This, again?!

Kiptopeke State Park
I’ve already done this. This path is not new. I’ve walked this road and conquered it….so why am I here? Why this, again?! I want to scream. I want to claw out of this body.

“The longer you resist, the longer you spin in this energy of confusion,” my quiet inner voice responds.

“But, but, but…,” I bite my lip to avoid releasing the torrent of sadness I am just now realizing was still being held somewhere in the deep recesses of my being.

“If you’ve got this, then there’s no reason to resist it. You know what to do. Get quiet and go within,” the still quiet voice continues, “You’ve left a stone unturned on that path and it’s time to turn it over. The longer you wait, the longer you resist, the more energy you spin in confusion. You’ve got this!”

Deep down, I know all too well that if I continue to let this go, that the opportunity for release will only continue to present itself to me again and again. And again.

Reluctantly, while the dam breaks and the sadness bursts forth, forming an ocean of tears on my pillow, I pull my body up against gravity. I slowly and begrudgingly move into my meditation pose. It is there that I begin to surrender into the quiet darkness within, just as that small inner voice instructed me to do.

It is in the darkness that I travel the familiar path to the room of my third eye. The last bit of resistance is experienced as I open into the chakra of my heart. The last vestige of self-induced pain slips quietly away as I open more fully into love. It is here, in that very moment, that I forgive and I release myself from bondage. I forgive myself. I love myself again. I allow myself to love the part of me that caused my own suffering.

With each glorious moment that I spend here, I untangle and further dismantle more and more of the tangled web of deception. I release the lies that others told me about myself. I let go of the shame. Another breath and the guilt begins to melt away, also.

Once my surrender is complete I can see, feel, smell, taste and fully experience again the sweet nectar of the Universe. “I am Love,” the nectar reminds me. I am part of everything and everything is part of me.

I remind myself that it is within the surrender that I am Free. Next time, I tell myself, I will not resist.

Or will I?

Namaste.

A Discourse on Darkness

dragonflyMany eschew the darkness. Most fear it. (This avoidance and fear energy just gives the darkness more power.) Here I will discuss why I feel that darkness is important.

Imagine for a moment a life without any shadows. What do you see? Light. Do you see anything else? Well, if there are no shadows, I do not know how you would see anything but light. (Yes, I do feel a bit like Neil deGrasse Tyson right about now.)

So without shadows all we would see and all we could be would be light. The shadows allow us to differentiate ourselves from one another and from The Creator. Why is this important? Without this differentiation we would only have the experience of love and oneness. If all we ever experienced was love and oneness, then how would we have the experience of ourselves? Instead, it is my belief, that we are here to experience the full spectrum of human emotions, individually.

The shadows are important as they help us to experience love in a different and more meaningful way.  Again, without the shadows we would only experience one thing: Love. Yet, I believe that the shadows ARE love. For without them, our experience of love would be more … shallow. It is in our work to experience love more fully that we see through the shadows of illusion; the illusions being that not-love exists and that we are separate from one another and the Creator.

The illusion of separation is where we can create so much difficulty: my shadow is different from your shadow, so that means you are not me and I am not you. This can lead to beliefs like, “my shadow means that my need for love is different, or more worthy, than yours.” Yet, we are all cut from the same cloth of light. Our fabric is the same. Our needs are the same. We ALL need love. (so why do we so often withhold it from ourselves and others? that’s another discourse for another day.)

Another analogy would be a wave on the ocean. Does the wave differentiate itself from the ocean? Does one wave feel it is better because it breaks first? Or that another wave is less worthy because it is not “glassy” enough? I seriously doubt it. Yet we do this to ourselves and to others. Again, we ALL need LOVE.

By seeing our shadows as the illusions that they are and by fully experiencing the continuum of human emotions (by being present in each and every moment, as fully as we possibly can), we are able to bring the illusion of separation to the light. While the shadows help us to deepen our experience of love, our healing comes with the recognition that we are all One.  It is then that we are once again able to experience ourselves in our fullest truth: All is Love and We are the ALL.

