Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Tao of Snowstorms

It’s snowing outside… it’s snowing and it’s snowing. I tried to go to New York today, but it was just not to be. We drove about five miles and realized that this was a fool hearty effort, so we turned back and stopped at the grocery store for a few essentials and made our way home.

I am sorry that I am missing my class today. It promised to be wonderful and deeply moving. I will be able to listen to it on podcast in a couple of days, but it isn’t the same as being there.

However, it was wise to turn back and return home. I probably would have made it to New York, but I was worried about Jon making it home safely and then thinking ahead to this evening… what a nightmare that potentially could be, it just wasn’t worth it.

Man plans and God laughs….

In the old days, I probably would have been bitterly disappointed that my trip was cancelled. I would have wailed, blamed, and struggled to go even though reason said otherwise. Now, I recognize that it really is true- Man plans and God laughs. I don’t know the reason and I probably never will, but I was not meant to be on the train to New York.

Letting go. Surrender. At times in our lives we are required to let go even though with all our hearts and souls we want to hang on for all we a re worth. But, if we can just manage to let go, and surrender, our lives seem to flow effortlessly and smoothly. We can experience the flow and joy of life without the struggles of grasping and chasing after things.

I experienced that today, I let go of my willfulness to make it to New York and to be in that class. Instead, I am home, sipping hot cocoa, watching the snow fall, enjoying the beauty of this wondrous manifestation of Mother Nature, without the hassles of trudging through the streets of New York sloshing in puddles and slipping on icy patches.

Life is beautiful. Life is full. Life is glorious. Even in the disappointments, even in the struggles, life is rich. All we need do to enjoy it to the fullest is to relax and let go, live in the Tao and follow the flow.

Verse 22

If you want to become whole, let yourself be partial.
If you want to become straight, let yourself be crooked.
If you want to become full, let yourself be empty.
If you want to be reborn, let yourself die.
If you want to be given everything, give everything up.
The Master, by residing in the Tao, sets and example for all beings.
Because he doesn’t display himself, people can see his light.
Because he has nothing to prove, people can trust his words.
Because he doesn’t know who he is, people recognize themselves in him.
Because he has no goal in mind, everything he does succeeds.

When the ancient Masters said, “If you want to be given everything,
Give up everything,”
They weren’t using empty phrases.
Only in being lived by the Tao can you truly be yourself.

Let it snow!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The night before last I had a dream about our old house. I think we were still living there, but I’m not sure. Adrienne was little and I was putting her to bed. The details are a little sketchy now, I should have written it all down when I woke up, but I didn’t. I put her to bed in what was our laundry room instead of her bedroom. She wanted me to get something for out of her bedroom and I was afraid.

Her bedroom in this dream was like the room I always dream about, very frightening, very threatening and dark. She wanted her toy and I needed to go into there, I was so afraid. So afraid that I woke up.

Last weekend I had the realization that when Adrienne was in the hospital and I thought she was going to die or be seriously compromised I began to mourn her. I would cry so hard that I wailed. It was frightening. I deeply felt her loss even though the outcome was still uncertain. Then all of a sudden she didn’t die (thank you, God!) and the mourning and the deep sense of loss that I felt was gone.

My realization was that I interrupted the grieving process and I locked it away. I didn’t move through it all, I just stopped and buried my feelings.

I’m not sure that that really makes sense. When I tried to explain it to Jon last night and link it to my dream, I don’t think he got it. I was mourning, I stopped and what was left was fear. So, I locked it away and then I was left with unresolved fear that just festered and would occasionally pop up into my dreams.

So, when I had the dream the night before last and Adrienne’s room was the scary room instead of the scary room at the top of the stairs as it normally is in this dream I have quite often, I stopped and asked myself why. Why Adrienne’s room?

I think that my dream is telling me that, yes, “You stopped the grieving process. You locked away your fears of losing her.” I see the message in the dream. I connected it with my earlier realization that I had stopped the grieving process.

However, I still wasn’t sure I was reading it correctly and maybe the correlation that I was making between my thoughts of the past weekend and my dream really didn’t exist and I was just seeing shadows where there were none. Then I had another dream last night….

In this dream, Adrienne was grown up and married to Zach. Izzy wasn’t in the dream, but I think she was a presence in the dream, or at least in the dream, I had knowledge of her. The four of us, Adrienne, Zach, Jon and I went back to our old house to do some work. We still owned the house, but we didn’t live there. We hadn’t been there for years. The house was empty.

