How to deal with the tempest

How to deal with the tempest

“The heavens don’t always protect us. They choose, on occasion, to throw down challenges instead of simply showering more blessings on our heads.

“Not every tempest passes in  an instant. Not every deluge can be brushed off.
We can cower, we can wait for blue skies to be restored or we can take the plunge, defy the elements and we can seize the day.”
  ~Call the Midwif
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Look around at the many expressing anxiety with life during a pandemic, our version of “the perfect storm.”.  It’s only human to focus on what we’ve lost. Our freedom. Maybe our jobs. Our level of comfort with the world as we knew it. As it no longer is.

These are huge losses. It’s important to acknowledge them.

It’s also important that we confront our reality and figure out how to deal with both our fears and this new world around us. To “seize the day,” as  the writers at Call the Midwife call it. And not cower in fear or anxiety.

I’m defying fear by moving forward with my life even as I remain in quarantine for…however long I must. Friends meet up with us on Zoom. I write. I send cards and emails. I watch streaming content. I read. And I craft the way I want my life to be on the other side of this.

With every breath I’m defying the horrible, venal, inhumane things going on today. And living.

Not every tempest passes in an instant. But this one can pass.

Every vote counts. Every vote.

The power of not thinking

The power of not thinking

My default has always been logic. Yeah, not so helpful right now. But in a chanting workshop with Nina Rao the other day, she mentioned advice given by her own guru, whenever Nina would come to her for counsel.

“Don’t think. Do your prayers. Find the answers in your own heart.”

If we’ve lived our entire lives by thinking things through, this can be hard to accept. And challenging. It involves trusting in the Divine. And it involves trusting in our own hearts.

Prayer is simply activating a connection with the Divine…or the divine in ourselves. It can take many forms.

As a young Catholic girl I memorized prayer that had little true meaning to me. As an adult, I read more contemporary prayers written to reflect how we speak today. But at this stage of my life, chanting is my prayer. So is simply talking to the Divine. Or to my own heart. Meditation can be prayer.

It may be counter-intuitive to advise don’t think when faced with a decision. But our hearts are wiser than we might imagine.

And of course, so is the Divine.


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Three easy meditations you can do in stressful times

Three easy meditations you can do in stressful times

There’s no magic in a meditation practice. You don’t need more than a few minutes to help bring peace of mind to stressful times. Here are three easy mediations for these difficult weeks.

Wash your stress away in the shower:

easy-meditations

Use your imagination to bring peace of mind. Takes just a minute or two every day:

easy-meditations

Yes, when I said easy meditations I meant it!

Send kindness to yourself and others.

This powerful practice is called “metta” or “loving kindness. It’s particularly helpful for some of us these days. (Yeah, talking about myself here.) It’s very simple:

easy-meditations

Getting in touch with heart energy gives us an amazing boost..

easy-meditations

Start with yourself. Take your time and really feel it.

easy-meditations

That part is the most important one for me. But then there’s this next part. It’s the hardest one for many of us. We don’t have to know the object of our attention, they can be anyone in the world. Yes, even him.

easy-meditations

And finally, loving kindness to all beings.

easy-meditations

These are simple, but they can be life changing. Nothing to lose by trying them, even if just for a day or a week.
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What do you do with all that rage?

What do you do with all that rage?

I’ve been struggling.

Sure, I see all the good around us, people stepping up in big ways to help others, even at their own peril. But I’ve also struggled with deep resentment of those who are not with the isolation program, who deny that Covid is a problem. I must admit to anger with those whose socio-political views are simply inexplicable and even inhumane. All that rage that has no place to go.

“When someone shows them who they are, believe them the first time,” Maya Angelou famously said. We’ve had years of being shown and some people still deny. I alternate between fury and heartbreak.

But today, I asked for guidance. For help in dealing with all that rage. Seconds later I “happened” to open an old email in my subscription account and there was my answer. It was in a message from Sanaya, Suzanne Giesemann’s guides, and this was it:

If you insist on pointing out the bad and the good, of immersing yourself in the duality instead of transcending it, then at the very least you might take an observer’s neutral viewpoint long enough to notice the so-called good that comes from the so-called bad.

