Here’s A Thought…

What others are doing around you seems very important when you have not found your own steadiness. You want to say to them, “Don’t rock my boat! If you rock my boat, I can’t be steady.” But the truth of it is, you’re the only boat-rocker in your world. Only you can rock your boat.

This quote comes from Abraham-Hicks Publications. It is dated February 1, 2014.

My own sweet Soul often reminds me “You are doing this to yourself, Catherine Ann. This is not coming from outside you. You are doing this to yourself by the way you are responding to these circumstances.”

Enough said? Just think about it 💫💖

Yesterday I Met a Gentle Man

I often take a stroll after dinner. In summer the shadows are long and people smile as they walk their dogs or chat together at the end of their day. Last night I met a gentle man who was playing with a puppy in his front yard. He sat in the grass and this little ball of white fluff frolicked around and all over him. I couldn’t help but laugh and he smiled widely and greeted me warmly. A door opened and we began to talk quietly.

His puppy barked, then sniffed at the back of my extended hand and we became friends. Her man held her so gently that I was drawn to ask her age, name, etc. Her name is Pearl and she is wonderful! After a time we exchanged names and I felt joy to have met someone in the neighborhood where I now live.

All of the details are not necessary yet a few will reveal why this is on my mind as a blessing this morning. Robert and I were born within a year of each other. We are both grandparents now. We love our families, where we live and our country. He grew up poor and in a rough neighborhood in the city. He had to fight to survive and promised himself that would be the end of fighting. Yet, when his country called, he joined the Navy and served during the Viet Nam War – not because he believed in it but because he loves his country.

We talked about those times. I was a military daughter then and my father and brother flew combat during the same year in Viet Nam. I dropped out of college and went to be with my mother. My father was the Wing Commander at March AFB. I stood with her more than once as the base commander, along with a chaplain and us, entered the home of a young woman to inform her of her husband’s death in the war. It was not an easy time.

Robert shared some of his experiences with me and I could see in his eyes what serving in Viet Nam had cost this gentle soul. To this day, he lives with the side effects of having been exposed to Agent Orange. Neither of us thought we should be involved over there and, of course, we were not alone. Robert’s last comment on the subject was that he never fought again. Then he snuggled little Pearl and we talked of puppies and grandchildren and strolling on summer evenings.

Last night I met a gentle man and he touched my life with his honesty, his love for his family and country and that pesky little puppy. His warmth and openness to me, a stranger, eased my mind and I finished my stroll with a big smile on my face. Before falling a sleep, I prayed that the pain he endures because of Agent Orange would ease enough to allow him to sleep. I sent him blessings and blessed his loving wife who makes silk sleeves for his pajamas because the sheets burn his arms.

I met a gentle man who has remained true to himself in the face of life’s hard side. He is a gift and I am honored to have met him. The blessing of those fifteen minutes with him will remain with me and I am grateful for his presence in this world.

May our hearts be open and gentle and true. Namaste.

The Wee Hours of The Morning

Yesterday I woke up at 3:00 a.m. Yep. And that was it for me; not one more moment of sleep after that. Mercy! As life, in its relentless nature, would have it, yesterday was the day I was taking my car in for service and it could not be rescheduled. I sat in the waiting room feeling like a ball of fuzz. They provided me transportation home so that I could at least wait in comfort and privacy. I rested and felt slightly less fuzzy. Everything was taken care of and I picked my car up and hoped the hours would pass quickly until I could go to bed.

Does this sound familiar to any of you? Did I have something important on my mind? No. Was there a problem that needed to be solved immediately? No. I just woke up and stayed awake. I used lavender essential oil. I meditated. I rested. Nothing returned me to sleep. At least I have learned not to go crazy when this happens and I am profoundly grateful I do not have to go to work after an early wake-up like that. Been there, done that. I have also learned that, for me, reading or getting up and doing something is counter-productive. It only teaches my body and mind to wake me up every morning at that time.

These experiences have been quite profound in teaching me to go with the flow of life and simply be in the moment. There are times when I drift into a deep and sweet meditative state similar to yoga nidra. These times are restorative and the day is easier. Other times I find myself drifting in and out of precious memories of loved ones no longer in form. I am still tired that day but wrapped in the warmth of having been loved throughout my life. Then there have been times when insights I have longed for drift into my mind and heart with simple clarity and I am grateful beyond words. There are also times when my mind is determined to review every uncomfortable, unwise, and embarassing choice I have ever made in this lifetime. It is so relentless, I end up whispering to myself, “Oh fine, just go ahead and run the movie of my misadventures. I am too tired to fight you or try to change this.” My teachers have said it is just residue being released so I choose not to dwell in any one memory or try to interpret a meaning or purpose for the experience. I just let the movie run as though it is about someone else while holding the intention and image of smoky residue burning off and floating away from me.

