Listening To The Rain

It rained all night. We need this and I love the sound – have my whole life. As I sat in the moments just before dawn, meditating, I let myself think of all the ways nature touches my mind and heart. This morning I kept imagining the dark night sky. When I lived in Vegas the darkness was only true if there was a power outage. Artificial light drowned out all but the brightest of stars. Here in Southern California, the night sky is a tapestry of twinkling designs. Then I began to envision blue skies and all types of clouds. When my son was very little, his favorites were the “big puffy clouds.” I still smile when I see those and am filled with gratitude for what my two children taught me through their brand new eyes.

Darkness and Light. Two sides of our human, earthly world. Two halves of each day, though not always a true “half” as we move through space around the sun. Do you ever stop and realize the entire planet is in motion? So many things to consider in our earthly existence.

What if there were no darkness?

Would we live in caves or underground to escape heat and cold or to sleep deeply enough to dream and restore our bodies and minds? Would there have been a need for fire, and eventually electricity, if we had never faced true darkness? Would men have sailed the oceans without the stars to guide them? Where would our dreams of other worlds and other realities have come from without those lights in the night sky? At times we would still have seen the moon but never its luminosity.

As many of you know, black and white photography is a favorite of mine because it clarifies the lines and edges of what I am seeing. When I am confronted with what many see as darkness in the world, I realize that I am also being confronted by the remaining shadows within myself. I also see my own sharp edges. I may also be reminded of times in my own life when my behaviors were closer to darkness than light; times when my own fear caused me to cling to dying belief systems and defend them righteously. Even though the change was not dramatic in most ways, I have not always been where I am today.

Light softens the darkness just as Divine Love, Grace, softened my heart and mind. I know that if I abide in and live from the Truth of Who I Am it will soften the darkness of my present world and allow others to see and hear more clearly. It will show me my place when action is needed. It will grant me wisdom when others need lifting up. It will bring someone to me when I need the lifting. Light softens the darkness and allows those who are ready to see and hear more clearly that still, quiet voice within that leads us to the Love and Light of Truth.

The darkness emphasizes the light, dear hearts. So let’s shine for all that we are worth! Let’s laugh and love more than ever! Let’s keep respecting ourselves and each other. Let’s stand up for those who have spent their lives fighting for the right to be. Let’s love and protect our planet and support those dedicated to saving it.

Light travels the universe. Light expands. Light softens the darkness and uses it to emphasize its own brightness. Let there be light! 🌞

 

 

Happiness Leads to Joy

As a young woman I regularly attended, and often led, bible study groups and prayer groups. We often used taped teachings from Christian leaders around the country. I remember one of the teachers explaining the difference between happiness and joy. It made sense to me then so I embraced the explanation as my own. It remains with me now, forty years later.

In my words: Joy is a state of being; Happiness is a response to current experience.

This morning it comes to mind that, since happiness is a response, I can create experiences that make me happy. I can do this with others by creating opportunities to have fun with people I love. When others are not available, I find happiness by myself in many ways. Walking to the library and taking the time to discover new authors makes me happy; I walk home with a smile on my face and anticipation of a new literary adventure. Stopping during a walk to watch squirrels or admire an owl sitting on a low branch sends me on my way grinning. I am happy in those moments.

As I thought about all of this it occurred to me that stringing as many happy moments together as possible is one of the paths that leads me to living in a state of joy. True Joy results from knowing mySelf and living from the Truth of my Soul. Knowing that I Know puts me in a very quiet, peaceful state of body, mind, and heart. It settles me into the Truth of Being and, for me, that is a place of pure joy that cannot be taken from me. I can forget my Truth for a moment but the instant I return to it I discover that sweet space within that is Joy Itself. At a time of deep emotional grief and pain, I found myself in tears, overwhelmed, screaming in agony. As I crumpled down to the floor I became aware of this deeply quiet pool within. I knew that, as I surrendered to the grief and pain and let it be expressed, it would begin to dissipate and I would once again rest in that place within where I know mySelf and where I abide in peace and joy.

May your journey be filled with happy times that lead you into the state of be-ing we call Joy and may you reside there. Namaste.

“Here I am, yes it’s me…”

I awoke in my new home this morning with these words, from a song recorded by Lyle Lovett, repeating in my barely conscious mind. I lay still for several moments, as I tend to do, and let the world re-enter my awareness. The light was dim and I heard a bird singing outside my window. My face smiled because I love waking up to birdsong. There it was again:  Here I am, yes it’s me…

What? I had not listened to that cd since my drive a week ago to my new home. Why so clearly this morning? I stay in the stillness and softly close my eyes, letting myself feel. It slowly becomes clear to me. Here I am in a different state, different city, different home and yet nothing has changed. It is still me, waking up in my same bed, slowly feeling the day begin, listening to a bird sing outside my window, wondering where I went during the night, feeling the anticipation of writing as a new day dawns.

“Here I am, yes it’s me…”  I have created a huge transition and I am aware of the external differences: flowers and green trees and shrubbery all around me, a much smaller home, and lots of people I haven’t met yet. I am also aware of what remains the same: my precious friends and family are still a phone call away (some are physically closer while others are farther away), mountains still surround me (though the ones here are closer and greener), and I am still me!

This is a bit difficult to communicate but here goes. This is my first major transition living at this level of mindful awareness, being more present in the moment than ever before. It feels quite different physically, mentally, and emotionally. The spirit/soul experience is a constant. Yes, I have been physically tired but I find strength and stamina that surprises me. Yes, my brain throbs keeping up with all of the details a move creates but my mind is calmer and clearer than it has been in similar past experiences. Yes, my emotions have been intense over the past few months but, at the same time, they have been simple, clear and consistent with the circumstances. Nice!

I told one of my mentors, Richard Miller, years ago that an important insight for me concerned my Aquarian nature. Structure and routine are necessary for me to remain grounded and centered. Within that I need the freedom of diversity to allow my True Self to fly high and wide. For example, when I was teaching yoga full time, I created a class schedule that gave my students consistency and me diversity: Tuesdays & Thursdays were the same (2 classes each day), Mondays and Wednesdays were the same (2 classes but different hours than T & Th), and Friday held one class. Perfect for me. Diversity within structure.

This is what I am feeling this morning. Much of my life is changing in this transition and just as much of it remains the same. This works for me.

What works for you? How can you mindfully create a flow of life that meets the needs and desires of your True Self? Where do you begin? I would suggest beginning with an exploration of your levels of awareness of your True Self? Spiritually, are you living in and from your Soul? Emotionally, are you finding what balances your emotional body while allowing you to embrace life joyfully and passionately? Mentally, what keeps you present and “on top of your game” rather than getting lost in circular thinking? Physically, are you knowledgeable of the type of diet and the level of exercise and rest that supports a strong, healthy body? Experience tells me that the same thing doesn’t work for everyone in any of these areas. Thus, my suggestion of an exploration. Try on what has worked for others but choose what ultimately works best for you.

I can hear some of you sighing and thinking “Good heavens, this will take the rest of my life!” What else do you have to do with your life that is more important? The journey will be as fun as you choose to make it. It is about discovery and having a vessel that is up for whatever the game of life brings your way.