Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Live Each Day As If It Is Your First

Most of us have heard the expression, Live each day as if it is your last. Choosing to live your day with this in mind helps you recognize what it truly important in your life.

With this perspective, it is easier to remember to pause in the middle of some activity to acknowledge my husband and give him a kiss. It is easier to stop in the middle of my sentence to laugh at something funny happening around me, without attachment to what I felt was so significant about what I was saying.

However, I have noticed that living from this perspective also tends to motivate me to abandon anything that might be considered mundane, such as cleaning the house, paying the bills or going grocery shopping.

I do believe there is great wisdom in recognizing what is truly important each and every day. Indeed, there are days where it is far more important to listen to someone who is suffering or celebrate with someone in his or her joy than it is to clean the house. Then there are other days when giving some loving attention to my home is important. Knowing from moment to moment what is most important to attend to and doing so in love is a powerful way to live.

And so is living each day as if it is your first. Some call this beginners mind. This is when you recognize that each moment is a moment to begin again. Each moment offers the mystery of life to be discovered and explored.

For some time I kept a box of colored markers on my desk to remind me that everything that has been created can be recreated. Children know that they can create new worlds over and over with their colored pens and crayons, and so these child-like tools help me remember that everything I need to recreate my life is within my grasp.

Even if I have failed at something a dozen times, one moment of clear, pure and loving consciousness changes everything. When I am facing a task with a history of perceived failures, I challenge myself to sink into the moment and become present.

I remind myself about how enthusiastic children are in approaching life. Whatever they do, they do with the fullness of their little beings. In a restaurant the other day, I watched as two little kids played peek-a-boo with each other by pulling their shirts up over their heads. They were oblivious to the world around them, unaware of anything that had happened earlier in that day or anything that might be happening soon.

Later, my husband and I laughed as a little guy did a crazy little step as he walked down the street. He was completely present to the joy of the moment he was creating with his own unique way of walking. He wasn’t even aware that we were chuckling, caught up in his moment of abandonment.

Children are powerful teachers. They know how to be present to the moment. They will do something over and over again, until they have mastered it, and not necessarily because they feel they have to do it. Frequently, they seem to be entirely entertained as they practice.

Think about a child sliding down a snowy hill. The first time they might not get much momentum going down the hill because they are scared. The second time they slip off the edge of their sled, having gotten only half-way down. The next time they get to the bottom of the hill quite competently. But the fourth time they decide they want to go down with their buddy, and the two of them fall off before they get very far.

Each time, they are squealing with delight. They aren’t failing at anything. They are having a great time learning all the nuances of sliding down a snowy hill.

I expect I’ll continue in the practice of living as if this is my last day, and while I’m discovering what is truly important about each day, I’ll also be living each day as if it is my first—with all the enthusiasm of child experiencing each moment for the very first time.

Personally, this is one of the qualities I love about SpiritQuest, New Dream's week with Mother Earth. We seem to have a way of living as if each moment is our first: And if we forget, the kids attending help us remember!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rest in the Sacred Feminine

Many of us have been raised in cultures where achievement and activity have been deemed worthwhile, and rest has been treated as a necessary evil. But from a Sacred Feminine perspective, rest is essential in our awakening, and in restoring personal and planetary balance.

Most of the earlier years of my life, I was achieving myself into serious illness, without even realizing that’s what was happening. (More about achieving yourself into illness) Doing and achieving was how I knew my life had value. It is how I knew I was alive. But in the process of finding value through action alone, I was achieving myself to death.

It wasn’t until I was flat on my back in bed, completely dehydrated and inches away from a stay in the hospital that I realized my life was out of balance. I needed rest, so I made myself ill enough to finally stop my entire life in its tracks.

In my illness there was time to rest, reflect and experience life from the perspective of stillness. Today, I would call that entering the realm of the Sacred Feminine. Once I stopped doing, my yang energy was able to rest, and in the stillness, I was able to experience the gifts that come with the receptive yin energy. Purpose, creativity, clarity, intuition, insight, inspiration—they all emerged when I became still in the cool and soothing darkness of the Sacred Feminine. 

Just recently I was listening to some of our initiated elders at New Dream talk about rest and its significance in their lives now. They acknowledged that in this age when time seems to be speeding up, rest may be more important to us now than it has ever been.

One elder, Ariann Thomas, likened the need for rest to the process of making bread. She explained that after you have kneaded the bread, you let it rest so that it can rise. In life, letting ourselves rest provides an opportunity to see what rises to the surface. Rest expands our ideas and is part of the process if we wish to live in right timing.

