Learning to Fly

Live life to its fullest

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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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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Hugging back April 10, 2008

Something I was reading this week recommended hugging a tree, saying that if you get still and pay attention you should feel the tree hugging back. Somewhat by accident, I ended up participating in a tree hug fest yesterday, and I am so glad that I did. What a magnificent way to connect with nature and the universe. Booyah!

I’ve been feeling the pull towards the beach this week–it takes about 30 minutes to get over to Half Moon Bay and I tend to fill my days with so much busyness that I don’t feel I have time to make the journey. Every time I go I think, wow, it’s so close, why don’t I do this more often? The intellect can be so silly sometimes. Turning it off and letting the greater wisdom within me do the thinking always nets better results.

So while I was there I had two goals: to walk my 3-mile walk for my Avon Walk for Breast Cancer training, and to soak up as much beauty and peace and, well, beach as I could. It was absolutely gorgeous when I arrived–a deep blue sky reflecting into the sparkling blue ocean, relatively warm (I’m thinking mid-60s), a handful of fluffy, white clouds. I set off in a northerly direction along a path that ran along the top of the cliff. At some point I reached an easy access point to head down to the beach and I did, walking along the water and just enjoying the smell, the way the clouds dancing across the sun cast shadows on the sand, the feeling of the sand giving way beneath my feet.

When I turned around to head back the other way I realized that dark, heavy clouds were coming in, slowly obscuring the sun, but it was an almost tangible blanket with distinct edges–when you looked out to the horizon you could see the sun reflecting off the water on the other side a few miles out. It was absolutely breathtaking in its own way. On the way back I made a game out of walking in my own footsteps, half running in the sand and laughing at my own silliness. At the car, I knew I was having too much fun to go home, so I just kept walking past it towards a clump of trees I saw hanging on the edge of the cliff.

And man, as much fun as I had walking on the beach, exploring these trees was definitely the highlight of my day. It’s only Thursday and I don’t want to squelch any upcoming joy, otherwise I’d claim it as the highlight of my week! I had to cross a little bridge to reach this grove of cypresses and it was like crossing into another world. A deep peace fell over me and I felt as though I’d walked into a large cathedral with the kind of deep energy that collects over many years of reverence. My steps got very slow and I could feel my energy shift in response to the trees, keeping the playfulness but almost mutating it into a sense of celebration, a joie de vivre, that resonated all the way to my core.

There was a single cypress hanging off the edge of the cliff, completely bent so that its top ran almost parallel to the ground. I walked up to it and wrapped my arms around it, resting my chin on its bark and looking out over its vista. I’d been soaking up the beauty of the beach for almost an hour, but it was like I was seeing it for the first time, I was seeing it from the tree’s vantage point. I stood there for a few minutes, soaking up the energy of the tree, not even really conscious of the fact that my toes were just a couple of inches from the edge of a cliff. I just felt so safe, so centered, so grounded, so connected.

The next tree I came to was sticking out of the earth at about a 45 degree angle. It wasn’t one I could really hug, so instead I ran my hands along it, really seeing it through my palms and fingers, feeling the intricacies of its bark. There were a couple of knots that looked a bit like the deep, soulful eyes of a horse or a whale or something, and I looked deeply into them, feeling like I was looking into the tree’s soul. The tree emanated such a sense of grace, and I felt honored to have it share its presence with me.

After that, I ran through the clumps of trees I found and explored them like I was a little kid, seeing them as great places to play games, making different rooms out of the trees’ canopies, seeing how many I could walk between along the edge of the cliff without going back out to the path. These trees brought me to a place of such joy and gratitude. I felt childlike in their presence, totally in awe of them, yet having so much fun with them.

I am so grateful to have had this experience yesterday. I needed this connection, this reminder of the magnificence of the universe and my place in it. And now I know exactly where I can go if I ever need help reaching a place of peace and serenity. The grace of these trees will always show me the way. Namaste.

Photo: “the lone cypress as seen from the 17 mile drive,” originally uploaded by Vaidyanathan Krishnan

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A New Earth: The Pain-Body April 2, 2008

Filed under: a new earth — jennsheridan @ 8:32 pm
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Jenn’s thoughts and learnings from the fifth week of A New Earth: The Oprah Web Event.

