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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Unseen

All around me are bare trees and, as far as I can see, blue ice and snow sparkling.

With each step, I sink halfway to my knees. The wind from the lake bites my earlobes and makes my nose run.

But, beneath my feet and that thick layer of white, beyond what I could see, are the bulbs of bluebells and crocuses, already growing.

 

Photo Credit: Hanspeter Klasser

Photo Credit: Hanspeter Klasser


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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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Intending Alignment

I know that when I am in alignment, my energy pulls in tight, powerful, so that anything I propose to myself unfolds with sharp clarity and flows with grace. When I am in alignment, even the obstacles in my path are shaped like guideposts that show me the way.

So I set aligning with the highest version of my Self as my intention, knowing in a quietly solid way that this intention will serve me well. It springs from that place, that essence of mine that I intuit, sometimes glimpse, but cannot even find a proper name for.

But how do I set about fulfilling such an intention?

I admire grit and determination. There is a beautiful, graceful and inspiring example in the life of my children right now. But I am aware, as well, that, if I am careless and lazy, it can turn against me, alienate me from the very thing I am seeking to achieve, becoming a forbidding taskmaster. So I know that it is not through single-mindedness that I can align.

I like to hold my intentions gently, like hummingbirds that nestle in the palm of my hand. But, again, if I am lazy and careless, they startle and fly away from me so fast that I cannot remember the feel of their shape. So I know that it is not simply by opening my hands that I can align.

There is a careful balance in it. It requires attentiveness. And quiet. And I dare not set my mind to achieving just that.

Instead, I make soup. I sit at the table with my family and laugh with my son as he jokes, relishing the sparkle of his eyes. And I hold the flavor of this moment, without anticipating the next.

 

Photo by Jim Mac on RGBstock.com

Photo by Jim Mac on RGBstock.com


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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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It Is My Choice

This body has carried me uphill, pushing with every muscle against the slope, moving slowly forward, this heart beating fast, close to bursting, and these thighs burning with the effort.

This same body has carried me, as if there were springs on the soles of these feet, flying over stones and gravel, advancing over great spans of land with the breeze cooling the moisture on this forehead.

This same body has floated in the gentle current of cool waters, these arms drifting alongside it, and this head lolling, half-submerged.

How differently I remember, in my cells, the energy of those endeavors: pushing against my limits, being lifted by my own muscles, and allowing myself to be taken at whim.

What great fortune that memory is at this moment, when I can ask myself, which am I engaging at this moment?

And what great fortune to remember that it is my choice which I engage.

Photo by: Sanja Gjenero on RGBstock.com

Photo by: Sanja Gjenero on 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