Posts Tagged With: spirituality

Emotional Overdrive and Sunday’s Serendipitous Sign

Wood, found on railroad tracks, which looks to me like an angel's wing. 12/4/2011. Canon A 3300 IS.

Wood, found on railroad tracks, which looks to me like an angel’s wing. 12/4/2011. Canon A 3300 IS.

These days I feel on emotional overdrive.  I care about everything, and everyone around me, even when I don’t want to.  Tears well up easily.

It’s like my heart has vacated its space behind the protection of my rib cage and breastbone, and has risen to the surface to rest just below the thinnest layer of skin, and refuses any sturdier protection.

The old familiar walls refuse to go up, and crumble as fast as I try to build them.

Yet, in the midst of the vulnerability and tears, I am finding a glimmer of fearlessness that I didn’t know I had.  Things that used to frighten me, I mean really scare the daylights out of me, are getting easier…Like opening myself to compassion to everyone, even when I don’t want to…Like allowing myself to be vulnerable with other people present…Like not being perfect, or not being exactly what other people want me to be.

I went for a walk yesterday around my neighborhood, and cutting down the train tracks I spotted the piece of wood up there, shaped by weather and where it had landed and who knows what else, to resemble an angel’s wing, and I can’t help but feel it echoes the feather I found on the beach, photographed, and spoke of in this post.  It feels like a good, serendipitous sign that I’m on the right track.  (Pun intended, given where I found it.)

Something good is rising, I can feel it.

Categories: Photographs, Stories | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

A Reminder…

Pampas grass in the wind. Canon Rebel XS & EF-S 55-250 mm IS. 10/15/2011

I am not my job.

I am not the contents of my bank account, or, in the eyes of some, the lack thereof.

I am not the roles I inhabit on the stage of the day: secretary, daughter, friend, academic, or, depending on who you ask, bitch.

I AM, or at least part of me is…The spark in the center where a heart beats and breath flows as a smooth breeze if I let it…The part that speaks in intuitive whispers, even when it encourages my voice to roar…The part that knows no time, that sees beauty in the mundane, that notices Nature’s signals, that sees through to souls, that feels compassion, that never stops dreaming and hoping, that drives the urge to create, that seeks pockets of peace and stillness, and that animates this body.

I am THAT.  Ham-sa, as some are taught to recite, or, others, So-hum.  I am THAT.  You are THAT.  We are all a little piece of THAT, The Divine That-Which-Is-Bigger-Than-Us.

“So breathe,” I remind myself, and you.  “Who you are is so much more than the present circumstance.”

Categories: Photographs, Verbal Snapshots | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Softening and Opening

Soft evening light through the bedroom curtain, the view from my yoga mat.

Soft evening light through the bedroom curtain, the view from my yoga mat. 6/8/11. Canon EOS Rebel XS.

Fear and anxiety have been coiling tightly in my belly, my whole being recently.  Change is afoot, speeding toward me (set to arrive the 24th of this month), and what lies beyond the change is, at least in large part, unknown.  I tell myself it’s a field full of possibility in my more lucid, centered moments.  But the fear of the myriad of unknown details, the anxiety of knowing it’s coming, and feeling–despite years waiting for this very thing–like a deer in the headlights of an oncoming big rig, have had me tensing up…Tensing up and feeling angry with myself for feeling scared and anxious.

There has been, as morning pages and pre-bed mental dumps into my paper journal over the past few days reflect, a lot of not-so-nice self-talk going around and around in my mind.  I mean, really, what kind of sense does it make to direct anger at yourself for feeling scared and anxious?  It doesn’t.  It only furthers the suffering.

Also today, it really hit home how much I’ve cut myself off from people.  I knew when I arrived back here from university graduation that I didn’t want to stay, so, as the years have gone along, I’ve isolated more and more, keeping people at arm’s length, trying not to put down roots so that it would be easier to leave.  Unfortunately, I discovered I have put down roots, and, on top of that, I’ve been increasingly lonely.  I can be so good at fooling myself sometimes.

With the internal upheaval around endings and new beginnings on the horizon, a new life for myself needing to be born in the near future, I decided that this evening’s yoga practice would be this YogaGlo class by Elena Brower.

I didn’t know quite what I was getting myself into, but I am so, so thankful for that 45 minute practice session.

