Did Curiosity Really Kill the Cat?….. I Don’t Think So.

Remember the old saying, “Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought him back?” I’ve been reviewing lately my relationship to curiosity. Not the type of invasive curiosity that compelled my mom to steam open all my letters from my boyfriends and then glue them back to make it look like she hadn’t done it. No, not the type that says, “I just can’t stand not knowing.” And I’m also not talking about the type of curiosity that some people have where they ask the questions that are really none of their business, just because they want the thrill of knowing or being able to pass the information along. The type of curiosity I’m talking about has to do with changing my own perspective on things. Here’s two examples from my own life that I’ve experienced in the last month.
As some of you may recall from a previous blog, I got an email from a friend in Copenhagen, early this year, saying she had connected with me in her meditation and felt that it was important that I come to visit. I was aware of a lot of resistance……i.e. “I’m almost 76, do I really want to do any more international travel?” But I promised her I would take the question into my own meditation. When I did, I was suddenly infused with an energy that felt warrior-like, strong, and invincible. There was no hesitation, of course I could do this. What’s the big deal? So based on nothing more than that I made my plans. As it turned out the plans evolved into me promising to give 3 presentations at the local Theosophical Society. As the day of departure drew closer I became aware of my own internal anxiety voice, “What if I can’t sleep? How will I give a presentation if I’m sleep deprived? What about jet lag? What if it’s too much for my friend to put me up for 10 days? Will I drive her crazy? As soon as I recognized this old habitual internal negative loop, I paused to consider, “How would my perceptions about this trip change if I just became curious? What if I said to myself, “I’m curious about how this is going to turn out. How will it all unfold? I wonder how the plane ride will be? It will be interesting to see if I make all my connections.” Immediately I began to feel excitement instead of anxiety. I realize this is not rocket science. Many spiritual, psychological, and philosophical traditions espouse this form of inquiry as a way to work with emotional states, as in, “hmmmm, I am afraid. Ok, I’ll just notice my fear, allow it to be there, hold it in compassion and gently be curious about it, exploring it with tenderness.” This takes us out of the total identification with the feeling and lets us get to know our fear so we can recognize it more quickly when it reappears. I’ve known this approach for awhile, but just this month I’ve actually put it into practice. What happened? Well amazingly everything went so smoothly I was pretty blown away by it all. My friend and I were like two peas in a pod, compatible in so many ways and we thoroughly enjoyed each day together. The talks were very well received. I slept fairly well with little jet lag. I’m not saying that this all occurred because of my attitude, but everything became much more enjoyable, manageable and smooth, because I wasn’t anxious or projecting my fears into everything.
The second incident occurred when I attended a Tom Kenyon workshop a day after returning from Copenhagen. Tom is a world renowned sound healer and I have attended many of his workshops in the past, but this day I was a bit jet lagged, so half way into the first day I became agitated. It’s true we had done some clearing work so I’m sure that played a part in it, but my mind went to, “Is he ever going to stop talking and just get on with it? Maybe this was a mistake. I probably shouldn’t have tried to squeeze this in so close to returning from my trip.” You get the picture. The old negative loop again. I really did want to participate and I wanted to be open and receptive to whatever needed to happen so I didn’t want this negativity to override my intention. Then I remembered curiosity. What if I just came into the next day with a curious mind, instead of a negative mind set? “I wonder what this day will bring? How will it unfold?” I didn’t have any more agitation and the second day proved to be a powerful experience. He talked about the heart being as light as a feather instead of heavy and burdened. I could relate to that because when I am worried or anxious I can feel anything but light. I wondered how I could help my heart become lighter. One thing that came to me was to begin my day with curiosity. Sometimes in the morning before I get up I run through my “to do” list in my head. Not exactly a light-hearted way to begin my day. Often I try to remember to start my day with gratitude for just another day that I’m alive and breathing. But what if I made a habit of beginning my day with the curiosity question? “I wonder what today will bring? How will it unfold?” I can feel the visceral reaction in my body when I do this. There is a fluttering in my heart, an excitement, an anticipation that does make my heart feel lighter. I’m going with that.

