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

 

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

 

People Look Around October 6, 2008

Filed under: inspiration,music — jennsheridan @ 9:56 pm
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When it rains, it pours. It isn’t a belief I typical espouse, however it has manifested in my life over the past couple of weeks. It’s all good stuff–a few examples: my mother is finally moving to the Bay Area after two years of planning, and we found her a lovely new home last week; I’m interviewing for a position that would get me out in the world, interacting with people in a way that utilizes my excellent project management skills in combination with my life’s desire to help people live their lives as fully as possible; and I’m embarking on a journey into the world of the shaman, realizing a dream I’ve had since I first discovered the Navajo’s Beauty Way when I was a teenager. It’s keeping me busy, but I must say, Life Is Good.

While I was working today, I was listening to Catie Curtis’s most recent two albums: Long Night Moon (2006) and Sweet Life (2008). I talked about one of her songs back in January when I had a similar experience of reconnecting with her music and falling in love all over again. This time, I was especially struck by two songs . . .

“People Look Around,” from Long Night Moon, is a timely look at where the political discussion in America has gotten derailed to. Written post-Katrina, it is just as applicable today as the conversation is turning yet again from global considerations (i.e. economics and climate change) back to things that have no business being mixed up with politics (i.e. religion). Of course, if we really wanted to bring religion into the discussion, I’m with Catie: “Jesus said, ‘Feed the hungry,’ Jesus said, ‘Help the poor,’ / ‘Take care of each other, love one another.'” Not bad advice.

The other song that jumped out at me today was “Are You Ready to Fly?” from Sweet Life. Yes, I do have an obsession with the idea of learning to fly, but what a wonderful look at the sweetness of childhood, and how change really is an opportunity to fly.

So I hope you enjoy a little Catie Curtis distraction here this afternoon. And if it turns out you like her even half as much as I do, she’ll be at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley this Sunday and Monday. Wanna go?

Artist: Catie Curtis
Website: http://catiecurtis.com/
More information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catie_Curtis

Song: People Look Around
Album: Long Night Moon
Video: http://catiecurtis.com/index.php?page=video&display=797

The Mississippi River divides this land in two
Like the way tend to think of things, black and white, red and blue
If they can keep us fighting about marriage and god
They’ll be no one left to notice if our leaders do their jobs

The truth is bigger than these drops of rain
Falling
The truth is bigger than these drops of rain
Falling in the ocean
Falling

When the water is rising and there is no higher ground
You can wave your hands up on the roof but you might be left to drown
In the streets of New Orleans, a makeshift funeral pall
“Here Lies Vera, God Help Us All”

The truth is bigger than these drops of rain
Falling
The truth is bigger than these drops of rain
Falling in the ocean
Falling

Jesus said “feed the hungry,” Jesus said “help the poor”
“Take care of each other, love one another”
People look around, we let them down

The Mississippi River flooded New Orleans
And we stared in disbelief at our TV screens
If they can keep us fighting another endless war
How many tears before the truth cannot be ignored?

The truth is bigger than these drops of rain
Falling
The truth is bigger than these drops of rain
Falling in Lake Ponchartrain
Falling in the ocean
Falling

Written by Catie Curtis and Mark Erelli

Song: Are You Ready to Fly?
Albums: Sweet Life

Teenagers jumping off a railroad bridge
They’ve known each other since they were kids
It’s the end of the summer, good friends ready to fly
They do the cannonball in to the creek
They do the cannonball one more week
At the end of the summer, good friends saying goodbye

They were riding double on bicycles
Buying bubble gum and vying for the sun
And the summer was so long,
‘Til the summer was so gone

Your sister went to college in the fall
She took her posters off the bedroom wall
And the family drove all night from the university
And in the morning looking down the hall
She left her trophies and a couple dolls
But your family would be alright ‘cause you had to be

You were riding double on bicycles
Buying bubble gum and vying for the sun
And the summer was so long,
‘Til the summer was so gone

On we go down crooked roads alone to who knows where
Burning in this moment like a sparkler in mid-air

When you are jumping off a railroad bridge
No one can tell you what living is
At the end of the summer are you ready to fly?

