Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Stop!!! In the name of Love...

Have you noticed lately the difference between 'what's happening' and 'what the mind says about what's happening'?
My favorite example of this is the story of a break up.. the mind says "He left me, it's terrible, I'm all alone, he never loved me, no one will ever love me.. " Another perspective is "man walking out door".
It is such a gift to start to notice the difference between what's actually happening and the commentary of the mind..

It can happen while driving.. a car is going slow, not turning right on a red light, or maybe you get cut off, the mind starts up, "that jerk, what is he doing, get out of my way, etc.. what is actually happening? cars driving, stopping, changing lanes... what is happening internally, perhaps there is agitation, frustration, anger as a result of the mental commentary... you could just notice the commentary and the internal reactivity to it..

It can happen with kids.. your child refuses to ________ (brush his teeth, buckle his seat belt, do her homework, stop fighting with a sibling, stop crying, listen and comply with a request, stop doing drugs, etc ). The mind chimes in... I hate this, I can't bare it anymore, this can not be, it's too hard, too painful, too scary... it must stop! There can be huge internal agitation that results from believing these thoughts, it is almost impossible to even be aware of what is actually happening with the mind screaming objection so loudly..

It can happen with your partner or with your family.. they won't do what they said they would do, won't show up, won't be affectionate, won't accept us, won't love us the way we want, won't make money or support us, treat us poorly, won't listen, won't talk, etc.. again the mind objects! This is unacceptable, this must change, this makes me feel very badly and I don't want that, I deserve better.

It can happen in business.. things don't work out, we lose money, respect, waste time, don't get promoted or raises, we get fired, we are treated poorly, people lie to us, rip us off, etc..
We complain, we tell our stories and others agree with us, that this is wrong, we fight back, we feel victimized, self pity sets in, this is bad the mind says, we feel bad, we think others are wrong.
Another perspective.. things work out as they do, we have the amount of money that we have, we are where we are, we don't work at that job anymore, people act as they do, they say what they say, etc..

It can happen with yourself, you make a mistake, you hurt someone, you commit a crime, you destroy your life with addiction, you cheat on your spouse and ruin your marriage, you abuse or neglect your children, you are riddled with fear and avoid or destroy your own life. Again the mind will say it would be better if _________ (this did not happen, we did not get caught, we had not done this or that). Another perspective is that this is what is, we face what we face, we avoid what we do, we show up as we do, don't as we don't..
It truth, we don' t really know what is good or bad (without the commentary of the mind, ideas of good and bad are merely a conditioned idea from the past).

In all of these situations, the mind sounds like a lawyer in a courtroom.. I object!! This should not be this way, this person should not be doing this, something else should be happening, that would be better, this is bad, I am bad, they are bad, this is wrong.

So often we don't even seem to notice that our reaction to people or situations is so beyond the current situation, our kids keep us awake at night, someone in our life won't comply with our request, our boss is critical or maybe not complimentary, we lose our job, our marriage ends, we feel like it is unbearable, like our very survival is in question.. it's so good to begin to see that we are reacting 'to our story about what is happening' not to 'what is actually happening'.
I fact we can't even see what is actually happening, cause our view is blocked by our story and our objection. The stories are like a roller coaster that we never get off of, until we do.
Then we think, wow that was crazy, what an insane ride, this ride of believing thoughts and following them, reacting, never really taking the time to sit quietly and pause and just notice what's actually happening a opposed to what the mind says about what is happening..

So the practice is to pause and look.. whenever that is available to us, as it is occurring, or as soon as you can. Stop and get off the roller coaster, sit in silence, pray and ask, show me the truth about what is actually here, can I be here, now with myself, can i just look? Once we can begin to see what is actually happening, we can notice that internally there is a quietness, we are not creating internal drama and crisis. This internal stillness and peacefulness is the space that we want to be informed from, where our guidance comes from, our sane responsiveness as opposed to the insane reactivity that flows from the fight/flight protective survival mind.

So what do you want? To continue to perpetuate the drama, to fight, protect yourself, make up stories, let them drag you around like a dog on a leash, to listen to the mind and it's craziness.. OR to rest in the heart, to observe the mental commentary but not believe it or follow it, to stop and pause and come back to yourself, to the awareness of the stillness, the warmth within, to be able to be here, to access calmness and clarity, to be present for yourself and for another, to love and be loved, to be an instrument of peace?

Love to hear your feedback about how this is working for you.. much love JoAnne

Monday, December 20, 2010

love brings up everything...

I had a recent conversation with a friend who is back in the dating scene after being married for many years. She expressed lots of feelings about new relationships and dating, the bottom line that was up for her.. She doesn't want to hurt anyone.
We began a dialogue about being hurt, hurting about hurting others, being accused of hurting others, how to resolve our hurts from the past...
I understand feeling hurt, as far back as i can remember I have felt hurt by others. I'd have to say that others rarely play the role that I've assigned them. I've had a steady stream of not feeling important, not feeling valued, not being a priority, not being seen, heard, cherished. There is a whole belief system about not being enough, not having enough, things not being good enough, bottom line, lack..
The result of believing this stream of thought is hurt... deep hurt.. Because I've felt it for so long, it has history, momentum and often especially in childhood, it was more than I could handle, I didn't have the skills to resolve it. What I've learned is that when we feel something that is too much, when we feel overwhelmed, we often project it, in an attempt to lessen our burden, on to another, it's their fault!
I also know about blame, blame is what we do when we can't take responsibility or we can't deal with how we feel, we lay it on someone else. I've found myself lately in loads of blame and hurt and fear. I've been fighting to keep my marriage alive for years- trying everything, separation, moving, breaking up, open relationship, etc.. This is after 8 years of doing relationship workshops and this is where I land.. in a cesspool of hurt, blame and anger.
Also recently another very close friend has expressed how I have hurt them, spoken unkindly, been sharp toned and critical, not valued our deep connection and relationship, I was told that if I continued in this way this friend would not be in my life. They did not want to be hurt by me.
This is what we often do in relationships, if the other person does not play the role that we want them to, if they don't love us, support us, take care of us, be loyal, be truthful, show up as we want... we withdraw, we criticize them, threaten to leave them, punish them, or yell at them.
We feel hurt (and we can't bare it) so we blame, we tell ourselves that the other person or the situation has to change in order for us to be ok. We believe that they have caused our hurt, they are the cause and eventually we hate them for it or we leave them. Often we are angry at ourselves for not taking better care of ourselves, not standing up for ourselves, we turn on ourselves because we can't seem to resolve the hurt within.
It certainly seems like relationships reveal where we are unresolved, they show us what we needed to address internally and give us a chance to find resolve within.
However if we don't realize this, we think that what others do causes our pain, our hurt, if only they'd change, then we'd be alright. This is where we stay so long as we are unable to resolve this internally, we blame, we criticize, we condemn and what is unresolved within us, stays unresolved, unmet.

As I spoke to my friend I heard myself say.. well lets take a look at hurt. It is entirely subjective, what is devastating for one person is not for another, depends on our past, our conditioning, our beliefs. One person may find your habits intollerable while another thinks they are funny. We may be hurt by present circumstances or sometimes the past arises and we are reacting to something unresolved within us, having little to do with what is happening now. It can get all jumbled together and it can be difficult to seperate it out.

So maybe we have a choice... we can move with unconscious reactivity, blame, create drama, leave, be right... or we can stop and notice.. wow I'm triggered, there is something happening here for me.. and we can get curious.. maybe I can just BE here, notice what's here for me, notice what's happening in my body, notice tension or holding or heaviness in my body, wonder if I can just allow that? Is it ok that this is here now? or is it not ok?
I often notice that it's not ok, I don't want to feel anxious, stressed, terror, tense, rejected, fear..
It's not ok with me.. and here is the cause of the suffering... so wonder if I could just be here, feel what's here, allow what's here to be here...
This is a practice that can help us to find internal resolve for our past. It begins with taking the time each day to sit quietly, to pause, to be still. To begin to notice what is actually happening here and now so that we can begin to sort out are we even here or are we immersed in the past?

