Saturday, October 31, 2020

October 31--Oneness

Give up being right. Instead radiate peace, harmony, love, and laughter from your heart.  --Deepak Chopra

    We have reached the end of October and its theme of tranquility. Hopefully this month's writings have enhanced your ability to touch that place within where an endless spring of peace bubbles up. I leave you with this wisdom from Richard Rohr:
The only path forward for the survival of our species and perhaps even our planet is a path of nonviolence, of contemplation and action prioritizing justice and solidarity, an affirmation of Oneness and the interconnectedness of all things, which science confirms, and spirituality has always known on its deepest level.
    I'd rather be peaceful than right. It's better for our world. 

Friday, October 30, 2020

October 30--Longing for Belonging

The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself. 
--Michel de Montaigne

    Be yourself; everyone else is already taken (Oscar Wilde). Comfortable in your own skin. Enjoying your own company. These are other ways of stating today's quote. Belonging is a basic human need. We all need to feel that we fit in somewhere. One of the greatest challenges of growing up is finding where an individual's "puzzle piece" fits into the big puzzle of life. Being able to "belong to oneself" creates a permanent bond wherein one can always feel that sense of fitting in no matter what the outside circumstances of life may be. That makes for a rock-solid inner peace that truly is "the greatest thing in the world."

P.S. An update post-surgery: Just over two weeks out from surgery, and I am ecstatic with my progress. I am walking without a cane. I have kept up my Melt practice daily and I can do yoga. The surgeon, besides replacing the joint, leveled out my life-long leg-length discrepancy and balanced my hips, so my muscles are adapting to what feels like a brand new body. Miscellaneous aches that I used to have, such as neck/shoulder, are gone. My incision has healed nicely. I get the bandage off Tuesday and then I can return to lap swimming--I can hardly wait. Despite my trepidation heading into the surgery, I am now so glad I went for it. 😉

Thursday, October 29, 2020

October 29--The Only Solution

Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.  --Dalai Lama XIV

    Yep, that's it. As long as we are operating in "us vs. them" mode, there will be no tranquility or happiness. With the election only a few days away (thank God!), we are being buried in "us vs. them." The closed mindset of "I am right and you are wrong" will never resolve any problems, as we have plainly witnessed over the past few years. As long as we see ourselves as separate from Spirit and each other, rather than as one unified whole, it is impossible for compassion and understanding to flourish. 
    The concept of lack contributes enormously to the sense of separateness. This is the false notion that there is not enough to go around. Therefore, I've got to grab my share before someone else gets it. How many wars have happened because of this? Yet everywhere we look we see the infinite nature of life in the extraordinary resources of planet Earth and the unbounded creativity of humans. Competition does not create compassion and understanding. Knowing there is enough for everyone is what creates them. Fear of lack creates the "us vs. them" mode discussed above--and there you have it, an ugly vicious circle. 
    Let's amp up our practice of simply listening--a good start toward understanding.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

October 28--Simply Wait

You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen; simply wait. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked; it has no choice. It will roll in ecstasy at your feet. 
--Franz Kafka

    That's a lovely thought, but I think few of us, including me, are patient enough for that. In a world where ever-greater productivity seems to be the goal, waiting, sitting in stillness and silence, does not appear to be a useful activity. It is that very thing, however, that allows the support and guidance of our own intuition (Spirit within) to "freely offer itself." Our intuition seeks always to bring greater good into our lives. 
    Have a merry Wednesday, wherever you are!

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

October 27--I Am

I exist as I am. That is enough.  --Walt Whitman

    Whitman offers a profound spiritual truth there, but how many of us believe and live that? We are our roles--mother, father, worker, manager, athlete, surgeon, son, daughter, and so on. We are so used to labeling ourselves in some way, that we are lost without those labels. We often feel we need to look or act in a certain way to be likable, or to keep others content with us. We have to "keep up with the Joneses." Our status or level of wealth defines us. We seek the rewards of acting as a "human doing" rather than a human being.
    What if we strip all that away? What if there is nothing to prove, no one to please? What if there is no need to justify one's existence? What if we are all simply one of the "mooing herd," no greater and no less than anyone else? I'll grant you that this is a challenging way to live, to be fully dependent and operating on one's inner connection to All-That-Is, without investment in the outer trappings of life. This is seeing ourselves as Spirit sees us--perfect, whole and complete in every way. Each of us is an individualization of Spirit, and as Whitman says, that is enough.  
    You are enough and I am enough,

