Friday, February 27, 2015

Lent Day 10: The Silent Observer

Gonna start today's post with a few day's worth of the "Simple Abundance" calendar wisdom:

Feb 26, 27, 28, 29
Turning away from the world and toward your own happiness is the path of authenticity.  
You have embarked on an adventure as exciting as any explorer's.  
But uncovering the source of the Nile or charting the course of the Amazon is nothing compared to the inner journey to Wholeness--a safari of the self and Spirit.
In Africa, to go on safari--the Swahili word for journey--
is to leave the comfort of civilization to venture into the wilderness.
Each time you listen to your authentic self you do the same.
Remind yourself of this often.
A safari of the self and Spirit is at times lonely.
But this sense of isolation is necessary if we are to encounter Mystery,
and mystery is very much a part of a safari.  
Embrace the Mystery of the wilderness within.

I was really struck by the line that said that the safari of the self and Spirit is at times lonely. I have left the comfort of what is known for what is unknown.  Sometimes I feel terribly lonely.  I know I have a great community of people who love me.  My family is awesome, both the blood-relatives and the chosen family.  Is it a belief in separation from God that brings on these feelings?  Perhaps.  I've heard this before, but I don't feel separated from God.  I just sometimes forget.

Last night our son played on stage with his jr. high band.  We didn't know he was going to perform until about 2 hours before the event.  I was happy to rearrange my plans to attend.  My ex and I are a united pair when it comes to parenting.  We saw each other a bit beforehand, along with his girlfriend, who I get along with very well.  When I asked him if he wanted me to save them seats, as I was going early, he said, "Sure".  When I asked if he wanted me to get their tickets, he said, "If you're cool with that."  I was.

The evening was fun, if only a little awkward.  I am grateful that our mutual friends have taken our cue and been cool about us all being social together.  I put about 10 of my raffle tickets into the haircut certificate bag and won it.  Yay.  I am way overdue for a trim.

Even though I was around a lot of people that I know and love, I felt apart a bit.  When a family stole the chairs I had held for others at my table, it was really hard for me to keep my temper.  With my usual passive-aggressive attitude, I kept telling my friends that the seats had been saved but that they'd been stolen.  The interlopers ignored me.  (They had been told by others at the table that the seats had been saved.  They still chose to sit there.)  I was sitting next to the woman in the family. Everytime she bumped me, my temper flared.  Geez.  

While driving home, I listened to more of the Wayne Dyer ruminations on the Tao Te Ching.  It was good stuff.  When I climbed into bed, I had a choice.  Read more of my newest obsession, Stephen King's Mr. Mercedes or a few pages of The Untethered Soul.  Since I was feeling a bit more on the emo side, I picked the positive book.  The pages I read were about seeing past our emotions and experiences and tapping into the "Silent Observer" that is a part of us all.  It is our connection to God and to everything and everyone in existence.  Wholeness.  No beginning, no end.  So I've been practicing this today.  It's like I can see myself in layers and this part of me is the grounding part. 
The rest, the messy emotions, are superfluous and kind of slide around on top of it.  Part of the human experience.  As I read some text pics arrived showing Jake in the process of getting his hair dyed blue.  I was grateful to have been included.  

I will end today's ramble with a picture of a beautiful card that I found this morning in my work mailbox.  It was made by a lovely friend of mine.  

Yes.  Onward.  

Thanks for listening.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lent Day 9: Incubus and a Little Morning Cry

While playing my music on shuffle this morning as I got ready for work, Incubus's "Love Hurts" song came on.

Love hurts
but sometimes it's a good hurt
and I feel like I'm alive
Love sings
when it transcends the bad things
have a heart and try me
'cause without love I won't survive 

I've heard this song a million times, it seems, but it hit me differently today.  Did I really just let go of a relationship that was fulfilling in so many ways?  Someone who fed me delicious food and held me tight during the night?  Someone who held me while I cried and who gave me tingles in all the right places? Yup.  I did.  I grieved a bit for about an hour.

