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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...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Life Happens - but this is ridiculous!

In the past week we have had several major mundane issues that needed tending to. The “serpentine belt” on the “good” car needed replacing. Sunday morning the garage door failed to open, despite my open-says-me, requiring a repairman. Monday evening the sewer line backed up into the basement. The plumber was here today reaming out the lines. It appears tree roots had grown into the pipe and clogged it like a little nest. These are issues that can happen to anyone, but all at once!? And although I know this is part of life just being what it is, I’m calling for a time out!

Today was also our 31st wedding anniversary. Not a celebration of wedded bliss, but marriage as “awakener” – the continuous nitty-gritty challenges of relationship and learning how to maneuver through them. And, along with that it seems, the continuous challenge of the mundane. We had intended to spend the day out on a small adventure, but here we were spending more time in the sludge of life, waiting on the plumber to get the flow going again. Come to think of it, this *is* a metaphor for our marriage. We’ve been so clogged up with the challenges of living that we’ve lost a lot of our flow. But that’s another blog…

During these trying times of practical reality I found the old emotional reactive patterns were awakened – like sleeping giants. There they were – Phee, Phi, Pho, and Phum – emerging from their caves. No lofty platitudes running through my head of “resting in awareness”, or stepping back for the bigger perspective. Oh no, it was the nitty-gritty dirt band of trolls under the bridge that started playing their tune, and I bought into it – knowingly – if that’s possible. Not unconsciously, but willingly dancing with the music.

I can tell myself: It is what it is, rest in awareness, let life unfold. They all sound so good, but we’re rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic here and the water is already up to our necks. I wonder how much longer we will be able to tread water and if there will be an air pocket left. Does “The Universe” want us to drown?! Maybe so… Yet, life goes on, things get fixed, I’m still breathing - so far. I *want* to “rest in awareness” like all the “gurus” say – to just let it be what it is – but… Yes, I’m still attached to the buts. But - I want life to flow, to be able to relax into life, trusting life. Yes, I admit it, I *want* life to be different than what it is at the moment, at this moment, in this NOW. The many “now” moments of chaos and upheaval that we have endured for years it seems have worn me down. Maybe that’s the point of it – wearing the “me” out until it gives up with its wants, and buts.

But - there’s another but - is it really resistance to want life to be different that what it is? Is it really the ego that wants life to be different, or is it Life Itself saying that things need to change… Is accepting “what is” mere resignation. I am questioning everything these days… Is there really a light at the end of the tunnel or is it just a freight train barreling down the track…

No matter how many questions I ask, or how many different ways I try to look at it, it seems it still comes back to “awareness” – just seeing what is playing out *without* the emotional engagement in it, if at all possible – AND making the necessary changes; accepting what is happening - as my husband reminds me - it *is* what’s happening, AND adapting to the situation – moving with it as much as possible. I *know* this is true. No matter how I look at it, it’s really just a story playing itself out in form. So - do I *believe* the story, or see beyond the story… Hmmm…

I’d like to have another story please! Could we change the channel? Can I buy a vowel? Pardon me while I whine… I’m so ready to awaken from this dream I’m dreaming!



Sunday, December 27, 2009

Serenity's Sanctuary - Infinite Light

Just rest in the gaze of the Infinite
- in the Infinite Light that
infuses and embraces all…

Just turn your gaze inward to
the Infinite Heart Presence
that lights you –
that *is* you…

Feel this Presence of Love gazing
from within –
Seeing what you see,
Hearing what you hear,
Feeling what you feel,
Experiencing what you experience…

Feel its fluid vibrating pulse
running through your body…

Let this Light, this Love, within you
live you…

It is anyway…

Just rest…


Sweet Serenity…



Words that spilled out on the page December 20, 2009
Mystic Meandering
copyright December 20, 2009


Friday, December 25, 2009

Eating My Words for Christmas...

I awoke this morning with the usual “holiday dread” that I have felt for many years on Christmas day, anticipating the usual tension of being together with my family, celebrating a Holiday I no longer believe in, with people who often feel more like strangers. And in a sense we are: my mother the pious Christian, my sister the Wiccan, and me – the Meandering Mystic with Buddhist/Vedanta leanings… We all share different beliefs about “The Holiday.” My sister and I basically celebrate Christmas *for* my mother. The one thing we have in common is the over stuffed emotional baggage that we all carry and pass back and forth from one year to the next - re-gifting you might say. Each year it seems like there are more and more emotional items stuffed in our stockings, hung by the chimney with care, so that they won’t overflow and spill out, causing a scene… But try as we may to stuff those little pieces of coal deep into the toe of each stocking, those dark emotions somehow overflow into the experience. And often the tension is so thick you can cut it with a knife. Last year in particular was that way. We had all decided not to give gifts because we were all feeling the pinch financially. We rationalized that “we are all adults now” and don’t need to do the “gift thing.” But despite my mother’s claims that “it was being all together that mattered,” she pouted the entire time because there were no gifts… And - *she* gave gifts *despite* our previous agreement not to do so. It was clear that for my mother it *is* about the gifts. So – despite being in the same financial situation this year, we made sure there were gifts…

My sister picked me up this morning on her broom. (My husband is in New Mexico spending the Holiday with his mother, sister and brother-in-law – who all share their own emotional baggage as well – so tension abounds on both sides. His mother has moderate to severe Alzheimer’s, and is deteriorating quickly, so he wanted to spend Christmas with her before she gets to the point where she forgets who he is.) Anyway, my sister arrived on her broom and we headed over the river and through the woods to mother’s house… :)

Upon entering the highly decorated replica of Santa’s Workshop that doubles as my mother’s home, there were a few moments of the usual tension, and I felt myself brace. Despite my “spiritual path”, despite intending to be present, despite deciding that I would consciously step back and just be “aware”, “in the moment” and so forth, I could feel the tension arise in my body, my mind went foggy, a veil came down over my eyes, and I thought – here we go again…

And then something quite magical happened when we all sat down and started the gift exchange. The tension left and we all began to actually enjoy the day – and - one another… I have no clue really why this happened, as it hasn’t happened in previous years. Was it the magic in the giving of the gifts, I don’t think so – although it did serve as a distraction - but something shifted, something “new” unfolded. There was a sense of ease and comfort with one another, genuine laughter and conversation that I do not remember experiencing before. Now I can’t say that my heart opened and suddenly all the emotional baggage dissolved, but…

So here is where I get to eat my words, and maybe some sweet eggnog to wash them down, and take a fresh look at this “Holiday” thing, this “family” thing… Despite the usual family tensions, despite my mother/daughter issues, despite all my negative anticipations, despite my scroogeness about “The Holiday”, wonder of wonders it actually *felt* like we were a “real family” today: People who actually trust and enjoy one another. It was strange yet comforting, like maybe there *is* a “real family” hidden in all that baggage somewhere – stuffed into the tippity tip of that stocking behind the coal – not just the “Rockwellian image” that we have tried to create over the years.

