Thursday, November 26, 2009

Silently soaring

hawkIt was a gorgeous clear day as I was out for my morning walk last week. Blue skies, warm weather, soft ocean breeze. I was in a great mood, happy to be out and enjoying the day. Everything seemed to be sparkling and vibrating with a positive energy.

As I was nearing the end of my route, I saw a hawk soaring in the sky, a few blocks away and to the right of me. I slowed down my pace to watch it in the distance … wings extended w-i-d-e … utterly effortless … soaring on the air currents.

Dipping one wing ever so slightly, the hawk made slow, lazy circles against the blue sky. One circle, two circles … no flapping of wings, just circling with absolutely no effort of any kind. Is anything in life as utterly effortless as that hawk soaring up there? I thought. Straightening out, the hawk lifted a little higher in the sky and began riding the air currents in my direction.

I was captivated by the peace and grandeur of this majestic bird. As I watched, I imagined what it would be like to be that hawk. Simply opening my arms/wings wide – opening up my heart and spirit - and soaring … soaring … completely unfettered, utterly free … no anchor binding me to earth, trusting that the air currents would support my journey … not making the slightest effort, no flap of wings, no sense of urgency. Nothing to do, nothing to undo. Just be. How peaceful it would be to soar like that, up in the silent sky above.

In an interview recently, the interviewer asked me what I’ve been doing since I was laid off in March. I gave an answer, but later I thought about it more. What have I been doing?

I’ve experienced the peace and beauty of a hawk soaring in the heavens.

I’ve laughed at the squirrels scampering along the lawn or at an industrious one hurrying up a tree with a peanut safely in its mouth.

I’ve made friends along my walking route: Jan and her Corgi, Penny Lane; John and his grandson; Geri who had shoulder surgery; the young couple who rescue and foster big dogs; the older couple who foster Great Pyrenees.

070509 patio sheersI’ve sat outside in the summer, enjoying my garden and the golden sunshine.

When a friend was in the hospital for lung surgery I went to visit her.

When my granddaughters had dentist appointments, I took them.

On Veterans Day, I went to Pier Plaza for a very moving ceremony.

When my old high school friend, June, came out to California to visit, we spent an afternoon at the beach catching up and laughing and crying as we shared our life experiences.

062109 Xcaret subterranean riverI took my family for a wonderful vacation in Mexico on the Mayan Riviera. And there were no worries about all the work I’d have to come back to.

I’ve fostered a wonderful, perfect dog named Snowbell that I fell in love with.

I’ve tackled long-delayed chores, giving the garden a thorough clean-up, painting the bathroom, painting and re-organizing my office (still in progress).

I’ve walked every day in the sunshine, firming up my legs and hips, strengthening my back, my skin brown from the sun, losing 15lbs. so far.

And this last week, I spent time with my son-in-law in the hospital, giving him massages to help with the nausea, spending time with him as his doctors found the cause of his illness and helped him to regain his health.

What have I been doing since I’ve been laid off? I’ve been grateful for the many wonderful and beautiful opportunities I’ve been given, so many things I wouldn’t have been able to do while working. I’ve slowed down, smelled the roses, walked in the sunshine.

I’ve opened my arms wide and I’ve soared.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

dancing in the mirror …

101709 Mom and IThis morning as I laid in bed, still in that beautiful, open, in-between space between sleep and wakefulness, my mom was suddenly and surprisingly on my mind. I instinctively started saying over and over "I love you. I love you. I love you." As love filled that golden space between, I sensed her as a young woman – so pretty! - dancing in front of a mirror. The image was so clear: She wore a long, creamy movie-star-style dressing gown, swaying prettily in front of a full-length mirror, a glimpse of leg peeking out from the dressing gown as she moved and danced. The energy of it was just so beautiful and I felt so filled with love between us.

I get these mind/heart images or thoughts or energies about her from time to time, and they’re usually from before I knew her, not as I knew her after I was born. It’s as if she's telling me more of her story, the parts that I wasn’t here for yet, as if she wants me to know who she was here outside of her narrow definition to me as “Mom.”

You should know that Mom was a champion swing dancer, winning many contests with one of her brothers as her partner. Oh, she loved to dance! Seeing her moving in front of that mirror as a young woman this morning seemed so natural, exactly as I would imagine her doing at that age.

