Category Archives: consciousness

When are We Being Spiritual?

When I first opened to learning aboutpexels-photo-751077 spirituality I threw myself into the study of it and dedicated time to do spiritual things.  And as I did, I hoped and believed I might become more spiritual.

There were times when I thought I was “being spiritual”, and times I thought I was not.  For example, when at the office I never would have thought I was being spiritual.  pexels-photo-588561However, while meditating or doing yoga I thought I was.  I created labeled compartments and moved in and out of them throughout the day.  Now it’s spiritual time.  And then I’d cycle through what I thought were my spiritual practices such as meditating, journaling, doing yoga, reading inspirational newsletters.  

However, my opinion and experience around this belief shifted.  Being spiritual is all day, every moment, no matter how I’m behaving or what I’m doing or what habits and practices I’m choosing to enjoy.  Whether I’m at my best or stumbling to a full-out face down ooopsi.

When we have a bad day, get frustrated driving in traffic, or annoyed by our boss, we are not any less spiritual than we are when we’re calmly and peacefully meditating.

Because…

We grow from all of our experiences and how we are being in them.  pexels-photo-289998This includes the frustrating moments when we are not at our best as well as the moments when we feel love, peace, and joy.

It’s all good because eventually, we start learning from our struggles, feelings, self-imposed roadblocks, and even our most beautiful experiences that many of us strive for.  We grow.  Consciously and unconsciously.  Whether we notice our own growth or not.

Of course when the various parts of our lives are working well we are enjoying being our higher self.  How we bring our higher self about in more and more of our experiences is up to us to discover.

I believe we’re here to uncover more of our light in order to effect the most profound change that will endure.  To do the deep work and move our spirit and humanity forward.pexels-photo-884977

There’s no on or off time.  It’s both when I’m looking and when I’m resistant to looking, when simply feeling a lovely breeze, meditating, painting, conflicted, annoyed, waking up next to my husband, happy, scared, feeling down, feeling silly, or whatever.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  What do you feel?  When are you being spiritual?

 

Advertisements

Practicing Mindfulness on Vacation

I’m writing this post while on vacation up at our family cabin.  A little place and beautiful spot that’s been in our family for over 60 years.  My husband and I share ownership with my sister and brother-in-law.  Our parents had it built in the 1950s and we’ve spent entire summers here as kids, and had our summer jobs near to here.  It was a place I learned to love nature, water, boating, trees, reading and developed a love for solitude.

IMG_6025.jpg

At some point, our parents age and health circumstances would no longer allow them to spend their summers here.  Fortunately our spouses love it here, as do my sister’s children and their children, so it continues to be used and loved by the family.

There are many fun memories of our parents packing a lunch and taking us on day long boat trips through the U.S. and Canadian islands.  We’d take in the continual view of rocky islands with pine trees and beautiful river cottages and boathouses.  Dad would get his charts out and take us out in his cherry and mahogany 1928 Hutchinson boat named “Poisson”.  We all mispronounced it “Poizzon” and it wasn’t until high school french class that I realized I was mispronouncing it.  I chose to continue to mispronounce it because it added to the fun experience of that boat.

When I moved to New York City to begin working I would still come up here for three day weekends.  NYC was hot and stinky in the summer and the water surrounding Manhattan offered a view of buildings.  Not my thing.  I tried a half share at a beach in New Jersey but it couldn’t compare to “The River”.  To get back up here I’d take a taxi to Port Authority.  Bus to the Newark New Jersey airport.  Plane to Syracuse.  Then a car rental for another hour and a half drive.  I did this every other weekend for years.  Even when I moved to Northern Virginia I’d either fly or drive up every other weekend.

But everything changes.  My sister and brother-in-law sold the Hutchinson.  A few years later I sold our other family boat.  I had decided to make more of a life for myself in the summer nearer to where I lived.  The 1000 Islands are a long way away, plus sharing with my sibling and her husband and back then I struggled with speaking up for myself.