Namaste

Habits can be helpful and potentially harmful for your brain

path

When we perform new tasks, we build our brains. New neural connections and synapses are created within our nervous systems to support us in our new endeavors. This is called neuroplasticity; it is an important component in learning a new skill.

Neuroplasticity can also help us to use our “muscle memory” when we are responding to an emergency situation or when we need to respond to something without thinking. By repeating a task through drills and skill-building exercises, we reinforce these neural networks. If trained properly, skills can be performed without as much thought and attention to every little detail.  This can be helpful to us in many ways.

Soldiers and police learn how to assemble and use their weapons in all sorts of situations; so they can respond appropriately when called to duty. First responders like paramedics, EMTs and firefighters practice their trades all times of the day and in different conditions for the same reason. The more we perform a task, the more deeply it can become embedded in our neuronal network, allowing us to learn to respond in an appropriate way when everything else is chaotic.

However, when we do the same “everyday tasks” in a predictable way everyday of the week, we short-change ourselves. Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails has a song titled, “Everyday is Exactly the Same.” In the lyrics he sings that he thinks he can predict the future, because he keeps doing the same thing over and over again everyday. This, my friends, is when habits can be bad for your brain.

First and foremost, we are all here to gain new experiences in life. When we do the same thing day in and day out by rote, we deprive ourselves of the ability to experience something new. While we may enjoy the comfort of the familiar, it keeps us stuck in our patterns AND it can even rob our brains of growth.

When we drive the same route every day, or perform the same morning routine, we repeatedly use the neural roads that already exist. We also have the tendency to not be fully present when we perform an activity in a habitual way.

In essence, new activities build new pathways and new synapses. This is where growth occurs. Another reason to try new routes and new behaviors is that we are generally more stimulated by these new activities which builds even more pathways. So our capacity to learn can also increase.

The best part of all of this is that when we are more fully present in the moment, we have more to gain from it all. So I encourage each of us, myself included, to travel a slightly different path. Do your morning activities in a different order or with your non-dominant hand. You’ll be more present and your brain will have a greater capacity for growth.

Go forth and do something new or slightly different today and everyday, to help keep your brain growing!

Namaste.

Giving Ourselves Permission

On this day I had two patients who both seemed to want to suppress their feelings; one did not want to celebrate her achievements and the other felt bad for throwing herself a pity party. They both seemed to need permission to feel what they were feeling.

So with the first patient, I pulled out my pad of paper and hand wrote a “permission slip” to invite her to feel her feelings of self-pity. “You now have permission to throw yourself a pity party. Just be sure to leave after you have cake & ice cream!” This not only made her laugh, but it also gave her great comfort to know it was acceptable to feel bad for herself after something not-so-great had happened to her. By having the pity party, she knew it would just be temporary.

When the next patient was hesitant to celebrate her improvements, I followed the same idea. I again brought out my pad of paper and wrote her a permission slip to celebrate her achievements. Her note was similar to the one I wrote to myself, above.

While they were both amused and laughed at my antics, they each saw the value of what I was showing them: they could give themselves the gift of feeling what they were feeling. They could give themselves the gift of being present within their feelings (without guilt or shame).

Later I wrote myself those same permission slips. And I gave myself permission to feel what I was feeling, so I would not have to revisit them again, (and again) at a later time. I also gave myself permission to love and adore myself, which are feelings I usually reserve only for other people in my life.

So today, please give yourself permission. Permission to feel your feelings and to feel them fully. Permission to cry when you need to cry. Permission to laugh and celebrate when you need to celebrate. Permission to BE and to FEEL. That is what we need more of: People who accept what they are feeling and allow those emotions to move through them, instead of getting stuck by shame or guilt.

You now have permission to feel your feelings, fully! (it’s your actions and behaviors that can cause the problems, so for now, please just feel)

Reflections of The Promise

reflectionsI know I can do all of this on my own.  Yet deeper still and throughout my being, I yearn for the fulfillment of The Promise.

