Friday, December 30, 2011

An ephemeral equation
We're approaching the end of 2011 and I've taken time to glance back through my blog archives for the year.  Compared to the previous two years, 2011 was a slower pace of blog writing for me.  The year itself was quite full of challenges on myriad levels, and that's where my focus and energy went.  While I've never been one to embrace the concept of blogging daily, I do prefer to write more often than I ended up accomplishing this year.

This post isn't about typical New Year Resolutions.  I've shared my thoughts on that topic many times since I began blogging (Just Say No!, Healing Morning 12/27/2010), so I won't revisit here.

What I want to concentrate on is recent events.  I mentioned in my last post that life has improved slightly for me.  As a freelance writer, I live a constant roller coaster ride with keeping work in the pipeline, keeping my name in constant circulation with networking groups and attending as many of those networking functions as I can.  With that much activity happening on a monthly basis, you would think that work would be flowing with no problem.  I would think that too, but it wasn't the case for the year of 2011.  I have been through difficult, challenging times before, but I can truthfully say that 2011 rates right up at the top of the list of tough times experienced.

Why am I talking about this?  Because somehow, in the midst of a truly scary time where I couldn't imagine things improving, they did.  This is a quote from my last post:

"I have also just recently weathered some rather trying times where I wasn't sure how I would get from one day to the next.  The darkness that accompanied those challenges was quite intense and looking back, I have no idea how I managed to maintain even a wee shred of optimism and belief that good experiences were in my personal pipeline.  Somehow, though, deep within me, I did hold onto that small flame of belief.  That small flame of pure love, of pure healing, of pure all rested deep within me, despite the trying times."  With a Bright Spirit, Healing Morning 11/30/2011
I've been pondering this for the last several weeks, and even spoke of the whole experience with several friends.  What strikes my immediate consciousness so strongly is this:  somehow, despite all the fears, all the weariness, all the sense of self-defeat and borderline hopelessness, something within me stubbornly refused to give up.  Somehow, some small spark of Life continued to fight the battle mentioned above and I presented enough belief to manifest a new contract.  Let me stress that the environment of this new contract is as close to ideal as I can imagine.  No small wonder, that, as I did sit down and write out those particulars more than once during 2011.  What I speak of is sometimes called Life Mapping, where we write out our wishes and dreams for a specific purpose, then release the request with all its attendant specific details to God/Universe/Spirit.

I've done that many times in my life, and I admit that there was usually a healthy dose of doubt in the practice.  This is rather amusing, considering that I believe in the concept for others wholeheartedly.  It was for myself that I held back, that I entertained doubts and allowed niggling voices of insidious poison to creep in.  That being said, I reference the above quote from my previous blog post and share the fact that something within me did persevere and refuse to completely give up.

Speaking with a dear friend on the phone during the week leading up to Christmas 2011, I talked about this realization and said, "Knowing that I was able to manifest such a wonderful result with this new work contract in the midst of such doubt, imagine what I can manifest NOW, as I am in a state of new awareness and absolute belief!"

That's magical and very powerful, that realization.  Universal Law, for those of you who embrace the concept, dictates focusing on those good, positive feelings.  Study the emotions and memorize how it feels to be in a space of abundance and happiness, so that you can replicate that feeling again and again.

This is challenging for many of us, staying in that positive emotion, and I am no different.  My childhood mantra regarding finances is one that has programmed a negative energy for most of my adult life.  This is where I am focusing daily energy to shift that pattern and change the programming.  I am focusing on how I feel each day of this new work contract.  I am minutely dissecting how it feels to be happy, to have money flowing into my daily existence, to know that security is being established.  I am doing this so that I can amplify these emotions and project them outward so that this energy continues in a looping manner, bringing more of the same to my life on a regular and continuing basis.  The challenge of this mindset is that it is an ephemeral equation.  Belief is at its core, and happiness and positive emotions are the fuel. It is not a tangible thing at first.  Tangible results DO occur, but the belief and positive emotions must exist first.

At a holiday party, the question was asked of us to talk about not a resolution for 2012, but of something we wanted to embrace for ourselves on a purely personal level.  My thought was part of what prompted this very blog post, as I said that I had been thinking of how we behave as children.  If any child is loved, they have an inalienable sense of entitlement in the purest manner.  They simply believe that good things will happen and they believe that they deserve those good and delightful things.  If there is one thing I can say with absolute certainty, it is that I am loved in this life.  By friends and family, my life is richly blessed with love.  Somewhere along the way, however, I lost some of that childlike sense of entitlement to receive good and positive blessings.  Please note that I use the word "entitlement" in a positive manner, as it can carry negative connotations.  What I am speaking of is that manner children have of believing in magic.  I write about it quite often and I still carry a firm belief that magic exists, but I was also putting up roadblocks to receive good and positive blessings for myself.  I am in the process of recapturing the sense of how that feels....that sense of entitlement in the purest, most innocent and faithful manner.  Faith and belief are key words here.

So, if there is anything even remotely approaching a New Year's Resolution for me in 2012, it is to continue to give daily thought to amplifying and projecting my current level of success so that it can continue and increase in ways I have yet to imagine.  I remind myself of my comment above to my girlfriend that so much more is possible.  Limits are things we impose on ourselves out of fear.  That much I know to be true, and it's something that I've excelled at over a lifetime...getting in my own way.  I choose, now, to excel at getting OUT of my own way and existing in abundance.  I know it is possible.  I am living the result of my own wee kernel of belief that refused to be extinguished during the travails of 2011.  I believe that that wee kernel of belief, that tiny flame that flickered valiantly in the midst of a great big boatload of darkness can be stoked.  As I write this, in my mind's eye that tiny flame is growing into a nice, healthy bonfire.  It warms my hands and face as the flames rise.  Rather than being a destructive force, this is the kind of flame that does not consume in a negative manner.  Or perhaps it does....perhaps the consuming is of those negative thoughts.

Whatever the case, it is clear to me that I can build this fire.  I can increase my own prosperity.  I can embrace the belief that I deserve success in multiple areas of my life.  I can release my death grip on doubt and fear.

Many years ago, I was given a writing assignment to come up with a definitive sentence to describe what I wanted out of my immediate experience.  This was the sentence that I came up with:

"I want to be like the fluffy seeds of the dandelion puff.....releasing from ties that bind me to a single existence to ride the winds of Life and be unafraid of where those winds will take me."
 I find that sentence, that statement of intent to be a good one for the New Year of 2012.  To all of you who continue to visit me here at Healing Morning and offer so many beautiful comments on what you find here, I wish you a beautiful New Year full of blessings.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

With a bright spirit

Healing.  The word itself is evocative.  It conjures up an immediate visceral response with attendant mental images...memories, fears, dreams, wishes.  Good health is vital to every living organism on this Earth School of ours.

When I think of healing, I think automatically of love and of Light.  The pure vibratory expression of love is the most powerful form of healing in existence, in my opinion.  When love is present, our whole body just relaxes and sighs, luxuriating in the peacefulness of that beautiful energy.

We know from a medical perspective that those who are happy, who feel loved and cared about, who receive regular hugs from loved ones - these are the people who heal more quickly, and who have stronger immune systems.  I have always found the healing strength of such a simple thing as a hug to be profound.  A simple embrace, the hug, and yet that simple thing can boost white blood cell count in the human body - the part of our blood system that fights off infection and wards off opportunistic illness - and sustain a sense of calm well beyond the physical experience of the hug itself.

Just the act of writing my thoughts about healing is increasing my own vibration - I can feel it as I type the words and thoughts.  I spent a good part of the 1990s working as a massage therapist, but was never truly fulfilled in that career.  The healing part and the knowledge of the human body fascinated me, but massage therapy in and of itself didn't really fit for me.  What did resonate was energy work; what many might recognize as the Biblical "laying on of hands", or in the traditional medical world, it is called Therapeutic Touch among other names.  I learned that I have an innate ability for energy work, and to this day, although I no longer practice as a massage therapist, I still embrace energy work occasionally.  It is effortless for me and is a gift I can bestow upon anyone in pain, whether it is physical, mental, emotional, or as is most often the case, a combination of all of these.