Once we begin to notice what's here, we can ask is it ok for this to be here, if it is ok, we could just notice that, sink into it, beginning to come more and more into the awareness of being here, allowing what's here to be here, noticing how sensations, emotions, experiences move through and naturally releases.
If we notice that whatever is here is not ok, not ok to feel the fear, the anger, the pain, often this is not ok.. I can notice that too, and back off a bit, taking it slow, noticing if there is tenderness here to meet this fear, this wound, the tension.
If I can sit with feeling hurt or fear of hurting others, if I can sit with fear, judgment, pain, if I can just notice these as sensations in the body when they arise, I can be present with myself, I can be here, this is what I really want - to be here, to not be fighting with myself, at war with myself, at war with others, keeping the war going.

So I can ask myself.. what do I want? how do I want to BE with myself? How do I want to care for myself? Can I notice what's here, what arises? Can I be here? Is there tenderness here? Can I let the tenderness touch against these wounds in me, the fear, the hurt? Can I stop and be still with myself and just be here?

Would love to hear how this is working for you.. much love JoAnne

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I can see clearly now..

Finally there is a tapping into the internal GPS system.. ahhhh the map, clear directions, this is the way home, follow the map, turn right here, keep going.. skillful navigation, clear seeing.. such a relief..
Recently there has been the experience of feeling very lost, confused, frustrated, the mind striving to make sense of the intense unraveling that has been happening in my life... things not working out, the core areas of relationships and finances in a state of disarray..
So much mental looping, lost in thoughts, judgments, concluding, scenarios, the mind is like a fog machine that appears to obscure reality. There has been an overall panic, flailing, an inability to land, come to rest, an inability to trust in the unfolding.
There has been this clinging, like a baby monkey clings to it's mothers back to external form, to people, relationships, structures.. and yet with all the desire to cling that the fear of falling compels ... the forms continue to fall away..
Truth communicated to me very clearly this last weekend.. relax my darling, just relax..
let everything move through you, be porous and let it all move through, no need to hold on to anything, it all comes to pass. I felt that I was held so tenderly, huge constructs of fear fell away.. trust your breath, come back to your heart, pray and ask for guidance.. ask to be shown, let your whole life be a prayer..
I have this little stone in my hand, I squeeze it.. no more getting lost in experiences.. no more indulgence in the positive ones, no more avoiding or running from the tough ones.. just sit here in the love, love everything that's here, let it pass through, nothing can actually touch you, there is this that is untouched, rest here.. No more losing sight of the what is actually happening here, the journey home, the return to our true nature, coming back into the realization that we never actually left, walking this road that actually goes nowhere, no more forgetting..
I saw that I've been holding on to a relationship out of fear... just a simple misunderstanding, I thought that this full expression that I am wanted to express in that relationship.. but the expansion is within, not in the without.. it is not about clinging to any person, the work is always within.. be the love, love everything that arises here, all reactivity- fear, feeling lost, frustration, whatever it is, let it land, love it home, be with it.. all I really want is to be here!
I think I want him to do this, them to do that, this to work out this way or that.. even thinking I want to see clearly.. underneath it all, I just want to BE here, I want to be here, at rest, recognize that I am this hereness, not a something..
So the fear is falling away as I remember.. all I want is to Be what I am, here, present, in that there is a strong awareness that everything that is needed is here, it's all here, everything. This that maintains and sustains this life has access to everything .. it's all here within.. stay here, look here, not out there, it's not out there.. enough with the looking out there.. it's here!
The love is here, the guidance is here, no more doubting.. no more wandering off.. getting lost.. come home to yourself.. stay present, whatever you need is here, relax, relax, relax..
Such clear guidance, thank you thank you..
As i sit I notice intense holding in the body.. the body is always trying to keep up, it's processing unresolved stuff, and it's holding on, not releasing.. so again I sit... I hear the voice again.. gentle tender darling.. it's happening.. relax, relax.. no need to panic..
It's just like when I am dealing with my kids.. they are resisting, refusing, usually I would stay calm for a time and then become frustrated, feel like i ran out of gas and eventually get angry.. the voice in my head said, NO, I object! this should not be!
After sitting with myself so patiently for hours.. trusting that release happens when it does, not before, we see when we see, we let go when we do, nothing we can do to make it happen, forcing, being violent with ourselves or others, does not work, it actually delays the process..
I am now finding that I can relax as I talk with my kids, patiently continuing to repeat my request, staying in my heart, staying in the love.. continuing to love myself.. and eventually it lets go, something moves.. the issue resolves.. it releases..
This is really all about finding the light within.. then helping others to find the light..
It's all about falling in love with mySelf, being the love.. letting it express fully through me..
So beautiful.. so grateful.. thank you divine mother for your guidance, for bringing me home.. what a long long road to nowhere..

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The circle of creation...

Down the rabbit hole... through the looking glass... into another dimension of awareness.. back to before it all began..
There we stood in a circle, 10 or so of us, about the business of creation..
here's the setting, the plot, the story.. you be the saint, i'll be the evil one, you the condemner, you the victim, we went around the circle assigning roles.. characteristics, scenarios, we created a language, agreeing on what meant what, we formed a tribe, a culture, procedures, laws, decided the meaning of things..
we all looked at each other, winked and said, "ok, let's do it".
And we jumped into our creation running every possible human expression, every scenario, we played it out 100 Trillion ways, over and over and over... This went on and on..
Now I get it.. having finally seen the opening scene of this act of creation.... it was obvious that everything was merely a creation, a set of characters, scenarios, scenes.. over and over and over.. it was like discovering the Rosetta Stone, the code was broken, the endless stream of thinking that i was the character and that's all that I was.
For so long, it's been confusing, like I've been watching a movie but i missed the first 20 minutes, so I did not really get what the point was... but having seen the whole movie now, it was clear that nothing really meant what I thought it did, we gave everything the meaning it had, it was only what we had created and agreed on, it was an endless game, apparently we wanted to have every experience, to play every role, explore all aspects in this game of life, feel everything, our formless nature pouring itself over and over into all forms, tasting everything, like one giant smorgasbord..
Suddenly it seemed exhausting.. E n o u g h.... I finally said.. this is stupid, enough! In the peering through this looking glass it seemed that all that had happened, the totality of evolution.. somehow squished into 2 hours... an eternity of scenes, including all of creation occurring all at once, very rapidly, overlapping and all at the same time... Enough.. it was overwhelming.. make it stop.. this is stupid.. enough...
But it did not stop, no one could make it stop, they couldn't ... it was happening.. a voice whispered, relax.. relax... breathe, come back to your heart JoAnne, just see what is here, just look, what is seeing, what is looking?? Remember the opening scene???

I saw later that it's not the scenarios that are stupid, it's not the situations or people that actually cause our deep fear of life... It's the believing that we are the characters solely, that all that is happening are the scenes and they are happening to us.. I hate forgetting about the circle of creation, when we plan it all out, create it, assign value, decide what will happen and when.. the suffering is in forgetting that and in forgetting the wink, the agreement, what we wanted in the beginning, to taste it all, to forget and remember, forget and remember..
Remember JoAnne, remember the agreement, what is actually happening here, remember that this is the game of life, you wanted to taste it all... and while you may be experiencing it all... bliss and suffering, lack and abundance, love and betrayal, accusation and devastation, communion and deep peace... you are none of these experiences solely, they all come and go, what you are... always is... come back to the remembrance of the totality of what you are at your essence, what is untouched by all of these, pristine, the same before during and after all of life has occurred.. Remember??

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Letting go...

Last weekend I sat with an incredible group of souls, speaking of this journey of remembering what we truly are, abiding in that truth and letting it be in full expression in this life. There was a collective intention to be very clear that this remembering is why we are here, it is what is primary, the first priority, what is most needed for healing; for the planet, for our humanity, to bring about unity consciousness, to find peace, to be an instrument of that peace.

The journey was one of discovering what stands in the way of this and to fully meet: the blocks, the stories, the holding, the resistance, the conditioning, the preferences, the attachment, self protection, self reliance, separation, coping mechanisms, avoidance, distractions..

