Saturday, April 12, 2014

Faithless

I’ve spent the past month looking for a new place to live and the entire experience has brought me an unwarranted amount of anxiety. Me, constantly on edge, wondering how it’s going to work out. Where I am going to live? Will I get this place? Will it be gone? Will I live with this person? My thoughts obsessed over possible outcomes. Worrying, worrying, wondering.

But then… As it so often happens, I had a beautiful revelation. 

I was experiencing a lack of faith. No faith in the process, in the wisdom of the universe, in anything. I was trying to control it all and feeling helpless all the while. The muscles behind my neck coiled tightly in a slow, deliberate squeeze. 
Until it came. Like a rush of sweet wind through an opened window I softened and released the clutching of my fingers.

It was then that I was able to reverse my telescope and peer at it all from a distance. The stem of my anxiety rooted from a lack of faith, but that wasn’t even true. It wasn’t that I was faithless. It was the opposite! I was being offered a gift; an opportunity to experience myself as a faithful person. And with a sigh, I melted gently into the warm, comforting arms of Trust. A swell of gratitude arose from deep within. To know myself as a faithful person - it feels like a gift indeed.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Shy

It is always at night that my brain begins to write. Composing paragraphs on my pillow.

The theme was "shy".


     

     A vision of my life emerged from the blackness in my mind as a shiny blue gemstone with many light reflecting facets.
The facets represent the myriad aspects of my life, the parts such as work, hobby, relationships and so forth. There are also threads that run through them gemstone behind the facets, linking them together. There is a thread names "shy". It is a thin, sinewy thread that weaves its way through the gemstone and pools behind the facets focused on relationships. I do not refer to friendships, but rather, courtships.
     If you know me, you would not say I am shy. You would most likely say the opposite. If you courted me, you would take my unrestrained propensity for flirtation as a sign of confidence. When I have your attention, I am engaged, and there is nothing more natural than the freely offered toothy smiles, belly laughs, and brushing of the fingertips across skin.
But if I have to try and attract your attention? If I have to decipher how you feel? If I have to decide whether I should lean in, take a step forward?
I almost always choose to take a step back.
You come to me. I am unsure, and I'm suddenly shy.
More often than not this inclination causes me to lose, to miss out on a possibility. This thread named shy is a thread born from a fear of rejection.
     So lately I've taken to asking myself this question: What if I WASN'T afraid of rejection? What would look different if I acted fearlessly?
The question offers instant liberation because it sheds light on the true reason behind the hesitancy - the belief that my self worth is diminished if I am rejected. It dispels these false notions. It stares into the broad side of the fear and sees the truth. I am free, worthy, and undiminished.



The thread of shyness muddles the brilliance of the gemstone. To act of my own accord, freely and fearlessly, the thread begins to loosen and unravel. Light pierces through and illuminates the gemstone evermore splendidly.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Witholding?


She peers up at me through big, glossy eyes and begins to tell me a story about her dog. I gaze back at her sweet small face and amused smile with frustration. She is totally stalling. She knows she should have already completed this math problem 5 minutes ago. 
She is my 3rd Grade student and I am lapsing into impatience.....


Sometimes when I get too close to things I fall into the hole of lost perspective. 

But fortuitously, I do always find my way back out.

There tend to be spaces or places in our lives where we withhold the love. This is a call for introspection and inquiry. Where are you withholding the love? Your feelings offer you clues. Know those areas of your life that inspire feelings of frustration, discontent, or perhaps anger? Look closely there. Could you be withholding the love? Could you open more of your heart and offer the person (perhaps yourself) or situation more of your infinite supply?

The effort of inquiry is most certainly worth the rich rewards.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Just Act Natural




Do you ever find yourself going through the motions of what you should be doing? After work each day, I should go workout and for this, I normally go running. Now I should eat dinner, and for this I normally heat up some rice and veggies. Now I should call so-n-so or do such-n-such. It's a routine. A routine that might be widely accepted by conventional wisdom as an acceptable way to act, but not necessarily a routine that is natural for you. At least not everyday, or all the time.
What is natural for you? Are you called to go on a walk instead of a run? Are you beckoned to sleep with the windows open wrapped snuggly in a wooly blanket? Natural does not mean what's usual. It does not mean normal. It means living by the call of that inner voice that beseeches you to move, explore, and make merry as you skip along the path of life. To find an organic expression of the life that is so naturally and uniquely yours. Today, just act natural.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Chalkboard Quotes



You have a precious human life.

