Tuesday, December 30, 2008
glittering Christmas Spirit,
red & green,
poinsettias and evergreens,
snow white blanket of purity
covering the houses & fields,
drifting down from the Heavens,
God is good and divinity reigns humbly and meekly,
yet powerfully and with great integrity,
the fire embers heat our homes & hearts,
Love's pure light surrounds and fills us,
passionate & bright,
kindness is the peace in action,
sweet clear words leave our lips
and radiate out into our world
as holiness spreads across the land,
the wonders of God's Love,
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
As I was sitting in Mrs. Bird’s stuffy second grade classroom one day, I began to feel very, very lonely. I felt like no one really knew me, really understood me, as I yearned to be known and understood. And then I realized…I was completely alone.
I felt an unpleasant, deep aching in my belly and heart, and I began to search for something or someone who could be my constant companion. I quickly spotted the pink elephant patch on my jeans that my mother had recently sewn on. I began to whisper to the elephant, telling her how alone and lonely I felt, and how I hoped that she could be my friend. And she listened. I don’t think I had a particularly long relationship with her, but it was very significant, and this is one of my most vivid memories from my childhood.
About 16 years later, I was in the process of searching for an apartment in New York City. I spent the entire month of August pounding the pavement of neighborhood after neighborhood in the 100 degree plus throbbing heat. It was an eye-opening experience, navigating by myself through this process of deciding where I wanted to live, and with whom.
One evening, I was feeling especially lonely and frustrated after a long day of looking at places that were either too expensive; located in parts of the city that I considered inconvenient, unhip, or overly hectic; inhabited by strange people who I could not imagine living with; required walking up 4 flights of stairs because there was no elevator in the building; or were just plain disgusting. As I walked down the crowded sidewalk of this immense city, full of unknowns, I called my dad for advice.
At this point in my life, I still considered my dad to be a nearly infallible source of truth and wisdom, so I was sure that whatever he had to say would be extremely helpful. And that evening we had a conversation that I will never forget. He told me plainly, “No one is ever going to look out for your best interest like you are.” And that is something that I had never really thought about before, at least not consciously, and certainly not out loud. I had some suspicions about this, sure, but I carefully avoided analyzing it too thoroughly, for fear of what I might find out. But in this pivotal moment, these suspicions became solidified in my conscious mind, and I realized that I was really alone in this world.
Over three years have passed since that conversation and now I live in Fairfield, Iowa. Last weekend I saw a fabulous musician named Ellis play at Café Paradiso, a coffee shop here in town. Ellis was an exuberant, dynamic performer who sang her heart out with fearless authenticity. And between songs she continually cracked jokes, and then laughed loudly and uncontrollably at them, along with the audience, who also roared with laughter.
With these jokes, as with her songs, she poignantly described the human condition with an intimacy and vulnerability that spoke directly to the core of my being. At one point in the show, she was talking about how we are not alone because we have people in our lives to share with, yet we are always alone because it’s the nature of this human journey that we are all on. And then she was laughing about how “all of our experiences are so similar…so very similar…oh God, are they ever similar.” And I burst out laughing because it’s so true! The human condition is the human condition is the human condition. And we are all grappling with the same fundamental questions, feeling the same spectrum of emotions, perceiving the same illusion of duality and separateness, living in the same paradoxical Universe, and experiencing what it’s like to live in a human body on Planet Earth.
Through the years, I have found little correlation between aloneness and loneliness. Sometimes I am completely alone, and not lonely at all. I have spent three full days holed up in my New York City apartment, without seeing another human being, writing and writing and writing about my travels, and have felt very connected. And I have lain all alone on the gorgeous Caribbean beaches of Costa Rica, feeling the radiant warmth of the hot sun all over my body, and the soft, firm, supportive sandy Earth beneath me, and I have felt at one with the Universe.
And sometimes I am with a multitude of other people, and yet I feel completely isolated. I have sat on the New York City subway, staring at the masses of unfamiliar faces, all avoiding eye contact with me and with one another, and felt like an alien visiting from another planet. And I have sat in Annapurna, the dining hall at my university, and felt like there was a wall around me that no one could ever penetrate in order to reach me.
