Friday, February 22, 2008

Steps to learning how to fly

So I have this burning question that I hope you share with me -- How does one really learn how to fly? As with many things in life, I have great philosophical and intellectual answers to this question, and what I am working on now is the experiential piece. But I'd like to share with you what I've learned so far.

Perhaps the key here is to first believe that you really do deserve to fly, that life isn't meant to be endless suffering and struggle, that there really is the opportunity rise up above the relativity of the world and experience the Absolute, the inherent love and good and peace that is always available for the taking. I love this quote from Robert Cooper:

It’s easy to act as if you are a weathervane, always changing your beliefs and words, trying to please everyone around you. But we were born to be lighthouses, not weathervanes. Imagine a vertical axis running through the center of your heart, from your deepest roots to your highest aspirations. That’s your lighthouse. It anchors you in the world and frees you from having to change directions every time the weather shifts. Inside this lighthouse there is a lens and a light. The light represents who you are when nobody else is looking. That light was meant to keep shining, no matter how dark or stormy it gets outside . . . when you find that light inside you, you will know it. Don’t let anyone else dim it . . . and one more thing: remember to look for the light inside others. If at first you can’t see it, look deeper. It’s there.

This is what I believe, or even more than that, I know it to be true. All of the great teachers have talked about letting your let shine, not hiding your light under a bushel, seeing the divinity in everyone -- sound familiar? These aren't just pretty words to make you feel better -- really, they're a call to action, a call to that deep place within you that really feels, that wants to thrive, that understands why you are here. When you get quiet and listen, can you hear it? Can you feel it? What do you hear that voice within you saying?

Perhaps you cannot feel this with any definiteness, you just hope that it is true. That's more than enough to start down the path of learning how to fly. I'd like to take some time over this next week to explore what I see as the steps along this path.

1. Start Where You Are
2. Clear the Slate
3. Shift Your Perspective
4. Connect Consciously
5. Trust Your Intuition
6. Come Out of Hiding
7. Follow Your Bliss

They aren't necessarily linear, some of them are most certainly circular, making your journey look more like you're dancing a little jig as you go. But each step is important, necessary even, as you learn how to spread your wings and begin to fly. The more steps I take myself, the more I understand the ones I've already taken, and the more trust I have when the light shines on my next step. I think this will be fun to explore together and I look forward to learning more with you as we continue along this journey together. Namaste.

Photo: Soaring, Originally uploaded by Peter Kaminski

Enjoying Learning to Fly? Stumble It to share with others looking for inspiration!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Weather report

I'm seriously bummed. I knew there was rain forecasted for the remainder of the week, but I didn't know the full extent until today. They're talking about a storm like the one we had back at the beginning of January, with flash floods and power outages and hurricane-force winds. The problem? Sean and I were supposed to be going camping this weekend. We had a tent-cabin booked down at Big Basin. While that is certainly better than being in a tent in a storm, I don't think I want to be sleeping outside in this kind of storm regardless of my accommodations, so we canceled our trip. Bugger.


I discovered this little gem on the KFOG's Local Scene CD I got in the mail a few years back for being a Foghead. I'd listened to it a few times but hadn't really gotten into it until I was making a mix for my mother in December and pulled it out. I loved "Sweaters" so much that I even named the CD for it. Beth Waters has a beautiful, silky voice and a lot of energy that adds oomph to her complex and soulful lyrics. Seeing as how I'm a little slow on the uptake, I just figured out that "local scene" means she should be playing around here and sure enough, she has a show in Berkeley in March at Caffe Trieste. I'll have to mark my calendar.

So I was looking for a video of her singing this song on YouTube -- instead, I found a friend of hers covering the song. I enjoyed it and thought you might too. If you want to hear her version, check out her MySpace page -- "Sweaters" is the first song in her player. I love the message of this song, which I take to mean that when you change yourself, you change the world. I believe I can change the world, just give me time . . .

