Ruminating On Rumi

As you start to walk out on the way, the way appears.

~ M. Rumi

Thursday, February 28, 2013

This Breath Breathes Me

This breath breathes me.

How can this be expressed in words, the flimsy cloak of the fleetings of mind? How to express the inexplicable liveliness of the conscious breath from base of spine to crown of the head? It is an energetic enlivening whisper of consciousness.  

Yet mostly the breath that breathes us without thought or condition is involuntary, autonomic. Imagine if breath required our gratitude.  

Inhale, stillness, exhale, stillness, inhale... an endless cycle of being breathed. Until, physical illness or mental stress quickly brings breath to mind. Until we gasp for breath or hold the breath we may not be aware of this unconscious consciousness.  

Vision breathing with mindful gratitude.  Imagine a world consciously breathing together and knowing that we share this gift.  

I step outside and fill my lungs with the cool winter-into-spring air. My nostrils flare and I savour its initial crispness and then as breath warms through throat, flowing through upper chest and then sinking deep into the belly, I am flooded with gratitude. 

This moment breathes me.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wake Now Discover

We so measure our value as humans by what we do not by who we are. Perhaps, I should say I do.  I struggle with this. Merely being who I am does not at times seem good enough. Although at times when I am truly present I sense that who I truly am is so much deeper than what I do, what I have and the many “mes” that include mother, yoga teacher, meditator, writer, guitar player.  These are all superficial. The cultural, social and generational layerings in a world that has believed that what’s out there is more important then what’s inside and, equally harming, the belief that we are separate from all else.  

Ironically, as I journey in this thing I call life I am realizing there are no things. I, we, are not living life we are life itself. We, all of this, is a process of change, of arising and dissolution. No thing can be separated from nothing. 

How can I believe or know this to be true? Does it require faith or trust?  Is there some kind of proof? It is a knowing that cannot be known with the limitations of mind, thought and feelings. Truly the only way to feel connected with all is to realize we (I) have never been separate. 

Thoughts, feelings, the workings of the mind can never truly embody this “knowing.”  Even words pale beyond this realization. They are a flimsy, inadequate relative vehicle to describe the indescribable, the absolute. Yet, until we can all rise to our fullest potential and connect beyond thoughts and words this is the vehicle to share the indescribable. As oneness individuated, we have gifted our “selves,” our souls with this body to rediscover who we truly are. 

Who we are has never been lost. Look with open eyes and see that essence that pleases us through the many forms of our cosmic consciousness, trees, flowers, oceans, all creatures great and small is the same. Yes, even all the many horrors we have committed as a human species on other species, our planet and one another is who we are, struggling to understand, to dare I say, find the “right” way of living. 

This is not a judgement.  Look through open heart and know that ALL this, the horror and the beauty is reality, not separate from one other. Perhaps, when we truly realize that what we do to others we do to ourselves we will have opened our eyes. This is happening right now. Here. Fighting does not cure what is.  Only through loving with compassion can we evolve to who we truly are. Peace. Truth. Love. Joy. One. Absolutely undivided. Yet, at the same time, here playing in these bodies, we have the unique opportunity to explore the creativity of our physical existence permeated and expressed through consciousness of one-mind, one-heart. And yes, through our physical bodies, loving hearts and open minds we take action to create equanimity for ALL beings. In honour of this existence in this body, we wake up to understand that just as we cannot harm this body vehicle, we cannot, will no longer harm all other aspects of our self on Mother Earth. 
All that has been has led to this very moment, where as a living planet we are ripe and ready to wake up. In this very moment, a smile, a kind word, a hug, a donation, a conscious act of care and concern ripple through the planet.  A single seemingly small act by many becomes a wave in an ocean of consciousness for the whole in one. Inseparable. Harmonious co-creating. As, “I”, we together are creating ALL this.

Beyond this temple of the body, beyond this tool of the mind we are consciousness itself.  To realize who we truly are we need look no further then this present moment.  This presence now.

Friday, February 15, 2013

What is this body/mind/spirit connection thang all about anyway?

Your Body

Like it or not this body, either temple or prison, is, for our life time, our home.