I decided it would be easier, more affordable, and more practical if I would learn to sail on the Chesapeake Bay which was only an hour away rather than the 7 hours to our cabin in NY state.   And that’s when I met my husband, while sailing.  When we were dating I brought him up here and now he too loves the 1000 Islands and our 60+ year old place which is now slightly (ok very) crooked, with somewhat unsafe decks and ramps.

Our old place needs a lot of work and we’re all wondering how we can make it spiffy again.  Restoring it to it’s original splendor is a desire we all have.  My husband and brother-in-law are more than handy but they’re supposed to be relaxing up here not doing back-breaking construction projects.  Maybe a miracle will happen and it will all work out.

In the meantime, when I take the rickety crooked ramp up to our room in the little tree house cabin I repeat “I am safe, protected, and secure” over and over again until I’m safely off the ramp onto our deck and into our room.

The mindfulness part?  About 15 years ago or so real estate lot next to us was sold and two families built their homes away from home including a boathouse and one U-shaped dock on steroids, plus another dock.  There went the pristine cove, shoreline, and privacy.

IMG_6300.jpg

Everything is just a little too close to the little shoal we named Happiness Island.  I know I don’t own the water, the cove, or our special little shoal.  I also know I’m really fortunate to have this place so I shouldn’t be complaining that we have neighbors and such nice ones at that.  Sure Happiness Island is special to us with tons of memories.  We’d swim to it and our golden retriever would swim out to stand on it and look down at the water, and paw it as he watched the perch swim around.  The only thing you’d see all around was trees and shoreline.  Because Happiness Island and our cove is now full of structures, to me the private and special vibe of the tiny cove is forever changed.  Well short of winning the big lottery, buying everyone out and removing cabins, boathouse, and docks.

But I don’t have to let the vibe change.  I have a choice.  I feel grateful for our place, appreciate what it offers even with the additional people, loss of privacy, and noise.  I still feel uplifted and connected to the outdoors and nature that I so love.

I know it’s impossible to feel joy and gratefulness while feeling resentment.  It’s impossible to enjoy my time up here when I’m irked.  It’s impossible to have a beautiful moment continue when in the very next moment I’m feeling annoyed.

Today I’m practicing.  This is the moment I’m choosing to let something go that which I have no control over and only mars my experience IF I LET IT.  I know I can’t be joyful and ticked off at the same time.  I practice reminding myself how fortunate we all are to be in this beautiful setting.  I’m sure our neighbors feel the same way and have their own special feelings, more recent memories, and reasons for why they love it here.

Are you ever challenged to let something go?  Even when you know there’s nothing you can do about it and that it’s in your best interest and perhaps someone else’s best interest for you to just . let . it . go.

Today when I look at all the stuff in the cove and feel irked I choose to breathe and remember how fortunate I am until I’m no longer irked.  And I’ll keep practicing this.  I instead focus on the breeze, the sound of the bird calls, watching the pine trees move with the wind, gaze at the occasional ship going by.  If I see one of our neighbors I will choose to wave and then park myself and just take in the beauty and feel grateful because I’m really fortunate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Allowing for true gratitude

There are so many tips on how to practice gratitude.  Funny isn’t it?  That we human beings are in such need to be coached on how to experience gratefulness.

IMG_5220.jpg

Today I was noticing the newly green trees, shrubs, bushes, woods, and the lushness of it all.  It was a sight to behold.  If you know me at all you know that my being in the presence of the outdoors has always spoken to me.

I sat there appreciating and had my moment.

There isn’t a day I’m not grateful for something in my life.  It was just that today the nature around us seemed even more beautiful.  I’m also more than grateful for our lovely divine guide team who assisted us in finding this place.  Therefore there was a little bit of a love fest in my heart going on.

Taking a minute to spontaneously feel grateful for whatever wonderfulness we’re experiencing just leads to more wonderfulness.  We can’t schedule those moments.  It’s more about noticing in the moment.  The more we notice, the more we feel more naturally occurring moments of joy and contentment.  All the while appreciating the beautiful support that assists us in creating what we’re experiencing.

