Stressed woman

Ease Beneath Your Stress

When storms of stress flood your life, the tendency is to build physical, emotional or mental barriers to keep the stress floods at bay. Like sand bags holding back waters, these barriers may seem to do the trick but only for the short run. Inevitably new challenges arise causing the need for even stronger barriers. Over time, sharp emotions may surface, self-limiting beliefs may abide and relationships suffer. The body may correspondingly react with stiffness or pain, or develop chronic health issues.

During these times, it may be difficult to believe that there is any part of you that is healthy, at ease, where you feel safe. Yet there truly is this ease at your very core and you can learn to ease beneath this barrier of disharmony and access a deeper sense of ease at any moment.Continue reading

beauty in imperfection

Living the Wabi-Sabi Way–Huh?

We live in a culture that views perfection as the norm and youthfulness as beauty. We feel our best when life is going our way, and we don’t want this to change. We don’t want to experience conflict or suffering, or grow old–much less look like we are old. We want the whitest teeth, shiniest floors, and perfect family and relationships. We say we want to live in the moment, yet our heads are cluttered with a continual dialogue of stories related to the past and of longings for the future.

Living the wabi-sabi way offers an entirely different perspective, Continue reading

heartfelt desire

Desire Points the Way

Imagine you are walking in the dark along a foggy path using a flashlight. The path ahead is lit up, so you don’t stray off course. The fog represents your past and future and the challenges of your everyday world. They have no importance in this moment. The flashlight is your conscious presence. The lit path represents being in the present moment. When you learn how to step into the timeless world of Being, you are better able to navigate the storms of your outer world.

Continue reading

inner world of being

Being of Both Worlds

Isn’t it amazing how one day of your life goes along smoothly, maybe even effortlessly, then the next day you feel overwhelmed by challenges? Conflicts arise. You can’t get a handle on things, there’s not enough time, you can’t think of a solution. Your life–indeed your world–may seem like it’s out of control. In these times, there is another world that you can access. A world of being. Continue reading

lifespan

Whole and Complete as You Are

Not long ago, I read that our average lifespan is 30,000 days. How many days have you already used up and how many might you have left?

Life is so precious. Each day is a blessing that holds a responsibility to express your special gifts into the world. What would your days be like if you weren’t bogged down by the past, reacting emotionally in the present, or anxious about the future? What if you could feel really at home and at peace in your skin, be in tune with the deepest desire for your life and express your best self in the world?Continue reading

navigate life's challenges

Surrender to the Season

Let me share an amazing story of a relative of mine who recently passed away peacefully in her sleep at the ripe age of 94. Ruth not only lived in the flow of life; she danced in it! During her lifetime she had four husbands. She knew how to pick good ones, since they all danced. However, the first and second marriages were short-lived. One died in the war and another died of a brain tumor. Raising three small children she was a single working mom focused on building a strong, loving family bond. She really knew how to navigate life’s challenges.Continue reading

invitation to life

An Invitation to Life!

Traditionally, the year-end holidays are a time for expressions of gratitude and gift-giving. We acknowledge others for their contributions and thoughtfulness and give thanks for the yearly harvest we have reaped. Are your life working and are your coffers full of all the resources, joy and love you desire for living the good life? Or do you fear a winter of discontent?

Why not accept an invitation to life, change course and get more fully engaged in the flow of life.Continue reading

clearing out the old

What Autumn Teaches Us

Once the autumn harvest passes, nature goes through the process of housekeeping.  Making everything bare, it lets go of its abundant creation of spring and summer in a final grand display. As aging leaves fall to earth, they enrich the soil to promote next year’s new buds and new harvest. The end of the growing season marks a turning inward and a falling away of outer-direction energy. The lessons from Autumn is for taking time for clearing out the old.

This energy shift offers us, more than in any other season, the opportunity to learn more about ourselves. Autumn returns us to our essence, moves us to eliminate what we no longer need and reveals what is most precious in our lives. Autumn’s mission is to clear out the old and the negative.