We were riding double on bicycles
Buying bubble gum and vying for the sun
And the summer was so long,
‘Til the summer was so gone

Photo: Tony Baker

 

Growing pains August 12, 2008

Filed under: inspiration — jennsheridan @ 8:38 pm
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A mentor of mine recently reminded me that just because the road looks like it is dipping, does not mean you’ve gotten off course. The path of spiritual and personal growth can look bumpy from time to time, but think of it as driving on a mountain road–it may go up for a little while, it may go down for a little while, but the whole way you are moving in the direction of your destination. This very simple piece of wisdom helped me shift from beating myself up for not always living in the light to accepting that every step takes me forward along my path with plenty to be learned from the experience.

I loved this recent DailyOM posting that had some additional insight on what might look like a challenging time. I know that I, for one, am looking forward to a slightly less bumpy road, but I also know that when it comes I will be all the stronger for what I am going through today. Namaste.

Growing Pains
Difficult Times

It can be very challenging to maintain a positive attitude and a measure of faith when you are in the midst of difficult times. This is partly because we tend to think that if the universe loves us we will experience that love in the form of positive circumstances. However, we are like children, and the universe is our wise mother who knows what our souls need to thrive better than we do. Just as a young child does not benefit from getting everything she wants, we also benefit from times of constriction and difficulty to help us grow and learn. If we keep this in mind, and continue to trust that we are loved even when things are hard, it helps us bear the difficult time with grace.

This period of time in history is full of difficulty for a lot of human beings, and you may feel less alone knowing you are not being singled out. There are extreme energy changes pulsing through the universe at every level and, of course, we are all part of the growing process and the growing pains. It helps if we remember that life is one phase after another and that this difficult time will inevitably give way to something new and different. When we feel overwhelmed we can comfort ourselves with the wise saying: This too shall pass.

At the same time, if you truly feel that nothing is going right for you, it’s never a bad idea to examine your life and see if there are some changes you can make to alleviate some of the difficulty. Gently and compassionately exploring the areas giving you the most trouble may reveal things you are holding onto and need to release: unprocessed emotions, unresolved transitions, or negative ways of looking at yourself or reality. As you take responsibility for the things you can change, you can more easily surrender to the things you can’t, remembering all the while that this phase will, without doubt, give way to another.

Photo: “Sapa – Mountain Road,” originally uploaded by j.fisher

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Things that make you go hmmm… June 12, 2008

Filed under: inspiration — jennsheridan @ 11:42 pm
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So many very cool articles and videos have come my way this week. As one friend mentioned, you can actually FEEL the shift happening right now, in this very moment. Very cool stuff. I’d like to share just two of the many inbound messages I’ve received along with a poem that feels very appropriate to the times from my dear “friend” Hāfez.

One Minute Shift
The Institute of Noetic Sciences has a website with one-minute videos dedicated to the concept of “shift.” It’s part of their Shift In Action program, which I just happen to be a member of. I viewed a handful of these videos today — you really can’t go wrong, they’re great little slices of inspiration — and my favorite was one by Marianne Williamson talking about how you don’t need a majority to change the world, you just need 11%.

You can view the video at http://oneminuteshift.com/videos/eleven_percent.

Obama as Lightworker
I really never thought I’d see the day when a political candidate of any kind was called a lightworker, especially not a presidential candidate. And while yes, it’s the San Francisco Chronicle, and yes, it’s an editorial, it was still pretty amazing reading this article. What do you think, are you a believer?

Awake Awhile
by Hāfez, translated by Daniel Ladinsky

Awake awhile.

It does not have to be
Forever,
Right now.

One step upon the Sky’s soft skirt
Would be enough.