When I stepped into the unknown world of blogging over two years ago, I had no idea what I was doing with the concept.  It was something I was trying on for size to keep my mind occupied during a very dry period for my freelance writing career.  I've spoken of this before and I will doubtless bring it up again - the title of my blog, Healing Morning, was divinely driven.  I knew I wanted it to have something to do with healing, and the word "morning" was a play on my name, Dawn.  At the time, I had no idea how absolutely appropriate a title this would be, or how the title would grow with me as I grew in my blog writing.

You would think, as a result of the strong healing energies around me over a lifetime, that it would come as no surprise that this healing energy would translate into my writing.  Yet, it has been a surprise.  I did not know, to begin with, that my writing would touch others around the world and instill a sense of peacefulness, calm and healing.  That was a vague goal, but at the time that I created this blog, I had thought to focus more on a clinical type of writing application.  Instead, I found that I was being drawn to write from my heart and to allow a level of transparency that I had never dared to embrace.  I began to share very private concepts here, and opened up about my spiritual side in a manner that I had rarely done before.

Again, to my surprise, the articles that I wrote that exposed very personal aspects of who I am, and my healing and intuitive abilities - those articles have, without fail, turned out to be the ones that have garnered the most interest, the most written comments and the most support.  I've learned over the last two and a-half years that when I've written an article that makes me more than a little nervous about publishing it, this is when I'm writing and channeling a level of truth that needs to be shared.  And that energy is received in similar a very positive, honest manner.  People respond in kind and tell me they feel a sense of peace here.

So, I continue to grow with my blog title.  I continue to grow in my healing abilities and I continue to learn that my previous horizons are constantly being broadened.  It is a very surreal experience at times.  Just recently, I began to recognize a return to that childlike sense of creation that we tend to lose as we age.  Children have an innate sense of acceptance that all will be well; they have an equal belief that good things will happen simply because those good things are wished for and anticipated with a bright spirit.

I have also just recently weathered some rather trying times where I wasn't sure how I would get from one day to the next.  The darkness that accompanied those challenges was quite intense and looking back, I have no idea how I managed to maintain even a wee shred of optimism and belief that good experiences were in my personal pipeline.  Somehow, though, deep within me, I did hold onto that small flame of belief.  That small flame of pure love, of pure healing, of pure all rested deep within me, despite the trying times.

And then, in the midst of an admittedly scary phase, I felt the shift beginning.  That knowing, that awareness that I've always had grew inside me.  I clearly remember feeling it happening and I admit there was a bit of a struggle....a bit of lingering doubt that it was real.  Yet the sense of rightness was so strong that all I could feel was delight and a sureness inside.  A glowing, expanding welling of liquid, golden, pulsing brightness is how I would describe it.  That is what the energy of pure love looks like to my mind's eye. Many who practice various healing modalities will point out that various levels of healing energy carry different colors and textures.  I don't dispute this.  What I am describing here, that golden, pulsing brightness is how I experience healing at its most profound.  If I could invite you into my heart to see it and experience it the way that I do, I would do that very thing.  Since I can't do that, the next best thing is to write it for you and create the image and the emotion, the textures and vibrations with words.

This article may seem to have very little point....just a jumble of thoughts about healing.  I don't argue that point, as I'm writing from a stream of consciousness perspective, just allowing the thoughts to flow from my fingertips.  I will go back and read through this and see if the progression is strong enough to publish the article.  I think it will be, because I feel that same sense of rightness as I type the words.  This jumble of thoughts is going to make absolute sense to someone...perhaps many someones.  You will read this article and smile and nod, recognizing what I am attempting to convey.  Your own deep well of healing energy and love will respond and there will be that magical "click" from me to you.

In this way, in this fashion, I continue to heal.  Myself.  My readers.  The very air that I breathe in and exhale.  The earth that I walk upon, as this energy overflows and spills down from my hands and flows through my feet as I walk.  For those who study esoteric concepts of healing, this will make sense.  For those who trust in the simple process of honoring the physical manifestation of that spark of the Divine translating into human form, it will also make sense.  For those who are searching and wondering, looking for something that will lead them deeper into self-discovery, perhaps this article will light a new Divine spark.  It's a beautiful and never ending cycle, of course.

With a bright spirit.  This is how I write this article, at this moment.  That would make a beautiful t-shirt slogan, yes?  Healing is such a bright thing, yet very calm and sure.  Peaceful and quiet, but also exuberant and full of that childlike sense of delight.  I was asked to write an article with the word "healing" as the focus.  I sat down to write and did so with a bright spirit.  My hands are literally buzzing from the extreme level of energy that has been prompted as a result and I accept that manifestation in the same way....with a bright spirit.  With a bright spirit, my friends.

With a bright spirit.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Quiet voice

If you're a regular visitor here at Healing Morning, then you're aware that I do my best to focus on positive topics. Occasionally, something happens that isn't necessarily a light, happy topic and I do discuss these things here.  My goal is to always find the positive in the midst of the whole story.

This week, I experienced something on a personal level that was alarming. I was followed home to my townhouse complex by someone who saw me at a gas station/convenient store.  When I say I was followed home, I mean this was someone I didn't know and I am convinced this person had very negative intentions in mind.

The whole situation played out in about 10 minutes' time, from start to finish, when I left the gas station and drove home.  This was after dark, and I was alone, which is exactly why this person chose to follow me.  A single woman, alone, unfortunately provides what most think will be an easy target and victim.

When the vehicle pulled into the lane of my complex, I was still inside my car.  I had a couple of things happen that I now believe saved me from harm, and very possibly saved my life.  Because it was dark, it's not always easy to see the numbers on the parking spaces allotted to each unit.  My next door neighbor's car is usually my marker to recognize my own parking spaces, but he wasn't home.  Because of this, I had parked two spaces over from my own numbered spaces and I was on the verge of backing out and pulling in again to the proper parking space when this vehicle appeared.  It was driving very slowly down our lane, and at first all I could see were the headlights.  Once it got level with my location, I recognized it to be an SUV that had been at the gas station when I was there.  That started the niggling feelings of doubt, because no one on my lane drives a vehicle like that particular SUV.  It drove on past me and I expected it to go down the hill to the last two units on this lane.  It didn't do that.  It pulled into the parking spaces allotted for the management office, then reversed, pulled back out and drove towards me, pulling into my neighbor's space.

At this point, alarms were going off in my head.  I waited to see if this person would get out and go into one of the town home units and they didn't.  The next time I glanced over, the SUV was empty.  Again, I waited, but couldn't see the driver standing anywhere near their vehicle.  I was far enough away that I should have been able to see their feet on the other side of the car, but it appeared no one was there.  Thinking they had walked back down the hill, I did something incredibly stupid.  I got out of my car and shut the door, but didn't lock it.  Immediately, this guy popped around the end of the SUV and headed straight for me, walking fast.  I, in turn, yanked my car door open, got in, slammed the door shut and locked it.  I made sure to look him dead straight in the eyes and he veered away, walking past my car and started talking on his cell phone. I started my car and left, driving up the hill into the subdivision that backs up to the property of my complex. I parked where I could see the entrance of my lane, shut my lights off and waited.  About three minutes later, that same SUV pulled out and left the neighborhood.

Several years ago, a book came out called "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin de Becker.  I remember watching an Oprah show with him as the guest, and his comments stuck with me.  Trust that voice of fear.  What I can now clearly recall was that as soon as I saw the headlights of that vehicle turn into my lane, I was instantly on guard.  Something felt wrong.  As the rest of the story played out, I felt that sensation stronger and stronger. What I also experienced were whirling thoughts and a lot of self doubt.  Women are raised to be polite and that very habit has most likely caused many unfortunate deaths over the years.  The young man who followed me that night was clean cut, nicely dressed and appeared as pleasant as could be in the convenient store of that gas station.  He even smiled at me as I walked in.  I did the typical response of smiling back.  When I was sitting in my car watching this whole thing play out, I experienced moments of doubt where I was rationalizing everything.  "He's probably lost."  "He must be a relative of my neighbor."  "He's just parking here and walking down to those last units."  All of those thoughts could have caused a terrible outcome if I had acted differently.

