Sunday, April 8, 2018

Explore the Gift

From "A Grateful Heart":
Saint Augustine once said, "Men go abroad to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering."
Tonight we acknowledge the wonder of our physical incarnation--that we are here, in these particular bodies, at this particular time, in these particular circumstances. May we never take for granted the gift of our individuality.
     The human is an amazing entity on every level. While science and Western medicine seem to think they have so much figured out on the physical level, they don't. They've barely scratched the surface of the intricacies of the human body. I am in a constant state of wonder at the human body's ability to heal itself and continually return to balance. Consider how a sperm and egg uniting in a woman's uterus creates a new human--it is mind-blowing. Then we move to the human consciousness and the mystery becomes even more mind-boggling.
     Those are all general thoughts about human beings. As we delve into the aspect of individuality, it is again mind-boggling to think that there is no one like you on the planet now, nor will there ever be another like you ever. With each of us having our own perception and ability to create, truly the possibilities are endless. Just think of all the things that individuals have invented or initiated in the last 50 years. And the pace of creativity is speeding up. Human creativity, the creativity of you and me, is fascinating!
     One of the things I love about teaching the MELT Method and Forrest Yoga is the opportunity to encourage folks to appreciate the magnificence of their bodies and to enjoy all the things they can do, setting aside, at least during class time, the things they can't do.
     Would you like some help and direction exploring the gift that is you? Check out my book, WHOA!--just click on the tab above to learn more. Another excellent way to have the time to enjoy yourself is to go on retreat. That opportunity is yours this October 19-21 at Timber Creek Retreat House in Drexel, Missouri. Yep, there's a tab above for that, too.
     You'll never go wrong appreciating the amazing being that you are!
                    Enjoying being me,
                                Leta

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Is It Better to Know or Not Know?

"Everything has a lifespan." Dr. Chris Michaels

     I recently missed, due to a combination of work and dog-sitting duties, an annual event that I enjoy in the St. Louis area. Alas, I learned the day after the event that it will likely be the last one, since the host is moving away. (The location of the event is a huge part of its draw and success.) Had I known it would be the last one, I would have been more ambitious about finding a way to make my presence there. Dang!
     I spoke recently with my friend who lives in Chicago to arrange my annual visit there, which of course includes a Cubs game. He informed me that he is leaving Chicago in August and fulfilling a long-held dream of moving to Bali. This means that this will be my last "annual" adventure in Chicago. Granted, I'm thinking Bali will be even more fun to visit, but nonetheless, I'm feeling some melancholy that we won't have our Chicago fun together any more after this June's trip. "The last one" will definitely be lurking around us when I am there.
     Another example... our older son played baseball as a youngster, he was quite good at it, and I LOVED going to his games (yes, I'm crazed about baseball!). Both he, his dad and I anticipated that he would continue to play baseball all through high school. However, he decided as a freshman to play golf rather than baseball. Mercifully, I did not know that his last baseball game was, in fact, his last game, and I am grateful for that not-knowing to this day, as that would have been a very rough one.
     So is it better to know or not know? It's not a comfortable vibe to go into something thinking "This may be the last time I get to do this." But in reality, that is always the case. There are no guarantees. That question has no definitive answer. It depends on the circumstance, the person and even the timing. I'm thinking it makes for one of the joys of this amazing earthly life.
     Enjoying right now,
          Leta


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Silence

     May we respect the need for silence in our lives.

     That is an anonymous line from my current daily read, A Grateful Heart. I am a person who loves silence. Noise is the equivalent of physical clutter to me. It drives me nuts and drags down my spirit. Being an introvert (yes, I am!), too much noise eventually equates to too many people, and I have to retreat. My favorite spot of retreat is my woman cave. There a fan is continually on to be my "white noise" of silence.
     I confess that I am not so much a "music lover." While I enjoy music, given the choice of silence or music, I'll take silence. I don't have any music or TV on when I am home alone, and if I have headphones in, it's because I'm listening to a podcast, not music.
     I'm going to hop on my soap box for a moment. Are you one of those folks who goes to work all day, leaving your dog outside to bark incessantly? I used to love to putter in my garden, but not anymore, for as soon as I step on the deck, neighbors' dogs start barking, and they don't stop till I retreat back inside. The peaceful joy of gardening is long gone for me. Soap box fussing complete.
     It feels to me these days that noise never stops. Choosing silence requires deliberate effort. I invite you to pay attention to what you hear around you, and investigate what it takes to get some quiet time. Try silence on and see how it feels.
     Peace and quiet to you and me,
            Leta





Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Putting life into perspective, a useful reminder for most of us...

