I wrapped myself like a cocoon last night, my blankets drawn tight around me. Only my nose sought solace to breathe in the cool area surrounding my cocoon...my shield or my entrapment? A caterpillar stays in his/her cocoon until ready to emerge into a completely different specimen. It is protected from outside elements. What is going on inside, though, is the theme of inactivity versus action. While the cocoon lies still, its body works hard to create change. Perhaps its mind is thinking a mile a minute; perhaps its mind is like a still pond's reflection.
We all have experiences where our insides are ramped up, speeding along highways only we can traverse. To the outsider, we may appear calm but we feel anything but. For certain, some deep breathing would help . Try breathing in four counts through the nose, holding for seven, and exhaling eight through the mouth. A shield may be helpful as well. Visualize a light surrounding you, or a soft blanket of warm energy, and allow it to create a barrier between you and everything else. And, when you have time to sit still, allow your body and mind to rest inactive while the breath takes over as the action that brings in peace.
The cocoon you place (or visualize) around you represents meditation, wisdom, prayer, and trust...trust that you will emerge with a new idea, or at least a more peaceful presentation, of how to move forward on your path.
I typed in the word "humble" and stumbled across the picture above. It makes me think of so many things that have transpired over the past year. I am first drawn to the monk's mask. In our yoga classes together, we have often talked about the masks we wear, but I was never referring to a tangible and literal mask. What we once scrambled to find a year ago has become mainstream. And our masks can reflect our personalities, our favorite sports teams, our opinions, our favorite colors.
I see the monk's yellow and orange robes, which are common colors but can be interpreted by the chakras they correlate with. The orange connects to the sacral chakra, and its element is water. This energy center is about flowing along with life, and that has definitely been a necessity over the past year. Some of us, at times, may have felt the flow was more like a tsunami and its devastating effects, perhaps, still linger. The yellow is the color of the solar plexus; the center associated with fire and digestion. This year has felt much like putting out fires and, when I think about the digestion aspect, I think about all the people who have gone hungry and still are. I read a news story just this morning about a little girl who broke down in her Zoom classroom because she and her family were starving. I think of her inner strength to say those words aloud and how the majority of us would jump to deliver food immediately and offer help. We often do not know where help is needed until someone voices desperation....
I look at the bowl the monk is holding. The metal reflects that around it and symbolically offers reflection into what has transpired. There are flags in the picture behind the monk and this makes me feel hopeful...let me tell you why. I have been afforded the opportunity to pop into Zoom meetings/classes around the world. In my Death Cafe meetings, I have new friends from Canada, Australia, Costa Rica, England, and all over the United States. As well, my son and I have been playing a geography game called geoguesser and, boy, does it help if you know your flags! So, I think of all the time I have been fortunate enough to spend with my kids. I still wish they were able to be where they want to be, but I am hopeful they eventually will. So we bond and pass the time playing cards, and trivia, and goofy family games that we make up.
Perhaps the most impactful aspect of this picture to me is that I found it on unsplash.com; it is a free stock photo posted by someone named Tenzin Namgyal (thank you!) and anybody can use it. It was just sitting out there in Internet space, it's meaning hidden until someone stumbled upon it. I had typed in the word humble and this picture found me...
Love yourself enough this month that you try doing something you have an interest in and have always wanted to do. There, I said it; that's the theme of this article and you can stop right there if you want to figure out what that is for you.
Someone (xoxoxo) recently told me they were taking yoga teacher training at age 70 because they were going to be 70 regardless. I LOVED that statement! If you have been falling upon your age as an excuse in any capacity, this is your reminder to stop. You are not too old for a new hobby, a new career path, a new whatever. We are all pretty good at tossing out excuses like breadcrumbs to the birds. They scatter, landing every which way, and we hope one sticks, because if they didn't, we may have to sit down and consider what truly holds us back.
I recently discovered a Facebook group about re-painting furniture. It piqued my interest, and I have now painted my bed frame and two nightstands. A small table that I bought from a new charity FB page I found is next in line. So, my monthly assignment for you is to find one new thing to love. Obviously, my "love" theme aligns with February's Valentine's Day. But, don't make that your focus. It is too easy to go out, and buy a heart shaped box of chocolates. Do something for you....and then (LOL) gift yourself the chocolate as a reward!
Suffice it to say, nothing this year has gone the way we planned, dreamed, or hoped for. Well, the word nothing may be a little extreme- I’m sure something went exactly that way but has been overshadowed by the pandemic and its snowballing effects.
I heard myself say to myself, this is not what I had planned; this is not what I thought my life was going to be like. This wasn’t the vision in my head of what comes next.