Monday, October 26, 2020

October 26--Fear Weakens

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.  --Max Ehrmann

    I'm not feeling too placid right now. I'm angry and frustrated. Each time the mail arrives with more fear-based campaign crap, I want to scream. I offer this additional quite-relevant quote today:
Confidence in self breeds confidence in others, and fear weakens both the brain that plans and the hand that executes. --Helen Williams
    I listened to former President Obama's rally speech for Joe Biden given last week in Philadelphia. I ended up in tears. I so miss an intelligent President who can speak in complete sentences and who clearly cares about and appreciates ALL Americans. Obama believes in the American people, and his confidence in us is powerful and infectious. It's inspiring. 
    The Republican campaign literature I've seen is entirely based on fear, and noting the quote above, yes, fear weakens. It operates on ignorance and lies. It is corrupt. Nothing good can come of pushing fear, and it makes me sick to see it. Needless to say, I can hardly wait till Election Day is past. 
    Now that I've vented, I shall look to the silence for some peace.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

October 25--Turn Away

In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion. 
--Albert Camus

    Understand the world? Holy cow, I don't know if it is possible to understand our complex, crazy world. That's looking at the bigger picture. I generally feel like I have to turn away from it to maintain my sanity. Just the stuff going on in the U.S. alone is overwhelming. Turning away from the world at-large is very useful to remind me of what I can actually control--not much. 
    Consider, however, bringing "the world" down to my personal life and my quite limited sphere of influence. My spiritual practice is one means to turn away regularly. Swimming, golfing and yoga are other ways. I appreciate the 12-Step wisdom that each of us is neither above or below our fellow human beings on the ladder of self-worth. The Universe does not revolve around me. Turning away from the world gives me the opportunity to let go of the myriad things beyond my control. That frees me to focus on what is mine to do, and with that proper focus, I can make much better sense of my world. 
    Right now, I'd love to turn away from my world by lazing on a warm beach...


Saturday, October 24, 2020

October 24--Art

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.  --Ansel Adams

    Each one of us is a magnificent mystery. There are things that we experience that cannot adequately be described in words or images. I've been blessed to have several of these transcendent moments. As I look back on them, each was an interlude of profound silence, both around me and within me, "time stood still" moments.
    One of my favorite things to do when traveling to a new place is to find the art museum. I have been blessed to go to museums all over the world--Rome, Paris, Dublin, Boston, San Diego, Wichita, Seattle, and Chicago, to name a few. Clearly I love seeing different styles and periods of art, but what I truly love is the curious silence within me that takes over when I am in the presence of great art. It is a feeling of awe and wonder, and, yes, contentment. 

By Ansel Adams (1902-1984),
creator of stunning black and white photographs

Friday, October 23, 2020

October 23--Noise

Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. 
--Steve Jobs

    Wise words, those are. We are conditioned as newly forming earthlings to take on the beliefs, attitudes and opinions of those raising us. It can even be considered a matter of disloyalty if we choose to reject them.
    I came of age in the 1970s--hippies, pot-smoking, anti-war protests, women's lib. Along with long-term prejudices against African Americans, gays and Catholics, my parents had a lot of noisy, nasty opinions about all of them. As I moved through high school and college, I made friends with folks in all those groups. My inner voice told me that given my experience, those noisy opinions of my parents and older brothers just did not match the person I wanted to be. Along with multi-generation addiction, I elected to do my best not to pass ignorant prejudice onto the next generation. Like all of life, that's an ongoing practice. 
    It's an easy thing to let others' noisy opinions rule us. There is a huge element out there today with the belief that "if you don't believe like I do, there's something wrong with you." Too many people are much too ready to offer their opinions. One need look no further than Facebook to see that in spades. It takes courage to hear, trust, and use the inner voice alone. 
    Those noisy opinions change over time. Glancing at hippie photos on Google Images, I am reminded that the "evil drug" marijuana of the 1970s is now an accepted medicinal therapy for many aging hippies. Times change, thank God. 
    The inner voice is the source of peace. It can be trusted to never lead us astray. 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