It felt as if a flicker of light was rekindled today. Both my sister and I felt it. It was totally unexpected and unanticipated! *I* did not *do* anything to create it: I wasn’t particularly present, or aware, or trying to be in the moment. But there it was - the experience of “family”, gift giving and the celebration of a holiday unfolding in its own way. I relaxed into it and moved with it as it unfolded itself – like receiving an unexpected gift with a sense of amazement. I came away changed by this experience in some way – wanting more – wanting to open myself more, and see what reveals itself…



Monday, December 21, 2009

Solstice Liberation

We are the grace of Love fulfilled,
the shimmer of Sacred Light,
lustrous uniqueness in a field of
multitudinal Divine Shimmers
~ autonomous, yet in glittering Oneness.

We are the twinkle of liberated luminosity
radiating from the Heart Pulse of Love fulfilled
within the Stream of Life, in continuous unfoldment.
We are created, and create, from the glowing embers
of the magical furnace of Love’s Fire…

Receive the molten flow of golden translucence
that forms you in the fire of Divine Love.
Let it infuse you in every micron of consciousness
~ the Spirit of Golden Love Light turned fluid,
flowing incessantly from the Primordial Heart.

Receive Love’s Presence, and Love’s presents:
Grace, Freedom, Flow, Truth, Wisdom,
Light and Love -----
Love of Love…
Love experiencing Itself as Love
in every breath,
in every Self-created form…



Mystic Meandering
Copyright
Winter Solstice
December 21, 2001

Photo – Christine Kennedy


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Serenity's Sanctuary - Simply Seeing

There is just a vast open Spaciousness that is here…

A benevolent Presence is behind our eyes
– just seeing -
intimately seeing everything that happens,
intimately experiencing everything that is experienced…

It wants to play in this seeing of Itself.

It wants to be recognized – to be seen…

~

I try to define It with ideas, opinions, beliefs, concepts,
instead of just *seeing* IT -
just being *aware* of IT…

I try to label and *contain* this spacious Presence
with explanations and descriptions – with grasping…

I keep throwing “things” *into* this Spaciousness – mind clutter.

~

It – Life/Presence - has nothing to do with what *I* want,
and everything to do with the way things are…
Just seeing the way things are…
Simply seeing what is…
*Deeply seeing* this Presence that we are…
that just is – that just sees…

With the seeing of this there is less concern for the way life is…


Sweet Serenity…



Notes from my journal - January 2009

fun-qi art – Blue Eyes ‘Seeing’ - :) Christine

When I originally did the picture above
I was working on it horizontally.
I picked it up and turned it vertically,
and there looking back at me were two eyes.
I immediately went to my meditation space,
placed it on the wall, and sat back – gazing at it –
just gazing.
Looking back at me were two love-filled eyes…
The excerpts from my journal notes above emerged
over the next several days…

Besides the fact that it looks like a wooly mammoth,
the photo doesn’t begin to reflect what I saw…

But I know now there is only love looking back at us -
reflected back to us...


Other posts that reflect a similar theme are:


Saturday, December 19, 2009

What Are You Believing?

During the Holiday Season it’s easy to get caught up in the images of what family “should” be. There is the hope that family dynamics will change, baggage will be dropped, and peace will prevail. I have once again fallen into the trap of believing these irrelevant thoughts; making assumptions; accommodating; trying to make things “work”; neglecting the Inner Voice - not following my Heart…

I have been trying to spend more time with my 81 year old mother lately – trying to create a “better” relationship. Thursday I went to supposedly “help” her with decorating only to discover that she had already done it and didn’t need, or want my assistance. I made the erroneous assumption that she needed my help; that she would want my assistance; that she would want me to visit… I truly wanted to be “helpful.” I got the definite impression that she would rather have been doing other things – her things. Interestingly I felt the same. I would have preferred to be home doing what my Heart wants to do. I discovered that, once again, I was trying to be the dutiful daughter – available, present, accommodating – trying to create the *ideal* relationship with my mother. But that is, I discovered, just an *idea* in my head… The reality doesn’t match the image that I want to imagine…

In March my brother visited from out of state. On the way to drop him off at the airport I was told that I wasn’t doing enough for my mother; that I was to spend more time with her, taking her out and doing activities with her. The golden haired son (the baby in the family) had flown in on his white horse and found me and my sister lacking. He, who had no idea what I had actually been doing for and with my mother, had determined that whatever it was, was not enough.

I believed my brother, that somehow I was lacking, and I went into a semi-truckload of guilt, which spawned an assortment of projects that my mother and I could do together in my attempt to spend more quality time with her – which were never appreciated, or completed btw. I was told they were “not a priority for her.” Not that spending time with me was either, evidently – and all activities ended - once again. The point is, I believed the irrelevant thought that somehow *I* am not doing enough, that I could somehow make things better between us, that *I* could create a “better” relationship – if I just tried harder - which created more attempts to be more dutiful, more attentive, more caring - to create my *idea* of a good mother-daughter relationship, and try to live up to her image of that as well…

And once again, this holiday season, I am believing this *story*! The story that what I do is not enough; that I should be doing more, that things could be different between us… I am jumping through hoops again to please, to make the Holiday good for my mother – and realizing that it’s like trying to fill a dark hole in space that can’t ever be filled. And through this I am seeing that I *have* to follow my Heart – not the story that has been created about what I *should* be doing - not living up to a role, trying to make things better for my mother, trying to fulfill her perceived or real expectations – or mine - or make assumptions about what she needs.