It was not what I thought.. simply I heard.. just be the love that you are.. and let everything fall away.. sounds good right? nothing new, just let go.. let whatever the blocks are fall away.. I said Yes, Yes, Yes, no holding back, truth take me, take me, take me.. absolutely yes!

This was my prayer.. I had no idea.. later I found myself curled up, in deep suffering, mental anguish, begging for relief, in deep doubt that i'd made a huge mistake and was in way over my head... I had no idea how much resistance there was arising in me, such deep holding, such fear, my whole body locked down tightly, panicking, no relief...

the angels around me were whispering, this is your work JoAnne, come back to your heart, pray and ask for guidance, come back to your breath, try to relax and let it happen, this is what you asked for, this is what you prayed for, you have to walk through it .. let it happen, breathe, relax..

It's amazing that is exactly what I learned in my Bradley Birthing class 11 years ago, your body knows what to do, just breathe, relax and let is happen, don't panic..

This letting go was also a birth and they same tools were required. Unfortunately I did not feel that I could do it.. I felt like I had to die to something to allow something to be born and it truly felt like dying.. dying to the resistance, to the holding, trying to manage and control the experience, dying to the fight, all efforts to protect myself, I had to walk through the fiery angst and let the realization of what I am beyond all of that be born..

I had no idea what letting go really meant, it's easy if there is no resistance, but this one was not easy, it took all of "me", literally.. the discovery of the essence of what I am wanted full possession, no room in the inn for the misunderstandings, limitations, small ideas, mental concepts, they all had to be released... they did not let go easily... there was a fight, but the angels were whispering... constant guidance... this is what you want JoAnne, this is for you.. come back to your heart JoAnne, I promise you are absolutely fine.. stay with it.. step through it.. your are so loved, you are so loved, you are so loved..

Finally things started to relax, breath deepened, remembering happened, I know I heard myself say, I know, I know.. I remember, this is how opening to what you are happens, much like the uterus must contract violently to open to allow for birth... all resistance, all holding, all attempts to protect, control, manage, must be revealed... must be fully revealed, allowed, seen through and released.. eventually they release.. relaxation did happen, softening did happen, opening did happen..

I was reborn, into conscious awareness, into that space of remembering, remembering that I am the love..

all i can think to say now is Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Great Spirit, Divine Mother, Grandmother.. so much gratitude... I had no idea..

Monday, September 20, 2010

Your purpose in life??

"discover your purpose".. this morning i saw yet another teacher offering for a workshop to help people drop into "the rabbit hole", as Alice did, coming into Wonderland, where things don't make sense to the mind and finally the mental constructs are abandoned to the process of discovery, accessing what the moment has to offer... to find their unique purpose in life. There are many paths in this journey of discovery, in fact all of life is offering itself in each moment, what if our "purpose" is offered in each instant, in every activity, from washing the dishes, every encounter we have with everyone we meet, every sensory experience, all creative expressions. What if our purpose is simply to be present in each moment, available for the fullness of life, to "be" here now, feeling, seeing, appreciating, in awe of life in it's full expression.

The invitation is to "be" aware of both the expression and the life that is it's source. Much like seeing nature in the winter, it may look dormant, dead even, asleep, but there is awareness of the life that is in each tree that will be "springing" forth in the next expression we call Spring. The fullness of life that will be buds, leaves, flowers and fruit. This is alive even when we see Winter and so it is with all expressions of life.

What if the "purpose" of life is to be aware of this fullness, to enjoy and appreciate all the expressions, to full embody this human "being" experience. What if the purpose in each moment is to be present, fully, in enjoyment, in love, in awe of the richness of life? What if the purpose is to be here, in this body, aware of the energy that is expressing as all of life, in flight with the birds, scurrying underground and in the trees as the gophers and squirrels, playing as the children, swimming as the fish, creating as the artists, blowing as the wind, shining as the sun.

My children are constant reminders to me as they are so fully present with the activities of the moment, rather than caught up in thinking, reflecting, referencing the past, projecting into the future. In this moment I am camping in Carpinteria with our homeschool group, about 20 families.. I am watching 10 kids hula hooping, another group of 10 sitting in circle playing a game and laughing, others tending a fire and a few at the beach.. doing whatever they feel drawn to do in the moment, creating, playing, expressing, being lived by life, present, alive in each moment, playing, sometimes crying, helping each other, sometimes hurting each other, experimenting and trying stuff out. As I watch them, one of my favorite activities, I am reminded of how present they are, awareness very much in their bodies, feeling, discovering, open to life expressing in each moment..

I am also watching the birds in flight, feeling the sun on my face and listening to the ocean crash into the beach... and it occurs to me that this is the purpose of life here now, to be here, to feel the aliveness of this moment, to notice how life is breathing as this life called JoAnne, beating this heart, feeling the fullness, the love, the appreciation and immense gratitude to simply be here now.. present.. and a smile arises.. and I remember what a master said that has been a mantra for many years.. All is well.. and everything is unfolding exactly as it is..

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My Reason for Existence..

Last night I finally watched the new Twilight movie, Eclipse. I read all 4 books a few years ago.. nothing but the Harry Potter series has gripped me quite like these book, I devoured all four books in less than a month, reading each of the 700 page books in just a few days.. it was a total escape from my life.. so romantic, exciting, delicious.. I thought it was so funny that i was totally loving reading a book series that my 10 yr old niece and my best friends 10 yr old son were both reading..

There is a scene toward the end of the movie where Edward is talking to Jake and he calls Bella "his reason for existence".. I paused the movie and took a breathe and let that line wash over me..
imagine another person (who was not insane or crazy co-dependent) saying "you" were the "reason for their existence" ... it is the ultimate romantic fantasy..

In the last few years I have had some amazing experiences with love.. I have been delivered into the arms of the most exquisite unconditional love I've ever found... simply by breathing with another person and surrendering to the energy. I have blown the ceiling off again and again of the heights of sexual ecstasy again letting the energy have "me" completely. I have danced in ecstatic dance and contact improv dance and had full body energetic orgasms in a room full of people dancing.. once again there is a letting go, the energy takes me... similar to the ocean taking you when you swim in it.. the immensity the seems to swallow up the sense of small separate self (a notion in the mind) and in the ceasing of that.. there is this deep relaxation into the allness that you truly are..

When this ceasing, relaxing, letting go, melting into ecstasy & unity... happens and I am engaged with another person (yes it sometimes happens sitting in satsang) there is often a sense of mental attachment to the other. "I think" that it's somehow about them, they are opening me, like a key that opens a door. This is followed by a stream of thoughts (later when the moment has long passed) that "I" want that bliss back and I need to be in contact with that person again to get it. If I ask myself in inquiry "is that true?" do i really need that person? that experience? am I in lack? missing something? or is that love, bliss, relaxation, peace, radiance... is it available now? it is in me? or outside?

There is a deep realization that this love is what I AM. It is like gravity, it is always here, always available. Sometimes it is subtle, quiet and still, other times it is like a great storm, raging and demolishing everything in it's course. But the essence is the same, the love is always here, the bliss is always available, whether i am dancing, making love, doing yoga, washing dishes, soaking in a jacuzzi, running on the beach, or playing with my kids.. it is the ground of being, it is found in deep surrender, in the calm that comes when we stop, when awareness drops out of the mind, into the body, into the ground, into the fullness, out of form an into the emptiness.

Yes of course it takes many forms and I personally prefer the ones where I am moaning, writhing, screaming, being danced, and laughing ... feeling so light that I may float to the top of the ceiling, so expanded that what I am fills all space, liberated beyond the mind, to that place where all is exceedingly well..

So that's just what the mind does, it attaches to an idea, an experience, a person, a drug... and it says this is IT! This is what I want.. and there is a narrowing ... feels like this immensity that you are squeezes into a little box.. the ocean identifies with being a wave, the branch thinks that it exists separate from the tree, that it is growing the fruit, it is the source...
When that drug of choice (food, person, experience, whatever) is not available or quits working for you.. then the inquiry begins.. when you want it (that release from the bondage of self) so bad, you'll do anything.. simply sit and ask... is this that I am looking for not already here?
Maybe our "reason for existence" is to realize that we are it, not the little idea of what we are, a personality, an object, a body... but what we really are, our essence... what we really want is to directly experience what we actually are..

