Learning to Fly

Live life to its fullest

Aaah . . . May 28, 2009

Filed under: inspiration,practice — jennsheridan @ 1:19 pm
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A friend of mine posted a quote from my dear favorite Hāfez this morning: “There are so many gifts still unopened from your birthday.” I realized it doesn’t matter what he’s saying, it just makes my whole being open up, relax, and let go. I was moved to seek out inspiration from another Sufi this morning, Rumi. After a few minutes of surrendering to the perspectives of these beautiful mystics, I felt the challenges of this week fall off of me.

One of the biggest challenges for me this week has been shaking off some of the recent decisions made by this lovely state that I live in, California. First, there was the news that Prop. 8 (banning gay marriage) was being upheld, followed quickly by the governor’s latest budget recommendation that includes, amongst other gems, cutting so much revenue to our state parks that 80% of them would have to close. After moving through my intial feelings of disappointment and frustration, I was able to find peace in the reminder that times of great change are often accompanied by chaos as the smallness and limiting beliefs created by fear are ultimately dissipated by the expansive, creative, loving energy of our ongoing growth. This snippet of Rumi’s wisdom seemed especially appropriate to me this morning:

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.

From: The Essential Rumi, by Coleman Barks

Here are a couple of other treasures from the realm of Rumi’s wisdom. I hope that they have a similar opening, expansive, releasing feeling for you today, and that your being can relax into the Aaah . . . . Namaste.

Moving Water
~ by Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

When you do things from your soul, you feel a river
moving in you, a joy.

When actions come from another section, the feeling
disappears. Don’t let

others lead you. They may be blind or, worse, vultures.
Reach for the rope

of God. And what is that? Putting aside self-will.
Because of willfulness

people sit in jail, the trapped bird’s wings are tied,
fish sizzle in the skillet.

The anger of police is willfulness. You’ve seen a magistrate
inflict visible punishment. Now

see the invisible. If you could leave your selfishness, you
would see how you’ve

been torturing your soul. We are born and live inside black water in a well.

How could we know what an open field of sunlight is? Don’t
insist on going where

you think you want to go. Ask the way to the spring. Your
living pieces will form

a harmony. There is a moving palace that floats in the air
with balconies and clear

water flowing through, infinity everywhere, yet contained
under a single tent.

From: The Glance

This We Have Now
~ by Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

This we have now
is not imagination.

This is not
grief or joy.

Not a judging state,
or an elation,
or sadness.

Those come and go.
This is the presence that doesn’t.

From: The Essential Rumi

Photo: “Sunset gateway,” originally uploaded by Mirko Macari

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Feeling expansive March 19, 2009

Filed under: practice — jennsheridan @ 1:34 pm
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I find myself unsubscribing from a lot of my mailing lists lately. It’s not that I’ve suddenly changed my mind and don’t believe in the causes, but I’m finding it overwhelming to have my inbox full of the same doom and gloom that you see in the media and hear people talking about in the streets. These days it seems like everybody’s primary or secondary focus is on the negative, with much debate about who to blame and how much worse things will get before they get better and even whose situation sucks the most.

This is all in direct contrast to my own situation. My company is growing rapidly, with the focus on how quickly we can get new people in and trained to support our growth path. My life is constantly getting bigger as we prepare for baby: we just moved into a new home that’s about twice as large as our last apartment, I am literally expanding as every day I discover a new article of clothing that no longer fits comfortably around my belly, and my heart and spirit are inflated with the love and new vision that I have for my life and my purpose. When I look at my friends, I see people taking new steps along their life journeys — exploring new paths, starting new jobs, getting married, finding out more about who they really are.

But the contrast runs even deeper than that. When I close my eyes and listen to the energy of the universe, feeling the truth of what lies beneath the surface experience of what is, all I can feel is expansion. I’ve talked before about the consciousness shift taking place on our planet and how we’re reaching a critical mass that will tip us over into the next phase of our evolutionary journey — that shift has never been more apparent to me. The more chaotic things appear to be on the surface, the more that deep energy underneath feels positive, serene, and definite.

