Connection

I open the window of my heart

I accept the ever changing season.
The pendulum swings
From extreme heat to bitter cold.

I accept that among the cosmos 
The entire planet is smaller than
The dot in the letter i

I matter.  I belong here.
I walk the earth gently.
I smile upon those I greet
On this shared path.

I accept that this moment
is fleeting.
It always is.
And then the next.

I allow myself to fully accept
that which is out of my control.
I cannot make the icy wind chill go away
Nor stop the tide from crashing onto the shore.

And since the earth is but a dot,
My comings and goings hardly go noticed
And I accept that too.

My very existence means the world
To my family and friends
And that I do not take for granted.

When I feel surrounded by love
For myself and others
I open the window of my heart
And let love in.

Inspired by:
“Close your eyes and open the window of your heart.
Only when you have no more need for acceptance
will everything you do be accepted.” RUMI
Connection

BREATH

The ever changing thoughts
That flow to and fro
Like the incoming tide.
Sometimes the current is strong
And I get pulled under
Stuck in thought.

Good or bad
Time ceases to exist:
My current circumstance,
The coffee beside me,
The very breath itself.
I am consumed in thought.

What I encounter 
then is a choice.
Moment to moment
I can stop the monkey mind,
the hamster wheel
and I can break free.
I can return
to the ever present
changing moment.

The breath is my anchor.
It flashes into my conscious mind
And I find a silent reverie
Befriended by my own
Groundedness and strength.
I encounter the moment
Again and again.

The thoughts change.
The steadiness of my breath changes.
The moment is ever changing.
I can choose right now
to swallow the bitter pill
of being lost
and consumed by thought.

Or I can smile
and breathe
Knowing the choice
was always mine
and I am free.
shared stories

Each season

Each Season has a reason
A root cause
A call to Mother Earth
An honoring of nature’s rhythms.
I, too, can play a role
in this delicate dance.

A celebration with
Its own unique beauty
Its own story to tell
An expression of emotion
of life itself.
And all the stages
One not better than the other
All necessary and
Interdependent on each other.

Humans throughout time
Have heard the call
and took their rightful place
at the helm
at Mother Nature’s feet
Ruffling her skirts,
Smoothing the sheets
One role not more prestigious
than another.
All needed
in sharing the honor
of her presence.

Greeting her
at each stage
Arms open wide
Accepting the gifts
and the lessons
To make way for
Growth and space
For it all to take place
Together
Side by side
Hand in hand
Guided to her 
Beauty and sorrow
Each day a change to begin anew.
Connection

All Hallows Eve

Out of the darkness
the dead walk
among the living.
The veil is thin and ripe.
So the line between the two
worlds is easily crossed

It’s a wonder to see
If I open my mind 
and see what lies
before me in the
present moment.

We dress the part
so that the living
may take part
in the sacred dance
to the edges
of the horizon
and to new shores.

Palm in palm we walk
in the dark
exploring with a flashlight.

Will we be surprised
at who crosses our path?

Will we recognize 
the familiar behind
the mask and the costume?

Will we run and
tremble with fear?

Can I hold the line
and be a safe haven
for the lonely and the scared?

For one day we will have to
take the one-way pilgrimage 
to the other side
and follow the well-grooved
path to see where it leads.

Tonight we pretend
that we are walking
among what is unreal
now made real and tangible.

A valley that is easily crossed
for those who open their minds
and their hearts 
and accept what lies before them
Even through a dark and scary night.
Connection

Five ways of looking at the breath

1.
Deep, slow rhythmic pace
It grounds me.
It takes me out of my thinking mind
and I embody the present moment
and smile.

2.	 
A sense of control
I can hold my breath.
I can lengthen my exhales
more than my inhales.
I can whistle.
I can sigh.
I can sing
and even make myself yawn.

3.	 
Tight and constrictive
In those moments of anxiety or hurt,
my breath is shallow and tight
like a sharp pain in my chest.
When I try to take a deep breath,
I feel my chest constrict and tighten
like a sob about to break free.

