Learning to Fly

Live life to its fullest

Birthing May 6, 2009

Filed under: practice — jennsheridan @ 5:26 am
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Birth is not only about making babies. Birth is about making mothers — strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength.
~Barbara Katz Rothman

I suppose it is natural for me to have the concept of “birthing” on my mind these days. In 12 weeks, give or take depending on when the baby wants to arrive, I will be participating in a literal birthing of the new addition to our family. I’m shifting into a “preparing for baby” phase — we started registering and figuring out what kinds of things we’ll need before the baby arrives, and we start childbirth classes next week. My body is continuing to change in new and unexpected ways, and baby’s movements are getting more consistent and pronounced.

But birthing has always been about more than the literal to me. One of my favorite songs is Far Far by Yael Naim, in which she talks about giving birth to yourself. For those of us who are walking the path of spiritual growth, the process of giving birth to ourselves is somewhat constant. There is always something “new” we’re uncovering within and learning to show the world. This year that “newness” within that I’m uncovering is mostly about how the divine feminine shows up in me, and how I can share that powerful feminine side of myself with those around me. I am giving birth to myself as a mother, to myself as someone who truly loves her body (perhaps for the first time in her life) now that it is home to her child, to myself as I embrace being a member of the community of woman in ways that my masculine-focused energy used to reject.

We all have both masculine and feminine energy, and it balances (or imbalances) within us differently depending on many factors, like how we were raised, what we value now, what phase of life we are in, etc. I was severely out of balance on the masculine side of the spectrum for the first 30+ years of my life. While the pendulum has been swinging quite a bit towards the feminine, I have often felt that masculine energy still in dominance. This year is really the first time I’ve felt the balance shift towards the feminine. It doesn’t mean that I’m rejecting the masculine energy within me, but it does mean I’m finally finding a way to balance those energies and to embrace my femininity as part of what makes me powerful, as part of what makes me Who I Am.

Mother’s Day is this weekend, which is always a wonderful time not only to celebrate the women who gave us birth and the mothers we are close to, but also the feminine energy that lives within us. It is time to let go of the doing energy–we’ve already planted plenty of seeds– and instead to celebrate our BEINGness, our unconditional love, our connection to Source, our connection to each other, our ability to allow things to open up and unfold. What are you in the process of birthing? “There’s a beautiful mess inside . . . Take a deep breath and dive . . . I guess I’ll have to give it birth . . . There’s a beautiful mess inside and it’s everywhere . . . Deeper than you ever dared . . .” Namaste.

Photo: “Viceroy on the Butterfly Bush,” originally uploaded by Benny Mazur

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Turning your energy around April 17, 2009

Filed under: practice — jennsheridan @ 1:17 pm
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Do not struggle. Go with the flow of things, and you will find yourself at one with the mysterious unity of the Universe.
~Chuang Tzu

This week has been a great opportunity for me to practice turning energy around. Last week was a rough one — my so-called morning sickness reemerged leaving me severely nauseated and exhausted. Things at work have been intense — two new additions to my team is a wonderful thing, but those first few weeks of training while still juggling meetings and the rest of my workload can be a bit challenging. Emotions at the office have been high as part of our ongoing growing pains, affecting my ability to stay centered in the midst of the chaos. And time, both on the work front and on the preparing for baby front, has appeared to be slipping through my fingers, leaving my energy focused on the future and on what isn’t getting done instead of in the present moment.

When I got up Monday morning, I realized that I was the source of much of this anxiety. I had let myself stray off the path to peace. Instead of going with the flow, I was living in resistance, which was, quite literally, making me crazy. I realized I had a choice about this week went, and set my intention to turn my energy around. I even went so far as to write it down: “My intention for the week: turn the energy around — return to a feeling of flow. It’s all good, it’s all getting done.” It may be a small thing, but setting that intention in such a tangible way had immediate effects. Instead of feeling rushed that morning, I took my time, spending even more time on my morning practice than I usually do. At the office, I made a conscious choice to stay as centered as possible, taking small breaks throughout my day to close my eyes and breathe deeply, feeling my connection to Source. And I started delegating tasks, small and large, work and personal, in some ways remembering to ask for help, and in others, remembering that I don’t have to be the one performing the task to ensure it gets done.

This week has still had its rocky points — the challenges that made last week rough did not evaporate overnight. But my anxiety over them has dissipated, and as I’ve stayed much more rooted in the present moment this week, I’ve been able to deal with things as they come up in such a way that enabled me to release and let go, surrendering to the flow and allowing life to unfold. I have three more additions to my team beginning on Monday, and I still have meetings to attend and work to do, but I am remembering to set my intentions, remembering my connection to Source, and most of all, remembering to stay present in the midst of the seeming chaos. It seems like a better choice to me. Namaste.

