Choosing happiness

Someone posted a clip of Mo Gawdat on Facebook (I have a habit of opening stuff like that in another tab and not viewing until later; then I don’t remember who pointed me there ūüôā ) and his message about happiness turned out to be so in line with things I’ve been thinking.

I particularly love the distinction he makes between fun and happiness — much like my thoughts about over-stimulation often being mistaken for joy. ¬†Though there are longer videos in which he discusses this in greater depth, I purposely chose to use this short clip to make it easier for you to get the gist:

Hold the Loving Space

I’ve been a little silent lately.¬† Partly because the unwinding is back with the usual discombobulation accompanying and also because I’ve been ruminating on current events and what I want to say…

It’s been an amazing time for me in general.¬† As I mentioned recently, my daily chanting into heart-fullness¬† has brought me face to face with some remaining issues about worthiness, self-love and my ongoing journey to transform my ancestral negative thinking habit into positive thinking; it’s been a far tougher transition over the years than I’d have imagined when I started out and blithely assumed a few months of affirmations would fix everything.

Since my last post, I’ve been guided to “The Cure Is…“, which I LOVED.¬† I was given a link to see it free on Vimeo but I’ve found the DVD at Amazon and am thinking I want to buy it and add it to my growing collection of positive thought movies.

And then a friend sent me a link to this lovely — and fairly short — video of Martha Beck on YouTube, which I found to be the PERFECT message for these times and reflects how I see it working:

The piece that’s been bugging me lately has been the handful of friends on Facebook who can’t seem to stop fear-mongering even though they have spiritual knowledge and practices that should help them step out of that space.¬† I’ll be posting more about those issues — theirs with the fear and mine with being bugged by it ūüôā later.

But this little film from Ms. Beck helped me to see the message I most  want to spread, the one I most want to be my message:  Be the Peace.  Hold the space of lovingkindness.  Let your heart be filled with love and compassion.

Being in fear only helps them.¬† What we need right now is for as many people as possible to be clearing anything within them that stands in the way of peace and compassion and also meditating, chanting, praying their way into higher consciousness. The higher we take the consciousness, the more that pyramid she’s depicting melts into the sea of love.

BE THE LOVE!

P.S.¬† A little extra.¬† I have also found great comfort in this YouTube video from Patricia Cota Robles.¬† I’ve been listening to it every night as I go to sleep.¬† Some of it’s pretty woo woo if you’re not into some of the I AM stuff but the basic message about transforming the world into eternal peace is spot on:

Love is rising: where are you focused?

Nearly Full Moon over my back yard

Nearly Full Moon over my back yard

Being very mindful that energy flows where attention goes, I’ve been working at finding positive things on which to focus.¬† And I’m happy to report I’m finding a lot of cause for hope.¬† I was especially happy to see a report the other day that the Schumann Resonance has recorded the highest frequency ever as of January 31.

Considered to be “Earth’s Heartbeat” frequency, the Resonance has been linked to human brain activity/consciousness and a rise in this frequency has been correlated by some to a rise in human consciousness.¬† I’m seeing this recent spike as arising from the worldwide movement sparked by current events and leading to multitudes standing together in support and/or mediating and reflecting on peace and heartfulness.

I’m seeing stories about people cleaning hate graffiti off a New York subway car and a Synagogue in Victoria, Texas gave keys to the Muslims whose Mosque burned down so they can continue having services.¬† I’m seeing people supporting the protest at Standing Rock in numerous ways.¬† More and more stories of people standing up in support of their brothers and sisters of every race, creed and religion are showing up every day and my heart fills with joy at every one I see.

In each of these stories there is a choice of focus.  I could choose to dwell on the hate behind the anti-Semitic graffiti or the possibility the burning of the Mosque was arson or the corporate greed behind the pipeline.  Or I can choose to dwell on the lovingkindness of those who cleaned the graffiti, gave the keys to the Synagogue and who stand with the Native Americans at Standing Rock.  I choose the love.

Energy flows where attention goes.  If your attention is on the hate, you send energy to it which creates more.  If you focus on the love and compassion you send energy there and create more.  It is entirely your choice where you will focus and to which end you will send energy.

If you choose to focus all your attention on the haters, you’re as much a part of the problem as they are.¬† Choose the love.¬† It doesn’t mean you don’t notice what’s happening it’s that you change your focus to celebrating those who are doing the right thing instead of those who are doing wrong.

I see a global consciousness of oneness and the need to stand up for one another rising.  I see love growing bigger not only in the world, but as I continue to chant for lovingkindness and a heart filled with love (see post), I feel my being shifting into more and more into a space of love.

For the first time the Schumann Resonance reached 36.  I plan to do all I can to be part of taking it higher by continuing to focus on being peace and love.  Where are you going to put your attention?  Which do you want to feed, the love or the hate?

Addendum:  I love this video discussing Gandhi and his approach to changing the world by changing your self and the list of organizations bringing his spirit into the world:

Video from KarmaTube

For more on the Schumann Resonance:

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The view from both sides of some practices

Chapman Dr, Corte Madera

Chapman Dr, Corte Madera

 

As I mentioned in the last post, my practices have been a little hit and miss lately as I wade through another round of unwinding and not sleeping.  The on and off of it is giving me a chance to observe the doing and not doing and the way I feel about both.

Some years ago I realized I often sabotaged my progress by not doing my practices.¬† I’d start one up or get back to an old friend and do it faithfully for a few days or a week or two and then I’d start “forgetting” (helped along by often feeling too crappy to do anything).¬† More and more days would pass between practices until I’d finally realize I couldn’t remember the last time I meditated or performed a round of chi gung.