It can be tempting to reject our humanity. It's imperfect, and therefore we imagine we must move away from it in order to find the divine.
But....

Humanness is a gift! A precious offering to relish. True, it can be gross, uncomfortable, or weighty at times. Your soul floats in stark contrast to the physicality of your humanness, which can feel disjointing.

Today we the opportunity to embrace it in its totality. Perhaps take a pause and notice what shifts when the rejection of your humanness transforms into a marriage between your luminous soul and your sensuous physical self.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Love of a Monk





He came from a rural village in Northern Laos. He had been in Luang Pra Bang for 4 years now, living as a monk. I met him mid way up the 328 step staircase that leads to Phou Si temple situated at the peak of a mountain which overlooks the city.

I adore Laos, but had the misfortune to have spent almost the entirety of my time there in bed with a head to toe rash, which had left me rather cranky and irritable. The heat exacerbated the itch, and the climb wasn't exactly helping.

Mid-way up however, I stopped to soak up the view (and also to see an imprint of Buddha's apparently enormous foot). As I gazed out over the city, the breeze seemed to lift away the dopey haze which had enveloped me (still on steroids and powerful antihistamines at this point), and there he stood shyly in the corner. His neon orange robe lit up the gray stone ledge and set his calm, smooth face a glow.

What's it like to be a Monk?
He said he came here everyday to practice his English. Tourists were plentiful and so there was always someone to chat with. His other duties lie with the rest of the monks - cleaning the temple, walking the street for alms. A simple life for sure, but he missed his family.

Often it's the intangible qualities of a person that are the most compelling. His quiet nature. The calm that encased him.



He radiated a gentle kind of peace and I felt my irritation melt away.

This post is written in gratitude for those people that come into our lives, every so briefly, and leave us feeling uplifted. Their effortless presence, that melts away all the rubbish, and allows us to carry on with increased lightness of being. 

Buddha's foot

Friday, September 6, 2013

Eat Your Heart Out, Cobra Heart that is...

               
                           
It was one of the more disturbing experiences I had while in Vietnam. 




Normally I am completely up for partaking in any sort of cultural tradition, whether it be event, food, or custom, but this one threw me. Shooting back cobra hearts.



Maybe it was the fact that we pulled down a back alley to a concrete box of place that was mostly bare apart from the random clay urns shoved in the corner and shelves of glass jars filled in ominous looking liquids and creature remnants. 


Or perhaps it was because when I say “we” I am referring to a group of 25 teenagers piling off a gigantic bus with no knowledge or concern for why one would swallow a beating cobra heart, except for the fact that it sounds outrageous. 




And it was.




...............



It goes like this:

     
    1. The proprietor selects a snake from the wall of brick and wood cages. He lets it slither around on the floor a bit, just to make sure everyone is sufficiently riled up. 


2. The snake goes into a black bag. Quite, Calm, Dark. 



3. The snake comes out of the black bag, and the propriety whips his serpentine body into the air before smacking his head on the concrete. Now we have an unconscious snake, but don’t worry, his heart is still beating.

 4. Surgery. A sharp knife draws a line from the chin 6 inches straight down the middle, giving this same knife just enough room to slip in and sever the purple, pulsing vein that connects the cobra’s heart, his life force, to the rest of his body. Done.



5. The heart is sloppily laid on a plate. It looks like a dark purple stone decorated with bright red smears of blood, but it continues to pulse and writhe on the plate as though is were trying to run away. 


    6. The rest of the blood is slowly squeezed out of the snake's body and into a large glass beaker.







7. Shot prep. The heart is tossed into a little shot glass and topped with Sprite. 

8. Bottom’s up. The little cobra heart has even yet to loose it’s vigor. The drinkers reported a pulsing, beating sensation in their esophagus as the heart descended. 


9. And just when you think the fun is over, it’s cocktail hour! The proprietor’s wife is fixing beverages- half blood, half Sprite- and many partake in the thrill of toasting to the snake’s demise. 



...............
A dark sensation lingered in my body for hours after returning to the bus with 25 jubilant teens, and I couldn’t help but wonder... why was everyone smiling?