When I got to work I re-read yesterday's "Simple Abundance" calendar page.  It was good.
 Real good.  Better than today's, actually, so I kept this message up all day:

February 25
When you learn what you can live without, 
you are able to ask life for the very best because you possess the gift of discernment.
You are able to create an authentic life because you are able to make conscious choices.

I've learned a lot about myself over the years and quite a bit more these last crazy months.  I know what I like and what I don't like.  I like feeling adored and cherished.  I admit I'm kind of a Diva that way.  (Are there any women out there who don't?  I'm not asking that facetiously, I am genuinely curious.)  I like feeling honored and attended to.  And it's not a one-way street.  Eventually I'll be ready to give back to someone else.  But not right now.

Yesterday my snarky 14-year-old said, "Ha ha.  You're single."  I didn't take it personal and I didn't do much more than smile and say that I was ok with that.  I've got stuff to work on.  I'd rather be a further along the path to self-wholeness before embarking on another relationship.  The main reason I let the last ones go is because I was self-imploding.  I wasn't being honest with who I was in relation to myself so how could I have authentic connections with the significant others in my life?  I'm working on creating healthy boundaries and being responsible for my own emotions.  (More on that later.)  Yup.  I'm single and it's starting to feel like it's alright.

Thanks for listening.  

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Lent: Day 8: Observe Endings As They Turn Into Beginnings

I am listening to Wayne Dyer's Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao in my truck right now.  Dyer was my first introduction to the "positive thought" movement back in 2000.  I listened to Manifest Your Destiny over and over.  The ideas in that book were right up my alley and I haven't turned back.

I don't know much about the Tao Te Ching.  I'd heard of it and knew it was "ancient Chinese wisdom writings", and figured I'd let Wayne tell me all about it.  The first disk kinda just rolled over me.  My head wasn't really in the space to listen and I found myself bored and rebelling, wondering why I hadn't gotten a juicy fiction to keep me company as I drive.  I kept playing it, however, and this morning listened to the 16th essay (out of 81!)  It really struck home and I replayed it, excited that I was finally getting into the messages.  Here is one translation:

                            Tao Te Ching: Verse 16

Become totally empty.
Let your heart be at peace.
Amidst the rush of worldly comings and goings,
observe how endings become beginnings.
Things flourish, each by each,
only to return to the source…
To what is and what is to be.
To return to the root is to find peace.
To find peace is to fulfill one’s destiny.
To fulfill one’s destiny is to be constant.
To know the constant is called insight.
Not knowing this cycle
leads to eternal disaster.
Knowing the constant gives perspective.
This perspective is impartial.
Impartiality is the highest nobility;
the highest nobility is Divine.
Being Divine, you will be at one with the Tao.
Being at one with the Tao is eternal.
This way is everlasting,
not endangered by physical death.

View endings, however painful, as beginnings.  I know you've all probably heard this before, a million times, but for some reason it really struck home today.  I acknowledge my feelings of grief, pain, uncomfortableness, but strive to do this from outside of myself as a compassionate observer.  I know that I don't know the future.  I know that putting too much energy into what I "know" is "what I want" will hinder me from a much bigger possibility of good in my life.  Today I was advised to go ahead and dream about what I want, and then let it go, giving it up to God in gratitude.  

I've been doing that with my current money situation.  The prospect of being single and living on my current income is a daunting one.  I've never had my own bank account or been solely responsible for covering all of my own needs and wants.  Last year I took a minimum wage job over the summer and made the most of it, but the thought of doing another brain-numbingly boring job makes me breathe very shallowly.  So, I've thought about what I want, breathed deeply into it, and let it go.  Again and again.  This week I have received three prospective phone calls about money-making activities coming my way.  Yay!  I smile in gratitude, feeling my heart speed up in nervous anticipation and return those phone calls to get more details.  

