Witness Your Life


I learned a new word in this morning’s meditation. Recapitulation. I was like “what??”, but then it was defined , and my “deer in the headlights” look  went away so I could carry on with my journey. I do come to my altar every morning with an open mind, but I have moments where I think I may not get what I need when I open my heart. Isn’t that silly after all I’ve learned so far? I guess I will always have moments when I slip too easily into convenient habits of thinking that perpetuate weak living. May they be few and far between.

So I recapitulated my morning from the time I woke up to the moment I sat down to meditate. I hadn’t been up very long, so in a few minutes I was able to picture myself and everything I did without judging. Such a simple practice taught me something~I wasted most of my time dealing with the results of my behavior the night before! That’s not what I need at all! I picked up, put away, finished and trashed as was needed. No, no, no.

I understand that recapitulation is what we should do right before we sleep. A quick five minute run-through of our day so we can decide if that’s what we choose to keep doing, or to choose another way that better serves us. In my case, a two minute mental visual of an hour of my day taught me that I needed to re-evaluate my focus and put a new plan into play.

Being a Silent Witness to my behavior uncovered the sorry fact that I am handicapping myself. I am not serving myself well, or giving myself what I need to be at my highest potential for the day.

Because I’m a fledgling, a lotus just beginning to rise to the sun, I really need all the help I can give myself at any given moment. Mornings are critical to me~I cannot allow myself to sabotage them, and therefore the rest of my day.

I want my every morning to fuel my heart; to carry me through my day with grace. My mornings need to do for  me what the sunrise does to beautify  the morning sky, and revive and rejuvenate me like the breath of God breezes through the leaves on the trees.

That may sound like a tall order, but it’s not. I can make that happen. I just have to do it on purpose. It seems to me that the greatest lessons in meditation are to be aware of  NOW, calmly look around and evaluate what works and what doesn’t, and live my life on purpose. This makes sense to me, since I have always felt that I was an accident or incident waiting to happen, at the mercy of powers beyond my control. There are so many things, most things, that are out of my control, but I don’t have to be. I do have the ability to be who I am, react how I choose, and plan according to my priorities. Learning to review my day before I sleep is an excellent tool to do that, so I’m excited to see where I go from here.

This practice is where I’ll find my time for morning yoga, and more time for meditation, and the quiet drinking of my tea with my pups laying beside me as I sit on the porch watching the sun rise, and the flowers bloom, and the breezes blow.

May all who read this choose to live your moments in ways that truly matter to you!

Silent Rage vs. Meditation


I am uplifted, absolutely lit up, with the symbolism of the violin in my guided meditation this morning.  That the ability to create something beautiful requires “a balance between flexibility and measured tension, like the strings of a violin. If they are strung too tightly~they snap, but when the tuning is balanced, the violin can endure massive force, and produce the most powerful, and tender music. “.

This is an exquisite portrayal of the changes I feel inside since I’ve begun a committed practice of meditation. I was more frequently than not on the verge of snapping. Internally, within both heart and mind, and externally in reaction to people or situations. I didn’t realize how miserable I was in letting my thoughts and behavior be directed by circumstance. I didn’t  admit to myself that my ego was running me, that I allowed the moods of those around me to determine my own. I had become so high-strung that I could not help but notice it in myself. My internal anger at everything was growing faster than my ability to restrain my volatility.

I am so grateful for the relief, the quietness, the peace of mind that I have experienced since beginning this morning meditation practice. I have a sense of ease, acceptance, joy, and am even excited when I wake up knowing that I am changing from the inside out. Instead of a vision of endless monotony, I feel a sense of adventure in finding the guts to do something everyday to step toward my goal of  writing for a living~no matter how small my effort.

I have no idea how I tricked myself  into conforming to the status quo, to minimizing myself and my dreams into hobbies I didn’t have time to pursue.  I don’t know when or how I became so angry, resentful, and cold. I only know it was a god-awful feeling, and I am not going back there. Ever.

