A Spider Named Mesa

Well I must say that the story I am about to tell you would have panned out a bit differently years ago. While I never would have wanted to HARM a spider, I did tend to be a bit squeamish around them and would find someone else to gracefully transfer them to a location OUTSIDE my house. And then as the years went on, I became a little braver and could handle the relocation duties to a more preferred environment on my own. And that is still the general rule though sometimes I have the feeling that perhaps they would like to hang out a little bit longer… and that is what happened this time.

A few nights ago I spotted a spider situated in the corner of my bedroom and though we eyed one another, she didn’t introduce herself right away. She appeared content as was I, seeing as she was several feet above me. The following evening I found her in my bathroom, again high up on the ceiling tucked cozily up in another corner. This was when she informed me that her name was Mesa. (Really. She did.)

She then maneuvered her way in to the shower stall and must have been a fan of saunas because there she stayed as the steam proceeded to engulf her. (Or maybe she just enjoyed my singing.)

The next day, she was gone. I looked around and didn’t see her anywhere. I figured she must have finally gotten hungry and thinking there wasn’t much to eat around this joint, headed to a more conducive hang out. But lo and behold, the next day, there she was back in the shower stall.

Each day we would have a little conversation, nothing too deep mind you, but always refreshing. She disappeared one more time but returned once again, this time a bit lower down on the bathroom wall. I bid her a good night’s rest and shared with her that if she got much lower to the floor a resident kitty cat might not treat her as amicably as I. With that warning shared, I turned off the light and headed to bed.

Shortly after 5 a.m. I rose to go the bathroom. (This may seem like more information than is necessary, but believe me, it is pertinent to the story). The doggies, hearing me get up, decided they needed to go, too, so I headed over to the sliding glass doors to my backyard to let them out. It was already getting light outside and as I opened the doors, there I saw Mesa, poised to move through the exit as well. “I guess you want to go out, too,” I shared with her and with that she gingerly moved all of her eight legs along the wall and out on to my back deck. I realized that was probably the last time I would see her. I wished her well and thanked her for her company.

So you might think that I am a little crazy… But I want to tell you about a book that might change your mind because it further opened my eyes to the belief that all of us are connected, be it a spider, your dog or your next door neighbor. (We can’t always choose these things…);) The book I am referring to is “Kinship With All Life” by J. Allen Boone. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. If you HAVE read it, I recommend reading it again. It is a beautiful tale about lessons inspired by a german shepherd named Strongheart that led him to understanding that ALL of life deserves this kind of respect.

“Accompanying each one of these lessons was the indirect but important reminder that he and almost all other animals, except those spoiled by human association, always live out from a pure heart, that is, from pure motives. He made it clear that if I wanted to get along with him or any other living thing, I must live out from a pure heart and pure motives, too.”

And on that note, I wish you the joy of experiencing this beautiful ‘web of connection’ – and to quote Mr. Boone once more:

“The most effective way to achieve right relations with any living thing is to look for the best in it,   and then help that best into the fullest expression.”

Blessings to all.

Compassion.

Compassion.

It takes courage for a man to listen to his own goodness and act on it.
Do we dare to be ourselves?
That is the question that counts.
- Pablo Casals

This is all about surrendering to the gifts of Vishhudha, the throat chakra. When we are in flow, we are able to share our unique expression with the world from a place of authenticity, doing what Pablo Casals asks us if we dare… To be ourselves.

Recently I was pondering this quote as I began my little morning ‘ritual.’ It begins with writing a few lines in my gratitude journal and that particular morning this is what I wrote: “I trust that I am being led. I surrender to the doors that are closing AND opening. (Thank you, Spirit.)

Well, the next step in my ritual is to read a passage from a book called “More Language of Letting Go” by Melody Beattie. I turned that day’s reading and felt goosebumps all over by whole body as I read the subject line for the day, “Go Through the Door That’s Open.” Wow. Talk about a clear message.

This prompted me to record a meditation visualization to that looks at ALLOWING these doors to open. Rather than beating down the portal that you think is ‘THE WAY’ – surrendering to the flow of Universal timing and direction… and in so doing, daring to be our authentic selves, heart-based and at peace.

Click here for an MP3 recording of this meditation.

