Learning to Fly

Live life to its fullest

Don Miguel Ruiz, the first agreement June 2, 2008

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1st Agreement: Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip with others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

~Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements

 

I am Life’s Anchor May 16, 2008

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“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.”
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We are powerful beyond measure, and as Marianne Williamson says, it is our greatest fear. There is safety and comfort in conformity, in staying small, however there is no truth, no passion, no divinity. To find these things we must expand into Who We Really Are, stand up and be seen for the unique, individualized expressions of Life that each of us is at the core of our being.

This morning I was told of an exercise that August Gold has been using lately in her classes at Sacred Center New York. I’ve been playing with it today and I love how powerful it is and yet how playful it is. The truth I’ve recently come to know about myself is that I am Peaceful, Powerful, and Playful, so it isn’t surprising that this exercise speaks to me. I find that it connects me with that larger truth of my being that I am only just beginning to let myself see, let alone the rest of the world. There is no place to hide within this exercise, but because it is fun, I am able to get out of my own way and let it flow. Here’s how it works:

You take the alphabet and create an affirmation around each of the 26 letters. Begin each affirmation with “I am Life’s . . .” and then insert a word the begins with that letter of the alphabet. You can use any word that feels good in place of Life–Source, God, the Universe, Divine Intelligence, etc. If something unusual comes up that doesn’t instantly make sense, play with it for a bit and see where it leads you. For example, “I am Life’s Dandelion,” might not be immediately clear, but if you let it unfold you might get, “I am Life’s Dandelion, spreading the seeds of truth wherever I go.”

You might be surprised at what comes up for you, which concepts make you uncomfortable and which ones resonate immediately. But remember, the truth of Who You Are is powerful beyond measure. Let go, have a little fun with it, and see where it leads you. Namaste.

My first set:

I am Life’s Anchor, connecting the divine to the earth.
I am Life’s Basin, collecting all wisdom that flows my way.
I am Life’s Caterpillar, about to become a beautiful butterfly.
I am Life’s Dancing Queen.
I am Life’s Expanding consciousness.
I am Life’s Friend, opening my heart to all who cross my path.
I am Life’s Guide, sharing what I’ve learned through my life’s exploration.
I am Life’s Hymn, expressing my joy through song.
I am Life’s Imagination.
I am Life’s Jenny Boo Boo, bringing joy and playfulness wherever I go.
I am Life’s Kick-ass Slickrock Woman, capable of doing anything or going anywhere I so choose.
I am Life’s Looking glass, reflecting Love and Light back into the world.
I am Life’s Magic carpet ride, transporting myself and others into the magic of the world around us.
I am Life’s Nowhere (now here).
I am Life’s Open book, showing up as 100% myself with nothing to hide.
I am Life’s Piecrust, ready to be filled with all the yummy goodness life has to offer.
I am Life’s Qi, allowing the energy of the universe to flow through me.
I am Life’s Revealer, healing through revealing the truth of the divinity within.
I am Life’s Superball, always bouncing back.
I am Life’s Tulip, blossoming beautifully.
I am Life’s Umbrella, finding joy even in the hardest rain.
I am Life’s Vibrant vitality.
I am Life’s Well-being.
I am Life’s X ray, seeing through the appearances to find the gift in every situation.
I am Life’s Yin and yang, balancing my masculine and feminine energies.
I am Life’s Zigzag–my path may not always be straight, but I know that life’s a journey not a destination.

Photo: “joy,” originally uploaded by Martin Talbot

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Living from the right brain April 17, 2008

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”
~The Dalai Lama

This video of neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor describing her experience while having a stroke has come to me from several different sources lately. I was finally able to download and watch it yesterday and wow, now I know why. If you haven’t heard about this video or had time to watch it yet, I cannot recommend enough taking the time to watch it now. I would not be surprised if you found it the best spent 18 minutes of your day today.

This idea of right brain vs. left brain has been coming up all over the place recently. It is definitely related to the divine dichotomy–we are all One, yet we are each of us unique individuals–and is related to our balance of feminine and masculine energies. This video really helped clarify how it is all connected, and also gave me a way of looking at it whereby I can begin choosing to live from my right brain.