Nothing ever happened in the past that can prevent you from being present now; and if the past cannot prevent you from being present now, what power does it have?
~Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

Ah, the pain-body. There’s some really good stuff to be learned and applied here with this chapter and segment of the A New Earth webinar. In addition to two stories that I’ve heard many times before and still just get so much out of, I had one really big Aha! moment that I’ll share with you.

The Duck With a Human Mind
Eckhart tells this story in both The Power of Now and A New Earth. He was watching two ducks on a pond one day. When they got a little too close, perhaps in each other’s territory, there was a big flutter of commotion and a brief battle ensued. They separated from each other, still agitated, and then both lifted themselves up and shook their wings vigorously, releasing the energy from the fight and leaving them free to float away peacefully. It’s a story that shows you how our human mind and human thought processes are not always a gift. When two people have an altercation like this, they walk away muttering to themselves, retelling the story, preparing themselves for how they’ll act next time based on this occurrence. People relive the pain of a single moment hundreds if not thousands, or even millions, of times, causing ongoing pain instead of temporary pain. There is a great lesson to learn from the ducks about experiencing the emotion and then just shaking your wings, letting it slide right off of you, not telling yourself the story over and over again reliving the pain.

Carrying the Past
Oh how I love this Zen story. I’ve heard it dozens of times, but gain deeper awareness with each retelling. In Eckhart’s words:

“Two Zen monks, Tanzan and Ekido, . . . were talking along a country road that had become exremely muddy after heavy rains. Near a village, they came upon a young woman who was trying to cross the road, but the mud was so deep it would have ruined the silk kimono she was wearing. Tanzan at once picked her up and carried her to the other side. The monks walked on in silence. Five hours later, as they were approaching the lodging temple, Ekido couldn’t restrain himself any longer. ‘Why did you carry that girl across the road?’ he asked. ‘We monks are not supposed to do things like that.’ ‘I put the girl down hours ago,’ said Tanzan. ‘Are you still carrying her?'”

The past is past. The present is all there is. Let it go, let it go, let it go.

The Monster Within
I’ve spent more than 15 years connecting with the wisdom I have within me. My big Aha! this week was about the monster within–the pain-body. Do you have anyone in your life that despite all your best efforts, you still clash with, or perhaps they still push your buttons like no one else can? I’ve got a couple of people in my life that it seems like no matter what I do or say, they find a way to be upset with me, to find fault with me, and ultimately, to push my buttons. Eckhart’s description of this as the pain-body really opened my eyes, made me realize that when I feel like the rug has just been pulled out from underneath me and the person I’m interacting with has just undergone a personality change, it’s really their pain-body coming out to play. And because these pain-bodies have had so much success getting a reaction out of me in the past, they are going to keep coming at me until I find a way to be fully present with these individuals. Eckhart’s advice: don’t react, don’t judge, just be compassionate, stand still in your awareness and allow the moment to be what it is. If you can remain present and not engage in the drama, the pain-body will either subside or go find someone else to play with. The key there is to remain present, as most pain-bodies are highly skilled in triggering unconsciousness in even the most aware people. This is definitely one for me to practice, alongside increasing my awareness of my own pain-body and its methods for manipulating me and those around me.

Photo: “duck on a pond,” originally uploaded by Peter Shanks

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Step 5: Trust Your Intuition February 28, 2008

Filed under: learning to fly,practice — jennsheridan @ 8:46 pm
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From the Steps to Learning How to Fly series.

Life always gives us exactly the teacher we need at every moment. This includes every mosquito, every misfortune, every red light, every traffic jam, every obnoxious supervisor (or employee), every illness, every loss, every moment of joy or depression, every addiction, every piece of garbage, every breath. Every moment is the guru.
~Joko Beck

Have you ever had a feeling or a hunch about something that you just couldn’t rationalize? Did it end up being right on the money? For the longest time I dismissed those feelings, using my reasoning and rationalization skills to either come to the same conclusion or the opposite one depending on what I wanted to see. If I had learned earlier to trust those feelings, I would have saved myself considerable anguish in my life, but apparently it was a lesson I needed to learn the long way.