Thanks for listening.  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lent Day 7: Sage Advice from Sarah Ban Breathnach


Simple Abundance is one of those books that can change a life.  Written by Sarah Ban Breathnach in 1995, this book has been a Bible to me since buying it at a yard sale for about fifty-cents.  Whenever I spot a copy at a used bookstore or thrift store, I buy it so that I can give it to someone else in my life.  Simple Abundance uses the concepts of Gratitude, Simplicity, Order, Harmony, Beauty and Joy to help readers realize and create the lives they want to live, right here and right now.  I've read and re-read this book over the years and almost every page has a bottom corner dog-eared, which is what I do to books when I want to reference a page.  I may have even blogged about this book before.

Somewhere along the way I picked up a daily calendar based on the book which I have taken from job to job to job.  On Tuesdays, after my usual three-day-weekends, I quickly read through the days I missed.  Yesterday's was too good not to write about.

February 23
Trust your instincts.
Follow your yearnings.
Respect your creative urges.
If you are willing to step out in faith and take a leap in the dark, 
you will discover that your choices are as authentic as you are.

I found those words so life affirming.  Just beautiful.  It's nice to feel like I'm on the right path.

Thanks for listening.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Lent Day 6: Feeling a Bit Irritable

Last night I had the brilliant idea of waking up early today, (I don't work on Mondays) and working on something creative or meditating extra or something else like that.  I think I pushed snooze about 14 times.  So much for bettering my life first thing.  :)

With a dentist appt. at noon and a commitment to go visit a local librarian friend who had discard books to donate to my bookswap collection, I sat down with my coffee and grapefruit water and a book.  (I am addicted to hot water with a tart grapefruit squeezed in.  It's delicious.)  "Want to go for a hike with me this morning?", asked Sal.  "Where?" I asked.  "Monserate."  "It's going to be muddy." I forgot her reply, but it was pretty much like, "So?".  So we went.  There were no cars parked at the base of the mountain, which is highly unusual, because Monserate Mountain has some pretty dedicated hikers/runners.  It had rained pretty good last night, however, and probably most everyone had the same idea that I had, which was that it would be muddy.  And it was.  We went up, up, up, scraping the thick clay off our shoes on the rocks.  It was an interesting challenge to have the mud cake up underfoot, making us taller, but unevenly so.  We took pictures of our shoes, the thick clay making them a few inches wider all the way around.  We slipped around a little bit, but neither of us landed on our booties.  We made it about halfway, and turned back around.  We decided to come again soon, without her elderly dog, and make it to the top.  As usual, I started making analogies in my head.  A friend had posted on yesterday's post that she didn't think that we ever run out of tears.  The mud collected, we walked off-balance, scraped it off, then the mud collected again.  Just like emotions, I guess, even when we're tired of feeling them.  It's part of the human experience.

Sal's foot
With the clock ticking, I forgo my shower, threw on clothes, ate a quick bite and headed off.  I called my librarian buddy and we decided that I should come by after the dentist so that I wouldn't be late.  I used the drive and extra time to call my sister-in-law, who lives in CO and is making a road trip with four kids to CA very soon, then to my mom to check in with her.  When I got to the dentist's, I had a bit of uncertainty, as the sign out front sported a different name.  Luckily, it was still the right place, just a different dentist in charge.  It was determined that I had two very old fillings with cavities underneath.  I was also overdue for a cleaning.  I settled in for a long and uncomfortable time.  I am not a fan of the scraping, poking, sticking that goes on while in the chair.  Frankly, I think it sucks and I white-knuckled it most of the time.  The bill made me almost cry.  The amount of time it took pissed me off.  I now had about 15 minutes to get to my friends' school and the drive would take me longer than that.  The lady at the front desk kept asking me to make another appointment, another appointment, another appointment. (Come back for the caps, come back for another cleaning, come back for another checkup, come back and bring us your first-born child.)  I called as I drove toward the freeway, let her know that I'd be late and that my tongue and lips were numb from the anesthesia and that I hated going to the dentist. 