You know that expression “my heart is full”?   Perhaps that’s what I was feeling.  I felt such love and such gratefulness and I could feel that energy concentrated within my heart space.

This feeling of connection and love has been happening more and more, and often while in meditation.  When I first started experiencing these sensations in my heart space it was unfamiliar.  I hadn’t felt that anything like it before and started to strategize how I could make that happen again.  But now I allow for it to be for however long it lasts.  It’s only a moment or so and I don’t get too attached to why it shows up or what it might mean.  I only know it’s related to some lovely thoughts I’m thinking or an experience I’m enjoying, connecting with a presence from within.  This is no time for analyzing.  I just go with it, enjoy the experience, and feel, yup you guessed it.  Grateful.

“There Must Be More To You…”

The following paragraph is from one of my favorite books.

“…spiritual growth is learning to make your life work in every area, from your relationships to your career, as you put your spiritual light into everything you do, bring awareness and love to all your activities, and turn every experience into an opportunity for growth, you are being your higher self.” 

Years ago I hadn’t learned how much action, the steps, that growth takes.  I didn’t know that it takes work, awareness, looking at me and my patterns, habits, and experiences.  Instead, when I initially started opening to new ideas I was mostly just a sponge, watching others, and studying to be more like them.

I thought I only had to soak up information from reading, attending classes/workshops, and listening to spiritual leaders and then I’d have awesome mystical experiences that would knock my socks off, and result in a deeper experience of life and myself.

But no.  That’s not how it works.

And yet I persisted in looking anywhere but at myself.  I watched the “spiritual” people who not so much walk but seemed to float into rooms.  You know the ones that speak as if they’re right out of a Kripalu course catalog?   My focus was on them not me.  I assumed these beautiful ethereal individuals must have deeply meaningful lives and feelings of well-being and I wanted that because, back then, I so didn’t have that.

 

As I watched these seemingly awesome people I wondered, what was in their drinking water?  Where did they learn to speak the flowery way they did?  Their yoga poses were perfection, and their outward appearances exuded the epitome of calm, peace, and hipness.  Frankly, they annoyed the s_ _t out of me.

At some point, I tired of it all. The yoga studios and their spiritual growth workshops, the best selling books, the advice and philosophy from various leaders throughout the world. It was all well-intended but no longer attractive to me.

It was time to grow from my own experiences.  As a trusted individual pointed out to me, “…the big learning you came here for”.

 

Photo by SerrNovik/iStock / Getty Images

Sometimes I still need reminders to stand in my own power.  Just last year I had an awkward meeting that served as a friendly reminder to stop comparing!  It involved a new acquaintance who thought we’d have a lot to talk about.

How was it that after that meeting, I went home to have lunch with my husband and started to cry into my salad?  My confused husband gently asking how can you meet someone for an hour and come home crying?   That made me laugh and now I was laughing+crying+eating.

What had bugged me about that encounter was the more she shared her amazing man-person-legs-grassdramatic mystical experiences, the more I started to feel un-terrific, uninteresting, un-special, and fell right back into comparison mode.

I realized that after she shared all her numerous incredibly incredible fantastic mystical experiences, she had shared details about her life.  And I got it.  Her actual everyday life didn’t match her amazing stories at all.

She would have benefited more from compassion rather than envy.  I would have benefited from seeing the connection more clearly rather than making it about who I thought I wasn’t.

Do you ever bring yourself or anyone else up short, based on a lot of nothing?  Perhaps it’s about the size of one’s office, or the title they have, or recognition they’ve received, or vacation they’re taking.  Comparing ourselves to others, it’s not great right?  All day long we have opportunities to compare but those are the same opportunities to see non-comparatively and stay in our own power.

Cool stories or not, what matters the most to me is how I experience my life, and how good it feels.  That’s the “more” to my story because that’s what’s more important to me.

