Learning to Fly

Live life to its fullest

Einstein quote March 19, 2009

Filed under: quote of the week — jennsheridan @ 7:00 pm
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A human being is a part of a whole, called by us “universe”, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest…a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our talk must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

~ Albert Einstein

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Rilke quote February 27, 2009

Filed under: quote of the week — jennsheridan @ 8:00 pm
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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

 

Susan Griffin quote December 8, 2008

Filed under: quote of the week — jennsheridan @ 8:00 pm
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We know ourselves to be made from this earth. We know this earth is made from our bodies. For we see ourselves. And we are nature. We are nature seeing nature. We are nature with a concept of nature. Nature weeping. Nature speaking of nature to nature.

The red-winged blackbird flies in us, in our inner sight. We see the arc of her flight. We measure the ellipse. We predict its climax. We are amazed. We are moved. We fly. We watch her wings negotiate the wind, the substance of the air, its elements and the elements of those elements, and count those elements found in other beings, the sea urchin’s sting, ink, this paper, our bones, the flesh of our tongues with which we make the sound “blackbird,” the ear with which we hear, the eye which travels the arc of her flight. And yet the blackbird does not fly in us but somewhere else free of our minds, and now even free of our sight, flying in the path of her own will.

~Susan Griffin

 

Seeking the Source November 24, 2008

Filed under: inspiration — jennsheridan @ 5:04 pm
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It’s been an upside-down and inside-out kind of month. With Thanksgiving approaching, I’m choosing to follow the wisdom of Rumi and seek my Source, relaxing back into Who I Am and what is truly important to me. It’s a time for reflection and for connection. Enjoy the process. Namaste.

Seeking the Source
by Jelaluddin Rumi

a voice out of this world
calls on our souls
not to wait any more
get ready to move
to the original home

your real home
your real birth place
is up here with the heavens
let your soul take a flight
like a happy phoenix

you’ve been tied up
your feet in the mud
your body roped to a log
break loose your ties
get ready for the final flight

make your last journey
from this strange world
soar for the heights
where there is no more
separation of you and your home

God has created
your wings not to be dormant
as long as you are alive
you must try more and more
to use your wings to show you’re alive

these wings of yours
are filled with quests and hopes
if they are not used
they will wither away
they will soon decay

you may not like
what i’m going to tell you
you are stuck
now you must seek
nothing but the source

Photo: “Let go,” originally uploaded by Nataly

 

The freedom of forgiveness August 11, 2008

Filed under: practice — jennsheridan @ 9:50 pm
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I had such a thought-provoking comment on my Forgiveness post from last week that I felt drawn to write a follow-up post on the subject. I’m re-posting the comment here as this blog lives in two places so not everyone would have had a chance to view the original. James said:

Forgiveness is an interesting concept. Such an easy word, but so difficult to master. I have recently turned to Taoism to find my way. In my readings, I have found that sometimes forgiveness is a selfish act. I had a friend do something very low down to me. I forgave him. We aren’t friends, we won’t hang out anytime soon, but the forgiveness was a selfish act, it was to make me feel better. It was to let the bad energy leave me. But recently, my wife and I have come under a lot of stress, which has turned into arguments. It is tough to forgive, because that kind of forgiveness can’t be selfish, it has to be giving. I have a hard time with that…hence the Taoist way. Hopefully I will be enlightened and learn.

James raises such a good point, that we can think of forgiveness as selfish because it makes us feel better. But forgiveness does far more than make you feel better–it creates healing (or at least an opening for healing) for both parties concerned. Forgiveness really isn’t about the other person–it is your reaction to what occurred that created you being upset in the first place, and so really it is all about you clearing up your own energy around the situation and/or the person and releasing any negative buildup. However, that doesn’t mean that the other person isn’t affected by it. As Catherine Ponder says, “When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.” That link is a two-way street, usually with negative energy circulating between the two people involved even if they aren’t interacting with each other. The more we hold on to our negative thoughts about what happened, the more negativity flows back and forth along that link. Once it has been dissolved, however, no matter who does the dissolving, both parties will reap the benefits of the forgiveness by no longer being caught in an endless loop of anger.