I will take care to respect myself and my gifts. I’ll become more flexible in my heart and in my thinking. I will honor differences between myself and others~in fact, I will celebrate them! I will encourage others, “give heart to” those who dare to do what they love, and I will encourage myself.

As I say every morning after meditation, I will honor the light in me, and recognize and honor the light in others, understanding it is the same Divine Light in all of us.

Life is awesome.

Soul Question: Who Am I?


This morning during my guided meditation, I was following my breath, sinking into the calm that has become so critical to my day, when something happened that I didn’t expect. My inner vision was guided down a long hallway to an elevator where I pushed the button and stepped inside when the doors opened for me. I was hurtled towards the roof at such high-speed that when the elevator stopped, my feet actually left the floor a little. When the door opened, I was on the roof top of the highest building on the highest mountain in the world. All I saw was a sign that asked “Who Are You?”.

It took a moment for me to realize that tears were just falling from my closed eyes and I was trying unsuccessfully to wipe them away repeatedly. Who am I? I have struggled so much with that question. Yes, I am a wife, daughter, mother, friend, sister. Those are only parts of me I extend into the world. Who am I? A lover of my family, animals, yoga, reading and beautiful jewelry. Those are my relationships, my hobbies, my activities, my responsibilities.  They are all descriptors of me at different times, but those things are not me.  My body, skinny or not so much, my hair, my abilities or lack of~none of these are Who I Am.

Several thoughts came to me over the next few moments. I am God’s poet. I am a unique creation of God, an expression of Love through the written word (in my case) so I can pass on the love, joy, light, hope and healing given to me.

I am not God any more than all those parts of who I am are really Who I Am. None of us ARE God, but each one of us are created to be a descriptor of  Who God Is.  We are God’s expressions of  musical, physical, artistic, written, philosophical, healing, and pure Spirit.

Just as I marvel at times when I read something I have written, and it has a pure note of truth in it, I imagine God looks at each of us at different times and marvels at the pure note of Truth in the Divine creation of us.

I am going to do my utmost to be that Expression, not waste the Divine Effort, and be the Pure Note of Truth I was created to be.  Even if I fail at times, won’t it be amazing what I’ll achieve? Won’t the effort and the journey itself be a wonderful adventure?

Who Am I? I trust the Divine Universe to give me the answer, to handle the details, all I have to do is the work.

Not So Fairy Tale


Today was awesome. I leapt out of my bed in a  single bound.  I listened to the problems of the United States, and in fact, the entire world while drinking a cup of coffee and not saying a word to protect myself. I held off great forces of negativity while still in my jammies, and evaded certain doom by escaping to the bathroom to clean up and don my super hero outfit before venturing out to confront the great Dragon of Baditude.  With great and powerful skill, I took the fire spewing from the dragon, formed it into a flaming sword and slew the Baditude-leaving only the dragon behind. Then I went shopping. It was an awesome day.

The End

Well, not really.  This is just a powerful victory story to someone who handles controversy by either not dealing at all, or by finally exploding into anger after holding it in for a LONG time. I can tell you that neither of these methods solve any problem, or facilitate positive communication. If you are familiar with these two methods of  “non-solving by avoidance or over reaction” (this is a very technical term I just made up), you will notice that you keep coming face to face with the same problem. Yes, you do. Usually over and over, just maybe wearing a different hat.

When you become aware of doing this, and you accept your part in the endless “groundhog day” in your relationships, you can choose to allow yourself a spine. One of the things I learned with my interaction with the Handel Group is that the very thing you do not talk about because you fear it will be the end of your relationship~is exactly what will be the death of it, if it remains unsaid.

Speaking the truth of how you feel with strength and grace is absolutely not the same as screaming it in a fit of angry retribution for an injury to the heart. Even if you use the exact words. It’s like a horrible sword fight, only instead of limbs being lost, it’s respect, and love, and hope, and trust.