Sometimes not being “in” the body may be caused by trauma, a dislike of this vessel as a physical home or belief that the body is not important or “perfect” enough. Mind you, when a physical injury or struggle affects the body we quickly learn how vital a healthy body is.  

For years, I barely acknowledged I had a body, what I favoured and cultivated was the mind and the spirit.  I began to see how detrimental this was by the many times I would “accidentally” get injured. I seemed to have little idea of where my body physically began and ended and where other physical things were in relation to it. Painful yet it still did not sink in. I did not honour my body, I ignored, sometimes cursed it for not being the right size or shape and sometimes abused it by not nurturing it with quality food and drink. 

It seems ludicrous now that I think about it. I now “know” that this physical temple is where we do our spiritual/awakening work on earth. It is where we play and explore and experience the sensual delights of an earthly existence. It is where we make mistakes, learn lessons and move on. Inevitably, with each age and stage, it changes and eventually ceases to be. Savour the body because after all, this is the only one you’re getting this time round. 

Befriend your Body
~ stretch it in a yoga class
~ take it for a walk 
~ enjoy a hot bath
~ treat it to a massage
~ feed it nutritious food
~ keep it hydrated
~ cultivate a positive attitude toward your body
~ be grateful for health and kind with illness
~ do whatever makes your body feel loved and valued

Your Mind

A curious thing, how we both honour and ignore the power of the mind. We stuff it full of knowledge and sometimes nonsense yet at the same time we say “seeing is believing.”  We dismiss feelings and experiences and only validate such that can be scientifically measured. 

To simplify it’s existence the mind will discriminate with the almost arbitrary concept of good and bad, black and white. Through our intention, perceptions and thoughts we create our reality. Yet at the same time, when we forget that the mind is a tool, another sense organ, we think the functioning of the mind is the absolute truth.  

The paradox is that we can’t think our way out of the mind to understand the mind. What happens in the mind is always relative, in relationship with all that exists. The mind is only part of the equation, body + mind + spirit = whole in one.

Befriend Your Mind
~ be curious
~ just say “know” but be just as okay with not knowing
~ keep it active with puzzles & games, reading, asking questions
~ listen open minded to the thoughts of others
~ remember there are absolutely no absolutes
~ rest the mind
~ encourage the mind to wonder, dream and imagine
~ listen to the truths of a child

Your Spirit
Call it life force, prana, chi, breath, energy, God, or a combination, it is that which animates the body and without the body is a corpse. How do we connect to spirit? Being still. listening with open heart. Feeling the energy in the body. Trusting feelings and sensation. Having faith that this is where we are meant to be right now. (Why? Because we are.) Being present with what is.  Using the gifts of past and dreams of future as tools for transformation from the present moment. Cultivate curiosity and investigate how the universal truths such as “joy,” “truth,” “peace” and “love” resonate with you. 

Befriend your Spirit
~ meditate
~ pray
~ practice yoga or tai chi or qi gong
~ breath work
~ create community where spirit is honoured and nurtured
~ practice gratitude
~ be here now
~ see/feel spirit every where

Mindfulness is the practice of bringing all the inseparable elements, mind, body and spirit to a place of conscious oneness. 
Mindfulness is not a full mind but a mind that is aware of this complete package. Awake knowing this full meal deal is our home. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Reclaiming Valentine’s Day

Is Valentine’s Day only an occasion for those folks paired in a starry eyed relationship or a relationship that needs the help of a heart celebration?  

I believe not. Why not reclaim the “Hallmark” card occasion for whatever or whomever you love? Choose one or all of the suggestions or add your own.

Love children
Love animals
Love yoga
Love meditation
Love healthy food
Love fresh air
Love a strong body
Love nature
Love this world
Love this moment

Be a lover of life and lover of self for this is the unconditional love that grows compassion and care for all sentient beings. Gaze at the world with love and love shines back on you on this and every day.

As the Grateful Dead sang, “Wake now discover that you are the eyes of the world.”


Monday, February 11, 2013

The Heart Hears

My beautiful grand-daughter Teagan went to Family Day Activities with her Grandpa Greg. Of the music she said, it made her feet get up and dance and that she could hear the music in her heart.  Then she said, it was funny how her heart had ears.

