Stepping Into the Void


Pema Chodron wrote a book that is destined to be a classic, "The Wisdom of Certainty."

Are we not more uncertain in uncertain times?

“Our habitual patterns are, of course, well established, seductive, and comforting. Just wishing for them to be ventilated isn’t enough. Mindfulness and awareness are key. Do we see the stories that we’re telling ourselves and question their validity? When we are distracted by a strong emotion, do we remember that it is part of our path? Can we feel the emotion and breathe it into our hearts for ourselves and everyone else? If we can remember to experiment like this even occasionally, we are training as a warrior. And when we can’t practice when distracted but know that we can’t, we are still training well. Never underestimate the power of compassionately recognizing what’s going on.” 
― Pema ChödrönComfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compass 

I have never felt more uncertain in my life, at least not that I can remember. Big questions loom about the direction of the United States. Smaller questions loom for me such as where am I living, am I ready to change my hometown of 25 years. Is it time to move on? What if? How do I? 

It has taken me months to determine the where, but still I discover resistance.

I think this time I am going to have to jump and just fly. As Karen, a friend of mine, quoted from writer Kurt Vonnegut, I can "build my wings on the way down."



Today,  a friend and I were questioning authenticity.  

How do you life an authentic spiritual life while living a practical, day-to-day life?

The first thirty years of my life, I was a career woman working long hours, raising funds for nonprofits. I always had a spiritual interest but never dove deep into the spiritual "moonstone" pond.  

Over the years, I accumulated dreams and messages with deceased people. I flashed back to conversations with them when I was young. I had a profound memory surface of my own near death experience--a near-drowning as a child. But, It was a vivid dream I had during my father's dying that began my journey forward.  

And, then, my question became, how do I find the courage to be my truth, my authentic being?

We are born into the world into our wildest, most true essence. As the years grow, our truth is muddied by parental and societal  ":", "musts" and "have to bes." 

And, then, one day we look at our reflection in the pond and wonder who we truly are, not how society defines us by our jobs or our careers, or our titles like "mother" or "father" or grandmother or grandfather. 

Our muddied reflection makes us feel strange, detached, disengaged from ourselves, free-floating, like our minds are on a ever-twirl above us. We carry on earthly conversations about money and sex rather than love and compassion and gratitude. We forget to celebrate our uniqueness or the day. 

How do we get back to our truth? 


Remembering what we liked to do as children before our lives:

 As a child, I would write stories on my Dad's drafting board, illustrate them, bind them and sell them door-to-door in the neighborhood for 25 cents. I loved to sit on the front porch on a summer day and feel the evening breeze against my skin and watch the sun set and stars begin to dapple the night sky. I loved the smell of a summer rain and jumping in puddles. And, I loved to run my fingertips along textured fabric and create things, all kind of things--from modest bikinis to sketches of flowers and rhythmic songs about lions.  I loved the wash of the water on my skin as I swam in the pool or lake. And, I could never get enough of others people's thoughts or words.

Truly hearing the words that we speak and being in our truth.

Stop yourself throughout the day and think about what you've said. Where have you lied? Where have you not been in your truth? Compassionate can be held hand-in-hand with truth.

Doing what makes me happy.

Was it the Puritans that taught us that survival is painful and survival means struggle. We are meant to be light beings, like a bubble drifting across a pond. We are meant to be joyful and fun. 

Challenging myself.

And, speaking of bubbles, every single one of us lives in some sort of bubble world. We drive the same way to work. We go to the same restaurants. We live in the same town for years. We live in a comfortable sense instead of an expansive sense. I now try to ask myself what have I done today to challenge myself to be bigger, better, or different? 

Going for the butterflies.

Those weird stomach twinges mean I am uncomfortable, challenging myself, making something new happens. The older we get, the less we twinge those twinges. Swim in the pond with a new stroke. Make a change. Transform.

And, on those days when I am overwhelmed by how to live every moment in my truth, I pull out my favorite tea, Mighty Tea Chamomile Citrus, and my favorite cup, Sinceri-tea, and sit on the couch and swim in the citrusy-chamomile flavors. When the last drop of tea is finished, I turn the cup and revel in the inscription inside:

"Sinceri-tea: n. the quality of being open and truthful while drinking tea."











The Freedom to Ask

"You have horse energy," said a spiritual friend when I ran into her at a local art gallery.

"Horse energy?" I replied with a laugh. "I've been told that many times but I don't know exactly what that means."

As a child, I was certainly accused of horsing around . . . oh, boy, was I accused of horsing around. (I do have yellow in my aura, after all) and, I have always had a fascination for and been drawn to horses, but horse energy? 

According to spiritual text, horse energy means a passion for freedom, unbridled enthusiasm for life, a life filled with new journeys, and someone with a friendly and adventurous soul. It also says that someone with horse energy has the motivation to get through anything.

The motivation to get through anything--well, that certainly pertains to me.

Just like everyone, I've had my life challenges...a near death experience, two divorces, illness, career name it.

And, it took many challenges for me to realize the power of NOT having to go it alone.  

I grew up thinking I could and had to shoulder everything--like a warrior I had to be strong, uncomplaining and stalwart. Noble traits--for sure--and ones that I can't deny make life easier for those around you. I took on everything--not only my problems but others. And, then on my 50th birthday, I awoke with a frozen shoulder. No wonder. My shoulders were tired.

And, that's when I learned that I needed to fae things in a new way--in a way that was kinder to myself. More focus on what fed me instead of what just fed others. I realized I needed to take care of myself, take time to write, take time to move, and take time to just sit in quiet and breathe.  

I also learned that it is okay and perfectly right to ask for help, help from everyone on this side and beyond the veil.

I was, again, reminded of this recently when a friend was facing a health challenge. When the doctors couldn't figure out what was going on yet she was still ill, I sat at her bedside and prayed. I prayed because I loved her dearly and all of my mechanisms to help her had failed. I found her the best doctors but they couldn't diagnose it. I discovered the latest research but the treatments weren't working. I sent her to healers but they couldn't heal her.

So, I began to pray. And, I prayed and prayed. I asked for divine healing from God and angels. I asked for her ancestors to step forward and help. I asked for help.

Over time, she progressively healed. No one really knows why. So, I attribute to the power of the "other side" and also the power of "this side.  

Many friends forward and offered her help--food, conversation, and prayers. Even though she is surrounded by nonreligious group of friends, many including her in prayer circles. 

Some cast judgement and walked away. Some closed off their hearts and walked away. But, the majority stepped forward and helped.

Through it all, I was again reminded of one of the lessons I am here to learn.