“Everything happens for a reason,” you say. Could that reason simply be that evolution is ongoing? Let life play out as it does with its ups and downs. Evolution happens when you see all of it for what it is: an opportunity to rise above the duality and answer with unchanging love … “

The key messages for me were “let life play out” and  ” rise above. ” Take the observer’s neutral standpoint. Ain’t gonna say it’ll be easy. But it’s the only way to get through it, I think.

So, I’m going to try it. To hit the reset button and rise above. You know it won’t be easy for me.

Wish me luck.

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Life in the time of plague: the gift of time

Life in the time of plague: the gift of time

Does your calendar run your life? How would it feel to have an empty calendar?

I’ll tell you how it feels: it feels GREAT.

This is what my normal calendar looks like.

Meetings, client appointments, dinners, lunches. Community events. I’m out and about all the time.  Well, ok, probably not as much as some of you, but a lot for someone who really should be retired. After all, I run my little business and that requires being out and about. Plus I like hanging with my friends.

Now, during this time of plague, my calendar looks completely different.

I like it! Don’t get me wrong. I don’t like this virus. I don’t like that we must run our lives so we avoid it. But I am choosing to find a bright side: the gift of an empty calendar.

The gift of time.

If you’ve got blocks of time to fill, here are some ideas:

Cook fabulous meals.

Read books.

Write real letters to friends and family in other cities.

Get outside and walk in the fresh air. Or take a bike ride.

Crank up your music and dance. Yes, by yourself!

Meditate.

Play with your kids and/or your pets.

Organize your closet, junk drawer or entire house. Throw stuff away!

Sort those photos you’ve been meaning to get to.

Craft. Maybe you have crafting supplies stashed away that you keep meaning to do something with. Do it.

Do nothing. Catch up on sleep!

How about you? What are you doing with your empty calendar?

How clinging to your soulmate doesn’t work

How clinging to your soulmate doesn’t work

soulmate

You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.
     ~Thich Nhat Hanh

When I was young I loved with great passion and at times, without any passion at all, taking for granted what I thought I’d always have. What did I know? I was young. My role models were awful.

When my beloved left, I clung to him with desperation, as if I could not go on without him.

And yet, go on I did.

As do most of us, who have lost a love.

There is work to be done.

In the years that followed I worked on myself. Therapy was a big help. There wasn’t one big aha! healing moment but just, after years, the growing knowledge that I had found a way through to the other side of issues that I’d struggled with. The therapeutic process is mysterious to me, but has always been effective.

(After Riley died, I engaged a grief therapist. Our sessions didn’t seem at all like therapy, they were about spirituality. I often felt that she was just talk-talk-talking and it wasn’t related to me at all. Maybe not even therapy. And yet, after far fewer sessions than I thought, I began to feel better. Mysterious. But effective.)

Releasing that tight grip

But back to love.  Once I released my effort to grip tightly what would never be, the world opened up. My freedom meant I could create a completely different life than I had originally envisioned, and I did.

On the infrequent occasions I spoke with my former beloved, who by then lived in a different city, I felt no great emotional pull. Oh, sure, once in a while I’d think about what I’d be doing if we’d stayed together, but I was more focused on living the life that I had, which was pretty darn good.

Fast forward 26 years and my former beloved approached me about getting back together. Was anyone more surprised than me? No one in our families, that’s for sure. But me? I had to recover from my shock. And then, really think about it.

I’d released him decades before. Was there anything to re-engage with?

It was a real question.

Apparently there was. We have been remarried more than 10 years. Life is good. More than good: it’s awesome.

BUT….

….that only happened because I released my tight grip on love and let it go where it would. I figured it was gone for good and I was at peace with that. But something different happened: it boomeranged back to me decades later.

If the other person feels free, when your love does not confine them, amazing things can happen.

We’re living proof.

And so are the millions of others who went on to find a later-in-life soulmate and are happy and content as they age in that newer relationship. Who know that a tight grip never held anyone.
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