Nature offers insights on our own cycles of creating and letting go. Trees in autumn don’t hold onto their leaves because they might need them next year. Yet how many of us hold onto what we’ve generated or collected—old magazines and clothes, decayed relationships, old or negative thinking—and defy a natural cycle?

How can we hope for a harvest next year unless we cut back the old and start fresh.

Lessons of Chinese Medicine

As a holistic body-mind approach, Chinese medicine believes that autumn holds the energy of the metal element. The emotion associated with this element is grief. Whenever we experience loss, separation and “letting go,” we naturally feel grief. Grief helps to cleanse us of what is no longer needed in our lives. When our internal metal energy is blocked or imbalanced, we may find it difficult to let go of grief—or be unable to express it.

The colon and lungs are the organs associated with the metal element. Their overall function is to take in, assimilate, utilize and eliminate what is unnecessary or toxic from our body, as well as from our mind and spirit. Yet the daily onslaught of “garbage” we ingest and assimilate in the form of negativity from the world can cause “constipation.”

In autumn, nature squeezes out the juices within life forms. In hibernation, energy is stored to handle the cold winter. Metal helps us to conserve energy, store necessary nourishment internally and pull together resources for creating and reaping the future harvests of our lives. With fewer hours of sunlight to energize us, we too must learn to contain and conserve our energy during the dark time of year.

Letting Go, Letting In

clearing out the old.There is more to this season than “letting go.” It is also a time to take in the pure and the new. The lung, the other metal organ, grants us the inspiration of fresh breath, as on a brisk fall day when you fill your lungs with clean, crisp, cool autumn air. In classical Chinese medicine, the Lung is described as “the receiver of the pure Chi from Heaven.”

Letting go can be a frightening prospect. But, just as the trees let go of the past year’s leaves and Nature has something new in store, the ending of one cycle gives rise to the next.

Nature abhors a vacuum. When we clear out the things that no longer work in life, or serve our higher purpose, we have the opportunity to invite harmonizing energy in the form of new people and opportunities to enter.

Begin by discarding stuff you no longer need or does not serve your higher self. Donate, sell, dump, or circulate what might be of value to others. As you let go of things, do a mental inventory of old hurts, habits, beliefs and assumptions that linger in your consciousness and use the breath to help you with the process of letting go.

clearing out the oldJust as metals give value to the earth (gold, minerals, crystals and gemstones), the metal element within us gives us our sense of self-worth. Each of us is a miracle of creation, more valuable and special than any object we could ever pursue. We each have a unique and priceless contribution to make.

Get in sync with the rhythms of autumn. Change your mental diet. Breathe in autumn’s energized and purified air. Exhale old negativity, impurities and pain from your body, mind and spirit. Contemplate who you are without these old identifications.

Create a new personal story with your authentic self as the heroine
and ride the effortless wave of the “new you” into the world.

Need help in clearing out the old? Join my free iRest meditation groups held weekly on Sunday mornings and Thursday afternoons where you’ll find space to rest and explore this further.

doubt and be happy

Doubt and Be Happy!

be happyLive, Love, Doubt and be Happy? Really?  How is it possible to be happy with a doubting mind? Isn’t happiness synonymous with contentment? Perhaps for the moment. But we live in a world of constant change, and it is inevitable for doubts to arise, which can rob you of happiness–if you let them. Yet the paradox of “healthy doubt” can coexist with happiness, enabling us to live a life of harmony in ultimate freedom. Let’s explore how.

Beliefs and the mind

Our culture values certainty over doubt–no doubt about it! Uncertainty is for cowards. Yet, not long ago, the view that the stock and housing markets would only continue to rise seemed a certainty. What if a healthy dose of doubt had been heeded by business and government leaders? Think of the different trajectory our economy would be on right now.

Doubt is a mental state where being uncertain can create fear and anxiety. Doubt is expressed in questions like “Am I marrying the right person?”  or “Do I really trust him?”