Now don’t worry, I have no intention of throwing the baby out with the bathwater and disassociating myself from the left brain, mind-based, masculine energy side of me. It’s just that it has been in the driver’s seat for most of my life already, and I really want to engage the right brain, spirit-based, feminine energy side of me, at the very least creating a sense of balance in my life. What I’m looking to do now is to develop practices that strengthen my right brain, enabling it to become the dominant place that I’m operating from.

There are quite a few benefits to this practice that I can see. Perhaps the most obvious one for me right now is that so far I’ve had a heck of a time turning off the running commentary of my left brain. Mostly it is a distraction from my truth and it very rarely provides anything useful, except for when the commentary is obviously fear-based and then I can use it as a guiding light (i.e. do what the fear is telling me NOT to do). A new idea for me is developing this sense of not knowing where I end and the rest of the universe begins. I’ve had this experience in meditation or when I first wake up in the morning or while on the natural high induced by music and dancing, but recognizing its source makes me realize that it is an awareness that is always with me on some level, open to me all of the time.

I heard a story recently of a woman who recognized that she was allowing her left brain to dictate her reaction to a situation–she literally took a step to the right and allowed herself to respond from this part of her instead. What came out of her mouth surprised even her, but it came from her intuition, her inner wisdom, and resonated with a much deeper truth for her. I’ve also been experimenting with writing with my left hand, which allows me to naturally and easily tap into that intuitive place. Are you interested in experimenting with engaging more of your right brain? What kinds of activities do you find work for you? I know I’m excited to begin living from my right brain–let me know how it goes for you too! Namaste.

Photo: “***Creativity***,” originally uploaded by Angela Mengoa

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One message March 28, 2008

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“Say not, ‘I have found the truth,’ but rather, ‘I have found a truth.'”
~Kahlil Gibran

I had a wonderful, somewhat unexpected experience last night. A friend of mine heard somewhat vaguely about a blessing being done by a woman from India who imparts divine energy. She didn’t know anything else about it except when and where it would be held. It sounded interesting to me so I decided to go to it with her. The evening ended up being part of Sri Karunamayi’s 2008 World Tour, the Spiritual Discourse and Darshan piece of her larger Bay Area program. Amma, as she is called, is considered to be an embodiment of the divine mother, with a large heart full of love for individuals and the world as a whole. She has many followers in India and around the world, revered for her loving presence and good works.

While I’ve always found Hinduism interesting–really, find me a religion or philosophy that’s NOT interesting–I was always more attracted to the Taoist and Buddhist end of the Eastern religious spectrum. I’ve been introduced to small pieces of the faith throughout the years, even studying the Bhagavad Gita and using a mantra, but I’ve never been one of those people who felt incomplete without a guru or a trip to India. However, one of the things I love about being where I am on my path right now is that I really got to enjoy the experience last night, soak up all the good energy in the room, experience Amma’s amazing presence, and not worry about what to call it or find a label for myself in the midst of it. I loved the chanting–my favorite being the Sri Sarasweti Mantra, I’ve been singing it half the morning–loved feeling the vibration of the sounds in my chest and body, loved how it deepened my connection to everyone else in the room, loved how I could feel the vibration even during the silent meditation. During some of the chants there was drumming, which set my soul on fire and made me want to move, to participate in the creation of its beautiful, soulful rhythm.

Amma spoke on and off throughout the evening, sharing her perspective on the world and our place in it. I couldn’t always understand the words she was saying, but I always felt connected to her message. The more she spoke the more clear it became to me that she was speaking a truth I’d heard before, just with a slightly different perspective on it. She may be coming from the background of Sanātana Dharma and I may be coming from a patchwork quilt background that includes Christianity and Religious Science, but we are both pulling from the same well, connecting to the same sense of the divine. She spoke of our Oneness with the whole of life, and how to be at peace with that life. She spoke of our duty to be in the world but not of it, bringing our presence out into the world without getting sucked into its drama. She spoke of the importance of meditation, and how to find clues to the practice of meditation by looking out in nature. And she spoke of a deep, abiding love that fills her up and spreads out into the world through each person that allows it to, carrying with it the peace and joy that true love brings.