We loaded the books into my car, I went back home to change into my yoga clothes.  I had a snack that didn't taste very good due to the weird chemicals still in my mouth, plus my lips felt big and rubbery.  I felt like I probably had crumbs all over my face and kept wiping away at it.  Sal and I drove to yoga. Class was awesome, as usual, but my head wasn't really in the game.  We grabbed a few groceries, stopped in to see a friend with a food hook-up, and got home.  I was hungry and tired and done and the brown rice wasn't started yet.  Sigh.  I came upstairs to start this post, but didn't know what I would say, besides that I was grumpy and that a drink with dinner sounded pretty appealing. Eating helped, as did watching "Bridesmaids", which always makes me laugh.  Being in community over here with Sally and Christian is nice, but I miss being with my son.  My intuition said that he was wanting to talk to me. Sure enough, he had texted, asking me to call.  Turns out he wants to dye his hair blue.  For some reason, this makes me feel better about everything.  

Thanks for listening.  

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Lent Day 5: Acknowledging That Things Just Are . . .

When our dog Kodi died about five years ago, we were heartbroken.  He had suffered from a mysterious ailment and fell over dead at the vet's office.  I wanted to get another dog immediately.  I couldn't stand the pain and the emptiness.  E didn't agree, feeling that some time should pass.  He was about to leave on a trip and I think I told him that if we didn't get a dog right away, he'd come home to two.  Well, we did end up getting two, one of which we still have.  The other was a pit bull that was roaming the street.  He was super friendly and exuberant.  We named him Snoop.  He took to sleeping in our son's bed and he helped to fill the hole in our hearts.  About a week after acquiring him, some neighbors told us that they suspected he had been part of a duo of dogs who had gone into their garage and savagely killed their cat.  They had already reported him to animal control and we didn't want to have to worry about that happening on our watch so we let him go.  When I heard the news about the cat-killing, I was driving home from work.  After hanging up the phone, I cried.  Loud and hard.  (There's nothing like the privacy of one's car for singing or crying or yelling; insular, even as one is zooming along with thousands of others at high rates of speed.)  The pain of losing this sweet dog who had brought short-lived happiness combined with the still-fresh grief of losing Kodi was so very strong.

I very recently ended a romantic relationship with a special and loving person.  We had gotten together shortly after E and I had broken up.  Without letting enough space to breathe into my new situation, I jumped into another.  It eventually became apparent that I was in no condition to give of myself what was needed to make it a success.  I asked for the space and he let me go. Unequivocally.
All day I've been monitoring my emotions and I've been thinking about the correlation between my feelings at losing Snoop and losing my lover.  It hurts like hell and is mixed and blended with my grief over ending my marriage, which I have just barely started to process.  Most days I think I'm "just fine", but probably I'm still in shock.  The reason I know this is because my emotions are all over the place.  (I'm obviously not comparing my relationship to a person to my relationships to my animals.  You know what I'm saying, right?  However, I do have to say that dog relationships are WAY less complicated.)

This morning I got frustrated right before performing on stage at church with the band.  We had very little time to work out a song before playing it live and feeling unprepared taps into my need to "look good" in public.  My frustration and panic quickly turned to tears, which brought in more elements of embarrassment and anger.  I felt like throwing stuff and canning the whole song.  Neither happened.  I escaped to the restroom, holding tightly to the hand of a friend who saw my need to talk/vent/cry/be hugged, which she did with her usual spirit of Grace.  She spoke words of reassurance, I breathed, put on my lipstick and got back onstage.  The song went well, by the way, as it was going to do, in spite of my fears and panic.  I was again humbled by Grace and the fact that I am often wrong (which is quite often a relief!).

