience." ~ Ghandi

As more of us listen to that still, small voice, there is tremendous opportunity...
Do you hear the voice?
Do you turn away?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Net


I had to send a huge 'thank you' a short bit ago to a friend. A few years ago she gifted me with her old mosquito net hat. At the time, I thought, well I can't imagine wearing that but who knows, and set it aside. Well, we have stunning weather today so this morning Ron and I went outside to do some yard work and clean up our various flower & hosta beds. OMG. Swarms and swarms of mosquitos and black-flies! ACK! In spite of bug repellants (herbal), these starving little beings were determined to suck me dry. I was miserable after only ten minutes and just about to call it a day when I remembered The Net. That ugly piece of apparel saved my life! LOL Okay, maybe not my life but certainly my face and my sanity if I wanted to stay outside. :-) I was absolutely tickled pink that I kept The Net as a gift. :-)

So now I have freshly cleaned flower beds (my sedum bed is my favorite, thus the photo) and accomplished what I set out to do. Thanks to The Net. ;-)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mantra


When I meditate inside our home rather than outdoors, I often find mantras to be helpful whether chanting or singing, whether listening or vocalizing myself or both. They provide a point of focus that allow my busy, 'monkey-mind' to rest.

One of my favorite CD's to listen to during meditation, if I want mantra rather than solely instrumental, is by On Wings of Song & Robert Gass called Heart of Perfect Wisdom which consists of both the longer (30 minutes) Gate Gate and the short (12 minutes) Beyond The Beyond. Both of these are incredible for assisting induction into deep meditation, although especially the shorter piece so it can be nice to start with that one even if we wish to continue moving into a longer meditation.

I bought this CD in 1995 and it has been a valuable musical aid over the years when I feel the need to center but am unable to go out into nature and/or simply want to go within wherever I am. The Tibetan Bells, Singing Bowls, and very low, Tibetan style chanting result in sonic entrainment -- they produce extremely low frequencies which actually entrain the biological rhythms of the body and help induce the brain waves, heart beat and respiration of the listener to resonate to these frequencies. ... [and the high frequencies] seem to charge and energize the cortex of the brain. (Jonathan S. Goldman, Director, Sound Healers Association)

Sound and mantra (chanting) in meditation is referred to by everyone from Jon Kabat-Zinn (Director of Center for Mindfulness, UMass Medical School) to David Frawley (Ayurvedic Scholar) to Eknath Easwaran (Passage Meditation).

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