Monday, February 19, 2018

Let It Be

Photo by Foundry Co. on Pixabay

Whoever makes all cares into a single care, the care for simply being present, will be relieved of all cares by the Presence, which is the creative power.
~ Kabir Helminski

The Beatles may have come to mind when you saw the title to this blog. Their beautiful song "Let it Be" expresses the core of the wisdom tradition. We can relax and know all is well no matter what is going on around us. When we know this, when we let this be our truth, we take part in creating it as our experience.

Our greatest power comes in letting go. We set our intentions based on the desires in our heart, but then we let it be what it will. We hand it over to a power greater than us. We do this trusting the Presence has a greater perspective than we do.

Let it be is a phrase used in the Bible to express the idea of creative power. God says, let there be light, and there was. We have creative power, too. We speak our word and then let it be. As our desire rises and we speak it, it exists. There may be actions we need to take on the physical plane, but the power of creation is in knowing it is already done and so we just need to let it be.

There is a Buddhist tale where a monk meditating in his cell is confronted by a soldier who is pointing a gun at him. The monk doesn’t react and so the soldier gets angry and says, “You don’t understand. I have the power to take your life.” The monk responds with, “No, you don’t understand. I have the power to let you.”

This story shows us that we always have choice and the power to create our experience. We’ve been taught that we have no power over our experiences. The above scenario seems impossible to believe we would have power in it. But that’s where we must change our thinking.

To let something be is to trust our good which is always with us. I don’t have to do anything because my good is here and now. As I mentioned above, there may be steps to take on the physical plane, but our mindset, our heartset is one of non-interference. We are weavers not because we do something out there but because we weave the light of consciousness at the heart of Being.

Monday, February 12, 2018

You Need to Begin Where You Are and Where You Are is Holy Ground

Photo by Katerina Radvanska

You can appreciate your life, even if it is an imperfect situation.
~ Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Discontent may motivate us to change, but it cannot help us to change. Discontent breeds more discontent because where you focus shall be your experience.

But it’s important to acknowledge where you are right now. If you work to manifest something that is beyond your belief, it’s not likely to happen. It’s important to have a vision of where you want to go, but then you need only focus on the next step and that step needs to feel possible. Often, if you remain open and listen for what comes next, you’ll be presented with an idea that is believable or action that is doable. If we rush to act before we are inspired, those actions may not have the power of your belief behind them.

What’s even more important is to live in gratitude and appreciate your life right now even if it’s imperfect as mentioned in the quote above. Just as discontent breeds more discontent, gratitude breeds more gratitude or as Lynne Twist, author of The Soul of Money says, “What you appreciate, appreciates.”

Wherever you happen to be right now in your life, I want you to know that you walk on holy ground. Gratitude is an act that acknowledges this fact. When we acknowledge that our life and everything is holy, miracles occur. Our minds are transformed and we are moved to reverence. And it is in this state we create true change.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Tomorrow Begins Within

The future enters into us, in order to transform itself in us, long before it happens.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke

What would you like to experience in your life? Whether it’s abundance, love or a successful career doing what you love, it all begins within.

The future enters into us as a desire. If we want that desire to become an experience, we bring our attention to it by visualizing it, affirming it as though it already exists and feeling how we would feel while having the experience. We bring it to life with our imagination and our hearts.

But it takes a little more than imagination. In order to bring the tomorrow of our dreams into our lives we must allow the desire to transform and evolve. There is a certain amount of letting go involved in creating the life we want.

Here’s one way I experienced this process. Last May, I found out the building I lived in was being sold. It was actually already in escrow. There was only a week between finding out and getting a letter from the new owners telling us our services as managers were no longer needed and our rent was going to be doubled. We had 60 days to move if we couldn’t afford it. We couldn’t.

So, we had this unexpected life change upon us. It was such a shock that at first I couldn’t act. I had to change the shock and fear into a desire for a better place to live. I had wanted that anyway. The universe had given me a nudge.

