Learning to Fly

Live life to its fullest

Grounding ourselves March 6, 2009

Filed under: inspiration — jennsheridan @ 2:25 pm
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There is nothing quite like uprooting yourself to remind you of how important it is to be grounded. This week I’ve felt somewhat disjointed and out of focus. Normally that happens because I’ve allowed my morning practice to slip. However, if anything, I’ve intensified my morning practice this week as I recognized how necessary it was to my remaining centered through this transition. I thought maybe I had just overdone it over the weekend, and these were signs that my body still needed to catch up on its rest, but if that were the case I would have expected to see improvement from day to day this week. Yesterday as I was out taking a walk around my building, it finally dawned on me what’s been missing — my sense of being grounded. I’ve had this DailyOM article on reserve since last summer as a wonderful reminder of both the need to be grounded and how simple it can be to ground yourself in a breath, in a moment. Today I plan to follow its advice, as well as some of my own from last spring, and spend some time with my feet firmly planted on the earth, breathing in that grounding energy and restoring my sense of balance, of connection, of my roots. Namaste.

Being A Strong Container
Grounding Ourselves

We often hear people telling us to ground ourselves, but we may not be sure what that means and how we might do it. Grounding ourselves is a way of bringing ourselves literally back to earth. Some of us are more prone than others to essentially leaving our bodies and not being firmly rooted in our bodies. There’s nothing terribly wrong with this, but while we are living on the earth plane it is best to stay grounded in the body.

One of the easiest ways to ground ourselves is to bring our attention to our breath as it enters and leaves our bodies. After about 10 breaths, we will probably find that we feel much more connected to our physical selves. We might then bring our awareness to the sensations in our bodies, moving from our head down to our feet, exploring and inquiring. Just a few minutes of this can bring us home to bodies and to the earth, and this is what it means to ground ourselves.

We can go further by imagining that we have roots growing out of the bottoms of our feet, connecting us to the earth. The roots flow with us so we can we always move, but at the same time they keep us grounded. We receive powerful energy from the earth just as we do from the forms of energy we associate with the sky, and our body is a tool that brings these two energies together in a sacred union. When we are grounded, we essentially become a strong container in which our spirits can safely and productively dwell. This is why grounding ourselves every day, especially at the beginning of the day, is such a beneficial practice. Fortunately, it’s as simple as bringing our conscious awareness to our bodies and the earth on which we walk.

Photo: “Cross section of a tree’s roots,” originally uploaded by Aaron Escobar

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Writing on a blank slate February 20, 2009

Filed under: practice — jennsheridan @ 2:47 pm
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Try and be a sheet of paper with nothing on it. Be a spot of ground where nothing is growing, where something might be planted, a seed, possibly, from the Absolute.
~Rumi

New beginnings can be wonderful, feeling like a fresh start and a clean slate. If you’re anything like me, you like to play with the idea of reinventing yourself, of becoming that person you’ve always wanted to be. But it may seem like often you find yourself falling back into old patterns more quickly than you might have expected. It is challenging to be a truly blank slate. The past is essentially a habit, and it shows up in the way we think and talk and act. We may think that we need a change of place or people in order to achieve that state of newness, but wherever you go there you are. Unless the change begins within, it isn’t really change.

So it was with both nervousness and excitement that I started my new job in January. After a blissful 15 months without a “real job,” I was looking forward to getting back into regular interaction with people and putting some new skills into practice. The time off had given me a real perspective shift and an opportunity to make some real and lasting (I hoped) changes to the way I thought about work. I was a little nervous about the apparent loss of my freedom, but I was mostly nervous that I might fall back into the same negative patterns that had left me so miserable at my last full-time job.

I’ve been there for six very intense weeks now, and while you could argue that isn’t really long enough to know how things will play out long term, I have seen quite a bit of evidence that things really are different this time around. The time off to regroup and put some key concepts into practice outside of a full-time job enabled some new patterns to take root, and that investment seems to be paying off big time now that I am back in the workplace. And while I would not say that I have handled every situation that has come up perfectly, I’ve managed to stay calm and collected even when things have gotten pretty stressful, and on my best days, I feel like I’m demonstrating to my co-workers that balance can exist even within the midst of apparent chaos.

The best part about this experience is that it feels like I am creating it consciously. I had a choice about how I approached this from day one. I could either experience this job like many of my co-workers do, as a highly stressful and chaotic workplace that requires you to work around the clock. Or I could begin by knowing that a true work/life balance was possible for me here, and that it was an opportunity for me to show up not just as a good employee but as a spiritual individual, sowing seeds of peace. I look for, and find, the good in everyone I work with and in everything that I am doing, and I truly feel like while this might not be the Work I was born to do, it is definitely the work that I am meant to be doing at this moment in time.

I may not be a true blank slate, but I can take steps every day to overwrite past patterns with the new ways I choose to think and talk and act. What choices can you make today to begin to shift your perspective and enable change to begin to take place in your life? And are you noticing and appreciating even the smallest changes that are already showing up for you? This is my daily challenge to myself, to stay conscious and present enough to make a choice about how I respond to my work and who I show up as while I am at work, and then to appreciate the good that comes out of these choices, reinforcing the new patterns and allowing them to grow stronger. If you choose to take this challenge on for yourself, I would love to hear how it goes for you, and I wish you the best on your journey! Namaste.