I don't like that when I start to cry, it seems to pull up from a very deep well.  I feel very little control, which I dislike even more.  I know, I know, control is an illusion.  This evening I watched "A Fault in Our Stars", which I had been avoiding as I cried more while reading the book than any other, (with the exception of My Sister's Keeper, which scarred me and I REFUSE to see the movie rendition, even though I know that they changed the ending).  I wept during pretty much the whole viewing of TFIOS.  I used up a lot of tissues.  I was with my girlfriend, however, and I am very good at crying silently. This discreet "control" comes in handy, as I take to weeping quite easily and don't necessarily want people to know.  I just figure all this crying stuff is letting me know that more truths need to come to light. Good.  When I need to get something out of my stomach, I stick my finger down my throat.  When I need to cry, I watch a sad movie.  (Anyone have a copy of "The Piano" I can borrow?  Easy trigger.) Even with my eyes still puffy I know there's more to come out.

 Last night I had the privilege of seeing Wah! in concert for the first time.  She's a Kirtan singer who plays bass.  Kirtan music is repetitive chanting, with the audience singing the responses.  The songs are quite long and one can go into a meditative space quite naturally over time.  It was held at a venue that I had recently visited with my lover.  Being in that space, both inside and out, was a time to breathe into the discomfort and feelings of grief.  I wept a bit, sang a bit and eventually, stopped thinking for a bit.  What a relief.  I have been practicing meditation for a few years now and the moments of "non-thought" are coming more naturally and often for me.  It' feels so wonderful to be separate from the worry and inner-dialogue that I had thought was "normal".  To know that I am a part of the Whole and that the Mystery of the Whole is so much bigger than me is a comfort.  It's my connection to God.  In-between songs, sometimes Wah! spoke a bit.  There were flower petals on the stage and she talked about how the flowers are beautiful in their own right, whether they are alive and growing, plucked and scattered, or dead and decomposing.  (I am paraphrasing.)  It's all the same. We can look upon the flowers as just being.  We don't need to hold judgement over their status.  They just are.  We can't fight the tide.  It goes in and out.

After connecting with another friend this morning she offered this bit of insight.  Soul-mates are beautiful connections we have in this life.  Soul-mates don't always stay together for life.  We may have more than one Soul-mate experience.  They are gifts from the Universe.  We learn to give and receive love.  We bow at the feet of the experiences and keep on breathing and living in gratitude.

I will close this rambling session with a picture of some pictures of flowers I took today.  I am especially in awe of the tiny flowers.  They're mysterious and magical.  Flowers bloom for their own sake, not needing acknowledgement.  It is a comfort to be in the presence of nature, reminding me that things are unfolding all around me, despite how I choose to feel or what I choose to think about.

Thanks for listening.  

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Lent Day 4: Yoga, Meditation and Goat Wrangling

"I'm selling some of the goats." said Sal, my roomie.  "I've found a buyer and am going to take them to Valley Center.  I've made a cage and we need your help to wrestle the goats up and in."  "Are we going to use a ramp?" I asked.  "Nope.  We wouldn't be able to pull them up it.  We're going to lift them."

Wow.  This was a daunting prospect.  What does one wear to lift a goat?  And what about those horns?!?  I can't really consider myself a "city girl", as I live in a pretty rural town, but living with goats, chickens and a horse has been a whole new experience for me.  The goats initially creeped me out, with their bizarre eyes and the way that they'd stare at me when I walked by.  I didn't like how they stood perfectly still. Watching me.  The horse (Bella) nearly gave me a panic attack a few months ago when I first moved in, when she came running toward me.  She's big and tall and intimidating to someone who has limited experience with horses.  I spoke soothingly to her over my racing heart, and escaped out of the fenced area as quick as I could.  "I'll show you how to deal with the chickens", Sal had said when I was still new.  "Those roosters can really hurt you."