Adrienne was saying how ugly and dated the house was; I found it charming. The cabinets were dark and the floors and rugs were old, but I loved it. In my dream, I was wondering why I ever left there. We were working very hard in the loft, taking out an ugly cabinet someone had built. I wandered down the hall to Adrienne’s old room. When I went in there I was so excited. It was open and airy; there was lots of sun pouring in the windows. I said to Adrienne, “Look at this room, it’s beautiful. I could make it my sanctuary. There is enough room to dance.” I began to dance and twirl from one end of the room to the other.

That was the dream.

Have I shined light on yet another area that blocks me from fully embracing who I am? I feel that I have. It will be interesting to see if the scary room in my dreams shows up again or if this is the last of my deep-seated fears.

I feel that I have had a breakthrough of sorts. I feel lighter today. I’m not sure if this is all of it, I doubt it. I am a multi-layered creature like everyone else, but this has the feel of one.

Stay tuned… I’m sure there is more to follow.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Secret

I learned a secret this weekend. It is difficult to comprehend it. This secret will change your life if you deeply hear it, learn it and incorporate it into your life.

You are going to die.

That was the teaching I learn from one of my most profound teachers this weekend. We had a class on death… our own death. We confronted Death - I am going to die -you are going to die.

So ask yourself this question: “What are you going to do with your one wonderful, wild, and precious life?” Mary Oliver asked that question.

Death is our one common denominator, along with birth. We all are born and we all die. Everything alive in this moment will die, fade away and nothing will remain. Knowing that, takes us to a place of compassion for everything else that is living. We will all experience our own death, knowing this creates a realization of compassion in our hearts if we will allow it blossom.

By my calculations, I have about twenty-five to thirty productive years left in my life, if I’m lucky. Knowing that I am going to die changes an awful lot, doesn’t it.? I should be happy now, not tomorrow or next week… but, now. Knowing that I am going to die and that you are going to die, makes me want to extend my hand to comfort and to receive comfort. It is our commonality. Knowing that I am going to die makes me want to make a difference in someone’s life, it doesn’t matter if it is just one person or ten million people. Making a difference in just one person’s life is like planting a tiny seed of love within another human being’s heart.

From that one seed, an entire forest may grow.

Life is meant to be lived. Wake up! Do something wonderful today. Take flying lessons, take a walk in the park, give a homeless man a buck, start a non-profit to help the uninsured, find the path to world peace. It doesn’t matter what it is that you do, just live your life.

Never, ever, deny yourself something with the thoughts of, “Well, maybe next year…” There may be no next year. Today is the day to live.

When I was in my late twenties, I had awful nightmares. I was newly married, life was good and I was pretty content and happy. Then these nightmares started. I would dream that I was in my grave and my body was rotting and putrid. There were worms and everything else. I wasn’t witnessing it as it is in most dreams, I was living it. I would wake up in a sweat, crying. I think I dreamed this dream every four or five nights for about six months. They stopped as suddenly as they started and I never knew what the cause was. I don’t believe I ever told anyone about them since they were such horrifying dreams. I really thought I was crazy.

I thought about those dreams quite often for years. What I learned from them was, and this knowing took quite a few years for it to sink in, of my own impermanence; that all of life is impermanent. Everyone I know and love will die. I will die, my body will rot and I will not be here. From that I learned to love life and to just sit and take it all in, right now.

This lesson also gave me a sense that there is far more to life than just my physical body. I am not my body. My body is my vehicle, but there is more to me than just this body. I am beyond my body. I am.

I’m not always successful in remembering this lesson, but I have tried. Saturday was a good reminder to live life now, not tomorrow or next Tuesday, but now.

Learn this secret and you too will live your life to the fullest in service to others, because giving to another living being is the surest way to really feel alive!

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Rehearsal

My dream last night was interesting. It’s one of those that just sort of hang on. Now I know I haven’t been up that long, but it’s going to be with me all morning.

There were two parts to this dream. The first part was that I became my doctor’s healer. He was a young man, and I was a young woman in the dream. He was wounded in the war, I’m assuming it was Viet Nam, but the war was unnamed, maybe he was wounded by life and there was no war; he was spiritually wounded none the less.

He wounds manifested as a bad back that gave him tremendous pain. His pain was so severe at times that he would roll into a fetal position and stay there for days. His friend came to me an asked me to help him. I was reluctant because he was my doctor and that was outside of our range of relationship and since he was a doctor, he might reject my efforts. However, I agreed.

