A This and That Post

English: Thoughtful Reflection: Steyning (West...

English: Thoughtful Reflection: Steyning (West Sussex)  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s one of those days when there are several things vying in my mind for a spot on the blog today and, since I couldn’t make up my mind, I’m meandering through a couple– which sort of relate, I think… maybe…

1.  First some gratitude for the great discussion my blogging friends put on my post yesterday! If you read it before the comments were up you might want to go back and check out their thoughtful conversations.  Several included the reminder that you don’t really get rid of all negative thoughts, and I’m so glad they added the piece I left out.  Also some thoughtful additional techniques for turning your thoughts away from the negative thoughts.  What a blessing you all are!  Thanks so much.

2.  That post and the comments left me pondering today.  I’ve been doing various spiritual practices for decades now so really, my complaining time has gone down dramatically.  And I’m pretty good at catching the negativity and letting it go.  So I found it curious that my general feeling of late is that I’m still too much in the grip of those old ways of thinking.

This has been kind of a tough year for me.  Although my health is much better now than years ago, my ability to cope with ongoing health-related issues has gone down dramatically.  So that’s a piece of feeling more negative.  And I’ve not been successful at shifting away from the thought that I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.

But I also realized that in the last year or two a lot of core muscles have been unwinding in my head and, along with that, a lot of core issues have been working their way out.  I’ve been experiencing a lot of my negative threads again because they’re rising to the surface on their way out.

Since I started getting bodywork again a few months ago the “unwinding head” progress has been both awe-inspiring and exhausting.  In the last few weeks — really since I worked on the forgiveness project — a lot has opened (my eyes don’t feel set in cement any more!) and along with it a sense of well-being and confidence that all is well has been moving in.  All that shifting is also still bringing up old stuff so I’m yo-yo-ing a bit.

I’ve mentioned before that I felt those wound up muscles in my face created an emotional climate that almost had its own life.  And it feels now like I’m finally getting free of that and naturally moving into a better space.  When I’d finished thinking this through and realized that, I felt like my world changed.

3.  I could also see that in some ways I folded in around the rising emotions.  After so many years of practice, I hold a serene space pretty naturally.  I’ve written before that practices can sometimes create a shield instead of an opening.  I’ve had a sense of paralysis this year that I’ve put down to the end-of-my-rope-with-illness thing.  Today I realized that my ability* to stay in a calm, centered place also meant that all those emotions moved through almost outside my consciousness.  And on some level I did what I’ve always done — folded in around it.  And it froze me to some extent.  And it felt like realizing it was all I needed to shift away from it.  Yeah!

* Ability is almost not the right word because I don’t make a lot of effort any more — I’ve just shifted into a space where, by and large, I stay calm.  Certainly never reach the heights of angst and neuroses that used to hold sway all the time.

Changing mental patterns

Scenes of Inner Taksang, temple hall, built ju...

Scenes of Inner Taksang, temple hall, built just above the cave where Padmasambhava meditated (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I read a thoughtful post by Tracie Carlos today about complaining and shifting your thoughts.  I think a lot about mental patterns.  I come from long lines of worriers/complainers on both sides of my family.  Among many of them I think they actually feel that’s what’s interesting and I definitely imprinted the pattern in the core of me.  It’s been one of the toughest things in all these years of working on “creating reality” or Law of Attraction.

While I agree with Tracie that we can change our minds, I have yet to make a complete shift.  It isn’t that I don’t sincerely want to be positive in my thoughts but I’ve never figured out how to completely break the pattern.  I’ve made huge inroads.  Meditation has helped a lot.  Affirmations have helped a lot.  Mindfulness has helped a lot though I’ve never become so consistently mindful that I’m monitoring my thoughts at all times.  Gratitude practice is also a boon.

One thing I’ve been up to for about a year-and-a-half–sporadically–has been looping a playlist of Dick Sutphen’s affirmation recordings in the background (i.e. so softly it’s almost subliminal) on the computer that’s either in my lap or sitting next to me a great deal of the time.  I wandered away from it for quite a while and a few weeks ago realized that I’d been forgetting to put it on.  This time I could really tell what a difference it made in my general thinking to have all those positive messages streaming for eight or ten hours a day.  See below for another post I wrote about it.

I have the list on Spotify, so you can check it out to see if it helps you.  

With all the various practices I’ve improved.  And I can now catch myself pretty quickly and shift my thoughts in a more positive direction.  But I’ve never stopped the negative thoughts from arising.

I still don’t have a formula that guarantees a change of mental patterns and I seriously don’t get how some people seem to just flip a switch and become positive thinkers.  Have to admit I wonder if all the thoughts in their heads are as positive as what they say out loud…  I know I’m not alone in having ingrained childhood patterns plus generations of cellular memory adding up to deep mental patterns of worry, complaining and negativity.  Has anyone else figured out some great way to shift all that?  And no, lobotomy doesn’t count :>)  Do you have one thing that does it for you or is it a combination?

