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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Softened

I visit the dunes and the lake again. Now the snow is gone, the mountains disappeared and the landscape is barren, cleared. In spite of the warmer temperatures and stiller winds, it appears colder than when the snow heaped into canyons and the ice extended out, far over the water. 

The lake, my old friend, is unrecognizable, a different lake. Instead of that being of slate gray, of frozen convulsion, it lies placid, almost still. What was hard and dark is teal and aquamarine, and if I didn’t know better, if the cold of the winter were not still nipping at the back of my neck, it could convince me that it is as warm as the Caribbean of my childhood. 

I gaze at it in wonder, recognizing that this one, and the lake of my memory are the same, even as they seem so different. 

And I am reminded again, as I have been so often before, that this is a reflection of my Self. Or is it I who reflect it? 

Either way, I too am unrecognizable, my cold, grey edges have softened into lapping waves.

Photo by Renee McGurk

Photo by Renee McGurk

Photo by Andrea Friedmann

Photo by Andrea Friedmann


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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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Nothing To Be Done

My friend Isabel’s marriage of 20 years is ending.  My friend Danielle’s daughter is scheduled for major surgery which she direly needs. My friend Janine needs to do another test to see if cancer has returned to her body, only this time she is a widow with a young son to care for.  I could go on and on: another friend can’t find a job, yet another can’t conceive.

I could feel despair, because I love them, every one; because I wish I could do something to give them back the sense of certainty, comfort, that they used to have, that they yearn for.  At least, I wish I could do something that would make them feel all better, the way I did for my babies when they toppled and I stood them up, dusted them off and set them loose again with a kiss.  But I can’t. There’s nothing that I could do that would come even close to that.

Except, hold loving energy for each of them, see them as their brightest, most radiant selves, and, simply, be present to them.

I know this, because, when I have been drowning, breathless and scared, I could feel them doing it for me. Their presence created a modest, but vital, space for me to be able to take a deep breath and remember my Self.

Nothing changed. And yet, somehow, it did.  I was held, and that made all the difference.

Photo Credit: Muriel M Sawicki

Photo Credit: Muriel M Sawicki


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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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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