Reflections From My True Self

Remembering Who I Really Am


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One Gift of Time Passing

For all that I have heard people lamenting the passage of time, what a gift it is that my life has cycled far enough to give me the wisdom of hindsight. To look back and see that each choice I have made (led by insight and clarity, or blinded and confused) has created a graceful arc of perfectly fitting pieces — a collage of apparently disparate elements, mysteriously and magically joined— which molded me and formed me as I reached this place where I am today.

Perhaps, if I raise my gaze towards the future, where the path ahead disappears in the mist of the horizon, beyond which I cannot fathom, another collage may be taking shape and I may be able, someday, to see it, looking back.

Or, perhaps, not.

But even without seeing beyond the horizon, I can trust that this moment and every moment, each one made up of apparently disparate awarenesses and experiences, seemingly senseless joys and sorrows, outwardly meaningless energies: all come together, somehow, inexplicably, into a fabulous tapestry that, whether I can see it or not, understand the intricate design of it or not, has meaning and beauty and grace.

What a gift that time and my journey have brought to me this awareness, and the awe that it awakens in me, here, in my core.

Today I am grateful to rest in that trust.

 

Photo Credit: Lee

Photo Credit: Lee

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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


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Hiking, Then and Now

When I was growing up, my father often took my sister and me, and sometimes friends — of his, or ours— on beautiful hikes of varying length, through the green patchwork of the Colombian mountainside and its cloud forest.  Occasionally, there was a defined path to follow. Most often, there was a starting point and a destination (a lake, a mountaintop, or a town), and, if we were lucky, the remnants of the ancient native paths or a few scattered cobblestones and the sporadic boundary stone remaining from the colonial caminos de herradura, built for pack mules.

We would be up with the sun and drive to our starting point, carrying some water and a picnic lunch, and we’d set off in the general direction of our destination. We never knew how long it would take to arrive, or where we could end up if we strayed from our course. I remember many times when asked for directions from a campesino tending his fields or feeding her hens. More often than not, especially if we were heading in the direction of a town, they would point us towards the highway, where we could catch an inter-municipal bus that could take us quickly. More often than not, they would chuckle at our foolish obstinacy for wanting to go the long, “old way,” through the fields and forests.

We had no cell phones in those distant days of last century. No way of letting anyone know where we were, or, more importantly, no way to contact anyone if we needed help. We didn’t know CPR or wilderness first aid, and I am pretty sure our first aid kit consisted of my dad’s Swiss Army Knife. There was little certainty regarding our hikes, other than that we would eventually arrive, somewhere, and that the journey would be beautiful.

The potential dangers we could encounter never stopped us —not even when we had to slither, single-file, along a fallen tree trunk to cross from one bank of a river to the other (with a couple of babies in tow, that time).  The uncertainties were simply part of the experience. We hiked in rain, through mud, and under sweltering heat. And, surprisingly, we never did have a situation where we needed help we couldn’t get!

Today, when I think back —especially since I have had kids of my own— I think of all the things that could have happened, all the dangers we could have encountered and lost to. Nowadays, I take gentle walks along wide gravel paths with a wide shoulder of mowed grass on either side, keeping the wilderness out of arm’s reach.  I travel with my cell phone and follow carefully placed, colored trail markers at each junction. Today, I check the weather before I set out.

No wonder, then, that I feel a captive of caution. No wonder that I seek certainties in all that I do, on the trails and in the quiet of my sacred space. It is time to reclaim the sense of adventure of my childhood hikes. More importantly, it is time to exercise the unseen powers of orientation and intuition.  It’s time to see past what danger could appear, set aside fear —or invite it along, as a passenger, not as a leader.  It is time to remember why it is we took those back roads, instead of the convenience of the highway: for the gifts unfolding out of that unique experience, for the excitement of the unknown and the beauty in the landscape, for the company and the satisfaction of testing ourselves, and for the stories we could tell once we arrived, before we slept the deep, untroubled sleep that renewed our sweetly tired bodies. For those same reasons, and in order to reclaim my Self, I must stand at this starting point and set my direction for a destination I may reach, eventually, sometime.

Typical Colombian landscape on a rainy day. Photo by Pedro Szekely on Flickr.com

Colombian landscape on a rainy day. Photo by Pedro Szekely on Flickr.com


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Remembering to Listen

This is one of the spaces I have consciously created for reflection, for listening to my Deepest Knowing and to explore what otherwise would find no outlet. I created it as a space for play, in the sense that it nourishes me and I lose my sense of time when I am in it.

