Archive for the 'Spirituality' Category

The Same Reality Differently

I wake up and step outside. It’s a beautiful morning. The air is crisp like Fall, and a smile immediately comes to my face. It’s almost May. I know many people can’t wait for the warmer weather to get here. A week or so ago, the temperature hit in the 80′s. They were ecstatic. I was miserable.

As I get older, I find myself preferring the cooler weather more and more. I even like it when it’s cold. It heightens my senses, invigorates me. I find myself drawing in deep breaths of air. I like how it feels in my lungs. I seem to come alive. And then there’s getting warm. The steamy bowl of soup, the hot cup of tea. I don’t believe you can appreciate those in warmer climates like you can in the north.

But I wonder. The hotter weather will be here soon. Do I have to be miserable?

It will be a physical challenge for me. But what about the mental and emotional challenge? How will I handle that? Or maybe that’s the problem, that I perceive it as something to handle rather than to choose.

My preference is for cooler weather. Nothing wrong there. But my attitude toward warmer weather bears some scrutiny.

Every year I go through this. Every year my patience melts as the pavement seems to melt under the heat, and I complain and whine and moan about how miserable I am. I can make myself miserable while I’m still in my air conditioned home knowing I have to go outside in the heat.

Why do we do that, anticipate grief? Do we think we need to practice misery? Don’t most of us have that down pat? I do.

I think this year I’m going to try something different. Without denying that hot heat affects me physically, I’m going to try to experience the same reality differently. Instead of fighting the heat and hiding from it, I’ll try to befriend it and become more mindful and look for the pleasure in the experience of it.

You know that phrase when asked how you’re doing, “Same old, same old”? Well, that just doesn’t apply to things, mundane or otherwise, that happen in our reality. It also applies to us, our responses to the things that happen in our reality.

How about meeting the “same old” happenings with “brand new” responses?

Perhaps finding balance between that which we prefer and that which we don’t and crafting our experiential reality is part of what this journey is all about.

Regardless in whatever larger context this experience may lie, I’m beginning to think maybe you can’t truly appreciate a bowl of gazpacho soup or an ice cold drink like they do in warmer climates.

You know, I just might let myself find out.

~Demian Yumei
blue blutterfly

No Comments »Spirituality

Solitude’s Gift

It’s quiet here. Not that it’s ever very noisy…unless the grandkids are over. But this is a quiet neighborhood, and this house is generally quiet with the various shifts of those who live here.

But this weekend, I find myself totally alone in this entire house…which is rather a rarity, because it seems I’m always with someone. Which I do love. I love being with the children, with my youngest, homeschooling her or watching another Harry Potter movie for the nth time…or with my grandkids, playing with them and nourishing myself on the laughter they bring out in me.

Still, I’ve always had a rather solitary personality, and while I don’t wish to see those I love less, I find as I sit here in this silence, and let this solitude descend around me, I am like the flower in a light midsummer shower. It is glorious.

I knew someone once who told me he could not be in the silence alone. He always had to turn something on — the T.V., the radio, something, anything. Didn’t matter what was on.

But silence has a sound, and it’s not always as foreboding or ominous as in the old Simon and Garfunkle song…as much as I love that song.

Sometimes silence is like music itself or the sound of God’s breathing each infinite moment after infinite moment. And then silence sounds like love.

I must have fewer demons in me these days. They seem to crowd less and less space in these moments of solitude. Maybe I’ve healed that much. Or maybe they just got bored and went somewhere else. But it’s moments like this, when I’m not rushing here or there, when I don’t have someplace else I need to get to or something that needs to be done, that I find solitude brings a smile to my face — a quiet one, a subtle barely-can-see-it one. But the more solitude I drink in, the wider that smile spreads…

Until the fullness overflowing in my heart is such that I can stand it no more alone, and turn to share it — my abundance coming out of solitude — with my family, my children, my grandbabies.

“Look what shape the gift of this solitude has taken”, I want to say. “Out of this silence that rejuvenates and replenishes me, it spoke of love…and took a shape. And it looks like you.”

No Comments »Spirituality

Boundaries

You know, so many wars are fought because of boundary disputes. Most of them are ridiculous, especially when you consider the cost of so many lives. But boundaries are important to people, and I have found that the not acknowledging of them is the cause of so many ills and conflicts.

We are so fond of talking about being ego-less and how the ego, or the belief in it, is the cause of so much if not all the sorrow in the world. The irony that a good number of people who espouse this view are, also, among those who harbor the biggest egos is not lost to me…but that’s the subject of another post.

Where narcissism is concerned, it’s the loss of boundaries, the refusal to see you as a separate person from them that is the sickness and the cause of suffering. It’s the stuff that makes the subtle assaults of emotional and psychological abuse possible, the little killings that happen a word at a time.

No separation and being one with everyone (aka the parent) is death to the children of narcissistic parents. To be a healthy human being, you have to have a strong sense of where you end and another person ends. We aren’t given that in a house full of mirrors that narcissists build.