Reflecting now, I realize that my "mistake" of parking in the wrong space is probably what saved me from harm.  If I had parked in the correct spot, I would have already been out of my car with arms full of bags, my purse, keys, etc., walking to my town house by the time that SUV drove down my lane.  This guy would have been able to drive right up to me, jump out and grab me or do whatever it was he had planned.  If I had been at my door, he could have run up and forced his way in behind me.  So, that "mistake" was the main thing that changed the outcome that night.  The other thing was my own instincts.  I am not exaggerating when I say I could literally feel a sense of urgency pressing in around me.  Perhaps it was my angels or Guides, or God/Universe surrounding me and attempting to communicate to me to not get out of my car, and to leave immediately.  Whatever it was that I was sensing, I paid attention to it and I'm alive and unharmed today as a result.

It can be argued that I misinterpreted the whole situation, that this young man had no ill intentions.  I do not believe that to be the case.  The fact that he left the neighborhood after I drove away is a pretty telling sign.  Now I am left with a very unpleasant sense of not feeling safe in my own home.  Although I didn't walk up to my unit and identify specifically where I live, common sense indicates that I live at one of the units of the building I was parked in front of.  I have taken steps to beef up the security of my town house and am looking into purchasing firearms for the house and possibly to carry with me.  Mace will become a regular tool in my purse and on my key ring.

I've often said that as we live our lives, endless layers are stripped from our rose colored glasses.  This incident definitely robbed me of a certain inalienable sense of safety that I used to carry around with me.  All that I did was stop to get gas and pick up a bottle of water and some snacks on an evening after dark had set in.  That's all.  I wasn't in an unsafe neighborhood.  I wasn't dressed provocatively.  I wasn't rude to the young man in question; to the contrary, I was my typical friendly, smiling self.  The harsh truth is that we live in a world that harbors people of dark nature.  Those people don't need a reason or a trigger to urge them to make dark choices.  Because of the choice that young man made, my life has changed forever.  I don't know that I'm going to feel safe in quite the same way that I used to.  That's not necessarily a bad thing.  Many would argue that a healthy sense of suspicion and fear is a good thing.  I don't disagree with that concept, but I do refuse to adopt a victim mentality or demeanor as a result of this experience.

The person that I spoke to at the local county Sheriff's Department told me that the fact that I stared at this guy, looked him directly in the eyes, was probably one reason he veered away from my car.  I was told that by doing this, I made it clear I was not a victim in a very primal manner.  I don't know if that is true, that that action made that much of a difference.  I'm more inclined to believe that being in a locked car made the biggest difference, but I'm sure my direct stare made it clear I wouldn't hesitate to use my car as a weapon if any threatening moves were initiated.

The outcome of all of this was a happy one.  I am safe and nothing happened that night other than me getting a big dose of fear.  I have done all the right things, following up with the Sheriff's Department and filing a report about the incident, informing the management people at my complex, and taking steps to increase my own personal security.  By doing all those things, you would think I would feel nice and secure, but I expect that will take a while.  I haven't slept well since this occurred; I've been jumpy at night every time I've heard a car drive down the lane I live on.  I suspect that's absolutely normal.

As for my rose colored glasses, they're still on my nose.  The rose color has been impacted, I admit that, and it may take time for the color to come back to a stronger tint.  I refuse to let this experience permanently damage my outlook on life.  As many have pointed out to me, I was able to think on my feet, even in the midst of panic....and believe me, I was as scared as it was possible to feel when this played out.  That answered a question for me - I had always wondered if I would be the type to crumble in the midst of true crisis and fear, or if I'd be one of the ones who is able to function and think clearly.  Now I know.  I'm capable of very clear, logical thought, even when I'm in a situation where I am feeling unsafe and threatened. Although I did make one colossally dumb mistake - getting out of my car - I acted quickly to turn that around and everything ended well.  The only regret that I have is that I wasn't in a position to get the license plate number of that SUV.  I would have had to get too close for that.  The gas station has surveillance cameras on site, and they have been made aware of what occurred, with dates and times.  The police report has been filed and is on record.  I am hopeful that this person won't harm anyone in the future, but something tells me it will happen.  I was fortunate to make the right choices in the midst of my own experience and didn't come to grief.  Some other woman in the future might not be that fortunate.

For whatever reason, my own experience ended well.  I paid attention to my own instincts and I'm okay.  My emotional state and sense of personal security took some blows, but those will rebuild in time.  I'm writing about this experience primarily to get it out of my system. That's what writing does for me.  I'm also writing about it here to remind everyone that dangerous people are out there, dangerous circumstances can surround you without a moment's notice, and how you react is going to impact the whole scenario.  If you haven't read "The Gift of Fear", I encourage you to purchase the book.  I'm including the Barnes and Noble website hyperlink to purchase it.  This is for the paperback edition and it is available in used copies for as little as $2.74.  If you're unable to purchase and read this book, then make an effort to be more aware of your surroundings.  I am speaking first to women, but this applies to both sexes.  If someone is intent on inflicting harm, they're very possibly not going to be picky about gender.

Finally, pay attention to your instincts!  If I had not done that very thing, I believe there might have been a very different outcome to my recent experience.  Happily, I'm fine.  Shaken, and changed as a result, but alive and well.  I'm also appreciative of the support of friends and family when I made this experience known.  Despite the fact that I knew this was not a good situation, I was falling back on "good girl" mentality and doubting myself, thinking I was unfairly judging the situation.  With the support and encouragement of friends, I became firm in my resolve to report this incident.  I am hopeful that by doing this, and by writing about it here, maybe other people will also avoid a negative outcome in their own lives.  Be safe, everyone, and pay attention to that still, quiet voice of intuition and instinct.  I believe it saved me.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Soft stillness and the night

I'm feeling nostalgic tonight for some reason.  I have been browsing through my Drafts folder here at Healing Morning to see what snippet might jump out at me to elaborate upon and birth a new blog article.  This one seems to be it.  A stanza from William Shakespeare:

How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank.
Here we will sit, and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears; soft stillness, and the night
Becomes the touches of sweet harmony.
I ran across this weeks ago, most likely on Facebook.  It brought to mind summer evenings from my childhood, long before the advent of cable television and the internet.  Indeed, at that time, we had three television channels and were lucky if two of them could be received on our antenna way up on the ridge where we lived.  Thus, many evenings during warm months were spent outside in lawn chairs doing this simple thing....talking.  And looking at the stars.

It was such a peaceful thing.  Being with family, visiting, laughing together.  Or just being silent and gazing upward at the expanse of stars.  Some nights we would spread out a blanket to lie on, and it was then that I would imagine that the stars would drop down to touch my face.  We lived far enough out in the country at that time that city lights didn't compete in the night sky and we could see the constellations clearly.  The Big Dipper and the Little Dipper were always easily discernible...and we would attempt to identify other constellations from the Encyclopedia.

Balmy summer nights, filled with quiet conversation and cicadas humming in the background.  The scent of freshly cut grass, blooming roses and honeysuckle would hang heavy in the moist night air.  If it had been an especially good day, there might be the rare store bought treat of Jiffy Pop popcorn...that miraculous creation that we watched in fascinated delight on the stove top, the shiny aluminum dome poofing up as the popcorn popped inside.

Those days are long gone, and I remember them fondly.  The Shakespeare snippet above brought the memories to mind, soft and misty, like an old photograph whose edges have been gently worn soft with time.  Ghosting along my mind's eye, hovering there with wraith-like purpose, insistent to not be forgotten.