Once it sank in I asked myself some deep questions about why I sabotaged myself.¬† Then I set up a “watcher” to help me keep track of consistency and give me a nudge so I could put myself back on track.¬† Ever since I’ve been much better.¬† Not that I don’t miss days and even occasionally several in a row, but I’ve gotten pretty good at keeping track and at pushing myself to get back to it if I’ve let it go

It’s rare now for an entire week to go by without at least one session of whatever practice or set of practices I’m doing and most weeks I manage at least three or four days.¬† The great weeks I get in six (I always allow for a day off as I feel even the good stuff needs a break).¬† But I still have spells when it’s less rather than more.

There’s a kind of push pull at work here.¬† At the moment it’s the chanting and some movement practices that feel so good they constantly pull me back on track.¬† But both things raise energy, open stuck places, and thereby set the stage for more unwinding.¬† Any time I practice 6-7 days a week during a week or two when I’m sleeping well and feeling good, the practices inevitably help to set off another round of unwinding.

While I want the unwinding to finish so you’d think I’d welcome each round, I’m pretty miserable when it goes crazy, especially from the lack of sleep it creates.¬† I’m regularly confronting the up and the down side of regular practice.¬† It works.¬† And in this case that’s both great and not so great…¬† I haven’t quite decided how many skips at this point arise from an unconscious dread of the down side…

A deep spiritual journey often has these up and down moments.¬† Sometimes the same practice contains elements of both the up and the down.¬† Sometimes a practice leads you into painful places or opens something that hurts for a while before it gets better.¬† I harp on this one a bit, but I run into so many people who don’t know this spiritual road curves into shadows and down into valleys of dark nights as well as giving you peace and balance and higher consciousness, an occasional reminder seems good ūüôā

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Levels of opening

Three monks chanting in Lhasa, 1993

Three monks chanting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s been over a month now that I’ve been regularly chanting.¬† First time in quite a while I’ve had a regular chanting or meditation practice.¬† I’ve done a bunch of those 21 day meditations in recent years and I’ve done a couple of 40 day practices, but it’s been years since such a practice has stuck.

A lot has changed in my body since the days when meditation was a daily practice.¬† In fact, some of the change is due to the movement practices I’ve done to balance energy and open flow instead of meditating.

One of the blessings of the long-term sorting out of my muscles and their steely impersonation of body armor has been that as they open, I experience many things about practices differently and learn nuances I’m not sure I’d have noted without the change.

Since my appointment with Hanna, the muscles have been unwinding and the usual sleep deprivation and headaches have ensued, which has led to missing days of chanting here and there and occasionally two in a row.¬† I’ve changed the chants since I first started, beginning each time with the lovingkindness chant and then singing the Gayatri Mantra and Om Shanti Om.

The Gayatri, among other important impacts, opens the heart.  Om Shanti Om is chanted for peace and I find it opens my heart.  The lovingkindness chant also brings me into a big heart space.  Chanting these every day helped immeasurably to calm my distress in the wake of the election.  At first, if I missed a day I went right back to feeling panicky, then as soon as I chanted again, calm returned.

After a couple of weeks the peace settled in and I could miss a day without any big change.¬† When sleep deprivation, headaches and missing days of chanting hit all at once, I noted that I could hold the peace through one missed day but a second tipped me back into unease and anxiety.¬† I’ve also been learning anxiety is often a side effect of sleep deprivation for me, not as intense as the “oh no that thing can’t be president” panic, but noticeable.¬† And it too is soothed away by chanting.

While I chant I feel so much more energy moving through me than I’ve ever felt from the same practices before.¬† Channels and pathways opened as the muscles released and in so many areas I can now feel energy flowing through.¬† I feel the power of the chanting more than ever.¬† I feel it changing me.

Between the chanting and the releases Hanna helped to achieve it’s been a time of realizations and movement forward.¬† After a long time of receiving “wait” messages, I’ve heard the time to wait is ending.

In the meantime I love the slow awakening of feeling and the subtle ways in which my practices change as I grow.¬† I’m ever more aware of how much tight muscles stop the flow and reduce how much I feel when I do yoga or meditate or chant or …¬† All the hard work…¬† so worth it!

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Creating Reality in the World 5: The silent revolution

Abraham Hicks Energy Stream

Within a couple of years of starting yoga in 1986, a friend started gifting me with a subscription to Yoga Journal and I began to notice the array of ads for businesses catering to healthy eating, spiritually seeking, yoga practicing types.  Over time I sampled other magazines aimed at Buddhists, New Agers, healthy recipes, etc. and realized there was virtually a secondary economy developing, entirely aimed at an increasing counter culture group.

In the 90’s I was fortunate to get to hear Paul Ray discussing his theories about “cultural creatives” at some dinner gatherings and then to read an early version of his book (co-written with his wife, Sherry Anderson), The Cultural Creatives, while working at the Institute of Noetic Sciences.¬†¬† As he described this group of environmentally concerned, inner aware, spiritually seeking types I had a notion they coincided with the growing new culture and economy I’d been noting.

According to Ray and Anderson, this group is around 26% of the adult population of the U.S. and is present and growing in similar ways around the world. ¬† There’s a point in the growth of such a group when its impact can create a paradigm shift.¬† One reason he thinks it hasn’t happened so far with this group is the group is so little reflected in popular media and culture that most of its members feel isolated and as if they don’t have power.

My theory is they also obstruct their power by too often going negative and being against instead of for.  Hating and being against lowers your vibration or energy level.  Focusing on pollution, discrimination, inequality, etc. sends the energy and attention to those negative traits.  The group weakens its power potential with this negative thinking orientation.

There are actually enough of us that we could change the world if we began to believe in and act on our power.¬† I see this not only from the perspective of the increased power of collective consciousness, but also based on David Hawkins’ Power vs. Force theory.¬† According to Hawkins, the higher the scale of consciousness (or energetic vibration), the more powerful the impact on others.