Now, sometimes it is easier to forgive when you think of it as being selfish. The other person hurt you and while you know you need to let the anger go so that you are no longer continuing to hurt yourself after the fact, you don’t necessarily want to help the other person either. I think this might be a good time to point out that no matter what happens between two people, there are always two sides, two ways of perceiving what took place. Usually, our feelings of hurt don’t come from the facts of the situation themselves, they come from the way we choose to interpret the facts. In the heat of strong emotion it may be difficult to recognize you have a choice about the interpretation, but the recognition of that choice is perhaps the most freeing realization you can ever have.

But no matter how you think about it, forgiveness is both selfish and giving. Whether you choose to forgive for your own energetic benefit or because your relationship with another requires you to be as loving and as giving as you can be, the best thing you can do for everyone involved is to forgive. Forgive yourself, forgive the other person, forgive the situation, forgive the person, just keep on forgiving until you genuinely feel like all of the roots of the anger have dissipated. Forgiveness is the quickest road to freedom there is. Namaste.

Photo: “A Brand New Day,” originally uploaded by Hendra Saputra

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The agony and the ecstasy August 4, 2008

Filed under: practice — jennsheridan @ 1:30 am
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You have been thinking about your future long enough. You may be sick and tired of going around on the same mental loops as you attempt to create something different from the life you currently have. Instead of fighting against the resistance you feel, try letting go of the attachment that you have to any long-term goals. You may be pleasantly surprised at what happens when your mind is freed from previous expectations.
~Rick Levine, Scorpio horoscope for August 3, 2008

This past week I had a glimpse into the life of a manic depressive, with amazing highs followed closely by horrifying lows. It was a 7-day roller coaster ride, and while the highs were magnificent and I definitely would have rather not had the lows, I can see how both ends of the spectrum are part of the fabric of living life fully.

Our summer adventure was an absolute blast. We had a wonderful road trip up and back, listening to recordings of Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman and Paulo Coelho’s wonderful journey The Alchemist. Crater Lake was breathtakingly beautiful, even for a second visit. We had a lovely “it’s a small world” experience by running into a former co-worker of mine shortly after our arrival at the rim. Our campsite was somewhat exposed, but we ended up not having many neighbors so it felt very private. We were captivated by the geology of the mountain and even ended up going to my first ever campfire circle to learn as much as we could about how the lake was formed. We absolutely fell in love with Ashland and can’t wait to go back when we have plenty of time to dawdle. Our B&B, Morical House Garden Inn, was gorgeous and comfortable with a wonderfully welcoming innkeeper and yummy-smelling breakfast included. We didn’t end up tasting said breakfast as we opted to revisit a wonderful little restaurant we discovered driving home from our honeymoon two years ago, Morning Glory. In addition to having some of the best food I’ve ever eaten in my life, it’s a cozy, comfortable, homey spot that just makes you feel good from the inside out. All in all, a fabulous vacation.

The trouble began when we arrived back home. Normally I’m thrilled to be home, and I was looking forward to an evening with just my cats as my husband had plans to go out that night. But I was antsy, feeling like I’d rather still be on vacation. I fell into some old patterns, which I later recognized was me looking for a way to make myself feel better that felt familiar instead of doing something centering and grounding. The next couple of days were a downward spiral of a pretty severe funk, aggravated by discovering a cockroach in one of our kitchen cabinets and having the hot water heater go kaput. Every time I’d start to think I was pulling out of the funk, something else would happen to send me back down again.

