seeds

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It all starts from within.

This image makes me think of  a mindfulness practice I learned from the monastics at Blue Cliff Monastery. They talked about watering the seeds within us and that we have the opportunity to do this in each day and moment. We have all kinds of seeds within us–seeds of love, seeds of kindness, seeds of compassion, seeds of anger, seeds of indifference, seeds of fear…and it is ultimately up to us which ones we pay the most attention to and give the most water and sustenance to.

I took this image away with me and worked with making a conscious effort to water more of the positive qualities that ultimately made me feel more nourished in life like I had actual flowers growing within me.

What seeds are you watering the most?

 


You’re like sunlight

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Photo by jgalere.

More than anything I want to talk to you, whisper in your ear about my day and all the little things that filled me with such wonder, and have you whisper back to me about yours and feel all our moments dance against our skin like the first rays of sunlight on a newly born day.

Aren’t the little things truly the most magnificent things?

Like the eruption of your laughter in an otherwise ordinary moment and all the other laughs of different tones and depths that can’t resist joining in. The thank you card you left under my laptop thanking me just for being me on a particularly rough day. The way you go out of your way to tuck people’s fabric tags safely into place and give them a soothing stroke on the back of their neck before you take your hand away.

I think people feel held tightly yet also free when they’re around you. That may just be the definition of love.


What if you saw it all as a blessing?

Thank you. Thank you for the days that feel so full, for the periods that seem so empty that losing them could never feel like a loss, for the moments that seem to love me back, and for the experience that left me broken enough to know I could never go back.

Thank you for my existence…my growth. Thank you for all of this love. Thank you for all of the darkness that only makes the light shine that much brighter. Thank you for this life and allowing me to inhabit it even on the days when I did not want to. Thank you for the moments full of laughter and unspeakable joy and for the moments where absolute stillness surrounds me, I am my only companion, and it still feels like heaven.

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Thank you. Thank you is enough. Thank you is more than enough. Thank you is everything in fact because it means you can see all of it as a gift of some sort, a necessary part of life for the ignition of change in you or someone else, for the release of suffering for you or someone else, or for the expression of joy for you or someone else.

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Two years ago I began practicing gratitude daily. The more I have worked with gratitude, the more I have realized that I could easily be grateful for almost every moment of the day, the delightful times, the heart-wrenching moments, the challenging people in my life and the incredibly loving ones, because they all seem so important for my evolution as a human being.

I have found comfort in giving thanks to people and experiences presently in my life as well as for ones that I have difficulty releasing. I find that I am better able to let go when I focus on my gratitude for having had them in my life rather than on my distress on our time together having ended.

In the past year,  I have even been able to include myself in my list of daily thanks and a deep layer of self-love has started to blossom. Gratitude has brought so much light into my life and has helped me transform my experience of life from one of negativity and criticism to one of acceptance and love.

 


Reflections of each other

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If the moon smiled, you would resemble her. Illuminating and whole, drawing me in with your openness in the loveliest of moments. Just a hint of light surrounded by darkness on other days when say you have nothing to give and shut me out of your world.

The question always seems to be should I stay with someone so light and dark, so present and absent. The answer always seems to be to turn my focus away from you and observe the places where I am light and dark, present and absent. Will I continue to condemn those darker places within me or can I remain a constant, encouraging them to become more whole and full with my presence?

Our time together seems increasingly fleeting but what if this lesson of love and acceptance can stand the test of time. I can choose to love myself and others because of the varying degrees of sun and moon we have within us.


You matter so incredibly much.

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Isn’t the common thread to being a human that we all want to matter? We all want someone to look into our depths, hold us tightly, and tell us how wonderful and significant we are to them. I can tell you that too without even knowing you. You matter so incredibly much; you wouldn’t be alive if you didn’t.

It isn’t a competition though of who matters most. I pray for all the daily horrors that come out in the news and for all the ones that they silence, they sweep under the rug with the blood still leaking out from the edges. We all hurt. We all lose. We all mourn.

When we say black lives matter we aren’t negating any of your losses and injustices. We just want to matter. With all of the shootings,  the negative and often menacing way we’re presented in the media, the way we overpopulate our prison systems, it doesn’t feel like our lives matter. We need the lives of Trayvon, Alton, Sandra, Eric, Renisha, Philando, Tamir, Walter, Jonathan, Samuel, Michael… and so many other black people whose names only their loved ones will ever know because no one was there to video tape their murder. We need the oppression, enslavement, and suffering of our ancestors to matter. They didn’t fight for so much change for us to continue losing our loved ones to violence and imprisonment.

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I’m not going to hurt you. Do you think I am? Is that why you reach for your gun, your purse, for the other side of the street so quickly? What do you fear? Have an honest conversation with yourself about what scares you about black people. Invite fear over for dinner. Serve it your favorite meal. Become so familiar with it that you can be present with it when you encounter someone whose image you perceive as dangerous so that you can pause and choose not to engage in an act of prejudice, judgment, or violence when you feel threatened.