"...soft stillness and the night..."  The words bring a slight ache of wistfulness to go back there again, to that back yard in the country on that side of that ridge...and let the stars drop down, once again, to touch my face.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

As the plane goes down

When was the last time you felt short of breath?  After exercising?  After laughing with friends?  Rushing to a meeting?  Or perhaps because of being ill?

In August of 2010, I dealt with a protracted bout of pneumonia.  It lasted for well over a month, with the recovery process a long, grinding one.  I wrote a blog about this experience, called The Manifestation of Wellness (Healing Morning, 09/27/2010) in an effort to better understand what was happening with and to my body.  Most of us are aware that there is a strong mind-body connection that has impact on our health, although there are differing opinions on the veracity of this concept.  Depending on which side of the proverbial fence you stand, it makes sense or it's a bunch of nonsense.

Why am I bringing this up?  Because I am currently battling through another bout of pneumonia.  What surprised me was that in my mind, I had somehow convinced myself that that last bout of pneumonia had occurred more than two years ago.  Imagine my dismay when I searched for the blog article here on Healing Morning and found a clear pattern of approximately a year between recurrences.  Granted, last year's pneumonia was in August and this year, it has hit me in October, but they both occurred in fall months and they both progressed rapidly to full blown pneumonia.  Of course, many will say that this is simple logic - we're in the thick of flu season, with myriad viruses, bacteria and germs flying about in fall months.  I don't dispute that logic at all, and I agree that it is definitely a part of the cycle and pattern I've detected.

What I'm looking at is the mind-body aspect.  There are many esoteric tenets that have identified an emotional tie to specific health concerns.  I have talked with friends who follow/practice some of these esoteric tenets over the years to identify what the emotional tie is with flu and pneumonia.  The following are individual comments that happened during private conversations, so in the interests of protecting the privacy of all, I am not going to annotate a specific dogma, religion or person's name.  I will say that I have discussed this topic with people from a wide range of walks of life, spanning many organized religions, esoteric tenets and even what we would call "mountain wisdom" here in the southeastern region.

One friend offered the following information:

"...fatal bouts of pneumonia and influenza usually result from an individual's inability to handle multiple fears and challenges overwhelming them in a shorter, more compressed timeframe. Usually the person is drowned in the flood of emotions (fear, anxiety, panic) that engulf them. The 'internal floods' manifest as severe lung congestion which cuts off their connection to breath and sometimes, ultimately, their connection to life."

Another opinion:

"...issues involving the lungs indicate a need to address grief that may have been tucked away and not properly dealt with..."

Yet another, of a mountain wisdom perspective:

"Anything around the heart and the lungs that is severe is telling you that you're literally cutting off your own air.  You're allowing something emotional to grow to such proportions that it feels as though you're suffocating, and that begins to manifest physically in your body."
I think many of us can admit to being guilty of any of those three.  We all battle fear based thoughts on a daily, sometime minute by minute basis.  We all have had moments of loss where we didn't properly address the grief stages, whether from personal preference or from necessity of getting back into the hectic pace of work life, we've all done it.

When I began to delve deeply and pick apart the layers of my own life in this past year, I was able to easily identify areas and experiences that I could have dealt with more efficiently and more honestly.  I say "easily identify" because when I began this process, it was with a borderline ruthless determination to put an end to this cycle of repetitive illness.  I have dealt with pneumonia and respiratory issues most of my life, and I feel it is time to put stop to that cycle.

So, this inner searching had to be very honest.  I had to admit to areas where I had possibly been sloppy in my own processing, or where I had avoided tending to my own emotions.  THAT was the bigger wake-up call...that I was clearly slapped in the face with the fact that I had been regularly neglecting my own emotions.  Those who know me well would say that I am a very nurturing, caring, loving person, yet there I sat, confronting my own culpability.  There were both small and large issues where I had failed to care for myself properly because I was focused on caring for the world at large.  Over time, this type of personal neglect is going to build up and eventually, something will have to give.  The most obvious effect is illness, as all that toxic build-up has to find a path of exit.  Now that this illness has set into my body, I am doing my best to ride the wave of it all and allow it to burn off what is necessary to be burned off.

Am I saying that I've been walking around in a constant robotic state, endlessly stuffing down my emotions? Not at all.  What I have been guilty of, however, is of allowing myself to fall into what I call a "frozen state" when a slew of crisis points hit all at once.  I think that's probably a common reaction, because it hits that instinctive, reptilian fight or flight response deep within our brains.  We shut down on some levels in order to keep functioning, promising ourselves that when things calm down, we will address the emotional side of things.  The reality of life, however, is that things rarely calm down.  Life offers us a steady supply of challenges, scary moments, stressful experiences that lead to grief, anger, loss, frustration and more.  My own life in the last calendar year has been chock full of virtually every aspect that I just listed, and I now am looking at the fact that I need to go back and address some of the emotions that I put on hold out of necessity.

I need to create a more timely approach where I am honoring my own fears and reactions.  Everyone has a different freak out point - that thing or event that hits that will cause a meltdown to occur.  I won't go into specific detail about my own freak out point, but I think the central, common denominator for most is a loss of control.  We all have a very clear picture in our minds of who we are "supposed" to be, how we are "supposed" to project ourselves and how we are "supposed" to be perceived.  Strong.  Independent.  Intelligent.  Powerful.  Happy.  Successful.  Plug in the label of choice - we all have a persona we identify with.  It's when something....or many somethings....hit all at once and possibly jeopardize that persona that fears set in.  Freezing up, for many, is the result.  For me, that freezing up process is an internal one.  While that can be a good coping mechanism for the short term, it is the long term fall out that I am now focused on mitigating.  It's time to find a better method for dealing with high levels of stress, rather than putting them immediately on the side burner to tend to at some foggy future date that rarely receives true attention.

I know the habits I've neglected that are helpful - yoga, meditation, reading and writing for pleasure, spending time with family and friends, being out in nature, being artistically creative.  The firm truth is that I need to get back to creating time for myself first. This is a malady that has reached epidemic proportions the world over, putting ourselves last.  We all know that if we are not healthy, we are not going to be of any good to those we love, we are not going to be efficient co-workers, employers or employees.  That analogy of the airplane going down is a good one - unless YOU put the air mask on yourself FIRST, you won't be able to be of any use to anyone else as the plane goes down.

In my own personal experience, how apt is that analogy?  I failed to put my proverbial oxygen mask on throughout much of 2011, and the result has been that my body finally rebelled in a manner that mimicked my emotions....I got sick with a respiratory illness that rapidly progressed to pneumonia.  I cut off my own oxygen supply, in a way, from freezing up over and over.  From putting my own emotions on hold to tend to everything else in the world, I was communicating to myself on an emotional level that I didn't matter....and I slowly cut off the oxygen.  The smarter move would have been to immediately reach for that proverbial oxygen mask, to take care of myself first, to establish a clear airway for myself first, so that I was given time to access tools to carry on.

As that proverbial plane goes down, reverting to crisis thinking has become a negative habit for me that I  now need to change.  Will it be an easy process?  It can be, if I embrace change instantly, but that's not a realistic expectation.  I'm like most people in that I adapt to change slowly, and my own spin on it is to be very methodical in my approach.  Falling dramatically ill is as good a wake-up call as any, I guess.  It's highly unpleasant to be this ill, so who wouldn't want to investigate new behaviors that can help to avoid a repeat of that experience?

I also want to stress that I am not indicating that I believe we are 100% masterful creators of every single illness that strikes us.  I would not suggest that certain dread diseases are brought about by our own intentions, conscious or otherwise.  I do, however, believe there is truth to some of the emotional tenets I've discussed here; I think that if we are not mindful of our emotional state, this, in turn, can possibly compromise our immune systems enough to allow opportunistic maladies a toe hold in our bodies and then illness can be the result.  If there is even a fraction of truth to this concept, then it behooves me to do some personal house cleaning and put some clear focus into my daily habits and the care that I give myself.  Yearly bouts of pneumonia are unnecessary and I am aware that each bout is dancing with a knife-edge of uncertainty as to the outcome.  Pneumonia, as has been impressed upon me over and over by medical professionals, is not something to take lightly.

