risking self expression

As is often the case, I happened upon a couple of posts over the last couple of weeks, that were rightly timed…just what I needed.  The first was an excerpt from a chapter in David Whyte’s book, Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.

“We are here essentially to risk ourselves in the world. We are a form of invitation to others and to otherness, we are meant to hazard ourselves for the right thing, for the right woman or the right man, for a son or a daughter, for the right work or for a gift given against all the odds. And in all this continual risking the most profound courage may be found in the simple willingness to allow ourselves to be happy along the way…”

Soon thereafter, I came across a chapter in a book I am reading. This excerpted section of the book is a bit longer than the quote above and yet is very important for what I wish to share with you this day.

“Self Expression – This is the greatest strength of the individual and of a thriving society as a whole. It is the aspect of the individual that is most suppressed in societies that seek to create a sense of blind obedience and mindless consumerism. The institutional influences on the will of the individual will often seek to devalue the inherent gifts, talents and passions of the individual in favor of a lifestyle that forces the individual into a more traditional role of wage earner, consumer and rule follower. Self-expression can be seen to be dangerous to that type of institutionalized structure; creativity will be undervalued, and those who operate outside of a created structure of limitations will be viewed as delusional or dysfunctional. Structures will be put into place that create divisions in the structure; those who fit in will find their sense of identity with the crowd, while those who do not will be outcast and left to find their own sense of identity.”*

Do you see where this is going?

Finally, as I was reading the WordPress Reader one morning, I came upon a post by one of my fellow bloggers, at Healing Your Grief. I hope you will take the very few moments it will take to read this brief, yet powerful post. It truly is the period at the end of the sentence and purpose of this post. The Egyptian goddess warrior Isis reached out to me in that post, and I hope you will find her for yourself as well.

We are all worthy of ourselves, our love, the expression of our hearts. Often it takes great courage to step in the arena to simply be ourselves rather than succumb to doing what we have been told, or trained to do. I recall a time in my life where I believed I was not creative. I recall attributing that trait to one of my sisters who has painted and sketched beautiful images. I started to wake up to the possibility that creativity was indeed alive in me, in a very different way, when I considered the challenges of parenting, leading an organization and finding ways to honor and support others – children, colleagues, etc.

I am grateful for the “bread crumbs” that the timing and sequence of the appearance of these posts came to mean for me. After a couple of challenging weeks, I felt I was beginning to lose my footing in the world of self-expression, which for me is writing in this space, at this time. Believing my foundation was solid, I discovered that the foundation is ever shifting and as long as I follow my heart, write what I feel and experience, I am risking myself in the world, in the best way for me.

I’m happy to be here and am grateful for all who read, and comment on anything I offer here.

Namaste.

 

 

 

 

 

*Mike Dooley with Tracy Farquhar, From Deep Space with Love: A Conversation about Consciousness, The Universe and Building a Better World (United States; Hay House, 2017); p.35

 

 

let it be

As I often do in the last month of the calendar year, I review posts in my journal from the previous months. I’ve done this for several years and found it to be a wonderful way to see my growth, progression and evolution. Changing my mind and opening my heart more and more to life – both its challenges and rewards – makes all of the difference in the way I greet and move into and through each day. Each day is different and for that I am grateful.

I came upon an entry in my journal from this month, last year (2016). The election was behind us and the emotions which were pouring from people on both sides of the outcome were vivid.  As is my practice, I looked at what I had written and considered my observations of that day and what I see today. I reflected on where I was then and where I am today as well. The words reflect both my observations, and upon reflection, I believe my feelings as well.

~  ~  ~

12/8/16
There are many terrified children all around. You will know them by the adult suits they are wearing. Their behavior is a give-away, too.
Anger and condescension mask a deep fear within. They are over-compensating to cover their beliefs that they are unprepared, unworthy and simply aren’t good enough or don’t have all they believe they need to be where they are. In addition, they are defensive and very reactive. Everything is a crisis which must be tended to and fixed right now!
They come across as confident and controlling when in fact they are not confident, and everything –  in their mind  –  is completely out of control.
What do these people need?
A steady, easy open-hearted soul who sees them for who they really are in this moment – another soul currently living a separated life. They need a person who can compassionately hold the space while listening to and allowing them to be who they truly are. This melting process – the shedding of armor – will take time. The reward is more joy – awakening with a sense of calm, peace, acceptance of life – as it is.
No need to fix, control or manipulate any of it. Just let it be.