Boundaries are good. They are necessary to good mental health. But these are the boundaries that we carry in our psyche and self awareness. The lines we arbitrarily draw in the sand…well, that’s a different matter.

They are useful only in as much as they serve humanity. But when they are used to justify the taking of lives, it’s a tragedy.

No Comments »Spirituality

Coming Back to Here

These are some of my favorite moments. There’s no humidity in the air. A soft cool breeze and a warm summer sun. I can hear birds singing in the background to leaves gently brushed by moving air. Life is everywhere and the feeling of hope is palpable.

My youngest daughter, nephew, and oldest grandson through marriage celebrated my grandson’s birthday yesterday with a sleepover, after a great party at Tumbletown. I enjoyed bouncing on the trampoline with one of the young guests. We pretended we were birds and I stretched out my shawl like great wings.

I love the feeling of flying. When I was a child it was on swings or sitting in the highest branches of the tree.

Now, I fly on the wings of hope. Even when they tire, they can lift me to great heights when I stop struggling and trust the currents to glide me.

Sometimes there’s just not that much to hold on to. Maybe that’s the time to let go.

We are a curious species, but I love the human race. For all our foibles, we can be so magnificent…and often in ways we least suspect. If we only slowed down enough to see…

No matter how often I find myself speeding through life, frantically trying to get this done or that done or accomplish this or succeed in that, I always find myself coming back here.

Right smack dab in the present moment.

No Comments »Spirituality

Emptiness

I’m reading Being Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh, and was struck by a passage in Chapter Four. I love this analogy. It is what inspired my book, “Little Yellow Pear Tomatoes”.

Thich Nhat Hanh is addressing non-elements, using paper as an example. The clouds, sun, forest, logger, wheat that fed the logger, the logger’s father are all non-paper elements. If you remove them, the paper is empty.

Empty of what? he asks.

Empty of a separate self. It has been made by all the non-self elements, non-paper elements, and if all these non-paper elements are taken out, it is truly empty, empty of an independent self. Empty, in this sense, means that the paper is full of everything, the entire cosmos. The presence of this tiny sheet of paper proves the presence of the whole cosmos.

Emptiness that means emptiness of an individual through the fullness of everything. This made me just sit back and think about our western conception of what nirvana or attaining that state of emptiness means. Culturally, this is not a very attractive form of “heaven”. I mean who wants to be nothing? To the western way of thinking, this equates with annihilation – ceasing to exist.

But in the Buddhist way of thinking, emptiness is actually “more”. I think it’s the equivalent of the dying of the seed to become the wheat. Only, we’ve come to believe or hope it means the salvation and glorification of the seed into a better seed in a happier pot.

How many gifts from other cultures do we…does any culture miss that cannot accept them through the filters of our own confined understanding? And to what depth of understanding can something “foreign” have on our understanding of the teachings of our own teachers?

No Comments »Spirituality

Video: Jill Bolte Taylor “My Stroke of Luck”

One of the most amazing videos and personal testimonies I have ever seen.

6 Comments »Science, Spirituality

Quiet Moments

Woke up early this morning. This is not unusual, but I did something I haven’t done in a long time. I started my day with prayer.

My spirituality is so important to me, and yet, somehow I find that I have let my conscious practice of it slip away. I would get up, do some quick “clearing of the mind” morning pages, and then maybe be silent for a minute of two, before rushing off to meet the day.

And though I’d stop to think every now and then about my connection with Spirit throughout the day, it was always on the fly.

So this morning I landed. I took the time to just stop and give myself the space to really go within, to let myself stop and enter the silence and feel the presence of God.

I need that. The pressure and stress has really seemed to be rising, and I feel very hard pressed to meet all my obligations or to be there for the people who seem to need me.

But I am learning. I’m learning to carve space out for me. I’m learning to let go. I’m learning to trust in the process to a much deeper degree.

It’s funny, but in the midst of a very stressful last week, I received an email out of the blue from someone from the other side of this country, who spoke words of encouragement to me and just happened to be someone who has made it her life’s work to advocate in the very area I was struggling with. A total stranger, a gift of insight and support.

This morning slowed me down enough to ponder the wonder of this synchronicity and allowed me to relish this feeling of being loved.

Quiet moments can do that. But you have to let yourself have them. They are not forced upon you, for even if you are bedridden, you can still race miles away from where you are.

Quiet moments are a state of mind. When your environment matches up with your quiet state of mind, so much the better. That’s why I like early morning hours, but you can carry that state around with you.

That’s the challenge, I think. Even more than what’s on your plate, the challenge is what’s in your head. Thoughts of peace, feelings of trust or chaos?

This morning, I choose peace.

No Comments »Keeping the Dream, Spirituality

Video: “A Good Day”

By Brother David Steindl-Rast from Gratefulness.org

No Comments »Keeping the Dream, Spirituality

Next »