Gratitude is the gift that keeps on giving.

I’m sitting in the warm sun on my living room rug. The house is quiet, after a mad Easter Egg Hunt/ Breakfast this morning. Ruby and her friends are up the street with Jason playing basketball. I was going to keep cleaning..but that sunny spot on the rug was calling to me…

I savor the day. Feeling the love that went back and forth all morning, and how its sweet exchange lingers on…I picture faces of friends, remembering loving gazes, exclamations of appreciation, funny stories, laughing hugging eating laughing talking sitting quietly. Old friends and new friends, little ones and big ones, all kinds, all different beings, but together effortlessly weaving the bright cloth of delight.

My  impulse, now that I am quiet and still – is towards a kind of melancholy, or let down. My ego wants to feel sad that everyone is gone now. My ego struggles with the ending of things, especially pleasurable ones. I cannot believe it, but my insatiable ego wants more my ego is mad that I am to face the rest of the day without that glimmering shimmering thing which bounces off the mirror that is held up when we are

loved.  Grrrrrrr………

I am fighting with my ego because the conscious part of me wants to remain happy and not be sad. I turn my mouth up into a smile, lifting my face to the sun, in a “smiling meditation” I learned from the wonderful book “Eat Pray Love”. I consciously practice feeling grateful for the beauty of the morning instead of grudging the passage of time, the “loss” of the moments.  My fake smile forces me to re-examine what I’m feeling and demands that my “smile” become emotionally authentic. As I embrace feeling thankful, my bitter ego slinks away. “…Yeah, well go on! Buzz off buddy! There’s some people around heah that wanna feel good, ya heah me, good! Not bad, not lousy, not miserable, bloody GOOD!!”

And I fall over laughing. Feelings of euphoria flood through me. Gratitude for what happened, gratitude for what is. A feeling floods though me like melting butter on hot buttermilk pancakes….

Gratitude for the profound solace of family and friendship…                                                                                     Gratitude for the generosity of people                                                                                                               Gratitude for loyalty, gratitude for love …..

Gratitude for hugs gratitude for chicks gratitude for eggs gratitude for children gratitude for ovens gratitude for cheesecake..gratitude for asparagus…gratitude for lilies….gratitude for sexy, fabulous exe’s…….           

The list is long…know what i’m sayin?      🙂

Feeling grateful is soooooooooooooooooooooo much more satisfying than that bitter old grump “disatisfaction” or “regret”.                 

Gratitude…..stretches everything…makes it bigger………….makes it last ….and tastes soooooooooooooooooooooooo

sweet.    

 

xox

I am running towards the sunset on a frosty early spring evening.

Running, looking at the setting sun, I can see my breath.

I am thinking about the past 2 weeks, reviewing, mulling, in a silent conversation/a moving meditation with myself. Trouble. Misunderstandings. Hurt. Confusion. Forgiveness. Desperation. These words have been an integral part of these recent times.

I am thinking…what is this friction of relationships?  This is what it feels like to rub up against each other emotionally: it stings, it soothes, it burns, it cools. It changes over and over again. But as it changes, goes through its paces, we are changing…the ‘friction’ is a smoother, the discomfort is a teacher…

How does a piece of marble turn into a Rodin?

Applied energy, applied friction. Sculpted.

Aren’t we sculpting with spiritual energy then, shaping our emotional reality with our minds as our hands would shape wood? As much as we can, as much as we set our awareness to?

Smooth baby, smooth.

The wearing away of resistance (if you’re lucky), the polishing of core.

My problems are necessary.

My problems teach me patience. My problems show me what to let go of, what to release, and what to hold onto. My problems reveal to me where I still have work to do. My problems show me how far I’ve come and how far I have to go. It’s so hard for us to acknowledge that we help to create the tension that brings about movement and change. I don’t understand why this is so….yet.

But of course, there are problems and then there are PROBLEMS.

How responsible are we exactly? How accountable for what happens? I don’t know. But I can feel….how gratitude begets gratitude kindness begets kindness hate begets hate drama begets drama disrespect begets disrespect blame begets blame neglect begets neglect negativity begets negativity and on and on……

And understanding begets understanding. And acceptance begets acceptance. And forgiveness begets forgiveness.

And Love begets Love. 

Smooth.

Wood Stone Iron Bone Heart Mind Soul Smooth.

    Flowing like Water,                                                                                                                                                               Breathing like Air,                                                                                                                                                                 Strong like Earth,                                                                                                                                                                   Bright like Fire.