In her own experience. she explained, her driven-ness kept her going until she finally collapsed and became ill. The body has wisdom and it knows when it needs to rest. Further, we work to feel our value and meaning, but not all of our value is tied up in what we are doing.

Cindy Mills shared with us that we often refuse to rest because we fear that everything will fall apart and collapse if we don’t keep everything going. We think it is our responsibility to keep juggling—to keep all the balls in the air at the same time. But, she reminded us, non-doing is where we experience sparks of creativity and inspiration. Her family, she explained, had one day per week that was their non-doing day, and she has many fond memories of the creativity that was expressed on those days.

Helen Sherry shared that rest requires trust. It means that you are willing to trust without a clue about what the future might look like. To rest, you need to align with Spirit, knowing that something wonderful is coming—in fact, more wonderful than you might have imagined. When you rest, you choose to trust.

Personally, I find that my empathic and sensitive nature simply demands rest in order to maintain balance. Without it, I’m overstretched and not a very nice woman to be around. I become overly controlling and cynical, trying to make the world around me conform to my idea of what makes a happy world. When I allow myself adequate rest, I discover happiness within me, and realize it is always there within. My body heals more quickly.

In the balance of adequate rest and achievement I am my happiest. When my inner world silence receives my attention as well as my outer world activities, my balanced state allows me to experience life with greater peace, clarity and ease.

As we enter into this time in which the planets are aligning, we may feel the urge to created greater balance. You may find, as the elders have discovered, a calling to create more time for rest—more time to honor the gifts of your inner world.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Releasing Fear in 2012

I ask in meditation, what is the energy of 2012. I hear in response that this is the year of truth.

Truth is powerful. When we are living in our greatest truth, life can be exhilarating and exciting; peaceful and profound; clear and fulfilling. When we are not living in our greatest truth, the opposite is true. It can feel challenging, overwhelming, and even frightening.

My dear friend, Ariann Thomas, tells me that in 2012, we might find ourselves needing to pay extra attention to releasing our fears. She explains that if we have released our fears, it will be easier to be with the inner alignment we are likely to experience as the planets align themselves with the center of the Milky Way.

Most of us recognize those inner fears when they come up. It is common for many of us to simply attempt to: 1) ignore them, 2) convince ourselves they aren’t real, 3) avoid them, or 4) over-ride them with positive intentions. However, you might find that none of these approaches works as well with the powerful pull the aligning planets are creating.

So what do you do when fears arise? I find it helpful to remember that fears come up for a reason. I’ve heard the acronym, as you probably have to, of FEAR being False Evidence Appearing Real. I understand that fears are frequently the result of inaccurate assumptions and therefore not real; but I also know what when you experience the feeling of fear, fear feels very real.

You don’t have to abandon your very real feelings, as you attempt to convince yourself that the fear isn’t real. There is a way to honor the feelings and in doing so, allow the fears to abate.

A powerful remedy for fear is surrender. When you are in fear, some part of you is forgetting the truth of who you are. You are forgetting you are Divine. So what might happen if you surrendered to the feeling and allowed yourself to feel the fear as a legitimate experience? And what might happen next if you allowed yourself to feel compassion for feeling so much fear?

I bet you can feel it already. The fear shifts. It shifts simply because it has been recognized and honored. Now consider allowing yourself to surrender a little further—into your Divine nature—the true expression of you.

This part can feel really scary at times—to actually allow yourself to feel your divinity. You might have a different description of divinity that suits you better—your I Am nature, your Godself, your grace, beauty, or sweetness. However you might define it, allowing yourself to surrender to it allows the greater truth of who you are to emerge and express through you.

What was once fear becomes a conduit to self-awareness. In the awareness of who you are, you find the clarity that you need to know how to be and move through the energies of 2012.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

What Is an Apology in the Way of the Sacred Feminine?

The more that I immerse myself in the womb of the Sacred Feminine, the more I realize what it means to take responsibility for my life, and the more I understand how important it is to my own evolution to be as honest with myself as I possibly can.

When I have hurt another, I’m not as inclined to think about my actions or theirs as right or wrong. Rather, I realize that I have distracted myself from Divine flow and, for some time, ceased to be truly present.

Perhaps anyone else involved also distracted themselves from the Divine, but my responsibility is for me. I can choose to reconnect to Divine grace at any moment, and in my experience, when I reconnect I often find that I need to forgive me.

If I have allowed myself to become distracted from my Divine nature, then I have abandoned my true nature. As I become conscious once again of that most profound connection, I find it helpful to notice the beliefs, thoughts, feelings and patterns of behavior that occurred before I disconnected.

These preceding feelings, thoughts and behaviors set up the potential for me to disconnect. My motivation for allowing disconnection is the place within me that most needs my love and healing. It is the part of me that is still afraid of Divine love.

