Tag Archives: being present

I See You. I Hear You. I Am Not Afraid.

The story of life is a never-ending river flowing toward a distant sea. Every moment filled with endless Love flowing free.

When I sank into meditation yesterday, I gave myself the opportunity for my inner knowing deep within my belly to rise up in response to the question, “What are you afraid of?”

The answer surprised me.

It wasn’t death. Success. Failure. Speaking in public. Or even growing old and losing all my faculties, or not. Sometimes it feels like growing old is scary with all my faculties!

No. The answer that rose up was one near and dear and very familiar to me. You fear Letting Go and Being Present. Flow with it. Be the flow.

Playing in my studio yesterday afternoon, I breathed into my fear and painted the wind with all the colours of the rainbow.

I let go and let whatever was calling out to appear to become what was being created.

In the letting go, I discovered what the question was calling out to me to acknowledge: Writing a novel is a scary undertaking. I have written two in the past and done nothing with them even though their birthing was a painful process and advance readers really liked them.

‘Doing the work’ is not what I fear. It’s the ‘owning the work’, being responsible for its path after birthing that absolutely terrifies me. (More on this at a later date.)

For now, I need to get honest about the little bitty issue of how I become in the process that concerns me and gives me pause to procrastinate, dawdle and avoid.

See, I know what happens when I become immersed in ‘the story’. Time. Space. The world around me falls away and I turn into a ‘storyzilla!’  You know, an out of control bridezilla without the veil and white dress and all the wedding stuff going on, just the blank white page staring at me every morning.

In its presence, I swing between the polar opposites of every interruption becoming an imposition warranting sharp and nasty ‘get out of my space’ comments from me. Or, every interruption appearing like an invitation to step away from my laptop and have a coffee. Go for a walk or even, clean the toilet. Yup. When I’m writing (or more specifically, not writing) I have the cleanest toilets in town!

This is why the art journal spread that appeared is so fascinating and revealing to me.

A young girl is walking into a monstrous wind. Unafraid, undaunted she stands her ground and keeps staring the storm down. Of course, she’s got her best friend in tow to keep her company but he is walking behind her, using her as his shield. She is the warrior. The priestess. The one who will not be silenced.

Which, based on the storyline of my novel, is incredibly prescient.

But wait! There’s more.

Here’s how the subconscious really kicks in. In one scene in my story, a young five-year-old girl is playing in the woods with her mother. Her boots and winter coat are loden green, the colour her mother dyed the wool. The little girl really wanted her mother to dye the wool red.

Without consciously connecting working on my art journal page to the story I’m writing (or avoiding writing – you pick), I painted the little girl in the painting’s coat and boots red. Hmmm…. colour me blown away.

And….. the little girl also likes to pick yellow flowers and give them to her mother.

WHAT??? I painted yellow flowers and yes, their pop of colour is an important design element, but I hadn’t connected them to the story I’m writing until I awoke this morning and the answer awoke with me.

Being responsible for the birthing and caring of a story is scary. Fear is not a reason to not do it.

So, slowly, quickly, whatever speed I go, this is me facing my fears, letting go and getting busy writing it out (while being present to however I appear in the world around me with love (and a whole lot of compassion) because believe me, I ain’t funny when I’m focused.

Perhaps it’s best I do an advance apology session with my beloved so he is not surprised when storyzilla roars!

However it goes, that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!

Namaste

Be grateful and tender (My Daily Intention)

What if being in the now isn’t about ‘getting ready’ for the now, but simply being conscious of what is right in front of us, and appreciating ‘the all’ of what is present?

What if being present isn’t about rushing around getting it all done or fixing ourselves all up so we can relax in a future now, but rather, relaxing into being okay with where we’re at with what is here, right now?

What if being grateful and tender is more important than being busy?

I have been busy.

For the past month I have been culling, clearing, cleaning and organizing so that our house could go on the market.

In the process, I have come up close and personal with all the ‘stuff’ we’ve accumulated. I’ve had to make decisions about what to keep, throw away, put in the Pod in our driveway to be moved to our future home.

In the process, I have faced my tendency to clutter up my life with superfluous stuff.

What if, I created space in my home, at all times, out of habit, so that there would be no need to rush about, culling, clearing and cleaning?

What if, I chose to live less cluttered and more clear?

What if, I treated every moment as ‘the now’ in which I relax into because I am not constantly scurrying about filling in spaces, piling up papers and creating things to deal with at a later date?

What if, I dealt with what appeared when it appeared and made choices in the now that didn’t mean I had to make choices at a future now about what to do with the stuff I didn’t use in a past now?

