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...

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


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,
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."

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Serenity's Sanctuary - Oceanic Rhythms

There is a rhythm to the Ocean of Awareness,
an expansiveness that breathes; a rhythmic, fluid movement
that continuously interacts with form,
like the Ocean lapping up on shore.


It’s about allowing yourself to be held by that Rhythm –
supported by that Rhythm,
rising and falling with the swells of the Ocean.


Duality *is* that Rhythm.
This and That. Black and White. Light and Dark.
The cycle of birth and death.
The seasons.
Male and Female.
They are not distinctions, but Rhythms of The One.
Duality is just a rhythm of Non-Duality,
of rising and setting.
Light into dark and into Light again…
There is only one Rhythm in everything, as everything.


The “me” is of The Rhythm.
It is the Formless as form.
The body and mind are the rising and falling
of the Formless Rhythm;
not separate from The Rhythm,
but all one wave;
the pulsation of the Formless in and as form;
the wave of humanity rising and falling as The Rhythm.


You are the wave of the Ocean – the movement of Life.


Rest in The Rhythm.
Listen to The Rhythm.
Just BE The Rhythm.

Sweet Serenity…


Notes from my journal – January 2009

funky art :) - Christine

Saturday, November 7, 2009

New Poem - "The Rhythm"

I float on the swells of the Great Sea,
the vast, open Spaciousness;
out beyond the thought stream of duality.
Just the deep calm of Isness rising and falling
in an endless subtle rhythmic movement;
a stillness that ebbs and flows fluidly.

Here there is a gateway into Rest, the Quietude,
where everything falls into “The Rhythm,”
into the deep calm of The One.

I allow myself to be taken by
“The Rhythm,”
the rising and falling of Stillness.
It’s “The Rhythm” of the Formless that holds me,
that sustains and supports me –
that is me…

There is only “The Rhythm” in everything,
as everything –
the expressions and experiences of Life.

We breathe, and are breathed by
“The Rhythm.”

Mystic Meandering
copyright January 2009

funky art :) - Christine

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Framework of Interpretation

My husband and I were talking this past weekend, as we often do. We often engage in deeper, more philosophical discussions about “life.” That is what attracted me to him in the first place! After 31 years we are still able to go there, to meet each other in the depths, even though our paths have seemingly taken us in different directions. Like the poet Robert Frost wrote, we are kind of like two roads that diverged into the woods, each of us taking a less well-traveled path in our own way. And even though we are both on “different paths” we still manage to somehow converge here and there, to cross each other’s pathways. Sometimes my husband has a hard time when I talk more “mystically”, more abstractly, what he calls “ooga-booga” language. And I continue to be enamored with the wisdom that sometimes pours forth from his being.

During our discussion out of his mouth poured: “The moment is the experience, not the framework we put around it to interpret it. So don’t frame the experience or circumstance with interpretation.” Something caught my attention there – the “framework of interpretation” – and I realized how much I do this. How I have erected this framework of interpretation through which I see life, creating a scaffolding of ideas, beliefs, opinions and judgments – a frame of reference that frames everything I see. Like when you go on vacation and spend your entire time behind the lens of a camera, taking pictures of the experience, but never really experiencing it. And so the interpretation of things becomes the frame of reference through which life is seen, instead of the direct experience of living it from moment to moment.

The same is true of “spirituality” it seems. My tendency is to hold on to a particular frame of reference through which to experience “Truth.” “The Mystery” just is. It’s not my image of what it should be, or what it should look like. It’s not in my identities that I project onto it or identifications with particular belief systems. “The Mystery” is authentic in and of Itself, is the reality of what is, not the image I was conditioned to believe. And so it seems my challenge is to see beyond the identity I give it, the image of it, into “The Mystery” Itself – seeing how “The Mystery” reveals Itself without the interpretation, without the framework that I have constructed around it. It was as if in my husband’s words I was being invited to look beyond the scaffolding of interpretation – the stories, the thoughts, the ideas, the images, even the languaging of “It” that keep me in my comfort zone, that keep me from seeing directly.

It seems this requires being open to actually *experience* It – to actually *see* It without the pre-conceived ideas/beliefs *about* It. And for me although the “religious” framework has been gone for many years, there’s still evidently a scaffolding in place, a framework where I try to extract a particular interpretation from the experience of “The Mystery,” instead of just *seeing* it for what it is.

As the conversation continued, my husband then said: “We all stand at the portals of Awareness.” I gasped. These words spoke to me so clearly. He said we are like children looking through a peephole in a fence. A child will look through a peephole and tell you what they see, they don’t worry about being “qualified” to say it, and they don’t interpret what they see. Innocence just sees.