Somehow we must turn our losses into gold.

Alchemy was created simply as a metaphor for this (though they took it pretty far on a physical level too; all those laboratories!). 

As my friend Michael Manning says:

“There is a vessel, and it is called the self.

This, this alone, is the crucible within which our suffering

is turned into emotional & intellectual gold by our determination to make it so and to learn how.

When we invented alchemy way back when it was to serve throughout history and long into the future as the ultimate metaphor:

Base metals into gold. 

Pain into peace.

Suffering into wisdom.

Loss into grace.

The hardest, hardest work we will ever do.

But recognizing that it is a choice is the crucial leaping off point of awareness.

I meditate and what comes up causes my face to twist into grief. I revisit the pain of memory and cry. It doesn’t matter which memory; it could be the way the sun changes in my living room as it moves across the sky, or the severing of a beloved relationship. every moment gone is a kind of loss that we could grieve forever if we chose to.

We are always losing the moment. Or gaining the Now. Our reality, yes, but also, our choice as to how to interpret. The Now is the gold. The Now is the joy and it is also the chalice that contains all that ever was, all that is, and all that ever will be. There is no abandonment in being in the Now, although it can feel that way; our reluctance to let go, is so strong.

Now….I am experiencing…if we drink the cool, clean waters from deep chalice of the Now, we begin to feel peace.

But not until we work it through, practice it, this is the really hard part, the part that is hardest to figure out how to do consistently.  But i know, i know, I can feel….that….

“working it through”: practicing peace, listening to ourselves and others, grieving, processing, breathing, meditating, forgiving, letting go, committing, lightening, playing, healing, loving, living, living love, however we want to do it,

is alchemy.

The desire to fill the void from the “outside” is unrelenting. I am exhausted by my own drive to connect instead of produce.

Where is the peace of no longer wrestling with ego?

Where is the peace of resting from longing?

Where is the peace of being contented as is?

I am furious that my internet connection isn’t working. I’d much rather check Facebook or gmail than even write this post. It’s sad, really, this fear of the void. The fear of “missing out”, otherwise known as “FOMO” (coined by the Love Artist’s teenage daughter and friends). In on a Friday night, a sense of desolation settles over me. I can’t seem to find a way to make this rare gift of time meaningful or productive. I can’t take my own advice; I don’t draw a bath or work on music or write or take care of myself particularly. I wander around the house, listlessly leafing through trashy magazines, mindlessly raiding the snack drawer. But if there was a lover to get ready for, oh how I would be rallying and smoothing and celebrating even the most modest of rituals, indulging in full attention to self, to wellness, wholeness, bestness even.  But, it’s just me, and tonight I don’t seem to give a damn.

FINALLY pushing myself to meditate, I am haunted by this question:

Why AREN’T I my own best friend, my own best lover?? Why aren’t we all??

What is wholeness?

I’m wrestling with the lie that wholeness comes from being loved. If I connect enough tonight…i will feel loved…but in my heart, I know this is not true. I can sense how free it would feel to not want something I have not even learned to give myself.

As I sit in silence something tells me that wholeness is born of a fabric woven from acts of self kindness. A cashmere soft psychic cloak, warm and comforting, created through self-care, and self-love. Without this kindness towards self, naturally we are compelled to seek kindness from outside of ourselves. Craving love, we can’t remember or figure out how to love ourselves first, and so we stumble towards a potential drink of love as though we were dying of thirst. 

Maybe sometimes we are.

Meditation is a long cool drink of fresh water for the mind and body; full of oxygen and life giving enzymes. So is exercise. So is good therapy, eating well, all kinds of spiritual practices. So are rituals of all kinds that force one to confront self-imposed barriers and break them down. Rituals that stimulate, rituals that calm, rituals that destroy what needs to be destroyed, rituals that heal….

Earlier tonight when I was throwing some Tarot cards in regards to a certain personal quandary, I came upon this passage in my old Tarot notebook:

“Witch comes from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘wic’, which means to bend or shape.Witches bend energy and shape consciousness. Witches believe that the earth and all of life is sacred, and that Goddess/God energy is immanent within us, and in all elements and living things. Witches are committed to the protection, preservation, nurturing and fostering of the great powers of Life that emerge from within all beings. The practice of Witchcraft is learning how to evoke this power from within.”

