Learning to Fly

Live life to its fullest

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

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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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Forgiveness August 7, 2008

Filed under: practice — jennsheridan @ 9:04 pm
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When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.
~La Rochefoucauld

Inspired by Catherine Ponder, I’ve been doing some great work around forgiveness this week. I found this ritual by Rev. Peggy Ray online and wanted to share it with you. I’ve found it really useful and recommend spending some time with it once a day for at least a week. Don’t feel like you’re harboring any resentments? Dig a little deeper, or perhaps start with yourself. Where there’s even a smidgen of hard feelings, spending a few minutes in forgiveness can create healing you weren’t even aware you needed. Namaste.

Healing Relationships Ritual

Sit comfortably in a chair, with your back upright, and your feet flat on the floor. Breathe slowly, deeply and rhythmically for at least five minutes. There is no need to hurry through this exercise. Let your body and breath slow to a peaceful, comfortable rhythm before going further.

Now imagine yourself surrounded by a beautiful cocoon of golden light. Let it settle softly about you, comforting and protecting you within its soothing glow. Feel yourself snuggling into it, feeling safe and warmed by its light. This is the healing light of God’s love and tender concern for you.

Say the Unity prayer aloud to yourself:

The Light of God surrounds me The love of God enfolds me The power of God protects me The presence of God watches over me Wherever I am, God is And all is well.

Now focus again on the golden light all around you. Begin to draw this healing cocoon of God’s love into your heart. Breathe in, inhaling slowly, drawing it deeply deeply deeply into your body. Let this wonderful healing light fill your heart with warmth and love. Feel it expanding throughout your body, healing any hurt areas within your emotions or heart. Circulate this golden energy all through your body, breathing deeply and easily as you do so. Take as long as you need to allow this energy to flow wherever it needs to.

Now visualize that the person that you are having difficulty with is sitting across from you. They are not allowed to speak to you or touch you without your permission or an invitation to do so. As clearly as you can, tell them your truth. Tell them about your anger, your pain, the hurt that you feel. Try not to blame them or to make them wrong, but to offer them the gift of your truth. Stay as centered on your own feelings and pain as you can. Say everything you need to say, leaving nothing back. Then recite the following prayer, beginning with their full name:

________, I forgive you for any pain that you have ever brought to me in this life or in any other life, whether real or imagined, deliberate or unintentional.

I ask that you, _______, forgive me for any hurt that I have ever brought to you, in this life or in any other life, whether real or imagined, deliberate or unintentional.

I bless you, I release you to God’s care and keeping, and I set us both free.

Now imagine two enormous hands of light, with palms cupped directly in front of you. Visualize them as huge, tender, loving hands – God’s hands, and they are as big as the room. Release the person and the situation into these beautiful tender hands of light. Just lay it all down into these loving hands. Surrender the other person, and the entire situation into God’s care and keeping. See yourself being set free as you release this heavy burden. It has taken a tremendous amount of energy to carry this pain. Take a moment to forgive yourself for having had angry or fearful thoughts about the other person.

Draw in another deep breath from your golden cocoon of light, and let the love slowly circulate all through your body, filling the areas that were full of hate just a few moments ago. Breathe deeply and slowly, and notice how light you feel. If you wish, crawl into those loving caring hands and lay your other burdens down as well. Feel these beautiful tender hands gently cradling you, rocking you, comforting you. Stay and rest in this healing peace as long as you need to.

End with this prayer:

Mother-Father-God, I thank you with joy and with gratitude for allowing me to shift, to grow, to heal. I know now that I am not doomed to endlessly hate and hurt. Through your love and tender care I am set free. Thank you for the light of your love as it illuminates my life and heals the wounds within. Amen.

Do this as often as you feel necessary until the situation is resolved. On a soul level we are all connected, so this healing energy will reach the other person, whether they are still on the Earth or have already passed on. No healing is ever lost.

Photo: “my balcony,” originally uploaded by shikeroku

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Best laid plans May 1, 2008

Filed under: inspiration,notes — jennsheridan @ 11:50 pm
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This week has left me wondering if it’s possible to have jet lag without getting on a plane or traveling from one time zone to another. My return from vacation has left me a wee bit disoriented this week and I’m having to completely let go of the idea that I am “on top of” just about anything. Ultimately, this is a very good thing for me, releasing me from my sea of “shoulds” and allowing me to just be. However it does mean that my idea of returning to our regularly scheduled programming this week was a little premature.

The good news is, I’ve got a lot of fun and exciting stuff going on…

Chinese Medicine. A lot of my time this week has been taken up with the basics of getting started with a Chinese medicine regimen. I’ve gone to the clinic twice this week for acupuncture and massage and I’m on day two of my yummy and delicious (yes, that was sarcastic) herbs. It’s all a lot more involved than I realized it was going to be when I signed on, but I really appreciate the holistic approach to wellness they take and feel like it dovetails nicely with my spirit-based approach. It feels like a way to release old patterns and behaviors and their effects on my body as I do the same with my mind.