As I find myself reading The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle for the third time (and no, not back to back…) the importance not only of living in the moment but of SURRENDERING to the moment becomes ever more apparent.

Surrender often gets a bad rap in our culture, equated with giving up. In this instance it has rather everything to do with giving IN – giving in to what IS.

Recently in a yoga class somewhere between down dogs and thymus thumping (we tap our thymus to activate our immune system every class), the following words spontaneously burst out of me, “WHY WOULD WE EVER RESIST WHAT IS?!” It was such a moment of clarity regarding the futility and total waste of energy that we expend when we belabor (and even try to CHANGE) what ‘is.’

And not that what ‘is’ is always a comfortable experience. But resisting it just increases the discomfort and draws you deeper into the drama. This has led me to a favorite new affirmation: “Today is the most fabulous day of my life.” (I say this regardless of the circumstances.) BECAUSE today – and this moment – are the only things that are ‘real.’ The gratitude that I feel for having the honor of even experiencing this earthly trip is finding its way into my every breath and propelling that energy into what will become my future.

For those occasions that I find myself spending perhaps too much time ruminating about a past episode or coming into panic over a projected future event, I do my best to come back into the now. Mr. Tolle offers what I consider a grand piece of wisdom when he suggests that if we ask ourselves whether we are present, WE ARE. How simple is that?

One of Deepak Chopra’s beautiful Spiritual Laws of Yoga is also a wonderful mantra to incorporate into your daily practice in the realm of surrender:

Om Anandahm Namah – the essence of which translates into “My actions are blissfully free from attachment to outcome.”

So breathe. And be. And treasure this moment and the magic of surrender.

TODAY IS THE MOST FABULOUS DAY OF MY LIFE.

surrenderweb

I recently ‘rediscovered’ a book that was gifted me by a friend MANY years ago when I was living in Germany and was rather captivated by a quote that appears on the back cover as well as within. The book is ‘The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge’ by Carlos Castaneda and here is the piece that drew me in:

For me there is only the traveling on paths that have heart, on any path that may have heart. There I travel, and the only worthwhile challenge is to traverse its full length. And there I travel, looking, looking breathlessly.”
- don Juan

It led me to ponder what inspires our journey along this Earth Path. And I believe it is the dreams that we hold dear to us. Sometimes embraced (leading to joy) , sometimes ignored (leading to frustration), but always in search of realization and manifestation: these dreams that reside within our heart give our lives purpose and meaning.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we refer to the ‘Shen’ – usually translated as “spirit” – and it is through the Shen that lives within our hearts that we radiate our light to the world. Following our dreams allows the Shen within us to shine from our heart space and through ours eyes igniting our connection to all other beings.

This when we travel a path with heart.

AFFIRMATION: When I travel a path with heart, my dreams become manifest.

And I want to share a song with you that captures the essence of our heart journey and the dreams that live within us. (Thanks, Bruce.)

“I am wildly open to unexpected miracles,
the vastness of the Universe
and the beauty of my calling.”

I awoke New Year’s morning with this affirmation running through my mind and heart: a desire to be OPEN to the vastness of potential. Yes, have goals and dreams but realize that the Universe longs to surprise and enfold us in its generous arms.

When we become too ‘narrow’ in our aspirations, it ‘chokes’ the largest part of the lifeline – the flow of abundance in every form. By taking a 360 degree view of what is possible,- without expectation and fear-based (illusion of) control we allow that limitless potential to invite us into those arms – those wide open arms.

Also allowing ourselves to spend time in those quiet, still moments of ‘emptiness’ (that is not empty) we enter the domain where the miracles reside. See/feel yourself saying joyfully and confidently, “WOW! I had never even IMAGINED that THIS could happen. This is amazing!!” And invite serendipity to come calling.

So my main resolution – or I actually prefer the term intention – is to be more OPEN, more childlike in my witnessing the wonder of what surrounds me and longs to reveal itself to me: grateful for every breath, every heartbeat and every magical unfolding.

“I am wildly open to unexpected miracles,
the vastness of the Universe
and the beauty of my calling.”

Namasté and a miraculous 2014 to you!

She decided to free herself, dance into the wind, create a new language. And birds fluttered around her, writing ‘yes’ into the sky.”
- Monique Duval

I just discovered this wonderful quote and love it – this sense of freedom that resides WITHIN us always. Not when we finally have ‘enough’ money, not when the perfect mate appears in our lives, not when we are 100% pain free… Now.