Trusting And Learning What Our Feelings Are Showing Us

How many times do you feel your feelings, and wonder what those feelings are conveying to you?  Sometimes we tend to take our feelings for granted and go all auto-pilot about them.

pexels-photo-278312.jpg

To experience a deeper connection with ourselves, it’s a good idea to pay attention to both our good, and not so good feelings.  Both types of feelings are teaching us about how we’re thinking, reacting, and processing our experiences, all the way to what we’re creating as a result.

When it isn’t obvious why we’re feeling badly, we might take a minute to be aware we might just find out why we’re feeling the way we do.  The other day I was at my computer for hours and I guess I wasn’t a happy camper. I kept thinking just a little more time and I’ll be done.  I was pushing through my icky feelings.  But at some point, I felt awful and asked myself why.  And I just knew it was time to walk away and do anything else but what I had been doing.  Anything to bring a little more joy in.

And how do we cultivate bringing higher feelings in?  Being aware of what brings us joy.  We all love vacations right?   But why do we feel so good on vacation?  When we know specifically what makes us feel good we can bring more of those simple things into every day.  I can’t afford to jump on a plane every week to vacation in order to feel amazing vacation feelings.   But I can think about what it is I loved about vacation experiences, and bring more of those nice feelings into my week.  It’s about adventure, enjoying great food, inspiring views, seeing new people in a different culture, and appreciating architecture.  If I dig deeper, I also realize I love learning and connecting with people.  There’s lots of laughter because I feel relaxed and carefree since it’s about having fun.  Some of what I feel is inspiration.  I’m inspired by the buildings, food, people, and art.

So on any given day, I can be sure I’m learning, doing something that relaxes me, taking time to experience art, connect with people at a class or some other new social event.  Maybe it’s just reading my favorite design magazine on a break from work or heading off to a museum.  Perhaps it’s driving into town for lunch or trying a new restaurant.  Could be I make time for a walk in the woods.  Duh right?  But putting myself first ahead of my to-do punch list took practice at first.

For example keeping up on social media often is un-fun to me.  For now anyways.  I know now what part of my work inspires me and I’m focusing more on that part, rather than the work tasks that constrict me.  Perhaps the tasks that I really don’t enjoy doing, I can do less of, or allow someone else to handle them.  If not, I can play music while I’m tackling them and take lots of breaks.

pexels-photo-214574.jpg

We can begin to see how easy it is to create opportunities that foster higher emotions.  We can learn to feel better.  This is really helpful when we encounter the inevitable smaller cracks our sidewalk so to speak.

This is important to practice regarding the bigger picture as well.  There are a lot of confusing and troubling things going on in the world right now.  It’s good for us and it’s also good for our world if we’re all living in our higher emotions rather than our lower emotions.  Takes focus, practice, and it takes kicking the attraction to negativity to the curb.  How we feel is so important to what we’re creating in every moment, even the more seemingly insignificant moments of our day.

Being aware of our feelings in an ordinary day, with ordinary experiences, and consider making even tiny changes in our thoughts and actions, can lead to creating a better experience for ourselves (and our world).

 

 

Winter nesting habits, fleece clothing, and fear

Right now my focus seems to be on baking pies, painting, and lazing around in my wonderful fleece lined yoga pants and faux fur slippers.   These yoga pants and slippers own me and I’m great with that.  I’ll take them off in April. 

Lounging around until whenever-ish, is pretty terrific.  It’s downright nurturing to just be.   However, I’m slacking around creating my ideas.  And yet, I still very much want to create those ideas.  See my dilemma?

I’ve got this.  All that’s needed is a little course correction.

When I don’t act on my good opportunities coming my way, the opportunities naturally dwindle.  And through a lack of action on my part, sometimes what is coming my way, is not really the best fit for me.  I’m certainly not giving my awesome intuitive guidance much to work with, as I let my side of the partnership laze.

It’s not as though my intuition will leave me as a result of me not taking action or following suggestions.  I’m also encouraged to create a lovely balance in my life, and that involves painting, cooking, relaxing, etc…  It’s unconditionally loving, and always supportive, assisting in every moment, no matter what.  But it is a relationship, a partnership, and my connection grows as I play and work with it, and take action around the information I receive.  We’re doing this together and, to a point, some action is required.