This prayer-poem is by Ina J. Hughes, from the book, A Grateful Heart:

We pray for children
     who sneak popsicles before supper,
     who erase holes in math workbooks,
     who can never find their shoes.
And we pray for those
     who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
     who can't bound down the streets in a new pair of sneakers,
     who never "counted potatoes,"
     who are born in places we wouldn't be caught dead,
     who never go to the circus,
     who live in an X-rated world.
We pray for the children
     who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,
     who hug us in and hurry and forget their lunch money.
And we pray for those
     who never get dessert,
     who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,
     who watch their parents watch them die,
     who can't find any bread to steal,
     who don't have any rooms to clean up,
     whose pictures aren't on anybody's dresser,
     whose monsters are real.
We pray for children
     who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
     who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,
     who like ghost stories,
     who shove dirty clothes under the bed, and never rinse out the tub,
     who get visits from the tooth fairy,
     who don't like to be kissed in front of the carpool,
     who squirm in church or temple and scream into the phone,
     whose tears we sometimes laugh at and
     whose smiles can make us cry.
And we pray for those
     whose nightmares come in the daytime,
     who will eat anything,
     who have never seen a dentist,
     who aren't spoiled by anybody,
     who go to be hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
     who live and move, but have no being.
We pray for the children who want to be carried
     and for those who must,
     for those we never give up on and for those
     who don't get a second chance.
For those we smother... and for those who will grab the hand of anybody
     kind enough to offer it.

Knowing my life is truly easy and care-free, and so thankful for it,
        Leta

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Our Stuff

     This past Tuesday on the way home from work, I learned that in our parched-and-dry-fire-hazard part of the country, the home of a friend of a friend was burned to the ground. Talking with my understandably-rattled friend about it, we agreed that an event such as this truly brings the importance of our "stuff" into dramatic perspective.
     Here is a quote I ran across several days ago:
"But when we really delve into the reasons for why we can't let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future."  Marie Kondo, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
     I like to think that my life is fairly simple and uncluttered. Yet as I look around me in the woman cave, and mentally roam our house, the thought of ever having to move is totally overwhelming because of all the "stuff" we have. Right now, there's an entire room-full around me, and there's very little of it that I couldn't let go. Yet I'm comfortable here. The room is "me." I do put effort into keeping the clutter at bay. It's important to remember that this "stuff" that is often quite meaningful to me is just "stuff" to someone else. (If you are an estate sale shopper like me, you totally get that.)
     Post tax-season will bring on another cleaning/tidying/releasing exercise. I have the above quote to guide me. I shall use it to reinforce the love in me (grown from the past, the only thing I can truly keep) and my faith in expanding good (not fearing the future).
     Here's to a lighter life,
            Leta

Friday, March 2, 2018

LEGOS!

     I am a complete and total freak over Legos. I believe them to be the best toy on the planet, possibly even the Universe. My two sons' Lego collection grew to enormous during their childhood. I still have that huge box of Legos, and I have added significantly to our original collection with some outstanding estate sale purchases. I think I'm operating under the mantra, "She who dies with the most Legos wins."
     I often talked with my older brother about Legos when our sons were younger. All he talked about was how it hurt like hell when he stepped on one, especially unsuspecting in the darkness of nighttime. So when I saw this picture, I laughed out loud. So true!!!