Changing the way you communicate with the people in your story can start with the small things, and as your spine and heart and self-esteem grow stronger, you can take on bigger challenges with confidence.  You must beware the dangers that await you though, the usual “make you feel stupid” ploy, or someone using the “nut-job” phrase, or the even more popular “you’re the one with the problem” strategy. There are all sorts of avoidance tools and methods that have worked for years that will be brought forth as usual. If you do not engage, and you have your cloak of invincibility on, by remaining calm and non confrontational, you can leave the field having truly expressed yourself with respect, hope, love and trust intact (at least for the time being).

It is not easy at first. Maybe it never will be. What it is~is worth it. You’ll see the first time you actually resolve the first tiny little (20 year-long) relational issue. You will find you have super powers. You will face the dragon each time, knowing that you and the dragon will win by your doing so.

The most key thing to remember here is that you must be this same super hero when you are the one at fault on an issue. You must accept responsibility for your part, your behaviors, your tone, your careless wandering into a sensitive area that hurts another, or makes them defensive.  Heroes and Sheroes aren’t perfect, they are just growing and learning. So don’t be an ass about what you’ve taught yourself, be grateful for it, and kind, and forgiving. That which you would have another do for you.

Lastly, I leave you with the cloak of invincibility~pray, meditate, and know your heart so you can share it well. Only those who know their own infinite worth have the ability to wear the cloak, so begin by learning to hold yourself in high esteem so that you can teach the dragon how to do the same.

The End (really this time)

Do You Matter?


I matter. I am a critical component of God’s plan for everyone on this earth, and so are you. My every word, be it harsh or kind, has the power to imprison or enthrone both myself, and the listener, as do yours.  My every action can heal or harm, and my lack of action delivers judgement or acceptance, and you have that same power. The decisions I make now will affect generations to come, and what this will look like depends on whether those decisions are made from love, or fear.

Why is it so difficult to believe something as simple as “I MATTER”? Maybe because if we accept that as fact, we will also have to accept responsibility that our actions and attitudes affect our future, which affects the future of others also.  I think each of us know in our hearts that we are (thank you Butterfly Circus) MAGNIFICENT,  due to the magnificence of our Creator. I think we are indeed, as Marianne Williamson wrote, more afraid of our light, our power, our gifts. That they will overwhelm us, or perhaps those around us.

Do we feel we need permission to be magnificent, beautiful, living and loving out loud~in vivid color? Yes. But it was given to us with our first breath. The only thing we’ve done by holding ourselves back and dimming our light is made it seem important for others to do the same! What a fun downward spiral it has been so far, right?

I see that we need to accept and really truly KNOW that being awesome doesn’t mean no one else gets to be awesome. We can shout it out that EVERYONE can. There is plenty of awesome for everyone. Plenty of cash, success, fame, laughter, and love for every single one of us. This isn’t a lottery based on luck. Each of us have lives created in love, by Love, for love.

Every one of us matters. We are crucial. We are powerful. We are magnificent. Let’s not diminish ourselves for even one more moment.

 

Pinky Swear. =)

Fifty Shades of Free


I was in the checkout line purchasing “adult” beverages for a cookout when the cashier (my new best friend) says “obviously you’re not over 40, so may I see your id please?”.  This happens to me a lot, and tickles me to no end because I’m going to be 51 this year.

Let me tell you why I love being exactly my age. I have courage now, a tender heart, an open mind. No, it just sounds like The Wizard of  Oz, but it’s my life I’m sharing here. I made up my mind somewhere during my 49th year that the second half of my life was going to leave the 1st half totally in the dust. I was going to rock it out. I would rule.

And thus began my journey, my adventure, my brave exploration of the world I had created for myself and the lessons I had learned. I figured it this way; I had screwed up in every way possible, hurt many, cowered back from my own dreams, and spent my whole life trying so hard to never be controlled that I became a control freak myself! I blamed everyone for anything that was wrong and refused to see I was responsible for my own life.