But there’s more.  It’s especially worth looking at why I’m not taking action.  It’s not all about the call of the wonderful winter nesting activities.   Quite honestly, there’s still a certain amount of me holding back out of fear.  Fear of rejection.  Fear of being targeted.  Fear of being seen, my beliefs known, and being ostracized for them.  Those are no small fears.  So, this is when I ask that very same guidance to assist me with releasing those fears, once I’m more clear what they’re about.  In my case, usually those fears stem from “I’m not enough”, an old core belief of mine.  They happen less and less, but can still creep up when I’m feeling that my next steps are  a little or very challenging.

And yet, these fears are a wonderful opportunity.  They’re here to show me, Hey look, here’s that thing again.  Let’s look at it, receive clarity, clear it, and move on.   There’s a process that was shown to me for doing this.  Anyone can come up with their own version to consciously become aware, look at what’s there, as a way to understand and release it.  I may start with writing down my feelings, and then move on to meditation, and visualize releasing what I can to the highest form of light.

We all have our reasons for holding back.  It’s so worth it to honestly look at why we get a little stuck now and again.  It’s nothing to worry about and we’re all totally “unstuckable”.   Asking for help is a great start and assistance will be there.  Various pieces will show up to support us, and we’ll learn about ourselves.

I woke up this morning wanting to add a post script here.  Several years ago I spent a lot of time looking at and understanding more about where my limiting core self-belief came from.  It was work. There was focus, dedication, even tenancity, courage, and self-kindness.  I’m post-scripting because by no means was I suggesting that it’s fast and easy to release this kind of self-belief, <I’m not enough, I’m unworthy>.  But years ago I did deep work in this area and I was able to see where this self-belief came from. I realized that it was never about me, and I took responsibility for allowing that belief to be carried on by me for most of my life.  Without going into every detail, I’ll just say, this work was transformational.  It’s understandable that, now and again, speckles of this belief show up.  I feel it’s a gentle reminder and opportunity to remember who I really am. These speckles show up less and less, and for me now, are easier to notice, have clarity about what’s behind the feelings, and compassionately release the old belief and embrace my truth.  

It’s a Good Time in Our World Now

It’s a good time to make a difference.

People, particularly women these days, are feeling empowered to speak up for themselves.  To be seen as equals.  To see ourselves as worthy, to settle for nothing less.  To feel empowered to speak up when we are mistreated and disrespected, by any degree.  However a movement begins, whatever grim set of circumstances started it, will never overshadow the powerful results.  Everyone involved, from those watching, to the harmed, to even the ones that did the harming, had a part in moving mankind forward.  But it will require focus and intention, not to fall back into the role of being marginalized, and looking the other way out of fear, or feelings of unworthiness.

There are others illustrating that everyone is entitled to the liberties they deserve, based not only on the law, but also out of sheer humanity.  They’re using a powerful symbol to demonstrate this point. By shining a light on an entire population that are entitled to the very liberties that, that very symbol stands for.  It’s the perfect illustration, with the perfect symbol.  Their perseverance with their gesture illustrates their courage, their humanity.  These individuals understand that complaining to each other, or grousing at the news, would not make a positive difference, it would only contribute to the problem.  Instead, they chose to act on their feelings.  Their peaceful action is impressive.  And they are moving mankind forward.

 

pexels-photo-1.jpg

Everyday seemingly inconsequential acts of kindness move mankind forward.  But often, it’s the more emotional, sensational, and divisive issues that pull people together, and shift mankind in larger numbers.  One day we won’t need scandals or atrocities to activate us toward becoming more humane.  However, until then, it will take us peacefully expressing ourselves to stand for a better world, and inspire others to do the same.  A world where we treat others the way that we expect to be treated.

We all have something we care about. What are you standing up for?  For me, I know there are some things I can speak up about, starting within just my personal life, as well as many things I’m concerned about as a citizen of our world.

All of us are here to do our part to assist mankind in moving forward.