October 22--Stillness Inside

In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you. 
--Deepak Chopra

    In what ways does "stillness" show up for me? How do I keep it inside of me? This blog is a good start. I love my morning time spent on spiritual readings, prayer, drinking coffee, and writing. I love having a new quote each day to ponder relative to my life. My days are much calmer when I begin them in this manner. 
    Stillness shows up in my complete adoration of our dog, Barney. His peaceful, loving nature always pulls me back to stillness, where joy, faith and hope are restored in me. He's just being a dog, true to his nature, and I can just be Leta, true to my nature. Sticking with that thought sloughs off a lot of chaos. 
    I can easily recall times in my life when there was much movement and chaos and very little stillness. Mired in addictive behavior, gossip and blame, there was no stillness. Pulling myself out of those losing strategies required self-discipline and consistent daily practice. Those brought stillness back into my life, along with a much greater appreciation of how good it feels to live in integrity. 
    Creating is another source of stillness, whether it be painting, crocheting or assembling a puzzle. It's easy to allow myself to be "swallowed" by the process, losing track of time, coming out on the other side refreshed by the stillness. That's true for a lap swim and a round of golf, too. 
    How do you maintain stillness inside of you? 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

October 21--Earth Music

The Earth has its music for those who listen.  --Reginald Vincent Holmes

    This quote is a joyful and comforting thought to me. I believe that our magnificent planet has an intelligence that cares for itself and for all life on it. It knows how to operate without the interference of humans. It goes through cycles much longer than a human life, and it adjusts itself to best care for the life on it. Note that it has continued to be around even though there have been multiple cycles of humans on the planet. That tells me it is doing something right. I am somewhat amused by the idea that we humans could dominate the planet. Our Mother is strong, vibrant, caring and exquisitely beautiful. 
    Earth music... gentle breezes, violent winds, waves crashing, birdsong, squirrel chatter, lion roars, thundering herds, dolphin speak, falling snow, thunder storms, bees buzzing, roaring rivers, waterfalls... I love the photos of earth from outer space. Look at our solar system and the planets found there. What incredible combination of events, elements and timing went into making such a unique and habitable planet such as ours? It is a continual source of awe and wonder for me. I have been blessed to visit many different spots on Mother Earth. I love to watch documentaries about Her. Just our planet alone is an infinite source of adventure and learning. How cool is that!?!?
    Loving our Mother,
Roaring Niagara Falls, September 2018

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

October 20--Tranquility in Me

When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere. --La Rochefoucauld

    Today's quote is accompanied by a "snowy countryside in winter" photo. The silence and freshness of a new-fallen snow is the epitome of tranquility to me. 
    I have been working for the past several months with the Holosync personal growth technology. One of the concepts integral to the Holosync program is that each of us has a threshold of what we can handle, i.e. a level up to which we are able to maintain our inner tranquility. When something pushes us over that threshold, we seek means to cope, which can be healthy or unhealthy. Holosync notes that if there was a lot of trauma, upheaval or distress in our developmental years, that tends to make for a lower personal threshold. The Holosync technology works with brain waves to raise an individual's threshold. 
    In hindsight, I see this played out in my own life. Being raised by addicts, along with a nasty older brother, my threshold was low, and my means of coping became an eating disorder. Decades of 12-Step work have enabled to me to raise my threshold. Holosync has enabled me to raise it even higher, and much, much faster. It's fascinating. The process is not all "roses and chocolates" however. Pushing the threshold can cause a lot of crap, one's shadows, to the surface. Thus over the past few months, I've faced and released some long-held stuff that has never served me. It is worth the effort. 
    Today's quote hits home. If I'm within my threshold, nothing bothers me. If I'm pushed beyond it, everything bothers me. My life depends on constructive use of my threshold, and so, you can see the value of raising that threshold. It's a totally inside job. Ultimately, for that I am grateful, for it puts the power within me, not "elsewhere." 
    Ponder that idea of your threshold--it's quite fascinating. 