But then a new thought popped in almost immediately to debate that…what if this is exactly what is supposed to be? If that is true, why lament? I need to move forward and carry on.
Stop reading for a moment to consider all of the situations you thought would be different and feel acceptance. Honor your belief system and sit with “this IS how it is supposed to be”. Just because I want something one way does not mean I get to have it that way. I felt like a toddler caught in the midst of a me-me-me tantrum. I am working on not saying this may be how everything is supposed to go down and changing that to this IS. We cannot lament what we wanted to occur, especially if it is beyond our control, as most things are. It is a continual practice of accepting what is occurring.
“We must know what ‘actually’ makes us happy rather than what ‘should’ make us happy. The only way to know the truth is to experiment with what is supposed to bring us happiness and then see the results on ourselves.” ― Awdhesh Singh, Myths are Real, Reality is a Myth
Funny thing-- we say “supposed to” as if it were true or fact. The word “supposed” means generally assumed or believed to be the case, but not necessarily so. Its antonyms are actual, known, real, true, factual, absolute, undisputed.
Have faith in the present- in your present. Faith is a present tense word.
Have faith in present and notice the shift in your energy when you choose to accept the present. It is SO much easier to move forward and do what needs to be done because you aren’t dragging the past and the supposed-to-be’s with you:)
December holidays are coming quickly upon us and, while they can bring a lot of happiness, they can also nurture other feelings like sadness, loneliness, and melancholy. I like the Zen proverb that a snowflake never falls in the wrong place because it is a reminder that there is a reason for everything. Even temporary sadness has within it a reason for harboring your attention. It is our responsibility to ourselves to discover what that reason may be. Is it to rediscover our strengths, remind us of good memories, or inspire us to see what lays beyond this temporary emotion?
The proverb seems to offer me comfort. Perhaps comfort in knowing that somehow everything will work itself out. That life may not be so elusive and that it is my role to discover all of these happenings. Like the snowflake. The one that lands on my eyelash and causes me to flutter. Or the one that slides down the back of my shirt eliciting a shiver. What would be the lesson in that, you question? Maybe the answer is as simple as being brought back to the present where change is able to create a new path and hope steers our direction.
You may already be familiar with mustard seed symbolism, but the story I want to talk about is the Buddhist version. I warn you, it is not a cheery story. However, many people are not feeling very cheery right now heading into holidays that they cannot spend with family so bear with me so we can discuss the moral...
It's a story about a woman named Kisa who grew up in a poor family. She marries a wealthy man but is not accepted by his family until she gives birth to a son. Kisa dotes on this little boy who has brought her acceptance from her in-laws and her world revolves around him. Unfortunately, when the boy was about one-year-old, he became ill and died. Kisa was devastated and she carried her deceased son on her hip going from door-to-door looking for a miracle that would bring him back to life. The villagers laughed at her; they thought she was crazy. But one man took pity and directed her to the Buddha.
When Kisa asked Buddha for a miracle that would bring her son back to life, Buddha was keen to see that Kisa was a spiritually enlightened woman but, in deep despair, would not be ready to hear his message. So instead, he told her to bring him mustard seeds from a house where there had never been a death. Kisa went everywhere asking people for mustard seeds. Everyone had some but when she asked if anyone had died in the home, she could not find a single family that had not experienced death. She finally understood that death was inevitable and she lay her child to rest in a nearby cemetery. When she went back to the Buddha she told him it seemed there were more dead than living. She was now ready to hear Buddha's message, which was that death and suffering are part of life. And that life is full of impermanence and change. And, if everything changes, then it is also possible for us to change and find hope.
Change has stuck to us like glue this year. And, with hope, change will also start to take a positive turn. What positivity can you add to your holiday experience? What new traditions? What new perspectives? Maybe we are to finally learn holidays are not about the food and the gifts but the people we want to be with. So we find new ways to be with those people until change occurs again to bring us all back home. If "home is where the heart is" and your loved ones are in your heart as well, could it be they are already with you? I am simply hoping to gift you a new way to look at the holidays this year. Or...at least plant a seed.
Tomorrow is Halloween. It will be different than years past but, truly, every Halloween is different. I think there will be some discomfort with the change but change is inherently uncomfortable. But, I like that we a re being afforded a chance to change tradition and make it yours:)
If you know me well, you know I am never far from an Oracle Deck. I bought my daughter an amazing Halloween deck a few years back. Every time she and I pull from that deck, it's message is always right on. I would like to pull a card for you! Email me by midnight Halloween (CST), and I will respond by pulling a card intended for you. You could have a question in mind you want to the card to refer to (you do not have to tell me what that is) or simply ask for a card that would be most beneficial to you right now. Put Halloween Oracle in the subject line so I don't miss it! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I noticed my stapler sitting askew on my desk. I tried to think back to the last time I had even used it. I did chuckle to myself that it would be useful right now in stapling what appears to be the loose ends of my world together. Sometimes, amidst all the chaos, I feel like I cannot breathe or cannot think or cannot possibly fold the laundry one more time- how about you? The problem with the stapler is that it does not discriminate amongst the good and bad before it collectively binds everything. It just gathers the whole lot and, with one smack of the hand, combines them all.