I went back to that desire and visualized and affirmed that I had a great place to live. While doing this my husband and I researched possibilities. Every avenue seemed to be blocked. Financially we weren’t ready for this move.

At this point I just surrendered, trusting that my inner work would guide me. It did. As I relaxed into it, the desire evolved and a friend’s available house came to mind. But how could we afford it? That was solved as well. A friend in the same building became a roommate.

We began to feel things were possible again. It was touch and go for a while. We didn’t know if it would come about, but I continued to trust. Then I remembered when I first saw the house I now call home. Our friend gave us a tour when she first bought it. There’s a little nook up and behind the master bedroom. My desire for the place began then. I wanted to experience writing in that little nook. Years went by, but now that desire was the one drawing me to the house.

The future entered me nearly 10 years ago when I saw the nook. It had evolved and now joined the desire to have a nice, affordable place to live. Knowing fully what I wanted, I completely surrendered. Two months to the day of the call from our former landlord about selling the apartment building, we were moved into the house with my writing nook. This is where I am sitting now as I write this.

This future wasn’t just about a place to live. It was about becoming the writer I always wanted to be. Released from the old life of time consuming building management and maintenance I am now free to live the live I’ve always wanted.

As the desire is transformed, so are we. Inspired we feel the pull of our creation as it leads us to take the actions that will bring it into form and surrender when needed. It may take hours, days, weeks, months or years depending on the desire and our ability to allow the tomorrow of our dreams to come. But if we trust the process and take the actions, tomorrow will arrive in the way we dreamed…and often better.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Becoming Aware of Our Layers

 “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
C.G. Jung

As we grow through life we gain more and more layers. There is a richness in this and a beautiful complexity, but we can become blind to older layers that still play a role in our lives.

An old layer of mine is fear of abandonment. My parents left me with my aunt for a week when I was just six weeks old. My mother’s mother passed and she needed to take care of things far away. I always had this fear of being left and so was a bit clingy as a child. I thought I’d grown out of it, but I found, through deep spiritual work that it was still there and it was affecting my life in a myriad of ways.  I found that my people pleasing stemmed from this fear as well as my inability to get truly close to most people. Becoming aware of this layer and its subsequent layers has allowed me to find self-acceptance, a stronger core and to become more open.

Peeling back our layers to discover more about ourselves helps us to understand where any particular layer may be getting in the way of our best life. Through meditation, contemplation and other spiritual practices we can see the richness and complexity of who we are. And once we see it, we can then realize we are more than those aspects. We can realize that for all the beauty that is found in the combination of our many selves, even more beauty is contained in our ability to consciously choose who we become.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

What We Do Matters

May I do good work with my hands worth remembering.
~ Normandi Ellis, Awakening Osiris

What will you leave behind after you’ve transitioned from this world? We all want to do worthy work that will live beyond us, work that matters. I wish to leave words that inspire and make people think in my wake. I want my work to matter to people.

This morning I was wondering, what does it mean when we say something matters? Perhaps it means it has been condensed into something solid, tangible, present in form. That’s what matter is right? The scientific definition is that which has mass and takes up space. We also speak of the matter at hand, the idea or situation that is to be or has been discussed.

I think it means all that and more. What is something that matters? When we use matter this way we mean something that is important to us. Why it matters is subjective. That something we create matters to someone beyond us makes us feel as though we have contributed. We feel that our existence has meaning.

The thing is, everything we do matters. We exist and therefore new ideas, things, ways of seeing, etc. exist. We turn much of what we are into form, whether it’s an idea made manifest or a thought turned into a gift or a feeling given expression. We make that which is invisible, visible. To me, matter is condensed light. We are condensed light. We are Spirit made flesh. We are matter and we do matter. Everything matters.

There is no need to worry about whether or not you will leave something behind that matters. It all does. If you approach life as if everything you do is important, which is to say that you infuse all that you do with presence and love, it will be remembered by those who experience it.

