Monday, June 28, 2010

What if....

Photo courtesy of
I'm sure that by now practically every person walking the planet has heard some snippet of information about the year 2012. Various Doomsday scenarios are circulating out there, proclaiming that everything from catastrophic Earth changes to full-out Armageddon/The World Will End will occur in December 2012. As I am not omniscient, I have no idea what will happen in 2012. What I would like to say about this is....

What if the world doesn't end in 2012? We had a small taste of a similar hysteria that built up in 1999 with Y2K dire warnings of everything coming to a screeching halt with technology. Computers would crash and everything would go back to "the old ways" of doing things. Even in my area of the southeast, there were many survivalist groups which sprang up. I actually remember talking to people who were excited about this possibility; these people were romanticizing a reality that they could never truly be prepared for. Very few of us today have much concept of what living without electricity is truly like....what it would be like to have to grow our own food and be completely dependent upon the whims of nature for vital crops to thrive and be harvested. Luckily for all of us, when the year 2000 rang its way in, the world did not end. Technology rolled right along with very few hiccups to mar the even tenor of our lives. I, for one, was extremely relieved that the dire predictions didn't manifest.

And now, here we are again....hysteria building, more dire warnings predicted and quite a few people seemingly excited about the prospect of global catastrophe occurring. This is beyond my personal ability to grasp how anyone could possibly anticipate such a horrific outcome with excitement and hope, yet those people are out there.

I repeat, what if the world doesn't end in 2012? What if life continues its purposeful march forward and catastrophic earth changes do not occur? What if, starting today, we all focus positive thoughts around December 2012 and choose to believe that our Mother Earth will survive to harbor us all?? What if...instead of global disaster, the true shift that occurs is one of unity and peace?

Photo courtesy of Bing images
What if the true worldwide manifestation that is predicted for December 2012 is actually a spiritual shift that brings us together on a worldwide level such as Man has never experienced?

Would people be disappointed if this positive wave of energy is the true manifestation that we experience? Maybe. I don't doubt that some people really do want to see a huge amount of chaos and drama instead of an equally huge wave of good enveloping the globe. Is it wishful thinking to believe that in a flashpoint moment, every person walking the planet could be instantaneously changed for the better, that each individual harmony that we call our Spirit could be lifted and shifted to a higher consciousness? I don't see that thought as any more preposterous or impossible to embrace than the Doomsday concepts swirling about. Why do we as a people tend to get more easily wrapped up in a negative scenario? I guess we could brush it off as something that is inherent to our psyche.

I just know that I, personally, feel that it is necessary to focus on a positive manifestation for December 2012.

If there is even a modicum of truth that we truly do generate our reality from our thoughts, then I find the willful belief in the negative 2012 scenario to be frightening. There are definitely a great many people who do believe in that negative scenario. In light of this, I choose to feel, think, believe and speak positive thoughts in return. I have said this many times before and will say it again here:

My belief is that December 2012 will be no more eventful than the Harmonic Convergence in 1987.
This was another moment in recent history where many Doomsday prophecies were spinning around, yet the day dawned bright, clear and uneventful. There were people the world over joined together that day in positive thought, I do remember that. Were they responsible for the lack of catastrophic events, or was the fear based thinking simply that....fears with no basis? There is no way to answer that question. I just know that the day itself was a calm, quiet, peaceful one in my small spot on the planet.

Photo courtesy of
Nobody knows what that specific day in December 2012 will bring for our planet. What we can say with certainty is that tomorrow is not promised to any of us. Earth changes can and will happen, as they are a natural part of this living planet's evolution. Yes, those Earth changes can be incredibly destructive to land, property and lives. Is it written in stone, or the Mayan Calendar that the world will end on that day in December 2012? No, it is not. It is simply the ending of one calendar's cycle and the beginning of a new one. I am not writing this article to debate the science of the Mayan people. I am here to suggest that rather than wrapping a blanket of fear based thinking about us and focusing on negatives, what if we change our mantra to:

"The world is just beginning a new cycle in December 2012 and we are all fortunate to be there and welcome this positive, new energy wave."

It is a simple shift of our daily thoughts and takes mere microseconds to achieve. Just give it some thought. What if you make this one small change? I can say this much with absolute certainty - when I think of the Doomsday predictions of disaster, I feel like absolute crud. When I think of a positive manifestation of strong beauty, higher vibrations and only good things occurring on that day in December 2012, I feel wonderful! I know which mindset I prefer to embrace. I know which emotions and feelings I choose to experience, and that is where my conscious thoughts are focused for the year 2012. Again, if there is any veracity to the belief that our thoughts are what shape our reality, why not begin today by choosing to think positive, uplifting, healthy, safe, beautiful thoughts for our world for the year 2012? What if that is what makes the difference and shifts the energy from negative to positive for that year?