What a magical time we find ourselves in… Solstice, Christmas and dawning not only of a new year, but a new era.

Can you feel it? While on some levels it appears that chaos has taken over as we see everything from tumultuous weather patterns to eruptions of violence and greed, there is also an underlying grace that is emerging. In my heart of hearts I feel it: a recognition of unity that will (and is) melting the facade of lack and separation.

Like a candle in a dark night, may we share our radiance – and the glow we create will light up the world. We will know and experience the truth: Only Love is real. Now THAT is freedom.

Affirmation: Divinely supported, I embrace the challenge, the excitement and the wonder of the flight.
Image

A beautiful scene from the time when I was living in Germany came to me recently as I pondered the idea of trusting the process of life. I was sitting out on the balcony of the apartment we were renting on a marvelous spring day just watching the world go by.  Our place was at a 90 degree angle to the main part of the landlord’s house and thus in plain view of my spot in the sun.  What captured my attention was a mother bird and her four offspring perched on the edge of my landlord’s roof.  It appeared that it was ‘flight day’ – the time had come for these little winged creatures to learn to fly.  I watched in amazement as the mom jumped from the roof, flew in a circle and returned to her children, as if to say, “This is how you do it. Now YOU go.”  Time and again she repeated the short circular flight.  Each time the babies watched, looked as if they were going to follow, and would then retreat.  “This, Mom, is just a bit too scary”, they seemed to be saying.  “We are just fine here watching you.”  By this time I was totally intrigued.   

And then, one by one, something shifted within the little birds.  And one by one, they indeed took their leaps of faith.  I could almost hear them gleefully declaring their victory over their fears as they trusted their wings and flew, then returning to the safety of the rooftop once again. I felt quite privileged to have witnessed their maiden voyages.

The reason this was so meaningful to me just now is that in yoga class this week we were celebrating the gifts of our root chakra (Muladhara):  security, centeredness, and stability.  What occurred to me is that unless we are fully stable, we will not be able to fully push off into the next adventure of our lives.  If our feet are on shaky ground, there is no foundation from which to launch.  Or, in the other extreme, if we are so rooted to our current location that we find ourselves feeling stuck, there will be no progressing forward either.  

The perfect pairing for trusting in the process of life is a firm foundation and wings ready to soar.  

Here is a link a short meditation with this intention in mind should you feel inspired to launch into the next adventure of your journey.

AFFIRMATION:  Feet grounded, wings ready for flight, I soar now into the process of trusting life.

What we resist, persists. – Carl Jung

Isn’t THAT the truth? I have worked with the theory of Carl Jung for many years now and one of the biggest messages he shares is that we are not just ‘random’ creatures. There is order to how we perceive reality, make our decisions and express ourselves to the world.

And that last concept is what I would like to focus on today. Our throat chakra – Vishuddha – is all about self-expression; not just through the spoken word – though that is a huge part – but also through art, through music, through service… through whatever medium your soul chooses to shine. We all have a unique gift we came here to share. It’s rather like the Universe is one big jigsaw puzzle and if you were not here, there would be a piece missing. We ALL contribute to the bigger picture.

So what is your gift? And why do we ever resist sharing it? Resistance equals fear. And WHEN we resist, the fear grows. This can be related to any of the energy fields – whether it’s through a lack of stability, creative flow, power, connection, clarity or purpose.

Here is a series of affirmations I would like to share with you based on our chakras. These can be practiced around the release of resistance and your ability to express the ‘authentic you.’ Take a moment to think about (or FEEL about) a situation in your life where you are pushing against rather than recognizing and allowing. See what energy field seems most affected. Then proceed…

Begin by taking three deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth… A primer for releasing.

ROOT: When I am feeling secure and stable, I release resistance. I AM SECURE AND STABLE.
SACRAL: When I am in my full creative flow, I release resistance. I AM IN FULL CREATIVE FLOW.
SOLAR PLEXUS: When I embrace my personal power, I release resistance. I EMBRACE MY PERSONAL POWER.
HEART: When I live in compassionate understanding, I release resistance. I LIVE IN COMPASSIONATE UNDERSTANDING.
THROAT: When I express myself with authenticity, I release resistance. I EXPRESS MYSELF WITH AUTHENTICITY.
THIRD EYE: When I trust and follow my intuition, I release resistance. I TRUST AND FOLLOW MY INTUITION.
CROWN: When I realize my true Divine Nature, I release resistance. I REALIZE MY TRUE DIVINE NATURE.