One person at the level of 400 (reason), counterbalances 400,000 who are at or below the 200 level (apathy, then anger at 200).¬† One person at the level of 500 counterbalances 750,000.¬† Based on Hawkins’ scale, most Cultural Creatives are probably in the 400-600 range on his scale of energy.

If this group can become conscious of their power and begin to focus as a group on what they are FOR, with a strong proportion using meditation and chanting, etc. to keep the vibration high, the whole world can change into a new paradigm of greater equality, compassion, green-ness…

I’m pretty sure all my friends everywhere (including my blogging pals) are cultural creatives.¬† We’ve been under the radar, building a new culture with very little notice in the mainstream.¬† I say let’s work on pulling together this group and building its power!!! I call on the Cultural Creatives to turn attention to the positive outcomes you desire, learn to be for instead of against, create action plans to achieve what you are FOR and use your collective power to shift the consciousness of the planet.

The rest of this series:

See also:  Cultural Creatives are Changing the World

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Creating Reality in the World 4: Collective Consciousness

Today at Sarvodaya's Early Morning meditation

meditation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Back when I was reading lots of books in the Seth material, one of the areas I felt struck by covered collective consciousness.  The energy of thoughts, when people collectively hold the same ones, grows exponentially.

Many teachers since have told me the same thing and I have experienced the powerful energy of people gathered together in a common energy.  Perhaps the most amazing moment was when about 1500 of us participated in a meditation involving coming into heart, filling the room and each other with love and then sending love out around the world.

When a large group focuses its attention on a shared vision, the energy going toward that vision gets that exponential increase.  This is one of the reasons I believe so strongly in the power of people around the world meditating, chanting, praying, and/or holding a vision or energy space for the same goal or outcome.

This is also why I believe a campaign FOR what you want to see, participated in by tens of thousands or millions can create the reality you hope to see.  If you spread the word about a clean earth or a different electoral college outcome and help that idea go viral, the energy and attention being sent toward the outcome you seek will help to make it so.

Collective action like the people coming together at Standing Rock has a big impact.¬† And I particularly love the messages about nonviolence and understanding that have been made by the leaders of this movement/protest.¬† I passed this article, “Standing Rock: A Change of Heart” along on FB and hope to see it going everywhere. The call is for not dehumanizing anyone no matter which side they’re on and I believe that’s one of the most important messages of our time.

Gandhi is said to have made the Hindu gesture of forgiveness as he fell from an assassin’s bullets.¬† The Dalai Lama forgives the Chinese for what they’ve done to Tibet.¬† Martin Luther King preached nonviolence no matter what happened around him.¬† Taking in and living their message of maintaining love and compassion no matter what the circumstance seems to have been one of the hardest lessons ever for the world to learn.

At this moment in time the world needs us to stand together in love and compassion and refusal to be seduced into violence more than ever.¬† And in the next post in this series, I’ll explore the group that’s been building and sailing under the radar for years.¬† We could change the world.

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Creating Reality in the World 3: Doing

Once you’ve changed your focus and re-framed your thinking, you can make an action plan.¬† I have a broader definition of “doing” than the usual, so my suggestions include things like holding a vision and praying.

Some people are better at being visionaries and some are better at being doers.  I see it as a scale from one to the other with people landing at many different points between, some having equal measures of both talents and others leaning more solidly in one direction or the other.  I think we need all of them.

I also think some people have a talent for holding an energy space and/or keeping focused on a vision and others are better at carrying out the nuts and bolts of the vision and I see that as a sliding scale too.  And again, we need both sides of the scale and everybody in between.

Praying is Doing

I have a lot of “doing” friends who exclaim dismissively when I talk about chanting or praying or holding a vision that “we need to actually DO something”.¬† I’ve argued a few times that I think praying, chanting, etc. IS something.

Everything is energy.  Each of us is energy.  Thoughts have energy.  The state of the world rests on the totality of energy.  What each of us puts into the web makes a difference.  When someone is able to hold an energy vibration of love and/or hold a positive set of beliefs and thoughts and visions for a positive outcome, that person is feeding the web with the energy of that possible direction.

“Doing” from the vision side in the current political situation might include:

  • hold a vision of Hilary Clinton winning the electoral college vote or see her as President
  • chant or pray for compassion and lovingkindness so you’re holding that space
  • choose states with potential for the electors voting for Clinton instead of Trump and send prayers or energy or hold the vision of the voting switch

The more people are feeding the positive vision, the more energy is being sent to the vision.¬† I’ll talk more in the next post about the impact of collective consciousness.

Action as Doing

There are also things that need to be done in an active sense, so once you’ve directed energy to the outcome you hope to achieve and framed a positive view, you can create a plan that maintains the¬† new view.

While some are holding the energy, those who like to make a plan and get out there, some possible steps would be:

  • find out which states have enough electoral votes to matter and of those which are the likeliest to vote for the popular winner instead of the electoral college winner
  • it is legal in every state for the electors to vote for the candidate with fewer electoral college points but in some states they have to pay a fine.¬† Find out if you’re in one of those states and start a fundraiser to help pay the fines and let the electors know the funds are there.¬† A list of this year’s electors state by state is here.
  • the folks who are suing for a recount in Florida need financial help.¬† Start a fundraiser.
  • Research Ms. Clinton and post positive statements in social media about her many accomplishments.¬† Tell what she’s done for children.¬† Tell how’s she shone as a diplomat.¬† Name legislation she raised.¬† Tell the story she wasn’t so good at telling.¬† Send the energy to her by bringing positive attention.
  • Start researching potential candidates for the mid term elections who show promise as good legislators and who have a good chance to beat the Republican.
  • Put together a call list of relevant people in government, from your congressmen to officials of the electoral college to the DOJ, gather a group to make calls and share the list on social media.

