Thursday, March 23, 2017

An Inner Quiet

Feeling quiet (in a good way) these days. Something has shifted within me, and when that happens sometimes I just want to taste it, savour it, feel the spaciousness of a deeper level of freedom from old worries and certainties. I know, dissolving old certainties doesn't sound like a fun, but the truth is it is often our certainties (particularly the ones on the edges of consciousness) that rob us of joy and shackle us to ways of being that have very little to do with who we really are. So I am being quiet, enjoying the shift, letting myself open to the joy of spring- both inner and outer. ~Oriah "Mountain Dreamer" House

In this quiet I imagine my inner landscape looking a lot like this spectacular photo of stillness at dawn from Karen Davis at Open Door Dreaming


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Are We Really Here?

I am doing a little mindfulness experiment. Growing up, I was encouraged to give up something for Lent- usually something thought of as "bad" for us (sugar, coffee, tv etc.) My own take on this was to find and surrender those things or habits that made us less available to God/the Mystery/the Sacred. This year, what came as I meditated on being more available to the Unconditional Love that holds us, something new came: to give up doing more than one thing at a time.

It makes sense- but is much harder than I imagined it would be. I live alone. When I walk into the kitchen to make food or clean up I flip the radio on and listen as I work. I often watch something on my computer when I eat, or talk with a friend on a telephone headset when I am doing mundane housekeeping chores. I listen to music when I am out walking.

Now don't get me wrong- I don't think that these or a thousand other instances of engaging my mind with something while I am doing something else are in any sense "bad." But, operating this way does split my attention, and means I am rarely 100% with the task at hand.

So, I decided to try it. And what I'm realizing is how rarely I actually bring all of my attention to the present moment when I am not formally meditating. And, of course, even without distraction from the outside, I can take myself away from the task at hand by thinking about yesterday or planning for tomorrow.

And I wonder: how much of my life am I missing simply because I am almost always doing more than one thing at a time? I wonder if I love reading so much because I simply cannot do it while doing something else. Well, that's almost true- I often read while taking a bath. The challenge becomes: can I do one thing at a time- bring my full attention to cutting vegetables without simultaneously hearing the news; feel the sensation of soaking in hot water without reading; take a walk with my senses opened to the experience of shifting weight as I move avoiding cars; do nothing else while I am listening to the news, watching a movie or talking with a friend?

I invite you to join me and share what you experience here. Based on my recent experience, I would suggest keeping expectations low: try it for the morning or an afternoon and just notice what happens, or do it for just an hour during the busyness of the day.

If someone pushed me to articulate the purpose of life in just a few words, I would say, "To be here, now. To show up." Turns out that's not as easy as it sounds, but there is really no where else to be.

~Oriah "Mountain Dreamer" House (c) 2017

The photos of Karen Davis at Open Door Dreaming always make me pause, take a breath and find the present moment.


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Ashes To Ashes

Not here much these days because I seem to be down with a nasty virus. Today, desperate for a shower I got dizzy in the bathroom and accidentally brought down a glass shelf full of breakables and ended up on the floor amidst broken glass. Humbling.

Then I read Anne Lamott's post reminding us that today is Ash Wednesday on the Christian calendar, a day that reminds us of our own mortality- ashes to ashes, dust to dust. In the shamanic tradition in which I practice we talk about making death the ally. I hear that message in this story Anne included in her post:

"When I was 38, my best friend, Pammy, died, and we went shopping about two weeks before she died, and she was in a wig and a wheelchair. I was buying a dress for this boyfriend I was trying to impress, and I bought a tighter, shorter dress than I was used to. And I said to her, 'Do you think this makes my hips look big?' and she said to me, so calmly, 'Annie, you don't have that kind of time.' (From Anne Lamott)

Reminds me of the Jack Kornfield quote that goes something like, "The trouble is you think you have time."

None of us know how much or what quality of time we have (says the woman so recently collapsed on the bathroom floor amidst broken glass.) Living is what it is about, to the best or our ability today. Because "this too will pass" includes both the small daily annoyances, the incredibly wonderful moments, and the human life we have been given.

Long, slow breath and deep gratitude for life, Oriah

Gratitude for Karen Davis who delivers these breath-taking photos on Open Door Dreaming page daily.