Photo courtesy of
Seriously, people...what if? We are the stewards of this glorious planet - why not be mindful of the thoughts we project about our one home?? I know that I grow increasingly weary of being bombarded with all the fear based thinking, all the dire predictions and people practically salivating in anticipatory glee with the negative predictions. I find that type of mindset to be exhausting and draining to be around, and I definitely don't choose to read it online, in newspapers or watch it on television. I am not suggesting that we all sit in a corner and ignore the negatives in our world. They definitely exist and are reason to be concerned and take action. That is not at all what I am talking about here - I am talking about choosing to think positive thoughts and project positive energy towards the year 2012. What if that is all that is necessary to shift the energy and make that day as quiet, calm and peaceful as the day of the Harmonic Convergence and the first day of the year 2000? It certainly can't hurt a blooming thing for all of us to choose those positive thoughts over the negative ones.

Photo courtesy of
I admit that I am one of the more patriotic people out there. I am patriotic about my home state of Tennessee; I am patriotic about my country, the United States of America and I am patriotic about this beautiful planet upon which we all live. I want a strong, positive future for myself, my family and all the people that I love....and I want that same reality for everyone else walking this planet. Many people will read these thoughts and say that I am still wearing rose colored glasses and viewing life through idealistic eyes. I will staunchly agree and take one step further to declare there is nothing wrong with either choice. I have chosen to use only beautiful photographs to illustrate this blog article because I see no reason to embrace negatives in thoughts or visual images. What if that's really all it takes to tip the scales in the direction of only good things for us in the year 2012?

Photo courtesy of
I don't have the answers to that one solid question, but I think it is worth taking time each day to choose the positive mindset. I think it is worthwhile to take moments out of each day to choose to believe the year 2012 will be full of positive happenings and that our world at large will continue. I think it is uplifting to choose those positive thoughts and believe that the year 2012 will be peaceful, safe and calm for all of us. This is my choice in the What if? question. This is what I choose and I hope that many others in the world will choose that same path. What if? It's a good question. How will you choose to reply?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Shivers & yawns = Growth!

Photo courtesy
of Bing images
I was revisiting my childhood a couple of days ago, prompted by a recent post, Mandala Memories.  In that blog, I recalled countless hours spent drawing what I now recognize to be Mandalas - beautiful, intricate wheels of color that seem to exist in many religions around the world.  If you're interested in learning more of the fascinating history of these beautiful creations, you'll find some helpful links on the aforementioned blog post.  The reason for this blog is to focus on the byproduct of creating something pleasing to the human eye, being mindful of my own reactions to this experience and another that I will relate as I go along in the body of this post.

In the midst of my busy day today, I could feel this inner urge to engage my hands, heart and mind in an artistic application.  The childhood past time of drawing Mandalas popped into my mind and I sat down to quickly create one of these designs.  By the time I was finished, my heart and Spirit were both lighter and I could tell I had reached a pivotal moment.  That exercise of paying attention to that unspoken urge to be creative in a different medium than writing was such a joy!  I felt so light and happy inside.

I was taken back to what I call Comfort Memories from childhood, yes, but I was paying very clear attention to how I felt today as I drew, filled in with color, defined with shading and lines.  I sat and reflected on the finished design and was entranced.  This process of creating, to anyone who has an artistic nature, becomes a form of meditation.  The finished mandala itself, although dashed off quickly to satisfy that sudden creative urge, suprised me.  I could see that if I set aside more time and invested more attention and care, I could produce something worthy of being framed or reproduced. It reminded me that I don't give enough voice to this side of my artistic nature.  Beyond these absentminded musings, what truly captured my attention were the resultant chills that I felt while gazing at my finished sketch.

Photo courtesy
As I looked at this intricate wheel of shapes, gradations of color and texture, I found it extremely pleasing to my eye and shivers danced along my arms and legsThis is key!  Have you ever noticed when you experience a moment of pure inspiration, pure beauty, music, pure love or anything else that is crystalline in're assailed by chills?  This is your Soul recognizing a Divine moment, I believe.  I suggest that these shivers are the result of our physical bodies being bathed in a higher, more pure energy and it is a blissful experience that can be extended and amplified if we take time to recognize it for what it is.  Quite often, it doesn't even occur to us that we can actually extend that wonderful feeling.

Once that first shard of Light is recognized, the rest is a much easier walk for us.  Focusing on those happy moments invites more of the same energy to be attracted to us, and we begin to pay more attention to those moments that evoke chills.

