Monday, June 16, 2014

Our Truest Self

We had dinner last night with a neighbor who made the comment, “I really like spending time with you because I can be myself.”  Such a simple comment.  Which prodded me to think about myself and how often I can be truly, fully, freely, all of myself.

This may seem like a ridiculous question to some.  It depends on all the usual things probably: how you were raised, your personality, your profession, etc.  But where do you get to bleed over the edges, to push back, toss comments like candies in the air and see who catches them?  Where you are accepted for just being who you are and can feel safe that you won’t be judged or misunderstood? 

Perhaps my neighbor wasn’t saying all that.  What I know is that each of us need to have our “peeps--” those special friends who are close to us and us to them, and with whom we can laugh and be silly and share our deepest secrets and woes; who will listen and not judge, and where we can be truly, fully, unabashedly ourselves.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Does quiet unnerve you?  No TV, cellphone, electronic device humming?  Is it just too . . . quiet?

As the snow falls to the ground, I think of the walk I will take afterward.  The ground is blanketed.  Everything is white.  It is quiet.  I can hear the quiet and it is magnificent.

Human beings need some conscious (as opposed to sleeping) quiet time.  Whether we are mindfully cooking and preparing a meal, reading a book or meditating, quiet time in our lives gives our bodies and minds a chance to rest and be restored.  Without this time, it's easy to become exhausted, irritable or even sick, when we are forced to take a rest.

It may not be easy to know how to create quiet in your life.  With all the influences of social media, streaming on your iPad, and an information-laden and fast-paced life, who has time (much less the inclination) to be quiet? 

Start slow, with just a minute.  Sit, with nothing else going on.  Leave your electronics off, or at least to the side where you cannot see them.  Look out a window, think of a pleasant scene or just sit.  Observe how you feel.  It may be extremely uncomfortable.  I remember years ago thinking about sitting and doing nothing and it was a foreign concept--I could barely imagine it.  Today, I look forward to my quiet time because I cannot stay centered and grounded without it.

Over the holidays, it's busier than ever.  Some of the parties are fun, some wear us out.  Family can be a challenge.  Give yourself an opportunity to try something new, a gift to yourself of a one quiet minute.  Take some deep breaths.  Sink into the moment.  Notice how your body and mind feel. You may find it's just what you need to make it through the holiday season.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Space in the Glass of Life


I've had a few ridiculously busy days lately.  Going at a clip from one thing to another, from morning until evening, fearing I will make the next appointment on time, I lose myself, my center.  Stress creeps in, an uninvited visitor.  I am reacting to what is happening around me, to me, without the time to process and feel at ease.  What am I doing?  Is this the way I want to live?

What I miss most about days like these is the space in my day for the unexpected: running into a friend and having a leisurely chat;  reading an article in the newspaper or a magazine that has caught my eye; taking in the fall foliage and appreciating the beauty around me.

These are the moments I want to have, the space to step fully into my life, embracing it and smiling in acknowledgement.  These are the moments that make me feel at peace.  I have a choice about how I schedule and spend my time.  I make better decisions when there is space in my life.  Can I wake up each day and have that space? 

I confess I have struggled with this for years, wanting to do a lot with my life, feeling energized and committed to family, friends, causes and work.  I want to make a real difference in the time I spend here.  My life is full.  It's when it teems over, the glass unable to hold the multitude of meetings and responsibilities, where everything gets less of me, not more, that the kind of life I want to live leaks out and I am left depleted.  It's a fine balance, this full glass and the leaky one.  That's where the space comes in:  if I do not fill the glass to the top and leave some space, chances are it will not spill over, even with the unexpected delights and mishaps of life. 

Hmmm . . .

Monday, September 30, 2013

Your Creative Spark

We are all creative, in one way or another.  You may not think of yourself as an artist, but perhaps you like to cook, love gardening or tinkering with cars.  Maybe you’ve always been a doodler or love knowing how things fit together.  Each of us has the ability and desire to create something of our own as a reflection of our own uniqueness in the world.

So why are some people able to let this aspect of their personality shine while others cannot access their creative spark?  There may be many answers to this question, but in this fast-paced, information-laden society of ours, there is little time to simply be and allow our minds to wander.  Day-dreaming is a lost state of being and is often a preamble to creativity.  Our minds and souls, for that matter, need unstructured time to wander, do loop-de-loops and make free associations.  We need time to play, experiment, see what gives us joy.  How many of us learned a hobby or art from our grandparents, who had interests of their own and time to spend with us?  My grandmother sewed beautiful embroidery, and I learned needlepoint by the age of 10. 

Perhaps you were one of those people in touch with some interest or artistic bent at an earlier age, but gave it up because you now don’t have the time. Our natural inclinations are often what give us our greatest joy. On the other hand, you may feel you don’t have a creative bone in your body.  That’s okay.  Just by giving yourself this time you may get in touch with something that has lain dormant. With all the responsibilities and “have-to’s” in our lives, it’s important to keep those interests alive and woven through our days and weeks. It may seem strange that many people actually “schedule” this time for themselves in their calendars, but doing so gives them the space and often the permission to let go.

I know if I go too long without some “down time” I become stressed and irritable.  I don’t sleep as well and wake in the middle of the night making lists of things I have to do.  I am clearly overscheduled.  For a week or two, a relatively short period of time, this is manageable, but if it goes beyond that, I know I need to change something.  Ironically, the Universe is often right there; appointments are cancelled or rescheduled and I am given that much-needed breathing room.