Like my husband so profoundly said – we all stand at the portals of Awareness, of SEEING. Are we curious enough to look, to peak through and see, to go beyond the familiar frameworks? Do we really want to *see* what is beyond the scaffolding, beyond the stories that we tell, the beliefs we believe that keep us in our comfort zones – that keep us from seeing through the Portal – to “The Mystery”…

(for other related readings this week see Liminal Light and this unlit light)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

GSW - Living the Rhythm

There didn’t appear to be any specific grocery store wisdom today, except for this nagging awareness that I am not living in rhythm with “The Rhythm” – the felt sense of the Inner Rhythm that animates my being. So maybe this doesn’t qualify as “Grocery Store Wisdom”, but this is what emerged today, that evidently wants to be written. I felt strangely out of sync with the Self today, out of sync with Life. The requirements of living seem to be taking over and taking me out of rhythm with “The Rhythm” – if that’s even possible. I ended up feeling like I was schlogging through the grocery store with someone else’s goulashes on – at least two sizes too big and very heavy – like schlepping through mashed potatoes and gravy… Clean up on the Deli isle please…

As I schlogged through the store I felt only vaguely aware, as if the glow from Saturday’s realizations had dimmed. Where was the excitement about living “The Mystery?” I had hoped to see how “The Mystery” would reveal Itself today, instead I kept getting tripped up on the stories I tell myself about the way life is going, and how I’m tired of schlogging through life, having to be so focused on the mundane, rather than riding the rhythmic waves of Oceanic Awareness. But I told myself that it’s okay, life continues as it does – chop wood, carry water – keep going. We can’t always be floating in the ecstasy of “awakenings.” Things need to be done. And so I do them. Like we all do…

As I went from isle to isle in my mud sucking boots I pondered: How do I *live* “The Rhythm” when the mundane seemingly weighs me down, taking me in directions my Heart doesn’t want to go, out of the necessity of survival. My Heart wants to create, flow, rest, but I get caught in the mundance - the dance of the mundane. This is not to say that the mundane *isn’t* “The Mystery”, but how do I honor “The Rhythm of The Mystery”, that internal Rhythm that wants to be expressed in and through me… How can I be true to That - *living* “The Rhythm”…

While I realize now that *everything* is “The Mystery,” that there is no separation between the mundane and “the Mystery” - that it is only the *thought* that they are separate that makes it so – my experience of it feels different. It’s as if my whole being is trying to free itself from the confines and constraints that it is experiencing – the roles, the identities – and just BE, fluidly living. But this mundance that I’m caught in seems to suck the heat from the embers of the creative fire that wants to burn…

So - How does one “live life as it is” with its domestic demands and still find the energy to also do the life affirming, creative activities, when ones body lacks the stamina to do it all... I know a lot of you are doing this out there – you who are artists, mothers, writers, contemplatives, caregivers & working women… How do you *live* the excitement of “The Rhythm," of “The Mystery” that rises up from within? Seriously, I want to know! Some days I find it hard to just sit in open-ended meditation without thinking about what needs to be done, or to focus enough to get any creative momentum going, while still keeping the home fires burning – like Hestia, goddess of Home and Hearth: keeping the meals made, the laundry done, the general upkeep, the lists of things to do, and still fully engage in creative, life affirming endeavors. Where do we find time to just BE? Is it just me, or have you noticed that most “gurus” are men?! :) Is there a reason for that? Maybe they have the uninterrupted time to devote to a more contemplative life, to living a mystic’s life in sync with “The Mystery.” I don’t know. And I don’t mean to sound whiney here… but… something is pulling me to live differently, to express in a different way, to see in a different way… And yet, the tune of the mundane keeps pulling me back into the same old dance – the mundance…

And so as I did my domestic duties today, I reminded myself that it’s all “The Mystery” here, breathing me, living me, dancing me through the mundane duties and obligations… I reminded myself to rest in the Embrace of “The Mystery,” that the “mundane” is merely the surface movement that I *identify* with as a problem, an obstacle to the flow. I reminded myself that beyond the roles and identities of “self” we *are* abiding Presence, “The Mystery” – “The Rhythm” - experiencing life.

Shall we dance? Can you hear “The Rhythm?” You take the broom and I’ll grab the duster…

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Serenity's Sanctuary - "The Mystery"

Life is the movement of “The Mystery.”
Life is the manifestation of “The Mystery.”
Life itself is “The Mystery” in movement with Itself, *as* Itself in form.


We are held in the embrace of “The Mystery.”
This kind, benevolent Presence is all here, everywhere,
*in* everything, *as* everything.

*It* wants to be known and seen.
*It* wants to play in the *seeing* of Itself.


In looking into “The Mystery” there is a sense of intimacy.
There is only deep, deep Love looking back.


We are held in the intimate gaze of “The Mystery”,
like the intimate gaze of lovers seeing *into* each other,
seeing *beyond* each other, seeing beyond the persona,
into the *depths* of Being.
Seeing right through into Being Itself.
Being seeing Being.


We are continuously held in that loving gaze,
The Embrace of Existence.

Sweet Serenity...


Excerpts of insights from my journal - January 2009

Photo – Christine Kennedy