Image result for what legos do when we aren't looking

     When I was in my mid-fifties, I was on retreat in California, and I learned that Legoland was nearby. Thus began one of the highlight adventures of my life, a solo trip to Legoland. I had a blast!! Unencumbered by impatient children or bored adults, I took my time exploring and riding rides and taking in the amazing wonder and creativity of it all. Do you know that there are real-live engineers whose JOB it is to build huge Lego creations?!?!? (Maybe my next lifetime...) They have a store there (of course) where bricks are separated by color and size and you can buy them by the pound. The park has everything from tiny villages to a giant dragon to a full-size Volvo SUV made out to Legos. It includes models of the Taj Mahal and the Sydney Opera House. Displayed near each creation is the number of Legos involved; sometimes that number is well into the six figures.



     What will you do today to have fun with something you love?
               Busy creating,
                   Leta



Friday, February 23, 2018

The Treasure of Today

A writing by Mary Jean Iron from the book, "A Grateful Heart"...
Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return. 
I catch myself, often, daydreaming and anticipating future fun. While there is nothing wrong with that, it tends to make me less aware of the blessings of the present moment. I'm especially vulnerable to this right now, in the midst of tax season. I am tax preparer, a job I do to fund my fun the rest of the year. So I tend to focus a lot on mid-April and the end of this intense 3-month job. I do, however, no matter how weird it may seem, love the tax job. It's a great match to my skills, I really like the folks I work with, and it pays well, funding the subsequent nine months of fun. I am grateful for the job. I am grateful for the learning opportunity. The knowledge I have gained has helped my husband and me enormously in managing our finances. So while this "normal day" at the tax job may not be as fun as the adventures to come later this year, I plan to enjoy it, appreciate my ability to do the work, and appreciate the opportunity I have been given.
     In the midst of a normal day and loving it,
               Leta


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Sparkling Betty

     Last week my friend Betty made her transition. I came home Monday evening from work with the news, and upon telling my husband, he said, "That's interesting. The person I was playing music with this afternoon said his wife's grandmother was not doing well and they didn't know if she was going to make it." I asked his musical acquaintance's name, and replied, "Yes, that's Betty's grandson-in-law." Small world. Ironically, Dennis and I have known Betty longer than her grandson-in-law.
     I used to work at West Heights United Methodist Church, and Betty and Blanche were the money-counters during my tenure, faithfully there each Monday morning to count and record the previous day's offering. Betty stayed and entered the giving/giver information into our computer system. There was always great joy and laughter when they were in the office.
    Betty lived for many years in a condo overlooking the golf course at Rolling Hills. She hosted our partying group of women, the NUNS, for many lovely evenings of feasting, drinking and merriment. I sum up those magnificent summer evenings together with friends in the word LOVE--holding each other and our families in love and prayer and joy and sorrow. Betty was always "the hostess with the mostest."
     I remembered this weekend that our downstairs (primarily beer--here's to you, Betty) refrigerator was a gift from Betty. She was happy to get rid of it when cleaning out a rental property, and we are still enjoying it many years later.
     I visited Betty several times at Oxford Grand where she last lived. While others who knew her said that her memory was not what it had been, she was always "on top of it" when I saw her, asking me about our sons by name, and telling me the goings-on with all her family. Even when she was not feeling well, she still made lively conversation and smiled brightly.
     Betty sparkled. She had a magnificent smile, and rarely did I see her when she was not smiling. This is no small thing, as she suffered for decades with very painful arthritis. But she kept moving and contributing in so many ways, despite her pain.
     I believe Betty was ready to go Home. While I miss her, and it is still a bit jarring to realize she is no longer with us, I know she is back to bliss, and is sparkling ten-thousand-fold compared to her earthly life. She has truly blessed us with her time here. I am grateful for having known her. Thank you, Betty, for sparkling up our world!
     Grieving and joyful at the same time,
            Leta

Thursday, February 15, 2018

I Screwed Up

     I like to think that I rarely make mistakes, and alas, that fantasy world in my own head is a lovely place to hang out. Unfortunately, because I hang out there so much, when I do actually make a mistake, my fantasy gets shattered, at least for a while. That's not a lovely place to hang out.
     As we move through the tax prep season, the thing we tax preparers dread is for someone whose taxes are done and filed to come in with another document and say, "I just got this in the mail, does this affect my taxes?" 99% of the time the answer is "yes." Are you guessing where my own screw-up lies? Yep, our taxes were filed on Tuesday, tax-changing document received Wednesday. Dang it.
     It will be handled, life will go on. I will restore my rare-mistake fantasy world. I will stick a note in my calendar for next year that says "Do NOT file our taxes before March 1!" I will continue to practice going easy on myself when I screw up. And I know my boss and my office mate are going to get a huge laugh out of all this.
     Forging ahead,
           Leta

