Reflections From My True Self

Remembering Who I Really Am


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Knowing, Awakened

It is early in the day and I am returning from dropping off my children at their before-school activities. So early, I am already carrying a lead weight of anxiety in the bowl of my belly, my mind racing between “shoulds” and my heart hardening with each breath. It is a grey morning, after a rain, with small puddles still gathered in pockets of asphalt. But I am moving too fast to notice.

And that would be my state on this day —this mindless, slightly panicked energy— but for an unexpected interruption. A robin’s chortle breaks into my self-absorption. Suddenly, I am aware of the veil curtain of mist, hanging close to the ground, and the cool scent of soil rising through it. New bird song rings, further away, then closer. I can feel the contours of my body, trace my breath through my lungs.

I am alive! I am here.

And I can see! I see the crabapple tree next to me, in the fog’s embrace. I see a tiny nuthatch hopping up its trunk. And I see the nubs of leaves, waiting to unfold, gathered on spindly branches.

I am here, in the damp mist and the echoes of bird chatter, and I am also home, hurtled by my senses through time and space to the landscape my Soul loves best: the contours of the mountainside on La Finca. And the awareness awakens this knowing in me, again: here, too, I am home.

When I stop to see, when I feel with my senses that I am alive, then, wherever I am, I am home.

Photo by Jay Simmons

Photo by Jay Simmons


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A Galloping Flame

I am gifted with a dream of the one place where my Self is fully at home, on the Finca, the farm of my childhood in Colombia. I find myself walking in a verdant field on the mountainside, surrounded by lush forest, reveling in its vibrant energy, when I see a flash of movement among the trees. I don’t have time to think before I see a small, but magnificent horse in the shaggiest burnt-orange coat racing across the field in my direction.

I don’t recognize this creature that makes me think of prehistoric horses, or the  ones from the Tibetan mountains, because of its thick, long coat that waves in the wind like a flame streaking towards me.  I am thrilled by the sight of it, and tremulous.

I know horses. They are like people. Some of them are gentle and kind, warmhearted. And some are ornery, and mean. And I don’t know which of them this one is, I only know it is wild, of a wild species that has never been domesticated. Perhaps I should take cover.

But the flame gallops past me without even acknowledging my presence, and, before my unbelieving eyes, races to the other edge of the field and right up the trunk of a tree, onto a thick, sturdy branch, standing in brilliant splendor among the leaves.  My mind struggles to accommodate what it knows is impossible, but cannot deny is occurring.

When I awake enough to remember that I was dreaming, to feel the joy of having traveled to the place I always miss when I am away, I feel a new thrill. I have written before that horses in my dreams are portentous. When I dream of them, I am left with a solemn sense of awe and bottomless gratitude, a feeling of having been somehow bestowed.

Horses often symbolize my True Self in my dreams, my untamed nature. Only in this dream, that symbol is, in fact, wild and untamed, and doing the impossible!

I welcome this energy into my waking life, keeping my senses alert for signs of it, opportunities to experience it, as I move through my day.

Photo by Funky Tee on Flickr.com

Photo by Funky Tee on Flickr.com


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Clear Space

Even before I am fully awake, today I am tempted to feel blue. I want to look at the landscape of my life colored with fear and doubt, and I want to cast around for some unease to hold onto, something that will save me any efforts to pay attention, to sit with discomfort, to entertain confusion.  Today I want the easy way, just to mire.

But I have a session in a short time and I have to prepare for it. So I do, I prepare the space the way a dancer warms up for her performance, with familiar movements, stretching gently, without analysis or deep thought, just doing what I always do.

And as I do this, I find that there is no room in my energy field for all that heaviness which I was holding so dearly, as if my life depended on it anchoring me. That routine for warm-up, that careful and meticulous process of clearing the space in the room and in my energy field sweeps out everything that does not belong there, including my limiting thoughts, my straitjacket perspective, my self-involved emotions.  After clearing, I can not invoke them, even if I try.

I am so grateful that, in creating the clear and sacred space for my client, in offering her this first gift of my heart, I wind up, also, gifting my Self.

I am reminded, this is how it always is: when I gift another, I gift myself; when I bless you, I am blessed, too.

Photo by Gabriella Fabbri on RGBstock.com

Photo by Gabriella Fabbri on RGBstock.com


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Soul’s Friends

It is my good fortune to have lived long enough to have met a few people who naturally play the right tune to go with my own score, with whom I felt instantly attuned, with whom I just “clicked,” with whom I never had to strive to be understood. Truly, this is my fortune, in the most literal, materialistic sense: I am rich in these relationships, these friendships of my soul that fill my life with light and love.

And now I see my daughter struggling to find a social space for herself, a space that does not require her to squeeze herself into a different shape, that doesn’t require others to do the same for her. I see her feeling lonely in the world, while at home, her brother, her best companion in play is sending unmistakable signals that he is moving away from their childhood games and leaving her with a sense of loss, even if he is not physically moving away.

