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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Transported

I lie in bed, sleepless, ill, waiting for daylight, or sleep, or for another fit of coughing. I cannot take in enough air to feel my center, to deepen and quiet my thoughts, to feel the stillness that clears my mind of petty thoughts and meanings.  I put my hands on my chest and call up Reiki, hoping for sleep, or rest, or comfort. I drift in the flow of it, warm.

There is a sudden fraction of a moment, a splinter of an instant in which I forget my body, my illness, my idea of myself.  In that sliver of a second, a sound comes to me, familiar, sweet —and not of this snowy place. I hear, briefly, the call of frogs in the darkness and I am instantaneously transported to the Finca of my childhood, to the unmistakable, lonely echo of night sounds lifting in the crisp air towards that endless black sky, punctured by starlight.

I can smell rich soil, the moisture it holds, and the scent of crushed grass on a breeze. Momentarily, I am quietude, stillness, I am unfathomable depth, timeless, endless, infinite—for one instant.

And then, as the awareness comes to me that I am here, in my bed, in this urban night, my heart creaks, cracks, opens with longing, with regret, with desire, to be there, again, to be that.

Photo Credit: Barun Patro

Photo Credit: Barun Patro


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A Reminder

Even though I work this way with others, I have not gone into retreat for a long, long time. I am inspired by the effect of retreating on those for whom I am companion and guide. But I forget how vital this work is for me.

I determine that it is time again, to go into retreat, in preparation for the turn of the year. As is to be expected, this feels inconvenient to do now, hard to find time for, requiring too much from me.  Still, I persevere, and sequester myself in silence, light my candles and bring out my rattle.

The past year floats under the glare of my gaze, and I rescue forgotten blessings, feel my heart tighten with unresolved pains and fears.  I honor all of the energies I find, witness them wholly.

In the smoke of the incense, I release what does not serve me, and feel lightened, heartened.

Then I remember, one last thing.

This year, too often, I have felt disconnected; disconnected from Nature, from the cycles of the year and my body, from awe and from what is sacred in my daily doings.  As this recognition comes to me, along with the question of how to release this large, heavy energy, a movement outside my window catches my eye.

It is a great bird, with powerful wings, gently coasting past, and my mind is slow to grasp, to process, to return to me: owl.  The bird alights in the high branches of a towering tree, the tree that I gaze on as I do my daily practices, the one that reminds me that trees are also my relations.

It can’t be an owl, I think. This is the city. It is broad daylight. Could it be?  The bird is still, imposing, enormous, unblinking. It is indisputably an owl.

My mind is startled into stillness. I remember the thought of disconnection and, immediately, a new thought arises: I could never be disconnected from Nature, from what is sacred, from my Self.

No sooner does this thought rise in my awareness, as the great owl takes flight and coasts away into the white sky, disappears from my view.

I could never be disconnected from my Self; Owl has come to remind me of it.

Photo Credit: Jay Simmons

Photo Credit: Jay Simmons


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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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Honoring My Self

If I am to honor my Self, I must be willing to feel, willing to become familiar with the dark places, with the shape of my fear. 

Honoring my Self means offering myself compassion, gentleness and generosity, although my habit is harshness and cold.

It means celebrating the myriad gifts that are constantly coming my way.

Honoring my Self means strengthening my energy so that I can choose discomfort when ease, even when I know it harms me, tempts me.

It means committing to my practice of stillness so that the noise of confusion can become quiet, and the Wisdom that resides within me can emerge in my awareness.

Honoring My Self means using the tools I have acquired, instead of simply contemplating them.

Especially, it means remembering that I am greater than my thoughts, greater, also, than this instant, and yet, simultaneously, very much in it.

Photo Credit: Lars Sundström

Photo Credit: Lars Sundström


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Self-betrayal

Self-betrayal is the ways that I turn my back on my Self and refuse to honor Who I Am.

It is when I don’t wait for clarity, but jump into things because that feels easier, more comfortable. It is saying “yes” when I already know I can’t follow through or don’t want to with my full Self. It is also saying “no” because yes means peering into dark corners of my Self.

Self-betrayal is turning away from the nibbling of knowledge at the edge of my consciousness because turning towards it means seeing, right behind it, a cavernous black hole that threatens to suck me in.  It is setting a course and following it, regardless of the signs along the way that direct me to go a different direction.

Most of all, Self-betrayal is allowing my heart to be padded, protected, numbed even  to those I hold dear.

Ease, comfort, oblivion… they tempt me away from honoring my Self.

I breathe deep, I straighten my back and lift my chin. In the spirit of the Reiki Principles, I tell myself: Just for today… I will align myself with the highest energy of my Self, and look where I fear, feel what I would not risk, know what is present, and honor my Self in each moment.

Photo Credit:Lars Sundström

Photo Credit:Lars Sundström