Category Archives: spirituality

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?

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Rounded – WP Weekly Photo

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The stairs for the Pagoda in Patterson Park, Baltimore, Maryland.  Patterson Park is a really nice park that I’d never before been to and reminding me a little of Central Park.  That day I was meeting with a discussion group, and we sat on blankets and yoga mats chatting just outside the Pagoda.  Fortunately, the building happened to be open, and we were able to climb the rounded spiral stairs to appreciate the beautiful stained glass windows and phenomenal view of the city from the outside top balcony.  I LOVE looking up spiral staircases.  Down is good too!  Sorry, no photo of the outside, but here are the factoids from the Park’s website where you can find a photo of the Pagoda.

The Pagoda

Known as the Pagoda because of its oriental architectural appearance, the design was intended to reflect the bold Victorian style of the day. From the top of the tower one can view downtown, Baltimore’s many neighborhoods, the Patapsco River, the Key Bridge and Fort McHenry.

Over time and due to natural decay, vandalism, and lack of maintenance funds, the Pagoda was closed to the public in 1951 when the first of a series of partial renovations was attempted. At one point demolition was proposed as an option but thankfully the 1998 Master Plan for Patterson Park called for the complete restoration of the Pagoda. This project was guided by the Friends of Patterson Park, in partnership with Baltimore City’s Department of Recreation and Parks and MANY neighborhood volunteers. Completed in the spring of 2002, the Pagoda now stands as an iconic structure for Patterson Park and Baltimore City and signified the renaissance of the community around Patterson Park. It is also the location of many programs and events, such as the Friends of Patterson Park Summer Concerts Series, Audubon’s family programs, Tour Dem Parks waterstop, one of the sites of AVAM’s Kinetic Sculpture Race obstacles, The Friends’ annual Moonlight Pagoda event and much, much more!

Source:  Friends of Patterson Park website:  https://pattersonpark.com/park-landmarks

Habits That Create The Best Possibilities (for me)

Here are some things I practice to be aware of.  We all have our own ways to be at our best and attract our best possibilities and these may or may not work for you.  It’s whatever supports you and empowers you.  For me, with so many experiences that I’m having just about every day now, it’s helpful to remember and practice whatever feels right at the time.  It’s pretty ordinary yet offering a beautiful shift in my day.

  • Practicing self-kindness by doing all the things I enjoy every day such as yoga and meditation, making time for exercise, and time for art.IMG_1843I’m not at my best when I let these things slide and, at this writing, some of these have been sliding off the scale. So off I go to walk on my favorite nature trail.
  • Watching my self-talk and turning it around when it goes south
  • Being my real-deal self.  You’re great too, but I don’t want to be you.
  • Remember that it’s nearly impossible to make a difference by playing it safe, or be a people pleaser.
  • Build a small community of support and let the unsupportive relationships fade
  • Allow others to assist me and remember to ask how I can assist them
  • Cultivate lightheartedness no matter what.  Lightheartedness brings opportunities.
  • Notice when I play smaller because of fear, insecurity, or some other lower emotion.  Remember it’s not the truth, and get back to being my magnificent self.
  • Gratefulness for pretty much everything
  • Being good with sometimes feeling uncomfortably stretched, and therefore vulnerable, and standing out for unusual ideas.  It’s a game…wonder what I’ll do today that will be a stretch for me?  But this is not to be confused with pushing ahead on something that’s not in my best interest.
  • Use my imagination and imagine me already doing that which I want to do and the opportunities show up to assist me.
  • Take a stand for the seemingly impossible possibilities
  • Create incremental changes and look back once in a while just to appreciate how far I’ve come
  • Enjoy a relationship with my awesomely mind-blowing amazing guidance that’s always there within me, always encouraging, supporting, assisting, loving me
  • Be both uncomfortably stretched and happy at the same time.  See those feelings that seem to be at odds, as success.

More On Aligning With Our Purpose

Lately I feel like I’ve been shot out of a cannon.  Even as I type this post my keyboard can’t keep up with me and I have to keep pausing for the cursor to catch up.  I’m conflicted between wanting faster Internet, but not wanting to give Verizon more of my money.

Along with things feeling like they’re moving at the speed of light, are the inevitable growing pains associated with me being ok with being different.  Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 6.19.55 PMI’m coloring outside the lines and some days I own that, and some days I feel awkward and weird and weird (I know I typed that twice).  There are gazillions of people out there talking and writing about the very thing I’m talking and writing about.  We’re all doing our thing, each of us resonating with different people, as it should be.   But it’s clear that this line of work is not attracting approval from friends, family, or most strangers.  It isn’t mainstream.  Mark my words, once my book is published and I’ve given a TEDTalk, then I’ll get the approving sentiments, the clap on the back, but by then I won’t need their encouragement.