What I know now is that the universe and my inner wisdom are speaking to me all the time. When I pay attention to these messages, things fall into place with such ease I’m in awe. When I don’t pay attention or ignore these messages, things have a way of getting messy and tangled. So what’s the trick to getting in touch with your intuition? The good news is we’ve already talked about the two things I think are most important to pave the way: clearing the slate and conscious connection. When you reduce the distractions in your life and take the time to be still and listen each day, you are building the muscles needed in order to discern which of those voices in your head is your intuition.

As the quote above suggests, messages show up in a myriad of ways, and they are always coming to us. Sometimes an idea will just pop into your head, other times a book will fall off a shelf. Perhaps you turn on the radio and the lyrics to the song playing are the answer to a question that’s been bugging you, or you get an email from a friend telling you about how they just solved a problem you’ve been struggling with. Or it might be that you run out of gas in front of a building with a mural painted on the side, and the words in the mural are exactly what you needed to be reminded of. Once you begin to pay attention, you will see these kinds of messages everywhere!

You can consciously cultivate this process by doing things like using an oracle card deck or playing “book roulette”–play around with these ideas until you find a method that feels good to you. There are hundreds of oracle card decks on the market these days from a wide variety of authors and artists. My current favorites are angel cards by Doreen Virtue, which I discovered on a retreat to Sedona I went on last fall. One of my friends had a deck that she used each day, pulling out a card and reading its message. By the end of the retreat, the whole group was doing it. I had never been into angels previously myself, but these cards are beautifully designed and the readings to go with them are simple and metaphysical, and almost always exactly what I need to hear. “Book roulette” will work with just about any book, but I would recommend using one that you find to be especially wise. Some people like to use the Bible, others use The Science of Mind, by Ernest Holmes, known as “the textbook” to many Religious Scientists. I’ve had great luck with Sufi poetry–my favorites are Hafiz and Rumi. And my guess is Eat, Pray, Love would work wonderfully for me as well. Once you have a book in hand, formulate a question and then open the book at random. Start reading wherever your eyes fall on the page or use your finger to point at a passage.

Fear is also a wonderful route to getting in touch with your intuition, even if that doesn’t sound especially intuitive. The voice of fear is almost always telling you what you need to do in order to stay small, to stay exactly where you are and avoid changing and growing. I’ve learned that because of this, if I do what it is telling me NOT to do, I open myself up for great discoveries, or at the very least the opportunity to neutralize an old pattern. It can be as small as picking up the phone to call someone or as big as quitting your job. Last year, I spent a lot of time trying to “figure out” what I should do about my work. I got the message to leave my job over and over and over again, but I rationalized it away, saying that was just wishful thinking. The voice of fear kept reminding me that I needed a job for a million reasons, from money to having a hole in my resume to “what would people think?” The day I decided to give my notice it was like the dark cloud over my head lifted and the sun came out and I was light as a feather and filled with joy. It resonating so deeply within me that I finally recognized which voice was which and knew that it was the right thing for me to do.

Now that you’re ready to listen to your intuition, to those messages the universe is sending you, to the wisdom that lies within you, the next step is to learn to trust it enough to follow where it leads. Trust is a muscle, just like anything else, and it has to be built. Start with something that feels small, that feels like you have nothing to lose, like what to have for dinner tonight or what to wear to work tomorrow. Feel the difference between doing the thing your intuition tells you to do and ignoring it. For me anyway, once I started paying attention to what was resonating versus what wasn’t, it was easy for me to trust. It definitely feels better! As Nike says, Just do it–you’ll thank yourself later.

Recommended Reading:
Developing Intuition, by Shakti Gawain
The Gift, by Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky
Healing with the Angels Oracle Cards, by Doreen Virtue
The Psychic Pathway, by Sonia Choquette
The Soul of Rumi, by Jalal Al-Din Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks
Trust Your Vibes, by Sonia Choquette

Photo: labyrinth–avila beach, Originally uploaded by Moon Rhythm

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Step 4: Connect Consciously

From the Steps to Learning How to Fly series.