The silence of the Creator is thunderous,
Drowning out everything else,
And hiding in endless creativity.
—Thomas Keating, “Out of a Stone”

Monday, October 19, 2020

October 19--True Silence

True silence is the rest of the mind, and is to the spirit what sleep is to the body: nourishment and refreshment.  --William Penn

    Wow, "true silence"... is that even possible? It seems that even if I do get into a place of silence, my endless mind chatter amps up. I know that I do seek out silence, as I rarely listen to music, and I don't have background noise like a TV going. I have plenty of "quiet," and that is restful and nourishing. 
    I think of my favorite spot on planet Earth--Alan Seeger Natural Area (its official name) in central Pennsylvania. My family spent many joyful hours picnicking there when I was a youngster. In my rare passes through my home area, I never fail to stop there. It defines "true silence" for me. Hemlock, white pines, and rhododendron fill the area. There is an always-frigid mountain stream running through it. The smell of freshness is like nowhere else I've been--I love to drink it in. There are birdsong, flowing water, leaves rustling, bugs buzzing, so even in this glorious place, there is not "true silence," but those sounds enfold me, take me in, nourish and refresh me. 
    I can't depend on a drive through central Pennsylvania for all my silent nourishment. Locally and often, I take a seat on my backyard swing and enjoy my garden, the birdsong and squirrel chatter, dogs barking, and miscellaneous city sounds. Again, it's certainly not "true silence," but it is nourishing and refreshing to swing peacefully back and forth. 
    Where in your life do you find the nourishment and refreshment of silence?

At Alan Seeger Natural Area

Sunday, October 18, 2020

October 18--Don't Worry, Happy Birthday!

If something is wrong, fix it if you can. But train yourself not to worry. Worry never fixes anything.  --Mary Hemingway

    I'm not immune to worrying, being a human. But I do feel like I don't spend a lot of time worrying. It doesn't feel good. That not-good feeling usually pulls me back to my faith and the knowing that ultimately good is all there is. I would say most of my worrying is about my sons, for no particular reason other than the fact that I am their mother and I love them dearly. I am comforted with the wisdom that there is Something that loves them even more than I do, and that's a LOT! I also say that their dad worries enough for both of us. 😉😉
    Today I celebrate my 65th birthday. Having just had hip replacement surgery four days ago, I am extremely glad to be here, and already, to sleep without pain, an extraordinary birthday gift. The first email I saw this morning was from Blue Cross Blue Shield, my health insurer, and it said "Welcome to the Good Life." Duh! I've been there for decades! I have, enjoy and am thankful for all the elements that make up a good life. The intense gratitude I am feeling right now is the best birthday gift ever. 
    Totally blessed,

My sweet Barney watching over me

Saturday, October 17, 2020

October 17--Solitude

Women need solitude in order to find again the true essence of themselves. 
--Anne Morrow Lindbergh

    I am both an introvert and a woman, so I agree wholeheartedly with this quote. I remember when our sons were young that I started the habit of daily writing in the tiny bathroom off our master bedroom. I sat on the floor between the cabinet and the wall and had some quiet time for spiritual readings, prayer and writing. That's where my writing habit formed, using "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron. The family knew I was not to be interrupted, and that Mom would be much more pleasant if given that time of solitude. It was a good example, because I do believe my sons are at least occasional journalers, and they are perfectly fine spending time alone. 
    I love people, and I have many great friends and family members. Yet it is so easy, when among a lot of folks, to fall into gossip and negativity, especially in this unusual year of 2020. We've all had to learn a considerable amount about solitude and how we handle it. Hopefully we've used it to get closer to our true essence and thereby bring more love into our lives and the world. 
    Solitude with a snoozing doggie nearby is best,

P.S. Surgery recovery is going great. I successfully did the stairs up and down with a cane yesterday. I'm weaning myself off pain meds. The muscles that felt like rocks in my left buttock for years are no longer rocks. The biggest effort is re-training my brain that I don't need to favor my left side. Glad to be here!

Friday, October 16, 2020

October 16--Happy Joy!