The day that follows is an opportunity to nurture myself with love and compassion. My mantra is often “Welcome to the human race, Catherine Ann.” We all have these times. It is okay. It is what it is. No one ever has said we are designed to sleep perfectly any more than we are designed to be awake and live perfectly every day, all the time. Right? Right.

It keeps coming back to love and compassion, doesn’t it? Toward myself and others. Acceptance of what is. Love of myself and you. Compassion for myself and you because we share so many common experiences. We need to know we are not alone even in this. I am not the only one who has sleepless nights and fuzzy days. Either are you. When you see the bags under your eyes in the morning, smile and say to the person in the mirror,  “I love you even when you look like you feel. I love you.”

I love us, you know? Namaste.

The Little Things

When I put my house on the market a few months ago, I mentally gave myself a year for the full transition to happen because I knew people in my neighborhood that had their houses on the market for six months or more. One week after listing, I accepted an offer and three weeks later I was meeting the moving van at my apartment in another state. A lot of work but it all came together and here I am.

Yep, here I am, without a doubt or second thought about my decision or my choices.

So, why can’t I make up my mind about when to make an appointment to have work done on my car?! I am retired and new in town so there are no commitments keeping me from going to the dealership. I made the decision to have the work done four or five days ago and haven’t called. Why? Because I am hung up on when to get it done!

As I write this, I am laughing at myself. My intention is to make the call today and I will be happy to have it done. That was my intention yesterday as well…and the day before. Is this typical of me? Sort of but not really. For the most part, I am well-organized by nature. I just get things done so I can move on to something more interesting or fun. Now and then this does happen, however. I just get stuck. My answer is to be patient with myself. In this case, nothing is seriously wrong with the car so I have some leeway. I have the money budgeted and, obviously free time is not an issue. So, I will have a laugh and give myself the freedom to pick up the phone when the fancy strikes. Later, I will be very happy it is done.

There was a time when I would have denigrated myself and had a time of it rather than laughing and knowing it will get done. Today I love myself more and allow myself to be where I am in the moment. Being human is a journey of imperfection and wonder and the opportunity to love myself as I am. The Divine loves me as I am so who I am to say that is an inappropriate choice?

Aum shanti.

Take Me As I Am

The title of this entry is an invitation rather than a challenge.

It is a gift beyond measure to have someone in your life who loves you just as you are. Free of disapproval or the fear of being a disappointment, you are free to unfold into the uniquely divine human being you came here to be.

As a child, my father was stationed at Walker AFB, New Mexico (Roswell). And before you wonder, it was well after the UFO’s landed so that was not the way I arrived on the planet (though it has come up more than once in my lifetime)!

I remember that my mother and her friends wore dresses or skirts most of the time. My mother was a beautiful red head – dark red, thick hair. One day I stood near her in our front yard as she chatted with a neighbor. The attention of the woman turned to me and I felt very uncomfortable. I was an extremely shy and quiet child. My mother never shamed me for that; she simply accepted me. That day, I moved closer to her and stood almost behind her. She silently took the side of her full skirt and wrapped it around me, letting me hide in the folds of her dress. I felt safe.

Over time I learned to come out of my shell, to be social in spite of my innate shyness. I loved meeting people and going new places but it took effort to relax into those situations. As a young military wife, I could “work the room” with the best of them keeping the shy girl safely inside.

To this day, I am internally awkward and anxious in new places and situations. People are shocked when they here me say, “By nature, I am very shy.” Many have laughed and refused my truth, insisting that I am joking.

It is not a joke; it is my truth. I still stop before going into a new place, especially if I am alone. I take a slow breath and remember being sheltered in the folds of my mother’s dress, safe until I felt ready to emerge. My parents taught me how to move through the world with confidence and to look to the gift of knowing people and caring for them. What choice did I have? I have been, to some degree, a public figure most of my life. I was the daughter of a high level military officer. I was the wife of a military unit commander. I became a relatively well-known bible teacher, conference leader and worked with high risk youth in summer programs. I now have been teaching yoga and presenting workshops for 22 years. I just keep ending up in the front of the room!

This must be my lifetime to balance the dichotomy of innate shyness and the gift of communicating with those on conscious healing journeys…and it is a wild and crazy ride. My personal zip line! I love my life.

The gift of someone who likes and loves me makes that balance so much easier to maintain. It opens a space for it all to be fun and for the freedom to be fearlessly me. Such a gift.

The title of this entry is an invitation rather than a challenge. I invite you to be that gift to others, even just one person. I invite you to attract and nurture those who bring this gift to you, even just one person.

Take me as I am and I will give you the same. Namaste.