Learning to Fly

Live life to its fullest

Hāfez quote May 15, 2009

Filed under: quote of the week — jennsheridan @ 7:00 pm
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Even after all this time the sun never says to the earth “you owe me.” Look what happens with a love like that–it lights the whole world.

~ Hāfez

 

The love of Hāfez

Filed under: inspiration — jennsheridan @ 1:36 pm
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This morning I’m feeling oddly peaceful. This week has been a gentler roller coaster, full of subtle ups and downs. I’ve woken up most mornings after semi-sleepless nights feeling angsty with my mind on overload, but even after another rough night of sleep, I woke up this morning feeling mostly empty and peaceful. It seemed like a good morning to fill up the empty vessel that is me with the love and connection that Hāfez offers. He is, as always, a breath of fresh air that sings to my soul. Enjoy.

The Only One
by Hāfez, translated by Daniel Ladinsky

From man’s perspective
In this intricate game of love,

It is so easy to become confused
And think you are the do-er.

But from God’s Infinite Certainty,
He always Knows

That He is the only One
Who should ever be put on trial.

From: I Heard God Laughing: Renderings of Hafiz

In a Handful of God
by Hāfez, translated by Daniel Ladinsky

Poetry reveals that there is no empty space.

When your truth forsakes its shyness,
When your fears surrender to your strengths,
You will begin to experience

That all existence
Is a teeming sea of infinite life.

In a handful of ocean water
You could not count all the finely tuned
Musicians

Who are acting stoned
For very intelligent and sane reasons

And of course are becoming extremely sweet
And wild.

In a handful of the sky and earth,
In a handful of God,

We cannot count
All the ecstatic lovers who are dancing there
Behind the mysterious veil.

True art reveals there is no void
Or darkness.

There is no loneliness to the clear-eyed mystic
In this luminous, brimming
Playful world.

From: The Subject Tonight is Love: 60 Wild and Sweet Poems of Hafiz

My Brilliant Image
by Hāfez, translated by Daniel Ladinsky

One day the sun admitted,

I am just a shadow.
I wish I could show you
The Infinite Incandescence (Tej)

That has cast my brilliant image!

I wish I could show you,
When you are lonely or in darkness,

The astonishing Light

Of your own Being!

From: I Heard God Laughing: Renderings of Hafiz

Photo: “Dancing on a volcano,” originally uploaded by Amir Kuckovic

 

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

 

A life worth living June 5, 2008

Filed under: shift — jennsheridan @ 10:26 pm
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“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements in life, when all we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”
~Charles Kingsley

What an absolutely amazing week. As I mentioned yesterday, it’s like the clouds parted and the light came through, shifting my energy from hazy, listless, chaotic to clear, enthusiastic, on purpose. There are many aspects to that breakthrough in energy, but I would have to put people at the top of my list. This week has been chock full of incredible conversation with a variety of people. The common theme? How to live life more fully.

Whether you’re spiritually oriented or not, you have probably become aware of the energy shift happening around “work.” A friend I was speaking with this morning considers it a generational shift — although I have seen it happening with people of all ages, there is definitely a higher concentration within the late 20’s to early 30’s age bracket. It seems as though more and more people are shifting away from the more traditional perspective where work was something that took up the vast majority of your time, wasn’t necessarily something you enjoyed but it paid the bills and felt secure, and someday you would get to retire and do all the things you’ve always wanted to do.

The new concept of work has more to do with creating a life worth living. People are beginning to recognize the value of building a life that includes doing what you’re passionate about, placing the priority on living and not working. It doesn’t mean that work isn’t valuable, but work for these people often isn’t just a job. They’re doing what they love and getting paid to do it. If it doesn’t pay very much then they might pick up a side job to help make ends meet, but not at the sacrifice of living their lives. It may seem as though the mid-life crisis is just starting younger and younger, but interestingly enough, it doesn’t hit crisis point for most of these people. When you wake up at 50 and ask yourself what you’ve done with your life, discovering that you haven’t been really living is a true crisis. When you have that realization at 28, the transition is a lot more painless.

To me, it’s just so exciting to have people popping up all over my life who have recognized they have a choice about how they live and are exercising that choice to bring them greater joy. How about you — what choices are you making in your life today? Do you feel as though you’re living your life or are you on a roller coaster spiraling completely out of control? What small changes can you make today to shift that energy and make living more of a priority? The first step may be challenging, but once you begin to shift that energy, you’ll be amazed at where it can lead you. Namaste.