More intrinsic doubts deeply affect our self-confidence, leading us to question “Can I do this?” and “Am I good enough?”. Doubting thoughts can zoom out of control, ultimately affecting our health and well-being. The result is a life poisoned by doubt.

be happyUnderneath all this doubt is the thinking mind. The ego is our self-image, based on our conditioning. It wants us to believe that we are the center of the universe whose happiness is dependent on outside circumstances and objects. Since life doesn’t revolve around us and we can’t always have what we think we need, doubt arises. Our ego is happy only as long as it feels in control and acts to maintain its powerful rule over our lives.

Power of doubt

Research has shown that our brains react almost instantaneously to statements that contradict our values and beliefs, causing us to stop listening, become angry, and start arguing. Yet research has also revealed that those injected with doubt can become stronger advocates for their own beliefs. Healthy doubting can produce increased tolerance, self-confidence and deepen intimacy in relationships.

An enthusiastic advocate may appear certain in their convictions. Yet, their advocacy may unknowingly seek to convince themselves as well as others. A peacebuilder can encourage opposing parties to find a common middle ground by acknowledging their doubts. When opponents acknowledge where each side may be vulnerable, they are likely to deepen their understanding of themselves and each other.

Shakespeare said, “Modest doubt is called the beacon of the wise.” Keeping the door open to doubt, probing uncertainty, and questioning everything are the very foundation of science. Think of Thomas Edison, who conducted over 10,000 experiments in order to invent the light bulb. At the core of his motivation was a love for invention. His unceasing doubting served as fuel to keep him going.

Many things in life can never be fully understood. John Patrick Shanley, author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning play, Doubt: a Parable, wrote in the introduction, “doubt requires more courage than conviction does…because conviction is a resting place,” while doubt “is infinite.” Certainty can be blinding, while doubt can reveal a deeper sense of our true nature.  

Unprocessed doubt can result in paralyzing fear. But using doubt to question yourself can strengthen your beliefs and free you from fear. Instead of hiding doubts about your beliefs, welcome discussions with others. 

Core of happiness

We are taught that happiness is dependent on circumstances and objects: a toy, a lover, a job, money. Yet joy and happiness are in fact our birthright. They are at the core of who we are. They’re always present, like the sun behind stormy clouds, though mostly hidden underneath our divided, thinking mind.

True joy, including desire, happiness and equanimity, is independent of objects, beliefs and circumstances. It doesn’t need the ego to find fulfillment. The fearful ego puts up red flags of doubt to help it remain in control. But doubt can’t rob you of happiness. Humor the ego, make it a friend, and take it along for the ride.

happinessRichard Miller, PhD, founder of the Integrative Restoration Institute and yogic scholar, has written “Our desire for happiness is taking us away…. Each moment reveals the great Mystery that joy and happiness are already the case.” When we search for something outside ourselves to bring lasting happiness, we always miss the mark. When we tune in to the heart and examine what we care about, our purpose and heart’s deepest desires, we create the opportunity to engage our deeper passions.

Welcome doubt

So, don’t see self-doubt as a negative. It can be the door that opens us up to receiving messages that can enhance our lives. Invite doubt in for tea or coffee and have a doubt-filled inner dialogue. We don’t need to know things for certain. We can make peace with our doubt.

We have a choice. If you challenge beliefs that rule your life, you’ll be able to dip into the wellspring of your True Self where love resides. Let doubt—and your ego—be your powerful friend, not your controlling enemy.

Find happiness. Be love. Be your true self.

Join my free iRest meditation groups held weekly on Sunday mornings and Thursday afternoons where you’ll find space to rest and explore this further.

navigating change

Liminality: Navigating Change, Life’s In-Between Spaces

We’ve all had this experience:

inbetween spaceThings are moving along in a natural progression. Life is good. Then something happens that turns your whole world upside down.  You may feel overwhelmed, confused, or you may feel euphoric. Perhaps you’re not sure how you feel. You’re navigating change, and you’re in a state of liminality.

Navigating Liminality can be challenging and requires great courage.
It can also be a time of deep inner reflection.

Rites of Passage

navigating changeThe word liminality, originally coined by anthropologists, referred to various rites of life passage. The root is the Latin word, “limen,” meaning “threshold.” It’s the crossing over from one state to another, as in the space between wakefulness and sleep.