St Francis says "What you are looking for.... is what is looking".

Love to hear from you...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Can you feel your Ocean ness?

In the game of life it often seems that we play the game of thinking that we are waves and forgetting we are truly the ocean itself. I spent the day today up in Ojai at our new home. It is a lush paradise of eucalyptus trees, bamboo and green all around with waterfalls, coy pond and birds singing their songs..

Deep relaxation is easy here, i actually took a nap in the hammock by the pool. Sitting in the garden listening to the water flowing I breathed deeply remembering the ocean of being that I truly am.
Much of the suffering of the separate self is identifying and absorption in form, believing that i am a wave, staring at the shore and forgetting that the wave is merely an expression of the whole, forgetting that the wave is really the ocean itself. Deep relaxation is the practice of remembering, the glancing backward at source.. ocean rather than only at the shore of expression.

The day was full of celebration... early morning run taking in the beauty of the landscape, drumming circle at midday and watching the kids play in the fountain and hula hooping in the park. I watched my 7 yr old beat his dad 2 games of horseshoes, clearly delighted. We ate a beautiful dinner in community and soaked in the jacuzzi under the night sky watching a shower of shooting stars.

As darkness descends all around, the crickets are singing, the waterfall is flowing and I am feeling the ocean, the source of all of life, in the trees, the waterfall, the silence.. breathing in all that moves and all that is still.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

falling back into mySelf.. always..

I sat this morning in my 7am AA meeting feeling a bit uninspired by the sharing. A copy of the Tao Te Ching in my lap, I open it periodically, read a page and sit eyes closed for a few minutes letting Lao Tzo's words wash over the content of thoughts that seems to cloud true perception of the well being that some part of me knows is always there. I listen to many stories of the past, feeling a little bored as I breathe in awareness of the talk, the room, the community, the ocean, occasionally tapping my foot on the floor to remind myself of the ground of being, that which holds me, supports me, the sense of being that I AM.

Continuing to breathe, I reflect on the conversation I had last night with Steve my husband.
In the last 2 weeks we've spent a lot of time together without our kids, a rare occurrence.
We've talked, we've played, gone to ecstatic dance, done partner yoga, contact improv, acro yoga, tantra, eye gazing, etc.. in short... reconnection.
Over the last 5 years we've explored living separately, reconnection & profound healing, being in relationships with others (and processing all that that experience brings up),being in open relationship - all the while ever deepening.. our spiritual practice, realization of our fullness, immersion in spiritual community, & growing awareness of ourselves as energetic beings.

We've both had many awakenings, worked with amazing teachers and most recently come into ever deepening desire to live and express this love that we are and it seems that enough of the blocks that were between us have been removed, dissolved, addressed..

So now there is discussion of living together again, living in community with others, living in a smaller town than i've ever lived in.. the discussion brought up a lot in me to look at. As I am sitting in the meeting i started to list the fears that arose.. falling back into old patterns of unconsciousness, fears of falling into the boredom of daily life, taking one another for granted, being a bit scared about what can surface living in community with others (i've done it before), facing myself - insecurities, inadequacies, facing it all.. it's the deepest work i've done. It's really sitting in the fear of I'm in over my head, i can't sustain this tremendous flow of love and devotion, something will go wrong, it will be a mess.. i wrote it all down..

As i wrote and saw it on paper, i began to relax.. a voice within said .. ok, ok, ok.. yes that might be, whatever, it will be what it will be, you don't really know do you, you really are not doing this anyways, it's not up to you (that little thought that you think you are), into the mystery joanne, into the mystery you go... let your heart lead you.. wonder what you'll find??
I began to relax, began to smile, began to feel curious, full of a sense of discovery, excited about the infinite possibilities. Out of my head, released from the bondage of self, into the spaciousness, aware of the ground, the context rather than the content, the space rather than the form, back into mySelf, AHHHHH. Liberation, deep relaxation, being..

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

as the story unravels the heart opens and shines..

This week i got some real clarity as i wrote out an inventory on primarily my relationship with my husband but also with my boys.
I listed my resentments & hurts, looked deeply at how they affected my self esteem, security, finances, sex & personal relations and then I wrote out my part in the hurt and resentment. It was illuminating to say the least. What i saw clearly when i was done reviewing it with a friend (took about 4 hours) was that my "stories" about my hurts and resentments were just that, stories, not true, not real.
They were full of blame and fantasy and delusion, The primary ones of "he is withholding from me" and "not showing up for me" were merely perspective, viewpoint, interpretation, story. When i listed my part I saw selfishness and entitlement, it felt like a little girl trying to get others to recognize her, shower her with love and attention. Not there is anything wrong with receiving, it is quite wonderful as we all know, but to think that i need it, and if i don't get it then something is wrong and it's a problem and i am incomplete is to not know my own nature, my own fullness, source, presence.

It was exactly the opposite as the prayer - Lord grant that i may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted, to understand than to be understood, to loved than to be loved, for it is by self forgetting that one finds.

When i see clearly that the stories i've been circulating and believing are not true AND i take responsibility for the misunderstanding underneath my actions, it all starts to crumble like a house of cards.. my ideas of who my husband is, who my sons are, the images the mind creates, images of myself, all mere shadows, it's a very small life that's created but as the image shatters reality presents itself. It feels like my heart opens, there is a feeling of lightness and joy, there is softness, compassion, humor, love and tenderness.

Here is where Presence begins, i can actually be here now, not in the past, stuck in a story, in a fantasy that has a set pattern of withdrawal, protection, selfishness, childish behavior. Now i am actually available, here, rather than caught up in what i need from you, or lack or seeing what is as a problem.

Now I am available to source, God, light, presence, fullness, aliveness, what ever you want to call it.. i can feel it now, i can rest in it, it is actually what I am, this awareness, clarity, things become clear here.

When things got clear I saw a few things.. the stories i've been running with are not true.
i am actually not in need, i am the fullness, there is a tremendous capacity to flow this love that I am ..
No matter how "others" are in any given moment, doing what i like or not, i can rest in presence, truth, stay in my heart, breathe, feel the love that maintains and sustains all life, feel it here now and let that be the operating force that lives this life called JoAnne.

Possibilities beyond reactivity opened up, like kindness, tenderness, compassion, inner softness, humor, innocence, wonder, curiosity.
A teacher of mine recently said, awakening is really just about deep relaxation. This is not new but it is deepening daily and I am profoundly grateful.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

life without a reference point..

Humanity seems to be playing the game of opposites.. most of life it seems is about striving to have one experience while avoiding another. We want comfort not struggle, security over uncertainty, love without loss, community rather than isolation, achievement not failure, abundance as opposed to lack, freedom certainly over bondage... boil it all down and basically we want to feel good all the time and not feel bad. I've heard it said that we humans are wired for pleasure, it's how we are made, so even when we are actually doing something that may be "bad" or harmful, we "think" it makes us feel good.

The practice of inquiring into ones beliefs about what is "good" and what is "bad", what is helpful, harmful, successful, really can lead into a deep looking at what is life all about really.. what is the point? why are we here? what's actually happening?

When i ask myself if something is bad or good, i find myself looking at conditioning, beliefs, that's all, seeing that there is no truth to calling it good or bad, just the thinking makes it so..

We have a great example of this in AA, when someone hits bottom with drugs or alcohol and comes into an AA meeting, usually there is drama, families torn apart, jail, overdosing, violence, or at the very least intense internal drama, self hatred, destruction of the body and trauma to the psyche. Some people would call this "bad", but when someone walks into AA and tells their story of whoa, the details of which actually brought them to this point of admitting they have a problem and opening them to be able to adopting a spiritual way of life, we clap and tell them we are glad they are here. We know that these "bad" things are really a doorway to their transformation and spiritual awakening.

So what happens when one no longer knows what is "good" or "bad", helpful or harmful.. what if losing your job results in opening you up to new possibilities? What if debt and financial devastation, helps us see what is really important in life in a way that success never could? What if illness and grief, loss and lack, struggle and failure are really our doorways?