Photo: “go with the flow…,” originally uploaded by muha…

 

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

 

Happy Autumnal Equinox! September 22, 2008

Filed under: practice — jennsheridan @ 11:39 pm
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I have mixed feelings about today. On the up side, fall is my absolutely favorite time of year. I love the change of weather, when the temperature begins to cool and evenings take on a crispness that encourages sweaters and jackets. I love when the leaves begin to change, exchanging their gorgeous greens for majestic reds, yellows, oranges and browns. I love school supplies filling the drugstores, with the clean, blank notebooks begging to be filled with fresh ideas. But it’s a mournful time too, as day and night share equal time today, signaling the beginning of our descent into darkness for the winter. It’s time to turn within, to connect to the wise Self and eternal Source within, staying quiet and leaving the boisterous extroversion of spring and summer behind for a spell.

Even living in a place where it stays warm so late in the year that leaves are still changing around Thanksgiving, fall is fall, and I always associate this time of year with new beginnings, with learning new things, with positive change. This year has felt sort of like fall has arrived every month, bringing regular change and inducing an ongoing sense of wonder at the world and my place in it. One of those changes is that for the first time, I am embracing the darkness, exploring the quiet stillness, the appearance of things coming to end, connecting with pieces of me that usual go unnoticed or ignored. I am not terribly interested in defining myself in concrete terms, perhaps because my self-definition is utterly fluid right now. What is much more up my alley right now is just being in the moment, seeing what shows up in it, and truly responding to it from the center of my being. What happens next is so much more powerful than what would have happened if I’d simply reacted or allowed my Intellect to interfere.

Life is an ongoing process, an experiment in becoming more — more of Who I Am, more of who I came here to be. It’s such a wild ride, unexpected and joyous and thought-provoking and vital. I’m simply excited to be here, excited that it’s fall, that it’s another season in the cycle of this crazy and incredible year, excited to see what I get to learn and be and do next, and excited to share bits and pieces of my journey with you. Namaste.

Photo: “Forever autumn,” originally uploaded by Josep Mª Rosell

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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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Tools for the journey May 6, 2008

Nothing can stop the man with right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.
~Thomas Jefferson

I’ve been focusing these past few months on the internal tools we have at our disposal to connect to Source and our inner wisdom, enabling us to embrace the guidance that is always available to us as we go through our life journey. Meditation, following your intuition, using a mantra, forgiveness, staying present–these are all powerful tools to help us on our path. And while nothing can replace that internal work and desire, you definitely don’t have to go it alone. There’s a whole world of external resources that can be very useful in providing guidance and confirmation that what we’re receiving intuitively really is coming from our inner wisdom.

Community. Perhaps the most obvious, ubiquitous, and useful place to look is in other people. Whether it be an individual or a community, the people we encounter in our lives are gifts from the divine. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of supportive spiritual centers out there. My personal favorite is Sacred Center New York. August Gold is perhaps the most transformational teacher you will ever have the privilege to encounter, or at the very least, that I have discovered so far on my own journey. This Center has an energy that is lighting up the whole of New York City, expanding its reach further and further each year. Not close to New York? That’s okay, there are many spiritual communities available to you. Religious Science International, United Centers for Spiritual Living, Unity, and Unitarian Universalist have churches all over the country that might appeal to you. There are also many independent churches, Zen centers, study groups, book clubs, even groups and workshops meeting at metaphysical bookstores. I trust you won’t have to look very far before you find a spiritual group within your community that would welcome your participation and provide you with loving support for your journey.

Readers. I am relatively new to the concept of receiving a “reading.” I never used to take the concept very seriously, possibly because I felt you needed to do it all on your own and possibly because I discounted the quality of the information that could be gleaned through this process. About a year ago, however, my ideas on this subject shifted, about the time that my ideas on most subjects were shifting. I heard a description of the readings that Caroline Reynolds does, talking about how she uses reading your chakras to help give you clarity and point you in a direction that will ultimately bring you a sense of fulfillment, and knew this was something I needed to do. Working with Caroline has provided not only guidance, but a sense of progress as my life begins to blossom in new and unexpected ways. She helps me to see how things are interconnected and where my blocks are so I can better focus the work I’m doing where it will have the most effect. Others I have worked with less extensively are Genevieve Vulser, an angel mediator, hypnotherapist, Reiki master, and spiritual teacher, and Belle Star, whose aura photography and readings guide her life coach practice.

