Learning to Fly

Live life to its fullest

Rumi poem May 28, 2009

Filed under: quote of the week — jennsheridan @ 7:00 pm
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There is a community of the spirit.
Join it, and feel the delight
of walking in the noisy street
and being the noise.

Drink all your passion,
and be a disgrace.

Close both eyes
to see with the other eye. . . .

Why do you stay in prison
when the door is so wide open?

Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking.
Live in silence.

Flow down and down in always
widening rings of being.

~ Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

 

Tools for the journey May 6, 2008

Nothing can stop the man with right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.
~Thomas Jefferson

I’ve been focusing these past few months on the internal tools we have at our disposal to connect to Source and our inner wisdom, enabling us to embrace the guidance that is always available to us as we go through our life journey. Meditation, following your intuition, using a mantra, forgiveness, staying present–these are all powerful tools to help us on our path. And while nothing can replace that internal work and desire, you definitely don’t have to go it alone. There’s a whole world of external resources that can be very useful in providing guidance and confirmation that what we’re receiving intuitively really is coming from our inner wisdom.

Community. Perhaps the most obvious, ubiquitous, and useful place to look is in other people. Whether it be an individual or a community, the people we encounter in our lives are gifts from the divine. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of supportive spiritual centers out there. My personal favorite is Sacred Center New York. August Gold is perhaps the most transformational teacher you will ever have the privilege to encounter, or at the very least, that I have discovered so far on my own journey. This Center has an energy that is lighting up the whole of New York City, expanding its reach further and further each year. Not close to New York? That’s okay, there are many spiritual communities available to you. Religious Science International, United Centers for Spiritual Living, Unity, and Unitarian Universalist have churches all over the country that might appeal to you. There are also many independent churches, Zen centers, study groups, book clubs, even groups and workshops meeting at metaphysical bookstores. I trust you won’t have to look very far before you find a spiritual group within your community that would welcome your participation and provide you with loving support for your journey.

Readers. I am relatively new to the concept of receiving a “reading.” I never used to take the concept very seriously, possibly because I felt you needed to do it all on your own and possibly because I discounted the quality of the information that could be gleaned through this process. About a year ago, however, my ideas on this subject shifted, about the time that my ideas on most subjects were shifting. I heard a description of the readings that Caroline Reynolds does, talking about how she uses reading your chakras to help give you clarity and point you in a direction that will ultimately bring you a sense of fulfillment, and knew this was something I needed to do. Working with Caroline has provided not only guidance, but a sense of progress as my life begins to blossom in new and unexpected ways. She helps me to see how things are interconnected and where my blocks are so I can better focus the work I’m doing where it will have the most effect. Others I have worked with less extensively are Genevieve Vulser, an angel mediator, hypnotherapist, Reiki master, and spiritual teacher, and Belle Star, whose aura photography and readings guide her life coach practice.

I recommend working with someone whose work you are familiar with or who has helped a friend you trust. If this isn’t an option, check your local metaphysical bookstore to see who they would recommend. Make sure that the type of reading they provide resonates with you, is in alignment with the kind of guidance you are looking for. The thing to keep in mind with any reader is that they can only speak to where you are today. Anyone who is claiming to be able to see the future is really picking up on where your energy is now and looking at the natural evolution of that energy if it were to continue unfolding exactly as it is today. However, the future is always malleable, we can always set new intentions and make new choices that alter the path we are on. The information they provide is just a tool to help you steer your journey in the direction you choose. Think of it as a compass, showing you where you are headed in relation to your true north, and use it accordingly.

Movement. Connecting to the life force energy through movement can be very powerful and rejuvenating. Yoga is a wonderful option, especially if you go with one of the more spirit-oriented schools of thought, as opposed to those who look at Yoga purely for its exercise benefits. I personally prefer Hatha Yoga, as it feels like a holistic approach to the mind-body connection. While I haven’t yet had the pleasure of taking a class from him, the description I’ve heard of Ned Grant’s classes is exactly the kind of yoga I would enjoy participating in. From his website: “Yoga can be considered to be a two-step process, in which the first step is the focus of the mind, and the second is the release of energy that emerges as a result of that focus. In Hatha Yoga, the focus begins with what we do with the breath and the body.” Until I find a yogi like that in my neighborhood, I’m diving into my new love, Qigong. I get so much energy from this practice that I barely notice it is also exercise. I feel revitalized within the first few minutes of getting my Qi moving and its effects last throughout the day. If you’re interested in an introduction to Qigong, I would recommend picking up one of Lee Holden‘s DVDs.