The Promise of a compeer who understands me (and who I understand) on all levels. Someone with a similar sense of humor who also smiles easily and laughs like I imagine Buddha would laugh. The Promise of a compatriot who can also see through the illusions of this world, and easily holds me accountable for my part in it. A man of equivalent spiritual understanding who is honest first and foremost, even if it seems blunt to others. This man, The Promise, accepts me in my truth, even if it seems blunt to others.  The love between us is reciprocated and respectful. Some thoughts are shared without the need for words. That, my friends, is The Promise in a nutshell.

The Promise: I see your reflections in the smiles, compassion, truth and laughter of others. The lifeguard who turns to wave to me as I leave the pool reflects a piece of you. The woman who waves me on while she waits patiently reflects a piece of you. The belly laughter at lunch break that I share with my co-workers reflects a piece of you. The support I receive from my dearest friends as I travel down the road of life reflects a piece of you.  Yes, I know you are here. I see reflections of The Promise of you everywhere.

While I wait for you to reveal yourself I work on myself. This is my greatest gift to you: a happier and healthier me. I clear away the feelings of worthlessness, sadness, guilt, anger, shame and fear that often reveal themselves when I feel you draw near.

The more I clear on my own, the brighter my beacon will shine. More importantly I know that once together our real work will begin in no time. And right now, that sounds a bit scary, so I know that it’s not yet time for us to meet. Until then, I hear The Promise of you from the whispers of the wind.

Namaste

The Spiritual Foundry

fireCarbon is folded into metal during the forging process to strengthen it. The more times the metal of a sword is folded, the stronger the sword has the potential to become.

The fire of the foundry is used to heat the metal to a malleable state so that the swordsmith can hammer out the impurities, called slag. The metal is then expertly folded and properly cooled. The entire process, when done properly, gives the metal strength, balance and flexibility.

The forging process involves repeated firing, hammering, folding and cooling. The legendary Katana has over 1000 layers (though it is debated how many times it is actually folded), let’s just say it’s been folded many, many times.

As spiritual Warriors, we are repeatedly placed in the fire of the foundry so that we can be forged into our greatest potentials. We are heated to become malleable, hammered to remove impurities, folded and cooled to give us strength and flexilibility.  This is all done out of Love to bring us to our greatest potential.

The greater our ability to be both strong and flexible, the greater our potential to separate the truth from the illusion with precision and accuracy.

So fellow warriors, be not afraid of the fire making us more malleable. Fear not the hammering process to remove our impurities and illusions. Surrender to the folding. Be still during the cooling process. As it is our willingness to undergo the forging process that allows us to experience our very purpose: Love.

It is the Swordsmith’s Love of the Sword that brings it to being. Just as it is the Creator’s Love for Us that brought Us into being. The only difference is that the Creator’s Love for Us is constant throughout the entire process.

Namaste

Lover, I am here

shinywaterLover, I am Here.

I find new ways to love myself while I await your arrival. For it is only in loving myself more fully that I am able to receive your love more fully. So I diligently purge and clean while I wait.

The self-hatred lurks in the darkness of my fears. It feeds off of the perception of loneliness while savoring the morsels of worthlessness. It sucks the very essence out of my life; if I allow it.

Through Will and Valor, I walk through the shadows. It is in the void that I choose love and light over fear and darkness. Each time I walk through another shadow another illusion of the truth is shed. It is then that I open more fully into the Divinity of Love. As I learn to love myself more and more, the darkness is brought to the light and the lies are alchemized into the truth. All is Love.

It is in loving myself more completely that I am able to bring more light to the beacon that beckons you and one day brings you to my shores.  Until we finally meet, I continue to gift myself lovingkindness, filling the voids with love and light. This is also my gift to you.

By loving yourself more deeply, you are able to follow the compass of your heart. As you gain and build trust you follow the direction of the fine needle that shows the way back to me. Believe not in the fog of your darkness, Lover. Those are just lies that others told you about yourself that you chose to believe. So now choose differently. You are not alone in this endeavor. I walk this walk with you, though currently it is (seemingly) in parallel.

Lover, I am here. Follow your truth and you will find me there.

Namaste.