Monday, April 26, 2010

reflection

"Maturity is that time when the mirrors in our mind turn to windows, and instead of seeing the reflection of ourselves, we see others."

~Anonymous



::elizabeth::


This weekend I took my son to a local art’s festival. There were so many people there, and there were many friends that we connected with during the four hours we were there. When I reflect back on all the people we engage conversation with, it was quite a mix. Somehow it was really effortless to have conversations with them all even though they were so different and significant at different times in my life. This, of course, really reaffirms that there is a common thread of light that runs through us all.

Yet I know that there are many people in the world that I do not really want to engage with because I know that there are vast differences in our chosen life styles, diets, the way we dress, the way we look at the world. But if I could suspend my own prejudices, desires and fears and search out for our common light, it would actually strengthen me as a person and generate more light and honor the truth that we have something to give and receive in every encounter or situation.

I do not need to force anyone to be the way I am. I do need to be open. Maturity for me is when the mirrors in our minds turn to doors, and we see ourselves walking through and embracing others.



::lisa::


Throughout life, mirrors are integrated into our way of thinking, for a number of very different reasons. As we grow, in both age and awareness, these mirrors tend to shift, reflecting insight into different areas of our consciousness. We have the opportunity to use these connections to turn the illusions of reflection into clarity. These reflections that our self gives us throughout our lives are some of the most difficult to deal with, yet hold some of the most powerful opportunities for growth that we will ever receive. To look at ourselves when we feel ugly, or angry, or unbalanced in some other way is a very hard thing to do. It is usually not a time when we feel the desire to sit with ourselves quietly and reflect. Instead we may feel like running, quickly, in the other direction, far far away, and hiding from what our lesson is trying to teach us. However, to remedy the uncomfortable feelings within, we need to stop and listen to our hearts. The people that surround us in our lives are also there to reflect a little piece of who we are. There have been times when I have felt uncomfortable around someone or with something a person shared, yet I know that when I really listened to my inner voice, it tells me that it is really only my own judgment causing me disharmony in my thoughts.

It is nice to think that we could possibly never have the opportunity to gain clarity without the distractions that present themselves in life. There is also a great beauty behind the thought of standing face to face with others, letting the energy flow back and forth, through an untainted pane of glass, amplifying the beauty of life’s lessons.

Monday, April 19, 2010

nature through your senses

"When you drink in nature through your senses, you deepen your awareness of the great silent intelligence flowing through all things. You nourish your mind, body, and spirit, as you connect to the divine love of Being."

-Deepak Chopra



::elizabeth::


As humans, we have invented many ways to nourish our minds, bodies and spirits. We pray, meditate, practice yoga or qigong, participate in religious sacraments, exercise, drink kombucha. For some of us, who are deeply rooted to this planet, nothing nourishes us like being fully engaged with nature. Yet most of us live on a continuum of connectedness. Where we fall on that continuum shifts from season to season and even day to day, and our nourishment is affected by these fluctuations whether we are aware of it or not.

I know there is direct relationship between the amount of time that I spend immersed in nature and the amount of peace, joy, and fulfillment I feel. I crave nature. And when I do not get enough nature nourishment, it shows up on all levels, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. But nature is powerful! I can be in a really bad mood, have a headache, or buzzing with nervous energy, and an hour completely engaged with nature recalibrates my systems.

Have you ever noticed that time expands when you spend the day engaged with nature? Nature is on present moment time. When I allow myself to get in synch with nature’s present moment time, it is like I have slipped into another realm of existence. Time is no longer a limited resource as it is other realms I frequent. There is incredible freedom to be found in present moment time. Letting go of time for a bit is a good practice for us all.

Have you ever connected so deeply with another living being that your perspective shifted and you no longer felt like a separate being? A long time ago, I studied the Gaia Principle. It is the idea that earth is a living being with systems that self-regulate. My own version of the Gaia Principle envisions all beings as cells making up the beautiful giant blue organism that swims in the sea of the Universe. Instead of earth belonging to us, we are apart of Her. I have to believe when we try to separate ourselves so much from Her we become like a misguided cell that causes chaos and disease. She lovingly sends us signals designed to guide us back into the wonderful web we were intended to be a part of and welcomes us with Grace when we return.

Each time you slip seamlessly back into the fold, all the beings of the web whisper, “you are always one of us” as they enfold you in the light of their love. No wonder it feels so darn good.



::lisa::

I see the leaves of wise old giants rustling in the wind
I touch the earth with my naked feet for the first time in spring
I hear the giggles and laughter of children playing outside in the warm sunshine
I smell the abundant fragrance of freshly bloomed flowers
I taste the bounty of vegetables harvested and grown by those who care



Our senses have given us five different opportunities to detect the blessings that lie all around us, all the time. We are extremely lucky in this way. If we miss out on one of them, we still have more to fall back on. They tap us right into the present, whether we are aware of it in the moment or not, it just happens naturally as a part of our bodily creation.

I find a lot of my inspiration in nature. Nature just is. It stands there in all its glory and magnificence, shining for all to witness. It is beautiful, clean, fresh, abundant, amazing, resourceful, and displays life energy in its purist form. One of the most profound powers that nature seems to possess, is the ability to understand and trust in its path. It knows when to bloom, when to drop its seeds, and when to take on another form. Branches fall to create the opportunity for other branches to strengthen. The Earth cradles them after their fall. As time passes, they decompose, turning back to dirt and creating the opportunity for new growth. Nature works independently yet all together at the same time. It knows that all is interconnected by a greater power than it…the power of life. I feel that nature possesses a much greater understanding of life than humans, holding an innate knowledge that we seem to have forgotten.