Go then and make of the world something beautiful, set up a light in the darkness.
~ Normandi Ellis, Awakening Osiris

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Power of Mortality and Immortality – How Knowing Both Brings Balance

Last week I went to my own memorial service and gave my own eulogy. The service was actually for me and six amazing women that are my friends and classmates. We are all on a journey to become Licensed Religious Science Practitioners and the memorial service was an exercise for the class.

At first none of us wanted to do it, but in the end it was an amazing experience. It was an opportunity to reflect and get to know one another better. A big bonus was that many of the people we invited from the church got to know us in a deeper way as well.

Though I was hesitant at first I’m glad to have had the opportunity to write my own eulogy and read it in front of people. One personal benefit was that I realized I was more comfortable on stage than I thought I would be. And not only did it get me thinking about my death, it also got me thinking about my life.

When I think about how I will only be here as this particular person once, I think about how precious my time and life are. My mortality creates a deadline for me and urges me to live my life to the fullest. I’m not entirely sure what I believe about reincarnation, but even if I come back I won’t be Joanne. This life is it as this particular expression of the Divine.

Mary Oliver asks in one of her poems: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” When faced with my mortality this question becomes even more powerful.

But sometimes I start to think about how I’m now in my forties and haven’t accomplished very much yet. I begin to rush things sometimes; I am trying to beat a deadline after all.

Fortunately, that deadline isn’t real. This is where my knowledge that I’m also immortal comes into play. When I know that my very essence is at one with the All That Is Everything then I can relax. When I know that some aspect of Joanne continues even after I’m done here as the particular incarnation I can release my anxiety over having to accomplish it all now.

I am both mortal and immortal and this is great news! My mortal deadline helps me stay focused on what it is I’m here to do and knowledge of my immortality lets me relax about what it is I’m here to do. Too much pressure brings burnout and being too relaxed diffuses focus. Knowing both brings balance and hence fulfillment into my life.

Though we may get to continue our work in some other form, our lives here and now have a limit. I will make the most of it, but if I don’t accomplish everything that’s okay, too.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Healing Power of Poetry

This is a paper I wrote for the Science of Mind class called Mind/Body Connection in 2012.

Poetry is not just words on a page nor is it a code to be deciphered. Former Poet Laureate of the U.S., Robert Pinsky says, “…poetry is a vocal, which is to say a bodily, art. The medium of poetry is a human body: the column of air inside the chest shaped into signifying sounds in the larynx and the mouth. In this sense, poetry is just as physical or bodily an art as dancing.”

Kim Rosen says, “Poetry was created to be experienced in the body and spoken aloud. Made of breath, sound, rhythm, meaning, and silence, a poem is a physical event. It needs a human body to give it life.”

Ted Andrews shares in “Toning for Health” that Pythagoras understood the therapeutic power of human speech. “He treated diseases through the reading of poetry. He taught his students how a skillful, well-modulated voice, with beautiful words and pleasing meter, could restore balance to the body and soul.”

Studies have shown that reading poetry out loud has physical benefits:

“When patients read or recite poetry, the rhythms have been shown to improve the regularity of their heart and breathing rates.” Indeed, a study published in the International Journal of Cardiology showed that when volunteers read poetry aloud for 30 minutes, their pulse rates were slower than those of people in a control group who engaged in conversation.

“Porter didn’t have to completely understand the poems in order to love their sound and force. Indeed, doubters often believe that to appreciate poems you must decipher their obscure messages. Actually, much of a poem’s power lies in the simple elements of imagery and rhythm. ‘The content isn’t always so important,” Campo says. “Poems can enter us through visceral channels that don’t depend at all on cognitive processes.’ ”
~ Ann Japenga, Balancing Act—The Poetry Cure

Shamans have employed poetic devices such as simile and metaphor in creating healing chants and incantations. “…the Yoruba tribe of Nigeria uses the concreteness of the simile to clarify a direct command: ‘As the river always flows forwards and never back, so your illness will never return.’ ”

“The Navajo employ patterned songs and antiphonal singing (call and response) during curing sessions. “First the sing-doctor pleads: ‘His feet restore for him, his mind restore for him, his voice restore him.’ The patient responds: ‘My feet are getting better, my head is feeling better, I am well all over.’ ” 
~ Abraham A. Blinderman, Ph.D., Shamans, Witch Doctors, Medicine Men and Poetry

Chants like these create a hypnotic effect leaving one more receptive to the words or commands in the chants.