What if, I simply chose to make my life more simple and taught myself to be grateful and tender with its simplicity now?

Hmmm…. what if I chose to simply live with the questions and appreciate this moment right now, with its stillness and beauty, with gratitude and tenderness?

Or, as Rainer Maria Rilke so beautifully wrote, be…

“patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

 

 

 

Do you see me? (My Daily Intention)

Recently I read that Maya Angelou suggested there are four questions that every human being unconsciously asks other human beings all the time.  

Workmates, playmates, lovers, friends, bosses. We ask and are being unconsciously asked these 4 critical questions:

  1. Do you see me?
  2. Do you care that I’m here?
  3. Am I enough for you, or do you need me to be better in some way?
  4. Can I tell that I’m special to you by the way that you look at me?

And then, we make decisions (assumptions), and choices based on what we perceive to be the answer.

We will move closer, or move away. We will seek intimacy, or find distance. It all depends on what we assume the other person is telling us by their actions, words, gestures and expressions.

It makes sense why people love dogs so much. Dogs always answer these questions with a huge emphatic YES! (and a lot of tail wagging and squirming too).

It might also explain why parents often complain about how little their teenagers notice if they’re even in the room, or if they hear them — teenagers have perfected the art of pretending they DON’T see you and we humans do not like the feelings of not being seen!

I’m not suggesting you wag your tail and wiggle your body when you are talking to people, but you might consider putting down the IPhone when you partner walks into a room, or at least looking up from the TV or tablet in your hands to say hello. You might even consider smiling too.

‘Seeing’ someone doesn’t mean going over the top, gushy and breathy when you talk with them. It means, taking one second to really look them in the eyes. Taking a moment to pause and listen, attentively, to what they’re saying. A smile helps. As does touch, nodding your head in acknowledgement… There are countless ways to show someone you’re seeing them — ways we too often forget to employ in today’s plugged in, activity-charged pressure-cooker environments.

‘Seeing’ someone means making the effort to show you’re paying attention. It means showing love and affection through being loving and affectionate — again, you don’t have to go over the top. You just need to connect, show them you are truly present in their presence, and care about they’re being present too.

It means turning up, being real and being present with the people in your life.

And don’t worry about the dog feeling like he’s losing out on your attention. He’s going to love you anyway. He always does.

__________________________________

Today’s Daily Intention was inspired by Ian Munro of Leading Essentially who shared THIS article on his FB page from ThriveGlobal.com

You gotta show up.

Show up copy

 

Outside my kitchen window, a covey of doves sit on a telephone wire, cooing.

I imagine their conversation. Imagine what it is that has caused them to sit morning after morning on that particular wire.

And in my imaginings, I find the essence of my showing up at my kitchen window every morning.

My job is to pay attention so that I am present to the day unfolding, the world outside my window shimmering beneath the soft grey light of an overcast sky. To smell the coffee brewing and hear the click click of Beaumont the Sheepadoodle’s nails on the hardwood as he wanders into the kitchen in search of his breakfast.

Showing up means being present. Being present requires my attention — and in my attention is the essence of bringing all of me into the moment.

My truth in that moment is I am filled with gratitude. For the doves cooing on the wire. The softness of the morning air. The garden flowing with abundance. The sound of the water in the fountain splashing outside the open window.

I am grateful for the moment of reflection. The smell of coffee brewing. The hot milk steaming in the espresso maker. I am grateful for the cow who gave her milk. Grateful for the ethical farmer who raises and cares for her.

I am grateful for the resources to purchase ethically without worrying about the impact of the cost on my budget.

I am grateful for my husband sleeping in our bed. The dreams that stirred my imagination during the night opening doors to possibility.

I am grateful for Marley the Great Cat winding his warm body in and out of my legs as he vies for my attention. I know he is very attached to the outcome of his admonishment to me to pay attention to him. I feed him so he can get over his anxiety at seeing his dish empty when he awoke.

Outside my kitchen window this morning the doves cooed, the garden was filled with bounty and my heart over-flowed with gratitude.

I have no expectation of this day other than that I continue on my path filled with a sense of wonder and awe, seeking to see the magnificence in all I meet, intent on speaking my truth in love and acting with integrity in all I encounter.

I do not know the outcome of what will happen. I do know miracles await in every breath.

I am blessed.

Namaste.

The Gift of Giving No Fear

Art Journal Page - The Gift of Giving No Fear
Art Journal Page – The Gift of Giving No Fear

For much of her life, my mother struggled to find joy. To be light. To be carefree.

For my mother, life was a challenging journey fraught with fears of everything in the world around her. Fear lived in her belly constantly stirring the bile into discord and unease that choked off her words and stuffed down her voice.