Photo: “beginnings…,” originally uploaded by Sir Mervs

 

Returning to myself September 3, 2008

Filed under: practice — jennsheridan @ 10:10 pm
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The best things in life are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties in your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life’s plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

So I took my own advice from yesterday–not that I realized I was giving advice–and went for a walk at the beach today. “Happily I recover. . . . / Happily I go forth. . . . / With lovely feelings may I walk. / As it used to be long ago, may I walk.” I had woken up this morning feeling off my game. After a week of being a bit under the weather, I was finally feeling better . . . so my Intellect gifted me with a flurry of thoughts that supposedly needed urgent attention. I realized that this tension I’ve been feeling in my neck and shoulders is a direct result of stress, which always surprises me. A year ago, I was working a crazy schedule plus a hellish commute for a job that I hated. What do I have to be stressed out about now?, I ask myself.

But that’s not really how it works. Whatever is going on your life is always the largest thing you’ve ever had to deal with. Not true, I know, but especially as time passes and you adjust to life as it has become, the things that happened in the past lose their full color and whatever is up for you right now feels HUGE. You can hear about starving children and domestic violence and rights abuses and whatever else makes the news today and think, how do my worries compare to that? Well, they don’t. But not because your challenges are inherently less important–it’s really that life isn’t relative. Sure, you can always do more for those other folks you’re hearing about it, and they may or may not receive relief from it or appreciate it. But none of that will make what’s going on for you go away. You are living your life in this moment, the present moment, the only moment there is, and therefore this moment is the most important moment in your life, in your world.

Which is how I came to be at the beach today. I realized that I’d allowed all the relativity, the shoulds, the external stresses to become more important that this moment. None of it really matters. Sure, I could use a larger income. Sure, very little would make me happier right now than being able to move. Sure, I have work to do around my house, for my clients, for myself. But when I stop experiencing the present moment, stop recognizing its importance, stop taking care of myself in this moment, then I have completely missed the point of living.

Now that I am back home again, those issues that felt oh-so-important this morning are still there, lingering in the back of my mind, but they no longer feel urgent, no longer feel larger than life. Because now I remember the smell of the ocean, the majesty of the seagulls and the pelicans, the feel of cypress bark on my skin. The work flows easily now, the stresses roll off me like water, and I am grounded, present, centered, and truly alive. Order has been restored to my small corner of the Universe, and all is well again. Life truly is good. Namaste.

Photo: “Old tree branch on a sandy beach, ” originally uploaded by René Ehrhardt

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Happily may I walk September 2, 2008

Filed under: inspiration — jennsheridan @ 4:40 pm
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I’ve been a bit under the weather this past week. One part lots of pollen in the air, one part working more than usual, one part socializing during the time that I’m accustomed to taking for myself, and it adds up to exhaustion. Unfortunately, my body is still operating on old patterns–assuming I won’t take care of things myself, it stirs things up with the occasional illness to force me to take it easy for a time. I’ve been trying to convince it that times have changed, dialing things way back this weekend and even canceling my Saturday plans to ensure I had plenty of time to recoup. But no luck–the run-down, allergetic feeling I’ve been struggling with all week has finally turned into a full-blown cold.

So this week my plan is to return to the basics, focus on taking care of myself, staying present with what’s going on with me, and just take things one at a time. I pulled out my old standby (best friend, really) Earth Prayers this morning and was struck by this Navajo chant. I loved the sense of balance, of bringing things back into alignment, that it conveyed. Hope it appeals to you as much as it is appealing to me today. Namaste.

House made of dawn.
House made of evening light.
House made of the dark cloud.
House made of male rain.
House made of female rain.
House made of pollen.
House made of grasshoppers.

Dark cloud is at the door.
The trail out of it is dark cloud.
The zigzag lightning stands high upon it.
An offering I make.
Restore my feet for me.
Restore my legs for me.
Restore my body for me.
Restore my mind for me.
Restore my voice for me.
This very day take out your spell for me.

Happily I recover.
Happily my interior becomes cool.
Happily I go forth.
My interior feeling cool, may I walk.
No longer sore, may I walk.
Impervious to pain, may I walk.
With lovely feelings may I walk.
As it used to be long ago, may I walk.

Happily may I walk.
Happily, with abundant dark clouds, may I walk.
Happily, with abundant showers, may I walk.
Happily, with abundant plants, may I walk.
Happily, on a trail of pollen, may I walk.
Happily may I walk.
Being as it used to be long ago, may I walk.

May it be beautiful before me.
May it be beautiful behind me.
May it be beautiful below me.
May it be beautiful above me.
May it be beautiful all around me.
In beauty it is finished.
In beauty it is finished.

Photo: “after the storm,” originally uploaded by alex de carvalho

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Einsten quote August 26, 2008

Filed under: quote of the week — jennsheridan @ 7:00 pm
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Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.

