Tuesday, October 27, 2009

In the Abyss of Uncertainty

The day is gloomy. Silence surrounds me as I watch out my patio door the rain fall from the sky. Water, an element of change, reflects the emotional body. It encourages us to open ourselves to all things, even to things we dislike or that feel bad. Water teaches us to accept all that life brings while simultaneously choosing to act for positive change. Many of us are experiencing transitions, crossroads that invite us on a path in our journey. These crossroads provide us with opportunities to shift to a higher and more meaningful way that truly reflects the Divine Within, the potential to show up the essence of our spiritual beings, as creations of God.

Yet as spiritual beings in the human experience, we show up in the humanness of the journey. Fear. Anger. Anxiety. Self-righteousness. Blame. Judgment. Self-pity. It is natural. It is normal to feel such angst in the midst of great changes. We must honor the humanness of others and of our self as we show up in the human experience. The shift takes place in our consciousness.

Consciousness is a self awareness; an awareness of how we are “showing up” in our lives and with others, and with this information, then making different choices that shift/lift our energy vibrations. Ideally, the shift will move us from a lower vibration zone, which can feel burdensome, thick and heavy in our physical bodies, bitterness and biting in our moods, and generate “stinking thinking” of negative, judgmental and critical thoughts about ourselves and/or of others. Shifting into a higher vibration zone feels lighter and provides us with a sense of inner peace and relaxation, melting away stress and anxiety and instilling within us a sense that God has our back. This shift moves us more deeply into faith. Shifting takes place when we surrender all our worries, our questions without answers, our fears and “what ifs” over to God/Universe, which then opens a channel to receiving God’s guidance, thus creating space for God to work magic in our lives. Surrendering is letting go of the “shoulds;” attachments to how it all should look like, how it should unfold and how everyone around us should be showing up around us. Stop "shoulding" on yourself! Surrendering is letting go of needing to control everything and everyone in our own life. Coercion is an act of force, to compel something. The practice of coercion around our circumstances demonstrates a separation from God; through impatience, we demonstrate a lack of faith. When we coerce changes, (often impulsively out of fear, worry, anxiety, upset and desperation) that serve our human Ego driven agendas, we cut God out of the equation, leaving little to no room for God to creatively work on our behalf, for us, and through us.

It’s important to understand that surrendering does not mean “doing nothing!” It takes great courage, regardless the perception of our human eyes, to hold steady in faith that everything is absolutely Divine Perfection, and to know God is present through it all. As we move into surrender, we open ourselves up to receiving Divine inspiration, to be guided into right action around what to do differently, more productively, and from a place of greater Self awareness.

Our level of Consciousness is the key to how gracefully we maneuver through challenging times. When we are wrapped up in the lower vibration zone of human emotion, we can not see the forest for the trees. But with effort, and in setting an intention to become more self-aware, we can begin put on the brakes, and step back, breathe and check in with ourselves around how we are showing up in the moment. Taking a time out is a great tool to raise our self awareness. Meditation following the situation can help us to tune in and reflect on what just transpired. Journaling is also a great tool for processing what’s happening, how it feels and how different choices could nurture a more positive experience moving forward.

Whether its rain or tear drops falling today, whether its staying under a hot shower a little longer or enjoying a long hot bath, whether we’re in a swimming pool or in the Atlantic, we are invited by water to take a moment and reflect from a higher place of awareness to not only open up, but how to open up more fully to a positive change. Opening up, just as surrender, is not a passive, discouraged acceptance of our inner world or outer reality, but a courageous shift into trusting the new life that is expressing and unfolding through us.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Embracing Differences for Greater Self Discovery

Life is good. It’s not without its challenges, but choosing how to manage those challenges can determine whether we make life even better. Life’s challenges are healthy, though not always enjoyable. I use the word “challenge” as opposed to “problem,” “headache,” or “pain in the ass,” for challenge holds a neutral energy. From a place of neutrality, we can determine through our choices if it becomes charged to the positive or the negative in our experience.

When presented with a challenge, we may immediately feel lower energies of upset, hurt, doubt, paranoia, anger, or irritability, to name a few. This natural human reaction is triggered by our human Ego which holds a rolodex of past experiences (and even past lives) that remind us of memories which influences how we choose in any given situation. The challenge at hand offers many opportunities, including reevaluation of our belief systems and attitudes, a balance between what we say and how we actually show up in our choices and actions, and whether we need to render forgiveness to ourselves or towards others in past or current experiences for healing.