PS. The more I practice using this the more it comes into my mind throughout the day. So I have begun asking that question for every little thing. “I wonder how my walk will be today? I’m curious about my meditation this morning. How will it unfold? What will the trip to PCC be like? Somehow this practice energizes me and I walk around with more of a feeling of excitement and anticipation. At this age, of almost 76, anything that enlivens me and lightens my heart is well worth the effort.
In a Charlie Brown/Snoopy cartoon I have on my refrigerator, Snoopy says to Charlie, “What if today we were just grateful for everything?” I’d like to add, “What if today we were just curious about everything?”

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I AM ENOUGH

So many people I know or have seen in my practice believe at their core that they are somehow deficient….that they aren’t good enough. I ask, “Good enough for whom?” our parents, our society, our friends? In the Christian faith we have been conditioned to believe that we are born in sin and in need of redemption. That a Savior must absolve us from this sinful nature. Hogwash, I say. We are born with the seed of Divinity within us. How can that seed, who is a part of (God, the Mystery, Universal Intelligence)….whatever you name it……how can our divinity be sinful? Our Divinity is our true essence. To use a metaphor, Spirit is a hand and our ego, or personality is merely the glove that covers up that Divine nature. Our job is to recognize that and realize more fully that all we need to do, really, is connect more and more deeply with that Hand, and less and less with that glove. Our personalities are in need of integration and refinement, that is true, but that doesn’t change the fact that we are Divine human beings at our core. In fact, I believe that it is part of our job while we are in a body to let the hand determine what the glove does. Let the Soul of us be in charge. That is a work in progress for all but the most enlightened of us, but it does not mean that we are deficient. Let us look at our personality foibles, warts, I call them, with the compassion of our Divine Nature. We’re all in this together, learning how to live from our highest selves, (our Soul)….can’t we have compassion for our humanness without thinking that the core of us is sinful, or lacking, or not enough? I love the mantram, “I have enough. I do enough. I am enough.” And it’s true. We are all enough.
Check out this short video from Danielle LaPorte, one of my favorite authors, or read the text below. She speaks of this issue so beautifully.

http://www.daniellelaporte.com/the-lie-of-inadequacy/

The Lie of Inadequacy.
We’ve got to fall for some lies to get to our truth.
It goes like this…“You were born defective, not good enough, flawed.” nooo! Erase erase. Blow it UP.
This big lie could translate to, “You were born a girl…so you’re inadequate.” or it might mean that you incarnated into the wrong caste, or the wrong shade of skin, or you Love someone who you apparently should not love—who shouldn’t be loved?

The Lie of Inadequacy is EVERYWHERE, it’s how advertisers make their money, the patriarchal mindset—which BTW affects EVERYONE, religious doctrines gone very wrong. Or we can INHERIT the lie—it’s like a genetic story of being unworthy that gets baked into our DNA, generation after generation.

What’s it like to go through life thinking you’re not quite enough—defective, flawed? Most of us know EXACTLY how that feels. And what happens when we believe the lie? I’ll tell you what happens…We become chronic self-fixers, habitual strivers, always trying to get on the right side of Universal law.

Maybe you’re just kind of weird in a world that rewards “normal”. Too woo woo in a very linear, narrow-sighted culture. You’re doing all the good, metaphysical, motivational work but you feel like there’s a veil between you and what you really want to manifest, and if you get it, you don’t get to keep it. Erase erase.

That’s the subtle but very toxic Lie of Inadequacy telling you that you’re here and what you want is way over there, on the “right” side of it all.
Listen. You were born important. You are a blessing of original goodness. And you are very Powerful.

Love and FULFILLMENT are your birthright…just because you showed up here—in all your glory and with all of your questions and cravings and beauty. You’re kind. I know you are. You are more than adequate; you are substantial. WORTHY.

 

 

A Personal 5 Day Retreat?……hmmmm, not so much.