I am proud to report that I am gaining confidence here at the Ranch.  I am not scared of Bella anymore, can go right up to her, pet her, feed her and I'm starting to love her.  Last weekend Christian (roomie #2) and I shared the feeding responsibilities as Sal went camping and I found myself really enjoying caring for the critters.  The goats would come up to me and I fed them hay from my hands.  I can now go into the chicken yard and walk through their throngs, with a handy PVC pole to ward off the aggressive roosters.  One of them tried to terrorize me as I put some new hay into the hen boxes.  When he lunged toward me, wings outstretched hugely, I bonked him in the face with the pole.  He wasn't too impressed, but stayed back a bit.  "I'm just giving them more cushioning for their nesting area," I told him.  He didn't care.  I was the interloper and he needed to protect his girls.

"I'm going to need you around 8:30 A.M.," Sal requested last night.  So I set my alarm for 8:00, did my yoga, 10 minutes of meditation, put on some clothes that I didn't mind getting grubby, and headed down to the barn area.  The goats had been penned in and some had some rope harnesses already attached.  We lured and coaxed them with some chicken feed.  We eventually got all four up the bale of hay, with a big rope lifting their hindquarters, and two of us using their horns to keep them going in the right direction, and got them into the cage.  Sal and Christian loaded themselves into the front and off they went.  I spent a little time with Bella and the remaining goat, I think her name's Dolly, but I'm not sure.  I think of her as "Houdini" because she can get out of the fenced area and I've gotten her back in on more than one occasion.  I told Sal, "Good thing she speaks Dog."  as I coaxed her, having no idea how to communicate in Goat-Speak.  This goat was the only one not related to the others and was never forgiven for it.  Ms. Houdini was kept to keep Bella horse company.  Both of them were making sad sounds, wondering, I presume, where the other 4 had gone.  (I am assuming they were sad.  I have no idea, really, of the inner emotional workings of goats and horses.)

To close out today's ramblings, I'd like to post this morning's meditational thought:

February 21
"Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding."
Kahlil Gibran
Today, smile each time you see the color yellow. (Can you feel that shell breaking?)

I smiled when I realized that my PJ shirt was yellow.  I do feel the shell breaking.  One breath at a time.  Thanks for listening.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Lent: Day 3

Here's the adorable rock that I wrote about yesterday

So here I am on Day 3 of my Lent "giving up of something good for something better" experience.

It's interesting how our brain naturally goes to default.  When asked by one of my besties if I wanted to do "Girls Night Out" tonight, I felt deprived at the thought of doing so without any drinks.  Usually we do Karaoke at the local dive.  I guess I COULD do this sober . . . but would I want to?  Would it be boring?  How sad that "something" outside of me determines my experiences.  Time to look at this a little closer.

I already had plans for tonight, then a back-up plan, then this third option.  I've decided to stick with my original event, which is to go to a local Film Club and hear a presentation about the movie "Birdman".  I was able to watch it last week with friends on a SAG DVD copy and didn't I feel special!  (SAG=Screen Actor's Guild and the DVD's are given out so that folks can view and watch and vote for the movies.  Those results are compiled and result in the Oscar Awards, which I believe, is this Sunday night.)  The movie was intense and entertaining and intriguing.  I'd like to see it again and I look forward to the presentation tonight.

Here's what I woke up to from my "Transform Your Life" App:
Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they're yours.  -Richard Bach
Today, smile each time you see the color orange. (Can you feel the limitations falling away?)

So, you know what I had to do, right?!?

There's not as much orange around as one might think, certainly less orange than red.  I figured this paper might help.  So I'm visualizing my limitations fall away.  The limiting thoughts I tend to hold are that I shouldn't dream big, or that if I were "given" a better job or more money or responsibility that I would fail.  So, today I will work on letting those go.  To be honest, I have a bit of a headache, am feeling apathetic and not "living in the now" very well.  For a bit today I believed that when the "weekend started" I would feel better, but you know what?  That's faulty thinking.  That's letting the external determine the internal.  

So, a little time has passed, my headache has receded.  I have had some good conversation and I am feeling content again.  Here and Now.