Now it’s going to be time for the good life.

Only the “good life” doesn’t mean the same thing to me anymore. I am a little wiser. I can differentiate  the diamonds from the dung. I”m becoming brave, which to me means that when I’m afraid to do something I know matters to me, I step up without further thought and do that thing. Like sending my writing out to be accepted or rejected. Or saying what I think, knowing I’ll be scoffed at (however kindly) and admitting that it really doesn’t matter as long as I’m always being in my truth.

I’m ready to dare a lot and I probably will, and will continue to do so. It’s an awesome feeling to have learned that I make my own life with the gifts God has given me. Nobody “did” my first 50 years to me. I created them myself based on the beliefs I had about myself at that time, and although it wasn’t pretty-the lessons learned are burned in my memory as sign posts towards a path of integrity.

I know there must be a way to share this knowledge. Not to eliminate the individual right to learn from hard knocks, but maybe how to hold onto the joy and magic of life while the lessons are learned.  To be courageous enough not to shut down to protect the heart, to reach out in love or compassion when the offer could be knocked aside. To actually celebrate each unique individual as a living expression of God’s creativity.

I honestly do want my son to learn his own personal lessons in life, whatever they may be. But I pray with all my being that he do so with the courage  of an open heart, open mind, and open arms. May he not allow circumstances to subjugate him, to remove his fire, or dim the Technicolor of the world he sees.

My prayer for everyone is that they not wait for 50 years of age to free themselves from their “Stepford” selves, but if you’ve waited that long, or longer…open your eyes, and wake up.

There are no do-overs, so step up in this moment, right now, open your arms and heart wide and say “Thank You”.

A 21 Day Meditation Report


It is my perplexing discovery that the more time I spend every morning in the stillness of my body, and the quieting of my mind-the more of myself I become. That may not make sense to very many people, but this is my blog, and my thoughts will come out as they will.

I have been, until the past 30 days, one of “those people” who say they meditate but really mean they listen to meditations on their iPod while they put their make-up on and curl their hair. That’s right, I’ll admit it right here. The funny thing is that even that half-hearted effort at meditation made a significant difference in my daily attitude and behavior.

So, for some reason. I decided to actually DO a free 21 day meditation challenge offered by Oprah and Deepak Chopra. Just for kicks, to see if I would actually keep my word to myself.  After the first three days I was hooked. It only took 10-15 minutes of my morning, but when I was  ready for work I would sit in front of my window altar (that I have also used half-heartedly until now), ; light three candles and put my head phones on and sit in stillness until the steadying of the flames mirrored the quieting of my thoughts.

Some mornings I felt strong, some more tender, some just sweet and grateful. But the most important thing is that I felt peace. True, deep, resonating peace wove itself throughout every resulting state of mind. I appreciated the gift of my body more, my relationships strong or not, my breath, a moment, and always the split seconds of  total understanding that I wish I could hold onto, but takes so much practice to master (at least for me).

It gave me grace at work. I have become  a very volatile person  over the years, and I’ve been so tired of struggling with myself over this issue, that the relief I found due to my time spent meditating was immeasurable.  I am less angry, judgmental, and harsh. I am much calmer, kinder, and more efficient-to my surprise.  My evenings with my husband are more enjoyable, as is my time alone. Could that mean that I had reached the point where I couldn’t even stand myself? That is a distinct probability.

I urge everyone to give it a try. Just 21 days will make a difference to you. I promise. =)

The Truth


I think that I might be an angel in disguise

A quick-change artist mingling with the unaware

So convincing, even I don’t recognize

The truth beneath the many scars I bear.

I’ve worn them proudly, thinking I’ve survived it all

Reality is “victim” stamped upon my brow;

Sometimes they can look the same, too close to call,

But I know, and the truth is what I offer now.

I think I might be strong beneath the weak facade,

In truth I could be other than I am

If I had chosen other than the path I trod,

If I had chosen once to give a damn.