What a wonderful delight!  Through our Indigo children, we learn if we open our heart ears we can hear the music. 

Some Thoughts On Anger

How do we honour hate, anger, sadness, guilt? Perhaps more to the point is why would we want to honour “negative” emotions? To negate a part of existence is to deny the human condition; it is what it is.

When we bring light to darkness, we can see that all of these emotions are fear based. What do we do when a child or someone we love is fearful or angry? We offer compassion, understanding, consolation, kindness, support, a listening ear, hugging arms or a caring shoulder. Why would we be angry at someone who is hurting?

Honouring these “adverse” feelings by turning and facing them means acknowledging that they arise in us. In this arising, we have the choice to transmute the base metal of contrary feelings into gold; the golden light of understanding and compassion. In doing so there is an invitation to look beyond the arising feeling to what lies under. 

Questions to ponder include where do these feelings come from?  What is the purpose of them? How can I use my anger, sadness, guilt in a creative, productive way that could initiate change both inward and outward? 

Finally, the truth of these so-called “bad” emotions, the anger we feel to others we know on both a subtle and not subtle level is deeply harming and stressful to all, particularly ourselves. More conflict does not end conflict, fighting for peace is an oxymoron. 

Learning to find equanimity in the face of all of life’s challenges and joys is a healing practice. It’s not easy. It’s a practice that requires patience and forgiveness and a willingness to go beyond.  

Sunday, February 10, 2013


Angel Card for today:  Surrender

Does surrendering mean giving up, languishing in defeat or feeling less than? 

Surrendering is letting go of what we think should happen and being present with what happens. The natural flow of life shows us that clinging to beliefs, stories, grievances, past deeds or words taints our perception of the present moment. 

Instead of being with each moment as new and full of possibility we have preconceived moments of expectation. In this expecting, there is no room for freshness and change. Indeed when the inevitable change happens, we are surprised. In letting go we acknowledge that change is the only constant. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Breath by Breath

Spiritual yearnings and a desire to self awareness started when very young. Preteen, I recollect. I distinctly remember realizing that breath had something to do with it.
I looked through card catalogues and book indexes (no Google then) for a clue. Yes, there was the breath by breath automatic inhalation and exhalation that sustained life but I felt on a gut level there was something more. I was puzzled until years later through meditation and yoga did I learn that it was not that we breathed but how we breathe.  

Being mindful of the inhale and the exhale and the still points between inhalation and exhalation connects us to this moment as it is. When we pause and bring attention to the breath we have the great and grand opportunity to truly be present. 

As you rush through your daily activities stop and ponder the breath. Am I gasping for air? Is my breath shallow? Is the breath frantic? The answers are pointers to our whole being, our mind, body, spiritual connection. When we listen to the breath, we have a window on our emotional state. Am I stressed? Balanced? Tired? Angry? Happy? Sad? 
When that light of awareness is shone, we then have a choice, with the breath to realize equanimity and come back to this moment where life is unfolding before our eyes. And yet there is a paradox, a moment that takes our breath away, is a moment of true connectedness and oneness in the wholeness of presence. 

Breathe deep and awaken to the knowing that you are life itself.  This is it. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Enough is Enough

Ok. It’s time. Enough procrastination.  I’ve been tussling with an inner demon, “Not Good Enough.”  Truly, I’ve allowed this fear to stop me from writing for a while because that nasty beast reared its head and I believed it.  Without a doubt, I “knew” the writing was not good enough.  Tangled up in this web of self doubt are threads of self sabotage.  Why do I fear success?  Why do I shrink from letting true writing me shine through?  It’s not that I don’t have my own writer’s voice, I’ve been writing long enough to know this voice is strong, capable and literate. So, I don’t really know if I can answer the why perhaps Marianne Williamson can remind me, again.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
There, said succinctly, now I simply need to practice it. It’s a strange thing, I cheerlead for everyone else, except me.  Perhaps my resolution for 2013 is: “I have the right to be here and a right to express myself.”

Enough is Enough; I am Enough. 

On word....