There have been a few precious moments in my life when I have truly felt what is meant by the word “Oneness.” During certain sacred rituals and ceremonies, such as my yoga practice and various Native American traditions, I have reached states in which I felt fully connected and at one with all of existence. But these experiences have been quite rare, and I feel saddened and disheartened by their elusive nature. In the barren desert of years between these indescribably exquisite experiences, I have often felt overpowering hopelessness, isolation, and deep, dark depression.
I am still grappling with these overwhelming emotions, still coming to terms with my humanity, and staring, mystified, at the illusion of my separation from the All. Perhaps it’s only my Self that I yearn to know deeply, and in knowing this, I will know everything and feel completely connected with everything in the Universe. And maybe then, and only then, will I truly know that there is no such thing as “alone.”
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Meditation is old and honorable, so why should I
not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside,
looking into the shining world? Because, properly
attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is suggestion.
Can one be passionate about the just, the
ideal, the sublime, and the holy, and yet commit
to no labor in its cause? I don’t think so.
All summations have a beginning, all effect has a
story, all kindness begins with the sown seed.
Thought buds toward radiance. The gospel of
light is the crossroads of — indolence, or action.
Be ignited, or be gone.
~ Mary Oliver
Unfortunately, due to complications in the pregnancy, the cubs were born prematurely and due to their tiny size, they died shortly after birth.
The mother tiger, after recovering from the delivery, suddenly started to decline in health, although physically she was fine. The veterinarians felt that the loss of her litter had caused the tigress to fall into a depression.
After checking with many other zoos across the country, they learned that there were no tiger cubs of the right age to introduce to the mourning mother. The veterinarians decided to try something that had never been tried in a zoo environment. The zoo keepers and vets wrapped these piglets in tiger skin and placed the babies around the mother tiger.
I'm looking forward to the day when we humans will live together as harmoniously as these pigs and tigers!!!
Asanas, meditation, compassion, and karma
Pranayama, concentration, intention, and dharma
Breathe life, exhale pain
A higher state you will attain
Sit, stand, stretch, flow
Twist, turn, bend, grow
Use your body as a tool
Though this body and this mind
Aren’t actually you
Devote your practice to a higher power
And your soul blooms like a lotus flower
Calm your mind, as your heart leads
Every practice is fresh and new
Sew the right seeds
Then reap the fruit
Do the right deeds
It comes back to you
Imagine a world in which no one’s crying
Then stay right there and never leave
Reality is a projection of your mind
Control of reality you will achieve
Speak only words that are true and kind
Give without expecting to receive
Always finish what you start
And listen carefully to your heart
If you don’t, you’ll never do
All the things you’re able to
Stand tall and strong just like a tree,
While blowing freely in the breeze
Feel the sun upon your face
And live a life that’s full of grace
Search deep inside and you will see
All beings everywhere will be happy and free
And eternally blissful you will be
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Thank you God for all of my wonderful travel experiences. I am so blessed to have experienced so much at such a young age.
Please God, I want to continue traveling. If it's in accordance with your divine plan, please send the support of Nature to make this possible. There's absolutely no reason to feel anxious in any way because I know that You always have my Highest Good in mind and I know that I will be guided by You in each moment, with every breath. Thank You, Amen.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Happy Holy Daze, Pisces! My gift to you is advice about the coming year. First, read this quote from W.H. Auden's book *The Dyer's Hand.* "A daydream is a meal at which images are eaten. Some of us are gourmets, some gourmands, and a good many take their images precooked out of a can and swallow them down whole, absent-mindedly and with little relish." With this as your touchstone, I urge you to be a gourmet in your approach to daydreaming during 2009. It will be time for you to make your fantasy life into an art form instead of a chaotic, unconscious diversion. If you put more intention into your generation of mental images, you will find yourself better able to create what you really want.
This was written by Rob Brezny, who is the author of a really wonderful horoscope newsletter called Free Will Astrology. His website is http://FreeWillAstrology.com and he is the author of an incredibly delightful book called "Pronoia is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings."
There are two parts of me that are begging to be acknowledged. I am realizing that they both have something valuable to offer me. Some combination of these two paradigms will be the most supportive, productive, and beneficial place for me to exist. I think it's time I sit down and really listen to what they each have to say.
I will call them The Traditional Paradigm and The Intuitive Paradigm for the sake of this discussion.