Imagine yourself on a carousel that is spinning really fast — out on the edge things are wild and you have to hang on for dear life or you’ll get thrown off, but at the center you can let go and relax and enjoy the ride. I think the universe is offering us a choice in this moment. Do you want to hold on to old, limiting ideas about how the world works and your place in it? Or are you ready for new way of living and being, one that is full of learning and exploration, but ultimately of expansion? If you choose to hold on to the old, that’s okay, but it will likely be a rough ride. If you choose to explore the new, you may fall down and scrape your knees like a child learning to walk, but you’ll be running before you know it, experiencing this ever-expanding energy that is at the core of your being.

When I close my eyes and listen to the silence, I know there’s only one answer that resonates for me. And so I choose to focus my energy on recognizing the growth and expansion that makes itself more evident every day, and I see the apparent chaos as a temporary piece of the transition we are going through as a society as we adjust to our new way of being. Where do you choose to focus your attention? How do you feel when you close your eyes and feel the truth of what is happening in your life and the world around you? Listen to the truth that resonates within you — that is your guide to growth and expansion, but ultimately to experiencing true peace and joy. Enjoy the ride. Namaste.

Photo: “The last drop,” originally uploaded by Gordana Adamovic-Mladenovic

 

Morihei Ueshiba quote February 20, 2009

Filed under: quote of the week — jennsheridan @ 8:00 pm
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Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead.

~ Morihei Ueshiba

 

A new kind of love February 13, 2009

Filed under: practice — jennsheridan @ 3:26 pm
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If you were a regular reader in 2008, you may wonder where I’ve been the past couple of months. I am now catching my breath enough (or for a moment) to update you on the transition that is taking place in my life. It seems appropriate with Valentine’s Day tomorrow to talk about the new love that has come into my life — or really, I should say our lives, because this affects my husband, my family, on outward. We are all blossoming with the new love we feel for the baby we’re due to have this summer.

It’s been an interesting journey the past couple of months. I helped my mother move from Connecticut to California, I found out I was pregnant, my body adjusted to being shared with another life (well, I should say is continually adjusting), I started a new job, and now we’re in the process of moving homes. There has been a part of me that has felt I should (ahem) be able to keep doing all of the things I had already been doing and yet still handle all of these new changes with relative ease. The trick has been to let the rest of me take over, the part that knows that I have to take every day as it comes, ask for help more than I ever have before, make taking care of myself my number one priority, stay in the present moment, and remember that it is what it is. While this way of thinking and living was always my goal, it has been elevated to the only way to think and live due to the circumstances. Much like the concussion I experienced last year, it seems like a gift, a way to get a perspective change because you have to, not just because you know it’s the right thing to do.

As much as this feels like a physical journey, I am constantly reminded by how much of a spiritual journey it is. Even before I began walking down the path towards motherhood, I knew that 2009 was going to be the year of the divine feminine for me. Now I see just how true that is as I take on a new facet of that energy, the mother energy. I used to see motherhood as an end to, or at least a temporary derailment from, the spiritual path I have been on, but now I see that it is as much a fabric of that path as anything else I have endeavored in the past 20 years. Not only do I learn more about myself and my relationship to the universe every day, but I am learning about this little soul that is coming into the world. I have been brought in contact with a pure spirit, not yet immersed in the material plane, still aware of the universal big picture, still a being of pure love, still excited about the prospect of exploration and expansion that a life on earth will bring. It leaves me excited about my own exploration and expansion, and how this new experience will only widen my perspective and give me even more opportunity to grow and to learn and to share my gifts.