I am smiling connecting the dots. What better way to feel full than to learn to evoke life energy from within. What better way to feel whole than to conjure and feel and embrace without doubt the full extant of our connectedness, to all of life, and earth, and Cosmos. 

Tonight let the wind be my lover, the stars my charismatic friends, my sweet bed the arms of another. 

Let me rest in the sacred knowledge of my oneness with All.  And may my own sweet breath be the reassurance

that I am safe, 

protected,

and beloved.

 

Blessed be.

🙂

Taking the time to meditate brings up the same stuff as taking the time to make art:

You must be willing to risk feeling lonely.

Really lonely. Lonely and foolish. Possibly terrified.

You stop to meditate (the work) or make creative time (the work), and then…you remember…

Oh this is what it feels like to hear 

my own voice!

To visualize

my own ideas, 

to feel my own source!

(Thoughts that precede doing the work

“what if my thoughts, my feelings , my musical ideas, aren’t that interesting, or original, beautiful or wise?”)

*sigh*

It is all incremental.

The way cells divide to grow life. The way a daisy or a polar bear is born. The way one learns to meditate, or write a song.

Cell by cell, block by genetic block.

Are our personal actions and practices really any different from the way grass grows or the way the earth turns?

Steady, steady, steady as she goes…

Nature doesn’t rush does she? Nor the cellist nor the chef nor the fine cabinet maker…

Rushing and action are not synonymous.

We can do and be and create all at the same time without being frantic and anxious.

Cell by cell. Block by block, dish by dish, word by word, touch by touch…

Today i forgive myself for all I have not done, and slide my willing body on top of that great Kundalini Serpent that is PURE ENERGY

and get ready for the ride of of my 

LIFE

88888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888

 


When I “drop into” myself

(for that is what it feels like…first a stretch upwards towards transcendence, then a dive downward into the roiling soul, then a settling into a gentle, undulating calm, from which emerges an authentic inner voice, not loud, but clear, telling me what I must do to be happy …..let it all go….)

I feel myself get closer to the truth. The truth of divine self, underneath the quagmire of ego.

When I feel the truth of self, I can hear an authentic voice speaking from within.  And then comes the desire to create from within that inner self with that authentic voice. And the intuition that creation with that authentic voice is

pure,

original,

singular and unique

and yet utterly at one

with 

everything.

Very quickly,

just from sitting down and being quiet, in the quiet, my thoughts are being observed. By me.

I realize that the instant rush of thoughts (“monkey mind”) which arrives screaming in the silence, and which meditation is supposed to quiet, is there for a purpose:

to be worked through.

Through the act of sitting quietly (meditation), with no particular focus except breath; no mantra, image or chant, the cacaphonous melee of my thoughts tumble and tear and dissolve, each one observed, felt, and released into space. And in the releasing there is a lifting…and in the lifting the thought

“no judgement.” “no judgement”. “no judgement”…dances at the dissolving silvery tail of each painful remembrance of inadequacy

and I am smiling.

I keep listening.

You can’t get there any other way. How else can we forgive ourselves and each other without working this shit thru? We must stop and listen in order to hear. It’s the same in one’s relationship with self in meditation as it is in a dialogue between people or nations. In hearing, we reach new levels of understanding. In understanding, we reach new levels of acceptance. In acceptance we reach new levels of forgiveness.

Without observation and awareness there can be no detachment and without detachment it is harder to find solutions. Awareness dissolves the chains that bind us to our negative thoughts and biases, setting them, and us, free. And in the space that remains in the releasing of these thoughts,

SOURCE, pure green creative living gorgeous grateful SOURCE

flows in.

 

🙂

Doubting oneself is the biggest timesuck of all.

I’m going to try harder not to

waste time,

doubting myself.

lighter

deeper

harder

softer

sweeter

fiercer

Freer

MORE COMMITTED

🙂

The mind is very powerful.

As soon as I am sitting quietly (the porcelin owl lamp that Megan gave me glowing in the dark room, a tall, white candle flickering),  this thought hits me hard in the chest.

The mind has the power to make choices.

We resist acknowledging this because this truth implicates us in its inherent free will. If we have a choice, why don’t we, can’t we,

choose joy?

When I stop, and listen, I can feel my mind…choosing joy

Let our legacy in 2009 (and beyond!) be that we chose happiness!

This, in spite of all that is hard and sad.

I get the feeling that this is all the “law of attraction” “Secret” folks are talkin’ about….choosing joy is the same as choosing

to be grateful.