Photo courtesy
Are you familiar with the concept of speaking and/or writing affirmations?  These are simple statements that are positive in content.  They don't have to be long and involved; indeed, the shorter and more concise, the easier the whole process becomes.  There are endless books on the market that teach what I am talking about, so I will not take time to list endless references.  If you are interested in learning more, the concept of daily affirmations can be typed into any online search engine.  I have incorporated this practice into my life for years, but admit that I'm as guilty as the next person about becoming lazy here and there.  When I do get serious about this process, it is astonishing how powerful a method it can be.  I recently ran across a suggestion from a friend to repeat a positive affirmation aloud ten times, and repeat this process at least twice a day for several days.  Okay, I thought, that's pretty simple. 

Photo courtesy
of Bing Images
I began to do this, choosing one simple statement that was easy to remember and that wasn't necessary to write down.  I could recall it with ease and speak it those ten times throughout the day with no trouble.  What I found intriguing was that usually by the fifth utterance, I would feel the need to yawn.  Another key point!  Bear with me, because I have an unusual correlation to offer.  Yawning seems to also be a sign of unusual demand on our mind/spirit.  If you take a moment to reflect, at a simple glance, we yawn when we're tired.  Scientists can't completely explain the reasons for yawning, although I've read many suggestions that it is a primal response triggered by our adrenal system.  Stay with me...I'm weaving this together!

Photo courtesy
Have you ever noticed when you're in the gym, lifting free weights and really challenging your body, you'll get hit with the urge to yawn?  Exercise physiologists, like scientists and medical researchers, haven't figured out the true reason behind this reaction, but suggest it is a primal reflex within the pineal gland to pull in more oxygen as the physical body is subjected to new demands.  It took me a while to correlate these two thoughts, but the fact that I kept yawning right slap in the midst of ten utterances of a single positive affirmation struck me as clear evidence that my spiritual self was being subjected to a new energetic demand.  The pineal gland also governs a great deal of spiritual energy, so I find it plausible that this yawning reflex was telling me I was consciously lifting my own energy field.

This makes sense to me.  It might not to anyone else, and that's okay.  I've said many times before that the world would be a very boring place if we were all cookie cutter images of one another, with no new thoughts to be shared.  Feeling happy is of primary importance every single day of our respective lives.  We each deserve happiness, and it is up to us as individuals to pursue actions that will manifest that happiness.  What I recognized by the simple act of sketching a mandala, and speaking affirmations aloud, was that I was smiling as a result!  My Spirit was responding to these loving acts I was giving myself and I felt a tangible lightness affecting my physical body and my emotional state of being.  It was moments of bright happiness that I could feel washing over me.

Photo courtesy
of Bing Images
Recognizing the hints from God/Universe that we're on the right path is so important!  Don't discount those moments when shivers hit you.  Don't ignore those moments when yawning punctuates a thought of clarity.  Don't overlook simple joyfulness - embrace it greedily and with both hands!  I was reminded by these two experiences that I should relearn the process of being good to myself, exclusively.  The unspoken message I was feeling was along the lines of finally paying as much attention to myself as I dole out without hesitation to others.  It was, in essence, a very clear mirror that was held up to my face.  It was a gentle reminder to embrace and claim personal happiness.  And the result was that I was hit with shivers.  I paid attention!!! 

Yesterday, a dear friend sent me a song that he has sent before to lift my spirits.  I was assailed, this time, not just with shivers, but with tears.  It was such a sweet, thoughtful gesture from a very manly man, made more precious for the fact that he extended himself in what we both now call 'an awkward tender moment'.  In so doing, he also made me laugh out loud.  Each time I watched the video attached to the song, shivers continue to hit....the lyrics of the song were so apropo to what I've been going through. And the message inherent in the song was that I am loved and cared for.

Tonight, before tapping out this blog article, I ran through a couple of my spoken affirmations, counting to ten with each string of them uttered....and smiling as each time I reached the fifth repetition, the urge to yawn would become irresistible.  Shivers, yawns, the lyrics of a song, and true friendship all culminate to show me that I'm doing okay.  All is well; friendships and family ties are solid in my life, showering me with blessings.  As I write these words, more shivers dance along my arms and legs.

Photo courtesy of
It is now that I close with the simple equation that:

  Shivers + Yawns = Growth!

 It is a simple, yet complex equation that I doubt mathematical minds such as Pythagoras and Archimedes would spend precious time and ink to quantify.  It is my own peculiar equation and it makes complete spiritual sense to me.  A Dawnesian equation that lets me know that life is good; positive energy is flowing and the Light is blazing brightly.  As you go forward in your day, pay attention to those shivers and yawns...and remember...they could very well be a small, quiet voice telling you that you, also, are doing okay....and you're growing!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Grasshopper thoughts - Vol. I, June 2010

Photo courtesy of
You're wondering what in the world 'grasshopper thoughts' are, right?  This is my way of describing how my mind works.  If you've been outside on a hot summer day, walking through a field, then you know that grasshoppers possess a remarkable ability to jump in the most bizarre, unexpected ways and angles seconds before you walk upon their location.  This is how my brain activity functions.  I have several blogging friends who label these blog posts things like "Popcorn Posts" (Anahid Boghosian's Fireside Moments) and Pleasantly Disturbed thoughts (Duane Scott).  These posts happen when we writerly types have a slew of thoughts that don't really settle into one nice, cohesive, smoothly communicated line of prose. 