A happy life must be to a great extent a quiet life--for it is only in an atmosphere of quiet that true joy can live.  --Bertrand Russell 

    I'm home! I passed all the physical therapy tests--walking with the walker, stairs with a cane, post-surgery leg strengthening exercises (like squeezing your butt cheeks ten times every hour, who knew?!!?). There was a final doctor check-in to confirm I am peeing and passing gas. I did not know going into this that farting would be such an important ability 😉😉 And then there were the final paperwork and at-home instructions. My husband (Dennis) picked me up in the pickup and I was home yesterday by 1:30 pm. Our dog Barney and I were ecstatic to see each other--lots of slobbery kisses. 
    I'm settling into that quiet life that Russell references, to recover and integrate the hunks of titanium and plastic into my body. I am so joyful to be home, enjoying at this moment my husband's excellent skills at coffee making. Last night, he cleared the vehicles from the garage, set up a card table with tablecloth, and served me supper out there, to enjoy the fresh air of a glorious fall evening. It was so sweet, and so wonderful to breathe fresh air after being cooped up in a hospital. True joy is being so well cared for by a man I love so dearly! 
    I'm delighted to say that other than the swelling of my operated leg, I am in no more pain than I was before surgery. I was in great shape going into the surgery, so I'm holding the expectation that I'll recover quickly. Patience is the key for me now. 
    So glad to be "on the other side" of surgery,

Thursday, October 15, 2020

October 14-15--A New Hip Joint for my Birthday!

Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp. But, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.  --Nathaniel Hawthorne

True contentment is the power of getting out of any situation all that there is in it.  
--G. K. Chesterton

    Today, Oct. 14, is the day when I get a new left hip joint. I'm very ready. I've been hurting for years, and I'm weary of it. Throughout the day yesterday, I came upon two comforting thoughts. This can't be any worse than childbirth--I did that twice--and I had to do something to get out of the house! 
    While I know the mechanics of the procedure, and it's rather gruesome, I'm going into it with great curiosity--I do want to enjoy the "true contentment" that Chesterton references. I know a lot of stuff will happen between my arrival time of 6:00 am and the actual surgery time of 7:30 am. The surgeon says it takes about an hour to replace the joint. My sons and husband have been through surgeries and were quite goofy/dopey coming out of the anesthesia, so they are looking forward to my silliness then. I don't expect to be able to report that later!  
    Here's to curiosity! The story continues...
    I write this part on the afternoon of October 14, so you know that the surgery did not kill me. When I first came to, the pain was pretty bad. They keep having me state a pain number from one to ten, with ten being the worst. I said 14. So they pumped my IV up with good stuff, and I felt really stoned for a few hours, so much so that when the PT person got me up to go to the bathroom, I was too woozy to walk. That passed, and I have successfully made it to the bathroom using the walker. I had a late lunch of chicken noodle soup (of course!) and applesauce with no stomach upset. This place actually has a menu to choose meals from, so supper will be a fattoush salad with chicken. Dennis visited me twice. I am so grateful for all the supportive texts and emails. I talked with both sons, who are enormously relieved that all went well. "Icing on the cake" is cable TV so that I was able to watch the Rays-Astros playoff game. 
    Overnight... Don't even think of having a "good night's sleep" after a surgery. The electric lower leg compression (for circulation) machine makes so much noise, including random pops, that it was impossible to sleep through. I finally begged to have that turned off overnight. Between bathroom visits, pain meds, IV stuff, and a blood draw, I was awakened at least every two hours. I now have a fanatic appreciation for my own bed. 
    Today is a big day of physical therapy and hopefully returning home. Stay tuned!

Costa Rica butterflies checking out my shoe, 2011

A dear friend's get-well wish, I LOVE IT!

Monday, October 12, 2020

October 12--Innate Powers

With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony, and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things.  --William Wordsworth

    Until we become quiet, get centered, recognize the harmony underlying all life, we cannot be in relationship or solve problems successfully.  
    I am extremely fond of shows on Netflix about the natural world. Our amazing planet teeming with myriad life forms is a system operating in phenomenal harmony. I am so grateful to the many people who explore places I'll not see in this lifetime, adventurers who enable us to "see into the life of things." Clearly they are sharing their "deep power of joy." 
    Here is a question to play with. What is your word? What one word describes that innate quality that is most meaningful to you? Coincidentally (not), my word is "joy." It is a deep power. When I think of joy, it draws me back to center. It reminds me to be grateful. It reminds me that I am connected to something greater than myself. I know that "the life of things" is ultimately good and more good, despite what appearances may be. 
    Appreciating joy,

