One recent night after a fitful bout of tossing and turning and patchwork dreams, I woke to the sound of the alarm just as my body was finally going, “Ahhhhhh……” and slipping into some deep sleep. As I realized that slumber was not going to happen, my mind began to review the to-do list of what seemed like an endless log of ‘shoulds’ that awaited my rising. So I stretched and urged myself to breathe and come into some joyful thoughts to send into my day ahead.

That was when I heard it. A message that was clear and precise and I just knew, a direct transmittal from the Angels. This is what they said:

“Stop. Be still. Listen. All is well.”

No mistake here, I pondered. And this directive then shifted other more pressing to-do list activities down a few notches as I realized this was a message that perhaps OTHERS could benefit from as well.

So a ‘fitting’ Pocket Guru image emerged onto paper and I went to scan it in so that I could share the words as well as the illustration – and then get on with my day. But somehow the scanner was not responding. Hmmmm, I thought. Well, turn off the machine and turn it back on. No luck. OK, unplug it and plug it back in again. Still nothing. Check the wireless connection. No connection. So now this had become a priority. I WAS SENDING OUT THIS INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE BEFORE I DID ANYTHING ELSE ON MY LIST. DAMN IT. OK. Look up number for the manufacturer. Get them on the phone. Twenty minutes of try this, try that and NOTHING. Now I know better. When this happens, get up, take a walk, get a glass of water, do SOMETHING other than try to figure it out. But, no. I kept on. Then, finally, checking out the software, I decided to re-download it from the web and see if it would help. And bingo. There it was. I was (finally) ready to roll with it.

And THAT’S when it occurred to me. And I knew the Angels were standing over my shoulder smiling and shaking their heads – when I realized that the message that I was intending to deliver was EXACTLY what I needed to hear during this whole episode in frustration. Stop. Be still. Listen. All is well.

So that is what I share with you today. If you find yourself in a conundrum of sorts, don’t chase your tail. Take a break. Breathe. And listen to angelic guidance. And know whether it appears so or not, all is indeed exactly as it should be.

Wishing you unprecedented ease and flow…

Stop. Be Still. Listen...

Stop. Be Still. Listen…

To see the World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour…
– William Blake

A recent yoga class I shared with my beautiful students centered on the root chakra (Muladhara) and all the gifts it offers when we bring this field into balance.  This chakra represents stability, security and a knowing that all of our needs are met.  It invites us to fully realize our connection to Mother Earth and in so doing, the many beautiful  ways she shares her abundance with us on a daily basis. When we take the time to pause and realize the enormity of these gifts, we allow ourselves to become one with them… Imagine the endless waves rolling in on a beach, the  the countless stars in a night sky, the amazing vegetation that feeds and heals us… All around us this ‘message of abundance’ – and key here is that we are ONE WITH THAT.  When we truly appreciate and feel that unity, abundance  will support us in our own lives in beautiful ways.

Here is a short meditation to usher you into that unity with the gifts from our dear Mother Earth.

Picture yourself in a beautiful lush green valley under the most magnificent tree… It’s autumn and  the fall sun is shining softly, warming you.  As you lie here, feel the connection between your body and Mother Earth.  With every breath you become one WITH this living, breathing planet… Feel it in every cell of your being – connecting not only to the earth itself but to the abundance she offers. Allow every sense to be awakened now as you feel the sturdy foundation beneath you, as you inhale the crispness in the fall air, as you hear the sound of the birds above you in the trees, as you watch amazing cloud formations drift across deep blue skies…  Allow her to cradle you, support you and lavish her gifts upon you.  Continue to breathe now, gently and fully, and feel yourself become one with this loving support with every inhale and exhale.  United.

AFFIRMATION:  With each and every breath, the abundance of Mother Earth grounds and supports me.

frontyardtrees2

After the recent loss of my dear doggy and a health scare with my OTHER doggy I was feeling rather vulnerable in the heart area.  (Still am as a matter of fact.)  And knowing that grief is a journey that must be traveled THROUGH as opposed to taking detours of busy-ness and/or sticking fingers in our ears and covering our eyes to block out the pain, there was still a part of me struggling with the process.  I meditate daily, I do yoga at least daily, I read and listen to metaphysical texts and programs… With all of these ‘spiritual’ activities going on in my life, did I REALLY need to look OUTSIDE myself for comfort and solace?  Wasn’t that a ‘weakness’?

And then the answer became clear.  The answers are indeed always within us, directly inside our beautiful hearts.  And it is the heart light that shines its radiance OUTWARD to guide us to those people, those books, those songs or programs… to whatever will bring a balm of tenderness to the aching found within.

Divine Love is within us and around us, permeating our very existence when we open ourselves to it.  The ‘weakness’ (or perhaps better said, misunderstanding) is a belief that we should be ‘strong’ enough to do it all on our own.  No matter HOW much you meditate.