What I recognize now is that my sense of where I was (too small, now dirty-feeling apartment, not enough money coming in, not getting paid to do the work I was born to do, not liking my body or my wardrobe, etc.) compared to my sense of where I want to be (work that enables me to share my gifts with the world, spacious and comfortable home with plenty of room to grow into, large income that supports all of our needs and desires with plenty to share with others, active lifestyle that keeps me lean and full of energy, etc.) was extremely out of alignment. My energy was all stuck in judgment and resistance, the result of which was several days of misery.

Thankfully, today was the day when I got to turn it all around. I’d just had the opportunity to tell a coaching client last weekend that the great thing about a spiritual practice is that you’re building a foundation for your life. While the analogy of building muscles can be useful, the good news here is that unlike your muscles, stopping the spiritual workout does not mean you have to start over from scratch–the muscles don’t deteriorate in your absence. It doesn’t take much–a five minute meditation, a repetition of your mantra, singing a verse of a chant–to get you reconnected to your Source. Pulling a couple of tools out of my toolbox this morning, I was able to move myself into a place of peace and acceptance. Not only to I no longer feel stuck, I feel like I am soaring and free. I’m calling today my New Year’s Day because I feel like I just hit the reset button. It’s a new year, clean and open and full of possibilities. And I’m thrilled to get to live each of its days as fully as I know how. Namaste.

Photo: A shot of our breakfast table at Morning Glory in Ashland, OR

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The power of perspective June 10, 2008

Filed under: practice — jennsheridan @ 3:20 pm
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Byron Katie’s “The Work” brings inquiry to your thoughts and enables you to free yourself of the stress and frustration and depression they bring. Eckhart Tolle calls our attention to the three levels of every situation: what is happening, your reaction to what is happening, and your awareness of both of these levels. Abraham talks about bringing awareness to your thoughts when you’re not feeling great and choosing a thought that feels better. Lately, for me, I’ve been practicing my awareness by asking whether it’s the situation itself or my thoughts about the situation that are making me feel the way I do.

It’s such a simple way of looking at things, a small adjustment, really, in the larger mix of how we view the world, yet it holds such power. It is playing a huge role in how I am approaching my work this week. This time last week I had a single freelancing project I was working on, with the remainder of my time being invested into my own personal growth and various aspects of my Avon Walk training. By Thursday, I was working on a book project, had a fast-approaching deadline on a relatively large freelance project, and I was talking with the folks at the Hoffman Institute about working for them part-time. This weekend I walked over 30 miles and by the time Monday rolled around, I was exhausted and wondering how on earth I was going to fit all of these moving parts into a cohesive life.

This one awareness practice turned my energy around. I quickly realized that it wasn’t the situation that was causing me stress, it was the way I was thinking about the situation. I’ve known for months now that I have more than enough time to get everything done yet I still feel time pressure. That isn’t reality, that’s just my perception of reality. So I called myself on my thoughts, noticed they were just thoughts, and stopped accepting those thoughts as the truth. And then I got to work. At the end of the day, I was able to get everything done I needed to, and then some, with time to spare. My stress was gone, replaced with a sense of peace and trust in the process, which felt MUCH better than the alternative!

So today, as I prepare to go work in an office for two days, I have a choice about how I look at this work. I can either see it as taking away from my precious time for myself, taking away from my time to get other work done, taking away from my time to train and all of the wonderful chores that go along with training, or I can realize that these thoughts cause stress, a stress that isn’t necessary or useful in any way. Instead, I am choosing to see this work as an opportunity for me to get out into the world and interact with people, using what I’ve learned over the past few months and applying it to a more traditional style of work. With this perspective, I am looking forward to my day today, looking forward spending time with people engaged in a different sort of activity.

This is the power of a single practice. What thoughts are causing you stress today? Can you see a way to look at the situation from a different perspective, one that doesn’t cause you stress? Have some fun playing with this concept today and see what you learn about yourself and how your thoughts affect your day. Namaste.

Photo: “Peaceful,” originally uploaded by Tony Lam

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