Now breathe….allow… and repeat as necessary.:)

Blessings & Namasté.
Maureen

FLOW

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened. ” -Anatole France

He came to me when he was perhaps eight weeks old. We named him Jack. I very soon thereafter added ‘the Buddha Kitty’ because I had never in my life heard a cat purr incessantly as he did… (His first trip to the vet, the doctor turned the water on to attempt to ‘scare’ him to get him to stop purring so that he could hear his heartbeat.)

And so it went, life with this gentle orange tabby, as we traveled from Nashville to our home in Birch Bay, Washington where he lived the majority of his years.
I was convinced the purring was his own way of chanting “OM” because he was indeed the most peaceful cat I had ever encountered and I have had my share of feline companions.

The morning of August 4, 2013, Jack the Buddha kitty left this earthly plane. He had walked the planet for over 16 years and perhaps he felt it was time to move on. I had kidded in the past that he was ‘my favorite’ but, truly, I love none more than the others. But Jack was incredibly special because he was indeed one of the best teachers I had ever encountered. He taught me that even in the most unfamiliar of circumstances, you can ground yourself if you just remain peaceful. He taught me that even when your brother ‘stalks’ you, gets jealous of you and is generally not real nice to you, the best thing to do is forgive and purr on. He taught me that one of the most precious gifts we can experience is to spend quiet time soaking up the rays of the sun. Oh and so much more than that did he teach me as well as he said ‘I love you” with his signature silent meow.

He’s gone now. At least from my physical reach. The tears will spill down my cheeks for a while yet. But I will do my best to remember his lessons… and breathe… and look for the good that exists in even the darkest of places as he would advise.

Jack, I will always love you.
JACK THE BUDDHA KITTY
April 1997 – August 4, 2013

Jack the Buddha Kitty

Jack the Buddha Kitty

After taking part in a beautiful mantra meditation offered by musicians Deva Premal and Miten, I was inspired to keep it going by choosing specific mantras to chant 108 times daily for a period of 21 days each. The current mantra is invoking the love and guidance of Ganesha, the elephant-headed god who aids in the removal of obstacles in our lives.

I am about ten days into this one and have had some interesting revelations, the most illuminating being that sometimes the so-called obstacles we run up against are indeed the REMOVAL of an obstacle. (You may need to read that line again.) Somewhat of a paradox… but what it boils down to, I believe, is that often we think we know what is best for us and charge ahead, ignoring the clamping of our jaw, the tightness in our belly and pinball-like action taking place in our seat of intuition. “This MUST be the right decision. I’m going for it!” And when doors shut and prevent that moving forward we may initially be a bit distraught acknowledging that all the stepping stones were indeed in place. But then, maybe even simultaneously, we may experience a huge sigh of relief along with the realization that we were marching totally against the beat of our heart.

So if you have perhaps set an intention in your own life, taken some action to establish the flow but are feeling ‘stuck in neutral’ (or even reverse) then it’s time to chill. Adopt the beautiful Taoist practice of ‘Wu Wei’. It involves following the path of least resistance, not forcing, BEING rather than doing. This, by the way, in no way supports laziness. Having goals and moving towards them is what gives our life journey meaning. But the mind is a beautiful thing until takes on a life of its own, disconnected from the heart and the ‘gut’.

If this is resonating, take a deep breath (or ten)… Turn inward. Ask for guidance. Acknowledge that if it is meant to be, it will unfold and possibly in a completely different form than you had imagined.

I share with you a poem that emerged from my own experience.

I float now
untethered.

each breath
a wave of letting go…

each heartbeat
a cosmic kiss.

Full.

Empty.

Open.

Adrift in the mystery.

I
float
now.

And to tie a pretty bow on this whole concept, an affirmation to celebrate the Wu Wei…

“I sail through life with ease as I relax and let life be.”

Blessings and may all of your paths be auspiciously guided by the light of the Divine.

Ganesha

Ganesha

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