Thursday, February 8, 2018

What's Important

The words of Rudyard Kipling:
Do not care
Overly much for
Wealth, or power, or fame,
Or one day you will meet someone
Who cares for none of these things,
And you realize
How poor you have become.
     I think that none of us have to look very far to see folks in the "wealth, or power, or fame" category. I'll grant you that I don't know the "whole story," but even from what I see from the outside looking in, I don't care to go there.
     I've been listening a lot to Abraham-Hicks recordings. Abraham, through Esther Hicks, delivers a very simple message--our job is to do whatever it takes within ourselves to feel good. Feeling good keeps our vibration high, which enables us to attract what we desire into our lives. It's completely an "inside" job--there's no changing others or circumstances or government or anything outside ourselves in order to make ourselves happy. No matter what's happening around us, our most important function is to keep our vibration high, by paying attention, first, foremost and always, to how we feel.
     This is an enormous challenge in our head-oriented society. Connection to the heart and feelings are often poo-pooed as weak or irrelevant. And how can I feel happy when there's so much chaos and misery around me? Ah, there's the challenge.
     Feeling good is a self-fulfilling prophecy. When I feel good, I attract more things to feel good about. That's what life is designed for--the Universe supports this with every bit of Its energy. Pretty simple, not necessarily easy, but so worth the effort.
     I feel good!
          Leta

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Re-arranged Family Member

     Meet Dusty, our grand-dog. This is our son Derek's dog who has come to live with us while Derek adventures in Australia. The first pet in our home of 32+ years, it is quite a change, and quite wonderful! What a joy it is to wake up to this snuggle-buddy.



     Dusty seems to be adapting to our house quite easily, since he has been here many times before, and he is quite comfy with Dennis and me. He obeys well. Dennis considers it his mission to exercise Dusty and himself a lot during the day, so Dusty is ready to laze and snuggle and watch basketball with me after a long day at the tax job. Perfect arrangement, win-win for all!
     Life is grand!
         Leta

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Joyful Anticipation

     My life is really mighty fine, in the "run of the mill" day-to-day smooth flow. I have few complaints. However, I do find it extra enjoyable when I have some "big" events to look forward to.
     There are some annual events that I experience with joyful anticipation: both the start and end of tax season, March Madness, and opening day of baseball season, to name a few. Already for this year, I've planned at trip to eastern Canada, and I'm about to sign up for a five-city baseball tour including a bonus trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. For this baseball nut, that's a died-and-gone-to-heaven trip. In a few days, my son's Golden Retriever, Dusty, will take up residence with us for an undetermined period of time while my son travels to Australia. I haven't had a pet since I was growing up in Pennsylvania, and I adore Dusty, so this is a time of great excitement for me.
     Joyful anticipation of these upcoming events in and of itself is great, but there's also a bigger purpose behind it. It holds me in the mindset of "there's even more good to come!" That's an important place to be as creators of our own experience. When we hold ourselves in that place of allowing, the Universe has to deliver. Or if you prefer, as Jesus said, it is done unto you as you believe.
     Fun, Fun, Fun! Life is good!
            Leta

Friday, January 19, 2018

Darkness & Light

     My experience of the last few days has included deep darkness, including a big soul-rinsing meltdown, and brilliant light, in the form of a complete answer to (what was for me) a huge prayer. Too often I'd like to skip the dark lows and stay in the bright highs. However, I realize my life would be incomplete without both. Each is necessary so that I can recognize the other. The dark lows are a blessing in that they remind me that I've landed in a place where I don't want to remain. This is summed up nicely in these words by May Sarton:

Help us to be the always hopeful
Gardeners of the spirit
Who know that without darkness
Nothing comes to birth
As without light
Nothing flowers.