Space.  Time.  It can feel so elusive and yet our souls need it. Unstructured and without agenda, time to nourish that part of us that is deep and timeless.  This is the part of ourselves we need to acknowledge if we are to be content and balanced in our lives and in this world.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Detours of Our Lives

Many of us have ideas of what our life will be like.  We’ll fall in love with this type of person, find a place to live (a certain neighborhood, a particular house, the “right” apartment), work to attain a certain job.  Our goals and dreams are often realized, and we can feel pretty good about things.

During the past week, I heard or came across many stories of people whose lives had presented something totally unexpected, and not in a good way: a child with disabilities, a lost job, the loss of a home, an accident.  For these people, their life was suddenly off-course; it veered in a direction they had not anticipated.

What does one do?  There is the initial shock and then “Why me?”  As we come to accept things as they are, we have some options.  If we can get past regret for what has happened, and if don't allow the fear of the future to swallow us whole, then what we have is today. Things are the way they are. In each moment, we can choose how to react and behave.  If we have children, we can be a role model, or instead transmit all our fears, disappointment and anger to them.

A devastating loss may require we seek professional help to deal with the situation.  Many people suffering the loss of a loved one, which is a natural life passage, often see a therapist or grief counselor because they feel unable to move on. 

However, with each of these people telling their stories, something amazing happened. Each and every one about whom I read felt that the unexpected change in their life brought out some strength they didn't know they had and ultimately made them a better human being.  That’s not to say life was easy or they didn’t have sleepless nights or have to work hard to get their lives into a more manageable place. Yet in living the experience, they were able to get beyond feeling like a victim and find some learning, some new understanding that affected their life view.

We may need help in tough situations.  We’ll likely need time to figure out how to cope with a new reality.  The question is whether we can come through not embittered and having found some glimmer of gratitude for where we are now.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

What's It All About?

You can see that everyday spirituality does not result in a post every day--or even every week--or month!  So what is it all about?

If we accept that we are spiritual beings in a physical body (I realize that's a big "if" for a lot of people), then connecting to our spirituality is pretty important if we want to live the most happiest, most fulfilling and contented life.

The posts in this blog have illustrated times when I've felt spiritual or connected to that deep place inside of me.  Or they address topics about how we can be our best selves.

But the thing that's most difficult is how we make these connected times more and more part of our everyday lives.  So that's what I'm going to write about for awhile.

It's all about being conscious, about waking up to what is really going on in our lives and within ourselves.  Once you wake up, there's no going back.  And don't think you don't know that on a deeply intuitive level. In fact, many people run the other way by being so busy, altering their consciousness through drugs or alcohol, or living their lives in the past (regret) or the future (worry) that there is no room to be conscious about their lives today.  Right NOW.  No way they want to go there.

When we do go there, the payoff is BIG. No, it's way more than that.  But it does take courage and being honest with ourselves.  Opting to look in the mirror and see ourselves, warts and all, can be the decision of a lifetime.  No masks.  Nothing to take away the pain.  Just YOU.  It changes the way you see yourself, the world around you, other people.  Accepting yourself for who you are makes living in this sometimes crazy, mixed-up world a whole lot better.  Nothing is beyond your reach, not even happiness.

Friday, April 5, 2013

My Present

The beach is strewn
With a thousand
Shells, rocks, sticks, fossils.
Each has a story to tell
Of how it came to be

Every day something new
Speaks to me.
Though seemingly random,
There is a timeless march
Of water, sea and sand.

A gull swoops down for breakfast.
Waves slosh against rocks and shore.
Pulling back to leave their
Cross hatch vestiges
Which perplex me.

It is here
Day after day
Time immemorial
My present.


This morning my body said "run!"
I've been a relative deadbeat,
Laziness and a cold my excuses.
Down in the relative warmth
Of a different clime,
My body naturally responds
After a long, dreary winter.
Open up!  Let me out!
Like an untethered horse
Falling into a comfortable trot,
I can do over a mile
There's life in this mid-aged girl yet!

New Moon

I remember years ago
Upon waking, the thought
Of sitting still,
In a chair,
Listening to my breath,
"Tuning in" to my body
Was as far away
And impossible
As the moon.

A far off destination.
Through intention, practice and purpose
The moon has become my home.
Like its waxing and waning.
Cloudy or clear,
Full or smaller aspects of itself.
I listen to my body,
Everyday a little different
Showing me the way.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

In the Moment of Waves

We all know that primordial sound of waves on the shore.  The ebb and flow, the never-ending cycles of time, of life.  A metaphor for the womb, for give and take, for life's struggles.

If you were to travel around the world experiencing waves lapping at different shores, would they sound the same?  Or would each have its own unique rhythm on a calm and sunny day? 

A wave crashing on the shore has many different components.  It furls close to shore, and at its loudest, crescendos onto land, where it quiets and then fizzes bubbles for several seconds before receding.  With every ebb and flow, the sea leaves its white latticework in the shallows, which never fully disappears but reforms with the next wave.  Every now and then there will be just a moment of silence, like the space between an in-breath and out-breath.  No two waves are ever the same.

Hearing the waves is a comfort, the sounds recurring over and over. The water brings an energy with it, an encouragement or perhaps an urgency.  There can be tenderness, with several waves merely lapping; lest I become too complacent the next may crash, sending water over my ankles and up to my knees.  The next minute the water, clear and unspoiled, feels like velvet on my feet.

I've been mystified by the crosshatch design left on the sand by the retreating waves.  I cannot understand why it appears that way all along the beach.  The air has a faintly briny smell which is only perceptible when the wind pauses.

Around the rocks is a grand slithering as smaller rocks and pebbles are pulled back with a mighty drag.  And there's a tucking in around the rocks in the gentler ebbs, where the slithering turns into a soft gurgle.  Hearing all the sounds together is a symphony, one that is made up as it goes along.  Sounds I love always and never tire of.