Learning to Fly

Live life to its fullest

Rumi quote April 3, 2009

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Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

~ Rumi


Rilke quote February 27, 2009

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I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for

may for once spring clear
without my contriving.

If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.
May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.

Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing you as no one ever has,

streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.

~Rainer Maria Rilke


T.S. Eliot quote July 18, 2008

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You are the music while the music lasts.

~T.S. Eliot


When I am an old woman I shall wear purple May 22, 2008

Filed under: inspiration — jennsheridan @ 3:41 pm
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I was reminded of this wonderful poem this morning, one I had the pleasure of being introduced to as a teenager and, when I’ve remembered, one I’ve taken to heart.

by Jenny Joseph

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Photo: “embrace the purple,” originally uploaded by Claudia A. De La Garza


I am Life’s Anchor May 16, 2008

Filed under: practice — jennsheridan @ 6:52 pm
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“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.”
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We are powerful beyond measure, and as Marianne Williamson says, it is our greatest fear. There is safety and comfort in conformity, in staying small, however there is no truth, no passion, no divinity. To find these things we must expand into Who We Really Are, stand up and be seen for the unique, individualized expressions of Life that each of us is at the core of our being.

This morning I was told of an exercise that August Gold has been using lately in her classes at Sacred Center New York. I’ve been playing with it today and I love how powerful it is and yet how playful it is. The truth I’ve recently come to know about myself is that I am Peaceful, Powerful, and Playful, so it isn’t surprising that this exercise speaks to me. I find that it connects me with that larger truth of my being that I am only just beginning to let myself see, let alone the rest of the world. There is no place to hide within this exercise, but because it is fun, I am able to get out of my own way and let it flow. Here’s how it works:

You take the alphabet and create an affirmation around each of the 26 letters. Begin each affirmation with “I am Life’s . . .” and then insert a word the begins with that letter of the alphabet. You can use any word that feels good in place of Life–Source, God, the Universe, Divine Intelligence, etc. If something unusual comes up that doesn’t instantly make sense, play with it for a bit and see where it leads you. For example, “I am Life’s Dandelion,” might not be immediately clear, but if you let it unfold you might get, “I am Life’s Dandelion, spreading the seeds of truth wherever I go.”

You might be surprised at what comes up for you, which concepts make you uncomfortable and which ones resonate immediately. But remember, the truth of Who You Are is powerful beyond measure. Let go, have a little fun with it, and see where it leads you. Namaste.

My first set:

I am Life’s Anchor, connecting the divine to the earth.
I am Life’s Basin, collecting all wisdom that flows my way.
I am Life’s Caterpillar, about to become a beautiful butterfly.
I am Life’s Dancing Queen.
I am Life’s Expanding consciousness.
I am Life’s Friend, opening my heart to all who cross my path.
I am Life’s Guide, sharing what I’ve learned through my life’s exploration.
I am Life’s Hymn, expressing my joy through song.
I am Life’s Imagination.
I am Life’s Jenny Boo Boo, bringing joy and playfulness wherever I go.
I am Life’s Kick-ass Slickrock Woman, capable of doing anything or going anywhere I so choose.
I am Life’s Looking glass, reflecting Love and Light back into the world.
I am Life’s Magic carpet ride, transporting myself and others into the magic of the world around us.
I am Life’s Nowhere (now here).
I am Life’s Open book, showing up as 100% myself with nothing to hide.
I am Life’s Piecrust, ready to be filled with all the yummy goodness life has to offer.
I am Life’s Qi, allowing the energy of the universe to flow through me.
I am Life’s Revealer, healing through revealing the truth of the divinity within.
I am Life’s Superball, always bouncing back.
I am Life’s Tulip, blossoming beautifully.
I am Life’s Umbrella, finding joy even in the hardest rain.
I am Life’s Vibrant vitality.
I am Life’s Well-being.
I am Life’s X ray, seeing through the appearances to find the gift in every situation.
I am Life’s Yin and yang, balancing my masculine and feminine energies.
I am Life’s Zigzag–my path may not always be straight, but I know that life’s a journey not a destination.

Photo: “joy,” originally uploaded by Martin Talbot

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Paulo Coehlo Quote January 29, 2008

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But she would have paid a still higher price if she had repressed her true exuberant self. She would have been bitter and frustrated, always concerned about “what other people might think,” always saying “I’ll just sort these things out, then I’ll devote myself to my dream,” always complaining that “the conditions are never quite right.”

~Paulo Coehlo, The Witch of Portobello


The Witch of Portobello

I finished reading the latest book by Paulo Coelho this morning — The Witch of Portobello. His world-famous The Alchemist is one of my favorite books, holding up to countless readings. Only time will tell if I will feel the same way about The Witch of Portobello in, say, 10 years, but I’ll tell you that today it feels like there’s a pretty good chance.

To say that I read this book is misleading. It might be more accurate to say that this book moved through me, perhaps even read me instead. I was expecting something different — when my friend Don recommended it he said he couldn’t put it down, and my mother said she’d never read anything like it — but for me what was different was how it made me feel, how it called to my soul. I’ve felt discomfited for days, uncomfortable, antsy. It reminded me quite a bit of reading a spiritual version of Daniel Quinn, especially The Story of B (which, by the way, I have something like four extra copies of if you’re ever interested in reading it). I never could just read one of Daniel Quinn’s books, I always had to combine them with action. In the case of The Witch of Portobello, I’ve been compelled to perform personal actions. While I do feel compelled to teach, I also feel compelled to dance, to sing, to paint on large canvasses. Meditation serves an important purpose for me, a connection, but I need to do something akin to its opposite, something big and passionate and powerful. I need to unfurl, to express, to UNLEASH whatever is pent up inside of me.

After my mediation this morning, I put on a CD and closed my eyes and just moved to the music. I don’t typically think of myself as graceful — in fact, just the opposite — but I felt grace moving through me, lifting my arms and pointing my toes and twirling me around and around. I felt the rhythm of the earth come up through my feet and into my body. I felt totally vibrant, totally alive, and connected in an incredibly deep way. Sure, I’ve danced around my living room before, but I’ve never experienced anything like this. I felt my first natural high while dancing, something like 10 years ago. I always thought that I would need the crowds and music of a dance festival to engender that kind of high on a repeat basis, but now I know how simple it can be, and how necessary it feels.

Next up, a drumming circle. I’ve been hearing this message grow louder and louder in my head over this past year. The drums are calling me, and I know there’s an opening up waiting inside me when I answer. What is calling you? And what is keeping you from answering that call? Whatever it is, listen only to the call. Follow where it leads and you will find what your soul seeks. Namaste.