So, getting back to that plane going down analogy, we know that I'm not a pilot, obviously.  I can't fly a corporeal plane.  But I CAN  pilot my own Life Path and I can make better, more conscious choices when I am in the midst of a maelstrom of stressors.  I can choose better reactions and I can take care of myself FIRST, and don that oxygen mask as the plane goes down.  That plane going down isn't necessarily a bad thing, because all stories have a natural life cycle. That is a topic for another blog, perhaps.  For now, as this specific plane goes down, it is absolutely possible to save the flight by donning that personal oxygen mask.  By saving myself first, I can do so much more for the rest of the world.  Breathing is good, yes?  I remind loved ones of this regularly, so it is with a gracious acceptance that I embrace the concept as well.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Grasshopper Thoughts, Vol. V, October 2011

I've mentored many a writer in my adult life, taught many adult education classes on creative writing, and lent a helping hand to countless new bloggers.  At some point, the question always arises of, "What do you do when you get writer's block?"

That's the age old nemesis, isn't it?  Writer's block, artist's block, musician's isn't career specific to just writers.  We all hit moments where inspiration just refuses to flow.  It has been 29 days since I last posted here at Healing Morning and this is outside the norm for me.  While I am not of the blogging daily approach, I do tend to write at least once or twice a week.  I won't go into the reasons for my recent dry spell, but I will share that the answer I almost always offer to the question above is, "Just write.  Don't focus on whether it's good or bad...just sit down and start writing. The very act of being in writing 'motion' will often wake up your writing Muse."

Another favorite tool of mine is to Grasshopper.  If you follow me here at Healing Morning blog, then you're familiar with this concept.  Grasshopper Thoughts is a process of just allowing your mind to flit....or hop (like a grasshopper) in myriad directions with no logical focus.  I find it to be therapeutic to do this.  It can be as entertaining to write this way as it can be for people to read it, and it allows a glimpse into that writer's soul in a curious manner.  Little tidbits, little gems, little windows into who they are.

So, in the time honored tradition, I now commence Grasshoppering to encourage my own Muse to release her death grip on my normally prolific writing.

  • I'm a fan of the good, old fashioned Emery board to file my nails.  Yes, I know that all manner of new inventions exist for this, including metal nail files that are touted to be better for your nails.  They don't work for me.  Metal nail files take forever for me because I'm fortunate to have nice, healthy, strong nails.  Nope, give me a traditional coarse grit Emery board and I'm happy.  Besides, those metal nail files make my teeth hurt with the sound they make on my nails.
  • Some genius person took the Cool Whip concept and morphed it into chocolate Cool Whip - bless their hearts!  I'm not a big sweets eater and can go long stretches without eating ice cream, sometimes longer than a year.  It's just not a temptation to me.  Once in a blue moon, however, chocolate Cool Whip, still frozen is ideal.
  • I opened an old book the other day, and from its pages fell a perfectly pressed sprig of Lily of the Valley.  I lifted it to my nose and it still carries that beautiful fragrance.  I think I pressed that flower there when I was wee, and it remains to this day my favorite old fashioned flower.  It was a delicate, floral time capsule moment to my adult self from my very young self and I was assailed with lovely memories.
  • The last time I bought Crayons, they smelled different and I was devastated.  How could Crayola do this?!  Whose idea was it to tweak the formula?  No doubt it was done to save money, as that drives any corporation's bottom line, but it made me sad.  The aroma of Crayons is iconic, or it used to be.  It's still close to the original smell, but different.  These are the moments when I stubbornly dig my heels in against change.
  • I was driving my Mom somewhere recently, just out running errands, and I said something to make her laugh unexpectedly.  We glanced at one another and smiled, that silent "I love you for who you are and how I feel when we're together" communication.  I'm blessed.
  • Someday, someone is going to invent a way to prove that creative people are NOT airheads, dingbats or incapable of remembering things. We just think and process things differently, but we manage to get everything accomplished.  I'm serious - someday, someone will invent a way to quantify this fact. And THEN you'll all be sorry! ;-)  Just sayin.  *And if this way has already been invented, then I'm the first to cheerfully declare that I TOLD you so!  :)
I think that's plenty to get the writerly thoughts warmed up.  With luck, it won't be another 29 days before my next post.  For now, Grasshoppering has done the trick to shift the logjam loose a trifle.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Astonishing light

It was a small thing, really.  Just a quick glance, a social smile shared between strangers walking into a building.  He politely held the door in a gentlemanly manner, allowing me to precede him inside. Yet something about him seemed sad to me.  We separated in the foyer of the building, going in opposite directions.  I accomplished the business that I came there to do and walked back outside.

It was a stultifying, hot summer day.  We were in the grip of a killing heat wave and drought at the time, so I wasn't inclined to linger in the parking lot.  Yet, I did linger.  I glanced about and noticed an ornamental park with benches in the shade.  I can't explain why I chose to walk in that direction and sit on one of those benches, but I did it.  The heat was oppressive, so much that not even the wildlife seemed to have the energy to make accustomed nature sounds.  It was quiet in the manner only a humid summer day can be.

Perhaps five minutes after I sat down, steps approached and paused, causing me to look up.  It was the man with the sad eyes, holding two frosty bottles of water.

"Can I join you?" 

I smiled and nodded, and he offered me one of those bottles of water.

"I saw you through the foyer window and thought something cold might be appreciated," he said.

I accepted the kind gesture and we began to chat.  I could tell something was beneath the surface causing his eyes to look sad, but I didn't probe or press.  He was kind and cordial, and the conversation was pleasant.  We discovered a few things in common, discussed the local area, and drank our cold water in the shade, sitting on that park bench.  It occurred to me that I had snacks in my purse and I pulled out two packages of those cheese crackers with peanut butter.  When I offered him one, he appeared to be delighted.

"A feast!" was his comment.  We munched in companionable silence.  Another several minutes passed, with more conversation.

Finally, he looked at me with a very serious expression.

"Today, I was going to go home and turn the gas stove on in my kitchen, blow out the pilot light and let nature take its course.  I felt that I had no other choice.  I went into that building to visit my lawyer and make sure all my legal papers were in order so that my family would be taken care of."

This was the cause of the sadness behind his eyes.  I knew that whatever was happening in his life, I was not qualified to counsel him properly and I said as much.  He smiled, shook his head and placed a hand over my own.

"You're imminently qualified, young lady.  There's a light about you.  A brightness in your smile that you shared with me when we both walked into that building.  You didn't have to even look at me, but you took a moment to acknowledge me...and really SEE me.  It mattered, and I wanted to thank you.  I was hoping I would see you before you left that building.  And somehow, I got lucky."

We talked some more, and he revealed that his business had failed due to the lagging economy.  His house went into foreclosure and he wasn't able to continue to pay for his two kids' college tuition.  I didn't have a lot of advice to offer; mostly, I just listened.  He was a lovely man. Clearly intelligent, well spoken, obviously very well mannered, and just as obviously tormented on a very elemental level.  We did not know one another at all, save for that unexpected meeting at the front door of an office building, and a shared impromptu drink and snack on a park bench.  For me, it was a moment to simply be there for another person who was troubled.  I never once felt uncomfortable, or pressed to create a miracle.  I didn't have that  power.  This man's life was in an admittedly challenging place.  I doubted seriously that anything I could offer could make much of a difference.  What I did know was that listening was something I could do.  So, that's what I did.

We lingered there for about 90 minutes, in that humid summer day.  I refrained from using the word "should" in any part of that conversation, simply because I strongly felt that he didn't need to hear what I thought he should do.  I figured he had probably heard many "you should's" as he struggled to cope with the challenges in his life.  I did ask him to seek some form of counseling, because the thought of this very kind man ending his life alone, defeated and sad was heart breaking.  I also asked him to take my phone number and promise me that he would text me, at the very least, for the next five days, so that I knew he hadn't given in to the temptation of his earlier plan to end his life.  He agreed to this request.