As I admit that I am, at times, more serious than I need to be, I decided after a couple of conversations with the two friends mentioned above that I would adopt this format and make it unique to me.  You may enjoy the disjointed thoughts that take sudden, quirky jumps in a completely unexpected direction, only to fly off at another bizarre angle moments later.  You may not like this format at all - I just know that I'm enjoying the sheer freedom this concept provides, so here goes...the first Grasshopper Thoughts epistle!

Golden raisins - who, other than myself, is a fan of these little jewels?  Do many even realize they exist, overshadowed by the more traditional dark raisins?  Golden raisins are actually called Sultanas, a fact I just learned by going to my old friend, Wikipedia. Take a moment to click on the link and learn some fascinating information! I just happen to prefer these golden lovelies because they're not so overpoweringly strong in flavor and lend themselves to various foods better than the darker raisin variety.

Photo courtesy of
Spinning wool into thread - I just have to wonder about this one.  Who was it that was musing in the fields of sheep one fine day and decided, "I do believe I'll shear those critters, do complicated things to the wool and even more complicated processes to produce this thin filament and call it 'thread'!"  Whomever this intrepid soul was, my hat is off to him/her.  This then makes me ponder the next thing in line, which is who came up with the concept and design of the spinning wheel.  See what I mean?  A typical grasshopper line of thought.

Photo courtesy
 of Bing Images
Dark chocolate & raspberries w/ salt.  Need I say more?  I think there is no more sublime a combination than melted dark chocolate - of at least 80% pure cacao - and ripe raspberries with a sprinkling of sea salt.  I'm not really a sweets eater as a general rule, but when I do want something sweet, this is it. 

Photo courtesy of
Honeysuckle mornings....ahh, nothing better!  You are not reading the blog of a true Morning Person, just know that right here and now.  On the rare occasion that I'm up with daybreak, it is generally due to the fact that I've been on a writing jag through the night and haven't gone to bed yet.  This post is being written in the midst of June 2010 and East Tennessee is in the grips of an early, hot summer.  Humidity is thick enough to cut with a knife, stealing oxygen from the air we breathe, stifling the lungs as we step outside.  In the wee hours of dawn, however, that same humidity coaxes delicate, heady fragrance from the honeysuckle that climbs the hill behind my patio.  I sit, eyes closed and breathe the fragrance in as I listen to the day awakening around me....and my heart is mind, for a brief moment at least....calmed from grasshopper thoughts....temporarily.

Photo courtesy of
Mascara - it's all about the brush, people.  Ladies, I have no doubt that you get this immediately.  Gentlemen, I doubt you get it at all and that you probably don't care to learn!  For those of you who worship cosmetics with gleeful abandon (I'm guilty, yet proud to be in this sisterhood), you know that perfect brush is the secret to long, full, curled-just-right eyelashes.  I am on an eternal hunt for the next best creation, but I always come back to a tried and true favorite.  Thankfully, it is one that has a cult following and has been on the market for close to twenty years, so I believe I am safe from the dreaded "DISCONTINUED" disease that is rampant in high end cosmetics!

I declare this to be as good a point as any to stop with my grasshopper journey.  Never fear, this will be a continuing post.  I'll be curious to see how it is received and how many of you out there have similar jumbled thoughts running through your minds at any given moment!  There is absolutely no unifying theme or purpose here, other than to jot down my thoughts as these topics flit with maniacal grasshopper gymnastics along the fringes of my conscious mind. 

I think it's healthy to give these grasshopper thoughts voice - I'm sure, in fact, that my gray matter is probably breathing a silent sigh of relief that I'm bestowing some semblance of order here.  Yes, I know...our brains don't breathe sighs of relief, per se.  Which brings up a grasshopper be continued in Vol. I, Part II....

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Watermark risen

Given the fact that I am a writer, some people may be surprised to learn that I am a very private person.  After all, here I sit on a regular basis, tapping out my innermost feelings to be published on a blog that is readily available to anyone in the world...a mere click of the mouse away.  Writing those innermost feelings for the eyes of so many 'out there' is a curious interplay.  Yet, I am very self-contained when it comes to revealing details of my private life.  There are lines that I feel are necessary to be drawn for all of us, with each person having their own personal watermark that is to remain sacrosanct.