Sunday, October 11, 2020

October 11--Inner Creates Outer

There is no way to peace; peace is the way.  --A. J. Muste

    We cannot be at peace in the macrocosm until we are at peace in the microcosm, not until me, you, them, everyone, at least to some tipping point, is at peace within. We cannot be at peace until we take responsibility for our state of mind and stop blaming others or outside events. This is no small challenge with the mess we've made of our country. Any newscast or news story will show boldly the lack of inner peace. 
    Humanity has come a long way, and I have great faith in our ability to continue to improve. At some point, enough people realized that burning "witches" at the stake was inappropriate, and it stopped. At some point, enough people realized that slavery was inappropriate, and it was abolished. Though it seems sometimes painfully slow, we are having similar realizations regarding abuse of children and women, racism, even war. Though it feels right now like we've taken a huge step backward, I continually remind myself that this is old energy dying kicking and screaming. It is ugly to witness, but we will get through it. Letting a bit of my cynicism show through, I am comforted that the corrupt, old, white men that seem to be the primary instigators of current trouble will die eventually. 
    I believe people are generally peaceful. We want our families to be safe, well cared for, healthy and educated. Being at peace within is the way to being able to work peacefully with others to create a world that works for all. Being a vessel of peace is our most important individual duty right now. 
    Peace IS the way,

Saturday, October 10, 2020

October 10--That Place Inside

Inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that's where you renew your springs that never dry up.  --Pearl S. Buck

    Each of us is a great mystery. Even those of us who have spent years in self-examination and learning don't fully know all that we are, and certainly we cannot fully know another being. There is a presence within each of us that is both universal and magnificently unique. That presence is the spring that never dries up.
    Because we all have our shadows, it can be scary to go into that "all alone" place. Edwene Gaines, outstanding spiritual mentor, describes it: "We all have done things we wouldn't want to tell our grandmothers." But if we can hold onto the idea that this presence is love and only love, that "all alone" place becomes a source of infinite wellness on every level. We come into this earthly life with this presence and it never leaves us. 
    Enjoying the mystery,

Near Falling Water, Frank Lloyd Wright House in 
Western Pennsylvania

Friday, October 9, 2020

October 9--It Comes and Goes

Perfect tranquility within consists in the good ordering of the mind, the realm of your own. --Marcus Aurelius

    What else do I have that is truly my own other than my mind? All else can be taken from me, possessions, opportunities, relationships, but I get to keep my mind, my consciousness. Thus it behooves me to take good care, good ordering, of this most prized possession. It is with this that I create all the rest of my life's experience. 
    Up to yesterday morning, there was no good ordering of my mind. Waiting to hear whether my heart was functional enough for hip surgery was agonizing. Not only is there the hip pain that I am so ready to move past, but there was the new wrinkle of possible heart issues. There was no "perfect tranquility." I was wound tight, and I expect anyone near me could feel the tension radiating from me. Anger, fear, frustration, impatience--major disorder of my mind.  
    Finally yesterday morning, I received the "all clear" on the heart tests, and surgery is a go for next Wednesday. Upon receiving the word, I could feel an extraordinary amount of pent-up energy release from my body and mind. Order and tranquility were soon restored, helped along by my stylist's gentle care and massaging pedicure chair 😉😉
    Back to peaceful and so grateful,

Thursday, October 8, 2020

October 8--Is It Emptiness or Fullness?

Like silence after noise, or cool, clear water on a hot, stuffy day, Emptiness cleans out the messy mind and charges up the batteries of spiritual energy. Many people are afraid of Emptiness, however, because it reminds them of Loneliness. 
--Benjamin Hoff 

    In my life, I can easily achieve silence after noise or a cool glass of water to drink. Emptiness, however, is another story. It takes practice. I mostly find it when I am completely spent emotionally, physically and mentally--when there's just nothing left in me. It doesn't fell like loneliness to me. Without my efforts to control, lead, organize, etc, it feels like I'm in touch with what really keeps me going, my spiritual essence. Even though Hoff calls it Emptiness, for me it is a fullness that I never knew when I was trying to fill that hole inside with food, status, control, possessions, myriad "feel good" things. 
    It is possible for me to feel Emptiness without being completely spent, but this takes conscious effort. My best example of this is how I feel after teaching Melt and yoga. I am energized, recognizing that something greater than me was working through me as I taught. Whatever is going on in my world ("messy mind") is set aside to focus on the teaching at hand. I feel spiritually connected and recharged. 
    I have the support of many dear friends as I navigate the pre-surgery physical process. I am one prone to self-righteous anger, and I have had too many opportunities to indulge in that lately. Friends are surrounding me in peace, I am feeling it, and it is helping to clear my messy mind. I still don't know if my heart is technically OK for surgery. I didn't get the answer when I was expecting it. This, too, shall pass. 
    Peace feels better,