The world around us appears to be in chaos, but now more than I ever I feel removed from that chaos and connected only to the divine order that is being revealed. I know part of that is because my life is being expanded in so many ways right now that it makes it hard for me to see the limitation that the media is harping on. At the root of all of this is the deep love that I feel for myself, for my husband, for my family, and the new spirit coming into our lives. Love always expands, never contracts, and our universe is built on love. Bask in that feeling of expansion this Valentine’s Day weekend and see if you can bring it into other aspects of your life as well. This is the true reality of our lives, and the more you experience it, the more you see it in your own life, the more this truth will be revealed to the world at large. Namaste.

Photo: “New life is coming,” originally uploaded by marcusrg

 

Growing Pains December 8, 2008

Filed under: inspiration — jennsheridan @ 9:27 pm
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I’ve been struggling a bit lately. Nothing major, just feeling overwhelmed and having trouble getting caught back up again. Of course, being “caught up” is just a state of mind. Really, it is simply peace of mind. So what I’ve come to realize is that bringing myself back into alignment with my peace needs to be my top priority. Everything else can, and will, fall into place once that simple goal is realized. The best part? It can happen in a moment. Ah, I feel better already.

I read this gem from DailyOM last week when I was having an especially challenging day due to a couple of colliding illnesses. It made me want to be a little more gentle with myself, give myself a break, and remember that even on my trickiest day of the year, I have still grown so much and come so far since my best day of last year. I’m guessing that’s true for you, too. So give yourself a big hug and a pat on the back, and remember to celebrate all that growth has to offer, even when it hurts a little bit. Namaste.

Growing Pains
Initiations For Growth

Life is about growth, which is wonderful, though not always easy. Indeed, many of life’s lessons can be painful or difficult. Yet, such challenges are often the ones that present the most opportunity for spiritual growth. Initiations for growth come in many forms. In fact, we can view every challenge in life as an opportunity to learn and grow. While these disruptions in life are not easy, they are necessary.

The challenges the universe sends us can seem unbearable at times: a job we don’t want to spend another day at, a broken heart that feels as if it will never heal, or a long and painful illness. And then, there are the challenges that can be just as scary because we are being called to step up to the plate in ways that we may think we are not yet ready for: overcoming our fears in order to realize a lifelong dream, leaving behind a situation or people in our life that we may have outgrown, or moving across the world for our dream job or life partner.

At such times, it can feel as if the world is testing us and that life is asking more of us than we think we can give. We may feel uncomfortable, frightened, and unsure of what to do. However, life isn’t so much going against us as it is encouraging us to grow. During these periods, we can grow stronger by putting one foot in front of the other, as we work through our challenges. We may be asked to let go of old safety measures, shift old patterns of behavior, or step into the abyss of the unknown. When we do rise to the occasion, we end up better off for having made that journey. Not only do we end up learning and growing, but we inevitably become more compassionate to the challenges of others and wiser in the ways of the world. Our faith in the universe also grows because, ultimately, we can’t help but realize how much we are supported and taken care of at all times. When we are in the midst of a growing period, it is not easy to see our reward, but it is there, waiting for us to grow big enough to reach it.

Photo: “plant growing on bricks,” originally uploaded by e453753

 

Notes from Jenn’s World September 15, 2008

Filed under: notes — jennsheridan @ 9:19 pm
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I’m sorry for going a week without posting anything. There was definitely a lot going on–one of these days I’ll find that balance where I can be busy and active and still write blog posts. But in the meantime, let’s catch back up with a quick check-in about what’s going on in my world . . .

Reiki
I was very excited to receive my first degree Reiki attunement last weekend. I’ve been loving playing with the Divine in a new way through the Reiki healing energies. After learning how to give a table session, it occurred to me that I’ve been using a form of Reiki energy on myself and loved ones for a while now, I just didn’t know that’s what it was. But it was wonderful to learn how to channel the energy in new and more concrete ways, and I’m having fun practicing with both the standard forms and following my intuition.