Let me put this into an example. Let’s say that I was speaking about family values. Perhaps my view of family values was formed out of a childhood where I experienced a great deal of abuse. As a result I might have strong feelings and little objectivity.

In my passion, I say something that hurts your feelings. I might or might not have intended to hurt you, but if I am honest with myself, I can acknowledge that something I said or the way that I said it caused you pain. 

Perhaps I was speaking with so much passion about my beliefs and feelings on the topic that I disconnected from you, enraptured with my passionate dissertation. My own beliefs and feelings became my obsession, and as a result, for a time I was disconnected from your Divine nature. I didn’t care how you might take what I was saying or how it was affecting you. I just wanted to speak my mind.

If I had been more connected to the Divine within us, I might have been more aware that another way of sharing could have come across more respectfully and considerately of you. I could have still made my point, but I could have done it with sensitivity to your perspectives and feelings.

Is it possible that even being more considerate I might have hurt your feelings? Certainly. However, the situation had the potential to be more hurtful when I became so involved with myself that I disregarded how my words and energy were affecting you. That was the moment in which I disconnected from the Divine.

Now, let’s say that I realize what happened and I truly want to make amends. In the way of Sacred Feminine energy, here is what I would do:

1) I would hold the wounded part of me that was willing to disconnect from Divine flow, in order to make my needs more important than anyone else. Such acts typically come from a deep-seated need that has not been honored or met. So I would begin my amends by honoring the unmet need of the wounded child within me with great love and compassion. Compassion heals the wound and creates space to connect with the Divine once again.

2) When I felt at peace in Divine awareness, I would take responsibility for my choice by apologizing to you for allowing myself to become so disconnected that I wasn’t being concerned about how my words might be affecting you.

3) If you needed it, I would open my heart to compassion for your—for your experience around the incident. I would hold that loving space until we both felt at peace.

If you would like to deeply explore the healing power of holding, take a look at the video series, Secrets of the Sacred Feminine Revealed. In this series we explore the many nuances of holding for our own healing and that of our communities.

What is a true apology from the perspective of the Sacred Feminine? It is the realization that in our woundedness we allow ourselves to become distracted from Divine awareness. We restore our connection through the gift of self-compassion. When our hearts are full, we are ready to hold compassion for anyone that we have hurt while we were disconnected.

It is elegantly simple and very challenging to do, for it requires a great deal of self-honesty, and a willingness to discover the limitless capacity of Divine awareness to love each of us completely—wounds and all.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

What Is Forgiveness—Sacred Feminine Style?

Have you noticed there are many ways and levels at which forgiveness can occur? You can say you forgive, but not really mean it. You can forgive someone for the moment, but then be upset with them for the same thing hours or days later. You can forgive mentally, because you know you need to or know you should. You might say you forgive someone because they are really hurting and you feel sorry for them.

Or you can forgive someone because you really understand how any of us, given a set of circumstances, could have made the same choice. When you forgive from this place of understanding, you have realized one of two things, or both:

1) most of us our doing our best most of the time, even if we seem insensitive or unaware of the harm we may be causing; and
2) that anyone who is consciously perpetrating harm is also a victim.

Deep wounds and fears cause us to become perpetrators. Like wounded animals, we lash out, even at those that are trying to help us. When we have been wounded, we become afraid, mistrusting, angry and hurt, and we either take our pain out on others, or we drive that pain inward and harm ourselves.

Wounded, we hurt someone else who then hurts another, and on and on the cycle continues until…

Someone in the cycle stops, reflects and gets in touch with the wound that started the cycle in the first place. When you stop and reflect in the way of the Sacred Feminine, you bring this wounded feeling to your heart and hold that feeling in compassion.

The feeling may or may not have a name. What is significant is choosing not to blame or be angry with anyone, including yourself, but rather to understand that feelings are universal.

When a painful feeling is held in compassionate love long enough, the painful feeling simply drifts away. All that remains is your love for yourself and anyone involved with when and how that original wound occurred.

Forgiveness simply happens because you understand from the depths of your feeling. More than a thought, forgiveness happens deeply when your heart grasps the significance of the frailty of the human condition that we all share.

Here are two ways you can experience greater compassion—the kind of forgiveness that is deep and profound.

Take your own wounded feelings into the Creation Meditation.

Allow yourself to experience an Ancestral Lineage Clearing, where you release the pain you may be experiencing from family karma by making new choices within the safe parameters of an inner journey.

Most of all, you will probably find it helpful to remember that true forgiveness comes from true compassion. Reach for your compassion, and there you will find forgiveness.