Photo: “Light Wave…,” originally uploaded by Kıvanç

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Reconnecting May 27, 2008

“When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.”
~Will Rogers

We all have those moments, days, weeks where it feels like we can’t keep up, we aren’t centered or grounded, we’re separated from Source. I don’t know about you, but when it happens to me, I have this sense that it will require a grand gesture to turn it around. Missed a few days of meditation? Then I must need an hour-long meditation plus two more hours of spiritual practice to catch back up. And then when I don’t have the time or make the time for such a long practice, I judge myself as lacking and sink deeper into the darkness.

The thing is, of course, we’re never completely closed off from Source and no matter how disconnected we feel, reconnection is literally only a breath away. Once the awakening has begun, once you’ve had a taste of the experience of your deep connection to Source, it doesn’t take much to bring you back there. Here are a few simple tools you can use throughout your day to either help you remain connected or reconnect you as needed:

Breathing. We are constantly breathing, in and out, all day long, each and every day. It is something we are generally unconscious of, but try bringing your consciousness to this natural process, recognizing with each breath that you are alive in this moment, right now. Do this for a few moments or a few minutes, depending on where you are and how much time you have. It’s amazing how this simple technique can bring you quickly back to yourself, to you as observer, as awareness, to the now.

Be Here Now. The key to happiness is to stay present in this moment. I find that a simple mantra can work wonders in helping me remain present when I find my mind wandering into past and future events. I’ve been using “Be Here Now” recently, although any mantra will work. I’ve also been playing with the idea that whatever I am doing right now, it is my life’s purpose to be doing it, and so I remind myself of that as I work. It is a great way to turn any activity into a meditation and almost always brings me up out of whatever dark thoughts were trying to take hold in my mind into the space of light and peace that is always available in the now.

Music. Listening to music can be a quick and easy way to reconnect. Our bodies are energy and we are all vibrating. Music is also a vibration, and when the two vibrations meet, we can experience a deep harmony. I know for me there are a few tracks that from the first note I feel myself transported. If you don’t already know what works for you in this way, I recommend exploring the many examples that are available these days developed with the intention of positively affecting people’s vibration. My current favorite is Jonathan Goldman’s Waves of Light, although I also enjoy the Brainwave Suite and the second track of Kelly Howell’s Retrieve Your Destiny. The Globe Institute for Sound Therapy & Healing is a great resource as well. They have a collection of CDs available in their store with demos for you to sample. When you visit their website, they have a selection playing, “Awakening,” that instantly transports me, and I often leave the page open in the background while I’m working so that I can stay in that sense of the divine no matter what I’m doing.

Nature. If you have a wee bit more time, try connecting with the natural world. If there’s a park or a forest nearby, go for a short walk. Try taking off your shoes, feeling the grass or dirt beneath your feet. Connecting with the earth directly is a quick and easy way to literally ground yourself through the earth’s energy. When you don’t have nature readily at hand, try observing the flora and fauna around you. Flowers in a vase, a house plant, a pet, a bird outside your window — take a few moments to really experience these examples of life that can be found just about everywhere, using each of your senses. You may feel how they radiate energy just like you do. Or you may just notice their simple beauty. Whatever comes up for you, the natural world provides so many examples of the essence of life that it can become a great way for you to reconnect with your own sense of that essence within you.

The key here is really it only takes a moment to remember what it is we already know–that we are one with the Source of all life and that the only moment that truly is is this one. When we come into that awareness, we are in contact with the power of the universe, with the divine. Try playing with a few of these tools this week, maybe by setting up a reminder alarm to go off a few times throughout the day or by using them when you start to feel yourself slipping into unconsciousness. I think you’ll find it only takes a moment to turn your day around. Good luck, have fun, and let me know how it goes! Namaste.

Photo: “That my life would depend on the morning sun,” originally uploaded by ThunderChild the Magnificent

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A New Earth — A New Earth May 22, 2008

Jenn’s thoughts and learnings from the tenth and final week of A New Earth: The Oprah Web Event.

“I am a hole in a flute that the Christ’s breath moves through–listen to this music.”
~Hafiz, as translated by Daniel Ladinsky

For whatever reason–resistance, the timing of the Universe is perfect, etc.–it has taken me over a week (two, if you count my trying to watch it on the plane to Georgia) to watch the final week of the A New Earth web event. And I’m kind of glad it did. It’s given me time to really soak this one up, to savor it, linger over it, which seems appropriate for a finale. Eckhart was his usual jovial self but Oprah seemed a little sad to have it all come to an end. I look forward to watching her continue to grow and unfold, to see where life continues to lead her.

My favorite part
I loved the way Oprah put the “what to call God” problem. She said something to the effect of, Spirit doesn’t have an ego so it doesn’t get hung up on what it’s called. Yes!