Eventually, our conversation ended.  We sat in silence and he finally looked at me and smiled again.  To my eyes, it appeared that the sadness had eased somewhat behind his eyes.

He stood and offered a firm handshake, then gathered the debris of our water bottles and snack wrappers.  He took them to a garbage can, then returned to walk with me towards our cars in the parking lot.

I wanted to hug him, but refrained because I didn't want to presume or cause any awkwardness.  We stopped at my car and I smiled and reminded him of his promise to text me for five days.

"I will do that.  In return, I want you to promise me that if a day hits for you in the future where you feel sad, or defeated, or that you're not making a mark on the world, promise me that you'll call me.  Maybe then I can return the favor.  You made a difference today, and you did it with a smile and being a genuinely beautiful person.  God bless you."

And with that, he put a hand briefly on my shoulder, then he walked away to his own car.  In the proceeding five days, I received a single text each day that said, simply, "I'm still here."  On the sixth day, the text that came said, "I'm smiling again."

These days, he occasionally sends a random text, and we have developed a friendship that is solid.  I have met his family; his children are now back in college, and he and his wife are in a stable living situation.  He is in a different career and seems to be recovering well.

Why am I relating this story?  I don't know.  I actually thought that I would never share it on a public level.  I never felt it was my story to reveal.  And for the most part, I remain devoted to protecting this friend's privacy by not giving his name or any other personal information.  The other day, I read a quote on Facebook that has always been one of my favorites.  It was on my sidebar on my Facebook page and it was from the "On this day in 2010, this was your status..." section.

This is what my status was on that day in 2010:

I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being. - Hafiz
Obviously, I found that quote to be beautiful when I posted it to my Facebook wall in 2010, and when I saw the repeat post on my sidebar, I was prompted to share this story.  I posted the quote again on my Facebook wall, and added this comment:

*How's that for a good reminder of our own beauty?* 
I didn't have any special skills, or any magical answers for this gentleman that I met unexpectedly that summer day.  Something...a set of circumstances...brought us together and I was led to take the steps that I did.  Happily, they resulted in a positive outcome, with not only this man choosing a different outcome, but with a genuine friendship that continues to this day.  The above Hafiz quote was a good reminder to me that many times, we're given chances to make a difference.  And sometimes, that difference can occur just from sharing that "astonishing light of our own being".  Sometimes, many times, that alone is more than enough to make a profound difference.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Look me in the eyes

Photo courtesy of Aglet Photography
Eye contact.  I wrote a short blurb about this in a recent blog post.  I did that because I had had the subject on my mind for several days.  It had me pondering and as I said to another friend, when I start thinking, the inevitable outcome is that I start writing.

We all know the old saying that the eyes are the window to the Soul.  I agree with this 100%.  Each of us is different in the manner that we connect with others.  For some of us, making and maintaining eye contact is simple.  Just something that you do.  For others, it is a challenge, and something to be avoided at all costs.  This is a protective mechanism, and usually happens for good reason.  If you delve deeply enough with those who are careful with making eye contact, you will find a lot of trust issues beneath the surface, married to a lot of painful experiences.

I think everyone has heard the old axiom that "the eyes are the window to the soul".  Most of us will agree that people who don't make significant eye contact impart a less than trustworthy vibe.  This is a snap judgment, of course, and may be an unfair one, depending upon the situation and the individual.

For me, eye contact is important.  In every relationship that I have, I want that strong connection to be there.  Friendship, family, business connections, as well as more intimate relationships - all need to have that level of connection, trust and the sense that you are being seen, being heard, and being embraced.

Gazing wordlessly into one another's eyes.  That is profound.  The wordless part is usually what causes people to become skittish and glance away.  When you meet a person who doesn't do this, who engages in that gaze without flinching, this is an incredible moment.  Thoughts wash through the mind, emotions are triggered, and a sense of being the very center of that person's immediate world exists.  Pretty powerful stuff!  This creates a level of willing, intentional vulnerability, meaning that you allow yourself to become vulnerable in that moment and with that other person. It also creates a bond, that wordless moment, that is indefinable.  And really, definitions aren't always necessary.

That experience, that wordless gaze, is a microcosmic moment that doesn't require anything else.  Fleeting, yes.  But with lasting impact.  Moments such as these can be a catalyst.  From one moment to the next, the world changes. Perhaps not in an earth shaking, cataclysmic manner, but change does occur.  And thinking follows.  Pondering, absorbing, reflecting.  All from one long, quiet shared look between two sets of eyes.

We each have those experiences that we remember as being a turning point.  Something occurred to stop time, briefly, with enough dramatic force that you felt the shift as a tangible instant.  Your own personal earthquake, where those emotional tectonic plates were rearranged, permanently.  From a glance, you ask?  Yes, for me, from a glance.  Well, a look is more to the point, as a glance is of short duration.  Maybe a new word needs to be created for that long, steady, quiet, powerful exchange.  "Staring" doesn't fit, as it robs the experience of depth and warmth.

Whatever label you choose to apply, there is great value in giving yourself to such a moment.  Looking into another person's eyes for long, long moments with no words, no nerves, no agenda, and no reserve is profound.

This was the thought in my last Grasshopper Thoughts post (Grasshopper Thoughts, Vol. V, August 2011) that prompted this blog article:

Look me in the eyes when we're together.  During conversation, during quiet moments, just a glance is sometimes enough; other times, a long and meaningful moment is me who you are in this way, and I will do the same. - SDS, August 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mirrored affirmation

I have a dear friend that I think I have loved more moments than I can count through the mists of time.  We don't often get the chance to spend large blocks of time together these days, as life is hectic and family, work and responsibilities cut into leisure time.  This week, we were lucky to connect and spend a good portion of a whole day together and it was just sublime.

This girl is someone that I trust implicitly.  She's a true heart friend in those indefinable ways that build a solid friendship. We've found over the years that we either tend to mirror experiences in our respective lives, or one of us is just completing a cycling of an experience that the other is just embarking upon.  In this way, this reflection provides guidance and a sounding board for both of us, when we have sufficient time to spend together and really get caught up.

Our recent afternoon and evening was that proverbial breath of fresh air for me.  We played, which is always good for the Soul.  We saw a theatrical production that some friends both acted in and directed, then we had a late meal and stayed downtown to watch another theatrical production on Knoxville's Market Square.  In between all of this, we shared what we had both been doing since we were last together.  Much time had passed since then, so there was a great deal to cover, and cover it, we did.

She is in a truly good place in her life.  Settled, with someone she loves, her work life is growing and prospering and she carries that special glow that one does when everything is falling into place in Divine Order. Knowing her as I do, I was so happy to see her this happy, calm and peaceful....both inside and out.

The even greater beauty of it all was that she became a mirror for me.  This time, she is finishing this particular cycle....or rather, she is sojourning it....ahead of me.  Listening to her words and description of the steps, the decisions, the emotional healing she processed to get herself to that higher, more level place of gave me that mirror.  That road map or template of sorts.  Because I am not that far behind her on a similar path, everything she was sharing was resonating brightly for me.  I could see the logical steps she had taken, hear the wisdom in her choices and actions, and absorb the clear outcome.  She is happy.

This reflection she gave me instilled hope in a new way for me.  Mind you, it is never difficult for me to focus on positives.  I tend to be a fairly sunny natured individual, and prefer to focus on those good, happy, uplifting moments.  That being said, I flounder like everyone else when it comes to personal dreams, hopes and wishes.  We are all so adept at getting in our own way for these goals, and I am no different.  I do have conscious intent, however, to be fully, mindfully engaged in my own growth.  What a lovely thing when I am given a gift of recognizing that this growth need not be so onerous, challenging or difficult!