From a lower state of consciousness, we may choose to hang onto or wallow in the upset; this choice is driven by our human Ego which is designed to protect us from uncomfortable experiences. While the challenge itself may be uncomfortable, more uncomfortable (I know, it’s an oxymoron but the human Ego and Spirit do work collaboratively!) is looking deeply within and realizing we’ve been living lie; misguided self-perceptions created through adopted beliefs imposed upon us by our parents, friends, culture, religion, media or society which could suddenly, no longer resonate as our truth, which can really rock our world. We may realize we were incorrect in our self-perception and our perceptions of others and the world. Being wrong doesn’t work for our human Egos. It’s easier to be “right” and miserable than to rock our world with inquiry and open-mindedness in the spirit of seeing things differently than what we believe we perceive is right. Unfortunately, the only impetus for choosing inquiry and self-reflection with objective honesty is often stimulated by the depth of despair, in how miserable we are and what we tolerate in our life. How effective is such a pattern of letdowns, upsets, or misery in offering us peace and happiness in our life?

Recently, I have been challenged by criticism and persecution around my life choices and beliefs, to which I, of course, naturally became defensive. Immediately recognizing that energy, I chose to step back before overreacting in a tit-for-tat Ego mentality. Through meditative prayer and self-reflection, I “entered into thy closet”, my Heart to better understand my challengers and myself, while consciously remembering that we are all One in God. I opened my heart and mind to whatever Divine Guidance and insight I needed around the situations. In doing so, I understood that one particular past experience in my life triggered my reaction, and through this revelation, realized I had some deeper work to do around fully trusting my heart and its inner knowing. I understood there was unfinished business of forgiveness to offer to facilitate healing around another past experience.

I am also being called to open up my heart and mind even more deeply to unconditional acceptance of differing belief systems without feeling persecuted. I understand that those differing viewpoints do not change my Truth, yet healthy reflection on those differences deepen my awareness of my Truth; additionally it facilitates within me greater love and respect in knowing God expresses uniquely within and through those differences. I can now more fully and deeply trust in my Heart, which supports my personal empowerment when faced with condemnation and criticism of by those whose opinions stem from their own rolodex of past experiences.

The beautiful thing about our life’s challenges is that they serve as mirrors which are gifts from God to reflect back to us one of two things, depending on the situation: a reflection of what is left to be healed within us, and/or what we need to know about ourselves and how we are showing up in our life, as demonstrated by the challenge before us. How self aware through honest and objective reflection can help us shift our life from one of strife and stress to one of peace and harmony. When we rely solely on outside sources and information for our truth, and question nothing within our Hearts, that place where God’s Truth is housed, we agree to what we are told, and close the door to enlightenment. And even through this self-reflection, what we know and believe still resonates with us, then yea us! At least we stepped outside of our box (and the box others put us in) of what we think we know and checked in with other possibilities of what could be.

The Golden Rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, speaks to not only actions, but how we regard other. When we impose upon others what we think they need to believe or how they should live, we show disrespect for another’s journey, their freedom of choice, and what they are here to experience in their lifetime. When we share from an open place of what we personally know and have experienced, we share a part of our heart. It’s all in how it is presented; being open to embracing differences, without a personal agenda, supports the spirit of unconditional love and acceptance. This sharing of differences usually invites a respectful and open dialogue of inquiry, though not always. Through this blog, and in all of my writings, I strive to share information from what I have learned through personal and spiritual experience; whether it resonates with the reader is up to the individual reader. I do not expect anyone to adopt as their own my beliefs as reflected in my shares. My only hope is that something within my personal experience and insights resonate with you, the reader, in support of your own journey. Our journey and the life we experience ultimately lies with each of us, and how we choose to create it.

As for me and my latest challenges, I’m excited by them, for they offer me the opportunity to grow personally and spiritually, to deepen my faith and trust in my Divine Guidance, and better understand differences while continuously checking in with my own personal truths. These challenges teach me to live One in God with everyone in all situations and experiences, rather than from a place of separation in the form of defensiveness and judgment. I value the teachers I encounter in my life, and give thanks for all that they do to deepen me in my Spiritual Truth.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Finding Gratitude in Challenging Times

We’ve all had times when we are just feeling dumped on by life’s experiences. We even get dumped on by other’s less than productive life experiences, which if we are not careful, can energetically take us down with them in the lower vibration whirlpool.