Getting ready to chant for peace?

Yep, time to set at least 10 minutes aside.  Let’s see how many of us can send out waves of peace around the world.

Collective Prayer Sundays:  In case you’re new, we’re finding 10 minutes at a minimum to pray or chant or meditate (or???) for peace every Sunday.  Details are on the CPS page.  For comments:  you can comment here or on that page or you can go to the Facebook page.

Acknowledging Surrender

yogaleigh:

Such a good point! I come around to realizing it periodically and then go back to battle…

Originally posted on In the Stillness of Willow Hill:

When warring parties surrender, they cease doing the thing that they were doing that labelled them as warring parties in the first place.  This week, I had to bring out my own white flag …….stop loading weapons, stop firing shots, and stop seeking victory over myself.

My weapons?  Information.  I tend to overload the gun.  Too much time spent reading about mindfulness, too little time listening to my heart.  Over time, the words and pages of even the most tried and true gurus seem to wage a full out battle in my thoughts and then begin to wildly confuse my ability to allow the words to just be.  It is this insidious desire for acquisition, whether property or soul-filled serenity, that blinds.

Shots fired?  Amid the confusion of battle, you and I both know that friendly fire can kill.  Earnestness for spirituality is no different.  At times, it has killed…

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Forgiveness interrupted

English: Tympanum of Door of Forgiveness, Cath...

Tympanum of Door of Forgiveness, Cathedral of Toledo, Spain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Tuesday night I just felt too tired to even try chanting or doing the ceremony.  I realized–not for the first time–that my tendency is to decide it’s time to accomplish a project like this and to keep relentlessly pushing through no matter how it feels.

Now, it’s possible there’s some kind of resistance to forgiving this person.  But I’ve done a lot of softening and healing about this one in recent years so I don’t think that’s it.

Many times during this journey I’ve kept releasing or shifting without a break when a wiser path might have been to take some time out to absorb what I’d already done.  Eventually something happens that stops me in my tracks and “makes” me chill for a while until my energy catches up with itself.

The first eight days of forgiveness shifted a LOT of material for me.  While it’s hard not to follow through on what I set out to do in the time frame I put on it, right now I feel I need a little break and I’d prefer not to have to catch the flu or sprain an ankle to get the integration time I need.

I plan to return to the work for this person in a day or two and then I’ve decided to do the rest of the list on more like a once a week or two basis.  I like the idea of completing one and resting with it, letting it settle before moving on to another.  I’ll keep posting about it as I move along.

Round of Forgiveness Days 10 and 11

Laurie Rohner

Thanks to Laurie Rohner for permission to use her pictures.  Check out more of her lovely art here.

For the first time in a few weeks the muscles around my eyes and deep in my jaw yanked away a good bit of sleep. I tried to do the chanting for the next person on my list (living, so no name) but I find when I’m really exhausted it’s very hard to sustain any kind of focus.  I did chant both times but didn’t feel much impact other than the struggle to stay awake.

I did note that while my issues with this person run very deep I can’t recall that I’ve ever initiated any kind of forgiveness process.  Simultaneously I felt that this is overdue and possibly that I’m not completely ready to do it.

Still, at one point each time I felt a higher self to higher self connection and that on that level there was great appreciation for the chanting.  Now I’m on the fence about whether to continue on to the ceremony tonight or to try chanting again–hopefully with more focus.

On another note, I am saddened to hear that Ajaytao of Ajaytao 2010 has passed away.  I’ll miss seeing all those lovely photos in my reader every day.  RIP Ajay…

More on forgiveness

"Forgiveness 5" by Carlos Latuff.

“Forgiveness 5″ by Carlos Latuff. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s post is from Barbara of Me, My Magnificent Self.   Check here to read her insightful thoughts about forgiveness.  And, if you’ve missed any of the others, you can find them here:  Susan at the Almost Daily Thread, Sindy at Blue Butterflies and Me, Julianne atThrough a Peacock’s Eyes, Karen at Our Enchanting Adventure and Nadine at Aligning with Truth.

My project is continuing until the 14th and I will be posting more about the forgiveness project I’ve been working on. This is the last guest post I’ve lined up (unless someone else wants to volunteer!).  Thanks so much to all of you who participated.  You dug deep and gave us all so much to think about and I’m SO grateful!

Round of Forgiveness Day 9

English: "Barnes (martyr)|[Dr. Robert Bar...

“Barnes and his Fellow-Prisoners Seeking Forgiveness”, from an 1887 copy of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs illustrated by Kronheim. Français : « (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tomorrow’s post will be from Barbara on Me, My Magnificent Self.  And, if you’ve missed any of the others, check out:  Susan at the Almost Daily Thread, Sindy at Blue Butterflies and Me, Julianne at Through a Peacock’s Eyes, Karen at Our Enchanting Adventure and Nadine at Aligning with Truth.