Spending time with someone that I truly love and enjoy was the first gift.  Nothing polishes up the heart more than that type of interaction, basking in the sheer enjoyment of someone dear to you.  The second gift was being shown that reflection....that example that, "Look, this is how I did it, and it worked out beautifully."  Sometimes the strongest lessons don't have to be imparted through bloody struggle and painful experiences. They can be, but I don't think it's necessary 100% of the time.  What can be better than to witness someone a few steps ahead of you on a similar path, charting and negotiating their journey with determination, conscious application of intent and relative ease so that you may mirror their actions and experience a similar manifestation of ease?

Mirrors reflect.  That is their purpose.  We can choose to see through a warped lens and intentionally misread that reflection, or we can choose to gaze with clear eyes at the image.  That's my choice, gazing clearly, and engaging with purpose.  And the best part of this conscious process is that a day spent with someone I love gave me a mirrored confirmation and affirmation for where my own life is heading.  In her happiness, I see a reflection of possibilities, and I embrace them.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Partly sleeping

Photo -
Have you ever had the sense that after some unexpected experience hits your personal horizon, you look back and realize that part of you had been sleeping up until that moment?  I have reflected on this for years.  It has happened to me countless times and never fails to capture my attention with each new occurrence.

A simple analogy would be when you buy a new car and suddenly you see that same model, same color car everywhere you go.  Prior to purchasing that new vehicle, you never before noticed so many of the same car everywhere you traveled.  Your eyes and your consciousness have been newly awakened to that recognition, where before, part of you had been sleeping.

This holds true with endless layers of who we are, where our lives are heading, where we have been.  When a new person comes into our lives, and love occurs, we are stunned that we lived our whole lives without that love up until that meeting. This applies to friendship, to family and to intimate love, as well as to new experiences, studies, dreams, etc.  It is almost beyond acceptance, once the love is realized, to ken how we survived without it for so long.  Our heart was partly sleeping, waiting for that arrival of that person or that experience to wake up that spot that was reserved exclusively for them/it.

Talents lie partly sleeping also.  Sometimes they awaken with a jarring crash, startling us with the all consuming need to dive in and embrace the newness, turn it in our hands and make a mark on the world with it.  Other times, those talents are merely dormant, waiting for occasional awakening.  This happens for me with various artistic endeavors.  I can go for months at a time without any need to be creative beyond my daily writing.  Then something happens to awaken the partly sleeping Muse and I hit a frenzy of creativity, producing a wide range of artistic expressions.

To me, it is an endless joy to discover something new to love....about myself, and about the people around me.  Relationships are rarely static, and even in strife, we learn and grow.  Areas that had been partly sleeping within the context of relationships are regularly nudged awake.  We are never truly allowed to rest smugly on our laurels in that regard, and I see that as a positive.  Complacency hasn't ever been a behavior that I embrace.  I tend to be very active about communication so that all parties concerned can be clear and present with one another.  I fail at this, sometimes rather spectacularly, but the intent is always to be present and aware.  Because of this, I find that I am also equally aware when an area that had been partly sleeping suddenly awakens.  For me, it is a tangible thing, something I can physically sense and feel stirring.  I do my best to pay attention to that stirring, so that I recognize it for what it is.  It's when I ignore the sensation that I tend to bump my toes a wee bit, so I do my best to be mindful.

Recently, in perhaps the past six months, I've had a whole slew of partly sleeping areas come to full wakefulness.  These awakenings have spanned a wide range of experiences and relationships, some providing challenges to overcome, and all of them broadening my sense of Self and growing those newly awakened spots in my heart.  I have a fanciful image in my mind's eye of early morning hush coming softly awake, birds beginning to chirp, dew glistening on grass, trees and flowers in a private meadow that exists uniquely for my Soul to process these occurrences.  Oddly, this same meadow is a place I visit when I meditate, so who is to say it doesn't exist in some metaphysical manner.  The awakening of partly sleeping facets is the important thing to experience, to be aware of as it occurs.  I've never been a proponent of walking through life in an unconscious manner, so this awakening process is one that I enjoy.  I learn so much about myself as a result.  I've spoken about that endless refining of Self, of Soul, that we do on a daily basis.  The concept I am speaking of here, of "partly sleeping" is just a metaphor for that daily growth we all experience.

The world is largely expansive, rather than contractive, and so are we as people.  We are here to grow and learn, to push boundaries and embrace new experiences.  With that in mind, I imagine that we are gifted with endless ability to expand as yet unknown partly sleeping facets.  Traits, experiences, thoughts, loves and more.  It is a satisfying thought to me, because it means we are never truly finished.  We never learn it all, never experience it all....and at the heart of this thought is Love.

Through the waxing and waning, the ebb and flow of every experience, Love is the vital force at work.  Sometimes it lies sleeping for years before the awakening occurs, but that space for that particular it a person, a place or an experience...that space was always there, inside us, waiting for that awakening.  We drift from one awakening to the next, continually learning.  And the beauty is that there will always be another moment when something that was partly sleeping is nudged, gently or urgently, to come alive and take full occupancy of that space in our hearts. I just really like that.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Grasshopper Thoughts, Vol. V, August 2011

I haven't grasshoppered in a while.  I never know when the urge will hit me, and today was the day.  I find this exercise to be useful when my life, for that too jumbled up with stress to allow me to focus on one specific topic.  This allows me to skitter about, skim from one thought to the next and do some mental house cleaning.  So, here are the grasshopper thoughts that struck today.

When I breathe from my heart, it is never a mistake.

Sometimes the simple act of that breathing from the heart is the most challenging thing on earth to do.  I still do it.

Locking the car w/ the keys in the ignition and my purse and cell phone still inside the car is going to happen occasionally.  I look at it as a reminder to slow down.  Usually that happens after I throw a bit of a conniption.

I can love someone sincerely, but also not like who they are.  The two are not mutually exclusive and both teach me acceptance….of myself and that other person.

The art of kissing should never be underestimated; view it instead as profoundly valuable.  Seriously.

Banana flavored popsicles might be bad for you because of all the sugar, but they sure bring a smile.

When I was wee, my Grandpa assured me that fairies lived where wisteria bloomed.  To this day, I still believe, and I still glance about on occasion to search them out.

I have accepted that having a poor sense of direction doesn’t make the world stop turning.

Look me in the eyes when we’re together.  During conversation, during quiet moments, just a glance is sometimes enough, other times, a long and meaningful moment is profound….show me who you are in this way, and I will do the same.
Embracing manners will always matter to me.  Call it old fashioned, but I find it a beautiful expression of respect and, to me, it is worthy of continuing.    
I will never understand the concept of curling as a sport.  I get that it's a venerable sport, with rich history and culture behind it.  I'll even watch it during the Olympics (because I watch everything during the Olympics), but I remain mystified.
Sometimes blackberries make the world a better place.  It’s that simple.

Those are my grasshopper thoughts for the day.  There are more, of course.....always.  That's the nature of grasshopper thoughts.  They're always lurking and leaping about.  These are the ones I managed to corral and wrestle onto the screen.  

Friday, July 22, 2011

Clearing the road

Image courtesy of Bing images
I'm in one of those stages where life in general is on the verge of improving in myriad ways.  Personal life is good, new work and projects are in the pipeline, so I can't complain about the near future.  What I find interesting is that just prior to good things hitting many of our personal horizons, Life seems to throw some curve balls.  I'm experiencing this myself, and I find it a curious manifestation.  I don't know what the purpose is of hardships being visited just prior to prosperity manifesting, but it does seem to be a common experience.  I know it isn't unique to my life, as I've discussed this with friends many times over the years.

A good analogy would be that you're driving along a beautiful road, enjoying the journey, only to keep getting slowed down by small or large landslides.  You can see beyond the pile of debris to clear road, but you have to stop and clear the rubble away before driving on down the beautiful vista.