All lives matter, of course, but must we argue about who matters most and what hashtag you use to illustrate your support when we keep losing our sons and daughters and we are scared. We are angry. We are tired.

We know most cops are good. We love most cops but that doesn’t negate the way we feel when we are driving, see a cop car approaching, and wonder is this one of the bad ones? How can I be less threatening, less myself, to continue living after being pulled over?

What now? What now? What now? Endless body bags. Endless infrastructures set up to create the divides and deepen the injustices. Educate yourself. This list of resources is a great start. Engage in as much dialogue as possible with as many people as possible. Engage in conversation with law enforcement and government at all levels–city, state, and federal– and ask what can be done differently. Demand change. Engage in dialogue internally and explore any barriers within yourself for equal rights and equal treatment for black people. Support black businesses. Support black neighborhoods–help revive them and make them beautiful and safe again. Help shift the prison system from being a system of punishment to a system of rehabilitation to set people up for success upon their release. Talk with your children and other youth you are connected to and educate them about racism, social injustices, and privilege. Join an organization that advocates for change — The Movement for Black Lives is one. Never stop believing that change can happen.

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Don’t try to rush my healing

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I start each day. I start with my dreams quickly slipping from my awareness as I wake and fairly quickly move into meditation. I regret that I lose my dreams so easily. I wish they would stay with me in my waking life more often.

Usually, I wake up with a blank slate, able to start the day without regrets from the day before and without the memory of my dreams to fill my mind with wonder. On rare occasions, I wake and an old lover’s name is fresh in my thoughts and I wonder if our spirits brushed against each other in our dreams. I have definitely released them from my physical present world but if we can still love each other in another universe after so much heartache then that is truly precious. Other times, I wake and my first words to myself are I love you, lissa — those are the sweetest moments. I know I have come a long, long way on my journey of worthiness if that is my first thought to myself.

I start with a mix of emotions and states of being, fear, pain, doubt, love, peace, freedom, flickering in and out of my practice. I expand and release them with each breath in and out. I try not to grasp to any one feeling as the more I reach, the further they drift away. Perhaps I should not be so open to sit with darker emotions but the little girl within me who spent most of her childhood alone shows tenderness to all emotions without discrimination. That doesn’t negate my ability to let them go when it’s time but I can let them go with love rather than shame.

A spiritual healer I met for the first time told me You are going too slow. Your healing should be quicker than this. How much seriousness can I pay to someone who tries to rush my healing? She doesn’t know how much I have healed, how much I have been through, how quickly I have transformed a lifetime of suffering.

I am not in a rush. I want to be free to be me. I want to savor this process completely. I have let so much go and I will continue to do so in each moment. I am not playing around  and holding onto pain for fun or out of habit; we are deeply entangled from such a long exposure. With each release, more darkness comes out of another part of my body or a memory long forgotten somehow gets triggered and whispers against my temple.

Please do not rush my healing. Do not try to convince me that I have crafted a doubt spell against myself because I do not want to declare that I am a healer after three tarot card lessons from you. Have I healed others? It’s very likely in all my years of nursing and loving. That, however, is not something I grip onto or need to define me. The only person I feel deeply compelled to heal is myself; I am much happier to help people along the journey to heal themselves than to put myself in a position to be their healer. Sometimes, we get help with medicines and procedures but ultimately it is always up to us how deeply we let ourselves heal.


heart-centered living

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How do you embrace being fully seen, open, loved, and loving?

It’s been an enduring goal of mine, which I’ve reflected on often. Initially, the thought always used to be followed by a natural shrinking, a subtle rounding of the shoulders, my ego to remind me that I wasn’t good enough to let myself be fully seen. A soft voice within me always seemed to counter my ego and acknowledge that this was how I was meant to be. Perhaps, this is how we are all meant to be. We start off this way as babies and then so much stuff happens to us that we often lose our connection to these qualities.

My upbringing prepared me to be in full body armor suits at all times. It takes a lot of awareness and work to move towards a fully open, heart-centered way of living. I have to put the past in its place and tell it to stop following me around and relinquish all my baggage, all my stories, all my protection.

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I used to worry so much about being loved and keep relentless tally of who wasn’t treating me the way I deserved to be treated while I treated myself worst than my worst enemy. How could my love ever be complete if it did not include me?

I know better now. I tell my ego hush, feed it jam and stroke its hair, loving it as I love all the other parts within me. I meditate and work with all the resistances I have built to protect myself from getting hurt that have in actuality kept me from love. I love myself deeply, including everything I see in my love –my missteps as much as my triumphs.

With a love like that emanating through my day, what could I have to fear in you seeing? See all of me and love me. See all of yourself and love yourself. So much beauty can come from our darkest depths, from our supposed flaws, and that is not something that we ever have to hide. Flaws make us human and vulnerable; they are often the most lovely parts of us. You are worthy, so incredibly worthy. Show the universe all of you, flaws and all, and I will show you an open door to love, that will caress you like the first summer breeze after a long winter, and never leave you.


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