This is happening.. the belief system is fading, there is less and less referencing to the past.. instead there is just this noticing that life is happening.. sometimes it still seems like it's happening to "me" and then i notice the old tendency to avoid it if it is labeled bad, move away from it.. but so often now the old pattern is just not believed, not followed.. so i've been sitting in grief, sadness and loss, seems i've never been so willing and able to allow what's here to be here, allow it fully, say yes to it.. find out what it actually is... sit in the discovery... so here i sit, noticing a huge piece of conditioning- about what marriage is, what divorce is, what family is, what security is, what it is to be in long term committed partnership and what it means when it all falls apart, what actually dies and what is born from the ashes.. what does one see when there is no referencing the past?
anything in your life that is being labeled? is it true that it's good or bad... ever notice when we tell ourselves.. "this should not be happening!" yet it is.. how about that..

Sunday, June 27, 2010

the pain of identifying with a viewpoint..

this has been happening over and over.. recently i found out that someone close to me had a big secret. A secret they'd been keeping for decades, never telling anyone (that I know of), well it was finally revealed to a few folks and when i found out I immediately created a story and it went something like this. This person is such a secret keeper, so always trying to look good, they probably have more secrets, i don't even really know them, basically that they were wrong for keeping the secret .. I discussed this yesterday with a friend and it was remarkable what I discovered, the friend had a completely different viewpoint than I did. She felt deep compassion for the shame that must have caused the person to keep the secret, in fact she had a similar situation in her life and knew the deep shame that often accompanied this situation.

I was floored, always am when there is a seeing of how attached one can become to a particular viewpoint and story. In the moment of seemingly relishing in being right and making the other wrong (although i don't see it that way in the moment, it just seems rational) I do not consider that there could be another way of seeing it much less that there is an infinite number of ways of seeing the situation. When I am centered, feet on the ground, resting in my true nature, clear, not in story but feeling the "reality of unity" rather than the illusion of seperateness - that there is only one life, expressed in 7 Billion forms, it is so clear that compassion is the only sane response to anyone, for anything, ignorance/unconsciousness is the only sin - (an archery term that means missing the mark).
Compassion is the only sane response, compassion is the only sane response, compassion is the only sane response!

Immersion in emotion and the story the mind conjures up and the conditioning that is triggered - I am not safe, I am under threat (betrayed, abandoned), I am inadequate, insufficient and stupid for not seeing it coming.. it feels like I will die from this.. even though really it is almost never a real life threatening incident.

But emotionally it feels like I'll die, like I am dying, when someone says one thing and does another, does not show up, is late, makes plans and breaks them, says they love you and behaves in a way that does not feel loving, does not help you, show up for you, show emotional support, have compassion and tenderness, is harsh or judgmental and critical, ignores you, does not communicate clearly, is checked out and not paying attention or available to connect, connects for a short time and then just loses interest and energetically leaves without saying anything.

These are the types of emotional situations/interpretations of incidents (stories, viewpoints, perspectives) that trigger deep hurt, anger, & self protectiveness that is unresolved from the past. I surges up in the present and so often I feel it is happening to me and not for me..
But the truth is everything is happening for me, not to me.. Everything is happening for me, not to me. Everything is happening to FOR me, not to me...

The events in the present that trigger the beliefs and stories that I adopted most likely in childhood (when we think everything is about us) arise to be MET in the present. Here is the key that I've discovered.. that which is unresolved arises to be MET, because wholeness is our true nature. When it arises if we just stay in the cesspool of the mind, circling, nothing is resolved, when is arises it must be MET by this center, presence, the ground of being, love, compassion (in AA we say give it to God, same thing).

So it happened again today, it was really intense. Someone in my life is not showing up in a loving responsible reliable way. I could go on and on with the story but the bottom line is whatever they are doing, is triggering a story that feels like my survival is threatened. I feel that they're not showing up, not doing what they say they will, flaking out, not communicating, I feel lied to, decieved, I can't trust them, not only do i feel threatened but I feel hurt, insignificant, not considered, not loved, alone, and all of that is the result of identifying with a viewpoint. It is really painful!!
So i lash out, attack, communicate my pain, ask for what i want and then take a deep breath. I remember the event of yesterday when my friend related another viewpoint to me and the spaciousness that opened up..

Our true nature is this spaciousness- infinite viewpoints, compassion, a realization of oneness.
Deep breath.. this is an opportunity to heal, to let presence touch these parts in my conditioning that get triggered by a story, believe the story, let it act as a law unto this life by simply believing in it..

the viewpoint is not reality, all viewpoint are valid, all 7 billion of them, but none are true, believing the story creates a movement away from true nature or at least it seems that way, off center, missing the mark, right out of the garden of eden..

taking that time now, to be tender with myself, notice the tension in my body- breath there, let the sweetness that loves on my boys touch on the hurting one within, the disappointed one, the one that feel ignored and not considered, just an innocent misunderstanding, the only sane response is compassion. Let the healing happen within - let presence touch all of this..
with tender kisses..

in the end i can say thank you for the person and situation that allowed this to arise to be healed, released, resolved, seen clearly..

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What matters the most to you?

I got a call this morning.. a good friend of ours died in a climbing accident. He was 38 yrs old, had 3 amazing beautiful unschooled kids who we spent a lot of time with, and his passion was rock climbing. He was a devoted dad, his 3 kids played Magic with my two boys once a week and he came along and played with all of them, usually their kids would come home with us for a sleepover, I adored all three of them and so did my boys. We celebrated birthdays together, played lazer tag, he was the dad you always wanted to be there cause he was so full of life and joy.
He was beautiful and sweet and I loved to see him interact with the kids. He was playful and fun and his kids adored him! He was hard working, passionate, and he was at the happiest time of his life he recently told me. He also said that his wife was happier than he'd ever seen her, she was also living her passion, farming an acre of land for the coop community and her happiness was such a joy for him. It seemed their marriage was thriving, kids were thriving, they'd had some big struggles and seemed to overcome quite a lot, medically, financially, life and it's challenges in general and it was a really sweet time. He traveled all over the world and climbed, extreme climbs, he was very good, had a ton of experience and loved it. Recently he got frostbite on one of his toes and almost lost a toe, he got lucky. Apparently he'd had many close calls with death, but always prevailed. Until this morning, he went climbing, fell 80 feet and died. I cried curled up in ball for hours.. grieving for so much. His wife, their 3 kids who i truly love and feel so grateful to know, my own dad who died when i was 25, he was 48, all of the life I did not get to share with him, my marriage which looks more and more like it might be over, my kids who do not get much time with their dad who is so devoted to his career and life without kids, all the kids who do not seem like much of a priority to their dads, the kid in me who did not feel like much of a priority to my parents. So many tears, my body wracked with sobs, so much clearing emotionally and energetically, I feel kind of stunned and in shock now, empty and quiet.
The irony, today is my dad's birthday and my mom is celebrating 13 years of sobriety today.. just like life.. it is everything, death and birth and celebrating new life, totality..

So my friend's legacy to me is this.. as a wise one says.. the most important thing is to find out what the most important thing is.. what is most important? our careers? devoting ourselves to our spiritual path? achieving, accomplishing, acquiring stuff? devoting time and energy to our children? connection to our families? nurturing and nourishing our marriages? our relationships? self care? selfless service? realizing truth? self forgetting?
I'll be sitting in silence asking these questions..

Monday, June 21, 2010

ever get stuck in a story..

So there was this incredible opening in the heart a few weeks ago, it was big, a clear seeing that the love that i was looking for in life, in others was right here, the fabric of my being, it was what I AM. Some armor fell away, protectiveness from the past no longer needed. The energy of the loving energy seemed to emerge from the core of the earth, coming forth like a geyser, unbridled and fearless. The expression of love that came pouring out was unconcerned about protocol or social rules.. for so many years there had been an inability to really fearlessly expose this loving essence, to be so vulnerable, so out on a limb, to risk not being received, met, loved back. All these concerns were no more..