For the most part, in social media forums such as Facebook, Twitter and this blog, you will rarely hear me reveal truly personal details about my life.  I am happy to share stories from my childhood, and also to open up about topics and experiences that touch me deeply.  I feel this is my way of fulfilling one of my life's gifts, which is that of healing.  Again, for the most part, you will see me post very positive, uplifting blog articles, Facebook and Twitter posts.  While we all have difficult days and negative experiences, I strive to see the positive in every moment and every person.

Today I had a personal Waterloo moment.  It was a situation that I have alluded to in recent blogs, (Tend your bucket!) about an individual that I labeled an emotional vampire.  This was my way of exercising the frustrations I had about this person.  My nature is to forgive, so much so that it can become a detriment.  I forgive, I understand, I sympathize, I lift up, I encourage....and in the midst of all that kindness, I overlook the fact that I am allowing another person to literally bleed me empty. 

Please know that I am not suggesting that forgiveness is wrong or foolhardy.  I will never truly change in this regard; I am a loving, caring, nurturing Soul and this is intrinsic to my nature to see the good and positive in others.  However, there does come a day where it is graphically demonstrated that the kindness doled out has been gleefully, and most likely, selfishly consumed while the recipient of your care is laughing at your foolishness.

My watermark has risen.  I weathered a very unpleasant experience today as the result of trusting someone who did not deserve that grace.  I admit to struggling with the resulting fallout.  I was angry, disappointed, disillusioned to a degree...with all of these emotions self-directed.  Why did I aim all of those emotions at myself?  Because I knew better. 

Stepping completely outside of my regular comfort zone, this is what I wrote on my Facebook page:

You know that inner voice that tells you a situation is shady, as well as the people involved, yet you try your best to see the good in all involved? Trust the inner voice FIRST, and avoid the inevitable drama and disappointment in the whole dynamic. People do show you their true colors, and sometimes those colors are weak & lacking in depth and substance. #Lesson Learned

My lesson here is to forgive myself first, this other person next, and move forward with no intention of allowing this person back into my life.  I can count on one hand the number of times I have come to this point in my life.  It is a sad moment to truly cut ties with someone that you genuinely cared about.  It is a death of expectations, possibilities and hopes, if you at one point had intentions for a strong friendship to grow and endure. 

I had no idea how people would react to the Facebook statement above.  It was out of character for me to the extent that I spoke of a negative personal situation.  Hours after posting it, I came back and was surprised to see the response to the post.  Thus far, there has not been a single negative comment.  To the contrary, every comment was positive, uplifting and supportive - all true examples of people that I am blessed to call friends.  This tells me that I was right to follow my instincts with the Facebook post.  It also reminds me that this very instinct is sharp and clear; I need but to pay attention to that still quiet voice in the future to avoid similar negative experiences.

I cannot fault myself for wanting to see the good in others.  This is actually a trait that I am happy to own.  I will continue to do this, live my life this way, and continue to give more second chances than most people probably merit.  I say this with a smile, now, hours later in the day when my own heart has lightened from the wonderful support of true friends.  I can't change my own true colors, but I can recognize when those around me are displaying conduct and behavior that is a screaming, neon, flashing warning sign.  True colors are displayed in abundance if we're willing to recognize them for what they are.

My personal watermark has risen.  I have higher, more stringent standards for allowing people into my life.  While this may sound judgmental and strident, it really isn't.  It is me making a choice to honor myself first.  This can be a difficult lesson to learn and embrace, and I daresay I will struggle with it in the future.  Today has made a permanent impact and this time I am making changes that are equally permanent.  Forgiveness is a conscious choice....for myself as much as for those with whom I have negative interactions. 

The beauty of this experience today is that I have shed the weight of a fully grown person who was dragging me down on a regular basis.  I have shed the negative emotions of someone who is motivated by selfishness.  I have shed the need to feel responsible for a great number of unnecessary ties.  The conscious choice to forgive and move forward, while also excising someone requires a lot of contemplation. It is not a choice made easily or with haste.  It is, in this instance, necessary and I am at peace with it.

As we all know, when one door closes, God/Universe opens another.  When one person exits, that space is left open for a new, beautiful energy to come in.  The repercussions of today's events have some ripples.  I will be dealing with those ripples for a while, but the wonderful thing to recognize and remember is that this door is wide open.  This means that my life and my expectations have no boundaries. 

