Between the Cells

Our physical bodies are composed of the same elements as the earth and sky around us. The four basic elements – earth, fire, water, air – make up our world and our bodies. Though there are not clear distinctions, I think of the body as symbolic of earth and fire, being hotter and more dense. I think of mind and emotions as symbolic of water and air, being more liquid and fluid.

It is said that there is more space than substance in the physical body. Science has shown that there is space within each cell and between the cells. Why then does the body not collapse in on itself? Because space does not indicate emptiness.

It is also said that the Soul or Spirit, the Divine Essence, dwells within the spaces of our bodies. We are imbued with the very Essence of the Divine, with Spirit. This is our True Nature, our True Self…that we exist on the Soul level, as well as the physical level, because the Divine gives and sustain life in all forms. The Divine within me gives this body, this  personality, this Soul its existence. And that will never change, even when I leave this physical plane, the Divine will carry me back into the fullness of Itself, my true home.

May you know peace, love and joy in all of the moments of your day.

The Voice of Your Soul

“Yogi” tea bags have sayings on the tags. The one I used yesterday had this one on it:

 The voice of your soul is breath.

In the creation story in the book of Genesis found in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible it says that God formed man from the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.

The presence of the living soul within us came from the breath of God, the Divine. The breath is the sign of life in living beings. When the soul or spirit, the life force essence, leaves the body breathing stops. Soul or True Self has returned to its Source, the Divine Soul, All That Is.

My Soul makes itSelf known every time I take a breath. When I breathe consciously and slowly, I feel my Soul and I know my Oneness with All That Is. I know mySelf & I come into the Presence of the Divine.

Peace.

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.

True Wholeness

From the “Message of the Day” on Day 22 of the Chopra meditation experience titled “Become What You Believe:”

“Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.” – Saint Augustine.

In spiritual terms, wholeness is the ever-present, unlimited awareness that is our true nature. It is not comprised of the thoughts, feelings, images, and experiences of our self. Rather, wholeness is the singular reality out of which all these are comprised. All our experiences are modifications or modulations of our awareness. The recognition that wholeness of consciousness is our true nature is our highest fulfillment.

Take a moment and sit with this today.

Love, compassion, peace from my heart to yours.

Crazy Town

Have you ever been to Crazy Town?

I suppose there are as many definitions of Crazy Town as there are people who live or visit there. My son brought this awareness to his sister and myself not so long ago by responding to something by saying “Well, now you’re just going to Crazy Town! Is that where you want to be?”

Crazy Town exists in our heads, in our thoughts. Given enough energy and validity, Crazy Town can begin to take form in this reality however. I have witnessed a few instances where people brought Crazy Town to life in their homes or jobs. It is best left and dealt with at the thought level and not a place I prefer to visit at all if I can help it.

Crazy Town looms on the horizon when I am distracted from True Self, when I allow myself to fall into old thought patterns or beliefs. My mind begins to have a heyday as it jumps into circular thinking, sucking up anxiety and fear along the way. When I was a young woman, this was a rather common pattern in my life and the people in my life went there as often as I did so the journey was reinforced more often than not. Attending my first bible study-prayer group in my late twenties began to turn the tide. People were talking about love, peace, and gratitude in ways that were foreign to me at the time. My awareness heightened and going into the silence, meditating and being still began to call to my Soul. I discovered the contemplative side of my nature and True Self began to unfold within.

Crazy Town became a place that disrupted my peace and I sought the awareness and understanding to seek other paths and destinations, other ways to interpret life and to think about what I was experiencing. I now know what seems like the truth is often beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors that are learned and that actually are showing me who I am NOT. When I am distracted from the peace and oneness that I Am, my mind wants to circle with the ideas and opinions that others are spouting. I guess it feels familiar or it is just something for the monkey mind to do. As soon as I feel tension in my solar plexus or tightness in my jaw, I know I need to be more present, more aware of what I am experiencing. My Soul is calling me to that awareness because I am about to venture out onto that road to Crazy Town.

I don’t like Crazy Town. It is exhausting and counter-productive to spend any time there at all. So, I return to the silence, even if it is for three slow breaths as I sit in my car. I turn my awareness into the sweetness of my Soul and I remember that I Am One with All That Is. Most of the time, I can shake my head and laugh quietly for a moment thinking, “Catherine Ann, you almost went to Crazy Town! That is so not where you want to be!”

If you find yourself in Crazy Town, be gentle with yourself as you find your way back to the peace and joy of your Soul. Frustration and judgement are not helpful in your return journey. Just come home, precious one, and rest. Then spend time doing something that brings love and laughter to your heart and mind. Remind yourself that enlightenment is an unfolding, an experience of ongoing discovery, understanding and awareness.

May we abide in the peace of our Soul. May we immerse ourselves in love and light. May Crazy Town be a distant memory of a life once lived before we remembered who we are.

I love you. I appreciate your presence, your love and your light. Namaste.

Divine Love

Everything that defies definition, description, division.

Every blessing, bit of good luck, opportunity.

Every challenge, disappointment, unexpected turn in the road.

Every person who ever loved me and let me love them in return.

Every person who resented me whether I love them or not.

Every smile, tear, belly laugh, hug, kiss,.

Every hello, goodbye, see you soon.

Every teacher who showed up in my life, whether the lessons were about what works in life or what doesn’t.

Every mountain, mesa, valley, tree, flower, planted or fallow field, bird, animal, fish, snakes, and most of the insects (yeah, not quite fully enlightened about this).

Every cloud, storm, blue sky, breeze, wind storm, rain drop, snow flake, river, lake, ocean, waterfall.

Every cell, atom, element.

Every human being.