A change of place, social position or age can precipitate this condition. Liminality has three stages: 1) Leaving where you’ve been or experiencing a loss 2) Passing through an ambiguous stage 3) Emerging into a new realm with renewed resolve.

Life passages are often celebrated
through formal rites or rituals.

In an indigenous culture, an adolescent moving into adulthood performs a vision quest to find himself and his intended spiritual and life direction. In modern culture, ceremonies are performed for graduations, engagements and weddings. One’s entire life is recognized and honored at a funeral or memorial service.

Often these events are led by elders, shamans or clergy. They help guide us through these transitions, offering wise counsel and encouragement to pass through the liminal threshold for what lies ahead. Wise guides are not always present for our passages, though.

Navigating loss

navigating change“Who are YOU?” asked the Caterpillar. Alice replied, rather shyly, “I–I hardly know, sir, just at present –at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.”

~Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Some life changes come about through an unexpected circumstance or catastrophe. There is little, if any, time to prepare. Whether experiencing a natural disaster or a personal loss, we can never know how we are going to feel or react. This can be the most challenging liminal state of all.

Losing a loved one, even when it is inevitable, creates a void and can leave you feeling empty.

When my mother died, I felt like an orphan. As I dwelled in the liminal cave of healing, I began to rethink who I was and what was my purpose in the world. With the help of a strong support system, I emerged at the other end inspired and with a huge amount of creative inspiration and lust for life.

Loss of a relationship can be a blow to your self-esteem. Thoughts like, “what did I do wrong,”  “I’m not navigating changeloveable”, “I’ll never find another”, appear and cloud your mind.

When this happened to me a few years ago, I made the decision not to take it personally, trust that it was for the best. Beating myself up or holding anger served no healthful purpose. I’d been through other losses and always bounced back. I needed to forge a new path. A surprising healing takes place over time for most of us, especially those with a strong support system.

Job transition

With job loss, however, the longer one is without a job, the more likely one’s liminal period can include anger, depression and loss of self-esteem. A plummeting sense of self-worth can paralyze.

Yet, this can be a real opportunity to reevaluate your life. Examine your gifts and talents and uncover your true passions. Discover how you want to live the next chapter of your life. I have led many people in transition through this process.

Transformation

A liminal period can be life-transforming – for better or worse It may be short or long-lived, even permanent.

Sometimes people drop out of society. Some vow never to be in relationship again, living with anger, guilt and resentment. Some accept jobs at less pay or status. Others heal, seek new relationships, start businesses, and re-enter the social whirl in a new form.

This can be an opportunity to step back, to review your creative foundation and life purpose. A time to test your potential.

I move into liminality every time I begin to write these articles. I may think I know what I want to say. Then, through research, introspection and extemporaneous writing, new ideas emerge and flow onto the page.

Inner work of navigating change

Liminality can be the rich soil to grow creative ideas,
a new road to travel or even a new identity.

IntentionOur lives are constantly in flux. We’re absorbing new information, reflecting on the past, aspiring towards the future. Discomfort with transition can cloud our perspective. Anxiety and fear may try to divert us. Know it is just your fragile, threatened ego trying to block change.

Liminality can be taken into meditation where you can step back and reflect. Watch your mind, your thoughts and feelings. See problems as objects floating inside your head based on your perceptions, not who you really are.

Invite the ego to sit in your guesthouse of awareness, while you explore with openness the vast potentiality available to you. Explore the liminal space between thoughts, between breaths. This clears the pathway to commune with your Source where truth, peace and love reside, bringing you to a place of wholeness and enabling you to reenter the world anew.

“From the moment I fell down that rabbit hole I’ve been told where I must go and who I must be…….but this is my dream. I’ll decide where it goes from here.”Adventures of Alice in Wonderland

Welcome liminality to help you decide where that will be. ~ Namaste

Join my free iRest meditation groups held weekly on Sunday mornings and Thursday afternoons where you’ll find space to rest and explore this further.