Training Walks. As my walks get longer, more and more of my time is invested into my Avon Walk training. This weekend, I’m squeezing in a 14-miler on Sunday and a 7-miler on Monday. Even my weekday training is expanding, moving from 3 miles on Tuesdays and Thursdays to 4 miles. I’m still loving the process and just going with the flow, enjoying the ride, and trying not to focus too much on the time aspect.

Globe Sound Healing Conference. I was recently introduced to sound healing and discovered there’s an institute in San Francisco that specializes in this concept. They have an annual conference that happens to be this weekend, and I managed to get myself on their mailing list in time to volunteer to work the conference in exchange for free admission. I am especially interested in anything having to do with voice and music, but really I find it all fascinating. I’m sure to learn a lot from this experience and I’ll have much to share with you all next week.

Family Visit. Next Thursday I head to Georgia to experience some true jet lag, traveling to visit my family there. I don’t know how much internet access I’ll have while I’m gone, but I am sure I will have plenty of stories when I return. Spending time with my family is wonderful on many levels, and provides me ample opportunities to practice what I’m learning. Wish me luck.

And, as always, I have a lot of things I want to share, but I will limit myself to just one today. CNN recently published a great article of Martha Beck’s from a back issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, entitled, “How to feast on joy every day.” In a world where dieting is ubiquitous, it was wonderful to read this article about truly feasting. Let me leave you with the thought that concludes this article:

“If you have a choice between a feast of love and any other option, go with love. Compared with other activities, love-feasts will mess up your life, complicate your career, wear you out, make you crazy. But I guarantee that when you look back over the time you’ve spent on earth, the feasts of love will be the events you’ll remember most joyfully, the experiences that will make you glad you have lived.”

Photo: “Distilled Moment,” originally uploaded by Angelo Juan Ramos

 

Slowing down March 12, 2008

I believe there is a gift in everything. As August Gold says, what happens to us is really happening for us. While I am still recovering from the concussion I received this weekend, I’m so grateful to have been able to see the gift in this experience. Now, I’m not saying that every moment has felt like a gift–someday I’d love to reach that level of presence–but when I take a step back and look at the big picture, I’m definitely more on the grateful side than not.

One of the biggest things I’ve gotten from this experience is the gift of slowing down. I am almost always busy, which often means I’m multitasking. The last few days I’ve been nearly incapable of focusing on anything other than what’s right in front of me, so I’m having to do things one at a time. And since my thoughts aren’t cooperating with me by moving at their usual speed, I’m also having to do everything more slowly. I love the picture above because it reminds me of how I’ve been feeling lately. I might have been practicing mindfulness last week, but I’ve been living mindfulness this week.

Here are some examples of other gifts I’ve received:

* My presence is a gift. At the hospital on Saturday, I was conscious of the pain and suffering around me, but also the love and caring. I chose to build upon that energy and add my own healing energy into the mix. I closed my eyes and practiced conscious breathing, pulling positive, life force energy from Source into my body through the top of my head (or crown chakra) and sending it out into the hospital through the middle of my chest (or heart chakra). Then I reversed the flow, pulling all of the suffering I sensed out of the hospital and sending it back up into Source. It was a variation on a Ram Dass mediation I used to have on tape that I’ve always loved. It made me realize that my presence in the hospital that day was a gift to those around me, and it gave me something other than how I was feeling to focus on–a win-win situation!

* Surrender to the experience. I’m not always capable of focusing on something other than how I’m feeling. Sometimes the nausea or dizziness is just too great and I get caught up in it. Other times, I am incredibly aware of all of the sensations in my body. It’s like I’m overly sensitive or something, so every time I turn my head it’s almost like I can feel the different signals being sent throughout my nervous system. When I resist the experience by attempting to fight it or ignore it, it just gets worse, probably because I’m adding a level of anxiety or annoyance to it. It leaves me feeling frustrated, heavy, and sad. When I surrender to it, I become fully present in my body, in my breath, in this moment. I can feel the aliveness of my body and for a moment, there is no past or future, there truly is only now. It’s like I’m falling into an ecstatic trance where I notice everything that is happening or that I’m feeling in that moment. It leaves me feeling light, peaceful, and connected, a welcome change of pace for sure.

* Remove your head from the sand. There’s nothing like an illness or injury to send me scurrying for my shovel so I can be an ostrich and bury my head in the sand. I tell myself ignoring and avoiding will make me feel better than dealing with things, which as we know is never true. At least this time I buried myself shallowly so I could pull myself out from time to time and take care of the business at hand. I’ve kept the apartment clean, I’ve taken care of some paperwork for my freelance gig and for my insurance company, and I even managed to call the doctor this morning for the follow up recommended by the hospital. The result? I feel organized, capable, on top of things, and I’m much more aware of the fact that I am getting better each day as my daily tasks get a little easier each day.