There's another old piece of wisdom that tells us,
           Water seeks its own level.
Another way of expressing this concept is that there comes a time when vibrations no longer match up.  In essence, regardless of the dramatic tone or lack thereof, people will vibrate themselves out of your reality.  Sometimes we're the ones left behind.  In this situation, I am the one doing the walking away.  This is not done with a light heart, as I never enjoy breaking ties with someone who once mattered a great deal to me.  It is done, however, with a sure heart, and perhaps that is the stronger part of this particular lesson.  Of a necessity, I have looked at my own culpability with this situation.  I knew better.  I knew better months ago, yet I continued to offer those second chances.  I wanted to believe that the spark of beauty that I know resides in each living, breathing being was burning strongly enough in that person to eventually negate the unpleasant traits that I didn't want to look at. 

While I cannot speak for this person's interactions with anyone else, what I know now is that the interaction with me has been predominantly self-serving.  Even as I write this, it pains me.  I could revert to habit, forgive and give another chance to this person, but this time, I am walking away.  Forgiveness isn't a question here; I will get to that point within a few days.  It isn't in my heart to harbor grudges and simmer in resentment and ill feelings.  That will do nothing but bring harm to me in the long run, while this other person will blithely go on about their life, not sparing a thought to the repercussions of their actions.  I need to implement an equally purposeful action in my life with this decision and move forward with the assurance that I am better for this experience and better for making this choice.

It is curious that I've used water analogies throughout this blog.  Water seems appropriate to apply, as it can exhibit physical manifestations of emotions - we call them "stormy seas", or placid, calm, quiet, tempestuous, soothing, peaceful, angry.  All descriptive words that can be applied to relationships and behavior patterns.  I rode some stormy seas with this whole situation, and today I can admit that much of this could have been avoided had I heeded my intuition months ago and cut ties.  I didn't do that, choosing instead to give more chances.  That bit me in the end. 

Today, with several hours of distance from the actual unpleasant event, I am sitting on the proverbial dock, gazing out at calm waters.  The water level is higher than it used to be, but the view is lovely.  Peaceful.  Calm.  Full of possibilities and brighter for coming to a determined, thoughtful choice.  I am appreciative for recognizing that this whole situation was truly a blessing in disguise.  Occasionally, there come these moments where it is necessary to adjust our own personal watermark.  I would go so far as to suggest it is one of the most healthy, loving gifts any of us can give ourselves.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Just Be

I have spoken many times before in blog format about the frantic pace we lead daily, particularly here in the United States.  I'm no different from the majority of people in this regard; I've been working diligently to establish a new branch of my writing services.  The lagging economy affected everything about my writing career two years ago and I am still adjusting and laying new foundation blocks.  So focused am I that I become my own worst enemy with taking care of myself, not getting enough sleep, not eating correctly and most importantly, not taking time off!

We all know the basic rules - you can't have day without night, hot without cold, light without dark, happy without sad.  Subsequently that old axiom of "All work and no play makes Jane a dull girl" truly has merit and weight to it.  When I begin to feel smothered in this manner, I know it is time to step back.  So, recognizing that certain frustrations have been building within as I'm racing madly down the road to a serious lack of balance, my thoughts turn to the exact opposite of my current daily existence.  In a word...FREEDOM.

What does it mean to you?  Freedom.  The very word conjures up all manner of emotions and mental images, feelings, expectations, hopes, dreams and wishes.  Freedom represents my beloved country, the United States of America, with her symbol that of the noble Bald Eagle.  I cannot witness one of these beautiful birds in flight without getting a lump in my throat and feeling the sting of tears.  Watching these majestic birds wheeling freely across the blue skies seems to speak to something very elemental within most of us.  When the word 'freedom' comes to mind, invariably, I mentally conjure up a bald eagle in flight.

Specific to my current frame of mind, freedom represents making a living doing what I love.  Not being chained to a dead-end existence in corporate America, as that experience always slowly saps my vitality and energy.  I chose to leave that world and pursue my own path with freelance writing.  Yes, I am accomplishing that goal in slow and sure steps.  Yet there is a niggling sense of frustration and lack that tells me I am getting in my own way.  I tend to excel at dancing with this particular nemesis.  So, with this recognition comes knowledge that it is time to stop.  Simply stop everything and just be.

At times such as these, I always reflect on the few true vacations I've taken.  One in particular was a 12 day trip to Hawaii.  I went with a group of friends and because of the time zone changes wreaking havoc with my Circadian rhythms, I regularly awakened fairly early.  Now, if you know me even slightly, you're aware that I'm not a morning person.  Not even close!  But during that time in Hawaii, I would wake up before the majority of my room mates, shower, dress and take a walk around the neighborhood where our hotel was located.  Across the street was a Catholic church that was always open and I would stop there to sit in the quiet, holy space, listening to the birds singing and just soak in that blissful feeling of freedom we have on vacation. 