Every year I try to get away alone to a beautiful place and give myself some time to be away from all distractions. Even though I live in a lovely home, I’m always looking around and seeing what needs to be done and getting interrupted by phone calls, and my own addictions, ( mystery novels, magnum bars, and spider solitaire)…just to name a few. In the past, I’ve walked into Earth Sanctuary, on Whidbey Island and just sunk into the stillness that pervades this Buddhist retreat house. Arriving there on a Tuesday afternoon, I couldn’t catch that quiet vibe. I was restless, edgy and not able to settle. I know this is common on retreats so I thought that by the next day I would be fine. But my insomnia kicked in that night and I was tossing and agitated all night. The next day I woke with a foggy mind and sluggish energy. Nevertheless, I tried to persevere. My intention had been strong. This will be a spiritual retreat, meaning only spiritual reading, some writing for a possible new book, or articles for the full moon and new moon, perhaps a blog, lots of time to meditate and walk in the woods. So, in spite of my tiredness I managed to go through all 3 of the spiritual books I had along and got some writing done, but the restlessness continued. Even a long walk in the woods was interrupted by all the mosquitoes that I had promised not to kill. By that evening I was feeling a bit desperate. What now, I thought? I’ve got 3 more days and I’m so not into this. Unable to reach a place of peace or tranquility, at 8pm I gave it up, got in my car and drove the few miles into the small town of Freeland. Paid for my package of Magnum bars and my two mystery novels and headed out to my car. Turned the key into the ignition and, nothing. The car was dead. Only then did I realize I’d left my phone at the retreat house. Luckily, I’ve been practicing asking for what I need so when a young man came out of the store I didn’t hesitate to ask him for a jump. I was pretty sure it wasn’t the battery since I had just put a new one in, but it was the only thing I could think of. Well, that was a bust. Now I began to feel sort of stuck and a little sheepish, but I asked him if I could borrow his phone to call my insurance tow service. He was very gracious. The insurance person had no idea where Freeland was, (he was in Tennessee) but finally found it on Google and then tried to find a local tow truck and auto repair. It took forever and I was constantly checking in with nice young man to see if he’s still ok not going home and putting his groceries away. He assures me he’s fine, waiting. Well the local tow truck guy had already gone home, but the insurance guy gave him my sob story and he agreed to pick me up in 45 minutes. So, eating my humble pie I ask nice young man if he would be willing to drive me back to the house to pick up my phone so he won’t have to wait for the tow guy? He agrees with no hesitation. On the way back I am gushing my appreciation when he makes an amazing comment. “I knew there was someone at the store who needed my help tonight, that’s why I went.” I was astounded and of course tried to pry more information out of him, but he was reticent to share any more. So back to the store, sitting in my car, waiting for the tow truck guy…and here’s what happened. At least 10 people, (I counted) came by and asked if I needed help, could they give me a jump, did I need a ride somewhere? When I expressed my amazement to one person, he said, “That’s island life.” Wow…how great is that? Eventually the tow truck guy came by and I decided to try one more time to start the car and……it starts right up. After talking it over with tow truck guy I decide to go ahead and drive it to the repair shop which is now closed, and have them look at it the next day. Tow truck guy takes me in his truck and drives me back to the house. I felt so grateful and blessed and also a bit stressed out at all of it….so no writing or meditating now…I went straight for the Magnum bars and my mystery novels. The next day I was on the phone every few hours to check on my car which they couldn’t get to till late afternoon so that made it hard to concentrate, but I did get some writing done. My mind began to go to “worst case scenario” however and I began to worry that I wouldn’t be able to get home on Saturday, in time for the full moon ceremony, Sunday. What if they can’t fix it in time, what if I’m stuck here? How will I get home? Finally, I heard from them that it will be fixed by Friday afternoon and they will come pick me up. So, I am relieved and again, grateful.
Friday morning, I am taking my chair out to do my usual morning routine, which is to sit on a chair outside, with my bare feet on the earth. The chair is cumbersome and I’m having a hard time getting it through the door but finally it is through. But on its way, it catches onto something on the door and the door slams shut. I reach to open it and realize it’s locked. That moment of total panic. I’m here with no shoes so can’t walk anywhere, my phone is again inside on the table so can’t call anyone. I vaguely remember reading the instructions on the day I checked in that there was a lock box somewhere with a code to get a spare key and that I should write the code down and put it under the mat, but of course I didn’t do any of that and I can’t remember where the lock box is or what the code is. But, I do have a chair and I remember that I opened my bedroom window a bit the night before because it was hot. So I haul the chair around to the side of the house and look at the window. It’s rather high up and there is a huge bush right in front of it. Ok, I can do this. I swing that chair up with all my energy, try to stabilize it as best I can, then try to haul myself up to the wobbly chair and pull myself up to the window and into the house, all the while thinking my kids will kill me if I injure myself trying to do something so foolish. I managed to get in but that pretty well shot Friday’s energy. It’s back to the Magum bars and the mystery novels. Seriously, I can’t believe this is all happening. I began to wonder, facetiously, if the Universe is sending me as message that’s it’s not wise to mess with your intentions.
The other disturbing part of my visit this time was that I did have to agree not to kill any bugs and there were 3 lovely spiders in the bathroom that were in corners where I couldn’t easily get them out so I just left them. Well spiders and I don’t have a friendly history, but I did promise, so each time I walked into the bathroom, especially at night, I was on edge just hoping they hadn’t moved.
I started thinking about going home Friday night instead of Saturday morning, but I didn’t feel like cleaning up and packing so I stayed until my check out time on Saturday. After cleaning, doing laundry, remaking the bed, packing up all my stuff I was ready to go. The last item on the checkout list was to leave the key in an envelope under the back-door mat. I lifted up the mat and guess what was there? THE CODE TO THE KEY BOX, that someone else had written out and left. REALLY? By this time all I can do is laugh. It’s all just too funny.
I was so happy to get home.
Lessons learned:
The key is always there to open the metaphoric door if one is willing to look.
When I am stuck, whether metaphorically or literally, there is always help available.
The key is really holding the strong focus for how I want to use my time….and if I do that I can retreat anywhere…..including my own home.
There is no spiritual law that says you will incur bad karma from eating magnum bars and reading mystery novels.