Cards. Cards are a great tool for receiving messages or gaining clarity on what is coming to you intuitively. I am loving my tarot cards these days and find this tool to be a great asset to my daily guidance. Once you learn to read tarot cards you can do readings for yourself or for others, or if you’d prefer you can find a reader to look at the cards for you. Also handy are message cards like angel cards or daily affirmation cards. Ask the universe for what you need to know today and allow your intuition to pick a card–the message you receive is usually a great reminder of where you need to place your attention today for best results.

Pendulums and Crystals. A recent (re)discovery for me is the power of stones and crystals. All products of the earth have energy, and many crystals amplify your own energy in different ways depending on the crystal. I’ve found a handful of different stones and crystals that I meditate with, each with their own energy. If I need a boost to my intuition, I use one, but if I’m looking to open my heart I use another. Crystals make great pendulums as well, which are excellent tools for refining intuitive messages. Start by asking your pendulum simple questions so you can begin to see how it responds with its yes, no, and maybe or don’t know responses. Once you begin to develop a relationship with it, you can ask it questions you need clarity on and see which way it swings. It can take time for your confidence in this tool to grow, but the more confident you are, the more you can rely on its answers.

Sound. Having just spent a few days exploring the Globe Sound Healing Conference, I am especially aware of the ability of sound to open you up to a deeper connection to Source and a greater connection with your own inner wisdom. I had the pleasure of experiencing an alignment by a “crystal alchemist” my first morning at the conference. If you’re ever in Mount Shasta, you will definitely want to look up Crystal Tones at Mount Shasta–their crystal bowls are amazing, producing vibration that sings to your soul. Another pleasure was exploring the “percussive sculpture” of Bruce Gray, whose drums and rattles feel like they are alive. These are true pieces of art as well as powerful ways to connect to that primeval rhythm within. Music of all shapes and sizes provides a way for me to experience the divine, regardless of how I’m feeling or where my thoughts are running. Experiment with different musical forms, both participating and listening, and see what works for you.

These are really just a handful of the tools that are available to you at any given time. The takeaway here for me is that the world has so much to offer you, so much support to give you, so many avenues for you to explore. Your job is not to walk down every path or try on every tool for size, but to explore enough so that you’ve found a few tools that work for you and be open to new tools as they show up for you. Whether its a new person coming into your life or guitar lessons or a beautiful deck of angel cards, these tools are here for our enrichment. They don’t replace the guidance we receive from within, but they enhance it, providing us with the support of the universe’s loving arms. Relax, surrender, and enjoy the ride. Namaste.

Photo: “Daimonji path,” originally uploaded by Chris Gladis

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Buoyancy March 13, 2008

Filed under: inspiration — jennsheridan @ 5:37 pm
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Love can make up for a great many things that are missing in your life. But, if you don’t have love, no matter what else you have, it is never enough.
~Ann Landers

I had a wonderful, heart-opening experience last night. A group of friends from my former spiritual community got together for dinner. I felt completely buoyant at the end, uplifted by the power of love in all of its forms. I love rekindling my sense of community, reconnecting with old friends who better understand this path that I am on. It feels better than good–it feels necessary.

Riding this wave of love, I pulled out my new book this morning: Ten Poems to Open Your Heart, by Roger Housden. Not only does he have unfaltering taste in poetry that moves and awakens you, his commentary is powerful and enlightening. I picked this up as part of my own heart opening process and loved rediscovering this gem of Rumi’s. Rumi writes some of the most beautiful love poetry in the world, perhaps because it is to that divinity within and around us. I will leave you to the simple power of his words. Namaste.

Buoyancy
by Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks)

Love has taken away my practices
And filled me with poetry.