I’ve heard of people dissolving into tears during their yoga practice.  I’ve sniffled a little a few times myself, but this evening brought a flood of the cleansing variety.  The main focus of the class was softening the belly and allowing for possibility.  When the tears started, I felt all the gut-level tension start dissolving.  Those knots from the fear and anxiety came untied.  I saw how downright cruel I’ve been to myself, not just recently, but across decades…Never satisfied with what I’ve accomplished, always angry at myself for not being better or doing more and doing it better.

No wonder I am so scared!  When anger at self, and, though it pains me to say, little pockets of self-hatred, along with the resultant self-doubt, are taking up so much mental and spiritual space, how can you believe yourself capable of making your dreams reality?

The short answer?  You can’t.  Or, at least, I haven’t been able to.

This is what makes all the good advice in the world useless, all the support from friends and family seem like it’s not enough.  This is what keeps me standing still.  It’s nothing outside of me stopping me.  It’s just me, standing in my own way because I tense up in every way possible, because that anger at myself, that self-hatred and self-doubt, formed a Fort Knox-worthy vault around my heart, locked down so tightly that even faith in the Divine, self-trust, self-acceptance, and self-love couldn’t really get in in measurable, effective quantities.  It happened so gradually over the past few years, that I didn’t notice exactly how closed-down I had become.

Something about this evening, something about the quality of the light coming in my window, something about that particular combination of yoga poses, breath work, and the soothing words and tone of the teacher blasted a hole in the side of that vault.  Tears came rushing out.  Love and acceptance began flowing in.  It’s true, what Sri K. Pattabhi Jois said in one of my favorite quotes:  “Do your practice, and all is coming.”   I’ve been practicing, but what came wasn’t quite what I expected.  It was what I needed.

I’ve got a-ways to go, but the opening is there if I’ll let it stay.  I want to let it stay, but that’s going to take lots and lots of practice and probably relapses.  But I can’t give up this time.  I’ve had a taste of feeling okay, of feeling enough, like, hey, yeah, I really can have that life that calls to me without the self-flagellation.  I want more than a taste.

Here’s to softening and opening to possibility, dipping my toe back into opening up to other people, and many, many more evenings spent figuratively “hugging it out” with myself on the yoga mat.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Snow Moon (a.k.a. Quickening Moon) Dreamboard

Snow Moon (a.k.a. Quickening Moon) Dreamboard. Made Feb. 18-19, 2011

Snow Moon (a.k.a. Quickening Moon) Dreamboard. Made Feb. 18-19, 2011. (Click to enlarge.)

Yesterday was the full moon, known as the Snow Moon and also as the Quickening Moon.   I started laying mine out, with intentions of finishing it and posting yesterday with everyone else in the dreamboarding circle (hosted by Jamie Ridler at her online home, Jamie Ridler Studios).  But, it just wasn’t ready.

I always get a particular feeling when I know my dreamboard is ready, and the way it was laid out last night, it wasn’t.  I was unsure about some of the images, and of the placement, so I decided to sleep on it and finished it this afternoon.

About the Snow Moon, Jamie says:

“It’s such a perfect time to connect to the tenderest of dreams, those that have been hiding underneath the mounds of winter’s snow.

“This month, may your dreamboard reveal the hopes and imaginings that lie deep within your heart.”

Lovely and true sentiments.  However, we have had a rough winter here this time around, and I’m so sick of snow I could scream.  Thankfully, it seems spring has come early (nearly sending me into a full-blown Hallelujah Chorus).  This is why I prefer to call this moon the Quickening Moon.

In the piece I found on the Quickening Moon, it said:

“This is a month when new life is beginning, but still lies dormant. Pregnant animals, due in the spring, begin to feel the quickening of their unborn young. The earth itself is quickening, as seeds and bulbs far beneath the soil begin their journey towards the light. We know these things are coming — and we know also that this is a good month to make plans for the future. We can dream and hope, and set goals for ourselves. Accept responsibility for mistakes you’ve made in the past, and move on.” – Patti Wigington, Paganism/Wicca

This nails what I’m feeling these days, the quickening, the sprouting of roots, the speeding out of Winter and toward Spring.