 

OUCH, (X 3)

Again!!! I did it again. Not intentionally, not with forethought and certainly not to upset, but I gave someone I care about an unasked-for suggestion. He was sharing a feeling with me and I just slipped into the old pattern of trying to make it better. We have talked a lot about this issue and how it affects our relationship, but sometimes those old patterns just creep in and I find myself in deep water again. “Just  listen, I tell myself later. That’s all just listen, listen, listen.” I keep forgetting to bite my tongue.

The “suggestion” I gave was only a sentence, but his response was immediate and angry, “I’M HANDLING THIS.!!!!”  Ouch, I could feel the hurt in my heart and I don’t even remember the rest of our conversation.  I just wanted to get off the phone.  I have a habit of handling hurt feelings by “understanding.”  I’ve written about this in the past and it’s still easy for me to slip into. So after hanging up I had this conversation in my head. “I know he cares about me. He wouldn’t intentionally hurt my feelings.  He’s not himself these days because of the pressures of his own life.  I should be a bigger person and just forgive him.” ….Then I noticed that I didn’t want to talk to him again. I wanted to distance myself, shut down.  If this was just an acquaintance and this reactiveness was a pattern I would probably just decide it was not the kind of relationship I wanted to invest in, but I want this person in my life.  Still, I held onto my hurt.

Then two things happened.  First, I read a post in facebook that quoted a person named Sophia Nelson.  It said, in part, “…..Be a woman another person can trust. Have the courage to tell another directly when he/she has offended, hurt or disappointed you.” Wow, that hit home. The reminder that trust depends on total honesty, even when it’s hard and I am afraid. And this also harkens back to my age old issue of valuing my own needs and speaking up when they are not being met…..even if I have judged my needs as being too petty, or unimportant, or, heaven forbid, I’m just being too sensitive. I’ve written so much about this issue in the past that I’m really getting sick of it, but it keeps coming up for me so when that happens I seem to need to write about it.