I think I might be beautiful beneath the wreck

That I have built so carelessly around my soul.

My choices, hanging heavy now around my neck

Will be the catalysts that make me whole.

I think I am a woman of integrity,

Although it took the longest road to get me here.

I am not the coward that I used to be~

The most courageous hearts are born from fear.

~Shelly~

Butterfly


Little caterpillar moving slowly in the breeze

Being inconspicuous and hiding in the trees…

You’re a wonder of this world just as you are-it’s true,

But you cannot remain the same, there’s so much more in you.

Blending in, to not be seen, and silent; never heard.

Always dreaming in your heart of flying like a bird.

So apologetically, you take up little space.

Timidly, you step aside, and never hold your place.

Somewhere deep inside, you know there’s something you must do…

But every time you would begin-you lose your follow through.

Finally, so weary; with no energy for fear

You hold on fast to twigs of hope, and dreams of flight so dear.

You wrap yourself up tight in every lesson you have learned,

And close your eyes to rest in this reprieve you’ve somehow earned.

Change begins so deep it can’t be seen by naked eye;

Watered by your tears with love as gentle as a sigh…

Step by tiny step you take the journey deep within

Until you reach the light where transformation can begin.

Patience, heart, and strength of will refine you from inside

Until that final moment when your heart bursts open wide.

You see that every moment you have lived has been a clue

To bring you to the miracle that is authentic you.

You leap with joy, and spread new wings that lift you into flight

Perception is so different when you’re living in your light.

Little butterfly, just smile, and let the winds uplift

The precious life the Highest One has given as a gift.

 

~Shelly~

Peace of Mind vs. Piece of Mind


I have struggled for a little over a week now with the concept vs. reality of a peaceful heart and mind.  I found myself  in front of my refrigerator today staring at a magnet I OBVIOUSLY put there myself; and it tells me quite clearly that peace does NOT mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work, it means to be in the midst of these things and still be calm in your heart.

I may not have actually read this magnet before putting it on my fridge door. I may have seen the word peace and desperately grasped it for what it represented in my mind and put it on the door as an announcement of some sort. Maybe I thought to use it as a “keep of the grass” sign. You know, “I intend to be at peace at all times so don’t piss with me okay?”, that kind of thing. Anyway, all has gone so well and I felt that I had achieved a few things that really moved me forward, and then a week ago…life became very irritating. Everything felt hostile; work, home, my own thoughts. My inner dialogue was controlled by my evil twin sister, who loves to blow everything out of proportion, prefers to stomp those first who would stomp on her, and assumes she is the only one who ever does anything and is a victim of circumstance. Blah, blah blah, she can be such a dork. On the good side, she is so ridiculous that her thoughts are a wonderful indicator of where I need work. A LOT of work. So today, in front of the fridge, reading a magnet (obviously for the first time) I see that I have not truly been at peace these past months, I have been hiding behind the concept of it.

The truth is, I really want it. The peace of mind. The peace of heart. The ability to be calm, and loving and hopeful in the face of anything. When somebody is yelling at me, or misrepresenting me, or trying to use or abuse me in some way, or I don’t achieve or get what I want, or life just seems momentarily to suck~ I want to have that balance of love and hope and peace that makes every day worth getting out of bed for.

I want the real thing. The complete loss of peaceful mind that I experienced this past week made me see I didn’t really have it at all! So I took steps to change that today. mindful breathing and prayer and meditation on a daily basis. Wearing the t-shirt doesn’t make it so. I had to go into the mad and disappointment and sit with it awhile. Feel it and hear where it came from. I had to see where I had tricked myself and be honest enough to admit that I had been hiding behind a mask of peace (all the time fighting giving everyone a piece of my mind) when I could have been doing the work needed to actually be peace. I want to be a refuge to myself and others. For real.

I know I’m not the only one searching, struggling and hiding behind…so reach out, I’m here, Namaste ❤