At the end of the evening, I got to take part in the blessing. Amma reached out and dabbed a mixture on my forehead as she murmured a few words, and I thanked her, looking deep in her eyes and soaking up her loving energy. I felt so light, so peaceful, and so grateful to have been part of the experience. I bet if you’d seen me at that moment, I would have been radiant, almost translucent. Slowly but surely, I’m sloughing off my labels, my personal dogma, my limiting beliefs. I am opening up to experiencing all of the wisdom and truth and power and love this universe has to offer. It’s a wonderful ride. Namaste.

Photo: “Sri Lanka,” originally uploaded by Steve Evans

(Yes, I know this is a picture of a Sri Lankan girl, which means not only is she from another country but there’s a 70% chance she’s Buddhist. However, it’s such a beautiful, striking photo that I wanted to share it. No labels, remember?)

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Everett Ruess Quote March 24, 2008

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I have always been unsatisfied with life as most people live it. Always I want to live more intensely and richly. Why muck and conceal one’s true longings and loves, when by speaking of them one might find someone to understand them, and by acting on them one might discover oneself?

~Everett Ruess

 

Shift happens March 10, 2008

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Today I would like to share with you what I hope is the first of many guest posts. As you travel the spiritual path, you come across many wonderful spirits, teachers, and friends. Rev. Melanie Colpaart is just one of these people. I feel blessed to have her in my life and hope you enjoy her warm wisdom.

Got something to pass through? Is it appearing a bit perilous and are you feeling a bit timid about the outcome? Choose a new idea about what it is you are “up against” in order to get to the other side. Is it possible to see an island paradise rather than a mountain perilous? And is there a boulder to push single-handedly up the mountain perilous? Why not sail through challenges rather than attempting to attack them with frustration. Ahh, sure, easy to say, not so easy to do, right?

Here’s the trick (the jester said with a smile), ask yourself just what you are focusing on, truly focusing on. Is the focus on the obstacle to achieving a desired result, or is it on the desired result? Are you focusing on what is in your head, or what is in your heart? What you tend to focus on, IS what appears on your horizon, it is always for you to choose. Even in the midst of a disturbing event or challenge, how you choose to look at the situation is absolutely how the situation will show up and unfold. The trick is to absolutely keep your heart and mind in paradise to the extent you can muster, whenever possible. Complaining, griping, grousing does no good at all, it only allows the appearance of the bad to remain.

Sound a bit daunting, frustrating, unnerving? It might in the beginning, however with practice, changing how you approach situations will change the challenges that show up in your life experience, and this IS the truth. You have heard this before, haven’t you? Every leader, teacher, spiritual mystic and avatar has said this same thing: “how, or what you believe in is how or what your life will be” (or something like that). They have said this for a very good reason–it is the way it is. It is up to you to make the difference in your own life, and by so doing, make a difference in the collective consciousness of our planet.

So, stop playing the victim or martyr and reclaim your power to sail through this paradise. Your island of peace and serenity is here for you as you journey AND it is here for you when you reach the other side of the pass you are moving through. Your paradise, or your peril is waiting for you to choose. So get to focusing on what you truly desire and it can and will appear for you now.

Rev. Melanie Colpaart is an Ordained Minister of Religious Science residing in beautiful Austin, Texas. She is a wife, stepmom, cat lover, traveler, hiker, sometimes golfer and friend to the wonderful Jenn, and so it is. 🙂

Photo: This beautiful photo is one of Rev. Melanie’s of a pass into a reef area at Rangiroa Tuamotus, in the Society Islands.

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W.H. Murray Quote March 2, 2008

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Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness concerning all acts of initiative and creation. There is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans; that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen events, meetings and material assistance which no one could have dreamed would have come their way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now!”


~W.H. Murray