Welcome...

Come meander with me on the pathless path of the Heart
in these anecdotal,
sometimes inspiring, sometimes personal meanderings of the Heart's opening in the every-day-ness of Life...

Friday, July 30, 2010

What Music Are You Hearing?

You may think that I’ve just been bee-bopping to the music here since my last post on “hearing the music.” Ah – that would be nice wouldn’t it… However, I took a rather deep dive into a more somber space of feelings this past weekend. The upsurge of enthusiasm and “new direction” for life waned. I tried listening to different kinds of music, but nothing resonated. It was like putting on a band-aid – the feelings underneath were the same. The band-aid changed nothing.

I happened to read a blog that had a short video clip of Pema Chodron talking about “feelings”! In it she said that many times we “attempt to entertain ourselves out of the feeling” – but that “what we feel is a key to something” that needs to be seen. It occurred to me, when I heard that, that I was attempting to use music to try to fix my feelings, or cover them over; to hang on to the enthusiasm the music had instilled just a couple of days before… I was attempting to *feel* “better” – to *try* to create a shift – rather than allowing and acknowledging the feelings. So I stopped the music, and sat with the feelings. They were pleased to be heard. No longer sounding like heavy metal music screeching in my body-mind, they moved into a new rhythm.

As an on-line friend recently pointed out to me, feelings whether labeled “good” or “negative” are just currents of energy that carry a message, if we are willing to listen. I know this from experience. And sometimes, as with life, the only way out is through. So I went through what I was feeling – allowing them, meeting them, allowing myself to hear them. And what I discovered, basically, is that I have been swept up in the surface currents of life – the choppy waves of thought and emotions – responding and reacting to life circumstances – going from circumstance to circumstance putting out fires, so-to-speak. There was a sense, in sitting with all this surface commotion – aka feelings - that I needed to go deeper – to open myself more fully to the Life Current that flows through everything – including feelings. For months now I have been bobbing around on the surface of life, trying to keep my head above water, when what I really need is to open fully to the inner Current of Life – to swim in the “deeper” currents – to *hear* the inner music – The Rhythm. But it seems that life events pop me to the surface and carry me to a different tune than what I hear inside…

Life keeps requiring me to dance to the music of others it seems – through life circumstances that I have no control over. My sister called me Weds afternoon to tell me that my mother had been taken by ambulance to the Hospital ER in severe pain and shortness of breath. I immediately went to meet my sister there. The doctors could not determine exactly what was wrong, except they *thought* that she may have a perforated peptic ulcer that had somehow closed itself off – but they weren’t sure. It was a guessing game even with all the testing they did. Her pain subsided after she had some medication. She spent the night in the hospital for observation. We took her home the next day. Both my sister and I are dancing to this new music with my mother out of necessity. It appears that this particular tune is also part of the Flow of the Current… And yet – it feels so dissonant – like I’m hearing the “wrong” notes or dancing to somebody else’s tune… I wish I could say that I am resting in Awareness with it all, but it feels more like wave surfing 101. Sometimes I stay on the board and sometimes I wipe-out… Aware-ing may actually be a new skill I have yet to master – surfing the waves of life.

Last night was a sleepless night – after 2 days of choppy waters – and not feeling well myself physically. After only a few hours of restless “sleep”, I was up at 3am, went to my desk and just started listening to the silence of the night through the window. I became aware of the *depth* of stillness - a deep space of Silence – feeling the breeze. My mind and heart relaxed. I felt my-self drop down below the surface and hear the music from within, from the still space of pure Awareness – the beautiful Silence that sings. Dropping into the Silence inside - listening, feeling the music within - I could experience the Current without the choppy surface waves, without the distractions that come with living on the surface… It reminded me that maybe it matters what music we are listening to, what music we are hearing – the cacophony of the surface, or the deep melodious music of the inner Rhythm.

“I must find the song lines that run through my life,
the melodies that remind me of what I really am,
and call me gently back… I must learn to dance…”
Oriah Mountain Dreamer


Hanging 10 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

~*~


Photo is of a poster we have.
I do not know the artist...