Love and Peace,
     Leta

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Joyful Words

     Today I begin my third annual three-month stint as a tax preparer. I'm a "numbers nerd" and I truly love the work. In today's political/tax environment, there is always much to learn, and I find that very invigorating.
     Last year this time, I was deep into writing WHOA! (See tab above.) Each morning I would wake up early and spend 30-45 minutes writing. It was very spiritually satisfying, in addition to eventually creating a book. I expect this tax season that I'll be using this blog more as my writing outlet--gotta keep the words flowing.
     This morning I found two pieces I particularly like...

From "A Grateful Heart": Blessed are we who can laugh at ourselves for we shall never cease to be amused. --Anonymous
-and-
Today's "Note from the Universe" by Mike Dooley:
Life is not what you see, but what you've projected. It's not what you've felt, but what you've decided. It's not what you've experienced, but how you've remembered it. It's not what you've forged, but what you've allowed. And it's not who's appeared, but who you've summoned.

And this should serve you well, beloved, until you find what you already have.

Yeah,
The Universe
Enjoying the old song "I Feel Good!" stuck in my head,
      Leta


Friday, January 12, 2018

Wonders

     One of my yoga students gave me, as a parting gift, the book titled "A Grateful Heart," edited by M. J. Ryan. It is a compilation of quotes, poems and musings on gratitude. The writings are, interestingly enough, grouped by season, so I am currently within the winter writings.
     Here is a favorite of mine by Kathleen Raine:

I've read all the books but one
Only remains sacred: this
Volume of wonders, open
Always before my eyes.

     We have a great tendency, particularly if we are older, to think "I've seen it all," and so we don't notice the everyday wonders of life. Or something like yesterday's (first-of-the-season) winter storm in Wichita makes us cranky and out-of-sorts. Hurts of one sort or another cause us to close off our hearts to the joys of a "common" day. It's great to be around young children who are still living in the state of wonder. I'm thinking that we become old because we lose that sense of wonder. Hmmm... there's something to wonder about!
     With open eyes and heart,
            Leta

Friday, January 5, 2018

We Are Bubbles

     Today I attend a memorial service for the wife of an attorney friend for whom I worked for many years. Also today, my husband travels to meet up with life-long friends to eat, drink and be merry in celebration of the life of one of their group who recently succumbed to cancer.
     I have been listening a lot lately to the wisdom of Abraham-Hicks. Several of the Q&A topics discuss death, which Abraham clearly states does not exist. We are eternal beings. When we leave our bodies, our consciousness/energy simply returns to the universal, to a state of bliss.
     As you can tell, the end of earthly life has been in my consciousness quite a bit lately, and a variety of emotions have stirred. Spirit has such a clever way of bringing things to my understanding... so back to this blog's title...
     I was at the pool getting ready to swim laps and on the surface of the water, I noticed a bubble. It floated around for a while (our earthly life), and then mysteriously (who knows why we pass exactly when we do), it popped. The air that was in the bubble did not disappear, it just blended back into all the room's air. The water molecules that contained the air briefly simply blended back into the pool water. The bodies that "contain" our consciousness are designed to go back to the earth from which we came. Note that some bubbles last longer than others, the same with individual lives.
     Abraham talks about how those who have passed haven't gone anywhere, they are still around in consciousness and we CAN communicate with them. However, most of us are so freaked out and upset about their absence that our energies don't match up, because they are in a state of bliss. When energies don't match, communication cannot happen.
     I am not discouraging grieving, nor am I suggesting that the absence of someone we have loved is not difficult. I'm simply offering a perspective that may be new, and possibly comforting. It has been comforting to me.
     May peace expand within us all,
             Leta


Monday, January 1, 2018

The Adventure That Is 2018

Mike Dooley, in his "Notes from the Universe" suggests this "adventurous alternative" for approaching the new year:

1. Give thanks that your life is exactly as it is.
2. Decide that 2018 will be the happiest year of your life yet.
3. Every day, follow your heart and instincts down new paths.

Sounds like fun to me! Happy Adventures!
       Leta