Making a concerted effort to look at what’s right in our life can help us shift up our feelings; finding something for which to be grateful every day will shift relatively quickly those lower vibrations of lack, victimization, fear, upset, anger, blame, and limitation. Whether you have lost a loved one through death or divorce, lost or hate a job, got caught up in someone else’s bad day, lost financial footing, or are generally feeling lost in your life, how we productively or unproductively move through these experiences create our future experiences, moving forward. When we focus on what’s wrong with our lives, what’s missing, and what should have, could have or would have been only sends us spiraling further downward into a sinkhole of lower vibration, the Muck Zone, which then activates attraction of even more “crap” and “loss” into our life.

Rather than spending energy pondering, wallowing, and living in what’s not right with our lives, we must shift our focus on what we have to be grateful for within it. Personally, there have been moments in my life where all I could muster in gratitude was that I was breathing, my dogs were healthy, I had $3 dollars in the bank, I have my eyesight and hearing, and the sun is shining. Finding more gratitude became a stretch, but with focused and conscious effort to appreciate what was good in my life, I began to feel better (raise my vibrations) and release the mucky feelings (lower vibrations) around my life’s challenges. An “attitude of gratitude” shifts the energy to a higher vibration of what’s good, which then leads to gradually attracting greater good into life.

The Universe knows the difference between lip service and genuine feelings of gratitude. Though when in the pits of despair, it may feel silly to be grateful that the light bulbs work or that you have a full head of hair, truly appreciating what we’ve got going for us honors the presence of God’s goodness in our life, and opens us up to receiving more. We must truly believe in that which we have going for us; as we build that momentum of thankfulness, we feel positive shifts in our vibrations, and unproductive energies release to make room for more enjoyable and meaningful opportunities.

We sweat the small stuff of what’s not right too much; honor the small stuff that’s good in our life. These small building blocks lead to building a greater foundation for goodness that we yearn and deserve in our life. Shifting out of a bad attitude into one of gratitude keeps us focused in the present, and begins the process of creating a more positive future, one moment at a time.

Don’t just “think” gratitude, but write those things for which you are grateful down in a notebook or journal to make it concrete and real to the human Ego which generates our lower vibrating emotions. Start with ten expressions of gratitude, keeping them short and sweet: I’ve got a job. Met a nice woman standing in the grocery line. Had calm conversation with the ex. The following week, bump the list up to fifteen expressions and be amazed at how easy it is to do.

Keeping a daily Gratitude Journal is a good meditative practice, even when things are going good, for we keep open the possibilities of even greater abundance through continuous gratitude. Gratitude helps us clear our head of life’s icky appearances and opens our eyes to seeing our situations with a healthier perspective, which facilitates productive problem-solving and the healing of our hearts around the experience.

I am grateful for you reading my Blog. I am grateful to serve as a messenger of Spirit. I am grateful for my life and all its experiences, and to know more deeply my Spiritual Truth of I Am. Namaste.

Love and Light.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Anatomy of Losing A Loved One

Many of you who have been following my blog know my mom recently passed from this life on Thursday, September 3rd. A dear friend suddenly lost her dad this week, and I now know, better understand the experience she and her siblings will go through upon losing a parent. Each experience of loss is different for each of us, and depends on the kind of relationship we had with the loved one. And each of us will handle differently what transpires following the loved one’s death; but I’m sharing my personal experience of dealing with the loss in the days and weeks that have followed so that you who have not been through such a loss (blessedly!) can better understand in some small way what we who have experienced it go through. It doesn’t even begin to touch upon “living the experience” but I’m hopeful you can better appreciate why friends going through such a loss might withdraw, become non-responsive and check-out, become brooding and moody, not seem themselves and out of sorts for any given amount of time.

Upon my mom’s transition, my dad, brother and I were with her when she drew her last breaths. I have never seen someone transition, never having been present when another human being left this Earthly realm. It wasn’t what I expected; it has replayed in my mind many times, and now and again, continues to do so. It’s one of those moments etched in your memory that you will forever recall. The sound of the final gasps of breath. The gurgling of each breath. The body’s strain to take them. My mother’s face as she did so. It brings tears to my eyes to think of it, even at this writing, but I am grateful I was there to be with her, support her as she left this world into the next glorious Realm.

The week and plus days that followed was like being in a time warp, but it felt like we were on Novocain. We were all numb, and immediately after mom’s passing, there were final arrangements to attend to, which provided us with some distraction. But we also had time on our hands before we moved into the visitation and funeral service phase. In the time leading up to these events, we found distraction in the company of family members, loved ones, and DVD’s. We found comfort in the endless supply of food that people brought over. But the visitation and funeral service: I dreaded these two days for I knew it would be intense. The resentful human part of me didn’t want to do any of it. We are physically and emotionally drained from the loss. And we are not only managing our own emotions over this loss, but we are called upon during these times to support others expressions of loss, those who are also saddened. I didn’t want to hear words of encouragement and comfort that really didn’t feel helpful or comforting. We must also manage others’ discomfort with death, and their loss of their friend in mom. But in support of my father, and in honor of my mother, I resolved to open my heart and mind to the experience, releasing all human angst over to the Universe, and moved into being in every moment of the experience. I found the strength and energy from God Within to move through each moment with ease and grace.