How to stay present
At one point Oprah shared that her mantra (my word, not hers) is, “Be here, be now.” She repeats it to herself as a reminder to be present. Mine is very similar, “Be Here Now.” I’m not sure why it needs to be capitalized, but that is how it shows up in my head. It’s almost like the words get dropped into my mind one by one, each word their own reminder. Be. Here. Now.

Growing older, growing wiser
One of the most striking concepts in this chapter for me was how all of this applies to growing old. As I’m sure we all do, I know many people who have so identified with what they DO that growing old has been a tragedy for them. Each responsibility they can no longer manage, each task they can no longer perform, is like an arrow through their heart. The process is nothing but pain, nothing but regret, and they spend their time either complaining, focusing solely on what’s wrong, or lost in nostalgia. However for others, they begin to recognize that there is so much more to life than just the doing. It is through having the doing reduced in their life that they recognize the presence and importance of being. They grow lighter, freer, and end up with a luminescent quality. These individuals have been rarer in my life, but are such lights when you come across them. I know which way I’d rather be, but I don’t want to wait until I’m old–I want to start today! (See the poem I posted this morning for further exploration of this subject.)

What you do is always secondary
There was just something about the way this concept was reiterated in this webcast that got me. What you do is always secondary; how you do it is primary. You want to know how to fulfill your destiny? Do whatever it is you are doing, no matter how seemingly large or small, completely and utterly consciously, full of presence. No what where you are, whether you’re mailing a package at the post office, waiting tables at a restaurant, washing up after breakfast, bring your Presence with you. That’s what showing up and fulfilling your destiny looks like. Placing the plate down on the table in front of your customer with full awareness, consciousness, presence, affects everyone around you. It doesn’t matter what it is you are doing–if you are doing it consciously, you are bringing more Presence into the world and playing your role in the greater awakening of the planet.

Goals and visions
This is one of those concepts I’ve been working with for over 15 years, but I feel like it was presented to me brand new. Your goal, your vision, is not something “out there” that is in the future. It lives within you as if it were already a reality, because on some level it already is. It isn’t a goal you are projecting yourself into, something you will reach someday. It isn’t something coming from a place of neediness or scarcity, it is coming from a place of fullness, the way it would feel if you already had it. Because it is something that already exists within you, ready to be born into form in your life. Eckhart talked about writing The Power of Now in this fashion. He sensed that there was a book within him that had already been written. His job, then, was just to allow this already completed construct to come out of him, to manifest itself. This is where true power lies, because all power exists in the present moment. It is about always focusing on this step, just this step. Whatever this moment is, it is a step on the journey.

Acceptance, enjoyment, and enthusiasm
The key point to this chapter (to me, anyway) is that it is time to choose to do everything with acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm. If you cannot operate from one of these three modalities, you are not in alignment with the present moment, with yourself, with life, and you are causing yourself and/or those around you suffering. So the question to always ask yourself is, what is my relationship with the present moment? Am I okay with this moment, friendly with it? If yes, then you are empowered. If no, then ask yourself what you can do to move towards acceptance. It may be that you need to stop doing whatever it is you’re doing, step aside and into something that you can accept. Or you may be able to find acceptance just through becoming aware of where you are, consciously shifting your attention towards recognizing that this moment is what it is. You don’t have to enjoy changing a tire, but when you accept that the tire is flat and changing it is what needs to be done, as opposed to resisting it, cursing it, getting upset with it, etc., then you will be able to find peace in the experience.

I loved what Eckhart had to say about enjoyment, that it will replace wanting. Wanting comes from a place of lack, and when you get whatever it is you were wanting, you feel empty and unfulfilled. Enjoyment, however, leaves you feeling full. It brings empowerment to what you do, flowing through you and allowing creativity to be born in what you are doing. Joy does not come from what you do, from another person, from outside of you in any way–it comes from within, flowing out of you into the world around you.

So my exercise for this week, and yours too, if you so choose, is to pay attention to where I am and see if I can shift the energy. If I feel like I’m in resistance, fighting the moment, then it is time for me to move into acceptance. If it’s something I’m already able to accept, then I can make a game out of it, find a way to turn that acceptance into enjoyment. And if it’s something I’m already able to enjoy, then I can look for that extra something that reminds me this moment is a step towards manifesting my vision and allow enthusiasm to come into play. The new earth already exists within us. Our job now is to allow it to come through us, to be made manifest in form in our lives. Namaste.

Photo: “Dream,” originally uploaded by Jan McLaughlin

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Tibetan Book of the Dead quote May 13, 2008

Filed under: quote of the week — jennsheridan @ 7:00 pm
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Remember the clear light, the pure clear white light from which everything in the universe comes, to which everything in the universe returns; the original nature of your own mind. The natural state of the universe unmanifest. Let go into the clear light, trust it, merge with it. It is your own true nature, it is home.

~Tibetan Book of the Dead