Last night I made sure that I set up the ceremony and completed it early.  No big revelation or wow except that I decided I want to lay out the circle and chant in it more often.  Felt marvelous at the end — and for once complete on forgiveness and my aunt.

By an hour or two later the unwinding in my head went crazy.  It’s been more and more active as I’ve worked through this process.  Now that has gone up and down for years so I can’t completely assume a correlation.  But a few years ago a practitioner working on my head commented several times that part of the hang-up in there was unresolved stuff between me and a few family members.

I guess I wasn’t ready to resolve it because I heard her but couldn’t figure out what to do to lift it.  At least nothing I tried at the time seemed to make any difference.  I’m sensing now that forgiveness was the missing piece…

Don’t forget it’s Collective Prayer Sunday — hope you’ve found 10 minutes for chanting or praying for peace.

Round of Forgiveness Day 8

Hamburg Place in grandparents’ day

Yesterday was one of those tired, head-achy days that leave me wishy-washy so I spent the day indecisive about whether to chant again for my aunt or to perform the forgiveness ceremony.

In a way, indecisiveness won.  It eventually got so late while I tried to finish some other business and make up my mind that I chose to chant because it would take far less time than the ceremony and I wanted to sleep.

The chanting turned out to be lovely.  For part of it I felt my high self communing with her spirit and a sense of sweet connection.  When they turned off life support for her I was the only one who chose to sit with her.  As I softly sang Surely the Presence I felt her spirit leave and for a short time I felt that same sense of communion.

As I’ve noted before, the communion that first time didn’t last.  With help from Nadine’s post I realize that I’ll always remember the bad stuff but now I also remember the connection and I’ll keep moving back to that.  Several practitioners have felt her presence as they worked on me and felt she wanted to help and heal our relationship.  I wasn’t ready to do it then but I feel myself moving into a healing space about her.

Looking forward to sealing it with the forgiveness ceremony tonight.

Note:  the picture connects to my aunt, Mary Jane Gallaher, because she was long-time friends with the original owner’s grandson, Preston, who ran the farm for many years.  Since my grandfather trained, bred, and raced horses through all the years John Madden was involved I imagine they knew one another.

Round of Forgiveness Day 7

horse farm on near Paris, KY

By Peter Fitzgerald on Wikimedia

If you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to check out Nadine Marie’s post on forgiveness yesterday.  Next up will be Barbara at Me, My Magnificent Self on Aug. 11.  Still open:  Aug. 9, 10, 12, 13. 

For day seven yesterday I moved on to another person.  Although I chanted for my late Aunt Mary Jane last summer, I felt that I should put her in to this process.  Reflecting on Nadine’s post, Mary Jane is the main person for me regarding whom the anger and pain seems to keep coming back.  I love Nadine’s take that you’ll always remember the pain  and/or anger and what they did; it’s what you do with it that matters.

No matter how many times I’ve forgiven Mary Jane, the anger has popped up again.  I like the idea that the inner aspects of me who lived through her nastiness still remember it and always will.  I can remember and feel it and choose to stay soft and compassionate and move on.  I actually saw the wounded soul within while she was still alive.  I also didn’t think that her wounds were an acceptable excuse for her extreme vitriol and cruelty.

I’m an only child and M.J. never had children, so we were oddly entwined for an aunt and niece.  I knew she had an abortion a couple of years before I was born.  Since I started following this path I’ve had a strong feeling that I started off to be her child and when she blocked that avenue I came in in the next closest spot.  I thank the universe that I didn’t wind up as her child.  I’m pretty sure I’d be blogging from a mental ward or my seventh visit to rehab…

She was an amazing woman in many ways.  The first woman turf reporter in the world, she was banned from the male-only press box until she scooped them all one day and they decided she deserved a place with them.  When she chose, her charm and sense of fun were infectious.  With us she mostly didn’t choose.  At her wake my mother and I listened to other people fondly reminiscing about funny things she said and did as if we were at the wake of a stranger.  We agreed on the way home we’d have liked to know that woman.

It didn’t take long in the chanting for me to feel my heart open and to see her clearly smiling with joy that I was chanting for her. Images of her in charming mode–times when I enjoyed being with her– floated through.  Although I’d set a timer to chant quite a bit longer, after that it felt complete and kind of like “make work” to keep chanting.  Since the chanting itself is always so opening and balancing, I kept going anyway.  Today I’m undecided as to whether I need to chant for her again or just perform the ceremony.

If I Have Truly Forgiven, Why Am I Still Remembering and Feeling the Pain?

yogaleigh:

Thoughtful conversation about an aspect of forgiveness I’ve contemplated often. Gave me a lot to consider. Enjoy!