Thanks for listening.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Lent: DAY 2

I have an app on my phone called "Transform Your Life", based on the book by Cheryl Huber.  For about a year now it's been my intention to read the daily thought before I do much else in the morning.  I have it programmed for 5 am, so it's ready for me when I start my day.

It opens like a book, which I think is pretty cool, and gives my brain something to chew on before the waves of "other stuff" come crashing down.  Sometimes the words are just so appropo.

February 19
There is no coming to consciousness without pain.
C. G. Jung
Today, smile each time you see the color red. (Take a long, deep breath and feel the pain melt away.)

I went to bed a bit sad, woke up a bit sad, and this one hit home.  Good thing there are lots of red items around, from the bucket of scratch paper on my desk in front of me right now, to the heart I drew on my wrist for a quickie reminder when I need it most.  Heck.  My phone cover is red.  I breathe through the pain, let it melt away, feel it resume, breathe it away, rinse and repeat.  

Last night my roomie and I went to a New Moon/Cacao ceremony at a friends' house.  I have attended a few of these in the past and have some pretty amazing stories of intentions manifested from the events.  For those of you less "swirly" than I, during the new moon time of the month is a good time to start something new, to set intentions for what is wanted to occur.  (The full moon is a good time to release that which no longer serves.)  I tend to "let go" as well as put forth what it is that I am wanting during both times of the cycle, but maybe that's just me.  

After being smudged (clearing energy by smoke), we took off our shoes and went inside to a beautiful and clean living room, a fire burning merrily in the corner and a sacred alter space in the middle of the space.  We had been asked to bring something that represented us.  I brought a sweet rock that a teenager in my life had painted.  It's got a face on it, a woman's blissful smile.  I keep it at home usually, to remind me that focusing on a life that includes enjoyment and bliss is something to remember . . . often! I should have taken a pic of it to show you.  I'll try to remember to do so later.

Those who wanted to share about their items did so.  Our hostess ground cacao nibs brought back from her most recent trip to Costa Rica.  We mixed the paste with hot water to taste.  Some of us went out to the deck to watch the gorgeous sunset as we sipped the bitter brew.  I didn't mind the taste. Others did, wishing for a bit of sweetener to add. We returned to the circle around our sacred items.  We did a "square" breathing technique together (breath in for a count of 5, hold for 5, breathe out for 5, hold for 5), then held silence together for 30 minutes, with a little humming/singing/shaker playing.  For me, the best part was about 20 minutes into it when I realized that I was feeling no anxiety.  Apparently I carry around a low-to-high-grade feeling of worry all the time.  I felt what it is like to have that space inside, the silence that had taken the place of the chatter which doesn't yet know how to shut up.  It was a gorgeous and liberating feeling.  Within 45 minutes of the ceremony ending, I was aware of it creeping back in and it's now at a normal to high level.  I'm stuck mentally on a conversation that hasn't happened yet, with someone I really care about.  I hope/dread the conversation happens today so that I can move through to the next level.

What did I put forth for manifestation?  What did I let go of?  

I put forth for healthy relationships with the males in my life, monetary abundance and inner peace.  
I released fear, doubt, codependent behaviors and unhealthy boundaries.

Few things are instant in this life.  When I was driving to work this morning I was aware of my instant discomfort when I saw myself in the rear view mirror.  I'm not sure why it was adjusted differently, but instead of moving the mirror, I sat with the feelings.  I breathed through and was ok with the feelings.  I pulled into my parking spot, fixed my makeup and went to work.  I am ok.  One breath at a time.  

Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Non-Catholic's First Attempt at Lent: DAY 1

Last Sunday I was very impressed by the ideas that my Reverend was speaking about.  He was born/raised Catholic and had aspirations to become a Priest, but, luckily for us, "He and Jesus have agreed to see other people".