She wanted peace. Tranquility. Calm.

It is all she still wants.

And so she sleeps. She spends her days mostly in her room, napping and watching television. She will read, and she will pray.

And the days pass by.

She turns 94 this August. She is still a beautiful, sweet, gentle woman. And still she yearns for peace, tranquility, calm.

For a long while, after my father passed away and then my brother a year and a half later, she wondered why God would not take her. She was ready to go, she asserted. She wanted to. Needed to. She felt so much pain and anguish. So much fear. Would not death come and get her and ease her of her fears?

And so she prayed. And still, death never came.

Slowly, she has let go of her entreaties for God to intervene in her life on earth. She has come to accept her place. Resigned herself to being here until she no longer is here.

And my heart breaks open in Love. Her pain is my pain. Her fear resonates within me. Her sadness causes me to rise up and want to be like the sunshine. To create warmth, peace, love, joy where ever I go.

I am my mother’s daughter.

In his essay, “Archetype of the Great Mother“,  yogi, writer, dream-interpreter, Tony Crisp writes, “After all, our mother was the most powerful being in our early world. ‘Did she admire hunters; then we would kill dragons and cleanse the world. Did she feel the weight of the world; then we would be the peace maker and bring her joy.’ (W.V. Caldwell).”

I have been exploring the role of the Divine Mother. What does it mean to awaken to her presence? What does it mean to invoke her? To hear her? To make space for her presence to heal and guide the unhealed aspects of my psyche so that I can be of service in the world?

She is a powerful archetype.

Tony Crisp writes, “…the archetype of the great mother is more than simply a residue of our relationship with our own mother. Motherhood on our planet is as old as life. So the archetype holds in it all that experience, all those patterns of behaviour, whether of the mother wolf with her cubs, or the eagle rearing its young. To touch such enormous wealth of experience is to be penetrated by the holy. Something so beyond the limitations of our own small personality enters us and leaves its imprint.”

The Divine Mother brings me back to compassion and mercy.

 

In her book, Start Where You Are: A compassionate guide to living, Pema Chödrön teaches Tonglen Meditation or Giving and Receiving. It is a form of mindfulness meditation that awakens us to being compassionate with our own suffering so that we can be present to the suffering of others.

Chödrön and others call it one of the richest and bravest practices that we can do.

It is not easy. It is powerful.

Giving No Fear is at the foundation of Tonglen Meditation. It is the practice of learning to relate with our own suffering—our rage, helplessness, frustration, doubt, bitterness, and fear—instead of pushing it away. Of acting through gentle loving-kindness toward ourselves  to be present for our own suffering. In this way, we learn to stay with our own suffering without trying to change it or fix it. And in staying with our own suffering without changing it or fixing it, we are present for others.

I want to shine sunshine on my pain. To stay in the light and dance on rainbows and run through fields of wild flowers without thoughts of darkness skimming along the edges of my mind.

To give no fear I need to breathe into fear, invite it in, embrace it, know its presence and then, to release it for all the world to experience as light, fresh, spaciousness.

The Divine Mother is teaching me to hold myself in compassion and mercy. And in her presence, I am learning to be present with others in the same way so that I give no fear.

My mother has struggled to be free of fear. This is the gift I give her.

It is a gift we can all give the world. For today, I invite you to Give No Fear.

Namaste.

 

 

 

.

 

 

What is real and present in this moment? Am I?

There is a superstition that things come in threes. Christianity and other faiths are replete with references to the power of three as is mathematics and geometry. When, as the saying goes, “a shoe drops”, we wait for two more catastrophes to balance the bad, and put an end to its current cycle. As humans, we seek patterns and perceive orderliness, in Triaphilia (and no! Wikipedia does not have a definition for it! yet, but I found it used, HERE, and liked the sound of it.)

Last week, three things conspired to draw my attention to how and where I put my energies in every aspect of my life.

The first was a comment made by my friend Ian Munro on his blog, Leading Essentially. Ian was writing about getting centered at work and how challenging it can be to find and maintain balance in the midst of the “high pace of high stakes, high-rise business”. In his post, 3 Ways to Get Centered At Work , Ian provides doable suggestions on what everyone can do to “find and keep our centered, grounded self”.

On Saturday, I met with my beautiful soul-mentor, Kerry Parsons and five other women to share a meal, conversation and heart-inspired exploration on how to create, activate and evolve community.

As we stood in the circle just before bidding our adieus, one of the women commented that she wrote a daily blog for years, and then, one day, she quit. It was a year ago and she hasn’t missed it.

I heard her comment and let it sink into my being.