Gila Cadry, a healer who uses sound says, “The sacred writings, the psalms and the prayers, are encoded. Through sounding these words with intention, we can move into altered states of consciousness and avail ourselves with insights and healings at all levels: physical, emotional, and spiritual.”

This all ties into the practice of Science of Mind since the tools it employs such as prayer treatments and affirmations use the voice and words.

When doing treatments we become connected to or remember our Divine Source. When we reach that place our speech often turns to verse. Phil Hine says, “The Deep Mind often speaks to us in verse. Cross-cultural studies of the vocal patterns of people in the throes of possession show a striking similarity, that of a rising and falling intonation at the end of each phrase, with each phrase punctuated by a pause or groan. This pattern emerges regardless of native language and cultural background. The English version of this rhythm is known as Iambic Pentameter.” Iambic Pentameter is a commonly used metrical line in traditional verse. The da-DUM of a human heartbeat is the most common example of this rhythm. Ben Crystal says that “iambic pentameter is the rhythm of our English language and of our bodies – a line of that poetry has the same rhythm as our heartbeat. A line of iambic pentameter fills the human lung perfectly, so it’s the rhythm of speech.”

Perhaps we could employ this rhythm in our affirmations as well as other poetic devices to make them even more powerful.

Kim Rosen says, “You see, poetry is actually the most ancient form of prayer or affirmation. So when you read a poem you love, especially if you read it aloud and really take it into your heart, it will actually harmonize all levels of your being—mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. And it’s not only about the meaning. The poem is a medicine that literally comes into your body and can affect your very biochemistry. Literal physiological changes happen through what I call the “Shamanic” elements of the poem: the rhythm, the sound, the shape and, of course, the meaning.”

The following early Irish poem employs repetition and metaphor. It is a powerful piece on the page, but take note of how you feel when you hear it read out loud. Later try reading out loud yourself. Read other poems, meaningful to you out loud to learn more about the healing power of poetry.
By Amergin Glúingel

I am the wind which breathes upon the sea,
I am the wave of the ocean,
I am the murmur of the billows,
I am the ox of the seven combats,
I am the vulture upon the rocks,
I am a beam of the sun,
I am the fairest of plants,
I am a wild boar in valour,
I am a salmon in the water,
I am a lake in the plain,
I am a word of science,
I am the point of the lance of battle,
I am the God who created in the head the fire.

Who is it who throws light into the meeting on the mountain?
Who announces the ages of the moon?
Who teaches the place where crouches the sun?
(If not I)

-- Trans. Douglas HYDE

Amergin Glúingel ("white knees") or Glúnmar ("big knee") was a druid, bard and judge for the Milesians in the Irish Mythological Cycle. He was appointed Chief Ollam of Ireland by his two brothers the kings of Ireland. A number of poems attributed to Amergin are part of the Milesian mythology.

Erik Goodwyn, MD, Psychiatrist, Psychotherapist says:
Irish Theologian John O’ Donohue, in his Anam Cara adds “This ancient poem reverses the lonely helplessness of Descarte’s ‘I think therefore I am’”.

I couldn’t agree more.  The lesson of the Poem of Amergen is that we are not isolated minds floating about the universe like billiard balls.  We are interconnected with everything.  We have within us the land, the sea, the gods, the sun, and everything within the world.  The ancient Celts and Norse both viewed the world in a non-dualistic fashion–they saw everything as interconnected.  That was their genius and their contribution to the understanding of the soul.