While with her this week, the long played out patterns between us became clear, as if they had suddenly been revealed from behind the veil of unconsciousness, although they had peaked through before. In that moment of awareness I knew I needed to step back and not engage with her in the same ways, trying to make things “better” – as this is interpreted as trying to take control, and resistance ensues. This is a dance we have done for many years. While I was there she actually struggled with trying to pull the sheet of sticky paper off a lint roll for 5 mins rather than receive the help that was offered. In that moment I became aware that I didn’t want to play this game with her anymore – this: I’ll be what I *think* you want me to be, and try to create this image that I believe about mothers and daughters. I realized I no longer want to play the role of dutiful daughter or keep engaging in the story. I want to live without role, identity, expectation, assumption…

Ah-so… light dawns - now what…

I discovered that it helps not to see my mother as “mother” – as the role, the identity – but just another being, like me, living her life. What if I could interact with her without the label, or the image – without trying to change myself or her…

Who knows! I’ll have to see how the dance changes with this new awareness…

As I experienced this, this week, I was reminded of the Norman Rockwell paintings, especially at this time of year with the emphasis on “family.” I wondered if Norman Rockwell ever had a “real” family. Maybe he just painted images of families – which we want to believe


Art print - Norman Rockwell

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Beyonce Bounce

I’m assuming that most of you have seen enough TV to know who Beyonce is… (I can’t get the little mark on the e – sorry). I am not a fan, but I have seen clips of her music videos on TV from time to time, especially the video of her doing that funny little bent over bounce movement in her leotards and high heels that became so popular when Pres. Obama was running. Anyway. What does this have to do with awareness, spirituality, Beingness you might ask… :)

Well, Sunday – still in the dumpster mind you, having awakened for the umpteenth day in a row with sadness waiting at the bedside – “we” – sadness and I – decorated the Holiday Tree. We have an artificial tree – no groans please. It is a tree that has been in my husband’s family for 42 years! We have had it for the last 15. So head elf assembled the tree as he normally does. We hung the lights together. Elf brought the decoration boxes up from the basement and I began the task of decorating – feeling a little lack-luster for the occasion.

I put a little mood music on. In this case it was Manheim Steamroller’s version of instrumental Christmas Carols. We like the non-traditional stuff. There are several songs on there that are upbeat and bouncy. I started rummaging through the larger boxes, pulling out the smaller ornament boxes, making the HUGE decision of where they should go on the tree… I noticed that “sadness” became a little less clingy, less needing my attention. Don’t know exactly where she went, but she wasn’t harping at me like she had been. So I went about the rather automatic task of pulling ornaments out of boxes, stepping back, looking at the tree, deciding where the next one should go, and then placing the ornament. No mind engagement needed here – just choose, look and place, ornament by ornament. A rhythm began to be established. Along with each ornament came the memories of who had given it and when. Sadness’ cousin grief nuzzled in with the memories of those passed on. And I thought – oh boy – here we go…

However, the next thing I knew I was – here it comes – bent over a box, deciding on the next ornament, bouncing to the beat of the music – the Beyonce Bounce! Oh my! Now you’d have to picture me. No high cut leotards and shapely legs here. No, too much dumpster diving chocolate over the last couple of months has packed on a few too many pounds – so it is sweat pants and turtle necks for me! But that’s not the point :)

In the instant of discovering that I was bouncing to the music – feeling JOY – I also became experientially aware that “I” was still also feeling sadness – in the background. I became acutely aware of the fact that “I” was capable of holding both joy and sadness at the same time! The awareness and experience of this was so incredulous that it cracked open my heart like a nutcracker cracking open a walnut, and tears and laughter flooded the living room. As I continued to bounce and emote, Elf emerged from the basement with another arm load of boxes. The look of concern on his face brought on more laughter and tears, as I’m sure that he thought that maybe tree decorating had been too challenging and sent me over the edge. Instead it brought me back to Reality: *Everything* is held in Absolute Presence – Awareness - Consciousness - at all times! Of course! Everything *is* Absolute Consciousness. Some brain cell somewhere knew this - I think – ;) But I had to experience it anew, in the moment, to *feel* it viscerally for the light of awareness to go on.

And it’s not so much that “I” was “holding” them, as that I realized that they co-exist *in* the space of Awareness/Consciousness! “They”, along with everything else we experience, co-exist there, appear there, rise and fall there from moment to moment, from experience to experience. I don’t know why this realization was such a shock to me, but it was a de-lightful “shock” of awareness that awakened the truth again in that moment – and for some reason sadness bowed her head and began to let go of her grip, like a mist lifting off the pavement after the rain. And if she returns, which I’m sure she will, I will welcome her visit again, realizing there’s nothing “wrong” in her being here. She is always free to come and go, along with all my other “visitors” that consistently show up at my door wearing different disguises. There’s always room for *all* the feelings and experiences that Life brings…

Maybe this was the “gift” waiting for me in the dumpster…




Sunday, December 13, 2009

Serenity's Sanctuary - Bow to Life

“…Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all,
even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty…

Still treat each guest honorably.
[She] may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond…”

Rumi

~

“To bow to the fact of our life’s sorrows
and betrayals is to accept them;
and from this deep gesture we
discover that all life is workable.”

Jack Kornfield

~

“No matter what happens to you,
you are always standing in the middle
of sacred space,
standing in the middle of
a sacred circle…

Everything that comes into that circle
and exists with you there
has come to teach you what you need to know
to open your heart…"

Pema Chodron

~

“Can you be here just the way you are?
Are you able to be tender with whatever
is arising in your experience?”

Neelam

~

Today I became experientially aware that I hold both
sadness and joy at the same time!
They exist together!
Sweet laughter and crying arose
in the seeing of this…

Sweet Bows of Serenity

Christine


photo - trees bowing - Christine


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dumpster Diving

This past week I have been “dumpster diving” – meaning: I have once again taken a rather deep dive into the messy, stinky feelings and emotions composting just underneath the surface. And the winners are: Anger and Depression… And the award is – Chocolate - lots and lots of chocolate! :)

I am allowing myself to intimately *experience* these old friends this week, chocolate smeared all over my face – just allowing them to be present here without trying to cover them over with a sweet veneer of “spirituality.” No, just a sweet veneer of chocolate! Same difference really. Whether we use chocolate or beliefs, sweets or spirituality to hide behind, or stuff our feelings – they are still there until we are willing to sit with them, to be present to them, to see them, to *allow* them and give these hungry ghosts their voices back. They just want to be heard, recognized and acknowledged. And no amount of spiritual platitudes, or chocolate, will assuage their need to be *felt.* So - I have been into the dumpster – feeling around for what’s there. And there they were – pain, deep sadness, grief and a bit of anxiety - the companions of Anger and Depression.