Mixing the Two

Most people are going to be somewhere on the spectrum in between and will be comfortable doing a combination.  I always recommend meditating or chanting or going inward in some way before making action plans and before taking action.   The more you can keep your vibration raised and hold a compassionate space, the more your thoughts and actions will be peaceful and positive.

Your plan might include:

  • Say the lovingkindness chant every day for 10-30 minutes
  • Plan a ceremony wherein people will pray for and hold a focus on the outcome you are jointly seeking
  • Hold a march FOR a vote recount
  • Start a group to regularly sit in heart space and pray or chant (I’m going to post a breathing exercise soon that moves people into a powerful heart energy).¬† For those of you in other countries who are concerned, this is a great way to support the effort.
  • Start and circulate a petition to the electors in your state, asking them to vote for the popular vote winner
  • Think ahead to the midterm elections and create a vision and plan for a changeover in the political landscape

Whether you’re one who holds a strong energy space and vision or one who rolls up sleeves and starts taking action out in the world or somewhere in between, there are always steps you can take to “do something”.

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Creating Reality on the World Stage 1: Where energy flows

hilary-won

In New Age thinking and the Human Potential Movement, manifestation is a major topic.¬† How to manifest, what you can manifest… getting the life you want.¬† Personally I think it’s often a little too focused on getting material things like abundance or a perfect mate, but the principles of manifestation work and they’re the same regardless of what you’re manifesting or whether you’re working on a personal goal or a communal one.

Ultimately manifesting is about energy and how it works.¬† Everything is made of energy and quantum physics has been showing us that many ideas formerly considered spiritual and airy fairy actually describe how energy works.¬† The same principles apply whether you’re manifesting for yourself or have a goal for your community, your country, or the world.¬† Whether you’re talking elections, social paradigm shifts or climate change, the outcomes on the world stage arise from how we focus our collective energy

Energy Flows Where Attention Goes

A key principle of energy is that it moves to wherever attention is focused.  In the personal realm, it means if you hang around worrying about money or being unhappy about fat or complaining about how bad you feel, your attention is on the lack of money, or being fat or ill.  Energy is flowing to lack and fatness and illness and creates more of those.

During the recent U.S. election campaign, all the attention from both sides focused on Donald Trump.¬† The outcome was predictable¬† Now, even though the electoral college has not voted, no one is officially president, and that outcome could still be changed, those who are against him talk about nothing but him.¬† Most of the conversation assumes a Trump presidency even though it’s possible we could get a different outcome.¬† Facebook walls are flooded with Trump, Trump, Trump.¬† At a moment when a change of focus could change the outcome, both sides are still sending all the energy to Trump.

The electoral college is not legally required to vote for the one who seems to have garnered the most electoral points.  There is precedent several times in our history for the electoral college choosing the other candidate.  But instead of sending energy to Hilary Clinton and toward working on getting the electoral college to choose her, the majority of attention and energy is still focused on him.

If you want Ms. Clinton to win the electoral college vote your attention needs to be on her.¬† Your Facebook comments should be filled with her name, her picture, thoughts about positive things she has done.¬† This idea is true for any issue out in the world.¬† If you send all the attention to what you don’t want, the energy goes to that and creates more of it.

Worried about the environment?¬† Same thing.¬† If you endlessly repeat “the air is polluted”,¬† “the water is full of toxins”, “the earth can’t survive the destruction”, then you’re focused on pollution, toxins and destruction so that’s where energy goes — toward creating more of them.¬† Change your thoughts to focus on places where they’ve cleaned up the water or how the earth might look if healthy, or areas where air pollution has been reduced, envision more of the activities that created “better” or better yet, take part in them, and then you’re sending energy toward the solution instead of creating more of the problem.

You Choose

You get to choose where you put your attention.¬† You can decide how you want to think about any situation and what you want to believe.¬† And then you can send energy toward the direction you’ve chosen.¬† You do that by firmly holding your attention on the goal instead of on what you don’t want.

If you don’t want Trump but are hanging around thinking about him and obsessing about his badness, you might want to ask yourself why you’re choosing to give all your energy to him??? [I posted a while back on using ho’oponopono to heal “the Trump in you” if you want a place to start]¬† If you’re fretting about the environment and talking all the time about toxins and pollutants and clear cutting, etc., why are you sending your energy toward those things?

The next post in this series will explore being for versus being against.

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PART 2: PRACTICES AND CREATING NEW GROOVES

What the Bleep Do We Know!?

What the Bleep Do We Know!? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday I wrote some general benefits of regularly performing sacred practices.  Now I want to talk about how those benefits help you to create new patterns.

Ten years ago, when I bought What the Bleep:  Down the Rabbit Hole, I watched it over and over.  And I especially played certain sections about the science multiple times.  One of the pieces that had a huge impact was the stuff about how we create neural nets, the patterns of thinking and habits of doing that become the fabric of our lives.

The news that an overload of negative patterns can shift your peptide receptors so you can no longer take in positive thoughts, foods, etc. ¬†resonated deeply for me. ¬†And, of course, the idea that you can change those patterns was something I’d been working on since I started off in 1985 with the “you create your reality with your thoughts” philosophy (for more recent converts/younger people, think Law of Attraction).

Most of what I worked with on the creating reality front was mental.  Although my therapist also taught me a number of meditations in which I could release or change something, the process was by and large mental.  And I believe changing your mind is a crucial part of the process.

But it’s not the only way you can make changes. ¬†And, over the course of 30 years of performing various practices, I’ve come to believe that practices can make a huge difference in changing patterns.