* Ask and ye shall receive (especially when it comes to help). Oh wow, is this one ever a biggie for me. I grew up believing that I needed to be strong and independent, which meant I needed to take care of everything for myself. Help was for the weak. I’ve been slowly releasing this concept over the past decade, but it’s like a dandelion with deep roots and lots of scattered seeds. This experience has helped me to uproot it a little bit as I’ve been forced to call upon my husband and other friends for help. And everyone has been wonderful and supportive, of course. My friend Melanie wrote a guest post for my blog on Monday when I wasn’t feeling like I could string words together to form full and complete sentences. My friend Beth is picking me up in a couple of hours to take me to a reunion dinner we are going to tonight. My husband has pitched in wherever he could, from helping with breakfast and dinner preparation to picking up around the house to running errands for me after work. And that doesn’t even touch on all the long-distance love, support, and prayers that have come down the pipeline. When you ask for help, you get to experience all the love that is always present in life, sometimes even from unexpected sources.

What this all amounts to me is “Stay Fully Present,” a lesson I’ve been attempting to learn for years. That’s the funny thing about the way the universe works–sometimes you have to literally be hit over the head with it before you finally get it. Keep your fingers crossed the effects are long-lasting this time. Namaste.

Photo: “Slow The World Down,” originally uploaded by Taro Taylor

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Baby steps February 11, 2008

Filed under: practice — jennsheridan @ 6:20 pm
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Life is such an interesting journey, isn’t it? What I’m especially in awe of these days is how even though the light often only shines on the very next step, it is always leading you somewhere that enables your growth. I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I needed this time off to help slow me down, enabling me to change direction without skidding out of control. But that is not what I thought 4 or 5 months ago, which is why I ended up with a knee injury that forced me to literally SIT for weeks until the way I was thinking about things had shifted enough to start the real change. I can still feel healing taking place in my soul, and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to take some time off, to retreat from the world for a spell.

A month ago the pendulum had swung so far the other way that I was feeling panicky about the idea of a full-time job, feeling like this retreat was necessary for me indefinitely. But somewhat out of the blue, I’m feeling pulled in a different direction. My soul recognizes that while this time off has given me what I needed to connect more deeply with Source, it is now time for me to connect with people, and to do that, I need to be out in the world, a tangible being for folks to interact with, so that I can continue along my growth path and share my gifts with the world.

I had an interview last night, and it was kind of funny, because my brain went through the full range of patterns that it usually does in these circumstances. I slept really poorly as the mini-computer in my head did all of its calculations and ran through its infinite scenarios and told me all of the reasons why this job is a bad fit for me, focusing especially on that belief that a full-time job would distract me from my purpose. The interesting thing was that when I woke up this morning, my head was still. All that was left was the idea that I needed to speak to my guides, speak to that Intelligence deep within me to see what it thought–in other words, what the REAL me thought about all of this. And the answer wasn’t entirely surprising considering the messages I’ve received over the past few months. I was reminded that the voice that keeps me from sleeping is the voice of fear, that what really makes me anxious about this job is that it would force me to show up in the work world in a deeply different way than I ever have before. But it also reminded me that this job is an opportunity for me to take the way I’ve been showing up in my spiritual world, i.e. as a Practitioner, and apply it to a work environment, to use the skills that I have honed on that path out in the world in a new way.

I honestly don’t know what will happen with this job, and that is really okay with me. But what I do know now is that whatever happens, I will continue to grow and to be given steps that take me on the path that ultimately lead to my goal. The light may not show me very much, but it always shows me what I need to see, and when I take the steps I’m guided to take, I always get to experience even more of the divine way that things flow together. Namaste.

 

Which way is up? February 3, 2008

Filed under: notes — jennsheridan @ 6:59 am
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Such a busy, crazy, wild, roller coaster week. Just got home from “Little Shop of Horrors,” the story come to life as a musical. It was a nice cap to this week full of many ups and downs and lefts and rights. This has been a good experience in LIFE and what happens when we’re asked to just flow with it. One day I can barely tell where I end and the universe begins, and the next my back is out and I’m having to ice and limp around and be gimpy. The day of resistance was followed with a day of such flowering, such beautiful synchronicity. The huge blow up fight with Sean turned into a mega-opportunity for healing for us on many levels. I’ve had more than my average amount of socialness combined with much, much alone time. I’ve had days where I didn’t want to talk to a soul and days where all I wanted to do was reach out and touch the world and the world touched me back. What a week, eh?

So just a short note full of love and light and laughter. I am still here, preparing myself and looking forward to what next week will bring. Namaste.