The second thing that happened was that I was sitting in meditation the next day, totally into it and miles away from any feelings of hurt, when the pain from that conversation hit me with a force I couldn’t ignore. It ruined the rest of my meditation, but I got the message.  This was something I needed to attend to. So I sat for awhile thinking of how I wanted to speak my truth and what came up was this phone conversation, “Have you got a few minutes? I need to share something with you that is really hard for me to do. Yesterday during our phone conversation I crossed the line and gave you a suggestion that you hadn’t asked for. Your response was really harsh and it hurt my feelings. I know you would not intentionally hurt me, but I’d like to ask you if you could try to be a bit gentler with me when I forget to honor the boundaries we have created? I also want you to know that my first response to being hurt was to shut down and distance myself from you, but I realized that I care too much about our relationship to do that. So I hope you can see that this is my attempt to create a deeper level of intimacy with you. I don’t want anything to be in the way of our closeness.”

It took me a few more days to actually screw up the courage to call and say what I needed to say, but I felt so relieved when it was over. He was gracious and admitted his part and thanked me for my honesty. I was grateful to be received in that way.

I think the larger picture here, is that it’s not so much about this particular conversation or my getting my feelings hurt as much as it is about me developing the muscle that makes it easier for me to be vulnerable and admit when I’m hurt. My warrior self needs to stand up for what is true if she is to fully embody her power, and since I have been searching to reconnect with that strength and confidence I am grateful for another opportunity to practice.

Scorpio mantram

“Warrior am I and from the battle I emerge, triumphant.”

A week later, another difficult situation with another dear friend. My feelings of disappointment, and hurt required a few days of inner processing before I could say what needed to be said. But I did it.

A few days later:  WTF??? Three times in one month?

Another opportunity to speak up about my feelings, with another friend…. feeling hurt, not heard and not acknowledged. Equally as hard, but after a night of tossing and turning I spoke my truth again and felt my vulnerability, but also my strength and authenticity.

Then as I was preparing my article on the new moon in Cancer for the Soul Bridging website, (www.soulbridging.com) I realized that many of the aspects of this new moon have to do with our wounds, (hurts from the past) and communicating our feelings….so I guess I’m feeling the impact of those energies as well. Besides which the full moon is hitting my Cancer moon at the exact same degree and “digging up the dirt” Pluto is sitting right next to my moon. Whew!

And is it just a co-inky-dink that I came across this quote at the same time?

 “One of the most commonly overlooked spiritual practices is daring to be completely honest with everyone you encounter. Some may say others cannot handle their honesty, but true honesty is not a strategy or a weapon of any kind. It is the willingness to be open and absolutely transparent in sharing how any moment feels in your heart. It has nothing to do with confrontation, accusation, or any form of blame. True honesty is the willingness to stand completely exposed, allowing the world to do what it may, and say what it will, only so you may know who you are – beyond all ideas.” (Matt Kahn).

I also began to wonder if there wasn’t a deeper message here. Three times in one month just seemed tooo coincidental. Then I came upon the answer while reading a book by Ram Dass, called, “Polishing the Mirror.” His words popped right out of the page and into my heart.  I knew this was the core of what I was struggling with. “Just allowing your humanity and that of others to be as it is, is the beginning of compassion.” I needed to feel compassion for the sensitive, easily triggered, Cancer moon that I am, but I also needed to feel love and acceptance for the other person’s personality expressions. I have pondered a lot about the line between fully accepting someone, as they are, and still asking for my needs to be met. In this sentence, from Ram Dass’ book, something got clarified for me. I need to express my needs. I need to be vulnerable, honest and authentic, but I have to take people where they are and not hold onto the hurt. I have to keep my heart open even when I feel like distancing and shutting down. They are expressing their humanity just as I am expressing mine…..nothing more.