BACK TO MINDFULNESS

As noted in Part 1, most spiritual practices, if done with focus and attention, can help train you to keep your mind more quiet and focused in the moment. ¬†If you want to change your thinking, it’s just about impossible to do if you can’t stay mindful enough to realize when you’re running negative tapes or falling into old patterns.

Although I’ve met a few people over the years who seemed to be able to encounter Wayne Dyer or Louise Hay, flip a switch and suddenly be positive all the time, for most of us it requires a lot of work to even notice all the negative tapes playing in the background. ¬†And without mindfulness training of some sort, I don’t see how you can stay present enough to turn around those negative thoughts.

The critical editor in your mind, who constantly criticizes, complains, and points out the bad in everything, tends to run rampant and keeps a flood of those kinds of thoughts racing around.  That becomes a groove; a set of neural nets that only notice and only run unhappy thoughts.

Practices that train the mind to be more quiet over time start creating a new groove in which the mind becomes more comfortable without the constant chatter and it slowly becomes easier to stay aware of your thinking and change its direction.

THE CALM AND BALANCED GROOVE

When I do a yoga set or the Five Tibetan Rites or “sit vipassana” I always notice that the state of balance and calm these practices induce lasts for hours afterwards. ¬†Over the years, these hours of calm have created a new pattern of serenity that carries into pretty much all areas of my life. ¬†And I doubt you’ve ever known anyone who was any more tense, anxious, and neurotic than I used to be ūüôā

Combined with the greater mindfulness the practices have also created, I can much more readily notice when anything has thrown me off balance and almost immediately call back the calm.

A big component of Feldenkrais’ and Robert Masters’ (student of Feldenkrais who created the Psychophysical Method I use in my teaching) work is the idea that if you notice how your body normally is held and then do something to release it and purposefully note the change, you will eventually create a stronger pull to the one that feels better. ¬†I think of it as making a new neural net or pattern.

I think the calm, balance and serenity of these practices affect you the same way.  When your mind starts contrasting the anxiety or tension before you practice with the peacefulness afterward, it moves toward the pattern that feels better and begins to hold it more often and more strongly.

I also find after I’ve done the Eight Key Breaths or chanted the Lovingkindness chant, for instance, the negative tapes and thoughts just don’t have a foothold for a while. ¬†My mind is more positive when I feel that centered and balanced. ¬†I’ve noted it’s a great time to say or listen to affirmations as my whole being is more receptive from that calm space.

BYPASSING THE MIND

I tried for a long time to make these changes mainly through mental processes. ¬†I wanted to “think away” the negative thoughts. ¬†I’ve known a LOT¬†of people over the years who want to accomplish the spiritual journey only by working on the mental side.

Over time I’ve learned there are too many levels to us to work just on the mind. ¬†I’ve also found that the ego more easily controls, blocks and redirects mental efforts.

Most of the practices I’ve ever encountered work much more on the spiritual, physical and sometimes emotional levels. ¬†Movement practices often open key areas of the body so both blood and prana flow more readily everywhere. ¬†Sometimes they stretch muscles enough to release emotions and issues held within.

Even more important, they build energy and help to bring it into balance.  When the energy is flowing freely and is balanced, it can shift you more profoundly than just changing your thoughts.

I’ve found it’s often easier to shift if I bypass my mind with practices than if I try to force my mind to change. ¬†About 8 years ago I went back to faithful practice of the Eight Key Breaths, the Five Tibetan Rites and Flying Crane Chi Gung. ¬†As I wrote a while back, I felt I needed to approach my remaining physical and emotional issues and blocks with energy.

I generally always have several types of practices and some body work going at the same time, so it’s hard to credit one particular thing, but the fact that I’ve finally been pushing through the hold-out muscles and issues can be credited in large part, I feel, to doing those practices. ¬†While I’ve also had AMAZING body work and I also credit the great therapists I’ve seen, I’m not sure their work would have worked as well¬†without the energy practices opening and moving and shifting as much as they did (still do…).

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As you can see, I really love doing various practices and I absolutely believe those practices have been a major component in the many, many ways in which my life has changed. ¬†In the final part of this series I’ll explore how many of us sabotage ourselves by not practicing and some of the reasons why.

More awakening unfolds

Illustration of head and neck muscles

Illustration of head and neck muscles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Barbara Franken issued a new challenge for February, two years after inviting us to write about our awakening experiences and creating an e-book from the posts (see mine here), she now asks us to update.

During the two years since the original posts about awakening, I became especially immersed in a path of discovery about my ancestors and their role in creating patterns in me.¬† Genealogy research helped me note patterns which I realized stretch far back into my family’s history.

At the same time I was struggling with a lot of muscles in my head that have been unwinding tediously slowly.¬† Although I’d released everything I could find in my life, the patterns seemed stuck.¬† When I realized I could see some of the patterns in the faces of relatives both in person and in old pictures, it became clear to me these patterns run deep in cellular memory.

I’d already been working some on clearing ancestral patterns but I felt it needed something more.¬† I booked a few Craniosacral appointments for some relief from the physical issues and, in that wonderful way the Universal has of bringing you what you need, Robyn, the therapist, referred me to Osunnike, an amazing healer.

So much was cleared that afternoon that the healing kept evolving for months.¬† But still didn’t finish off healing the muscles in my head.¬† Recently I went back to Bodypatterning, where Hanna tapped into a past life issue still hanging on.¬† I’ve taken her suggestions for working with that and am about to book another appointment.

The end of this piece of the journey feels close but it isn’t over.¬† And that’s part of the point.¬† Spiritual awakening is often long and slow.¬† While there seem to be people who suddenly become positive and have everything change, for many of us a commitment to awakening means also saying yes to a long dark night of the soul.¬† The journey may last for many years with results that are by and large only internal and during which you encounter unhappy memories, painful truths and slog through stuck places that seem unending.