Many people came to pay their respects to the family, and we were touched to learn just how well so many people thought of mom. I personally was touched and amazed at all who came to the visitation; people I hadn’t seen since grade school – teachers, family of childhood friends, classmates, and so many others. The days were long, but filled with the support and love of family, locally and from out of town. Sunday evening after the visitation, our house was filled with approximately 50 family members, young and old, to enjoy food and company. It made for a long tiring day but it offered relief in the form of laughter. It also helped us sleep through the night on the eve of the funeral.

The funeral service had been planned by mom prior to the deterioration of her health. One of the blessings our family enjoyed in all of this was mom getting all her ducks in a row around her affairs. This in and of itself was one of many greatest gifts she gave us before her earthly departure. Funeral arrangements and all the details had been previously made; finalizing them after her death was a formality and effortless. The funeral service she planned, down to the music and who would speak was beautiful, and we’ve received so many compliments. It was a relief to have that closure; but with one door closed, another door opens into the next phase of the loss.

The week following the funeral, we are all still slightly numb mixed with a bit of shock and awe. But we had more to do - thank you notes to those who sent flowers, contributions, etc. My brother and his wife, dad and I sat down and took care of the business. It wasn’t quite a week since mom passed but it seemed that so much taken place in such a short period of time. It seemed surreal. The one week mark hit on Thursday, and slowly, the numb feeling began to fade and the reality of mom’s absence made itself known, along the pain that accompanies the loss. I managed to distract myself much as possible through the weekend, but my façade of being “okay,” along with my intention to “move on” began cracking under the pressure of grief bubbling to the surface. One week and a day after mom’s passing, my brother and his wife returns home to Frankfort and their lives, leaving Dad and I at the house where we’d been in service of mom for two months, and for Dad, even longer. One week after burying my mom, ten days after my mom died, all emotional hell broke loose for me; I crashed and burned for two days, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

It’s just been six weeks since mom crossed over. Two weeks after her death, I left town and headed to South Dakota and Colorado for a getaway. Several Interstates experienced my tears as I sobbed like a baby whenever I thought of my mom, saw something that reminded me of her, or I felt my mom’s presence around me. The emotion purged up uncontrollably steamrolling through me, at times. I cried even more upon my arrival to Colorado, and in the nurturing and loving arms of my spiritual family and support group. The trip was good, for it allowed me the space to process mentally, spiritually and emotionally the loss, and my life without my mom in it. Upon my return, I finally crashed physically, as all the energies of the grief manifested through a head cold, forcing me to stop, sit still, rest my body and sleep; it was the most I’d sat still since I came home in July to care for mom.

Life goes on. Each Thursday, I feel a heaviness come over my heart, for mom was Thursday’s child (born and died on Thursday). I watch a DVD and see someone losing a loved one, and in hypersensitivity, I break down in more expression of grief, thus missing several minutes of the movie. I’m feeling more myself, but then I’m touched by another’s personal loss, such as my dear friend. My heart aches with an understanding of what she’s experiencing, and her sense of responsibility she’ll feel to forge ahead as a pillar of strength for the family and the community, when you really just want to curl up in a corner and cry like a baby. And lately, I experience “what if” moments, when I wonder, what if I’d been home more often to spend more quality time with her, what if she’d met my Beloved, and what if she’d gotten to do more of the things she’d wanted to do. It’s part of the process; and I gently think the thoughts, and then gently let them go. This is the key to moving through the grief and keeping one’s sanity within it.