Somewhere on the “spiritual path” I have gotten the idea that we’re not supposed to feel the so-called “bad” feelings. Instead we are supposed to rise above them and be “spiritual” about it all, or cover them over with gratitude, rather than living *intimately* with the *actuality* of our life experience – which involves feeling. We *believe* the thought that we are somehow not “awake”, not “resting in awareness” or not being “present in the moment” if we are experiencing the more intense feelings. Because we *believe* this, we try to “get rid of” these unseemly, unwanted visitors. Believe me, I’ve tried… It hasn’t worked…

This week I initially tried various things to distract and divert the flow of feeling. I emailed a friend to distract myself and discovered he was basically in the same place, so we offered each other what we could and moved on – not wallowing in each other’s pain. Then “Nannuk” from the North showed up on Weds wanting to play, which I thought was the end of it – but she didn’t offer a way through, and the visitors returned. Then Friday I had a previously scheduled visit with another friend, which I decided to keep. I was not intending to discuss my “visitors”, just intending to be present, in the moment – but it leaked out. These things are sometimes hard to hide. My friend assumed the teacher/counselor role and began offering prescriptive platitudes, not heart presence, trying to guide me to where *he* thought I needed to be. I felt myself retract. I’ve done some process art as well, which was delightful – in the moment creativity. Even time in Stillness. But still – the dive has deepened.

This morning I awoke feeling the same deep sadness again – automatically. There was no thought prior to it, at least not that I was aware of. It was just there, present, waiting for me to arise – like a dog waiting by the bedside wanting to be taken out for a walk… As my husband leaned over the edge of the bed for our morning hugs, he said: “Maybe the day will reveal something…” There was the opening. My heart picked up with a sense of discovery about what the day might reveal. It was like Nannuk had arisen within again – the pioneering spirit, wanting to go on an excursion to see what was out there waiting to be discovered… Wanting to be awake and aware with these visitors, not wallowing in them, I was willing to see what would be revealed – if anything.

So, with a sense of discovery, we headed out to the foothills for some fresh air and time in nature, stopping by a little cafĂ© on the way back for some tea and, of course, chocolate :). Except for a hawk swooping in the sky, nothing in particular revealed itself. I could still feel the sadness within me like a dense cloud wrapped around my heart. My husband reminded me – the day is not over yet. And so it is. The discovery is not over yet. The dive is not over yet. There are no quick fixes, no magic bullets. Clarity comes and goes. There is, evidently, still some gift waiting to be discovered in the dumpster.

The only thing I have discovered, so far, is something that I’ve really known all along - that being present to these feelings is about giving them space, tending to them like small children, speaking to them softly and gently, allowing them to be who they are - with kindness and compassion. It’s like knowing that they are there, but not needing to *do* anything about them. You just see them, allow them and wait – patiently aware, embracing them. That’s what Presence does, it sees, it waits, it holds, and allows. Being present with these deeper feelings this week has shown me that Presence is really an orientation towards life itself that is accepting, embracing everything that unexpectedly comes to visit – even if they stay a lot longer than you anticipated - and just being okay with them until they’re ready to leave...

Sometimes the only way out is through…



Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Nannuk of the North

Yes I am Nannuk of the North these days, as we have been experiencing deep freeze weather since Sunday. Today I ventured out for the first time in as many days – the cupboards were getting slightly bare, so I got the sled dogs fired up, wrapped myself in layers and took off into the wild. Only in my imagination of course. But I like the *idea* of being a pioneering woman, venturing out into untamed territory. The dog sled was really the Subaru and I just turned the key. However, it turned over rather slowly this morning and squealed back at me for some reason, not wanting to move from its comfy garage home I guess, or maybe there are some loose belts under the hood that need tending to. So I coaxed it gently and allowed the engine to warm, then ventured out onto the snow packed street, wondering, with child-like imagination, what my adventure would be today. I discovered, once again, that I actually like this cold, crisp Arctic air! It reminded me of growing up in New England where we got lots of snow and cold when I was a child. From what I hear, from remnants of family still back there, not so much of it these days – although I think this one is headed their way. :) We didn’t get a ton of snow here in the Denver area, just enough to make it picturesque. However, they actually *did* get a ton of snow in the Mountains and on the eastern plains here. But we were spared the blizzard. It jumped over us, just leaving its calling card. And I’ve heard that my fellow bloggers living in Minnesotta, Wisconscin, and Illinois got a huge storm…

And just in case it’s not cold enough for you already :) I have sent along these wonderful photos of some beautiful Arctic Ice flows. My husband received them from a friend today. They are being passed around the internet, so you may have already seen them. I was taken by their beauty. And some are actually frozen waves that were formed because it has been so cold in the Arctic. Reports are that waves of water are actually freezing! I didn’t know that was even possible – but just take a look at these photos that captured it!

Anyway, my wish is that even in the pristine beauty of the cold and snow that I love, that all beings would find warmth for their bodies and encouragement for their hearts if they are weary, especially the homeless. I am glad to have a warm snuggly bed to crawl into each night. My pioneering spirit only goes so far ya’ know! I still want a warm bed and comfort for my heart when it is weary :) Don’t we all!

For my fellow Winter Lovers!











Sunday, December 6, 2009

Serenity's Sanctuary - Embrace

Everything is held in the Embrace of Absolute Presence.

~

The Eternal Embrace is
a dynamic Stillness of Being
that holds everything as it is,
with no need to change anything.

It is a holding space for everything to just be…

We are held in this space of Presence,
the space of Divine Embrace –
a Vastness that just is…

~

There is only ever Embrace –
a deep compassionate Embrace for all life,
for all that is - as it is…

The Divine embracing Itself in *every* expression.

~

Everything is suspended
in ever-present Presence.

Rest in This…

~

When we emerge from our rest,
we realize that we ARE the Embrace –
embracing Itself.

We ARE fluidly and interchangeably the Embrace –

Divine Intimacy…



Sweet Serenity…


~

Notes from my journal – 2009

funky art :) - Christine



Saturday, December 5, 2009

Snowflakes Into Infinity

We are but snowflakes
falling into Infinity,
passing through this reality
in free fall ~ temporary.

Crystalline beauty melting away.
The beauty of Self appearing in the Void
in countless shapes and forms,
just passing through in
temporary states of existence.

We are snowstars within the
dark sky of the No-thingness,
within The Great Mystery,
sparkling through space and time ~

until our lamp burns out
and our light melts back into Infinity again ~



Mystic Meandering
Copyright November 12, 2006
Updated December 5, 2009

funky art :) – Christine





Thursday, December 3, 2009

Just An Ordinary Day - Part 2

Well, since I can find a metaphor for nearly everything that happens in my world, I just had to share this one. It seems fitting for what I have been experiencing lately.