Ancestral issues may have been anchored into your cellular memory hundreds of years ago.¬† Those patterns can include the way you hold muscles as well as emotional issues, world views, etc.¬† Past life issues covering thousands of years can be at play in your body, your emotions, your thoughts…

Over years of clearing and releasing, I’ve noticed that with every step forward I feel all my practices differently.¬† Whether it’s positive thinking or an energy practice like the Eight Key Breaths or a meditation, etc., the more my body opens, the more I can feel how the energy of each practice moves through.¬† The more I release, the more impact I can feel from any of these pursuits.¬† Step by step, slowly awakening.

I know I’m doing a bit of clubbing over the head with this, having brought it up in a recent post, but so many people are being told by New Age pundits these days that this journey is easy and quick and I want to tell the other story: many people have a long journey into the shadows.¬† Those 40 days in the wilderness can go on for years.¬† It all leads to expanding consciousness and becoming more awake.¬† But it isn’t always the easy flip of a switch that many would have you believe.

My changes at this point are largely internal although they include behavior changes I imagine others can see–so in that sense external.¬† But the internal change is phenomenal.¬† Though part of me yearns to see more change in my external world, I treasure the many ways in which I have changed on this journey.¬† I’ve even learned to enjoy the triumph when I get to the root of an issue or feel the freedom when some long-held belief or patterns is released.¬† For me the triumph is worth the sometimes-painful process of getting there.

I’ve known and encountered so many people over the years who’ve quit traveling the path of awakening in disgust because they didn’t get the results they expected or didn’t get them fast enough.¬† Stepping off that cliff onto the road to awakening sometimes leads to outcomes you never saw coming that are nonetheless wonderful, or winding down dark trails through painful memories.¬† The joy is in the journey, both the ups and downs and in allowing it sometimes to lead you to places you didn’t expect.

Tomorrow’s post will be https://fredapetticoatsadventuresofwakingup.wordpress.com.¬† To see more of the posts for this challenge:

February Challenge

1st Barbara – http://memymagnificentself.com
2nd Michael – http://embracingforever.com
4th Ka – http://fiestaestrellas.com
5th Julianne –¬†http://peacockseyes.com/blog/
8th Edith – http://edithboyertelmer.wordpress.com
9th Gaelen –¬†https://seeingthewhisper.wordpress.com
10th KL –¬†https://amusingspirit.wordpress.com
11th Barbara Рhttps://discoveriesofgrace.wordpress.com
12th Karen –¬†https://karinfinger.wordpress.com
13th Margo –¬†https://lifeasimprov.wordpress.com
14th Brian – https://middlepane.com
15th Leigh – https://bluegrassnotes.wordpress.com
16th Freda –¬†https://fredapetticoatsadventuresofwakingup.wordpress.com
17th¬†Carina –
18th Kimberley – http://kimberlyharding.wordpress.com & Alia – https://newearthparadigm.wordpress.com
19th
20th Mick –¬†https://meticulousmick.wordpress.com
21st Jill – https://vidanaturalskincare.com/blog/
22nd Leya –¬†http://alohaleya.wordpress.com
23rd Sue – http://suedreamwalker.wordpress.com
24th Linda – http://litebeing.com
25th Tania Marie – http://taniamarieartist.wordpress.com
26th Mei – https://meiflynn.com/blog/
27th Cindy – https://bluebutterfliesandme.wordpress.com
28th Laurie – http://lauriesnotes.com
29th Megha – http://megachiku.wordpress.com

 

Time Machine Challenge: Changing the past?

 

Linda over at litebeing chronicles has issued a blogging challenge:

Directions: Pick a time in your life that was critical to your development. You can go back or forwards in time. It can be real or imagined. After all, it is real if you imagine it!

Choose an idea or a skill or a value you hold dear in the present and infuse it into that time period.

Share your story of what happens to positively impact your life.

There are still some dates left, so if you’d like to join the challenge check out the list¬†at the bottom of her¬†post for the dates that are open.

Downtown Flint as seen from the Flint River.

Downtown Flint as seen from the Flint River. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I decided to go back to high school and a tale of changing history. ¬†I was a pretty unhappy kid in high school. I got good grades and hung out with others in the “smart” group, participated in enough activities to look good on college applications. ¬†But I was miserable.

There were mean kids at the school — is there a school that doesn’t have some? — and a few unhappy incidents. ¬†Mostly I tried to be invisible and succeeded in being ignored. ¬†Miserable and ignored. ¬†And I blamed everyone else and the town and the school… ¬†I couldn’t wait to graduate and get out.

Once gone, I just felt happy to be away. ¬†I loved college and big city life. ¬†When my Dad retired and my parents asked how I’d feel if they moved to Florida, I responded that never going back to Flushing, MI would be fine with me. Any time I thought of high school or my town, it was with vitriol. ¬†My best friends were equally unhappy with their high school experience and we all periodically agreed we never wanted to go to a reunion or be there again.

Then in my thirties I started exploring spirituality. ¬†Meditating. ¬†Practicing the Five Tibetan Rites, etc. ¬†Examining my past and releasing anger and issues. ¬†In 1990 I received an invitation to the twentieth reunion of my high school class. ¬†It included a form to fill out for a “yearbook” they were creating with updates from all who sent back the form. ¬†You could order one for $5.

I still had no desire to go to a reunion but I sent in my check for the updates and later in the summer the book arrived. ¬†I was stunned at the long list of classmates who’d died (I suspect if I researched I’d find a few were lost in Viet Nam]. ¬†Moved to read the stories of so many people I’d known and lost track of. ¬†Suddenly I wanted to go back.