As for supporting those of us experiencing such a loss, just listen to us share our feelings, and acknowledge them. Don’t tell us what we need to do to get through the grief; even if you’ve been through it personally, remember we each handle our grief uniquely. Tell us you are available for us to call and talk to you, and that you’re happy to listen and share your own experiences if we want to hear them. Hold us when we are crying, tearing up, and even when we are being unreasonable and irrationally out of sorts for the situation at hand. Just a simple hand on the shoulder or back to reassure us we’re not alone in this is helpful. Be patient with us, understanding and just asking “what can I do for you?” Tell us it is okay to be sad and to cry; don’t tell us “you’ve got to move on.” When its appropriate, help us get out, keep busy with a project; there’s an appropriate time for us to wallow in the emotion, but help us move out of it by bringing over supper, a DVD and popcorn, or an art project. And ask us questions about the loved one, especially if you didn’t know him or her well. We love to talk about our loved ones we’ve lost, for it helps us stay connected to them in a different and new way; don’t think it’s too painful to bring the loved one up to us, and yes, we may even cry when we do talk about them, but that’s okay. You just need to be okay with it if we do. Know that we are in pain as we watch other family members left behind go through this loss too. Watching my dad move about this house, alone and without my mom for the first time in 45 years is heartbreaking. He relied on mom for a great deal, and he misses her presence, her company a lot. We all do. So know we are feeling empathy pain of another’s grief, which leaves us feeling helpless to our loved ones, as well as our own grief.

For me, I’m feeling more like myself, but I still need support. I have a wonderful man who catches me when I collapse under the heartache, but I also need to know what I’m feeling is normal, healthy; so I’ve found a grief support group to connect with so that I’m feeling less alone in this muck. If you are not sure how to support someone in grief, get educated. There’s a wonderful Grief Library at Owensboro’s Glenn Funeral Home’s website, www.glennfuneralhome.com, by a specialist who resides in Colorado. Or go to a grief support group with your friend; he or she will appreciate your support in this way.

I’ve never lost someone so close to me before until the passing of my mom. I’ve lost dogs, grandparents, even an uncle, but this relationship was the greatest loss I’ve experienced. I appreciate the support I’ve received; but I’m not done grieving. Just know we appreciate your love and support continuously, even if we look like we’re doing okay.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Shifting Up in Vibration

It’s been a while since my last blog; thank you for your patience and understanding over the last month and a half. As most of you know, I’ve been in Kentucky assisting my father with the care of my mother who was diagnosed as terminal in January. My mom passed on September 3rd, and I’ve taken the month of September and October off to see to the business of supporting my father as well as for my own personal healing. The mourning will continue beyond October, but the time I’ve taken has offered me the opportunity to recoup energy expended through this amazing and challenging human experience.

As many of you may also know, we have moved into an amazing shift in September as the separation between lower and higher vibrations has been taking place. I am not alone in the multitude of changes that are taking place, as I hear many other like-minded colleagues, peers and acquaintances that are experiencing intense shifts and transitions that, upon initial appearances, seem to be out of their control. These changes are around jobs, life's work, relationships, and even around routine and material experiences as we’ve known them. Are these changes really out of our control? The Universe supports us in ways even we can not imagine.

Using my own journey, as an example, I learned of my mother’s illness in January. At the end of May, I learned that my job contract would not be renewed, and thus, I would be unemployed as of the end of June. One door closes, another opens; in this case, I was given the freedom to return to Kentucky to serve my parents in their time of need, as well as spend as much quality time as I could with my mom in her final weeks on Planet Earth. But the Universe is not quite finished with me yet! In this dark time of waiting for my mom’s transition, I meet, quite surprisingly and unexpectedly, my Beloved that I’ve spent the last year affirming as manifested (a testament to the Law of Attraction) in my life! Again, as another door begins to close around my relationship with my mom, another door opens to a relationship with my Beloved, and a heart, and life, filled with love and joy in the midst of my grief. Can the spectrum of shifts be any more extreme?

For me personally, I have much in my life still up in the air in this journey, but I’m learning to let go and surrender, even more than I already thought was possible. As we move forward in our journey, our personal growth and spiritual lessons deepen, bringing us to an even higher vibration and state of consciousness as we move through the human experience. I encourage you to consider how doors that may be closing in your life are truly opportunities for you to step more fully into your Authentic Self. The level of consciousness we hold as to the mysteries (or are they really that mysterious) of the Universe and its work will determine how well we manage such intensely shifting human experiences.

Now is the time to deepen our spiritual practice of daily meditation and introspection. Greater self-care and self-nurturing is needed to support our human Ego and strengthen our resolve of perseverance. Efforts toward greater and more conscious expressions of gratitude temper the sense of uncertainty around the unknown. Rooting ourselves more consciously into a deeper trust and faith that the Universal Spirit is handling all the details of the unseen helps dissipate the illusions of fear and anxiety, and cool the burning questions of “what", "how” and “when.” We are One. We are One in God. We are God Expression, human vessels through which God creates. What we create is decided upon by each of us. All is as it should be, and in this knowing, we can know all human roads lead to the deeper understanding of Creative Power of God Within each of us.

Love and Light.