The Traditional Paradigm is found mostly in the left hemisphere of my brain. This is where I grew up. My parents, especially my dad, live in this paradigm. This paradigm has the following to say:
Use my brain!
Make a plan!
Weigh the pros and cons!
Think rationally and logically!
Get a job!
Live within my means!
Do, do, do!
Trust my logical mind.
The Intuitive Paradigm is found mostly in the right hemisphere of my brain and is much more interested in emotions, art, and bliss. During the past few years, I have been experimenting with living more here, and less in The Traditional Paradigm. The Intuitive Paradigm says this:
Follow my intuition, my gut, my heart, my bliss!
Go with the flow!
Make decisions based on how I feel!
Take good care of myself.
Speak my truth.
Be true to myself, no matter what.
Never sell out.
Listen to the Universe.
Trust in the magic of the Universe and the support of Nature.
I hope that they can compromise, so that I can create a wonderful new paradigm for myself where I can be happy and thrive!!!
Dreamy sweet songs, divine grace flowing through. Celebrations of love and the river sings, too. Silly & laughable, playful rejoicing. Synchronistic satires and sunny beach mornings. Sunrise & sunset, and the moments between. Surrender & solitude, oh the ocean, serene. Silvery dove wings that soar up above. Selectively chasing the feelings of love. Embracing the breeze, my arms fully extended. Allowing the breath to be felt in my cells. Vibrantly colorful, blood pulsing & flowing. Alive, I'm alive, and conscious to tell about it! Silky smooth ripples of air brush my skin. Alive, I'm alive, and excited and grateful! Soothing, comforting sand in my toes. My feet feel the warmth, I'm amazed by the goodness. I stand on my mother - she's always beneath me. Her loving support never can or will leave me. Oh glorious morning, arms outstretched to the sun. Salty air smells so invigorating, lively. Rejoice & give thanks. All the glory to You. I humbly bow low to God above, within. All glory to You. All glory to You.
I move through my life – moment by moment and day by day – completely centered and grounded in myself. I feel confident with each step, and I know that I am always exactly where I’m meant to be, and headed in the direction in which I’m meant to go.
I observe calmly and patiently. I wait until I know what action I am to take, and I begin. I know who I am and I am true to myself always. I feel sure that all is as it should be, and I experience great clarity, knowing exactly what is expected of me in each situation. I respond appropriately, easily, gracefully, joyfully, gratefully, and effectively.
I smile knowingly. My cup of knowledge is full. My bowl of wisdom is, too. I’ve been through a lot of experiences, and have grown and learned so much. There’s always more to learn and experience, of course, but I give myself a lot of credit for my commitment to my Self and I am delighted by how far I’ve come.
I give thanks for the grace that has brought me here, and the grace that continues to guide me home. I give thanks for the opportunity to live this life in this human body. I give thanks for my ever-growing knowledge of my Self. I am humbled by the glory and greatness of God. And I ask for continued guidance as I walk this path.
I Love You.
I Love You.
I Love You.