Whenever I am feeling lost in my worldly thoughts, I try to submerse myself in nature. While I’m out there I can hear the ancient memories whispered by all of my surroundings that hold great lessons of beauty and empowerment. I just have to remember to quiet myself long enough to absorb it all.



Monday, April 12, 2010

when sitting, just sit

When sitting, just sit.
When eating, just eat.
When walking, just walk.
When talking, just talk.
When listening, just listen.
When looking, just look.
When touching, just touch.
When thinking, just think.
When playing, just play.
And enjoy the feeling of each moment and each day.

~excerpt taken from Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting by Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn



::elizabeth::

Five years ago, I spent a week in this hammock. I pushed myself over my capacities for giving in every way imaginable. I ended up physical, emotionally, and spiritual spent. I was in a lot of physical pain, and my hammock was the only place that was comfortable besides my bed. So that’s where I spent my waking hours. I listened to birds. I smelled blooming wisteria. I watched geese floating down the creek. I gazed at the clouds. I wrote poetry.

It was a week of being fully engaged in the moment at hand. It was one of the best weeks of my life. I listened to what my body and soul needed. I nourished myself. But my goodness, it took a lot of suffering to get me to the point of recognizing the need in the first place. And really I got to the point where I no longer had a choice but to rest and be present.

Nowadays, spending a week in the hammock would not be very practical. Sometimes I can sneak in 15 minutes while my son is busy building worm houses or picking every blooming thing. But I’ve learned that being mindful is like a mental hammock. The more present I am throughout the day, the less exhausted I am at the end of it. And the implications go far beyond the mental aspects of my existence. When I honor the moment at hand, instead of trying to do it all and all at the same time, I have more energy. I find passages that open up my creativity and connect me deeply with all beings.

Despite the obvious benefits of being mindful, I still find myself limping back from chaos I chose to create for myself. Thankfully, the mental hammock is always available and ready to conform to whatever shape I’m in…in that moment.



::lisa::


In mothering/parenting we are often called to many things within the same moment. This particularly can be challenging when trying to work on the “single” task that lies before us. Many times I hear my children talking all at once or asking for help while I am nursing a baby to sleep. As an adult I have learned to prioritize and that I need to be patient, but children often have a hard time with that. There have been times when my children have come to me to share a really special and exciting thought, when I felt I could not stop and listen right then. When the time came where I could give them my full attention, they had forgotten what it was they wanted to share and now were sad that they didn’t get the chance to do so. One morning last week (after I read this quote) as I was hurrying around trying to get out the door, my oldest was telling me about her dream. My mind said to me:

When listening, just listen.

But I still felt myself scurrying around. Again my mind repeated this mantra, loudly.

When listening, just listen.

As of lately I feel a pretty big shift occurring in not only my awareness, but in that of many. We are gently being called to wake up; to live our lives fully; to be more aware. I have also been feeling strongly the call for compassion, not only of others, but especially for myself, as well as, the call to simplicity. When meshing these three concepts together, of awareness, compassion, and simplicity, my message becomes quite clear. I can become more aware of my actions, and make the effort to stop and just listen, or stop and just look, one time per week to start. Just one time. I know I can find room to make that connection of awareness for myself. During other times, when I cannot achieve that connection, I can choose to be loving and forgiving toward myself. I know that starting small allows lots of room for positive growth and change and makes this shift in thought and awareness a simple task.

Monday, April 5, 2010

today

"I Need to enjoy all the gifts that God gave me today. Grace cannot be saved and put away for later. There is no bank where you can deposit favors you’ve received, to use them according to our will. If I do not enjoy these blessings now, I will lose them forever."

-Paulo Coelho



::elizabeth::

This time of year, I am very aware of the transient nature of blessings. It is so easy to take the yellow forsythia for granted when you see it blooming everywhere, but in another week or so it will give way to a cascade of different colored blooms. And we will not see her graceful arching stems bursting ‘full of sunshine’ until another year. And even then it will never be exactly the same as it was this year.

My children have been wonderful at teaching me to appreciate the gifts of the moment. I am painfully aware of how quickly milestones are checked off and candles are added to specially chosen cakes. The way my son pronounces words, the moments and ways spent cuddling, and even his smile never cease to evolve. Even though I would have been tempted to press pause a time or two or even rewind if it were an option, I know the blessing is right here, right now.

In the busyness of life, it is so, so easy for me to let the moments slip by without noticing and acknowledging the miracles, the beauty, the love and light that never cease. And when the road gets steep or it seems like my life is spinning out of control, I can easily get distracted by my fear. But I am given sufficient Grace for every moment, even the crazy out of control moments. It is up to me to capture it, savor it, and to give thanks for it.




::lisa::


This is such a powerful message to me on how important it is to remain in the moment; to live each step consciously. This can be so trying in the fast paced world we live in. Very often I get down on myself as to why I allow myself to get distracted from the true gifts I have right in front of me. When I feel this way, I remind myself that this is a path we are all on. I am not alone. If I had the ability to remain 100% in the moment at all times, I would most likely be enlightened, and no longer need the bodily form I have in this life. For now, however, I am human.

Whenever I feel that I have fallen out of step within the present moment, I use these times as a reminder to stop, look around, and “open my eyes” to all the blessings that surround me. Even amidst the chaos of everyday life, even in the thick of the worst of the worst, there is so much to be grateful for. It is easy to relish the the wonderful moments and it is in the chaos that I feel the most challenge to embrace the blessings. It is taking that opportunity to see things in a new way that will enable us to truly live our lives to the full potential available to us. Instead of willing the "bad" moments to go away, I choose to see them as having an important place in my evolution toward a more conscious being.

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