I booked a room at a B&B in a nearby town and drove off to spend a weekend exploring. ¬†I drove around Flint (the main city of the “metropolitan area”), where I’d lived from birth to age 12. ¬†I hung out in Flushing (one of a ring of small satellite towns), where I’d spent my junior high and high school years. ¬†And I slowly realized that I’d actually lived in a charming town. ¬†That I’d had lovely friends and more people than I’d acknowledged who’d tried to include me.

But I was a miserable introvert with no self esteem, a definite lack of social skills and a chip on my shoulder. ¬†I didn’t know how to be happy or to be part of things. ¬†And I blamed everyone else for my unhappiness. ¬†Looking at it from a place¬†of calm, having learned a greater capacity for self-acceptance, love and compassion, completely changed my perspective.

For me it changed the history. ¬†I understood I was the cause of my own misery. ¬†Had I been able to step outside of myself and had I known some skills for staying centered and positive, the entire experience would have been different. ¬†I fell in love with my little town and felt sorry about the lost opportunities with people I could have known and appreciated and loved more. ¬†Ever since that day I’ve felt a warm glow in my heart when I think of my home town and I adore taking my mother back every year to visit.

In downtown Flushing MI

In downtown Flushing MI

It’s tempting to wish I could time travel back to high school with what I know now about inner strength, staying centered, etc. ¬†Of course I’d have been happier. ¬†Tempting to infuse that unhappy girl with positive thoughts and give her a copy of Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life. ¬†But really I think the misery of then and the process of healing are key pieces of my journey. ¬†I think what I’m able to do with this blog and other writing about the journey directly arises from what I’ve experienced in that flow from misery to happiness.

For me the change that arose from time travel came from looking back at the past with new eyes and discovering a different story there.

Be sure to check out the next post in the series. ¬†Right now it’s scheduled for Oct. 9 at EyesofOdysseus¬†(which means October 7 and 8 are two of the dates still open if you want to grab one FAST).

Dungeon Prompt: God’s plan

 

Vishengel, Wikimedia

Dungeon Prompts is another challenge in which I’ve meant to participate for ages and I’m so pleased I saw the prompt at a moment when I’m prepared to respond. ¬†Today’s prompt, based on Woody Allen’s quote, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans”:

This week tell us your experience with a plan that you held tightly but was completely annihilated.  This can be a great life path that didn’t open up or it can be a day that just didn’t go your way.  This can be a lifestyle that you’ve either embraced or struggled with, or it can be a funny incident that came and went but you remember as having tested your patience.

Personally I’ve found it hard to decide whether a plan failed because it wasn’t God’s plan or because something in me blocked its unfolding or it wasn’t the right timing for God’s plan to come together. ¬†When I left my job as an attorney with the Illinois Governor’s Office in order to pursue teaching yoga and stress management, I knew that getting out of law was the right move for me and it has felt right ever since despite the ups and downs and precarious finances.

A year later I moved to the San Francisco Bay area, where many friends I’d made on the spiritual path lived and proceeded to try out the stress management. ¬†And then one thing after another that seemed to suit me and my “right livelihood” path. ¬†Everything failed. ¬†My friends out there have said it was mind boggling to watch me starting ventures that everyone was sure couldn’t miss which then fell flat. Like taking expensive courses to become certified as a mediator and then spending far more than I could afford to advertise and getting NOT ONE client.

In hindsight, while I was picking up on bits and pieces of the “higher plan” for my life, I hadn’t really put it together yet–still a work in progress though I’m getting clearer. ¬†More important, though, was the day I realized that my severe health problems meant¬†I didn’t have the energy or physical capacity to handle any of these paths if they truly became successful.

It was some years after I gave up on the California dream (too expensive out there to be failing…) when I finally realized it wasn’t only my health that held me back. ¬†I’ve been on a journey into ancestral issues and past life residues for five or six years now. ¬†Recently a major healing session finished¬†healing that piece. ¬†I’ve carried a pile of¬†beliefs handed down by my ancestors and based on past life experience that all militated against ever being successful at a career involving spirit — or even at one I liked… ¬†(A series of posts about that journey began here)

Back when I took the leap of quitting my job and career path I heard a call to live a different life. ¬†My anxiety to get it going led me to turn¬†small gleanings from spirit into¬†ventures that probably weren’t exactly the plan. ¬†But I also failed to look inward, to know myself well enough to be aware of what I could do and couldn’t do. ¬†I let my head lead instead of my soul.

I think of “God’s plan” as perhaps more of a partnership than Woody does. ¬†When the Universe gives me a shove in a different direction, I’ve usually been following a plan devised from logic and mental process. ¬†When I become still, quiet my mind and listen to my inner wisdom about what to do next, I find myself in a flow.

I don’t really believe in a God “out there” who creates a plan for me. ¬†I believe that we are all sparks of the divine who can tap into higher consciousness and learn our own divine plan. ¬†Can I quiet ego’s voice and tap into that inner map? ¬†Have I made sure that I am in right timing for launching the plan? ¬†If I get a big nudge away from the path I’ve started down, I generally realize that I’ve made a plan from the mental plane or I’ve failed to pay attention to inner readiness.

As far as plans my mind made up that failed in ways that felt like “somebody up there” stepped in and squashed them — too many to pick just one. ¬†One of my big challenges is keeping my mind quiet so that I’m always following a greater wisdom.

For Dungeon Prompt at Seeker’s Dungeon.

Environment, spirit and me

English: Wood Hall and Lewis & Clark Law Schoo...

English: Wood Hall and Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This post has been nudging me for a while. ¬†I’ve dragged my feet because it feels like I’m tooting my horn. But I finally realized there’s a point to the post — plus the interior nudging has become annoying ūüôā ¬†It started writing itself in my head a while ago when reading some posts by (to me) very young people who are very jazzed about environmental issues.