I don’t know when it will happen, but I do know that my daughter is an old soul and, sooner or later, she will find that other, perhaps those others, who know what matters about her without needing introductions, who see all of who she is, who, even at a distance, are always right there with her.

Photo Credit: Michael & Christa Richert on RGBstock.com

Photo Credit: Michael & Christa Richert on RGBstock.com


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Struggle, Contained

I ran into Jane today, on Clark street. She told me she’s struggling, going from a bad situation to a worse one. Later, she left me a message. Her situation turned worse.

I don’t want to think about this; I feel impotent. I can’t be the hero and pull her out on the back of a dragon. I don’t want to think about this. That energy of struggle is so contagious- there’s enough going on around me that tempts me continuously towards struggle.

My clarity wavers.

Suddenly, abruptly, I am aware in my body, in my gut, that the strong, safe container I build for coaching is not, as I have thus far believed, only for the benefit of my clients. It dawns on me that, in that container, hearing Jane’s situation would strike me differently: there would be no danger of contagion, no overwhelm.

I long for the groundedness of that container.

I relish the new recognition of it as a blessing, not just for others, but also for myself.

How to bring its gifts into other parts of my life? That’s the question I hold open in my hand now.

Photo by: Javier Gonzalez on RGBstock.com

Photo by: Javier Gonzalez on RGBstock.com


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A Practice of Sharing Good News

I have a natural tendency, which I can trace back at least as far as adolescence, to notice what feels challenging. It turns out I have been keeping a mental list of everything that I thought has gone “wrong,” of every ill feeling I’ve had, regardless of how fleeting. And I have been keeping this list just beyond the surface of my consciousness, so that it feels almost like a secret I have kept from myself! I am, apparently, exceptionally skilled at this tracking of all that would weigh me down, hold me back, feed my self-pity.

So it is truly a blessing to have acquired a spiritual practice of noticing and sharing the good news of the week with a companion of my Spirit, every Monday evening. Often, I will start out not knowing very clearly if there has even been any good news to share. But as soon as I enter the space of sharing, it comes to me, flooding me with awarenesses of the wonderful, important occurrences. The visit this week of a dear friend, whom I haven’t seen in years definitely qualifies as important, good news. But the awarenesses include the small things that do so much to nourish my soul from moment to moment, such as reading a blog about a widow’s reluctance to share her still fresh grief a few years after her husband’s death, and finding a slew of comments of encouragement and compassion that renew my sense of connection with strangers. Or the chance encounter I have with a house finch when I step out of my car, noticing how colorful his feathers have become, and my day seems suddenly brighter than a moment before.

Regardless of what I may have been feeling when we begin retelling our good news, sharing it is one of the most powerful ways I know to lift my mood. Hearing the news of my friend, and the genuine feelings of celebration it elicits could be another item on my list to share! And even beyond that, looking back at all the wonderful experiences of the week balances out that tendency I have to keep an accounting of all I did not like, it reminds me that there is even more to celebrate than that which I am remembering, and that, when that tendency I mentioned earlier kicks in, I have only to shift my focus to tap into the energy of recognizing my blessings.

And there are more gifts from this practice! One of its highlights is sharing the challenges I am experiencing at the moment through the lens of good news. It’s so easy to be caught up in an energy of struggle, to focus on the distance between where I am and where I want to be. Speaking of the challenge as good news reminds me of what I am receiving by being where I am, and by the process of getting where I am going. And those are blessings easily missed, with only the bigger, more colorful ones being rescued by hindsight. Sharing good news is my way of harvesting every blessing and allowing gratitude to fill me.

Photo Credit: ©lusi (sanja gjenero) at RGBStock.com

Photo Credit: ©lusi (sanja gjenero) at RGBStock.com


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Fully Here

My head is full of thoughts of conscious creation and of setting intentions to engage energy. I am planning a class discussion even as I am out in the world, at the post office, doing groceries. I am there, but not quite. Neither am I fully here.

 

I place an order for refried beans in Spanish, because I am shopping in that kind of a place, where I can speak Spanish to the man behind the counter. I am friendly enough, but somewhat absent, still thinking of the session that put me on this train of thought about setting intentions and making requests.

 

A voice at my side asks if I am Colombian. It is a young man, with skin so smooth, I think he can’t yet be shaving. He tells me his “prometida,” his intended, is Colombian, and he recognizes my accent. His eyes radiate joy when he mentions her. He leaves with a smile, when his order arrives, and I am left bathed in his fresh, expectant energy, in his exuberance.

 

Gratitude breaks over me, for the grace that comes with him, that remains within me, reminding me that I much prefer to be present to this, What Is before me, to this gift that is the Now, and experience this immediacy, the intimacy of what I am living and breathing at this moment. I much prefer to be fully here.

Photo Credit: Andrea Friedmann

Photo Credit: Andrea Friedmann