I have found sound to be a very healing gift as well, not just in musical form, but in the toning of specific sounds to tenderly smooth the jagged edges of a heart in pain.  Specifically the Taoist healing sound of “HAAAAA”  as well as the Sanskrit seed sound for Anahata (heart chakra) of YAM.  The latter sound I choose to do in a round of ‘chakra play’ that incorporates not only the Yam sound, but a breath in silence (the seed ‘sound’ of the Crown and Divine connection.)  I use hand motions as well to deepen the unfolding.  For the “Yam” sound, I place both hands (palms) on my heart space and for the silent breath of the crown, I open my palms in front of my heart, inviting in the guidance and healing of the Divine.  I usually do nine rounds of each of the ‘sounds’ followed by either total silence or an affirmation to bring closure to the session.   In this case, the affirmation might be,
“Heart open, Divinely sheltered, Healing now.”

Click here for an audio of this chakra play for the transformation and soothing of grief.

Honoring the Divine with us all.  Namasté.

(This was ‘penned’ one month ago as of this post… Aug. 21st, 2014)

Monkey in Meadows

Monkey in Meadows

Endings always come at last
Endings always come too fast
They come too fast
But they pass too slow…
I love you, and that’s all I know.

- Art Garfunkel, All I Know

Francesca (aka ‘Monkey’) went home today.

Our journey together began 15 1/2 years ago in Nashville, Tennessee. I had gone into a place called “Love at First Sight” , an adoption center for homeless kitties and doggies just to ‘browse around’. I had three cats and two dogs waiting at home for me, so the visit was intended to be just that – a time to share some loving and hugs with the tenants.

Well, just as I was walking OUT the door to leave a gentleman was walking IN the door carrying the most adorable puppy I think I have ever seen. The first words out of my mouth were, “WHO is that??!!” He went on to explain that this little girl had been ‘deposited’ on the side of the road in a box… and he had thank goodness found her. Good Samaritan that he was, he had taken her in, had her vet-checked and vaccinated and ready to adopt. He wasn’t able to keep her himself as he already had SIX dogs of his own at home. This I know was fate. Had I left this shop even seconds earlier, the destined meeting would not have taken place. And Francesca came home with me.

In fall of 2001 the entire zoo and I made the trek across country to Birch Bay, Washington. It was here that Monkey would learn to love beaches (and go knee-deep in the water thinking she was ‘swimming’) and the fabulous meadows near our home where we went walking almost every day in every season.

She had quite the strong personality – a mix of chow and to the best of my knowledge, border collie. I’m drawn to believe this due to her penchant for wanting to ’round people up’ – earning her the affectionate nickname of “butt biter.” (Folks who visited learned to sit down very quickly when they entered our home.) She also possessed quite the dry sense of humor. It wasn’t only human behinds that were subject to her nipping, she also loved to nibble a cat bottom or two. When I asked her why she did this, her answer was, “Because it’s there.” (She also made it quite recognized that while she endured her feline siblings, she did not really understand what purpose they served.)

Every morning started with a healing ritual with Mom: acupressure, a little massage, and chakra clearing followed by Mom doing the “Doggy Breakfast Dance & Song.” (Someday I will have to put it up on youtube.) The evenings found us dancing to Bobby Darin singing, ‘Beyond the Sea’ (well Bo, my golden retriever, and I danced – Monkey watched from the bed with a large grin.) Quite the musical household.

As she began to slow down over the past few months, her legs became quite unstable and curtailed a lot of our outings, specifically the beach as she could no longer manage the rocky terrain. We did though, even just days before her departure, make one last trip to the meadows, where she sat with the sun warming her back and the breeze blowing lightly through her fur. The look on her face was priceless and though it did take it’s toll on her little body, it was obvious that it was well worth the pain.

We had numerous conversations over the recent past regarding her desire to ‘go home.’ More than willing to walk the road with her to the end, I also wanted her to know that it was important that she tell me when it was becoming ‘too much.’ I adhere to the beautiful words shared with me by my friend and acupressure teacher, “Dance to the end of the song” – and I must say, what a fine, intricate, tender dance it has been.

The words of Henry Scott Holland quite beautifully sum up the feeling that I had today as I held her and kissed her one last time….

And that is…
===============

I am standing upon the seashore.

A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the ocean.

She is an object of beauty and strength.

I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then someone at my side says: “There, she is gone!”

“Gone where?”

Gone from my sight. That is all.

Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment when someone at my side says:

“There, she is gone!”

There are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout:

“Here she comes!”

And that is dying.

~Henry Scott Holland~

And so my beloved Francesca, I thank you for the invaluable lessons that you have taught me, most notably over these past few weeks. First. the value of this moment – this PRECIOUS moment is all that matters. Ever. And, also so importantly, this: As I shared with friends the latest on Monkey’s state of health, the outpouring of love and prayers was just inspiring. In the past, while I would have been extremely touched by these offerings, she taught me to REALLY feel them. To take them in and honor them. Which in turn expanded the size of my heart and my ability to receive love. Gifts do not get any sweeter than that.

I will love you forever and ever and ever, dear Monkey. Until we meet again…

Mom
PS Enjoy your time with Genesis… he has been waiting for you.

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.
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