Rev. Guy asked the congregation to consider giving up "something good for something better" in our lives for 40 days.  He spoke on the sacredness of the number 40, how it is mentioned in the mythology and stories of many ancient religions.  40 days seems to be a spiritual preparatory period. Sure.  I can do 40 days . . . right?

His talk was also on Freedom.  He wasn't talking about freedom from things but rather freedom to be more alive in the world.  Freedom, Choices, Responsibility.

Well, I bought a copy of the talk on cd in the bookstore and have heard it quite a number of times since then.  I also spoke with him on the phone yesterday and am going in for prayer today. He let me know that times of feeling uncomfortable are inevitable, but that I will move through to the other side with more knowledge of the connection between me and Spirit and my true inner voice.  The last time I gave up one of my "Big 3", I cried in public for about an hour and a half.  Couldn't help it, couldn't stop.  I've already warned my roomies.

As usual, I tend to "go big or go home" with what I do, so I decided to abstain from three major motivators in my life from now until Easter, which will be an opportunity for us to celebrate the resurrection of our True Selves in God.  Sounds good to me.

I haven't blogged in quite a while.  For those who know the more intimate details of my life, you already know that my husband of 24 years, E and I have split up and are working towards an amicable divorce.  I'm sure it's understandable why I haven't shared my thoughts with the whole world.  But now that the original feelings of panic, shame, need-to-hunker-down have subsided and pretty much everyone who needed to be notified have been, I feel called to share again.

Like I mentioned, there are three strong influences in my life.  The strongest, as of late, is of a delicate nature and I don't want to share what it is at this time.  Perhaps as I go through more evolvement I will be braver about sharing my truths.  Suffice it to say, I have an addiction to "feeling good" and found myself planning much of my day around feeling just so.  The second strongest factor has been physical contact/sex.  When my marital relationship broke up, I took on a lover and found out a lot about myself.  I am highly motivated by strong and sexy touch.  Giving up sex for 40 days is going to be an interesting journey into myself.  I have become a new and powerful person in this arena.  Where will the energy and drive venture without the usual release?  The third thing I have decided to abstain from for now is alcohol.  Coming from a family with a history of addiction, I have been very conscious and wary of my drinking patterns and habits.  I am more of a social drinker, although I have poured a shot by myself at the end of the day.  I'm not so excited about beer and wine is alright.  Honey Jack Whiskey is what floats my boat.  When considering what to give up, I was initially not going to give up drinking, but thought, Hey, if I'm going to get my head clear, I should really do so.

So last night, after letting my lover know about my decisions (not only to abstain from sex but to pull back from the relationship as a whole), and feeling anxious and sad about his reactions, at about 12 minutes to midnight, I poured myself a short drink over ice.  I drank most of it before the clock struck 12, but didn't feel the impulse to finish the whole thing and was cool with dumping the dregs.  (I might have made a different decision if the beverage had been the aforementioned Honey Jack, but I have run out and was drinking my roommate's regular Jack instead).  My roomie kept an eye on the clock, with her usual sense of humor, which tends to be encouraging, supportive, and direct.

I went up to my bedroom, blew out all of the candles but one, which was a part of a protective and forward-looking display of pictures representing monetary abundance, checked my other alters, and crawled into bed.  I cuddled up tighter than usual to my blankets and realized that I might be sleeping alone for quite a long time.  I put in a few minutes reading The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself, re-reading the pages I'd earmarked for further contemplation rather than delving into new material.  In just a few moments I was ready to let go for the night.

My girlfriends have been very supportive this morning. It's now 10:15 and I'm reminding myself to breathe deeply.
 Today's inspirational calendar quote says:
"Only when the clamor of the outside world is silenced will you be able to hear the Deeper Vibration.  Listen carefully.  Spirit's playing your song."

I guess I'm on the right track.
I am going to a New Moon Ceremony this afternoon after my prayer session. I'll keep breathing and moving forward. Stay tuned . .
A dear friend gave this book to me for Christmas.  It's pretty dang amazing.