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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Spacious

I sit before Helene, observing, as she moves her familiar, old fear out of her body. Softly, my voice guides her. She pours the energy out with ease. Then she speaks of a new experience of inner spaciousness. 

I feel a thrill, hearing a change in her voice, a new lightness. I ask if there is a word she will be able to return to later, that will remind her of this process, bring her back to this moment of creating new space within her.  

She closes her eyes, quiet, attentive to what arises.

And when she nods, I request that she spell it out loud. Her voice is lilting in its response: U.R.N.  I think, “Urn.”

But her sudden laughter startles me, and she chortles, “Make it a long u, like saying: you.” Then, laughing, Helene says the word. And, hearing it, I laugh, too!

Her Self extends, as a reminder of spaciousness, the spelling of this word that sounds exactly like “yearn.

Together, we laugh gratitude and joy, for the Wisdom that offers this gift!

Photo by Michal Zacharzewski / RGBstock

Photo by Michal Zacharzewski / RGBstock


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I Didn’t Blog

Even though today is supposed to be my day to blog, to take myself out of the daily busyness and be still, hear what my True Self has to say, I did not.

Today, thanks to the Polar Vortex, my children are home from school.  It feels hard to pull myself away from them, I want to take advantage of this gift of time together.

 So, instead of gazing at the white sky and the branches of the tree outside my window, or visiting those caves in the waters of my imagination, where I feel a Wise Crone lives inside of me, I do this with my daughter:

Photo by Andrea Friedmann

Photo by Andrea Friedmann

It is a jungle, with a river of water running through it. Chiqui teaches me how to make pompom trees with the glue gun and a pipe cleaner. I make a berry bush of tissue paper and Golondrino contributes a tinfoil canoe.  We scrounge up some plastic animals that survived numerous toy purges, and fashion a pipe cleaner snake. We string a vine across it, and hang a monkey from it.

There are a few squabbles as we work: should there or should there not be signs of humans, who tend to destroy nature. Tempers flare, my son stomps off at my daughters’ intransigence. We come back together again, everyone’s heart softens slightly, we all give in a little.

When we are through, we put the box in the sunlight and gaze at our work with pride. We’ve used up a few hours of this long day where outdoor play is not possible.

And I am surprised that I am feeling nourished, my heart is full, running over with love and gratitude, my energy light, warm, joyful.

This? This is better than blogging!


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Gratitudes

I am grateful that I am here, whole, present, alive… and taking this time. I am grateful that this day that threatened chaos has moved me to center myself, to remember what is important. I am grateful to remember that my only job is to align myself with my Deepest Wisdom.

I am grateful to realize that what is before me is what I must attend to, and that whatever is important and not before me, is also already unfolding. Therefore, I am grateful for the promised scent of toast and coffee.

I am grateful to trust enough to relax, even though I could cringe in fear for one hundred thousand reasons. I am grateful for Reiki, for the warmth it spreads through me, and for the love I can extend through it to others.

I am grateful that I serve. And grateful, too, that I don’t need to understand how I do. I am grateful for the connections I experience each day with the people whose paths I cross.

I am grateful for the awakening that my loved ones open in my chest: my children, Brujo, the friends of my soul. I am grateful for their help in expanding my experiences, my awarenesses.

I am grateful for beauty: in the white sky brushed by naked branches, in the music of laughter, and the stark silhouette of a high rise by the lake. I am grateful for red: in my Oma’s shawl, and the cardinal in the window.

I am grateful that this day holds so many treasures that I cannot sit here and enumerate them, that I must go now and waken my children with soft kisses to warm cheeks, and feed them, and begin again the dance of the day, that wearies me, and enlivens me, all at once!

 

Photo Credit: John Boyer

Photo Credit: John Boyer


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Treasure Walks

When I was a child, Opa, my grandfather, would entice me out to walk with him on the paths through the woods with the promise of seeing rabbits. We never did see rabbits in the undergrowth, but we did see astonishingly tall trees, and bright toadstools, and horned beetles the size of my child’s fist. As I grew older, he no longer had to tempt me into taking walks with him. I knew that I wanted to go, and we would wander further, along gravel roads and through fields all the way into the distant, misty mountaintop we called Siberia— it was that far.

We entered the cloud forest up there, at a place where, he said, there should be a path. And we wound our way further into the dense growth, ducking under vines, crashing through interlaced branches, opening a small path for ourselves. As we walked, he showed me the wonders he found, the heart-shaped leaves of the anthurium and the pollen on its long flower, the moss growing up thin trunks and alongside branches. I showed him what I found, the spores on the underside of the fern’s frond, the dew gathered, shining at the tip of a leaf. We searched for treasures, especially, orchids.

 Orchids, with their bright, showy flowers, are the Colombian national flower. But the farm is too high and too cold for the flashy ones to grow. Instead, those conditions result most frequently in minute blossoms that are well hidden by the forest. Sometimes it’s one tiny red orchid that blooms on the underside of a wide, thick leaf. Others, it is a cloud of massed golden buds that grows far above our heads.

Those were our treasures, those exquisite flowers that were so well hidden, so difficult to find, and therefore, rare, special. Opa and I would push through the growth slowly, talking softly and looking carefully into the trees, along the trunks. We always managed to find some splendid orchid. And waterfalls, wild grapes, a fleeting scent of sweet perfume. Those walks were the greatest gift.

 Opa taught me to search for treasures, and I take his lesson into my adult life, looking for the blessings and the gifts as I move along my day. Today the treasure may look more like a wildflower growing in a crack in the sidewalk, or the slanted sunlight hitting the light post outside my window at dusk, but when it comes up, I am awake, I am aware, I am looking.

Photo by Andrea Friedmann

Photo by Andrea Friedmann


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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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Sets of Seven

Somewhere, I once read that the body renews itself every seven years. It’s unlikely to be true, physiologically, but I like to think that I am starting a new seven year cycle, and that, therefore, like a child, I can observe with delight everything around me, experiencing the world with wonder, seeing clearly what is there, instead of what I have learned to see.

My first seven years I spent drinking in the world. The next seven years were about shaping myself to what I found. The third seven were the back and forth between resisting and trying to fit in. The fourth set of seven years were about my Self beginning to call me back, beginning to remember it, to recognize its glimmer. The fifth set of seven years was the time of struggling to come to terms with what I had created, the places I found myself in. And the sixth set of seven has been about accepting my Self, respecting it, as well as my Wisdom. I am curious and open to what the theme of the seven years before me could be.

I am richer, fuller, stronger, and more centered than I ever remember, and I can’t think of a better way to begin another stretch of this journey.

Photo credit: ©Coloniera (Héctor Landaeta) at RGBStock.com

Photo credit: ©Coloniera (Héctor Landaeta) at RGBStock.com