I recommend working with someone whose work you are familiar with or who has helped a friend you trust. If this isn’t an option, check your local metaphysical bookstore to see who they would recommend. Make sure that the type of reading they provide resonates with you, is in alignment with the kind of guidance you are looking for. The thing to keep in mind with any reader is that they can only speak to where you are today. Anyone who is claiming to be able to see the future is really picking up on where your energy is now and looking at the natural evolution of that energy if it were to continue unfolding exactly as it is today. However, the future is always malleable, we can always set new intentions and make new choices that alter the path we are on. The information they provide is just a tool to help you steer your journey in the direction you choose. Think of it as a compass, showing you where you are headed in relation to your true north, and use it accordingly.

Movement. Connecting to the life force energy through movement can be very powerful and rejuvenating. Yoga is a wonderful option, especially if you go with one of the more spirit-oriented schools of thought, as opposed to those who look at Yoga purely for its exercise benefits. I personally prefer Hatha Yoga, as it feels like a holistic approach to the mind-body connection. While I haven’t yet had the pleasure of taking a class from him, the description I’ve heard of Ned Grant’s classes is exactly the kind of yoga I would enjoy participating in. From his website: “Yoga can be considered to be a two-step process, in which the first step is the focus of the mind, and the second is the release of energy that emerges as a result of that focus. In Hatha Yoga, the focus begins with what we do with the breath and the body.” Until I find a yogi like that in my neighborhood, I’m diving into my new love, Qigong. I get so much energy from this practice that I barely notice it is also exercise. I feel revitalized within the first few minutes of getting my Qi moving and its effects last throughout the day. If you’re interested in an introduction to Qigong, I would recommend picking up one of Lee Holden‘s DVDs.

Cards. Cards are a great tool for receiving messages or gaining clarity on what is coming to you intuitively. I am loving my tarot cards these days and find this tool to be a great asset to my daily guidance. Once you learn to read tarot cards you can do readings for yourself or for others, or if you’d prefer you can find a reader to look at the cards for you. Also handy are message cards like angel cards or daily affirmation cards. Ask the universe for what you need to know today and allow your intuition to pick a card–the message you receive is usually a great reminder of where you need to place your attention today for best results.

Pendulums and Crystals. A recent (re)discovery for me is the power of stones and crystals. All products of the earth have energy, and many crystals amplify your own energy in different ways depending on the crystal. I’ve found a handful of different stones and crystals that I meditate with, each with their own energy. If I need a boost to my intuition, I use one, but if I’m looking to open my heart I use another. Crystals make great pendulums as well, which are excellent tools for refining intuitive messages. Start by asking your pendulum simple questions so you can begin to see how it responds with its yes, no, and maybe or don’t know responses. Once you begin to develop a relationship with it, you can ask it questions you need clarity on and see which way it swings. It can take time for your confidence in this tool to grow, but the more confident you are, the more you can rely on its answers.

Sound. Having just spent a few days exploring the Globe Sound Healing Conference, I am especially aware of the ability of sound to open you up to a deeper connection to Source and a greater connection with your own inner wisdom. I had the pleasure of experiencing an alignment by a “crystal alchemist” my first morning at the conference. If you’re ever in Mount Shasta, you will definitely want to look up Crystal Tones at Mount Shasta–their crystal bowls are amazing, producing vibration that sings to your soul. Another pleasure was exploring the “percussive sculpture” of Bruce Gray, whose drums and rattles feel like they are alive. These are true pieces of art as well as powerful ways to connect to that primeval rhythm within. Music of all shapes and sizes provides a way for me to experience the divine, regardless of how I’m feeling or where my thoughts are running. Experiment with different musical forms, both participating and listening, and see what works for you.

These are really just a handful of the tools that are available to you at any given time. The takeaway here for me is that the world has so much to offer you, so much support to give you, so many avenues for you to explore. Your job is not to walk down every path or try on every tool for size, but to explore enough so that you’ve found a few tools that work for you and be open to new tools as they show up for you. Whether its a new person coming into your life or guitar lessons or a beautiful deck of angel cards, these tools are here for our enrichment. They don’t replace the guidance we receive from within, but they enhance it, providing us with the support of the universe’s loving arms. Relax, surrender, and enjoy the ride. Namaste.

Photo: “Daimonji path,” originally uploaded by Chris Gladis

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Kabir quote March 16, 2008

Filed under: quote of the week — jennsheridan @ 7:00 pm
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Look at you, you madman, screaming you are thirsty and are dying in a desert when all around you there is nothing but water!

~Kabir