This realization of being the love, being the loving continues.. it's been some adventure and boy so many purifying tears have been shed.
A few things being noticed...
This expression of loving seemed like a fire hose at times, creating a flood, drenching whoever might be in its path.
It seems that there are always these stories arising which create internal drama and delusion when they are believed ..
I am the love, so much is possible here now, it could look like this (scenario comes into mind). This is destiny, to express the love here now with you. So much healing is possible, love can finally be expressed fully expressed.
The story really focused on primary relationships where there were major blocks and suddenly there was an idea of how they could be healed, what was possible there..

What is being seen more clearly today is that these are viewpoints and there are other viewpoints that are equally valid. No viewpoint is true or false, all are just perspectives, not to believed and followed, but to be noticed by awareness as a viewpoint. When there is a calapsing into one viewpoint and it is identified with, perspective gets very small and limited and suffering is coming, it feels like infinity climbing into a tiny box, it's cramped and finally at some point it unhooks and there is this climbing out of the box, AHHHH.
From the perspective of Presence or awareness is "the big view" - which contains infinite viewpoints, all noticed, all equally valid but none believed, followed or identified with.

So the heart is open here, love can easily flow through, but some folks may not want to be flooded, thank you very much. They may not be feeling it, not open to receive and frankly more than a bit uncomfortable and shocked at having the firehose turned on them.
Relationships can run their course, maybe there is not an opportunity to go deeper, maybe it is done. This is a particularly challenging when it comes to marriage and especially when there are young children, there is very dense conditioning here and seeing clearly can be almost impossible when there is one viewpoint being identified with.
So all of this coming clear, in this moment there is an infinite view available, no agenda or ideas of how anything, any relationship should look. There is a noticing that whenever the question arises, "Is the love here, is it present? " and there is an internal looking the answer is always YES!
As the thoughts arise and they always do.. awareness notices them and the moment to moment practice is to question every belief... is that true? how do i feel if i believe that? how do i behave when i believe that thought? where do i feel that in my body? who i am without believing or following or identifying with that thought? thanks byron katie!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

seeing the simple misunderstanding...

A few weeks ago i sat with one who was clear... she giggled and smiled, she was radiant, inviting, awake.. she spoke of a "simple misunderstanding" and suddenly a pattern emerged.
There was a seeing of a lifelong pattern that felt it belonged to someone very young, the habit is to look into "your" eyes for a reflection to show who "i" really am.

If I see indifference, judgment, or criticism then I curl up into a little ball and recede back into the shadows of self protection, doubt and sadness.

If I see love, acceptance, or appreciation in your eyes, I bloom like a flower in the sun, full expression, open heartedly offering myself in full surrender to the expression of the moment.

This is how I mostly see my children express, delighting in "being" themselves, no holding back, pure expression, no editing, spontaneously letting life simply move through them with pure enjoyment. They have grown up largely in an environment of loving acceptance, a daily celebration of their divine wholeness, awareness of the amazing aliveness of their spirit essence, lots of allowance for free expression and they have not been institutionalized, labeled, graded, & compared as often happens in schools, church, etc..
I have watched them flourish, come into their own fullness, shine brightly, and know and express who they are..

And a few weeks ago I saw clearly this pattern in my conditioning that would have me look into a reflection to see mySelf, to gauge "what I am" based on what "you" see here and reflect..
that is insanity.. for what you may see or not is only your own reflection.
In the midst of this clear seeing, I heard a voice within.. I AM THE LOVE..

2 days later I packed up my house, put everything in storage and drove to California.
In the next 5 days I spent time with several of the people in my life that this pattern most often emerges, they ones I've looked "to" for the love, love me, see me, recognize me, appreciate me.. my thoughts could be projecting outward.
But something had fundamentally shifted.. instead of a reaching outward with the open hand of a beggar, looking for the reflection to reveal truth, there was a feeling of resting deeply in mySelf, a groundedness in truth, in reality. I knew who and what I AM, I am the love, I am delighting in being mySelf, I am here to shine the light, radiate what I am, allow the full expression to fill my being and be offered with open hands ... freely.. offered.. what a delight!

And offered it was.. over and over.. this loving expression flowed and flowed, it wants to express and it is a daring fearless endeavor, there was no self protection, it was not cautious in the least, it felt wonderful, love wanted to flow freely whatever the cost, just to BE what it is.. a free offering, without expectation, looking for nothing, just delighting in being itself..
It seems that the love wanted to express over and over especially in the relationships where i had felt unloved, unmet, unseen.. it wanted to pour itself here .. it felt very risky, wonderful, and deeply healing.. it was as if a channel of loving energy opened and flowed freely, unconditionally, offering itself, I recognized it, I was this channel of energy, I felt it through the entirety of my being. It is as if.. I have finally found mySelf, it has revealed itself, this is the essence of this mystery that I am, the love I've been longing for all of my life.

I began to notice that as it arose and was simply allowed to flow, the energy of love began to build and had a life of it's own.. this is what I've been looking for all my life.. I thought "you" would give it to "me" but I've discovered that "it" is what "I AM".
I am this love that "I've" been looking for in the reflection in "your" eyes.. it was a simple misunderstanding.. there is a clear seeing now .. it seems so obvious, how could I have missed it? Thank you Pamela

Last night I saw Robin Hood.. incredible film.. great story, very moving.. when Robin told Marian that he loved her... I was flooded again.. I let it move through my entire energy body.. I am that love.. it was fully recognized, that is what I am, I felt the waves, tears poured through my eyes.. my heart burst open, such celebration, such beauty, fullness, finally..
such an honor to share this here..

Monday, May 17, 2010

opening and closing..

just noticing the patterns of opening and closing in relationships.. when we are suddenly surrendered to "being" the love that we are, life just pours itself unabashedly on those around us.. feels like being "in the flow", there is a grace and ease, it is our greatest pleasure that we are an instrument of life itself, we are "out of the way" and there is a sense of "all is well".. and then .... most often after a period of time, there is a collapse back into "concern" for the sense of separate self which brings doubt, fear, and seemingly that flow of love and generosity are cut off and are replaced by the urgent need for self-preservation... at that point compassion is the only sane response.. this is happening for me... recently in a relationship.. new relationship, incredible opening, perhaps the widest yet, the love flow was an incredible outpouring, I got poetry daily.. "you touch me, fill me, love me.. I bust open.. surge into the depths of the space between and within.. find you.. bliss.. no thing.. just it all" "show shoeing, hiking, anything with you has a yes as the answer.. tingling... that is what I want to hear" "so lovely, every part of you and your life... thanks for opening!" "your flaming innocent heart continues to melt mine away.. I am grateful to be in the shine" "What I want.. melts into you.. through you to a place that is without words.. form.. any you or me.. in this place.. Jai ma .. rules and there is no me.. no you.. just love.. kali durga ma.. " "on the plane leaving.. wondering .. full of wonder about the blessing you are in my life.. hopeful.. full of hope that in the terrain of the past I stay open to the present.. holding the love that i know in my heart.. a love that your presence in my life affirms and grows.. I bow with respect to the divine .. in you.. in me.. in all beings" " I so appreciate you and .. well your essence that flows to me and heals my soul.. so blessed!" "hot bath this morning.. so hot.. I thought of you.. burning me with your heat.. alchemically transforming form.. burning me to formlessness.. until all that is left is nowlovelightdarkbodymindpastpresent.. open" "wwwwwoooowwwww ... lovely... luscious... deep... received... given over... to the universe... grabbing you.. puling you closer.. bitten.. lips.. lust.. loins.. grabbing hair.. you.. penetrating with tingles of tongues.. moments of stillness.. pulled more deeply.. bitten.. smacked.. clawed.. swallowed whole.. you no space.. no thing.. but resonant ecstasy.. healing.. penetrating.. pounding.. pulsing into you.. receiving uuuuuuuuniverseeee thru you... wondering where you come from... being seen.. Where is there a u??? or a me??? suspended in love... this was just the first 3 weeks.. and now it is 4 months later and seemingly the window has closed.. the faucet appears to be turned off, no flow... strangely with no real reason, no fight, no resentment.. just closed.. the movement is back into self concern, feels almost like the naturalness of a change of seasons.... change in temperature, expression, color, with all the suddenness of the change of seasons, from full bloom to the appearance of dead like a tree that loses all of its leaves and sense of aliveness. And NOW? there is a noticing, that even with the change, truly the aliveness is still very much present, the fullness is undeniable .. the fire burns brightly and the heat is eternal.. and the fact is that the expression seems to change like the seasons.. yes?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Liberation comes in noticing our greatest resistance

What's happening? friends may ask... I smile, pausing.. asking myself.. what is happening?
What ever the outward response.. inwardly and to a few who might understand.. I'll say "embodiment".. the realization of "truth" is moving its way slowly and surely through all of the beliefs, stories, conditioning, ways of holding, resisting, self protection, in short through the entire "self" called JoAnne.

