Reflections From My True Self

Remembering Who I Really Am


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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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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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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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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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Clarification

[Letter to my 9 year-old son, and by way of him, to me, and you.]

Dear boy, my living heart, I am thinking of a conversation we had a few days ago, when you said school is supposed to prepare you to work as an adult. We talked about what work can mean, then.

But I want you to know this: It’s true, I send you to school to learn skills that will help you build the life that you want to live. I send you to school to learn different ways to see the world, to know it is wide and deep and rich in even more ways than are apparent. I do it in the same spirit with which I take you to play at the lake and walk in the shade of the forest, to acquaint you with this beauty and power all around, and inside.

But, ultimately, school, work, forest, lake, friendship, family, this relationship between you and me– everything– is simply a vehicle for you to experience and discover your Self, what feeds your mind, what nurtures your heart, keeps your body vital, and, especially, what nourishes your soul.

Everything you encounter and everything you create is an opportunity to experience an aspect of your Self, different versions of who you are and who you can choose to be. This life is a flowing river of opportunities to learn again and again, in different scenarios, what moves you at your core and what gifts (or the seeds of them) lie within you, to share with the world!

Photo credit: Mihai (Mike) Tamasila @RGBStock.com