Every breath.

Every moment.

This moment.

Now.

Aum

Living From the Expansiveness of Your Soul

There are many ways to describe the Essence of Being that is manifesting through this body and personality in this current lifetime. This Essence is known as the spirit, soul, True Self, Inner Wisdom, Higher Self, etc. When I become aware of “someone” looking out the portals of my eyes to see this world, I am connecting with this Inner Being. This is the real me. I like the terms True Self and Soul. This is that part of me that is untouched by the traumas of human life. It is One with All That Is. It is eternal.

The process of enlightenment is remembering (re-membering, re-connecting) that Essence that is Divine, that is Love manifesting in human form. Once remembered, the Soul flourishes and brings the higher levels of awareness that heal and expand me physically, mentally, and emotionally. Practices like yoga and meditation make this process natural, an unfolding into True Self that allows me to feel safe and free to be me!

As my yoga practice came to a close this morning, a sweet mantra came into my awareness. My intention for my morning practice was to remember feeling safe and free to manifest my True Self. As I felt the vibration shift within my body, my heart and mind relaxed and began to align more fully with my Soul. I felt lighter and my face smiled as my breath slowed, bringing me into my truth. Then, this arose in my awareness:

I live from the expansiveness of my soul.

Even now, I stop and close my eyes. As I take several slow breaths, I easily flow back into that feeling of expansiveness in my body, mind, and heart. The joy and love of the Divine flood my being and I know mySelf. Oh yeah…..!

As one who loves you and honors your soul, your presence in this life, I invite you to delve into the expansiveness of your soul and abide there. You are loved, dear hearts. Infinitely and unconditionally loved.

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.

What am I creating today?

For me, conscious creating is about being mindful in the moment rather than controlling how my life will unfold. Because I do not live in isolation, I can see and understand that my interactions with others brings an overlap in our life experiences, even in our karma. My karma is just that: mine. Yet there is family or bloodline karma that I am walking out as well. There is karma resulting from my participation in relationships of all kinds. So, yes there are experiences that come into my life – both blissful and highly uncomfortable – that I have not consciously created. I have agreed to them on some level, however, by entering into partnerships, either personal or professional.

Life has taught me to be very aware of who and what I am bringing into the inner circle of my experience. At times this learning journey has been profoundly painful as well as profoundly beneficial.

This mantra filled my thoughts, my being for an entire day recently:  Om Brahma Namah

Deepak Chopra translates this as: My being participates in the creation of each moment.

I appreciate his use of the verb “participates” because it reminds me that, even when I catch the edge of someone else’s karma, it is because I have somehow participated in the creation of that moment. At the very least, my participation included having that person in my life long enough to catch that edge.

So, the question becomes “What am I creating by my participation in ______ ?”  If I am unhappy with what I am experiencing, am I willing to change my participation with that person or situation? Notice I did not ask “Can I change what that person is doing or can I control that situation?” The only way to shift what I am experiencing is to evaluate my participation in that experience.

Another mantra comes to mind:  Aieem Namah

Chopra translates this one as: My True Self is playful and wise.

I love this and I am not always this, so today this will be my mantra. From now on, when I realize I am displaying the thoughts or behaviors of Miss Fussy Pants, I will ask myself this:  Am I being playful and wise?  If I am not, this mantra will be my reminder to shift thoughts, desires, behaviors so that I may return to my True Self, yes? Yes!

This I do not have to create. This I simply can remember. To live from True self is to be playful and wise. Then I can trust that my participation in the creation of each moment will be for my highest good and the highest good of all. It will also be way way fun!!

I Am Not My Story

At the dawning of the internet, I received an email that brought a delightful teacher and friend into my life. His work then shifted my awareness and my journey to mySelf took a huge leap.

Jim Dreaver sent that email to yoga teachers to introduce his book The Way of Harmony. In the introduction, Jim presents the core insight that set me free to see the reality of me. On page 4 and 5 he writes:

The core insight involves a subtle shift in the way you see yourself and your life. It is a stepping back, so to speak, and beginning to see that you are not the person you thought you were.

Specifically, you are not your “story.” The reality you’ve created inside your head about who you are – your beliefs, personal history, attitudes, identity, and self-image – is not who you are.

For many of you, this is not new information. For many of you, this is mind-blowing. I desperately needed to set myself free from all of the stories in my head. They trapped me in self-doubt and judgement. They held me back from being the manifestation of love and compassion that is my true nature. Did I make the stories up? No. They were based on human experiences from my physical life. What I did not understand was that those experiences do not define my True Self. Jim’s book was the missing piece of information I was looking for and I am forever grateful.

So who am I then? To make it very simple, I am a spiritual being learning how to be human.

So what is the problem? For me, the problem was that I believed I was a human being trying to learn how to be spiritual. I was in my body backwards for 50 years!  Actually, it may not have been a full fifty years. I have memories from young childhood of a deep connectedness with that which I could not see or articulate. When I began to turn back into mySelf later in life, I remembered.

All of my life experiences have helped me learn and grow into my own humanity. Christ was a living example of the manifestation of God, Divine Love, in human form. Christian tradition teaches that we are created in the image of God and that the world will recognize God’s children by their love. Kwan Yin is know as the Divine Giver of Compassion. She is also an example of the Divine in human form. Once I step back and see that I am God’s Love and Compassion in a physical body, I begin to relax and let go of all those stories of working to do it right, to please God, to be perfect. I can sit down into the love and peace of my Soul (True Self) and let that ooze out my pores. There is no need to create what already exists. Embrace it and let it ooze!

I live so much more peacefully now. As I walk my face smiles just because I am. It is a sweet place to be. Want to come along?