Artist: Beth Waters
Song: Sweaters
Album: Beth Waters

This worn out sweater is slightly torn
Like the mouth of that old woman waiting for that phone
And I hear a little laughter from my own
Cause I see so many sweaters that refuse to be sewn

Well I finally threw my Valentine away
It was crumpled and faded
And as I kept it I had always thought the world would be that way
Until I opened up the drawer and it had changed

And it called to mind how I’d always felt like I’m
Just living in this life for a while
And how you get so far beneath yourself
It’s hard to see the journey with a smile

But I believe I can change the world just give me time
I believe I can change the world just give me time
I believe, I believe I can change the world
I believe I can change the world just give me time
Just give me time

Well I tried to start that journal once or twice
But I always end up writing notes on day-to-day life
And like all of us I’m just trying to hang on
In the middle of the carousel it’s much more calm

And it called to mind how I’d always felt like I’m
The last one to hear of things
I’m in the back of the room watching all of you
I go unnoticed but I notice everything

But I believe I can change the world just give me time
I believe I can change the world just give me time
I believe, I believe I can change the world
I believe I can change the world
Just give me time
Just give me time
Just give me time
Just give me time

Copyright © 2003 by Beth Waters and Mermaid Mafia Records/Publishing

My vision

Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it.
~Tallulah Bankhead

I love synchronicity. I met a friend for lunch yesterday whom I haven't seen in quite a while. At one point I felt compelled to share a vision I have. Before I'd finished, she started to laugh and shake her head. It turns out another friend of hers has a similar, overlapping vision. She's down in Southern California right now, but she plans to move back to the Bay Area at some point during the next year to put her vision into action. My friend is going to introduce us to see if our ideas overlap enough that we could work together. How cool is that? The funny thing is I don't talk about this idea very much these days. It's been feeling too "future" for me to give much energy to, but this seemed like a wonderful reminder that the only place we live is in the present.

So I've known that I'm on a healer's path for quite a while now. I've spent most of the past decade focusing on my Practitioner work in a Religious Science community, and I am in the process of evolving this work into more of a spiritual coach or mentor. Within the past couple of years I've had an idea for a Center develop as part of my larger vision, mostly coming up out of the desire to create the kind of community that I've wished already existed in my area. I want it to be a place that is there to assist people along their life's journey, whether they would like to work with a coach, they are in need of acupuncture or massage, they are looking for inspiration and learning through books or seminars, they are looking for a psychic or energy reading, or they just need a safe haven where they can break bread with fellow travelers.

I envision a bookstore that isn't just a bookstore, it provides an atmosphere of community. There are books on metaphysics, religion, spirituality, psychology, personal growth -- great examples of fiction and non-fiction that open you up and stretch you and become good friends. There are candles and lamps and incense, cards that make you laugh and cry, jewelery and bath products, gifts to soothe the soul for yourself and your loved ones. It's a simple store of wood and stone, with comfortable chairs scattered throughout so you can rest and soak up the good energy that gathers from the products and the patrons.

Upstairs or in the back, you might find a yoga class or a workshop or a poetry reading is being held that afternoon, or perhaps it's a movie night where something like What the Bleep Do We Know!? or a Spiritual Cinema Circle selection is being shown, or maybe a 12-step meeting is happening, and various readers have openings in their schedules for you to meet with them. Whether you're interested in energy work like Reiki, astrology or numerology, tarot or shamanism, or want to invest in some long-term coaching, there is someone associated with the Center for you to work with. There are offices in the building where various healing practitioners have full-time practices or you might find a table in the store where readings are held on a more impromptu basis. You might also find a writer or a musician or painter in one of the offices, lending their energy to the space and feeding the Center's energy back into their work.

Attached to the store is a cafe where you can get a variety of juices and coffees and snacks from a counter, or you can be seated in the dining room for a healthy and delicious meal. Perhaps a jazz trio is playing in the corner, or a singer-songwriter is just getting started, or there is a beautiful, revitalizing CD being played through the speakers. The produce all comes from local farmers and is organic wherever possible. The drink list features sustainable wineries, breweries, and distilleries in addition to the juice and coffee drinks from the counter. While not exclusive, much of the menu is vegetarian, introducing you to foods you might not have had the opportunity to experience previously. Mostly it is a place to relax and connect, and there are several community tables in the restaurant if you are interested in meeting new people during your meal.