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

October 7--No Coincidences

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences--and all events are blessings given to us to learn from. --Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

    OK. I do believe that there are no coincidences. However, being in the midst of the frustrating "health care" system, I am quite challenged to see the blessing right now. I feel like I'm in quicksand. There's no silence within me at the moment. I know what silence within me feels like, and I miss that easy flow of life. I'm threatening to get "This, too, shall pass" tattooed on my right wrist (to go along with the infinity symbol on my left wrist).  
    I would say that it is fairly easy in hindsight to see the blessing in any event. My mother dying when I was in my early 20s caused me to develop an independence that I would not have had otherwise. My addiction led me to the 12-Step program and has given me a wonder life of recovery. The pandemic and its fallout are causing us to look at and implement new ways of being and living in the world. 
    Working on a new level of consciousness, 


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

October 6--Never Ever

Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset. 
--St. Francis de Sales

    Oh, boy, do I need this today. This afternoon is my cardiologist appointment. I have calmed down considerably, but I could still use more inner peace. Sometimes I have to work really hard at just keeping my mouth shut, not saying anything more than necessary, and this is one of those times. I have a session with my spiritual coach just prior to the appointment, so that will allow me to vent and get into a better emotional and mental space. Results here tomorrow...
    "Never be in a hurry." It seems to me that there are a few billion people that need to hear and apply that. Most of my driving is in a fairly small radius these days. It seems that every time I'm on the streets, I'm in the way of someone in a huge hurry. Even if I'm pressed for time, I remind myself that I'm not in a hurry, and nothing is worth an accident. Since we create time, and we can create as much as we want, there's no need to hurry. Just freaked you out, didn't I? Please read "The Big Leap" by Gay Hendricks. You'll learn about "Einstein time."
    "Even if your whole world seems upset." How prophetic! St. Francis de Sales lived 1567-1622, and his words describe our current situation quite well--the whole world seems upset. In catch-up emails exchanged recently with a friend, we both agreed that we can no longer stomach the news. It's just too much. I reached the "tipping point" when RBG died. My inner peace is more important, vastly so, than knowing the latest bad news. 
    Staying centered in peace is truly a challenge these days, but it is the only way to maintain one's sanity. Our world desperately needs each of us to be a wellspring of peace in order to bring stability to this unfortunate chaos. 
    Working on it,

Monday, October 5, 2020

October 5--Be Still and Know

All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.  --Blaise Pascal

    What does it take to sit quietly in a room alone? The first thing that comes to mind for me is that one has to like oneself. I think that there are many, many folks who do not like themselves, and that internal dislike is reflected in outward experience. I think the current upheaval we are experiencing is a projection of great internal dissatisfaction with ourselves. As an introvert, I LOVE being by myself. It's been a several-decades journey for me to reach the point of enjoying time with myself alone. 
    Next, one has to be comfortable with silence. It is a difficult thing to come by these days. We are bombarded with noise--the general noises of life, music, TV, cell phone notifications and so on. I prefer quiet. I rarely listen to music. There's plenty of chatter in my own head to keep me occupied. 
    Then one has to be able to simply sit and do nothing. As I've seen with my folks attempting the stillness of savasana at the end of a yoga practice, it is a great challenge to be still and not move. The energy of daily life and its stresses seem to result in endless fidgeting. There is the pressure to be doing something, to be productive, to not waste time. 
    Yes, I can see where a lot of humanity's problems would fade away if we were all better at sitting quietly in a room alone. 
    Enjoying the quiet with myself,

Sunday, October 4, 2020

October 4--Appreciation

Rest and be thankful. --William Wordsworth

    These two activities go together well. I always enjoy rest. I am especially fond of practicing my #1 consistent hobby of napping. I am glad that I am not the sort of person that has to be doing something every minute. I believe busyness can easily become an addiction, and folks tend to throw around "I'm so busy" as a measure of their worth.
    To be truly thankful takes at least a momentary break in the action for present-moment awareness. Thankful for what? We have to stop and think about that in a rest break, even if it is ever so brief. Right now I am thankful for my family, home, dog, health, and coffee. Writing is restful for me and I am thankful for this ability. Settling myself on my backyard swing is an intentional time to rest and be thankful. 
    Let us be peaceful,

The frame--some assembly required--
I did it myself!