The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, swelling in the present moment and feeling truly alive.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

I don’t know about you, but I am a busy person. If you have ever tried to make a plan with me, you know how true this is. I have a wide variety of interests and I generally like to be doing things, whether it’s going for a hike or hanging out with friends or reorganizing a closet. Even without working full-time right now, I get myself so busy some days I feel like my head is going to spin on my shoulders. My saving grace? My meditation practice.

The word “meditation” has a lot of expectation tied up in it. There are schools of thought out there that follow pretty specific guidelines–that’s not (exclusively) what I’m talking about here. Whether you call it meditation, or sitting, or being still, the point is to take time each day to stop doing and to practice being. Guided meditation, walking meditation, silent meditation, or even just watching the waves crash on the beach–whatever works for you, this is what I mean by meditation.

So how does something that requires more time get fit into a busy life? I know one of the first places of resistance that I go to is, “But I just don’t have the time.” The truth is, you don’t have to meditate for a long period of time to feel its benefits. While my goal is to meditate at least 30 minutes each day, the minimum commitment I make to myself is 15 minutes. Still sound like too much? Then start with 10 minutes, or even 5. The amount of time is less important than the commitment, the practice.

August Gold recommends a daily morning practice she calls 5-5-5: five minutes of reading, five minutes of writing, five minutes of sitting. If you have more time, then expand each section to fill it–currently, I’m at roughly 30-30-30. All three pieces come into play as part of the larger concept of connecting consciously to Source–or God, or the Universe, or Infinite Intelligence, or whatever you like to call the Oneness, the omnipresence that is back of all creation–and your intuition, that internal wisdom that is there to provide you with guidance. Doing five minutes of each activity should fit into even the busiest schedule, and each has its own benefit. Plus, starting your day with such a self-nurturing connection enables the rest of your day to flow that much more smoothly and gracefully.

The benefits to conscious connection are probably too large to enumerate here, but let me just start with the basics to whet your appetite–I assure you, the longer you engage in this practice, the more advantages you will become aware of.

Reading: For many of us, reading an eye-opening book was the gateway to the journey we find ourselves on today. Once you’ve read enough, you start to truly understand that there’s nothing new under the sun, however each new approach, each new turn of phrase, each new perspective opens you up to a deeper understanding than you held before. I can’t tell you how many Aha! moments I have had where in trying to explain it to someone else I realized it was something I already knew quite well, but there was just something about this new way of thinking about it that made me really *get* it. Incorporating reading, even for just five minutes, into your morning practice gives you the gift of fresh inspiration to apply to whatever crosses your path that day.

Writing: The idea of daily writing calls to mind the countless diaries I filled as a kid about what I had done that day or which boy I liked or why I was mad at my mom. And while getting that detritus out of your system through writing is one of the benefits of this practice, once you’ve been doing this for a while you begin to access your inner wisdom in a new way. I’ve gotten to the point where I can just write a question and keep writing and the answer pours out of my pen. I receive nearly daily guidance in this manner about everything from reminders to call a relative for their birthday to what kinds of release rituals I’m due for to what to write about on Learning to Fly to what to make for dinner. For me, it started small, but the more I began to trust it and to follow its guidance, the more avenues it opened up for me.

Sitting: As we’ve already touched on, this practice is about getting still, about just being. It is how you begin to cultivate a sense of which of those voices in your head is the voice of fear and which is the voice of intuition, that still small voice within that holds the answers you seek. Sometimes, your mind is just chatty chatty chatty, and other times you can get to a place of quiet, but either way it all adds up. The effects may be subtle at first–you might feel a little more energized, or you might feel more intuitive, or you might feel more aware of what’s happening around you. It’s another muscle to be built, your meditation muscle, and over time as you build that muscle the effects become clearer and clearer. For me, as I touched on in my “Ah, meditation” post, it increases my awareness on many levels, leaving me feeling like I am communing with all of creation long after I open my eyes and begin to dive into my day. I am more in touch with my intuition, enabling me to be aware of what it is I need but also opening me up to seeing what is happening with those around me. It leaves me with a sense of calm and the ability to focus on things one at a time, to be mindful of what I’m doing in such a way that makes me more efficient and engaged. When I meditate regularly, I am simply MORE–more appreciative, more aware, more open, more intuitive, more focused, more peaceful.