4.	 
Connection
All living beings on this planet breathe
be it with lungs or gills.
We all enter this world and
take our first breath.
We laugh and cry together.
We can chant OM.
We can sing a melodic tune.

5.	 
Conduit to peace
When I remember that
I can control my breath,
I create the optimal route to peace
with just one breath.
I could argue with my words
or ruminate an imagined reply in my mind.
Or I can breathe and let it be.




self-care

What is but a moment in time?

What is but a moment in time? 
This precise moment to be exact. 
When the child smiles and runs through the grass. 
When the old folks rock on their rockers. 
When the mouths of the hungry, the sad, the oppressed, the joyful all open wide in reply.

It is frozen in time.
For just a moment.
Then it is gone.

It can never return or be what once was. 
The hunger, the anger, the weeping and the joy 
have all moved on too.

Like little rebirths and deaths, we go through the days. 
The events, the thoughts, the feelings are never exactly how they were just a moment ago that’s past.

Can we feel it? 
Can we express and not hide it or smile it away hoping the feeling will once again be buried?

It’s a shallow grave. 
A rug that’s become a mound of unfelt feeling. 
The rawness like a struck a nerve, although hidden, is quite easily stung. 
Sparked to right where the emotion began. 
Yet it may be stronger, expressed and felt differently, it needs to discharge.

Energy back to the earth. 
Back to the grassy edge, the hedges, the puddle, the cloud and the rain.

Then we can be truly free.
Free to be me and free to be you.
Not bogged down by weighty old emotions 
like baggage of lost voyagers that have long passed on 
and whose items have fallen out of fashion. 
Out of use.

We can have a rebirth each and every day 
with each inhale that fills our lungs 
with the fullness of life.
Connection

Heart Sky

When I am still and quiet my mind, 
I take a look up at the grand sky. 
If there are clouds they often take shape in my mind’s eye. 
There is a dragon with its pointed tail and craned long neck. 
There is a bird with wings that seem to engulf and span across the whole sky above me. 
I feel so little like I’m a worm in the earth about to be gobbled up as prey. 
Then I see sea creatures. 
Mermaids dancing with their magical tails as fish clamber around to find their own space. 

I breathe deep. I try to share what I see.

My favorite times are when my mind is busy and away with thoughts and then I catch just a glimpse of the sky and the cloud is shaped like a heart.

Finding hearts randomly around nature is my symbol. 
I’m always grateful of the reminder that I am love and loved 
whether it’s the cloud up above like a large heartbeat in the sky 
or the dried up and grayed gum on the sidewalk that shares a similar shape 
or the lotion just pumped onto my palm. 
And the heart makes me smile and pause for just a brief moment. That’s all it takes really.

Though the clouds and heart shapes may disappear, the image is contained in my mind and my heart. 
I am grateful. Alive. I am not so small. 
When I am present with the sky or the sidewalk, 
I am in awe and connected to the universal magic that is always surrounding us.
Heart Sky

Connection · parenting

Hedging our bets on an unknown future

Future tripping is not really a gamble but the stakes are our very lives.

The future lives in the unknown and sometimes we get that dopamine hit like the lever of a slot machine.  Will today be my lucky day?  Will I go pro or go home?  So we go outward, discarding the mundane and instead wishing the day away to a future point.

We end up not appreciating how good we have today:  Our lungs to breathe.  Our hearts to beat and pump.  Life force coursing through our veins.  Our loved ones here today to share a meal or a hug.  To think it will be better or I will feel complete or more organized/fit/healthy/alive in the future makes us miss the target.  The point is that today is all we have.

Dreams and goals are important and we shouldn’t dismiss them and not have them.  Just don’t let them crowd our vision of today.  What small steps can I take today?  What future do I envision?  Why does it hold power and energy or attention over right now?  What can I do this very moment to bring that vision closer to my reality?  Ask questions.  Take stock.  Be still and listen to the guidance.