I would rather my struggles be in a binder where I can tear them out when I am done with them. Or a paperclip would be good; that would allow me to pull a sheet to freedom , crumple it up if and when I choose and let it go...
The stapler is much like authoring each of your days with a pen. A pencil and eraser are so much simpler. Do they still make Erasermate pens? Hah, I remember when those came out! The reason the ink was erasable was because it bonded more lightly to the paper. But did the ink really completely disappear? Sometimes, it would smudge. Other times, it did seem the written word had vanished. Though truly, the missing word was simply the hidden result of friction. The ink was created to allow the color particles to separate when warmed up thereby "disappearing" or becoming clear. Supposedly, and I have never tried this, if the paper reaches a certain cold temperature the words reappear. Where am I heading with this train of thought? Life may simply be easier if we deal with issues as they arise and then peacefully let them go. We cannot erase the past-- people, memories, emotions-- so why try? Let's practice stapling together all of our good. If we release the other as it arises, it seems we may not have to contend with its ability to magically reappear ever again.
I drew an oracle card to write about. I set my intention to draw the card someone needed to hear and I pulled "Trust". The card has a picture of a girl with her eyes closed and her long blond hair flowing behind her. Her arms are open wide and she's leaning forward as if she were about to fall towards her destiny. She is trusting. She is trusting the Universe to take her wherever it is she needs to go. In pulling this card I wonder if you are as trusting and receptive to the idea that we will end up where we are supposed to.
Take a winding river, for example. The riverbanks contain the water giving it freedom to move as slowly or quickly as it chooses. If we were to toss a leaf into the river to watch it be swept away, we do not know where the leaf will end up but the river does. The river always ends up where it is supposed to. It flows freely adapting with rocks in its path, adapting to life.
I want to tell you more about the card. The girl is wearing a green dress, which represents the heart chakra. To trust undeniably, we must listen to and be guided from the heart. Around her waist is a wide purple belt. Purple is a spiritual color. Purple asks us to trust the unseen support around us in the presence of spirit guides, angels, or beyond. And purple is about listening to your intuition. Again, trusting but this time trusting ourselves. Her wide belt hugs the solar plexus chakra...an energy center that becomes imbalanced when we seek to control. In trusting, there is no control to be had. I wonder if any of this is resonating with you. Are you the person that needed the Trust card? I hope you will pause a moment to close your eyes, throw your arms open wide, and resolve to letting go. When you are able to do just that, allowing peace to embrace you, then you will know you have settled into the hands of Trust.
I titled this blog as such because I looked back at my last post to see a month has gone by already! How can that be? But in this "new" dynamic of staying close to home and not working, perhaps, in the way we used to, the days have become a blur. How often do you have to stop and think about what day of the week it is? I do...often! For many of us, I think every morning we wake up comes with the utterance, here goes another day. They are all similar with no change yet in sight.
So, I thought this morning, what can we do about that?
There is a Sanskrit mantra, Soham (or you can say it backwards, Hamsa). It means "I am". I am assigning some homework here for those who want to wake up differently each morning. It is not the concept of the day that is important. It is how you and I feel and perceive our day. So, I challenge you upon waking to simply say Soham three times in your head before moving (pronounced so- hummm). Feel the "I am-ness" settle in; the idea that you are amazing and enough the way you are. Encourage this thought to morph into the idea that because you are perfect the way you are, your day can be, too. You have the choice to make the day the way you want it to be and manifest your own happiness.
Let's also attempt to be more in the present moment noticing everything! Look around you and see little things you have forgotten about or not noticed before. Be conscious of the sounds around you and then practice going within and tuning them out. Feel the sun, a breeze, your clothes on your skin...focusing on the smallest of sensations even. Today, I want you to actually taste each bite of your food rather than eat to simply consume. And, notice the smells around you. Instead of begrudging the laundry, add some lavender to it and inhale deeply when you pull it out of the dryer. Focusing on our senses is an easy way to be present.
Let me know in the comment section what you thought of this mantra and what you noticed that you would normally have missed!
Copyright June 2020- February 2021
I write to empower people in their lives. Whether it is a mantra, positive intention, sign from the Universe or something altogether different, I just hope you find something inspirational in what I write that seems to be what you needed