The last piece of conscious connection is getting clear on what it is you want for your life and setting your intention. This concept is somewhat woven into each of the steps in this series as part of the circular nature of this path, so let’s revisit it fully on its own in the near future. In the meantime, I hope I have at least piqued your curiosity. If you should choose to incorporate a morning practice into your daily routine, please let me know how it goes. And hey, let me know what you think are the most important things that I have missed!

Recommended Listening:
Awakening Kundalini, by Kelly Howell
Retrieve Your Destiny, by Kelly Howell
Soul Stretch, by Caroline Reynolds
Tibetan Singing Bowl: Music for Deep Meditation

Recommend Reading:
Meditation, by Eknath Eswaran
The Power of Intention, by Wayne Dyer
The Prayer Chest, By August Gold and Joel Fotinos
Tao te Ching, by Lao Tzu, translated by Jonathan Star
The Universe Is Calling, by Eric Butterworth

Photo: Day 3/366…..Fire, Wood & Stone, Originally uploaded by LD Cross

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yes is a world January 24, 2008

I was all set to write about the power of action today, but as I was swapping out my “Quote of the Week” this morning, it occurred to me that as much as I love e.e. cummings poem that was there, I haven’t necessarily been LIVING it.

love is a place
& through this place of
love move
(with brightness of peace)
all places

yes is a world
& in this world of
yes live
(skilfully curled)
all worlds

Reading this poem, even if it’s my hundredth time reading it, gives me chills. It speaks to that part of me that has spent most of my life asleep, that part of me that yearns for me to stand up and truly say YES that all of life has to offer. It speaks to me in the language of my soul, answering a call that my spirit has been crying for a long, long time.

I’m still at a point where I’m not sure I know what living a life of YES would truly look like, but I think I can work backwards from what it would not look like. It would not look like settling–it would be making choices that serve me and my goals. It would not look like accepting table scraps and saying thank you, can I have some more please–it would be recognizing my power and strength and the gifts that I bring to the world, knowing my value and expecting it to be seen. It would not be gray and flat and lifeless–it would be full of color, fully fleshed out, vibrant, animate, alive.

Sometimes I’m blown away by how difficult it is for me to speak my truth, to stand in my power and tell the world that I’m here, that I’m a force for good in this universe, that I am a voice of wisdom and understanding, that I am a conduit for God or Infinite Intelligence or Source or whatever you want to call that all-powerful, all-encompassing ONENESS that is the creative source of our universe. The DailyOM this morning struck such a chord with me, talking about that feeling of spinning our wheels, possibly even feeling like we’re going backwards, but needing to remember that each step is a step forward. Forward progress, it’s all forward progress. That can be so difficult for me to recognize some days, when I find myself stuck in a pattern that I thought I’d caught and eliminated 10, 15, 20 years ago. How long am I going to allow myself to be stuck under the mantle of “I’m not good enough”?

But this is when I have to take a deep breath, let all that tension in my shoulders and my stomach dissipate and remember that the “I’m not good enough” of 2008 is a mere shadow of its former self. The truth of my forward progress really is self-evident–when I let go my perfectionism and judgment, I can see it clear as day. And this past year has been about moving what I know from my head to my heart, into my body, so that I can FEEL it. I suppose this next year is going to be about moving it out of my head and body into the world, really putting my money where my mouth is and living the life that I truly want, that I know I deserve, and that I truly was born to live. This year is going to be about shifting my self-definition, how I perceive myself internally and how I describe myself to the world.

I am a writer. I am a coach. I am a spiritual intuitive. I have unique gifts to share with the world. This is who I am. Do you know who you are? How do you want to define yourself moving forward? Are you ready to share that definition of yourself? I cannot promise you that this kind of shift will be easy, but I know that, for me at least, it is necessary. And I hope to even have some fun with it along the way. Namaste.