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Can You Hear The Music?

Yesterday morning as I pattered down the hall after arising, heading for my office to check emails, on the way to the kitchen, I heard music wafting through the air. This was a strange sound, as normally we do not have music playing when we arise in the morning – let alone very lively Celtic music from the show “River Dance.” I checked my emails, then went to the top of the stairs and peered over the railing to the kitchen expecting to see my husband dancing the jig – in his underwear no less :) But - no, he was just making coffee, engulfed in the music. The next song I heard was from Smokey and the Bandit: “East bound and down, loaded up and truckin’, we’re gonna do what they say can’t be done. We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there. East bound, just watch ole’ bandit run.” By this time I’m in full belly laugh, wondering what the hell is going on. The last time I heard this song we had packed up everything and moved to Washington DC – 26 years ago! It was our theme song riding across country. Is there a message here? Are we going somewhere? I mean I know we’re making some necessary changes here, becoming unencumbered with life’s encumbrances and all – turning grit into pearls, but I had no idea it would elicit such exuberance!

I was informed that he thought it would be a good way to start the day from now on - lively, get it in gear, get stuff done kind of music. It definitely got the chi going. I admit I like the new atmosphere. I like the sense of motivation, get ‘er done kind of attitude – the actual participation and engagement in where life is going at the moment, which is better than the stagnation we’ve been experiencing on all levels of living for several years now – despite my nagging attempts to affect change – silly me. Seems one does not *get* the “lesson” until one gets it. It has to be *seen* by the one needing to see it… Evidently it has been seen – thus the music…

And so here we go – life with a new attitude… Please hang on to the bar. Life is moving through…

This morning I awoke to the Moody Blues’ song - “The Voice.”

These lyrics captured me:

“…can you hear the spirit calling
as it’s carried across the waves
You’re already falling.
It’s calling you back to face the music,
and the song that it is coming through.
The one that it’s calling is you…

…understand the voice within,
feel the change already beginning…”

Life is changing. The piper is calling. I just need to hear the music that is coming through – and dance…

~*~


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

From Grit to Pearl

Sitting on Sunday morning the image of a pearl arose and I remembered that a pearl is formed *through* irritation. A piece of sand or grit gets in the oyster and the oyster starts making a pearl around the irritant with layers and layers of pearl-essence, turning and turning the grit until it’s covered with a beautiful, shiny sheen.

And of course, loving metaphor as I do, I saw the association with the grit of life, the irritations of life, the aggravating, challenging circumstances of life that create multiple layers of irritation – and - the creation of a pearl. The oyster seemingly takes this grit, without complaining, and makes something beautiful of it… Or is it that something beautiful emerges *from* the grit of life, if we work with it, sit with it, roll it around, not spewing it out, but allowing it to be what it is, seeing it for what it is – the potential for beauty… The beauty of the pearl is a *result* of these layers of irritations and aggravations of life in a seeming process of metamorphosis…

What is revealed *through* the irritations, is this living essence of the pearl that in some ways created itself *because of* the irritations, through the rubbing and chaffing of the grit of life… As in – the irritations, the challenges of living, are still the Essence, revealing It’s beauty. The irritations and challenges of living *are* the living Presence emerging, or unfolding ItSelf , in and through what our minds and bodies find irritating and uncomfortable - if we give it a chance, if we stay with it, engaging in the experiences rather than running from them. If we learn to see the way the oyster sees :) – Ah – grit, let’s see what I can do with that…

And what is seen is that the beauty and wisdom of the irritations emerge over “time” it seems - or what appears to be time – waiting to be discovered within the shell of what I know to be “my life.” It is realized that the pearl is the culmination of many layers of realized wisdom that are formed along the way, from the nitty-gritty of living life as it is.

Even if we’ve had spontaneous awakenings to the Truth of our Essence, it seems life continues to give us experiences that expand the expression of the unfolding of that Essence, of Consciousness ItSelf, *through* the irritations and challenges of living. It’s an ongoing emergence, realizing that the totality of the experiences of life expands our awareness until it is ultimately realized that we are the wholeness of Being that we’ve been seeking – as we are – gritty as that may be…

It’s a shift in perspective from grit to Pearl…

~*~


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Discovering the Real "awakening?"