As part of my “ordinary day” experience on Tuesday, my husband and I were preparing to put the storm windows on the bay window in our living room. The two angled side windows butt up to the brick on the front of the house, making for a rather tight area to maneuver the storm windows into. My husband has struggled with this for the 13 winters that we have been here.

After I cleaned the outside of the window I went inside. I turned towards the window and looked over to where my husband was outside. I could see that he was struggling with the storm window to get it into the track of the window frame. In that same instant the glass broke - crack. The look on his face as he looked at me through the window was priceless. A kind of little boy look that said: oh-oh, I’m in trouble now. I’m sure the look on my face reflected his. It was an “oh shit” moment for both of us. :)

In his struggle to force the window to fit into the framework he was warping it, which caused the glass to break. Forcing it caused too much stress, and something had to give - and it did. In reflecting on the event, I realized that this is what I have been doing in my life as well. I’ve been trying to make things happen, fighting against the constraints of our current circumstances. In the process *I* keep warping and cracking - because it’s too much unnatural stress on my system. Spiritually I know it doesn’t work to “force” a breakthrough, insight, or awareness. Neither does it work to try to get life to go the way *I* want it to - which, as I discovered, is what causes the struggle to begin with. I know this, but I keep falling back into the struggle.

So once again I realized that what I need is to relax back into the groove of just Being and allow things to “fit” in their own way, in their own time, without forcing them. If I struggle with trying to make life fit my idea of what it should be, it won’t happen. If I struggle with how life is going I meet resistance – and something breaks – usually me. Once again I have to learn to just rest in the embrace and flow of the Inner Being that just IS – the Essence that knows no struggle.

So with this little window episode, as well as my other “ordinary day” experiences that day, I began to see what I needed to see: In our True Nature there is an innate flow with life – like the geese that fly south in time for the winter. We naturally and intuitively do what is right from within, when the time is right. Wednesday, in the solitude of being home alone, and therefore some time to just BE, I could feel the resistance with life begin to let go as I consciously began to relax into the inner Embrace. I settled into a sense of inner flow with Being, with Self – with the Awake Aware Presence that was waiting there all along – just waiting for me to quit struggling. The invitation was so obvious - just rest and recognize the Presence that is always there waiting. In that recognition the innate flow with Life opened up again with a new sense of awareness: Life lives Itself naturally in the flow of simply being with life as it is…

Life lived fluidly…



Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Just An Ordinary Day...

Today was just an ordinary day. I spent 3 ½ pleasant hours with my mother (well that’s not ordinary on a regular basis.) Came home. Cleaned the front window so that my husband could put the storm windows up – as I helped :). Then raked leaves till after dark. While outside it dawned on me that had I missed spending time outside this year for some reason. I’ve missed the smells of the seasons and the sounds of nature, the turning from light to dusk, to dark. Don’t know why I didn’t spend more time out – life just unfolded that way – or maybe I was distracted and wasn’t paying enough attention.

While cleaning the window I could hear the sound of crunching leaves under my feet, and felt the crisp bite of the cold air against my face as it began to whip through. It felt so good – so alive - to be *in* it! Our temperatures dropped dramatically this afternoon as we are getting a Canadian cold front. They are predicting 2-4 inches of snow for tomorrow. In the silence of the rhythm of wiping down the window I heard the faint sound of a goose call overhead and looked up. There was a small flock of Canadian geese passing over with the lead goose honking out his gentle, persistent call to keep the others following behind. I paused to look and follow as they flew by in V formation – my eyes taking in the branches of the cottonwoods above me, with its abandoned squirrel’s nest, and the blue sky with its gray snow clouds beyond. I resumed wiping the window, paying attention to nothing in particular. Shortly after that a second, slightly larger flock passed over with the same gentle call, in the same V shape. The sight tugged at my heart as I watched them fly south - knowing it was heralding a season of endings once again. Although I love winter – well the kind of winter I remember, growing up in New England. Nothing like the dry, brown winters we get here in semi-arid Colorado. But still, I love the call of winter.

As I raked leaves I found the little Vinca blossom in the photo in the front yard, and got the camera to capture this last bloom of the season. How could this little fellow have survived this long! We’ve already had snow and temperatures below freezing, and yet there it was in all its beauty, calling to my heart to capture its last expression…

And so there it was, just awareness, aware of an ordinary day touching my heart in extraordinary ways. This ordinary day unexpectedly called to my heart to *see* Life expressing itself in extraordinary and unexpected ways, reminding me of transitions, endings, and Life finding a way to express Itself through it all. The heart of wonder was alive and well today, and the discovery of the forgotten joy of the simplicity of nature. I hope they visited you too…

Heart Smiles… :)


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Serenity's Sanctuary - Seeing Through Thought

Thought, posing as reality, creates the idea of “a way”, “a truth”, “a path.”
The thing is not to be constrained by thought,
but to discover what in you wants to be lived
wants to be expressed

~

It is the mind that engages in seeking;
seeking an answer, a way, a purpose, a resolution.
In the stillness of Awareness it doesn’t matter.
Don’t follow the mind.
Enter into the depths of Being –
and know

~

Don’t seek the answers to your questions in the mind,
but find the perspective that lets you see through everything –
seeing the transparency of all things – the fluidness of it all…

~

The mind cannot reflect what is Real
because its function is not to reflect what is Real,
but to interface with “illusion.”

~

It’s what you believe that creates your reality -
the thought system that you’re invested in.

~

“Return” your thoughts to the place of beginnings –
to Source…

~


notes from my journals 2004-2006

Photo – Christine Kennedy



Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Stream of Suffering

A week ago Friday I took a rather deep dive into the stream of suffering. It was not really intentional, but there I was flailing in a stream of emotional sludge – feeling sorry for myself, feeling victimized by life circumstances, angry, lashing out at the boulders and logs that blocked the flow, blaming, resenting, resisting – feeling crushed by the weight of all this mental and emotional anguishing – and therefore suffering…

I didn’t come up for air until two days after my plunge, when I decided it might be a good idea to tinker under the hood and see what was causing all this suffering. And so last Sunday I sat, I saw and – well not exactly conquered – but had a serious heart to heart with this suffering orphan inside.

I started by asking: How am I creating this suffering? I breathed into the lower dan tien, feeling energy moving down my legs and out my feet. Then I felt the energy move up the back of my spine. That’s when I became aware of how contracted I was. As I breathed I became *aware* of all the places where contraction was being held in the body. By staying with the rhythm of breathing *and* awareness I could feel these places opening up and letting go.