As I did at their age, they’re proselytizing and admonishing and assuming the rest of us aren’t doing our part. ¬†I get it. ¬†I did it in my twenties too. ¬†You see, I have a pretty long history regarding environmental stuff. ¬†And I realized I don’t talk about it. ¬†I don’t think anyone who knows me knows the whole list below. ¬†Some long time friends know big parts of it, but no one knows it all:

  1. I first became interested in environmental issues in high school in the late sixties, especially clean water concerns.
  2. Because of that interest I took Environmental Biology my freshman year at Northwestern.
  3. When I got an apartment my junior year, my roommate and I became avid recyclers.  In those days you had to take it all to a recycling place.  There were bins with three cement walls around them.  Glass could be broken.  So we thought up everybody and everything we were mad about and yelled and screamed and slammed all the glass into the walls of the glass bin.  Fun.  And environmentally helpful.
  4. When I moved to the Pacific Northwest I volunteered with the Oregon Environmental Council and later worked for a while for the Nature Conservancy.  Then worked for Environmental Law, which at the time was the law review for Lewis and Clark Law School.
  5. When I first moved to Portland they were at the end of a drought so I learned a bunch of water conservation stuff that I’ve used ever since. ¬†(even though the drought ended and it rained pretty much the whole six years I spent in the PNW)
  6. During the Portland years I also studied up on environment-friendly housing and solar power.  Marched for solar power.  Marched against nuclear power.
  7. In Portland in those days you had to contract for your own garbage service.  A local hippie collective had a service called Rainbow something that not only picked up garbage but many kinds of recycling (this was long before city recycling programs became the norm) and they included a compost bucket for kitchen scraps.  I put out about half a bag of garbage every week and all the rest was recycling or compost for a community garden.  In those days mostly hippies talked about the environment or altered their lives to support it.  Everybody else thought we were nuts.
  8. Went to law school (Seattle) hoping to be an environmental warrior.
  9. Environmental warriors were thin on the ground–and jobs for them even thinner– when I got out of law school but I volunteered for Business and Professional People for the Public Interest (BPI; a worthy donation to make) in Chicago and wound up almost exclusively working on nuclear power plant cases. ¬†At the time some of the last fights to keep plants from being licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission were being waged.
  10. The volunteering led to a job with a sister agency in the nuclear fight, Governor’s Office of Consumer Services. ¬†At least 95% of my work there was on nuclear plant rate cases; trying to keep most of the cost of the power plants out of the rate base. ¬†We won [I say we but most of my work rode on the backs of an incredible group of lawyers from different consumer groups who conceived the idea of going after the money when the effort to stop licensing by the NRC¬†failed and brainstormed the way to do it] big enough that nine planned nuclear power plants have never been built in Illinois because the utilities could no longer get the whole cost into rate base.
  11. While I still worked for GOCS the Illinois Commerce Commission decided to redo a lot of the ICC rules — a rule-making. ¬†Initially there were no environmental provisions at all. ¬†A representative from the Office of Public Counsel and I became the Jiminy Crickets of environmental provisions. ¬†No one else wanted to talk about it. ¬†We brought it up at every meeting and hopped up and down¬†over rules we wanted that required utilities to use¬†renewable, sustainable energy sources whenever possible. Eyes rolled and jaws tightened, but we didn’t care. Our offices backed us up on refusing to sign without them. ¬†At the end of the rule-making a bunch of environmental provisions had been added. ¬†(There have probably been many changes since then; no idea whether those rules have been preserved)*

I still recycle and conserve water. ¬†Still dream of a house with solar power and other green considerations. ¬†But my proselytizing days are over. ¬†I rarely talk about the environment any more. ¬†I never talk about what I’ve done (till now ūüôā ). ¬†Now that list is just a list. ¬†Some other version of me did all that stuff. ¬†I no longer believe in the same solutions or even in thinking about it the same way.

The list of “pro-environment” things we can do is too long to imagine that anyone can or will do all of them. ¬†Personally I don’t believe we need to. ¬†I think everyone has to examine their own conscience and propensities and choose the actions we are willing to take. ¬†And it’s nobody else’s business what you or I choose to do.

Having grown older (and hopefully a little wiser) I get it now that proselytizing winds up either (1) preaching to the choir — people who already believe and wonder why you think they don’t; or (2) turning off many of the rest¬†because, let’s face it, self-righteous little piss ants like I was are just annoying.

But my spiritual journey also leads me to believe that screaming and hopping up and down about the destruction of the environment and environmental doom and gloom leads to more destruction of the environment.  The vision of doom and gloom leads to doom and gloom.  The more people you get on board by beating the drum for doom and gloom, the more powerfully you create the energy of inevitable destruction.

I look at sunsets and beautiful forests and hold the vision of an earth that always has them. ¬†I see ¬†positive change: ¬†a world in which millions of people are now recycling, driving hybrid cars, using recycled products, etc. ¬†That was just a dream back in 1970 when I began my environmental journey. ¬†It’s not just for hippies any more. ¬†I see positive changes and amazing possibilities. ¬†I believe we can envision an environmentally clean and safe world and then create it.

I hold the vision and chant for earth and I still try to keep my environmental footprint small. ¬†What I do and don’t do… ¬†that’s my business. ¬†What you do or don’t do, that’s yours.

****

* Pretty much all those consumer advocate groups in the world of public utilities were abolished a few years after I quit. ¬†As far as I can tell all utilities are back pretty much pushing whatever they want through commissions with no one looking out for consumers…

Find time for peace

Here in the eastern U.S. it’s almost¬†Sunday — time to chant or pray for peace. ¬†Wherever you are, please set aside 10 minutes at a minimum to do whatever practice or prayer says “peace” to you.

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.