I loved it - I chose what to do each day and I answered to no one but myself and the group of people I was with.  No bosses, no phone calls, nothing but my own personal choices and whims for the day.  I can remember being clearly conscious of the delight of that daily existence, feeling the surge of endorphins and pleasure coursing through me that freedom brings.  This is what I need to find a way to incorporate in my life now.

Tomorrow will be a day of freedom.  At times it is necessary to make a ruthless shift and literally walk away from the world for a moment.  Breathing, embracing a certain isolation to purge what was becoming a tangled jumble. Focusing and being what some might deem selfish in order to come back to quiet, come back to balance and reconnect with the pureness of my dreams.  An outward, deliberate and physical act of meditation.  Recapturing that sense of absolute freedom and pleasure in just being.

Law of Attraction concepts dictate that unless we are feeling joyful, we are out of balance and out of connection with the Source, that which we call God/Universe/Spirit...the names for Divine Energy are numerous.  I am feeling that disconnect and it is manifesting as frustration and dissatisfaction.  Yet these same unbalanced emotions are tools.  I am now at a point in my life and evolution where I am able to identify these potential obstacles much sooner than in the past.  I am happy for this awareness, as it allows me to consciously shift and adjust more quickly.  It isn't always easy or enjoyable, but it is necessary.  It is also not feasible for most of us to live in an eternal vacation mindset.  This is not what I am suggesting in this post; I mean more for us to access the pure happiness we experience when on vacation and create an environment that encourages those feelings to manifest daily.  I have stumbled with this in my own personal daily experience, so it is time to recalibrate.

This moment in my life is high charged and delicately balanced.  Webster's Dictionary defines the word Fulcrum thusly:

1 a : prop; specifically : the support about which a lever turns b : one that supplies capability for action

This is what I feel to be taking place - I am at one of those pivotal points.  I can ignore the warning flags and emotions and continue to create more of a tangle in various areas of my life, or I can heed these emotions and be proactive.  Obviously I am choosing the latter.  This is not to say I am in the midst of crisis or impending doom; to the contrary, life is good.  What I am focused on is making it better, and keeping a weather eye on anything that distracts me from embracing happiness and feeling a true sense of satisfaction in my existence.
What will this produce, this moment out of time?  I have no idea.  The main goal of the whole exercise is to just be.  I am promising myself a day of bliss in whatever form that manifests.  No contracts will be thought about; looming deadlines will not exist, bills can wait and troublesome connections are relegated to a distant back burner.  I am taking a personal holiday and re-establishing the bonds within myself with the dreams I came here to accomplish.  The laws of quantum physics and nature dictate that energy given is energy that returns, amplified.  My intention is to dwell in an energetic mindset that is positive, happy and open to all that is good.  Negative energies and people who get in the way of this objective are stumbling blocks that distract us all from dwelling in perfect accord and balance with our purpose and dreams.  The amplified energies that return to me are within my ability to shepherd and guide.  This is my own gentle reminder to myself that I chart my own course, and it is healthy and intelligent to choose happiness and freedom.
Oftentimes when I begin to feel bogged down with a lot of junkie energy, I meditate on the mental image of being suspended in the mist that blows down off a waterfall.  I imagine that mist floating through my physical and etheric bodies, sweeping clean all dark spots, all smudges of other peoples' energies, dissipating fatigue and disappointments and leaving behind a refreshed person.  A cleansed body, mind and spirit.  This is such an effective mental meditation that I do it quite often...unless I allow myself to get distracted and caught up in superfluous issues, people and circumstances.  Time now, to be.  Just be.
I don't know if this will resonate with anyone else.  No doubt anyone reading this post will remember a similar moment in their own lives where they had to slam the proverbial brakes on and symbolically leave the planet for a while.  I'm off on a journey to reconnect with myself, take silken energetic thread and stitch my joyfulness back into brilliant, fluid fabric that will ripple and shine and as a Dream Catcher would, capture those corresponding energies that match my dreams.
Just be.  That's the goal.  Those are the instructions.  Two simple words that allow a world of experience, releasing of spiritual blocks, and soaring until I feel renewed.  Writing about this with clear intentions is already lifting my spirits and I am smiling as I come to a close.  Perhaps this blog will nudge you to take a personal moment...a day of freedom for yourself.  If so, don't freeze up - don't stress out, as those are contradictions of your goal.  Be good to yourself.  Be joyful.  Be free.  Breathe in each individual beautiful moment.  Absorb it all.  Release the negatives and for this one moment, concentrate completely and magnificently upon YOU.  Just....Be.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mandala memories

When I was a child, I would draw endless series of circular patterns that radiated outward in repeating shapes.  I would take my crayons, and later, colored pencils and paints and color these drawings from lightest shades to deepest gradations of colors.  I was very particular about this and could spend hours thus occupied.  To my surprise, I won a few art contests with some of these depictions.  They were always pleasing to my eyes, but I never knew what to call them when asked for a label to apply.  I just knew that the patterns made a sort of logical sense to my eyes and made me feel centered and at peace when creating them.  There was a sensation of pulsating energy as I would create the layers and patterns.