I also suddenly became aware that it was *thought* that had created these contracted areas – this “suffering.” That it is the *belief* in the thoughts that arise, as I have heard many “spiritual teachers” say over the years, but I had to experience it for myself.

For a short while I was able to come back to just awareness and breathing. The thought stream was still strong, stronger than the Oceanic Rhythm of the breath and awareness, but I just kept coming back to the breath and awareness. This seems to be the “remedy” – awareness of the contraction of thought *and* of Awareness Itself: the open space that holds the contraction beyond the thought stream.

It seems so simple – breath and awareness: The Rhythm – bringing the breath and awareness *to* the contractions, allowing them to open up and let go. AND bringing awareness to the Awareness that is there in the middle of it all – the Stillness that is always there bringing release, relaxation, perspective, rest. Yet there is still a contraction felt with each thought that arises, like a stick being stuck into a beautiful sea anemone that floats on a rock at the shore. It contracts, closes up, and then after a period of time it relaxes and opens up again, floating with the movement of the sea. Internally this is what thought feels like to me, like a stick being poked in and a subsequent contraction. And it often feels like I am in a constant thought stream and therefore in a constant *state* of contraction, being bombarded by thoughts. It’s like I can’t *not* think, and at this point I cannot *not* contract – but I can bring awareness to it.

The awareness arose that the contractions harden me off, keep me from experiencing life fully. The spiritual heart is like the anemone. Each contraction of thought around an experience or feeling is like a stick that causes it to close. The realization also arose that bringing awareness to the breath and Awareness – The Rhythm - is not an escape from the thought. It brings more consciousness *to* the contractions of thought. It is a way to meet the contractions, to *see* the suffering in it, as well as the cause of the suffering – the identification with thought. Through awareness and breath the contractions begin to soften, become fluid, and the heart begins to open again – to float in the Oceanic Rhythm of the breath.

Another awareness arose: What arises is thought, just thought, and the contraction around it. Thoughts build on thoughts, creating a stream of suffering – the thought stream. But it’s all just thought. Everything we believe to be true is just thought… Continuous thought *about* events, about people, about life, about experiences (including my dread about “The Season”) is held in the mind like photographs, like a memory album of experiences. And we *believe* these thought pictures and build a whole way of life around them, around contracting around them – entering the stream of suffering.

I became aware that I’ve actually been in this stream of “suffering” for a very long time without ever realizing it, *believing* my thoughts, solidifying a sense of self around the thoughts. I also became aware that through breath and awareness I can actually *look* at these areas of contraction. I can allow myself to actually *see* them and *feel* their pain, their suffering with *affection*, with presence – without contracting around the memory of them.

The wisdom in this experience of “suffering” seems to be not to bypass or resist it – as that only creates more suffering - but to feel the contraction of thought and meet it with the breath of Awareness.

“Suffering” and I had a good visit. “I” understand her a lot better now, although I’m sure I’ll be talking to her again soon…


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

GSW - The Season of Chaos

Christmas trees and bell ringers greeted me at the grocery store today, as well as larger throngs of people. After all – “Tis the Season.” As I made my way through the grove of trees in front of the entrance and entered the store, there was an immediate sense of chaos. Children were crying and screaming. Most shoppers had that frazzled, bewildered, almost confused look on their faces, as if they were unprepared for another Holiday season already. My how the year has flown. Elderly, white haired, bedraggled looking women were shuffling along as they pushed their grocery carts, many of them with their elderly husbands in tow – obviously bushwhacked into making the trip in preparation for the annual Thanksgiving food fest…

By the time I got done I felt shell shocked, as if *I* had been bushwhacked – or is that ambushed. I was significantly over stimulated by all the noise, people and chaos. I was in dire need of Silence ~~~~. Maybe Sunday’s post arose because I would need to remember what I wrote! That in the midst of chaos, there *is* inner peace - down there somewhere. In the midst of complexity there is simply awareness – if I just notice. And in the midst of confusion there is an innate sense of stability – if I stand still long enough to feel it. Although, what I feel in the moment is a sense of dread. My heels are already beginning to dig in like a child’s first visit to Santa… What do you mean I need to go sit on that big fat man’s lap in the red suit!! No Mom, please!

Sad but true. The Holidays for me hold a lot of memories that feel like finger nails on a chalk board. You know – that edgy feeling. It’s the usual family memories of unresolved, ready to wear, emotional baggage lurking just beneath the surface. I may be the official Scrooge or Gratitude Grinch here, but “The Season” does not fill me with “good cheer”, and Ho-Ho-Ho’s… And as far as I could tell today, it doesn’t for a lot of other people either. It seems for most of us the stocking stuffers this year are stress, tension, confusion, and chaos – you know the little gifts you get to open *before* the big packages.

So – how to maintain equanimity in the Season of Chaos… Today I decided it would be lots and lots of down time, seriously taking care of myself… Now this may sound selfish, but it’s true. The best way for me to get through this is to seriously nurture myself and do things that nurture my body and feed my spirit. Today’s grocery store wisdom reminded me that I haven’t been doing enough of that! Life has been very intense lately and I have not been taking time to just rest in Awareness – to just Be - to deeply relax, let alone do the things I really enjoy. So this is the prescription I’m writing for myself as we enter the marathon season of chaos:

Do only what needs to be done, and don’t let others determine what that is.
Listen to soothing music.
Cloister myself and spend time in silence at least once a day.
Try to be around people who comfort my heart when it is weary.
Limit time with those who don’t.
Relax as much as possible and don’t take anything too seriously.
Accept my feelings, especially scrooge and grinch.
Practice radical non-resistance to what is.
Be authentic.
Stay lighthearted and apply generous doses of humor.
Carry awareness and a heart of wonder in my pocket at all times.
Look for forgotten joys.
Keep perspective.
Remember that even in the chaos “The Mystery” is still there - expressing Itself…


What about you? What is your recipe for getting through “The Season”?


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Serenity's Sanctuary - Simplicity


In the midst of chaos there is Peace…
In the midst of complexity there is Simplicity…
In the midst of confusion there is Stability…

In everything there is Love…

~

Embrace Simplicity…

Simply being with what is...
Restful awareness...


Sweet Serenity…




Photo ~ Christine Kennedy


Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Breathscribe"

This is the name that artist Miriam Louisa Simons of Australia gave to her series of paintings she did following her breath with the strokes of her brush. (That funky piece to the right is my own :) Louisa’s art is literally breathtaking and inspiring at the same time, as well as brilliantly colorful and luminescent. I know anyone who is creative and all who are artists will appreciate her work. I recently found her work, although I have been reading her blog for some time now, and love the simplicity and directness in her writing.