“If your everyday practice is to open to all your emotions, to all the people you meet, to all the situations you encounter, without closing down, trusting that you can do that—then that will take you as far as  you can go. And then you’ll understand all the teachings that anyone has every taught.”  Pema Chodron

What’s so funny about getting older?

A year or so ago I realized that I want to grow older with a group of women. Maybe it was around the time of my fall when I fractured two bones in my shoulder and was dependent, for a time, on others for my care. What I noticed is that it was mostly the women who came to my aid, not exclusively but predominantly. That wasn’t a big revelation to me but I had never been more grateful for my tribe.

Shortly after that I read the two books that I have written about before, Being Mortal, and When Breath Becomes Air. Both of these books have to do with examining the way we age and the quality of life that we wish to have as we get older. I began to ponder this question of how did I want to age? What quality of life was important to me. I realized that I really wanted to have the support and understanding of my women friends as we traveled through these last years. Could we help each other grow old with some degree of grace, as well as drive each other to the doctor’s appointments when we fall or get sick? I decided to start my own group. I chose 6 women who I know are all on a spiritual path….that was an important consideration, to me. They range in age from 60-78 and most of us are single. We decided to start with a book, called, Aging as a Spiritual Practice. We meet once a month, have a brief ceremony, share what is going on with us and talk a bit about the book.  We decided that laughter was important to us as well as movement so each month we share something that has made us laugh. Dancing is also a part of our time together as well as singing.  It is such fun.

Going through my notes today in preparation for our next meeting I came across all of the jokes I have collected and shared during this past year and got tickled all over again…..you know, the good thing about not having such a great memory is that you can enjoy the same things countless times. So here are some of the funnier ones.

“Old age is coming at a really bad time.”

“I laughed so hard tears ran down my leg.”

“I’m so old I remember when water was free and you had to pay for porn”

“I’m so old I can remember going through a whole day without taking a picture of anything.”

“As I’ve grown older I’ve learned that pleasing everyone is impossible, but pissing everyone off is a piece of cake.”

“The idea is to die young…as late as possible.”

Charlie Brown and Snoopy are having a conversation.  Charlie Brown says, “Some day we will all die, Snoopy.” Snoopy replies, “True, but on all the other days we will not.”

“I don’t think outside the box. I don’t think inside the box. I don’t even know where the damn box is.”

“Getting lucky means walking into a room and remembering why I’m there.”

“I’m at that delusional age where I think everyone looks wayyyy older than I do.”

“A group of your neighbors wish to announce that the “one way” frosty glass in your bathroom is facing the wrong way.”

“Exhaustipated means I’m too tired to give a shit.”

And finally,

I no long ask myself “What do I want to let go of and what do I want to hang onto?” Instead I ask, “What do I want to let go of and what do I want to give myself to.” (Parker M. Palmer)

And from, Change Me Prayers, by Tosha Silver

“Change me, Divine Beloved into one who is freed from the illusion of time. Protect me from the toxic views this culture holds about age. Help me be open to a miracle of regeneration in every way. May I know I am a dazzling and eternal Soul, not a chronological number.”

 

Warrior, Warrior, Wherefore Art Thou, Warrior?

I had been feeling so strong and confident after my download of “warrior” energy a few months ago. No fear or trepidation about my upcoming presentation at the conference in Arizona, until…..just a few weeks before I was actually going to present. Suddenly anxiety and fear were once again present. I know that if I can get a handle on the anxiety of presenting I reach a place of true excitement, but at this moment there was only apprehension. Where was that warrior energy? Search as I might it did not seem available.

The Universe doesn’t usually give me direct, explicit injunctions. They are usually much subtler. So here is what I considered the Universes’ response to my question, “What happened to the warrior energy? Where did it go?