Fast forward into late teenage years and I was deeply involved in spiritual searching, reading every book on mystical teachings that I ran across, investigating various religions and spiritual practices.  Eventually, I began to see similar patterns to those that I had obsessively created as a child.  It turns out that what I was drawing could be likened to a mandala

Mandala (मण्डल) is a Sanskrit word that means "circle". In the Hindu and Buddhist religious traditions, their sacred art often takes a mandala form. The basic form of most Hindu and Buddhist mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point. Each gate is in the shape of a T. In common use, mandala has become a generic term for any plan, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically, a microcosm of the Universe from the human perspective. (Wikipedia)
Depending on the age of those of you reading this blog article, some of you may remember the childhood game called Spirograph (TM).*  Spirograph was a set of plastic wheels and templates with which you could create endless mathematical curves of the variety technically known as hypotrochoids and epitrochoids. (Wikipedia)  Although a mouthful to speak, those shapes are basically representing the same beautiful patterns found in mandalas. 

Another representation of this type of beautiful shape can be found in a kaleidoscope, which is a is a tube of mirrors containing loose colored beads, pebbles, or other small coloured objects. The viewer looks in one end and light enters the other end, reflecting off the mirrors.  (Wikipedia)  This was another device that could keep me entranced for endless hours, gazing at the ever changing patterns and colors inside that magical cylinder. 

Why did I begin creating these shapes and designs at a very young age with no example to follow?  I have my own thoughts on that.  One thought is that something within me simply resonated with the geometrical logic found in the repeating shapes.  Another thought is that I was recreating shapes from another time, memories embedded in the layers of my Spirit.  Both thoughts make complete sense to me, as I have always been drawn to the concepts of Buddhism. 

Similar repeating patterns can be found in nature; in flowers, in gemstones and crystals, in the whorls of certain lichen and mushrooms; in snowflakes, and even in the humble mature dandelion. Artists have reproduced these shapes in stained glass in majestic cathedrals and carved them into stone and wood. The majority of married females on this planet wear a diamond solitaire ring cut, shaped and faceted in such a manner as to reproduce this same geometric pattern within the depths of the gemstone.

I am not a mathematically inclined person, so I cannot tie together all the theory and calculations necessary to explain these repeating patterns the world over.  What I can say is that there is a strong presence of some type of quantum theory at work with these patterns.  Mandalas have been created for thousands of years to aid in meditation and to drop the consciousness into progressively deeper states of relaxation and trance state.  I can clearly remember feeling an inestimable sense of peace and calm as a child when I would intently create these patterns with my crayons and pencils.  The finished products with their intricate layers of color would please me enormously.  The shape that I most often created is similar to this photo with lotus flower-like petals radiating outward.

I don't know why this particular subject popped into my mind to write about tonight.  I had just finished my evening meditation, so perhaps my thoughts drifted to a focal point that I often visualize to calm my thoughts.  The more I thought about these shapes, the more similarities I came across, and the more it fascinated me.  These shapes appear over and over in science and nature.  We as human beings have recreated these shapes in glass, in metal, in gemstones, in fabric, on canvas, to please our eyes, yes.  I feel there is also deeper purpose in the recreations of these beautiful shapes.  From a mathematical standpoint, something of such linear balance has to resonate at a high and equally balanced frequency.  Could the mandala shape, when done with clear intent and calm, pure heart, create a powerful energetic point? 

We are affected by the beauty of these shapes.  Does this happen because they are pretty, or are they pretty because they touch our senses in a deeper manner than the most obvious ones?  The chicken/egg theory is at work here to a degree.  I don't have answers to most of these questions; they are more musings...ruminations on my part.  I once listened to a wonderful historian on television who espoused the concept that much of the fascination and plain enjoyment of learning is that some basic mysteries remain, as yet unlocked to our inqusitive minds.  This thought always makes me smile and embrace the simple pleasure of creating or witnessing something beautiful.

Whatever the reason was that drove me as a small child to create mandala-esque drawings is not completely known.  Having been slightly different in mindset from that very early age, I look back and am rather impressed with the fact that I never deviated from my focus, no matter the questions or criticisms of those early drawings.  There was something within that drew me deeply into spiritual studies that continue to this day.  And to this day, grabbing pencils and sketch pad to trace out another whirling wheel of color and shape pleases me and centers me.  Mandala memories remain a constant and continue to focus my consciousness as they appear to have done for others in centuries past.

*Disclaimer: no financial gain occurred from the mention of the product Spirograph (TM) in this blog article.