I tried to keep quietly repeating,
No strength but yours,
But I couldn’t.

I had to clap and sing.
I used to be respectable and chaste and stable,
but who can stand in this strong wind
and remember those things?

A mountain keeps an echo deep inside itself.
That’s how I hold your voice.

I am scrap wood thrown in your fire,
and quickly reduced to smoke.

I saw you and became empty.
This emptiness, more beautiful than existence,
it obliterates existence, and yet when it comes,
existence thrives and creates more existence.

The sky is blue. The world is a blind man
squatting on the road.

But whoever sees your emptiness
sees beyond blue and beyond the blind man.

A great soul hides, like Mohammed, or Jesus,
moving through a crowd in a city
where no one knows him.

To praise is to praise
how one surrenders
to the emptiness.

To praise the sun is to praise your own eyes.
Praise, the ocean. What we say, a little ship.

So the sea-journey goes on, and who knows where!
Just to be held by the ocean is the best luck
we could have. It’s a total waking up!

Why should we grieve that we’ve been sleeping?
It doesn’t matter how long we’ve been unconscious.

We’re groggy, but let the guilt go.
Feel the motions of tenderness
around you, the buoyancy.

Photo: “you find love in the most unexpected places,” originally uploaded by Alex

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W.H. Murray Quote March 2, 2008

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Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness concerning all acts of initiative and creation. There is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans; that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen events, meetings and material assistance which no one could have dreamed would have come their way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now!”


~W.H. Murray

 

My vision February 21, 2008

Filed under: vision — jennsheridan @ 4:28 pm
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Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it.
~Tallulah Bankhead

I love synchronicity. I met a friend for lunch yesterday whom I haven’t seen in quite a while. At one point I felt compelled to share a vision I have. Before I’d finished, she started to laugh and shake her head. It turns out another friend of hers has a similar, overlapping vision. She’s down in Southern California right now, but she plans to move back to the Bay Area at some point during the next year to put her vision into action. My friend is going to introduce us to see if our ideas overlap enough that we could work together. How cool is that? The funny thing is I don’t talk about this idea very much these days. It’s been feeling too “future” for me to give much energy to, but this seemed like a wonderful reminder that the only place we live is in the present.

So I’ve known that I’m on a healer’s path for quite a while now. I’ve spent most of the past decade focusing on my Practitioner work in a Religious Science community, and I am in the process of evolving this work into more of a spiritual coach or mentor. Within the past couple of years I’ve had an idea for a Center develop as part of my larger vision, mostly coming up out of the desire to create the kind of community that I’ve wished already existed in my area. I want it to be a place that is there to assist people along their life’s journey, whether they would like to work with a coach, they are in need of acupuncture or massage, they are looking for inspiration and learning through books or seminars, they are looking for a psychic or energy reading, or they just need a safe haven where they can break bread with fellow travelers.

I envision a bookstore that isn’t just a bookstore, it provides an atmosphere of community. There are books on metaphysics, religion, spirituality, psychology, personal growth — great examples of fiction and non-fiction that open you up and stretch you and become good friends. There are candles and lamps and incense, cards that make you laugh and cry, jewelery and bath products, gifts to soothe the soul for yourself and your loved ones. It’s a simple store of wood and stone, with comfortable chairs scattered throughout so you can rest and soak up the good energy that gathers from the products and the patrons.

Upstairs or in the back, you might find a yoga class or a workshop or a poetry reading is being held that afternoon, or perhaps it’s a movie night where something like What the Bleep Do We Know!? or a Spiritual Cinema Circle selection is being shown, or maybe a 12-step meeting is happening, and various readers have openings in their schedules for you to meet with them. Whether you’re interested in energy work like Reiki, astrology or numerology, tarot or shamanism, or want to invest in some long-term coaching, there is someone associated with the Center for you to work with. There are offices in the building where various healing practitioners have full-time practices or you might find a table in the store where readings are held on a more impromptu basis. You might also find a writer or a musician or painter in one of the offices, lending their energy to the space and feeding the Center’s energy back into their work.