~  ~  ~

We have one year of great change nearly behind us. I’ve had many opportunities to remember the importance of caring for myself. It is so easy to become distracted by the many events unfolding in our world today. What I know for sure is this: joining the negative voices – however passionate – does nothing to contribute to the healing of our planet and its inhabitants. Focusing on the beauty that we get to enjoy; taking good care of our bodies, minds and spirits; and engaging in more listening and less talking can make a positive difference in so many places – even in places that we have no idea we are impacting.

As one of the young people in my life says, “All acts impact.” I believe she is absolutely right about this.

So, before we speak; before we take an action; before we make a choice of any kind, perhaps taking a moment to pause and consider the energy that is informing and therefore infusing the act will give us an opportunity to make the best choice; to say the best, most positive words and bring more love, peace and joy into our world.

Let’s breathe before we respond, rather than reacting to so many things.

Let us practice be-ing and allowing others to simply be.

Let us free the scared child within. Let us hold him or her in our arms and provide a safe place for them to be the child they are. By seeing our scared inner children we will see the same in others. Compassion for self, compassion for others.

Love.

Peace.

Acceptance.

Let it be.

 

 The hummingbird is a symbol for the enjoyment of life and the lightness of being.

 

 

I am human

On my “About” page on this site is this sentence: “My deepest desire is to inspire others to live a life that is free, open and enjoyable, rather than living a life that feels controlled, constricted or over-managed.”

This comes directly from my human experience.  For a very long time, I felt as if I was living a life that was controlled, constricted and over-managed. For years, I was medicated to get through it all. At one time, I was taking many antidepressants while being treated by a therapist and a psychiatrist. Now, I know that this isn’t everyone’s experience. I DO know, it was mine.

I AM human…and I wish to be real, authentic and honest. I cannot offer wisdom, thoughtful writing or comment, without being authentic. And…I have my days, too. I have to remind myself that I am in this world…I am not of it.

It was only a few years ago that I was a highly functioning (federal) executive, and wife and mother to two sons and a step-son. Life brought its joyful moments, and they were few and far between (from my perspective only). I have always taken life very seriously and worked hard to hide, as much as possible, my deep suffering. Some thought they knew it well, others may have seen glimpses. I knew it ALL.

I awoke this morning feeling very tired, even though I slept reasonably well last night. I meditated, knowing that time spent in quiet listening would support a “re-start” to my day. Well…not so much. I realized about mid-morning, that I was feeling a deep sadness. I did not feel fear, although I suppose some would say there is a lot to fear in the current milieu. This was clearly sadness. I just couldn’t wrap my head around all of what is happening in our world today. In fact, the only word that came to mind was “unconscionable.” So many things simply do not add up or make any sense.

As an empath, I often find it challenging to know whether what I am feeling are my feelings or the feelings of others. I am highly sensitive and find that retreating from a lot of what we are all exposed to daily, is essential to maintaining my health and well-being. So today was a banner day for those feelings that I couldn’t reconcile or otherwise understand.

I have always found the beach to be a healing place. It is a place where I can be still, listen and find quiet calm within while in the presence of a very powerful and beautiful force of nature. I went there today, seeking that peace, solace and calm.

Ocean Isle Beach, NC, on a quiet day last month.

The lovely space I met just a week or two ago was nowhere to be found. There were lots of people. The sun was bright, the breezes light and the noise level higher than I had experienced in many months. In all its beauty, the noise and relatively small crowds were just too much. I lasted about an hour. I am happy to see that so many people love and enjoy the beach so much that a beautiful day like this one wasn’t to be missed!

I didn’t leave with anger, frustration or anything like that. I simply honored the fact that the space is for everyone…and just not for me today. The short drive home provided time to reflect. I spent some of that time looking at the sadness and seeking to understand what was at its core.  And even this experience had something for me. Finding the salve for my wounds and hurting places within is changing…and likely for good reason. I am grateful for the ocean, the sand, and the noise of people enjoying it all today as well.

As I reflected, I came to see more clearly what was contained in the sadness. What I feel pervades nearly everything. Our planet – everything living thing on it, people, animals; our safety, access to health care, clean water and food; those whose homes have been demolished, and who have nothing left. They’ve lost loved ones, a lifetime of memories and joyful experiences. It all is so hard to feel some days. Today has been one of those.

I know that many have struggled with the changes that we are all facing. I have found it to be more or less challenging as well. I do know that we are resilient. We are individually powerful and deeply loving, compassionate people. I feel that we will navigate these very choppy waters with all of the love that is within us. We will find a way forward that loves, honors and respects each other, regardless of our differences. In fact, we will begin to appreciate and see the gifts in those differences, for everyone has something to offer.