It is still sinking. In. Deep.

To write here every morning is a choice. An active decision to sit down and create, activate and evolve community through the exploration of what it means for me to be centered in my life in ways that inspires everyone who comes to share in this space to be centered in theirs. Through our shared centered presence, my vision is we ripple out to create greater balance in the world around us. Through our daily acts of grace, we inspire a world of love, peace, harmony and joy, together.

And the third thing has been my back’s misalignment. It has definitely caught my attention and given rise to my wondering on what brings me into balance, and where do I allow it to be present, or not.

I don’t have a clear answer. I am allowing the question to be my point of departure, allowing myself to live in its mystery without seeking the answer.

It is an uncomfortable place for me. To not search for and find a clear answer, to not define my path and place with words.

What I have is the knowing that to allow myself the grace of living within the question makes space for wonder, awe, mystery and majesty to emerge.

And so, I am committing to not commit to write here every day. I am committing to allowing myself to listen to my body, mind and spirit (see! there’s that 3 again) to guide me into awareness of what is real and necessary and evolving for and of my journey.

I don’t know the outcome. Perhaps there is none other than the freedom to move with grace and ease through each day without pressuring myself into appearing here for no reason other than I think I should because I always do. Which, may free me up to appear in a true and present form.

And that’s the exciting part. I don’t have an answer and am not searching for one. I am staying present in the journey of discovery of what is real and present in this moment, and letting what emerges, be what is.

As we are a community, I wanted to give you some insight into my thinking about being present and invite you to share where you find yourself in being truly present, or not, in your life. Where do you find yourself doing for the sake of doing, versus allowing your presence to emerge organically from the inside out of that place where you are living the questions and letting go of needing answers?

Namaste.

 

Safe in this moment of possibility

Walking into the studio to simply be present in its space has been a challenge for me this past week.

Fall has settled in and I have been building a nest to hibernate within, letting go of the possibilities of what comes next.

I resist that walk. I hesitate, tell myself I have other things to do, I’m too tired, too edgy, too anything other than present.

I lose myself into a novel. Turn on the television. Convince myself it’s okay to resist and tumble into that rebellious state where doing what is good for me, what is nurturing and supportive falls short of my conscious decision to not do what I know feeds my spirit.

I have been here before, in this space of rebellious resistance to the things that bring me pleasure, joy, peace, contentment. This place where I resist what opens my heart wide, sets it to beating fearlessly as I move into the flow of creativity coursing through my veins.

I am in my head. Walled up in rebellious denial of my power to walk through the barriers I have placed to keep me out of the heart-space of creativity where I am free to flow in all directions without needing a map, a guidebook, a plan.

In this space I ask myself questions that don’t have answers. They just have rabbit holes down which I slide into perpetual cycling in and out of rationalizing my state of being.

There is only one way to stop spiralling into resistance. Breathe and allow.

Breathe and allow.

Allow what is present without judging it or believing it will be forever.

Now is not forever.

And in the now that is not forever, I find the grace to allow myself to shift from inaction into action.

To turn away from the voice of resistance I must breathe and allow myself the sacred connectedness of sitting in front of a blank page, a white canvas and being present to my fear that what I create is not good enough or not right or that the timing is wrong, that I am not meant to create, or that I am too small to change, or too weak to deal with this state I am in.

There is no right or wrong or enough in creativity and I am never too small, to weak, to nothing. I am all that I am and there is only the act of creating exactly where I am at.  There is only the act of casting words upon a page or throwing paint at a surface upon which I have already begun to tell its story if only to change the story that was present when I walked away from the space of believing in all things are possible.

It is sacred ground this creative space. And I have been holding onto the fear I will fall if I believe in it.

I breathe and allow.

Now is not forever and in this not forever place I let go of my fear of being stuck, of falling and of flying.

I breathe and lovingly acknowledge I have moved away, changed, shifted and am holding onto the fear that nothing is possible. In the nothingness of standing in fear with my eyes closed, I cannot see the light shining.

It is in the fearlessness of those moments, those tender, fragile moments where I fear what might be revealing itself upon the canvas or the page that I must let go of my fear and simply stand confidently and unafraid and do that which I fear the most — trust.

Trust in myself. Trust in being present. Trust in the muse, in creativity, the Universe.

When I trust in what is, in where I am, no matter where I am standing, Love is with me, creativity abounds and possibilities open up in endless gratitude for my being present to each moment unfolding.

I have been amusing myself in the land of darkness. It is time to open my eyes and breathe into my fear. It is time to allow possibility, creativity, hope and joy to surface. It is time to let go and trust, no matter what appears, I am safe in this moment of possibility.