I laid my hand on his forehead and prayed. He responded and was healed. He became a “believer” and changed his opinion about how medicine should work. He then went on his way to live his life.

The first part of the dream melded into the second part, I was rehearsing a play. It was one act play with two players. I was the female lead. There is also disembodied voice that comes from off stage, this part is played by a young kid. This voice is a God like entity that speaks to the hero of the play. I don’t really remember now what the voice says to the hero, but it helps the hero to see what he should do.

So, we rehearsed. The plot of the play was very like those awful black and white movies from the fifties, very dark and dramatic. Our hero was a tortured soul and I was co-dependent. We rehearsed and had it down pat. We then decided to perform our play before an audience.

The audience was small, in fact so small that the audience sat on my patio. One of the people in the audience was my brother’s childhood friend Ed. I haven’t seen Ed in forty-five years, but he was in the audience, he was still a young man just as he was all those years ago. Along with Ed were my doctor and his friend that had asked me to help.

The play began and from my first line the play was different than we rehearsed. I went to say my first line and it came out completely different than it was written. In the dream, I thought, “that’s not right, but let’s see where this takes me.” So, the play went on, something completely different than we rehearsed. I liked it.

Evidently, our audience did not, they left in the middle of it.

My co-star and I just shrugged and stopped. We liked what we had created. We knew we were going to take this play on the road… next stop Chicago.

The dream went on after that. There was a statue that would have been worth a lot of money if it hadn’t been broken. In the dream, I said, “Of course it is broken. Everything in this house is broken.” Then I had some interchange with Ed from my childhood that I don’t remember now. But, the important part was the rehearsal.

Life is like that, isn’t it? We rehearse. We plan our lives and imagine things a certain way that never really seem to pan out. Many of us dwell in the disappointment; we harbor bitterness. Yet in my dream, the rehearsal turned out nothing like the performance, it wasn’t successful, and yet I enjoyed that switch. I went with the flow and decided to try it again in Chicago.

I think that is my lesson learned in the last few years. I dwelled in the bitterness that my life didn’t turn out the way I planned, oh, so many years ago. My lesson is that in the end things are good. It all worked out for the best. No, I’m not living in New York City wearing designer shoes, working at a high powered job with a house in the country. But, my life is pretty damn good. I healed my wounds, just as I healed my doctor’s wounds from the first part of the dream. We are our own healers.

So, rehearse; but be prepared to change in mid-sentence and what comes out might be pretty incredible… even if you lose your audience.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Faith... The Only Key

I have been writing this blog for just about a year now and there are a few themes that I write about over and over again. I guess I am going to write about them until I get it right….

One of the themes that I work with a lot is faith. Perhaps it is that I lack faith or I don’t have faith in faith. I don’t know, but faith is something that is so elusive at times. Do I have faith in God? Well, I think so. I would dearly love to have a personal relationship with God, I would love to feel his presence in my life. I see his tracks, I follow them, but I don’t really know God.

For me, God is present in his creation. I look at the trees and the sky and I know God there. Trees spend all of their lives reaching toward knowing God and I suppose I am too. But, when I am in and among trees, I feel close to God.

So, I am learning. I have an inkling of God occasionally and that helps to strengthen my faith.

I am reading a book about faith at the moment and I think that I might have mentioned this already- there is a difference between faith and belief. Belief is an opinion. “I believe that the Eagles are going to win tonight.” Is a different animal than saying, I have faith that the Eagles are going to win tonight.” Faith is a knowing. An assurance from deep within in that what you think is true.

The more I chased after my desires the more they eluded me. I realize that as soon as I relax my yearning for what I perceive I need or want the more it starts to flow towards me. In the past, the piece that was missing was the faith that all will be provided for me. I began to relax into the knowing that it will come.

The more that I was able to do that, the more I received.

Beyond that though, the more I received, the less I wanted material things. My wants turned towards love and kindness. I want to be a good person above all else.

In the Bible, Matthew says that the birds neither toil nor do they reap. They don’t gather in barns and yet all that they need is provided for them. The lilies of the field are arrayed in perfect beauty, and not even Solomon is clothed like one of these. Why do we chase after material things when if we have faith that they will come, they will come. Do we still have to work, well I’m pretty sure that God helps those who help themselves, but I do think that we don’t have to sweat the big stuff if we have faith that God is there.

In my experience this has proved to be true, the more that I relax into my faith that God will provide, the more my needs have been taken care of. When I want to do something, I don’t worry where the money will come from; I relax into the knowing that it will show up as I need it. And you know what? It does.