One bright day, on my walk through the woods, I was listening to a podcast by someone I had never heard of, but the title of the podcast had the word “warrior” in it and since I was searching I decided to tune in. This person defined a warrior as “someone who is willing to engage in the world.” That was a new definition for me and I could relate to it. I know myself to be someone who is “willing” to engage, even if I’m afraid, uncertain, and nervous.  In fact, one of my mantrams has been, “my job is to just show up”, with whatever I feel I’m being guided to do. I then try to let go of however things turn out, knowing that I am working in cooperation with Spirit and it is a partnership.  It’s not just my show.  So I knew this, but I had never associated it with being a warrior.  I could really breathe into that.

The next piece of clarity came from an email I received from the person coordinating all the talks that the presenters were giving. She said at the end of her email…….”and never forget that as you get up to make your presentation you each have an angel standing beside you.” Whoa, I could really breathe into that.

I am a part of two different groups that I consider my “spiritual family.” In both these groups we ask for the kind of support we need from each other during the month we are not together. We make a commitment to hold those requests in our hearts as we meditate each day.  So I made my request for an easing of my anxiety. Each day when I meditated I not only held those friends in my heart I made a conscious decision to spend a few minutes opening my heart to receive their blessings.

One member, who is a Reiki master, said she would send me a shot of Reiki at the exact moment of my presentation. Just tuning into these energies each day began to seriously diminish my anxiety and I began to feel a bit of the warrior creeping back into my consciousness.

The next piece of understanding came while watching an ice skating competition on TV. It was an amazing display of beauty and motion and connection. It was really perfection in every movement. I remember saying to myself, “Look, you don’t have to do three triple sow cows (?) you just have to give a speech.  Get a grip.”

Sitting with a client who was concerned that because he didn’t feel a strong connection each time he meditated that he was somehow losing it.  I responded, “Just because you don’t feel it doesn’t mean you’ve lost it.” (note to self)

Now that the presentation is over I feel again, the confidence that always comes when I step out of my comfort zone. I actually have a quote somewhere, by someone, that says, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

I’m stepping out again with a trip to Copenhagen in September to give two talks and a book signing.   Keep me in your thoughts.

“Keep dedicating your energy to what serves your work and in turn helps you to serve those that need your work the most.” Chani Nicholas

A Pre-Easter Blessing

On the day before Easter I was preparing to take a nice long walk.  I must admit I’m a “fair weather” walker.  The weather must be reasonable, the temperature pleasant and I have to be really motivated to make the trek up my long steep driveway and then 3 intimidating hills before I get to an even stretch. But on this day the sun was shining, (a rare occurrence this winter) and I was determined to get outside. Most days, when I take this walk, I plug in my phone and listen to podcasts so I can be distracted from the discomfort of those four hills, but on this day, I was remembering something I had read recently in the book, Aging as a Spiritual Practice. The suggestion was that when you begin any walk you take the first 15 minutes and just focus on gratitude, a “gratitude walk” the author called it.  I liked that idea so decided to try it out, bringing the phone along, just in case. I was ambling along, slowly, because of all the gratitude I was feeling, the smell of the spring flowers in bloom, the warmth of the sun on my face, the beauty of the trees, when I noticed a bench.  I had passed this bench a million times on my walks but this time I paused to take a good look.  I think because I was in such a state of grace I really saw it. To my surprise, and delight, tucked away in the corner was a painted rock, with hearts that surrounded the head of an eagle, and this message, “You are loved.” Wow, I was blown away. Now I know that I am loved, by my family and my close friends, but I don’t always remember that there is a bigger love. This felt like the universe was wrapping it’s arms around me and whispering, “you are loved”. It felt transcendent. 

Well, I tell you, that love carried me through the rest of my 3 mile walk without even a thought of turning on the podcasts.

And BTW, a big dose of gratitude to whomever took the time to perform that sweet act of kindness.

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“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” Hamilton W. Mabie

“You know quite well, deep within you, that there is only a single magic, a single power, a single salvation and that is called loving,” Herman Hesse

“If the deepest ground of my being is Love, then in that very Love and nowhere else will I find myself, the world, and my brothers and sisters.”  Thomas Merton

“Love said to me, there is nothing that is not me. Be silent.” Rumi