It could be argued that it's just Life...that it isn't necessarily a good or a bad thing, nor should it be looked at as any deep, dark cloud of Doom being visited upon us.  I don't dispute that thought - Life does hand us all manner of energies.  I've said time and time again that we define ourselves by how we choose to react to a given set of circumstances.

So, when you can see happy times within a fingertips' grasp, yet you find yourself also swimming against the proverbial current to get there, how do you deal with it?  I find myself focusing on my breathing.  When I feel conflicted, or scared that something insurmountable is approaching, I feel a sense of heaviness in my chest.  This reminds me to search for calm, to stop the vicious cycle of fear based thoughts, and immediately choose to switch the focus of my conscious thoughts to something of a lighter and happier emotion and vibration.  Does this work 100% of the time to ease that moment of stress?  A great majority of the time, it really does.

Yes, the issues of concern remain, even when I am changing my conscious set point and pattern of thoughts.  However, when I focus on happier thoughts, I'm better able to come back to that issue of concern with a more clear head.  Solutions are more easily accessed, if I just take time to breathe through the initial fears.  I admit that even knowing this fact to be true, I sometimes fall victim to those encroaching worries.  They build up in our mind's eye with ferocious and astonishing speed, don't they?!

What I'm focusing on today is that my near future has a lot of wonderful things that are on the verge of happening. These things are mere weeks away and will bring some much needed stability and security to my freelancing business.  On a personal level, my life is also changing and that energy is growing and improving, and is also mere weeks away from further clarity happening.  It is the here and now that is a bit challenging and worrisome.  I'm falling back on a lifetime of practicality to weather the temporary bumps in the road, and I'm very appreciative of having these coping skills.

Am I still harboring some fears, deep inside?  Yes, to a degree, because reality can be downright harsh at times.  To be fair, adopting a temporary hunkering down mode doesn't slow down or prevent all the good energy that is approaching; I remind myself of this fact quite often.  Perhaps the bumps in the road are Nature's way of clearing out a bunch of junky energy.  Sort of a way to clear the road by dramatic means....a catharsis.  If looked at in this manner, then the series of troublesome moments that hit prior to the good stuff occurring can be looked at as a blessing.  It is my habit to look for the positives in any situation, and these thoughts have been circling in my mind for the past several weeks.  I would much rather find a way to appreciate these annoying little tangles in my path than to lament and embrace them, building them into an even larger ball of worries.  I think we all know that focusing and pouring energy into a negative mindset just encourages more of that same energy to grow and manifest.

So, yes, Life sometimes throws us unexpected unpleasant moments right on the eve of wonderful things approaching.  Is this some sort of Divine test to see if we're strong enough to persevere, strong enough to hold our faith, strong enough to keep smiling?  It may be a modicum of all of those, and it may be none of them.  It all depends on our perspective and our conscious choices.  There's obvious merit in not giving in to despair.  No one wants to dwell in such a sad mental and emotional space.

I like the thought of clearing the road for better energies to manifest.  That empowers my Spirit, and lifts my heart, and it most certainly eases that heaviness of breath that was making itself felt.  Choosing to look at this situation as a positive, this clearing of the road for better things to come, allows me to feel a rush of anticipation.  A sense of sureness that yes, this is all part of the Greater Picture, the Greater Plan, and is a necessary piece of the process.  It is a strong truth that before order can be created, chaos usually is the precursor.  With that in mind, I am now better able to face these smaller bits of detritus littering my path, because I recognize that this is a clearing of discordant energies that no longer serve a positive purpose.  Logically, if I move through these smaller moments of  frustration and weather them with equanimity and a sense of Grace, they will clear away that much more quickly.  I just have to be willing to roll my sleeves up and be purposeful in how I choose to direct my energies to clear the debris littering my personal path.  It's the concept that is resonating the most strongly for me, so that is what I am choosing to embrace.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Silence is near

Leonardo da Vinci's
Head of a Woman
I don't know if every writer is also a poet, or if every poet is a writer.  I know that I consider myself to be both, as my Muse visits and sometimes decides to manifest in a manuscript, and sometimes the words come out in poetic format.

I rarely publish my poetry, as the majority of it is very personal.  A dear friend recently posted some of her own poetry on her blog after a long spell of being wordless.  Some of the comments that ensued about her poetry struck me as very profound, in that she mentioned poetry, for her, is usually grounded in difficult emotional moments.  In the last couple of months, I've shared some of my own poetry with a small number of writing friends which has resulted in every single one of them urging me to begin publishing my poetry here on Healing Morning.  I was hesitant, because as with Jane Prater Haislip whom I mentioned above, some of my poetry was written in very trying emotional moments.  My hesitance was that if I shared my poetry, people would automatically read some of the darker content and misinterpret where I am emotionally today.  Where I am today, by the way, is a very happy emotional place.  That being said, I've noticed repetition kicking in about poetry all around me.  When repetition strikes often about the same subject, that's a Divine nudge, in my opinion.  So, I have decided to take a leap of faith and share some of my poetry here.  

The poem below was written several years ago during one of the most painful emotional moments of my life.  I won't go into details; I will just say that this poem flowed from an inestimable place that at the time seemed to be an endless well of sadness and grief.  Because those emotions do seem to prompt the poetry Muse, I gave the emotions voice and identified the pain in the figure of Silence.  I've written in the past about grief, and I continue to find it a very important topic that is sometimes....often...swept under the proverbial rug. Grief in its raw form is primal, and that makes many uncomfortable.  I believe it is important and healthy to process these emotions.  In sharing this poem with friends recently, many said that they felt this one would be of help to others in their own grieving process.  This is why I chose it as my first poetry post.

Silence is near

I can hear the beating of my heart

the quiet closing in on me
pressing near with palpable force

Silence waits patiently

in the darkness, anticipating
my utter desolation

the incredible feeling of absence
it lingers with a bitter taste

jeering cruelly

ripping the breath from me
a heart punch

dancing gleefully in my agony
leaving me…


my mouth open in a soundless scream
stripped bare
robbed of who I am

stark in the violence of loss

Silence smugly waits

the empty shell of me

no comforting touch of strong arms

no earthy smell of skin
no taste on my tongue to soothe

depths of despair

scraping nerves already shredded and raw
digging without remorse

to reveal abandonment

Silence waits patiently
to enfold my shattered remains

wrapping me up

Turn your face away from the light

Dance with me here

I am so close to your love…am I not?
Mocking you with a shadow of sweetness

the shell of memories…a pitiful thing

the soft icy sound of her mad laughter echoes
in the chasm of my broken soul

the one sad note detected
is that of the two of us weeping

Silence waits patiently
hovering in the fractures of me

her touch a magnificent isolation

In your moment of blank emptiness

Only I remain to greet you
Despite the very sad tone of this poem, I feel it is one of the best pieces I have ever written. I remember writing it in one sitting, perhaps it took ten minutes, total, to write it. The sharp pain of grief poured out of my hands into the words, and I remember that for a short while, that night, I finally slept for the first time in days. It wasn't the beginning of healing, that moment, but it was a brief respite from the crushing pain I was experiencing. As I mentioned above, I am now recovered from that sad time in my past, and very happy. If, however, my writing in any form - be it blogging, poetry, a manuscript or a magazine article - can help someone who is in that first razor sharp stage of grief to feel not so alone, then it will be worth the uncertainty of baring my own grief to the eyes of the blogging world.

I am hopeful that people will read this and find something worthwhile to take from it. I believe that Silence has visited us all, numerous times, in her sad, slightly crazed form. Grief does throw us into a maelstrom of what I call "spiritual insanity" for a time. Eventually, that eases and we begin to heal. In my mind's eye, Silence absorbs those terrible emotions, the ones simply too horrific for us to bear, and she becomes our solace. In my own soft, sensitive heart, as fanciful as it may sound, I hope there is a place for her to turn to as well, after she absorbs those emotions.

Grief is necessary. We all know this. Without going through all the stages of grief, often multiple times, we cannot come back to a whole person, capable of moving forward. Silence was a part of my grieving and this poem was the result of her visit to me.