Sitting at the hairdresser again last Friday, waiting for my mother, getting another chance to read one more chapter in Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach, I realized that maybe life does indeed present us with what we need to open our hearts – on this road called “awakening” – or whatever name we give it that we are supposedly doing here. :) Maybe it could be called the road of ever increasing “aware-ing.”

I have heard it said by many teachers that whatever you are living now you have asked for. I have resisted that statement because I have taken it literally. I did not specifically ask for my life circumstances - to have to tend to my mother’s needs or be of help to her in the way that I am now on a daily basis. Neither did I ask to be so engaged in my sister’s crisis of life over the past several months. The three of us are now entwined in each other’s lives in a way that I never expected. Yet, here we are - life as it is: awkward, stressful, riddled with feelings, emotions, and the tensions of unresolved family dynamics – as well as – the laughter and care and concern for one another’s well-being.

What I did ask for, several years ago when I was very ill and *thought* I was dying – an illusion of my body/mind – was that I wanted to be a presence of love. Now when I requested that back then I was romanticizing this idea that I would suddenly be “enlightened” and become this flowing, loving Presence – like some fairy god-mother I guess, spreading love like fairy dust over the world… I used to think the goal was to “awaken” *from* life as it is, and then everything would be “different.” I’d be more loving, more compassionate; life would be easier, more fluid; things would just fall into place…

Ah, the Universe – it’s such a jokester.

Instead, since that declaration of what I assumed I wanted to be, and what I assumed I was missing, I have been given many, many *opportunities* to *be* this Presence: to show up for others, like now with my mother and sister… Not all of them were recognized as such, and I certainly did not “show up” in every circumstance in a way that was beneficial, nor meet life circumstances with my *idea* of what “love” is supposed to look like – no fairy dust or magic wand. Mostly I saw these opportunities that life offered as obstacles to what I *imagined* myself becoming – which of course was radiant and glowing, oozing with love and light. In reality life has been lived down in the trenches, in the practical everydayness of living – with dirt on my face. Seeing myself in this way is sometimes hard to swallow… Mirror, mirror on the wall – heh, heh, heh – I’m not the fairest after all…

As I read along in the chapter on “compassion” I began to feel the stirrings of the heart again as she wrote about staying open to life and others - about keeping the heart open and attending to whomever you are with and their real needs in every moment. That hit home, in my present circumstances… She wrote: “the awakened heart is the full realization of our nature. We let ourselves be touched by life, and our hearts naturally open and engage…” This is what I really wanted when I asked to be a presence of love way back when – to be open and engaged… I just didn’t expect that it would come through the details of the practical circumstances of daily living…

Keeping the heart open it seems is the Real “awakening”, not floating in Awareness – disengaged from life – dismissing everything and “others” as an appearance only, but seeing beyond the appearance to the Real – the Real in form – being touched by the Real and what is *really* happening in our lives and the lives of others, and meeting that with an open heart… Showing up for life and doing what is needed. Allowing myself to be touched by others and their life circumstances means allowing my heart to be vulnerable and open, aka loving – as awkward as that feels. And yes, I know there is no “other”, but how often I have blindly dismissed others as not being real, but just an appearance, part of the illusion, the dream, unreal… I bought into the dream of separation by denying what’s really happening - life as it is…

Am I “awakened”? I don’t know… I don’t even concern myself with that question anymore… It seems that question is/was just a part of “my story.” Am I a “loving Presence”? Not in the way I had it pictured…

I am however, aware-ing – taking my heart blinders off and meeting life (and others) with awareness, *recognizing* the opportunities to be present with as much consciousness and presence as possible; not denying or rejecting anything life offers – well maybe not completely just yet – allowing myself to be ever increasingly aware of and open to the opportunities that life offers to be present to others as they are – warts and all; being open and vulnerable. Nothing grandiose, nothing “enlightened,” no ooey-gooey love, just discovering the Real in life…

~*~


Monday, July 5, 2010

Beneath Life's Stories...