Mom working at dry cleaners

As I said, these sensations occur from time to time, and usually not in that in-between time in the morning. I’ve had sensations when I’m doing something completely random - maybe cooking, or shopping, or seeing something interesting on a walk or while driving – and there’ll she’ll be in my heart/mind, her energy of love so instantly recognizable. I’ll feel a sense of how she experienced something very similar to what I’m doing in that moment, how she experienced life when she was pre-wife and pre-mom; I’ll get a sense of her wonder or her delight or her surprise at these things.

Crazy? Odd? Maybe. I don’t sit around and mope about her being gone; I know and trust that she is in a place of utter love and beauty and is purely, abundantly happy. So, I don’t think I’m manufacturing these sensations from a sense of loss. I don’t know. The energy seems to come to me unbidden, in the most random of circumstances.

It’s interesting to me that she chooses to show me her story. They’re not messages of guidance to help me on my own journey or warnings of some future event. They’re more like a sense of knowingness in my heart/mind, very sweet, very comfortable, very wonderful. I smile when they happen and say to myself “Oh! I see! Thank you” and I feel that I know more of her story through her own energy.

I think it’s wonderful that she’s done this for me from time to time. We’re here so briefly; in a couple of generations, the small details of our stories – favorite flavor of ice cream, our first kiss, our delight at a specific smell – will be lost. There will be no one left to tell our stories. And I’m fine with that. This is not our eternal life here; it’s just a pit stop where we do some work, live, laugh, love. But maybe after we’re gone, we’ll do like Mom and share those stories with our loved ones energetically (if that’s what’s happening; I’m still not ruling out “crazy” as a possibility, or, as my dad says, maybe I’m just “getting swimmy in the head”).

Do you ever have a sensation of a loved one who’s crossed over? How does it feel to you?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Where am I?

102009 ocean from pier

"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished" ~ Lao Tzu

“The thing that's totally different between children and adults, Rose, is that children have the ability to spontaneously use their imagination to forget what's bothering them and be inspired by every pony, feather, or bug that crosses their path.” ~ The Universe

I think that nearly anyone reading this knows about - and maybe practices - being in the present moment. Lately, I’ve been considering this in relation to children, animals and nature. I’m learning so much by just watching how they remain fully present – and do it absolutely naturally, just like breathing.

Little babies are about as present as a person can get. No thoughts tumbling toward the future: there is no concept of time to a baby, there is only Now. (I don’t really buy into the concept of measuring time; a topic for a future post.) No worries about the past; the baby’s too young to even have much of a past. There is only Now.

Watch little babies and see how present they are. They respond to what happens with pure honesty. There is no editing, or remembering their manners. They get hungry, they cry. They get tickled, they laugh. They feel like burping, they burp. [smile] They forget the everyday bad things quickly. One minute they want this toy, the next minute they’re distracted by something else. Always Now, always present.

Animals are very much the same. No past or future worries. Only Now. They run around the yard just to run. Or dig in the garden because it’s a doggy thing to do. They don’t stop and consider their actions against what they’ve done in the past or what they might plan to do in the future. Their pleasure is in the present, exactly where they are right now.

And how about ocean waves, gently crashing to shore and then sighing back out? Over and over, without ever ceasing. When my then-husband first left our daughter and me, I spent a lot of time sitting on the beach, watching the waves move back and forth, reassuring me that the world continues on, that in the constancy, the Now of the ocean, there is only the present moment. Here is Now … and here is Now … and there really only is Now. That is the only place that we ever truly are. Here. Right now.

peaceful warrior “Where am I?”

“I am here.”

“What time is it?”


There is a wonderful, transformative movie called “Peaceful Warrior” that I highly recommend. I use the above quote from the movie a LOT in my life, when my mind is rushing and playing pinball around a hundred things at once. When I sense my thoughts getting all jumbled up and chaotic, I stop and ask myself “Where am I?” I answer “here.” My pinballing thoughts stop and I shift into Now. I see where I am (yoga, on a walk, at my desk, driving), and I focus on being present to this moment, maybe feeling the strength of a trikonosana or really seeing (and smiling at) the people in the cars around me. (And, sometimes seeing that I should probably slow down a little.)

Babies, animals, nature – by observing them, I learn more about releasing past and future and being fully present to Now.

Edited 11/07/09: I was just reading today's practice on The Oneness Experiment and found a very similar theme on The Rhythm of Oneness:

"Children allow themselves to move at their natural rhythm and pace. They accept what arrives from moment to moment and then allow it to spontaneously flow into something else."

I always say kids can teach us and help us to remember because they're still so fresh from God.