When aligning with our purpose we’re stretching ourselves.  You’re probably equally excited and terrified.  It’s understandable that you’re in need of a kind word, occasional words of encouragement.  Funny, we get impressed about where people work, what their titles are, how monetarily successful they are, if they’re published, what they drive, where they live, how they dress.  Meanwhile, we’re missing the magnificent that we pass on the sidewalk every single day, the great musician guy working at Trader Joe’s, or the folks we meet networking or at social events, that seem so ordinary, just like us…but, just like us, they’re amazing and they’re standing right in front of us.  Me.  You.  Not because we worked at stupid AOL years ago but because of who we are.  Maybe we should all wave while jumping up and down shouting “I’m right here!  I’m a magnificent human being…do you see it too?!”

You see yesterday, I had a gigantic moment.  I joined a group of ladies for a friend’s birthday and was asked what I do or if I was retired.  Answering her I said I’m a speaker and talk about spirituality, about looking to ourselves for the change we want for ourselves and the world.  Simple right?  And then, it felt so good to say that, I kept going.  Yupper, because I was sharing something that meant a lot to me I kept talking out of sheer nervousness as several faces politely listened to my monologue.  It’s like I gave myself a get out of jail card purging many decades of holding back and it came out in a torrent of words.  Then I told them my other idea I’m working on, cause evidently I wasn’t done talking yet.

We all have these moments that are big for us but others couldn’t possibly know because the moment is ours, not theirs.  It always feels good not trying to fit in, being my old self who used to hold back, worried I might “rock the boat” or stick out, afraid of being seen and heard.  Yesterday I talked too much about myself, stuck out, rocked the mainstream boat a little, as I talked about something many people don’t understand and probably think is strange for me to do.  Bite me.  I color outside the lines and happy that I do.  All I have to say is, if you’re reading this and you color outside the lines too, good!  Don’t stop.  Don’t hold back.  Be yourself, and show other people what it looks like to think differently, and to see how that pays off in unimaginable ways. Not everyone colors outside the lines and that’s ok too.  We should all be ourselves unapologetically.

For me, I know I’m experiencing a growth spurt.  No one else will recognize it.  But it’s here and I’m good with it and with all the vulnerable feelings that come along with it.  Stretching myself is always a challenge, but it gets easier, until…I reach my next challenge.  No question, I’d rather be in a space of growth than be stuck where I was.

Following my murmuration

Today I went somewhere, physically and spiritually.  I went for two reasons and I stayed for only one.   What I’m experiencing in my life is beautiful, joyful, and at times…not overwhelming…but more…mind boggling.   And I have no one to share all this with.  I can write about it, mention it in my talks, but that’s not the same as what I experienced this morning.  Not usually, but sometimes I’m SO LONELY because there are no people in my life just to sit with in it or casually speak with about it all.  But today I followed my murmuration and sat with people who share in all this…whatever all this is for them.  They have a place where they can physically go to be with each other.  And, I didn’t realize how much I crave this.

And by the way, I’m not really ever alone.  I always have the support of something that’s always with me, supports me, guides me, and loves me unconditionally. But being with people who might understand what I’m feeling is important too.

Interesting to me, the other reason I went there I’m no longer interested in pursuing.  This was a gift today and I don’t desire anything else.  And today was a good day to show up.  I’ve had a rare bee in my bonnet yesterday and the day before, still buzzing around even this morning as I started my day.  It’s about wanting to spend more time writing, to noodle with a talk I’ll be giving, to research leads and look into some legal things I need to look into as I create this new idea I have to bring people together to share their inspiration.  But, instead, I spent the past two days doing what I felt I should do… favors, errands, cooking (but not cleaning) and I was full out annoyed.  It’s becoming more and more important that whatever I’m doing I’m doing with as much joy as I can.  And I desire to allow for more time each day to play and work on my dreams and ideas, even longer meditations if I feel like it.

I exhaled when I entered that room today and it felt like that bee buzzed off somewhere else.  I allowed myself to show up today as just me, just someone who wanted to feel all that love, and it was a very nice thing indeed.  I’ve always run from churches.  I don’t like repeating someone else’s thoughts, someone else’s words, believing a belief just because someone wrote it down a gazillion years ago.  This part of my life I’m finally love-2111827_1280learning to speak my own words, uncover my own beliefs, to follow my heart, and to allow myself to be seen rather than hide.  That hasn’t changed.  But after following my murmurations today I see that I can have community without losing who I am, without compromising my own unique beliefs.  I can have all that, feel a community of tremendous love…stay afterwards, get (and give) more hugs, and eat chocolate chip cookies.  Murmurations are a good thing to follow, and I probably follow them more than I realize.