In her description of her “Breathscribe” series she says: “During meditation, as the tide of my breath took me deeper and deeper into stillness and silence, the idea arose to work – somehow – with that rhythm of inspiration and exhalation… What if I painted the flow of my breath?”, she asked... “The relationship between breath and spirit revealed itself. Over time, the paintings evolved in their own way…”

In seeing her “Breathscribe” work I was enamored with its color and rhythm. I was reminded of the power of awareness, of just seeing, and of bringing awareness to the breath, to life; to always come back to the rhythm of the Breath, the rhythm of Awareness, and surrender to it. Where does the breath go? Where does it lead? At times it seems to lead to the Silent Wisdom within, to where Spirit speaks in the Heart of Hearts. At times it seems to lead nowhere in particular. One must listen in internal silence for the breath of Spirit to speak, if it speaks at all. It arises on its own, speaks as it wills, giving voice in the pen, in the brush, in the song, in the dance, in the thought, in the idea, in the beauty and fluidity of color and creativity – expressing that which is known in the Silence.

You can view Louisa’s luminous “Breathscribe” art at wondering mind studio. She also has a series there called “Rhythm and Color” and one called "The Art of Alchemy" with some wonderful Japanese dye art. Her blogs are: this unlit light and wondering mind studio.

Enjoy the Heart Smiles… :)



Monday, November 16, 2009

The Good "What Ifs..."

It seems so many of us are presented with so many challenges of just living these days, of just making it through life, whether it’s physical challenges, health challenges, emotional, financial. We’re even facing challenges of a more spiritual nature as we collectively shift into a new consciousness – being challenged to go beyond our traditionally held belief systems and ways of being in the world.

They all have their litany of “what ifs.” What if I become physically incapacitated? What if we go bankrupt? What if we lose the house? What if the business fails? What will happen then… Even “spirituality” seems to offer its challenges, which creates its own set of “what ifs.” For instance, when I left the religion of my childhood 22 years ago I wondered – what if I am condemned to hell for “leaving the faith?” Or, what if I’m going down the wrong path? What if I lose favor with “God”? - as if any of these were possible. At the time the questions seemed pertinent. But I couldn’t focus on the “what ifs” – I had to follow the longing of my Heart.

This weekend while hibernating in my cave with flu-like symptoms, I browsed the bookshelves for something light to read, something inspirational that would take my mind off how I was feeling. I pulled out another book by Oriah Mountain Dreamer that I had read about 8 years ago, called: The Dance: Moving to the Rhythms of Your True Self. (Okay, there’s that little theme again – Rhythms).

I flipped the pages open to the “Prelude” and started reading. It was a list of “What If” questions. I’ll share the ones that spoke to me.

What if your contribution to the world and the fulfillment of your own happiness is not dependent on discovering a better method of prayer, or technique of meditation; not dependent upon reading the right book or attending the right seminar, but upon really seeing and deeply appreciating yourself and the world as they are right now?

What if there was no need to change, no need to try to transform yourself into someone who is more compassionate, more present, more loving or wise?

What if the task is simply to unfold, to become who you already are in your essential nature – gentle, compassionate and capable of living fully and passionately present?

What if the essence of who you are and always have been is enough?

What if you knew that the impulse to move in a way that creates beauty (peace, love, compassion, etc) in the world will arise from deep within you and guide you every time you simply pay attention and wait?

She then asks:

How would (all) this shape your stillness, your movement, your willingness to follow this impulse, to just let go and dance?

Wow – now there’s a list of “what ifs” to ponder when faced with life challenges! I obviously needed to read this list! How would asking these questions change the way we look at our challenges and *where* we look for our answers?

It seems the “good what ifs” turn us inward to find the “answers” within ourselves, to follow the longing of the Heart and not focus on a frail and fragile future “what if” that may never come about, and only keeps us in fear-thinking.

What if the “what ifs” brought us back to our True Self, where we see that we are inherently imbued with the capacity to meet *any* life situation with grace and equanimity, where we discover our capability to move with the ebb and flow of life’s events. And what if we could *know* this in our Heart of Hearts!? And what if all it takes is a shift in perception, a shift in *identity* with the fearful “what if” self to the Beingness that we truly are – The Essence that dances with life as it is… Even saying this feels foreign to me. Like it’s a new dance, and I don’t know the steps.

I’m signing up for dance lessons…



Sunday, November 15, 2009

Serenity's Sanctuary - The Longing of the Heart

The longing of the Heart is there to draw you in.
It’s the longing of the Heart for that which is true,
pure, innocent, whole,
alive.
It’s the longing for embrace,
Self to Self.
It’s a deep longing for the resonance of Being.
It’s the call of Being.
Follow the call.

~

The longing is your Innocence,
an innocent longing for Home,
for the Freedom of Being.

~

It is the Self that calls Itself back to Itself…
Like the Ocean pulling the waves on the sandy shore
back to Itself with each receding wave that returns.
In a sense, reclaiming Itself…

~

Let your innocent longing carry you to
the still Heart of Being and be free.
Thrive in the depths of Stillness within.
Come Home.


Sweet Serenity…

~

compilations of insights during meditation,
and notes from my journal – Nov. 2009

funky art :) - Christine



Friday, November 13, 2009

The Ebb and Flow of Living...

Yesterday Kris left me a wonderful comment about the ebb and flow of energies when I expressed my concern about maybe offending people here, in the blogosphere. She also commented about how impersonal this blogging is, how easily things can be misinterpreted or misunderstood. Her comment opened me to a new way of seeing the situation that I was concerned about. AND opened me up to seeing more clearly the ebb and flow of living… Hmmm… After writing about “The Rhythm” all last week, and specifically asking the question, how does one *live* “The Rhythm?”, you’d think it would be rather obvious to me, but for some reason I couldn’t *see* it… It was as if there was still a veil there. And as I discovered, sometimes I can have great insights about things in meditation, or writing in my journal, and still not be able to *live* it… That seems to be the case here…