Smoothly, easily, gracefully, gratefully, faithfully, honoringly, honorably, respectfully, responsibly, commitedly, civilly, discerningly, analytically, sharply, skeptically, realistically, integrously, intensively, widely, freely, fully, fantastically, excellently, advantageously, encouragingly, dreamily, fluffily, comfortably, naturally, directly, succinctly, ambitiously, assertively, straightforwardly, gregariously, triumphantly, victoriously, truthfully, transcendentally, enchantingly, sparklingly, glitteringly, delightfully, delightedly, passionately, calmly, knowingly, wisely, intuitively, motherly, fatherly, placidly, motivationally, focusedly, enduringly, inexhaustibly, determinedly, ritualistically, distinctively, consistently, efficiently, servingly, givingly, healingly, kindly, lovingly, endearingly, adoringly, sympathetically, romantically, movingly, graciously, generously, hospitably, service-orientedly, heartily, restfully, relaxingly, invigoratingly, invitingly, 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adventurously, saucily, spicily, lively, cordially, authentically, unabashedly, visually, alertly, poignantly, expressively, talentedly, improvisationally, communicatively, verbally, honestly, richly, earnestly, avidly, vividly, compellingly, incredibly, fabulously, magnificently, inspiringly, wonderfully, superbly, solitarily, individually, introspectively, self-referringly, intrinsically, satisfyingly, lavishly, appropriately, decadently, yummily, lip-smackingly, friendily, greetingly, dependably, improvingly, constructively, optimistically, positively, evolutionarily, expandably, changeably, stretchily, flexibly, tolerantly, cordially, blissfully, melodically, sublimely, soothingly, peacefully, harmoniously, precociously, playfully, socially, chattily, chucklingly, sisterly, brotherly, supportively, interdependently, collaboratively, forgivingly, askingly, curiously, inquisitively, nutritiously, nurturingly, warmly, illuminatingly, sunshiningly, ascendently, infinitely, divinely, 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lucidly, epicureanly, greenly, organically, interestingly, saintily, daintily, elaborately, refreshingly, fulfillingly, gorgeously, hilariously, stunningly, breathtakingly, scintillatingly, brilliantly, ingeniously, justly, abundantly, prosperously, lucratively, diligently, pristinely, uniquely, reflectively, observantly, breathingly, storytellingly, dramatically, whirlingly, dashingly, smashingly, dynamically, vulnerably, trustingly, vibrantly, vividly, confidently, inclusively, importantly, crucially, internally, rhythmically, attractively, magnetically, beautifully, blessedly, singingly, musically, humanly, helpfully, sumptuously, scrumptiously, delectably, deliciously, happily, gleefully, smilingly, cautiously, morally, joyfully, serendipitously, willingly, manifestingly, spontaneously, enjoyably, wholly, appealingly, metaphorically, progressively, integratedly, stabilizingly, captivatingly, sensationally, caringly, compassionately, understandingly, firmly, aesthetically, 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Saturday, December 13, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
My life is nothing but a story - I can observe it from the outside to gain perspective.
What is Erin doing right now? She's writing. And what is she feeling? Her heart feels achy and sad, like it always does. Even in the moments of her life when she has glimpsed peace & happiness, the deep, underlying sadness has still been there. But she feels more peaceful than she has in recent days.
She is taken care of and loved by so many people, even if she feels desperately alone & depressed sometimes. Sometimes she feels like giving up, throwing in the towel, calling it a day. Oh, how nice it would be to just disappear, but something tells me that isn't how the story ends.
She must build her strength - find the strength within herself - which no one can do for her. She must overcome all obstacles to become a radiant light for all the world. She must reach her full potential, despite herself, despite her self-sabotaging tendencies.
She must cease to play the victim and assume full responsibility for her life - all of it. She must continue down this path and continue to have many adventures.
She must live to tell the tale.
What is that I really need? There's a part of me that knows the answer. This voice is the one that I do not always listen to, although I really need to hear what it has to say. I need to listen to it so that the voice can gain confidence and speak more loudly, clearly, and often.
It wants to speak to me in many ways - words, feelings, messages from my surroundings, music, energies, etc. It wants to guide me, counsel me, help me.
And I need to listen to it! Close my eyes and drop into myself, to that beautiful empty silent space within that I love so much.
Time is definitely...flexible, liquid, shape-shifting, malleable, elusive, and it's all created by our perception, so it's anything but absolute.
We experience it linearly, but I think that everything is actually sort of happening at the same time, and in a big circle, or maybe a spiral.
We live in this moment, and time appears as a smooth, uninterrupted progression of these moments. The ones that we remember as having already happened, we label as "the past" and the ones that we imagine will happen we label as "the future."
I remember when I was young, my mom and I were in the kitchen. She was sitting at the table, and I was standing across the room. I remember is so very clearly. I was telling her about what I was learning in school about praying for our deceased ancestors and loved ones. My mom said that we should pray for them because we can help them get to heaven, but I pointed out that if God is omniscient, then He must know all of the prayers that we are ever going to pray, so we can actually pray for them while they were still alive, even though they are now dead. My mom said she had never thought about it quite like that.
I liked the way this concept was sort of mystical and mysterious, and I liked the way it made my brain feel, like maybe more was possible than I had previously imagined, like things here a little more flexible and magical than they appeared at first glance.
Back then, the Mind of God was something that I considered inaccessible and very far away. Now I consider the Mind of God to be my infinite potential, which I am always moving toward, in a very intimate way, because it is actually my birthright.