In the past 15 years of spiritual inquiry, intense study, satsang, looking deeply within, working with teachers, meditation, etc..
There have been many realizations of truth- reality seems to reveal itself, something opens up, something falls away, the idea of who and what i am disappears.
There is an awareness that "I"am not what "i" thought "I" was. (Often this feels like a huge relief, thank god, I knew somehow that I was not just a personality, a list of characteristics and beliefs, separate from my source, others, in my own little bubble.)
There is a feeling of spaciousness, limitlessness, emptiness and at the same time, calm, quiet, ease of being. This is the experience of getting out of the mind, out of the limited view of a separate identity, out of the story. This is resting in reality, our true nature, our formless nature, spirit, essence, what we've always been, home.

Sometime JoAnne is on board it seems, the mind is quiet or not bothersome, there is a sense of ease and flow, abundance and grace, everything feels like its moving along and there gratitude, appreciation, and enjoyment.
Often there is a battle at hand... there is a striving for happiness, comfort, ease.. and a deep resistance to stress, inconvenience, or anything that feels bad. It seems that the longer one has been working on resolving what is unresolved the closer it gets to the core issue, the most painful thing, that which we avoid at all costs.
Sitting in a 4 day satsang retreat last weekend with Sharon Landrith, we were asked, What was the most painful aspect of childhood, (get it down to 3 words)? There are a few common responses, I was insignificant, I don't matter, I'm not loved, not heard, not cared for, I was abandoned, etc..
The most painful story for me that still triggers reactivity is feeling insignificant, unimportant, not cared for, not valued and not loved etc... this is triggered often and my experience is that when i notice this story arise, feel where it shows up in the body and say yes to it, allow it, meet it, rather than resist it.. it begins to relax and release.. but strangely I often don't do this.. (despite years of training and working with others) instead i resist, resist, resist!!
I fight, I scream to myself NO NO NO, this is wrong, this can't be, i can't tolerate this, can't bear it! I feel as if my survival is based on changing the circumstances rather than to sit down, take a breath and notice what is happening in the body, in the sensations, and simply allow it.

2 examples..1-Most recently it was someone I love that usually showers me with love and attention who in the midst of dealing with their own deep personal fear and pain suddenly stopped showing up and responding to my calls and texts in a prompt way. I freaked out a bit, I was in a story, I don't matter, they don't care, there is something wrong with me, I am alone, I hate this.. 2- the property management company where I rent sent me a letter that they were going to repair our roof, i was not aware of a problem, but no biggie I thought, well it turned out to be very loud, men in my windows all day, pounding, walking on our roof, mess, equipment, scaffolding everywhere and it lasted a month. I was so triggered, I thought for sure they'd give us a rent reduction, but they refused to do anything, I felt so imposed on, not considered, insignificant. I really worked myself up over this, deep resistance to the situation and also to my own reactivity, i believed my story that this was wrong and i was right, they were doing it me, it was unfair on and on, created a lot of misery for myself.
Today I talked to a wise friend.. oh great metaphor she said, you are getting a new roof, you are under construction, you brought this situation in to remind yourself that repairs are underway, improvements, a whole crew is working on you. Suddenly everything shifted, i no longer wanted to be mean to the roofing crew, or the property manager, I was seeing the perfection in everything, the story that it was wrong fell away, I felt a peace come over me.
I created this, this is happening for me, not to me. Everything is happening for me, the entire universe is conspiring to bring about the awareness of the rightness of everything.

What are you resisting in your life? What do you most want to avoid? What is the story you are telling yourself that is causing so much pain?
Would love to hear from you..

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What actually causes our suffering?

Life gets simple when we deal with the truth, rather than the made up stories that perpetuate our delusions. Most of us are unaware that we live in stories rather than reality. We think only crazy people create a false reality and live in their perceptions or stories, but really everyone is doing that most of the time. Most people think that they are their thoughts, they have an image of who they are and a story about the past that they identify with. But have you ever practiced noticing thoughts?
Awareness is aware of thoughts as they arise. There is this awareness here, it is aware of the body, it is aware of feelings, stiffness in the body, it is aware of nature and the world all around, it is also aware of thoughts as they arise. Have you noticed that thoughts just arise? Do you believe that you are the creator of your thoughts? Can you predict what they next one will be? Or do you notice that they seem to arise on their own? Thoughts have a life of their own, you are the awareness that notices this..
So you could when a thought arises just notice it.. oh, there's a thought, there's another.. there's a cloud, a tree, a person, a thought.. noticing without much emotional investment in believing the thought.
It's just a thought, it's from the past, from conditioning, it is not reality, it's a story.
You may like the story or you may not, but when you see it as a story, a perspective, a viewpoint, then you are free because you are not solely identified with the thought, in bondage to the thought, the thought is not dictating your behavior and dragging you around like a dog on a leash. You are the awareness that notices the thought.
The best example I've heard of this is imagine that you are in a relationship and the other person ends the relationship. You could say "he left" or you could say "he left me, he never loved me, he used me, no one will ever love me, I'll be alone forever". So you can begin to notice what is and what your mind says about what is..

You can start to notice the difference between "what is" and the commentary of the mind about "what is".
This is not easy in the beginning, often we are convinced that commentary of the mind is reality.
Someone says something, the mind says, he is mean, selfish, inconsiderate. The mind immediately labels, judges, compares, basically takes the past, measures it and projects it on the now and often into the future.
See if you can make a list now of 5 situations in your life and write down first what is and second what your mind says about what is.

You can actually notice your conditioning, which is essentially the past as it arises. There is a conditioned belief, that's the past, it's just a notion, it's not true. Suddenly it loses it's power to move you, cause a reaction, create emotion, create drama and anguish.
Here are some thoughts that often cause reactivity - he/she should not be doing this, they should not be or should not have treated me this way, life should be different, etc..
Argue with reality to your own peril. Again we can notice what is and separate out our story about it.
The suffering is in the story, it is not caused by the situation but about what we tell ourselves about it.
So while we may not be able to do anything about what is happening, what others do, say, circumstances as they unfold. We can notice that our suffering is a direct result of the story we tell ourselves and in the noticing we can start the process of ending suffering.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Are you ready to tell yourself the truth?

What if you could tell the truth all the time?

Imagine of you could tell yourself the truth, live in truth, be an expression of truth,
awaken from the delusion that you are separate from
others, from your source, and from all of life. Can you begin to get a feel for this now?

What if you could always recognize when you were deluding yourself or
creating a false sense or image and thinking that is what "you" are, or identifying
with a certain point of view or belief and thinking you were that viewpoint?

What if you had a practice that could easily and frequently connect with your core truth,
your depth, your essence and you could receive guidance and clear direction about what
wants to be expressed in this life called "you"?

Imagine if you could easily feel this deep rootedness to the ground of being.
If you felt a connectedness to all of life and directly sensed how "life" actually moved you,
lived you, providing guidance, nourishment, inspiration, passion, resources,
whatever was needed to fulfill it's own unfoldment.

What if you could begin to feel this current of life, how if moves and flows and there was a
deep surrender and allowing and feeling of ease of being as life revealed itself as you?

What if you began to realize that this sense of well being was the result of turning within
your own being and realizing wholeness, oneness and unity rather than endlessly seeking
to achieve, accomplish, or acquire things or experiences to get fulfillment and contentment.

Imagine if you truly knew who you were, at your core, and you knew absolutely that this awareness was your constant, what you could rely upon, rather than on things in the world that constantly change.

You would experience liberation, peace, deep contentment & joy.