My mother and I have had a difficult relationship over the years – two wounded hearts that could never really be open to each other. I keep an emotional distance. I have wished that it could be different. Is this the same as not accepting life as it is I wonder? I have wanted a loving, trusting relationship with my mother, while at the same time guarding myself from her - guarding my heart from further woundings - not wanting to reveal myself, or my Self for that matter. How easily the relationship between a mother and a daughter can contract into woundedness over and over again. And yet – I realize this is just a story.

In my story, I wonder if I have somehow misunderstood her; that somehow it was me that didn’t “get her” – rather than the other way around. I try to see what other people see in her – the kindness, the goodness, the self-sacrificing piety that people revere – even if I know it’s just a front for not feeling good about herself. What I continue to see, however, is the judgmental, critical, not good enough, bitter, nobody else can do it right kind of thinking, and the constant critical commenting about what she likes and doesn’t like about others. And of course people are never who she wants them to be – but these are my stories, my perceptions… It doesn’t hook me like it used to – and yet I remain cautious…

All these stories are bubbling up once again , spending so much time with my mother. I am caught on the story channel. And of course I *recognize* what is happening. I just can’t seem to see through it clearly...

I think to myself that I should be different with her, that I should be able to keep myself open to her, to see her differently, to see the Beingness that she is – to just rest in the Greater Context of Life *with* her, and let all these stories float through, unaffected by it all…

Friday I took my mother to the hairdresser for her weekly hair appointment. As my mother sat in the chair I could hear her gossiping – storytelling. While she was under the hairdryer a woman with her elderly mother came into the shop. The woman recognized my mother and in a *big show* of affection kissed my mother’s hand, as if she were the pope! As she gushed her southern drawl affection all over my mother, they engaged in small talk about the physical problems of their aging bodies. She then asked my mother: “How are you and your daughter getting along?” – not knowing that I was sitting right behind her! :) My mother and I looked at each other, and I laughed, as my mother smiled, pointed at me, and said: She’s right here… Oops –

The woman turned to me with a look of surprise on her face - and an oohhhh, hiiiii sheepish greeting. I just grinned and greeted her back. A few minutes later she got up and started to walk out. On the way by me, she said to me – “You take good care of this sweet woman” – like I was being told. Thank goodness she didn’t wag her finger at me as well. Gee, I thought that’s what I’ve been doing – despite whatever story you may have been told! Evidently my mother has told stories over the years that she’s not being taken care, at least not the way that *she* wants to be taken care of… I have not lived up to my mother’s expectations – but I knew that. I cannot live up to her stories of what she wants me to be. This makes relating difficult and awkward. And yet, that is just another story too. And maybe it’s been difficult for her not having the relationship she would like to have with her daughters.

Interestingly I was able to laugh off the little comment and never mention it to my mother. And even though I tell this story here, I did not feel the need to *engage* in the story, or create another story, or to feel hurt, or wounded by it. I notice that I am beginning to feel a sense of acceptance for the way things are with my mother. In fact I am now finding the stories of life amusing; how we create them and live by them, believing them. And how the mind loves to grab onto the stories, and keep telling them, getting lost again and again in “stories” that I continue to believe, knowing it’s all story!

And I know the “remedy” for getting caught in the stories that bubble up from the depths is to continuously come back to that sense of inner Presence, the spaciousness of Awareness that lies behind them. That is what’s underneath all these stories – the field of Awareness that just IS. When I consciously drop beneath the stories of life, there is only a sense of calm, peace and stillness. Underneath the stories *about* what is happening there is only Life unfolding in this greater context of Awareness – evidently in a series of stories strung together and believed to be real. The challenge, it seems, is to *accept* the way life unfolds without creating a storyboard of scenarios, assumptions, conclusions, judgments and interpretations about what’s happening; without creating an *image* of life in my mind. And so I am beginning to peak through those story bubbles, *seeing* Life from underneath life’s stories.


~*~