As I lay in bed last night, feeling symptoms of the f – l – u (I spell it just in case it’s in the room because I don’t want it to know that I know it’s hanging around) I was thinking of Kris’ comment, feeling the ebb and flow of the breath, the ebb and flow in my body as it labored, the throbbing of the head, the pulsing of the blood pumping through my veins, contemplating how life just ebbs and flows naturally. Everything is a natural cycle of ebb and flow – OF COURSE! Relationships ebb and flow – I know this so well after 30 years of marriage. The body ebbs and flows. Feelings ebb and flow. Our level of engagement with one another ebbs and flows. Our likes and dislikes. Our health. Being internal and external. The not seeing and then seeing of something. The “spiritual path.” Of course, of course, of course! It’s all ebb and flow… Everything is a cycle of ebbing and flowing, rising and falling that occurs naturally. So thank you Kris for that seeing! :)

The little card above has been on my refrigerator for years. It speaks to me of the ebb and flow of living too, of honoring our natural cycles. Which is what I need to do now. Like the bear in late Fall, I am going to lumber back to my cave for some hibernation time and rest in the ebbing energy of my body and maybe Ms. f-l-u will decide to flow right out of here…

With love in my heart for my blogosphere friends who offer your heartfelt insights and wisdoms through your blogs and comments.



Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Heart Stirrings

There is something stirring in my heart that I must speak about. I am getting the feeling that I may have offended, especially my Buddhist blogger friends, and maybe others, I don’t know. If I have offended anyone with anything I have written here I extend my heartfelt apologies, as it is not my intention to say anything that would offend. I write what comes from the Heart, what stirs my Heart, what arises to be spoken. I am not a Buddhist, although I love Buddhist wisdom, so I don’t necessarily write from the Buddhist perspective. I write how “The Mystery” (Spirit, Consciousness) moves in my life and how it speaks to my heart, through whatever wisdom it comes in. I understand that people may not resonate with what I write, with the languaging and imagery that I use. My intention here in this blog has always been to write something that touches the heart, that inspires, that makes people smile with a lighthearted approach to “spirituality” that sometimes may seem irreverent. I write because I am moved to write, to express. This has helped me to see things with new eyes, and to listen more deeply to the voice of Stillness in my Heart, to awaken more deeply to the Heart that pulses through us all. My wish for anyone that may have been offended is Heart Smiles for your journey… With that said, I’m going to meander on…

~~

There are several things that have been stirring my heart this week. Things that are plucking these heart strings, creating a subtle vibration, opening me up. One of which I wrote about in the previous post with the reading of a poem. Yesterday at the grocery store while standing at the check out stand I saw the latest copy of Shambhala Sun and picked it up. On the cover was a picture of Pema Chodron, with the article title: The Natural Warmth of the Heart. Just the title plucked at my heart strings, feeling the vibration. Curious, I bought it.

I was amazed at the timing of this article for me. She spoke to so many things that I am experiencing at the moment: of remaining openhearted, of dropping the storylines that I tell myself and just trusting the capacity to stay present and receptive to others – and, I add, to life itself, as it is. She talked of becoming aware of when we feel threatened by others that causes a sense of separation – and, I add, the insecurities that I feel that creates this “fear” of offending, which is still a sense of separation. She then went on to say that when we allow ourselves to *feel* these feelings it connects us in the heart because we realize that we all feel the same feelings, whatever the feeling is. I could feel my heart warming as I read…

She ended the article by saying: “When things fall apart and we can’t get the pieces back together, when we lose something dear to us (like maybe my sanity :), when the whole thing is just not working and we don’t know what to do, this is the time when the natural warmth and tenderness, the warmth of empathy and kindness, are just waiting to be uncovered, just waiting to be embraced…. Our own “suffering” (vulnerability) opens us to a loving relationship with the world.” My heart strings were plucked once again by her message… Vulnerability opens me to something hidden deep inside – even if it strikes a chord that feels uncomfortable…

It seems I keep hearing the same message this week so far, whether through a poem or Pema… It’s all about remaining aware, and open to Life – to *feeling* Life play your Heart strings - and dancing to The Rhythm :)

Heart Smiles…

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Heart Touching Invitation

Last week while watching TV (oops, should I be admitting this here? :) a phrase caught my attention: “Hold your heart open.” And I wondered, can I really do that? Can I hold my heart open in all situations that challenge me? I have to report that so far, not so good… And I thought, can “we” really hold our hearts open when we have felt betrayed by others, our bodies, or let down by life when it twists and turns in directions we don’t want to take. I don’t think any of us escapes these experiences. But holding the heart open *to* them seems to be the challenge.

Admittedly this has been hard for me to do, to remain open in the face of life’s hurts and challenges. It is not easy for me to love openheartedly (ooo another potentially dangerous admission…). I haven’t had much experience in that department, so usually I attempt to guard the heart from the inevitable hurts and sorrows that life brings; from the perceived disapprovals and dismissals in the silence of non-response; from the awkwardness that comes when you realize you’re not on the same page with someone that you’ve grown close to. “Awakening” has not resolved this. There’s still a guarded heart here. I seem to have forgotten that Love flows from the Heart of Being no matter what the circumstances, or obstacles of our lives. I have forgotten to remember that we are absolutely loved beyond measure no matter what our challenges. It seems that’s why we are here – to remember. The heart’s longing is to awaken to that Love – the Love that flows naturally from the Heart of Being – from Presence.

This Sunday the shell of the heart cracked open again, ever so slightly. It was touched by an unexpected moment when I pulled a book down off the shelf that I had read 10 years ago. It starts with a poem called “The Invitation.” I vaguely remembered the opening lines of the poem and so flipped to read it in its entirety. My heart began to open in the reading of it. The languaging didn’t matter. I just allowed my heart to be touched once again.

And so I want to share the poem for all of us who are challenged to stay open to life as it is, and life as it isn’t…


The Invitation

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for,
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love,
for your dream (passion), for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon.
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow,
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals,
or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own,
without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own,
if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful,
to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself;
if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul;
if you can be faithless* and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty, even when it’s not pretty,
every day, and if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine,
and still stand on the edge of the lake and
shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or
how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up, after a night of grief and despair,
weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done…

It doesn’t interest me who you know, or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and
if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

From: The Invitation
By: Oriah Mountain Dreamer

~

I continue to ask myself, can I consciously hold my heart open? Can I stand in the fire with whatever life hands me? Can I allow and embrace it all?

I don’t know.

But I am willing to be cracked open again and again
until Love is all there is left,
until my heart dances in the fire…

Do I really have a choice…
It seems that *is* the deeper call…


* she explains in the book that by "faithless" she means "those who can bear the responsibility of breaking an agreement with someone, when the alternative is to betray themselves; to tell the truth even when the truth is hard."