Category Archives: meditation

shining light into the darkness

everything’s going to be okay, I tell myself. this will pass.

I find so much peace in those simple words.

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photo by joniwoq

I have felt sadness more and more of late. It scares me sometimes. I feel it in moments where my work or social experiences are particularly challenging or unfulfilling or in a moment when I sit with an intense emotion like anger, tracing its rapid burn through my chest and belly and feeling the sadness just underneath its hot surface. The sadness comes and goes like any other emotion but it has come for a number of days in a row. I find myself worrying what if it keeps coming back? What if I fall into a deep sadness like I have in the past?

There is no way to know what the future will bring but I trust in the universe. I know that if a deep sadness happens, I will still be okay. It will pass. I am not a super human. I am allowed to experience moments of sadness.

I comfort myself in practices like deep breathing, deep nourishing, deep listening to what lurks underneath the emotion that doesn’t use words — is there a need not being met, am I doing too much, am I not connected to my life’s purpose?

I comfort and release  sadness through my cycle of breath, knowing that although I may feel sadness that I am not my sadness. Breathing in, I am aware of my breath flowing in. I follow its journey through my body and feel its life and energy. I can feel my breath encounter sadness as I breathe in. I shine light into the darkness with my breath: touching sadness with my inhale, releasing it with my exhale.

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photo by llbolek

Deeply nourishing practices I like to utilize:

– I self-soothe with my hand at my chest or belly as a reminder that I am not alone and I will always be there for myself no matter what.

– Be active. Yoga, dance, walks, runs, etc.

– Cook/eat balanced, yummy meals.

– Engage in activities that draw a deep belly laugh. I invite my favorite books and comedies to help with this.

– Be around loving, welcoming people. I can allow myself alone time but it’s really important to be around others as well to avoid getting too caught up in my experience.

– Journal. Write. Express myself. Sing/chant. Be creative. Release.

– A mindfulness practice I have started to engage in is accepting each moment for what it is and bringing a gentle curiosity to each moment. I have started to realize the incredible peace and freedom in befriending each moment  — not just the ones that take my breath away with their joy but the more difficult moments where I feel lonely, scared, or not good enough. Adding a layer of compassion and acceptance to challenging feelings and experiences can make them so much easier to navigate through.

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Writing a piece like this helps tremendously. It helps dissipate my sadness, helps me to feel less isolated and more connected by sharing my experiences with others rather than keeping them a secret. If you feel intense emotions or devastating experiences that leave you weary, I want you to know that you are not alone. You never can be alone. We are all connected. We are holding the space for each other, supporting each other in our collective energy.


our loving ancestors

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I like to think our ancestors are rooting us on through life.

There’s a mindfulness practice at Blue Cliff Monastery called touching the earth where we place our palms in front of our chests in the shape of a lotus bud and slowly lower ourselves to the ground so that our four limbs and forehead gently press against the floor. We bow deeply and return to the earth and our roots, connecting with our spiritual and blood ancestors. We know that we can never be alone as we are always surrounded by love, by divine beings who only want the best for us, by the earth. We touch the earth and reconnect with each bow to all of that life and recognize that we make up the earth and life and can never be separate. We are all connected.

Breathing in, I breathe in the earth. I breathe in connection. I breathe in life, strength, stability, love, nurturing, protection. Breathing out, I breathe out separation. I breathe out suffering. I breathe out anger, fear, shame, sorrow, grief.

I wonder if each time we engage in a healing practice like meditation or yoga, are we touching our ancestors? In engaging in the practice and connecting deeper with ourselves or transforming an area of suffering, are we also lessening the suffering in that whole ancestry chain? If we release a story steeped in limitation and inadequacy that we used to cling to, do we release suffering in our whole ancestry line? Is our growth a shining light of hope and pride to them?

 

 

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background image by carolyn doe

Believing our thoughts

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We have so many thoughts each minute, each day, each lifetime. Some believe we have 50,000 thoughts in a day so that would be over 18 million thoughts in a year — far too many thoughts to hear and remember. So what determines the thoughts we believe and cling to and the ones that never catch hold and quickly disappear? It’s more often than not a choice. I want to carefully choose the thoughts I listen to for they create my reality.

 


holding & letting go

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I have a love to garden deep in my roots.
I breathe in flowers sacredly tended to by divine mothers
hoping they blossom throughout this lifetime.

I wake up unexpectedly sometimes
during that late-night, early morning space
where my dreams seem both near and far
and words that don’t speak flow within me
if I just stay awake a little longer
and press my senses gently
against my soul to hear them.

Tonight there was a melody of rain and crickets
just outside my window and I decided to stay
and listen. My hand reached outside the window
to both embrace and release the rain drops in my palm
interchangeably, and I wondered if this is what I should
be doing with each moment here:
both holding and letting go.

 


love our darkness & our light

“Until we have seen someone’s darkness, we don’t really know who they are. Until we have forgiven someone’s darkness, we don’t really know what love is.” — Marianne Williamson

 

Love has to include both darkness and light or else I don’t really believe that it is love. I don’t believe in a love that is conditional or partial or I love this part of you but not this part. I know that the kind of love that I am looking to give and receive from others as well as from myself is the kind that can love it all.

When I found myself in a relationship where my partner could not be present in my moments of sadness and could not love the parts of me that were a masterpiece in progress but instead put those parts down when he became frustrated, I found myself able to find the courage to leave the relationship because I knew that our love for each could never be complete. I would have to hide my darkness from him and he would try to pretend to love parts of me that he really couldn’t stomach. As a result, I looked into my relationship with myself to explore what would allow me to attract that type of a relationship with another. What areas of darkness within myself was I having difficulty embracing and nurturing? What mistakes from my past was I unable to forgive and put beyond me? I sat with the revelations that came up and found ways to cultivate more loving kindness to those areas as they seemed in great need of love and attention.

 

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I want a love that is whole and complete and includes every part of myself and the other person. That is the type of love I try to give myself each day.

Be (with) someone who can treat even your most wounded and darkest places with loving kindness.

 

 


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?

 


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.