Saturday, October 3, 2020

October 3--I Surely Hope So!

Come to a space of peace and you'll find that you can deal with anything. 
--Michael Singer 

    I'm working on the peace thing. (See yesterday's rant.) I know Singer's quote to be true for me. When I am centered in that space of peace, there is very little that annoys me. Alas, sometimes the space of peace feels like I'm navigating across a one-inch-wide balance beam. 
    As I was swimming laps yesterday, I realized why I am so upset with the "abnormal" EKG and being forced to see a cardiologist. It makes me mistrust my body. Having spent years, literally, improving my body sense and body appreciation, I don't care for such a setback. 
    On the bright side, all my other pre-surgery physical tests came back with good results. Therefore, I'm counting on the heart thing being a no-thing. 
    What gets me into a space of peace? I count on my morning spiritual practice, including this blog writing, to start my day on a centered note. I have several daily tasks that in combination give me a good sense of satisfying self-care. Lap swimming several times a week is essential to my ongoing sanity (I know this having been unable to swim for three months earlier this year.) Given this unusual 2020 we've had, I truly appreciate every opportunity to get out of the house. (I'm acutely aware of this with surgery and recovery looming.) My backyard swing is a space of peace, where I can contemplate and enjoy my garden. Belly rubs and playing with my dog Barney bring me back to present-moment joy. Deep breathing does that, too.
    By the way, Michael Singer is the author of an excellent book that I highly recommend: The Untethered Soul
    Peaceful for now,

Friday, October 2, 2020

October 2--Sometimes Ya Just Gotta Vent

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.  --Ralph Waldo Emerson

    It's not yet 6am, and I've been awake for quite a while. It seems my path to peace this morning will be via a rant. This is more in the saga of the upcoming hip replacement surgery. 
    I went to my primary doctor yesterday for the pre-surgery physical. My previous doctor had retired and this was my first time to see Dr. B. He's quite young and very pleasant. All the assorted tests were appearing to go along just fine until the word "Abnormal" printed out on my EKG (heart test). 
    I'll offer some background. I believe our health care system is completely broken. A doctor's primary concerns are keeping insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and lawyers (malpractice) happy. The patient is dead-last on the totem pole. 
    So you can imagine the freakage caused by the word "Abnormal." Dr. B even said that the printout looked like a perfectly good heart rhythm, and he could not explain why it said "Abnormal." He said I would have to see a cardiologist. By some miracle of doctor-to-doctor pull, I have an appointment for this coming Tuesday afternoon. Mind you, I swim several miles a week, teach yoga, play golf, walk my dog Barney, and have no heart-related symptoms of concern. This is a giant exercise in covering a multitude of asses. 
    Just when I was starting to get a little bit comfortable with having the hip replacement, this all happened. I feel abused at this point. 
    Will 2020 NEVER end?!?!?

Thursday, October 1, 2020

October 1--Hallelujah, October at Last!!!

To lie still and think little is the cheapest medicine for all diseases of the soul. 
--Friedrich Nietzsche

    I suppose one could think of lying still and thinking little as meditation. Meditation teachers would probably say that meditation is a lot more complicated than that, but isn't the goal to be still and quiet the mind? Meditation is certainly being proven to be a valuable wellness tool. 
    To lie still and think little is easy, right? Not so much. The savasana position of rest at the end of a yoga practice is designed for stillness--to get into a comfortable position and not move at all for several minutes. I've learned over many hundreds of hours of yoga teaching that this is quite a challenge. It is rare for someone to remain completely still. There's fidgeting, fingers or toes move, an itch needs to be scratched. We are busy people, used to movement. 
    The even greater challenge is to think little. If I could pay money and have my thoughts turned off, I would be broke. My active imagination clashes mightily with my desire to clear my head. Concerns, aggravations and to-do lists demand attention. Like all of life, lying still and thinking little are practices. We have some good days and some fidgety days.
    I can lie still and think little much better when I am on a beach,