When I got home, I found this quote:

Sometimes surrender means giving up trying to understand and becoming comfortable with not knowing.

-Eckhart Tolle

Surrender…yes, there it is again. “Becoming comfortable with not knowing,” creates space for more love and healing to enter.

We are not weak, we are sensitive.

We are not lost, we are wounded.

We are not troublemakers, we seek only to be seen, and heard.

We are human.

May we all surrender to love. May we all pray for healing and in so doing, envision ourselves holding hands while we navigate these times together.

Imagine peace.

☮️​

 

 

Resources:

Highly Sensitive Persons: Dr. Elaine Aron; http://hsperson.com  Think you might be? Take the self test here.

Empaths: Dr. Judith Orloff; http://www.drjudithorloff.com/empath-support-community  Here are some quizzes that you might find useful.

Meditation: 21-Day Meditation Experience (underway now); Hope in Uncertain Times 

 

just for today…walk

All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

Walking is something that we do, unconsciously every day.  We walk from here to there…for a purpose. Our minds are engaged in any number of things when we are walking. Rarely do we walk, more slowly, with intention.

Walking with intention, we slow down and see what is around us. We begin to relax as we surround ourselves in nature. Perhaps nature is more difficult to engage living in a cityscape. Find a local park. Just get back to YOUR nature by being in and with the nature of Mother Earth. Here you return to yourself; here you return to your true nature. 

Walking with intention, in nature, we listen. We hear the intuitive wisdom of our souls. We lead our lives with intention when we listen to and heed the guiding messages of our hearts.

Take my hand.
We will walk.
We will only walk.
We will enjoy our walk
without thinking of arriving anywhere.
Walk peacefully.
Walk happily.
Our walk is a peace walk.
Our walk is a happiness walk.

Then we learn
that there is no peace walk;
that peace is the walk;
that there is no happiness walk;
that happiness is the walk.
We walk for ourselves.
We walk for everyone
always hand in hand.

Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom under our feet.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Print on Earth your love and happiness.

Earth will be safe
when we feel in us enough safety.

Thich Nhat Hanh

From “Call Me by My True Names: The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh,” Parallax Press, Berkeley, California, 1999, p. 194

 

 

Just for today…walk, with intention.

Then tomorrow, walk again. Let this become a habit so that it becomes your practice.

 

When you look at the sun during your walking meditation, the mindfulness of the body helps you to see that the sun is in you; without the sun there is no life at all and suddenly you get in touch with the sun in a different way.

 — Thich Nhat Hanh

upon reflection

A look in the mirror reveals so very much. We choose to look or not. If our choice is to not look, gazing into our own eyes may reveal our perspective on a deeper darkness that we prefer not to see. Often, we have a look and begin to judge what we see – eyes, wrinkles, imperfect skin, graying hair; all of the things society tells us that isn’t right about us. There is great power in looking – deeply looking –  at who we are, beyond the surface which reflects back our self-judgments (grounded in our beliefs). Rather, gazing with gratitude for the beauty of the soul within can bring an appreciation for Life and the miracle of our presence here, now.

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As we are nearing the end of another calendar year, many turn to this time as a period of reflection to begin to discern the blessings and lessons of the previous year.

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There are many “out there” who are reporting on all of the “good and bad” of the year’s events. And yes, many of those world and national events are definitely worth considering in our reflective moments. Our challenge, and the greatest gift to be realized, is contained in reflecting upon our individual experiences – which may include our perceptions of those events.

Truth is relative, as we each perceive our own truth through the filters of both our beliefs and our many life experiences. Realizing that such filters exist is the beginning step in realizing that others may see the same event very differently. Perhaps more importantly, no one is seeing it rightly or wrongly.

The beautiful images continued in this post show us very different reflections of what is above the water. Some are clear, others somewhat distorted. All have natural light – some brighter, some darker. Isn’t this also true about the many ways in which we and others perceive our life experiences, the many events – beautiful and tragic – that occur in our world every day?

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Upon reflection, we see. Upon reflection, we hear. Upon reflection, we discern the lessons and blessings of a day, a week, a month, a year…or a lifetime. Upon reflection, we come to know that truth as discerned by humans is relative. We know from nature that what is real is visible there.

You know all of this. It is intrinsic. You need only find your way back to the truth of who you are as a spiritual being…in this human experience.

How will you choose to create time and space for reflection? Today, tomorrow, every day?