~Albert Einstein

 

On Being Happy August 19, 2008

Filed under: inspiration — jennsheridan @ 6:11 pm
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Do you remember how much fun it was to play as a kid? Just throw yourself whole hog into an activity, just about any activity, and see where it takes you. When I look back, I have to laugh at how many of my games were based somehow in tasks I would consider work today, like playing school, making mud pies, heck, I even ran my own imaginary hotel. I loved this page out of Chellie Campbell‘s The Wealthy Spirit reminding me of the simple fun of playing in the ooze. Reaching the goal was never half as fun as the creation process, yet as grownups the end is just about the only thing we focus our energy on. Just think about how much fun we’re missing out on!

On Being Happy
Day 95 of The Wealthy Spirit by Chellie Campbell

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
~Marcus Aurelius

As human beings are creatures of endless desire and hunger for betterment, it is our nature to always want to improve ourselves and our circumstances. This can be a positive force, motivating us onward to greater glorious goods for ourselves and for others. However, one can become lost in the constant search and craving for the next best thing, so trapped in future imaginings that we discount and ignore the accomplishments of the past evidenced in our present.

The art of happiness is an act of balance. We need to appreciate the process while we work within its creative ooze, the end results as yet unformed, like elements banging against each other in search of becoming sentient. As children playing with mud pies, the fun is in the making: baking in the golden sun, fingers sticky with mud-paint, grass-stained knees, brow wrinkled with concentration, searching for the perfect fine-grained dark earth to fashion into visionary pie. Day’s end will come soon enough, no need to hurry to completion, for then the fun is over. Rejoice in the dreaming, glory in the doing, and let the dirt clods fall where they may.

Now, today, with your own mud-luscious imagined inventions, play with the ooze and be happy.

Today’s Affirmation: “I am a rich child playing happily in Life’s rich playground.”

Photo: “A Boy’s Work is Never Done,” originally uploaded by KellyB.

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Living with uncertainty May 20, 2008

This past week has been such a good reminder for me that life is what happens when you’re making other plans. My overdeveloped intellectual, masculine, left-brain side of me has been absolutely writhing with impatience as I’ve essentially accomplished nothing that I set out to accomplish. I had all these plans for how I was going to get back on track, or even better, how I wasn’t going to get thrown off track in the first place by my trip to Georgia. My intellect was already expressing disappointment with me that I hadn’t been blogging regularly and so I downloaded the 10th A New Earth webinar to watch on the plane with the intention that I would even post my comments from Georgia without missing a beat. The universe must have been laughing at me, for when I turned on my laptop at 30,000 feet the file was gone. All attempts to watch the webinar since I’ve been home have been derailed by everything from computer failure to 100 degree heat.

I’ve had similar experiences with most of the rest of my too long to-do list to the point where I just have to relax, laugh, and say, Okay, what do you want from me? When I sit still and listen, I receive a gentle response that comes from the spiritual, feminine, right-brain side of me reminding me just to be, to let go, to take care of myself, to be myself, and all the rest of it will fall into place. I’m reminded that now is the time for me to relax into the mystery of life, to learn to live with uncertainty, to focus on BEING instead of doing. This is my gift both to myself and to the world, because through being I can become what I came here to be, which really is just simply ME.

My life has always been fairly well planned. I didn’t have a sense of what I’d be doing 5 or 10 or 30 years from now, but I had a feel for the rhythm of it, for the texture of it. My ambitions would take me far in my work and I would be very successful. I believed in the common wisdom of climbing the corporate ladder, using my current job to get a better job, working hard so that I would be well rewarded. This was my DOINGness, my masculine energy, my left-brain intellect at play. But I was never happy in my work, never happy with the rewards, never happy with the success. It all felt empty and without purpose. I knew there was more to life than what I came to think of as “making other people rich.” I knew that my true purpose lay in a different direction, but this energy was so strong in me that I couldn’t escape it.

I left that world a little over 7 months ago, and it feels like I’ve been in a retraining mode all these months. It’s almost like I’ve been in physical therapy, strengthening my right-brain so that it can at least find a balance with my left-brain. In some ways, I’ve had to swing the pendulum pretty far in the opposite direction to get the energy shaken up enough that a balance can occur, and I may need to live from a place of BEING for a while yet before a balance is possible. I’m learning how to live my life without a plan. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a vision–in fact if anything my vision is much clearer, much stronger than it ever was before. But I’m not caught up in “how” I’m going to get there. My focus is on allowing a little bit more of the mystery to unfold each day, enjoying the ride, having fun with the process, finding peace in the present moment.

Are you at peace with the mystery? Can you find peace in the uncertainty? No matter how much we plan, how little uncertainty we think there is in our lives, life really is what happens when we are making other plans. Just like the present moment is the only one that is, life is nothing but uncertainty. We do not know what the next minute or hour or day or month will bring. When we learn to be at peace with this truth, we can truly appreciate where we are in this moment, and we can make room for BEING in our lives and begin to pave the way for what is truly important in our lives, begin to live our lives as fully and richly as possible, begin to be Who We Really Are. Namaste.

Photo: “What does this picture mean to you?,” originally uploaded by chema.foces

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