Along the way, I learned that I have to show up regularly, that the inspiration to write rarely comes over uninvited, and often hides under many layers of “shoulds” and apparent urgencies.

I learned that I could write many, diverse reflections in one small burst of time, and I could begin many reflections that never really went anywhere more than a tight circle.

Lately, I have been forgetting that this is supposed to be play, fun, nourishment. I have been telling myself “I HAVE to blog,” and I sit down with a pout, my inner adolescent ever ready to stake a claim for independence. I have been in a power struggle with my inner Taskmaster, as one of my clients calls the ego.

Only when I catch myself, realize this and decide to let go, step back, hold up my hands in resignation; only in surrender can I begin to find my way back to the purpose, to listening, truly, and opening up.

Now, I do. I come back and sit down with joy and curiosity, with the excitement of discovery: what does True Self have to say?

All that I can feel is my heart unfolding open, like a book.  I find no certainties, no assurances, nothing to grasp. And yet, this is real: I am alive, in the energy that vibrates out of the center of my chest, and courage to be present in this moment courses powerfully through my veins. I am alive, I am present, I am Love.

Photo by Andreas Krappweis

Photo by Andreas Krappweis


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Hold and Release

For days now, I have been seeing, feeling, receiving reminders from within me, and also from outside myself, to recognize that clearing and focusing my mind is not sufficient to produce the results I am desiring.  For that, I must engage the energy of creation, the energy of what already exists just beyond my perception.

I have learned this before. I think I should know it, do it, easily, effortlessly, elegantly.  But I cannot remember, cannot grasp how I ever achieved it before.  How to Focus and Flow, Hold and Release? Simultaneously?  How can I be spirit and form at once?

This is a paradox I cannot fathom.

In the park, I sit under a huge elm tree, whose branches and roots extend far past its trunk and my body resting against it. I am in its shade and I am embraced by its singular energy. The leaves extend outward and shape a frame for my view of the lake and sky on the horizon.  The water moves continuously in ripples and waves that appear autonomous, separate from each other.

I watch them and think of the breeze playing with the surface, and the currents pulling below, of the great liquid body that responds in tides to the face of the moon.

Suddenly, wordlessly, I understand. The paradox is no more.

 

Photo by Marcelo Terraza on RGBstock.com

Photo by Marcelo Terraza on RGBstock.com


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Morning Pages in the Afternoon

Decades ago, my college writing teacher (who taught me as much about believing in my gifts as she did about English) introduced me to The Artist’s Way, and the tools I found in it changed my life (I started writing fiction, for one).  I used them consistently for years, and I still have Artist Dates with my Self every few weeks.  I used to do Morning Pages every morning before I did anything other than sit up in bed. I did them for over 10 years, and it would take me around half an hour to finish those three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing. When I went through the old notebooks of them, recently, I found what I already knew, they were full of pettiness and smallness, but the last few lines of almost every entry held pearls of wisdom, epiphanies, and breakthroughs for me.  Writing Morning Pages every day served me really, really well.

And then I had kids, and my early mornings did not feel my own. I stopped doing the Morning Pages. I missed them, but it was too stressful to try to predict when the kids would wake up so that I could have my half hour of uninterrupted writing in peace. And I was too tired. And then, when they got older and had to go to school, I preferred the pleasure of having them come, squirming into our bed with us, first thing.  I still do.

I toyed with the idea of starting them again. Except that I already get up crazy early, and I only manage to get the sleep I need each night because I stay vigilant about it.  Realistically, it wouldn’t work for me right now.  Maybe in another decade.

Still, I have been trying it out, in my own way, which means that I do them at odd times during my day.  There’s a part of me that hates that, it’s not the RIGHT way to do them, and I can’t harness the unconscious energy of my sleep when I do them over lunch.

And yet… I love to do them, I love to watch my petty thoughts spill out onto the page instead of occupying me all day.  I become free of them, and free to let the thoughts that hide beneath the surface, rise into my consciousness.  And I, still, consistently, find the pearls of wisdom, the epiphanies and breakthroughs in those last lines.

Doing the Morning Pages the wrong way is a fabulous means for me to access my inner wisdom.

But the Morning Pages have also taught me a lesson that I have learned before, one I can learn over and over again (and one I make a point of teaching). They reminded me that the tools I use are meant to serve me, and that means that I must adapt them so that I can use them, so that I can benefit from them. I must make them my own.

pen and notebook

Photo by Miriam Wickett on RGBstock.com