Is wishing away the potty training stage and loads of laundry that goes with it worth not being present to see her smile?  Her full sentences form, her blooming creative play, her, “Momma, play with me?”  This is where I am and the future is uncertain.  Someday it will go by all too fast and be a distant memory.  Today I’m in her life.  We share the same roof and space.

I can wish the clutter and loud chaos away or I can see the bigger picture.   We have the means to acquire all these awesome toys that allow us stretch our imaginations and connect with each other.  I can witness how she’s finally grappling with her own body cues to use the bathroom on her own.  And as in all learning, there are missteps and accidents happen.  And I don’t want to miss it for a moment.

Hedging our bets on an unknown future robs us of what is happening in the here and now.  I will breathe and I will play, if only for today, because that’s where I live.

Connection

Is it just me?

Who knows?  We put so much energy and attention focused on the future:  planning, striving, endless to-do’s and tasks that we lose the entire weekend.  My word this year is “Linger.”  And even I need a reminder.  I get future-tripped up in the anticipation of an upcoming retreat, a potential job opportunity, or perfecting my dream vision that my energy gets sapped from the here and now.  How can I linger over this cup of coffee when I’m all prepared for an event that might not happen at all?

There is no refund or credit on that time and energy spent and now it all comes down to the wire.  Will I get it or not?  And how can I prevent my energy from being wasted again in the future?  Do I need a grounding mantra that will gently nudge myself before I get full-on lost in thought, planning, fuming, etc. on whatever it is?

And this happens when I get stuck on past events too.  I replay and rehash them.  I imagine scenarios with a different outcome and my correct and witty response.  I make excuses to myself to relieve the miserableness, horror or embarrassment of it all.

Is it just me?

Connection · shared stories

Our wild and unruly thoughts are not the whole story

We are all hurting. If there’s one thing we share in common, it’s that we all experience pain and/or suffering.

Our thoughts can hold us hostage and sabotage our present moment. For example, when I got my new job, my husband suggested, “Let’s spend some time celebrating!”  In an instant my mind shifted into forward thinking.  There’s childcare needs, a new wardrobe to purchase, and a general fear of the unknown.  That moment to celebrate was ever so brief.  Sweet but not fully experienced, not completely felt.  In hindsight, perhaps I should have taken a moment to savor the excitement and opportunity and let a feeling of gratitude set in.

It’s over too quickly and we can’t get it back. I had a similar experience when my 19-year old cat Max died.  My mom and I never followed through on our plan to memorialize him.  We were in a state of grief and I had to take care of my toddler.  We didn’t get the chance to properly mourn him.  As a result we suffered on our own and grieved alone.  Instead of holding each other, we kept it inside.  A few years have passed since then.  And I don’t know if we will ever be in that space again.

Our thoughts can run wild if we let them. They can rob us from the rich and healing experience of being fully present:  to how we are feeling or what is happening in this moment.  Now I try to pause when I notice my mind going rampant or rehashing the same story over and over.  I take a deep breath and think, “I’ve already spent enough time, space and energy on this.”  I soften and I take a moment to notice my surroundings.  “How is this story, forward or past thinking distracting me from the NOW?  Is it causing me undo stress?”  Of course, it is.

Then I ask the question, “How do I want to feel instead?”  Usually I want to feel relaxed, present and connected to my family.

And the final question, “What can I do to make that feeling a reality?”  Usually it’s taking a few box breaths or utilizing one of my self-care tools.  I’m a work in progress.  There are days when I forget my tools and I get lost in thought and distraction.  I lose my grounding and connection to myself and the present moment.  I’ve accepted the fact that I’m continuing to learn and re-learn what works for me, and I will always continue to do so.

Now it’s your turn. How do your thoughts affect you?  Are they distracting you from what’s going on right now?  Are they causing you undo stress?  If so, how do you want to feel instead?  And what can you do to make that feeling come true?

I send you peace.