Originally posted on Aligning With Truth:

(This post is in collaboration with Leigh Gaitskill, Not Just Sassy On the Inside, who came up with this brilliant idea of inviting bloggers to write about Forgiveness. A huge topic. Something that I am still figuring out myself. And this post is a step towards that.)

* * * * *

chiron (1)Last year, I went through my most pivotal Chiron Return astrological phase.  We experience it when we reach the age of 50, or thereabouts — 49 to 51.  Chiron Return is the time when Chiron, the Wounded Healer, goes back to its original position (house placement) in our astrological natal chart. We wrap up the issues related to our core wound and determine how healing from the wound can help others.

The energies of this phase were so potent that there seemed to be no escaping, albeit unintentionally, revisiting my core wounds in…

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Round of Forgiveness Day 6

Today’s post on forgiveness is from Nadine at Aligning with Truth. The other posts so far were from Susan at the Almost Daily Thread, Sindy at Blue Butterflies and Me, Julianne at Through a Peacock’s Eyes, and Karen at Our Enchanting Adventure.   Barbara, of Me, My Magnificent Self will be posting on the 11th.  Right now Aug. 8-10 and 12-13 are still open if anyone would like to post.

I found myself on the fence yesterday about what to do for day six; another day of chanting or perform the ceremony?  Eventually I decided to try the ceremony.  Since the first part is the lovingkindness chant again I figured I could get that far and see how it felt.  My heart was wide open when the chanting finished so I kept moving.

Having opened the Akashic Records prior to the Clearing Vows and Contracts segment (see ceremony script here), I again asked for some insight.  They responded that I’d probably need to do this again in the future for this person but that I’d cleared “a boatload” and that it was all that could be completed at one time.  My heart felt lighter and far more open.

I love the power of chanting and praying, etc. within the circle.  I keep asking myself why I let so much time go by without doing it…

Round of Forgiveness Day 5

Sweet Forgiveness

Sweet Forgiveness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s thoughtful post on forgiveness is from Karen at Our Enchanting Adventure.  The other posts so far were from Susan at the Almost Daily Thread, Sindy at Blue Butterflies and Me, and Julianne at Through a Peacock’s Eyes.  Tomorrow post will be from Nadine at Aligning with Truth.

Yesterday, on day five, I sat to chant while much more awake than the day before.  I soon felt the glow in my heart and then felt it grow and spread through my body.  Long before the end of the half hour I felt a softening.  I’m on the fence about whether I’ll move on to do the ceremony today or repeat Mornah’s prayer and the chanting.

Butterfly Journal 12th Month: Joy…Forgiveness & More!

yogaleigh:

Happy Birthday, Julianne!

Originally posted on Through the Peacock's Eyes:

heart_soulI can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since I began posting some of my entries to my Butterfly Journal. My purpose for writing and creating this journal was to provide a tool to assist others in their personal growth, healing process, and spiritual transformation. Doing the journal myself has helped me to heal through a very challenging time in my life – after having freely chosen to completely end one life to start a new one from scratch, I had to delay my own rebirth for almost two years. If you haven’t been following along, you can learn much of the story in my previous Butterfly Journal posts here.

As difficult as it all was, I knew that I was in the midst of growing pains inside my own cocoon. I have seen through this entire process that I was going through a major healing and clearing phase…

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Round of Forgiveness Day 4

Today’s lovely post is from Julianne on Through a Peacock’s Eyes.  Check it out and leave her a happy birthday wish! If you haven’t read them yet, the first posts were from Susan at the Almost Daily Thread and Sindy at Blue Butterflies and Me.  I’m still looking for people to write posts about forgiveness for Aug. 8-13.  If you don’t have a blog you can get your post to me (let me know and we’ll organize) and I’ll put it on this blog with any links you want to web site, etc.  500-1000 words.  Preferably a personal experience regarding forgiveness.  Tomorrow’s post will be from Karen at Our Enchanting Adventure.

Yesterday I moved to the next person on my forgiveness list.  I’ve decided that I’m not going name or specify any of the living people on my list — there are people whose feelings would be hurt to find out that I feel a need to forgive and I’m just not willing to do that.  Thus for the next few days it’ll just be “that person” or the equivalent.

I was so tired that I had trouble getting to the chanting and then trouble staying focused.  As always my heart felt a bit expanded by the end, but no big shift to report.  I have a feeling that for this one I may be staying on the chanting phase longer.

It’s becoming clear that my process with forgiveness is probably going to take more than two weeks though I’m not going to add to the time for other people to post.  I don’t think of myself as all that quarrelsome nor that inclined to hold a grudge, but my list is growing.  And I think a few on the list are going to take more days of chanting than I’ve planned.  21 days maybe?  Who knew?