While much of these ideas flow from my imagination, I've been blessed to experience little pieces of this idea around the country. This Center has its roots in at least three concepts: Golden Braid Books and Oasis Cafe in Salt Lake City, Utah; The Grotto in San Francisco, California; and Sacred Center in New York City. They are all amazing examples of spirit in action, and I cannot wait until I, too, am a part of a similar creative expression.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Byron Katie Quote

I love not rushing the process. Mind doesn’t shift until it does, and when it does shift, it’s right on time, not one second too late or too soon. People are like seeds waiting to sprout. We can’t be pushed ahead of our own understanding.
~Byron Katie, Loving What Is

Overcoming inertia

I love that it is 9:45 and we've already had an absolute downpour, had the sun come out, and now the skies are clear and blue and beautiful. Ah yes, this is my kind of day, where I can enjoy the sun doubly because we've already had some rain today. Yesterday I was not so lucky. I went for my 3-mile walk in the afternoon. It had already rained but the sky was still gray and heavy. I grabbed my umbrella as I headed out and managed to get most of the way through without having to use it, but that last half mile or so it started to rain -- thankfully a light, misty rain, but rain nonetheless. I was so relieved, pleased, proud that I had chosen to walk anyway. It wasn't that long ago that a rainy day would have been more than enough excuse not to leave the house, and considering I was still coming out of my funk, it showed substantial more motivation than I thought I had.

This past week has been really interesting to me, as I've managed to observe myself in the midst of my behaviors and subtly shift what I've always done to something different. What I've always done is let a funk absorb me, depress me, derail me. What was different was that there were still pockets of motivation, moments of productivity, rays of light that kept me at least partially on course in spite of inertia's best efforts to the contrary. Not to mention the unsmall feat of not beating myself up anywhere near as much as I usually do for the moments where I was off course, sitting on the couch eating chocolate and watching copious amounts of silly television.

This is what progress looks like. Most of the time it isn't great leaps and bounds, onward and upwards. It's making small changes, little shifts, and acknowledging yourself for making the effort, noticing the results however wee they may be. Each moment has its own challenges, its own choices, its own ups and downs, its own little victories. The trick is to be aware, to pay attention, to recognize what is happening inside you and around you, and to be grateful both for the awareness and the shift that is taking place. I feel like so much is happening right now, like everyday is full to overflowing even when on paper it doesn't look like I'm doing very much at all. But I can see the progress, in a way I've never been able to do before, and it is truly amazing.

What things do you notice when you pay attention? What are the little ways that you can shift what is happening in your life today? What are you grateful for? I can almost guarantee that the inertia will dissipate when faced with questions like these. There's no place for it to hide when you shine the light. Namaste.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Off and on

I feel like today I am waking up from a long nap. It isn't like I did nothing this weekend, but I did spend more of the weekend drifting than shifting. I haven't meditated or done my morning pages in days and I can totally feel it. The simplest word to describe it is that I am "off" -- off-balance, off-kilter, off-key, off-track . . . just plain off. The one thing I did do this weekend I am so grateful for -- I connected with women. I took a friend to the airport on Friday and we had breakfast. I had a handful of women friends over for a potluck dinner Saturday night. I met up with a couple of my Hoffman buddies for brunch on Sunday. I felt like I was rolling in feminine energy. What a nice change of pace, such a treat.

There is something about this weekend every year where I feel called to embrace my feminine energy. I'm sure part of it is balancing the equation -- my husband spends this weekend playing battle games, whether he goes to one of the local cons or just hooks up with some of his friends. Perhaps his being so utterly immersed in masculine energy brings out my need to soak up some feminine energy. Or it could be that on the heels of Valentine's Day, I feel my heart opening up and need to connect to the feminine to help support that. Whatever it is, this year I felt compelled to spend it with friends, and it sure felt good, like a warm bath. My soul feels soothed for it.

Today I feel capable of taking small steps out of the remainder of my funk. I feel again the desire to meditate, to listen to my intuition, to go for a walk, to cook something nurturing. My body and soul are craving some time to connect, to listen, to pay attention. And so I am following those urges, coming back to my center, moving from off to on -- on track, on purpose, on fire. Thankfully!