In making my dreamboard, I chose my images intuitively.  That’s why it took longer to finish, why I let it lie, blocked out but not glued down, overnight and reworked sections today.  Some I had in last night were there because they worked with the color scheme or for logical reasons, but that just didn’t feel right.  I think with this one, yes, there is a lot that’s evident from the surface, but there’s a lot that lies under the surface, too, in symbol.

For instance, now that it’s all put together, I’ve looked up what the animals symbolize.  Butterflies are a symbol of transformation (duh), hummingbirds symbolize joy (among other things), woodpeckers symbolize awakening, and pelicans (the white bird with its beak in the water) symbolize charity, redemption, and open-heartedness, depending on the culture.  All four elements–earth, air, water, and fire–are represented, but air and water most prominently, suggesting I’ll be dealing a lot with intellect and consciousness (air), and emotion and the subconscious (water).

On the surface, I see nature, “smooth sailing,” direction, magic, spirit, and whimsy.  I love the open window, with its curtains blowing in the breeze.  In addition to the animal symbols, I notice right away the girl floating above her bed toward her window (whimsy), the reflecting pond in the center at the top (magic), that there are water people emerging from the lake in picture with the little boy and his Dad (magic!), and the compass in the center (direction).  I’m sure I’ll notice more as the month goes along, but these are my first impressions.

Looks like it’s going to be a good month ahead!

What are your hopes and dreams for the coming month, dear reader?  Whatever they are, I hope they come to you.

Categories: Full Moon Dreamboards | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Here’s My Sign

Here's my sign. Taken 1/29/2011. Canon EOS Rebel XS.

Here's my sign. Taken 1/29/2011. Canon EOS Rebel XS.

I’ve been standing at a life crossroads for some time now.

Money was, at first, the excuse for standing still.   Moving forward, left, or right was less literal and meant setting up a savings plan and putting away as much of my paychecks as I could without feeling like a pauper.  After a few years of doing that, it isn’t the viable excuse it once was.  I did well with that.

Yet, here I am, standing at the intersection, watching the light change.  Walk.  Don’t walk.  Walk.  Don’t walk.  I don’t walk.

Now it’s Fear holding me here, along with Worry and Indecision.  I’m afraid of where any of my currently available turns could take me, because those roads are all curved and I can’t see around the bend.   I am having trouble deciding where I want to go from here, and I worry I will take the wrong turn, not the right one.

All I know for sure is that I don’t want to continue the rest of my life on the same road I’m on.

The thing is, as a wise friend recently pointed out, not making a decision is still making a decision.  Not making a decision is making a decision by default, and that default decision is to continue to stand, frozen, at the crossroads.  That default decision is to do no moving at all, forward, backwards, or sideways.

Two Saturdays ago, this uncharacteristically harsh Winter gave way to warmth and sunshine, and I took advantage.  Walking around, camera in hand or around my neck just in case something catches my interest that I want to remember, soothes me.  I drove into our tiny downtown, parked, hung my big girl camera around my neck, and wandered aimlessly.

The wind whipped as I was about to turn from South Third Street onto East Central, and the sign in the above picture started swinging wildly and creaking.  It caught my eye.  When it stilled, I took a picture.

No right turn.

It got me thinking, and I’ve been thinking about it now and then, in spare moments, since I pressed the shutter button.

In my situation, when I can, theoretically, go anywhere and do anything— being single and in possession of an adequate nest egg and a handful of raw talents–is there any such thing as an inherently “right” turn?

Any turn I take will take me somewhere that isn’t here, standing at the intersection.  Any road I take is equally likely to hold lessons, big and small, disguised as speed bumps and potholes.   If one turns out to be impassable, due to a mudslide, let’s say, there’s always the option of turning around and taking another.  I could get rocks in my shoes, but I can take my shoes off and dump them out.  Each road will teach me something about myself, about the world, about other people.  Each holds the possibility for happiness and the full spectrum of other life experiences.  It is possible that, in my situation, there is no such thing as an inherently right turn or inherently wrong turn.

Does this mean I’m making a turn tomorrow?  No.  But I am a little bit less afraid of making one, which is the first step.

The next step is to learn to trust myself to make the choice, and to trust that I can handle whatever that choice brings.  (Trust is my word of the year this year for a reason.)  Ah, the next big hurdle.  More to come on that later in the week…

Categories: Photos, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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