Attached to the store is a cafe where you can get a variety of juices and coffees and snacks from a counter, or you can be seated in the dining room for a healthy and delicious meal. Perhaps a jazz trio is playing in the corner, or a singer-songwriter is just getting started, or there is a beautiful, revitalizing CD being played through the speakers. The produce all comes from local farmers and is organic wherever possible. The drink list features sustainable wineries, breweries, and distilleries in addition to the juice and coffee drinks from the counter. While not exclusive, much of the menu is vegetarian, introducing you to foods you might not have had the opportunity to experience previously. Mostly it is a place to relax and connect, and there are several community tables in the restaurant if you are interested in meeting new people during your meal.

While much of these ideas flow from my imagination, I’ve been blessed to experience little pieces of this idea around the country. This Center has its roots in at least three concepts: Golden Braid Books and Oasis Cafe in Salt Lake City, Utah; The Grotto in San Francisco, California; and Sacred Center in New York City. They are all amazing examples of spirit in action, and I cannot wait until I, too, am a part of a similar creative expression.

 

Market day January 26, 2008

Filed under: notes — jennsheridan @ 11:30 pm
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The sun has been mostly out today and I’ve been so relieved. I know we can probably use all the rain we can get — even if it causes flooding — but when it’s been raining all week and the forecast has the rain continuing for at least another week, a break feels really good. And hey, on a somewhat related note, did you hear about the avalanche in Southern California? I just like to say that — there was an AVALANCHE in Southern California. It’s the kind of thing I associate with the Alps or the Himalayas, not the land of Baywatch and Hollywood. Totally trippy.

Anyhoo, the break in the rain meant that I got to visit my local farmer’s market. Actually, I’m lucky to have two year-round farmer’s markets within spitting distance of my house, but it’s the Saturday morning one in San Mateo that’s my favorite. Even in winter when there aren’t a lot of foods naturally in season, we can get tons of locally-grown fruits and vegetables. Today I kept it simple, picking up onions, garlic, broccoli and broccoli rabe (or rapini), mandarin oranges, sweet potatoes, and a lovely bunch of tulips. I still had salad greens, green onions, strawberries, and grapefruit leftover from going to the market last week. It’s a literal cornucopia.

Most people think that vegetarians eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, but that has not always been the case for me. I go through phases where I eat mostly grains and legumes or I’m heavy on the dairy, which never makes me feel good. So right now I’m placing a huge emphasis on fruits and vegetables — not only does it make my diet much more colorful, it’s much more flavorful as well. Almost every meal is a delicious treat — last night, Sean got stuck working late so I “whipped up” Savory Loaf (a grain side dish that is truly savory), a beautiful green salad with toasted pine nuts and gorgonzola cheese, and a baked sweet potato. It was incredibly simple, but simply delicious. This weekend’s highlights will include a veggie fried rice with toasted almonds and a red lentil soup. It makes my stomach rumble in anticipation just to think about it.

While the spectacular array of foods and flowers available is my primary reason for going to the farmer’s market, it also just makes me feel good to be there. There’s such a sense of community, reinforced by occasionally running into people I know. Lots of families and couples and friends and individuals walking around, interacting with the people selling their wares, mostly with smiles on their faces and a spring in their step. There’s also a sense of sustainability, as at least half of the attendees are carrying “permanent” grocery bags from Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s or baskets and bags purchased just for the market, and everything is coming from relatively local farms. And finally, there’s a bountiful sense of self-nurture, like I’m doing something that is good for me and just the act of doing it already makes my body feel better. Utilizing my purchases is almost like a bonus instead of being the purpose.

Apparently there are 90 farmer’s markets in the Bay Area — wild. I feel blessed to be in an area of such abundance. But farmer’s markets are cropping up all over the country, too. When I visited my family in Rome, Georgia last summer, my aunt and I went to an early morning farmer’s market at a local church. While it was mostly people with large gardens sharing their extras, it was still a testament to the power of community. I was happy to be able to support the locals in their endeavors, and kind of wished I had a fledgling farmer’s market that I could support at home too. But large or small, professional or amateur, I always look forward to market day, to the feelings it engenders and the spoils I get to take home with me. Namaste.