Archive | January, 2015

Finding the Heart

21 Jan

The greatest wisdom is in simplicity. Love, respect, tolerance, sharing, gratitude, forgiveness. It’s not complex or elaborate. The real knowledge is free. It’s encoded in your DNA. All you need is within you. Great teachers have said that from the beginning. Find your heart, and you will find your way. ― Carlos Barrios, Mayan elder and Ajq’ij of the Eagle Clan

There’s nothing like making a commitment to a year of smoother sailing because that’s just the sort of dare the Universe needs to send in a few more swells. The first three weeks of 2015 have served up a volley of big breakers, mostly of the financial sort. However, my experiencing of them has changed a great deal. Perhaps it’s the nature of the challenges or simply that I know a little more about surfing, but in three short weeks I’m definitely not handling issues in the same old way: head down, braced, wide- eyed and tight jawed.

Two surprise IRS notices within the first week rolled into a Sunday afternoon broken bottom molar which now demands an expensive crown by the end of February. Then, Clarence’s eye needed costly veterinary attention on top of his previous visits in December for a sprained back. It seemed financial waves of a respectful magnitude were rippling out in swell upon swell and as soon as I took a deep breath, another wave covered my head. But underwater, came a different view. I saw much more clearly inside the swell. In the midst of these new waves, somehow it just felt right to simply let go.

I began to float in the terrifying but beautiful grace of what IS.

I stopped swimming. I didn’t care about what would come next. Strangely enough, the motion of events began to bear my weight, carrying me wherever it wanted. Something within wound down into a simplicity that’s hard to define. This feeling was absent of the usual guilt or pressure of “doing” before time runs out or “fixing” so that future sailing will be smooth.  I began to see and embrace a pretty big truth . . . believing that I am the conductor of my life’s concerto does not serve me. For truly, I am at the mercy and grace of whatever IS.

All that I hope for…
All that I need…
All that I am …

Not mine. . . to direct or to control.

“Okay,” I said to the sky.  “You take care of it. What would you have me do?”

The response was an intense sense of peace and a conviction that I am not a failure for my present inability to resolve the issues in my life which cause me the most emotional stress. Once I acknowledged that I didn’t know what to do and furthermore stopped caring about “doing” anything. ..events began to occur which showed precisely where to go. A knowing that I could trust what IS to take me exactly where I need to be settled in. And then, synchronicity after synchronicity erupted out of the surrender.

Post holidays, I’ve been teaching personal writing, trying to relay to students the value in connecting with others’ experiences. To not only tell their own stories, but truly hear and appreciate other people’s. They’ve been engaging deeply, way beyond my expectations. As I sifted through a pile of student generated sticky notes, one question emerged from the others, a metaphor resonating clearly against my own present. There are no accidents.
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In sitting with this question for days, I realized the need to pare down the rind of my professional ego and allow the love I have for my craft and for my students to reemerge. For they have shown me that the heart is the source of surrender. And the changes in my professional life over which I have no control, I need to open to and allow. Before this journey, the erroneous idea I had that to give 100% to my job and the endless pursuit of professional perfection would ensure the security of sameness, had to be let go of like the tail of a constantly vigilant cobra poised at rapturous attention. And the cynicism which came like poison after the serpent’s departing bite now needs the healing light of love.

Random synchronous messages of care and support from previous students over the last week have shown me that I’ve been working within my purpose all along, even in the last three years where I have felt like I didn’t give anything to my profession except a fight to escape my calling. But surprisingly, the journey might just be about fitting Beloved into the picture… to fully balance all of my gifts and desires… writing, art, dance… spirituality and wisdom seeking. What better Teacher could I be than to live life fully and well? That’s a walking testament to the gift of presence and to the enormous power of following one’s bliss. Finding the bliss in teaching again may not be completely possible, but I think it’s my path for now.

These weeks have reminded me that love is simple, something I “learned” on the island in 2012, but tend to forget when I become tangled in the desire for a personal companion. Now, though, in the light of all this I’m beginning to love what IS. Because I need yoga to balance the load of a fully integrated life, I arranged to have practice once weekly in our campus library. My need was answered in such a way that others could also benefit. To me, that is how the Universe truly works.  One of my previous students is our instructor. After our first class, she turned to me with an enormous smile.

“I never thought I’d come back to this place doing what I most love and for those who had such influence on me. The energy of this whole situation makes me so happy.” She hugged me tightly in joyful exuberance.

“Everyone seemed to really enjoy today.” I said, “There will be more next week. You know, I need this type of energy in the building.”

It was easy to acknowledge to her that the core of what I do: guide, shape, explain, serve . . .requires at least an hour a day of self-care. It requires me to love myself, first. And what the system does not provide for me, I must demand for myself.

Someone sent me flowers three days ago anonymously. It has been a long time since I’ve received flowers. And even though they aren’t of romantic intent, they made me so happy because someone loved me..and I let them. And in turn it replenishes what I have to give to others.

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I’ve never written much about my intimate life, mainly because personal boundaries are necessary in a public medium. But having spent the majority of the last few years without an intimate partner, I see the purpose of the time spent essentially with no one else to learn about and love other than myself. It may not have been my choice, but it was my path. I had to know how being treated well physically, emotionally, spiritually felt quite deeply. And no other but the self can teach that. I had to learn, heal and grow into my own emotional intimate space…to learn what gives me joy, as well as what connects me to that which is beyond me. I had to learn how to find intended paths and also the lessons of unintended ones.