Rock Band
Have you felt the pull of the game Rock Band? It’s a game sort of in the same vein as Guitar Hero, where you wield a guitar-shaped controller and play a Simon-like game of hitting the right button and strumming at the right time to make the right note play on the screen. Rock Band takes this genre one step farther by introducing the drums and a vocal track. I have a “band” with my husband and two friends of ours (I’m the singer), so Saturday we tackled the Endless Set List–58 songs in a row. It was an absolute blast–exhausting, but the kind of serious fun that could be bottled and sold for big bucks. I suspect it’s because it appeals to several aspects of you at once: my inner child loves it because it’s playing, my creative self loves it because it feels like creative expression even as you’re mimicking the original song, my body loves it because it can dance a little as I go. Fun for the whole family. Next up–a real band. It may take us a while to get it together, but we plan to start pulling out real instruments and seeing if we can’t make some music together. Or at the very least, continue to just have a really good time.

Chihuly exhibit
After spending the day in San Francisco yesterday exploring the Chihuly exhibit at the deYoung Museum and enjoying hanging out with a new friend I met while training for the Avon Walk, I feel absolutely full. Chihuly’s work is so full of joy and creative expression that it makes me feel like I am full of joy and creative expression. I totally want to learn how to do what I’m thinking of now as “fire art,” i.e. anything that uses fire in order to come into being, like blowing glass or making pottery or what have you. I’ve always loved to draw and paint, but I like the idea of having a 3-D, very tangible presence at the end of your creative expression. I’ll let you know if anything come of this urge.

Guinea pigs
So I am currently looking for “guinea pigs,” people I can practice energy work on (or with). I am opening myself up to do more and more with energy, both on the giving end, like with Reiki, and on the reading end, like with the way I do tarot readings. I’m learning a new way of doing energy readings related to the chakras and suspect that about the time I’m getting a handle on that, a new way of reading energy will be given to me. So please do let me know if you’d be willing to let me practice and experiment by giving you an energy reading. At this moment in time, I am looking for Bay Area guinea pigs only, but I will definitely let you know when I am ready to expand to long-distance!

So what’s new in your world? How have you been entertaining yourself? Are all of your different aspects feeling involved in your life? What kinds of new and exciting things have you been learning? I’d love to hear all about the growth and fun happening in your life right now. Namaste.

Photo: “Chihuly glass at the Bellagio,” originally uploaded by Joe Flood

 

Ghosts August 26, 2008

Filed under: journey — jennsheridan @ 11:03 pm
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I’ve been feeling ghosts all around me lately. Not the ghosts of those who have left this world–I know that in a way because they have moved on they are always with me–but the ghosts of old friends who used to be a large part of my life but due to geography or priorities or whatnot are no longer around. I see them in old pictures, hear them in classic songs, even have them cropping up in restless dreams. Suddenly, I’m missing people I haven’t thought of in months or seen in years and I feel sad.

My mom calls me a pack rat, and that applies to people as well as to things. I hate to let people go, even when it is obviously time, when we’ve grown apart or aren’t helping each other to grow any longer. It’s true, I have this dream of being able to gather everyone I’ve ever loved into one community so that they may continue to be a part of my life even if it’s only to run into each other at Town Hall meetings. There’s a piece of me that hungers for that small town feel where it’s a rare person that moves into the town and an even rarer one that leaves, where everybody knows everybody and their business, for good or for bad.

And yet, no one is aware more than I am that it is precisely because I’ve led the somewhat transient life I’ve led, pushing myself out of my comfort zone and moving into new areas with new people, that I’ve been able to grow and change as much as I have. The old friends, while still dear to me, could not have helped me to get to where I am today. They’ve had their own paths to explore, and I’ve needed fresh ideas, fresh motivations to nudge me along my own. There was a time and a place for us to be together, and the time may come where we’ll meet again. But in the meantime, I’m always being pushed out of my nest out in the wide world, where no one is really a stranger, they’re just friends I haven’t collected yet.

And so, I am writing this to honor my ghosts, to let them know I will never forget them. I will be here when the time is right for us to be in community again. In the meantime, best of luck on the journey. Namaste.

Photo: “Lighthouse in sepia,” originally uploaded by eva

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