Hafiz,
Awake awhile.
Just one True moment of Love
Will last for days.

Rest all your elaborate plans and tactics
For Knowing Him,
For they are all just frozen spring buds
Far,
So far from Summer’s Divine Gold.

Awake, my dear.
Be kind to your sleeping heart.
Take it out into the vast fields of Light
And let it breathe.

Say,
“Love,
give me back my wings.
Lift me,
lift me nearer.”

Say to the sun and moon,
say to our dear Friend,

“I will take You up now, Beloved,
On that wonderful Dance You promised!”

Photo: “Glimpse,” originally uploaded by Bev Sykes

 

Notes from Jenn’s World June 2, 2008

Filed under: notes — jennsheridan @ 8:59 pm
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Just a quick check-in about what’s going on in my world . . .

Avon Walk for Breast Cancer

Only 40 days to go! I am absolutely loving participating in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer this year. Of course, I did just have a short training weekend — only 9 miles on Saturday and 4 on Sunday. Ask me again next weekend after I’ve walked 20 miles on Saturday and 9 on Sunday — it might be a different story! Actually, it’s been a wonderful experience, even on the long and hot days. It’s a testament to the fact that you can do anything, truly anything, especially when you have the love and support of those around you. My team, the Urban Dog Walkers, have been amazing, so much fun to train with and just an incredible support system. They make this look easy! The fundraising appears to have slowed down, so I lowered my personal goal to $2,200. As of this writing, I’m 77% of the way to my goal, 94% of the way to my requirement. I’ve raised $1,689 of the $1,800 I need in order to walk. Do you want to be the angel who kicks me up over $1,800?

Looking for work

As much as I have been loving watching things unfold these past few months, my income has not yet grown to the level that I can afford to live off of. So I am expanding my net, looking for work of all types. While I would still prefer a part-time gig or more freelance work, I am open to full-time work for the right organization. If I can work from home, the office could be literally anywhere in the world. Otherwise, it would need to be fairly close to home, i.e. the peninsula south of San Francisco. If you know of anyone looking for a project manager, writer, jack-of-all-trades, or really any interesting position they’re willing to train for, please holler. I am certain that the right work is out there, and I’d bet they’re looking for me right now, too!

Tarot readings

One of my favorite things that has come up out of this self-discovery process are my tarot cards. As explained on osho.com, the Osho Zen Tarot is not about deepening your understanding of the past or seeing into the future, it’s about gaining clarity about the present moment. Based on Zen wisdom, these cards provide insight into what is happening in your life right now and seeing whether or not that is in alignment with your goals. I’ve found that while I can receive messages through many mediums, these cards speak to me with a clarity and consistency that I haven’t found anywhere else. While I’ve mostly used them to do readings for myself, I’ve started branching out into readings for friends. Interested in receiving a reading yourself? I’m offering complimentary readings right now as part of my practice. I’m able to do long-distance readings for those I know well; otherwise, it would need to be in person. Let me know if you’re interested!

So what’s going on with you? What goals are you working towards these days? What new things are you exploring? I’d love to hear about all the flow and synchronicity that is happening for you as your life’s journey continues to unfold. Namaste.

 

The Sonnets to Orpheus May 27, 2008

Filed under: inspiration,quote of the week — jennsheridan @ 7:00 pm
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The Sonnets to Orpheus, Part Two, XII

by Ranier Maria Rilke


Want the change. Be inspired by the flame
where everything shines as it disappears.
The artist, when sketching, loves nothing so much
as the curve of the body as it turns away.

What locks itself in sameness has congealed.
Is it safer to be gray and numb?
What turns hard becomes rigid
and is easily shattered.

Pour yourself out like a fountain.
Flow into the knowledge that what you are seeking
finishes often at the start, and, with ending, begins.

Every happiness is the child of a separation
it did not think it could survive. And Daphne, becoming a laurel,
dares you to become the wind.