Now what I seem to be learning are the nuances of my own heart and the power it has to direct my life and being. I’m going to be honest here…it’s hard. It’s hard to see couples walk hand in hand down the street or to see fluffy white wedding photos in my social media feed or the inevitable yearly arrival of the shiny red heart season.

It’s hard to go to events not appropriate for singles with a friend of the same gender. It’s hard to have friends of the opposite gender that don’t fit into more than the platonic role.

It’s hard on a sunny January afternoon to see a pair of small sparrows in the bush bedside me begin their nest.

I’m grateful… But it’s really hard.

So I had a talk with the Universe driving home yesterday from a typical wayfarinlass afternoon: picnic, music, writing, dog, table for one.

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I voiced to the air this difficulty. And the message returned was pretty startling.

“How will you ever trust a significant other, if you don’t first trust that you will and always have received what you need at the right time? No accidents?”

So I’m working on trusting that sense of surrender…of letting go. To let go of the pinching thought that life’s sweetness within me now, a heart which emotes so much joy and love at a simple moment, that all of that might pass away unshared.

“But I’m at my best right now.” I say in justification.

“You are at your best in every moment of conscious living” …is the answer I received. “What you need to learn is the power of your own heart.”

Ok.

New journey.

New way of seeing the road.

love

Of Beginnings, And Again

1 Jan

This morning, I awoke to Beloved’s voice in my ear. Now, the dreams come in both words and image when I am allowed to sleep naturally. She arrives in the early mornings as once she did on Ocracoke. . . .in the tiny loft bedroom of a yellow cottage on the corner of Fig Tree and Howard. Within my dreaming consciousness, I stood on the right side of an enormous moss and lichen laced live oak, a tree well known to me. M’lady, the enormous live oak on Howard Street.

 

It is to her I have gone to ask the questions I did not know how to form into speech. Her curved and expansive side is the one I have embraced, hoping wisdom from her deep memory would seep into my consciousness, somehow showing me the way…the path to take. Once upon a time, I curled under the mercy of her shelter, hoping that she would heal me and then open a new heart into seeing. In this shadow state, as I admired the winter sky glowing silvery grey through her leafless limbs, Beloved said to me, “Look beyond the tree”. There, I saw a tiny acorn burnished and  gleaming on the ground. “That is what you have made,” she said. “Now its time to plant and watch it grow.”   For the last three months,  I’ve been blinded by the enormous tree of my life, but it has now birthed a “me” who is complete. In a state of presence, I see the cycle. This small acorn has so much potential and promise…so much wisdom innate within it, the tracings of the tree which grew it lying inside.

But, I sighed. A part of me doesn’t want to start all over…to plant …to tend… to begin the next. “No,” I said to Beloved. “I’m too tired to grow more”.

But perhaps winter is about lying fallow. Resting in the dark in order to gather strength and energy for spring. It seems that way to me today. In many ways, the last three months were one long labor, the pushing and the pain. Moments of wanting to give up and not breathe through what seemed to never come forth.  The building excitement of returning to a sense of home and yet the fear of leaving the dark space of the familiar otherworld.

And some might say that my reticence for this new year and plaints of emotional and spiritual fatigue smack of victimhood. I started 2014 selfish, angry, and frustrated, fighting the way the Universe wanted to shape me at every breath. But I finished this year in surrender and acceptance.  No, not a victim. . . a tired warrior, returned to find tribe and home turned to dust. Like Oisin, love and fate swung a pendant soul out into the timelessness of the otherworld for so long a time that upon his return, they knew him not. The former world had passed away. He eventually fell from his faerie stallion, never able to return to the magical world he had found. The fear of losing the gifts of the journey are ever present in my mind. It worries me that I must stay in the saddle and not fall into decay and loss.

Beloved directs my attention back to M’lady. Now a seed of integrated soul lies awake and expectant. The energy to grow into something beautiful takes both energy within and energy without. Fully waking from this dream, I realize the spark is there within me but the way to light the fire is missing. It takes a communal fire to grow a soul beyond its birth. And as much as I can tend myself, I also need the tending. The hard part, I own… I made the acorn. Now others are needed to help me grow into a beautiful grand old oak that someone else might come to embrace for wisdom, for solace…for love.

At this moment though, I need the quiet rest of winter and to lie expectant for sun and earth and water and air… a call which will open me further.

This year, I have two intentions: To keep a positive open heart and to help shape and belong to loving tribe of friends. So I reached into my tiny bowl of shells from Ocracoke this morning and found one which seemed to speak of the promise of more peaceful waters. By remembering the most beautiful shells are found after the most torrential storms, the space beyond the moment doesn’t hold the apprehension it once did. And the time seems to stretch out beyond the desires of my heart as if I had lifetimes to do all that inspires these wings to flight. May the new year be one of seeking and giving, of peace and love.

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 I finished my day in yoga practice with the yoga teacher Cyndi Lee.  As we finished our practice, words of intention flowed as the tides of the shore I love so well. Each inhale and exhale united me to my heart’s home.

May I be Happy. . .

May I be Healthy. . .

May I be Safe. . .

May I live with ease. . .

Om…

Happy New Year to the wayfaring souls who bless me by following my journey.

Much gratitude.

Be Loved…..

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