You would be home.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The most important choice we'll ever make..

Each moment we have a most important choice to make. We can notice awareness and all that awareness is aware of; thoughts and feelings, our own breath, our surroundings, people and animals, life all around us, nature, and sensations in the body. We can also begin to notice- the stories in the mind, beliefs, conditioning, our tendencies to avoid, protect, zone out, even move into addictive behavior and unconsciousness in an effort to not feel pain or discomfort.

We can notice this field of awareness, it extends beyond the body, reaching out in every direction, up to the skies and down to the core of the earth. There can be a noticing that awareness is aware of so many things and within that are all points of view. This is a critical piece, if there is an awareness of this field, the within and the without, the sky and clouds, other divine beings, all of life, there is awareness of an infinite number of view points, perspectives, and possibilities.

We can begin to notice that when we are caught up in a story like- "this is wrong, this should not be this way, he/she should not be doing this, they should not be treating me this way, it should be different" that we actually collapse into a single view point, a "me" that is arguing with what is.

Each moment is an opportunity to choose to rely on awareness or to attach to a point of view and take the roller coaster ride of thoughts and emotions as we separate ourselves from everything and collapse into a viewpoint, letting the mind drag us around like a dog on a leash, story after story, drama after drama.

While we may have a habit to collapse into a point of view, thinking that we are that point of view, defending it like our very "life" depends on it. In actuality we are not a point of view, we are the field of awareness, our very essence is the awareness that contains all of life and as we practice noticing this there is a feeling of expansion, a ease of being, a relaxedness, a quietness. From this relaxedness we can access clarity and wisdom, our innate strength, a sense of our true self that we've been looking for all our lives.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Stepping out of the story..

I listened to a friend talk today about death, one of her close friends had a child that died and she was talking about grief, fear about not being able to protect her children from harm and how difficult it was to deal with imagining losing one of her own kids.

I heard her create story after story after story, I listened as the mind jumped here, then there, opinion, belief, drama. After about 4 minutes she winded down and then she said, "I need help with this."

I replied... So you have a friend that had an experience. You have a friend that had a certain experience. I repeated it a few more times. That is what happened. That is all that is happening.

Then a thought about that occurs (fear, powerlessness, What If... ) and you may notice that an energy (emotion) arises in your body. So what if you could just stay here (let your hand hover over the front of your body from your chest to your belly). What if you could just be here (in your own body) just noticing what's here, sensation? holding? heaviness? contraction? without any commentary, labeling, or story from the mind.

Stepping out of the story and into awareness of what is arising in the body. Noticing what's here, as a sensation, making space and just being with what is here..

What I've found is that this is the very intimacy I've spent my whole life looking for .. out there..

When I say BE with what is here, what I mean is... imagine that you have a friend that is having a really difficult time, you want to BE with your friend, you don't have a problem with where they are, you are not trying to change anything, you are just going to sit down with your friend and bring your tender loving attention to your friend, just be present. That is how you want to BE with what is arising, the heaviness in your heart, the contraction in your gut, the blockage in your throat, whatever you find .. just be with it.. meet it, practice allowing what here to just be here.

As we do this.. usually we start to notice a bit of relaxation, a deeper breath, so we let awareness notice this.. let awareness drop deeper into the body, coming back to ourselves, into the stillness within, discovering our ground, the ground of being, our own depth. So we notice this..
This internal ground of being, this stillness within, is what we actually want, this internal sense of calm and peacefulness. This is the space we want to live from, move from, parent from.

So the invitation is to just practice several times a day, notice what is here (especially when we are triggered or activated) and meet it, stay in the body, be very intimate with what is actually here (rather than what the mind says about what is here).

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

falling into the mystery...

So often folks who've been confused by early religious experiences have such issues with the word God, it's loaded with concepts and misunderstanding. So we refer to our essence as creator, higher power, spirit, infinite intelligence, the great mystery. What I've discovered it that the less we describe it, the better. All descriptions are just like a finger pointing at the moon, they are concepts of what the mind can not actually grasp. So it seems we just keep throwing out our old out dated ideas of what this mystery is and then we come up with new better descriptions, until we don't need to anymore and we just rest in that which is indescribable.

This is the invitation, to simply sit in the silence, silence being defined as not the absence of sound, but the absence of self. No self concept, no concept, no following thoughts, just resting in this not knowing. Sitting quietly and dropping deeper into the mystery, deeper into ourselves, deeper into not knowing, into discovery on a sensory level, into sensation, into the body, into this field beyond right and wrong, beyond conditioning, beyond the beyond.. and resting there.

The invitation is to discover the ground of being.. our true nature, empty, still, present.. and simply rest ...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Commitment to Presence..

How would your life change if you were able to remain boundlessly open to and fully present with whatever was going on—not only around you but inside of you as well?

Spiritual awakening, explains Gangaji, involves a commitment to turning toward our experience and the willingness to be with what is there. When we are able to face whatever arises, we break our habitual tendency to turn away from our experience and to cut ourselves off from life.

It seems so natural and normal, we are drawn to what feels good, comfortable, safe, familiar.. and we avoid what feels bad, that which evokes our deepest fears. The invitation is to notice what arises internally when we get triggered, activated. Make noticing what is here now, as a sensation in the body the most important thing. Notice movement in the body, or the opposite, holding, contraction, heaviness, density.

As we begin to notice the way these feelings show up in the body we can also ask ourselves, "Is this ok that this is here, just as it is? Is it entirely ok, or not entirely ok, is there resistance?" Most often there is some resistance, it's natural, it's how we are wired, to avoid what we think is painful. So we can practice noticing the sensations that are present, the resistance, the thoughts that arises with commentary and stories, we can notice all of this and yet not follow the thoughts back into the mind, allowing awareness to rest in the body.

Usually after a period of allowing what is here to be here, there comes a deeper breath, some small amount of relaxation, so we notice that, and soon things seem to lighten a bit, the contraction lessens, we drop deeper into awareness of ourselves, things become still, calm and there is a feeling that all is well, all is exceedingly well.

This is where it really begins, the dropping, the deepening, coming back to the natural state, resting in our true nature. The invitation is to surrender deeply into this, melt, let yourself feel as if you are resting on a raft and the mighty river is taking you. Taking you where ever it will, the river knows where it is going, you are completely at rest, actually you are the river, feel the current moving beneath you, around you, you are the current.

You are one with life, all of life, open, allowing, fully present, awake ... enjoy!

Been stopped lately??

Have you noticed how Life stops you? It may be in an airport having missed a flight... sick in bed or in a doctors office.. or just opening your mail.. and you get stopped. For some period of time you are not going to be moving, doing, your plan of action is halted. Once one stops fighting, resisting or complaining there is this settling down period, maybe even a deep breath. Often at that point I'll notice deep emotion; frustration, sadness, grief even and I'll start to look at how it shows up in the body - tension, holding, heaviness or density in the chest or belly. For a brief time there is a conscious allowing for whatever is here to just be here, just noticing what is here and meeting it as a sensation in the body.
Awareness seems to have shifted from being totally consumed with the situation "out there" (and how much I don't like it) to just noticing what is arising in the body right now, sensations, movement, tension, tingling, whatever. There is curiosity about feeling the "energy body", seeing how it moves, how the nervous system deals with the energy that arises. I am the awareness that is noticing what is here in this energetic system and as it is allowed, there is eventually relaxation and resting and a descending into stillness and spaciousness.
As a result of "being stopped" I notice that "I" am back to the natural state, there is a sense of calm and a feeling that All is Well and everything is unfolding as it is and suddenly the problem that was so objectionable before is remarkably not a problem at all..

Thursday, January 14, 2010

the light of morning..

each morning the light is always there, bright most often, startling at times,
inviting awareness to come into a deeper recognition of itself..

illuminating the faces all around us.. whispering quietly..
can you see yourself here? here? here?

can you embrace this? allow this? be present with this..
just for a moment, relax and breathe into this reality?

and what do you notice here.. mental spinning? resistance?
calmness, stirring.. can you take a moment to just notice what's here..

the moment is endlessly inviting us in.. won't you sit with me for an instant..
I have something so nurturing for you, come now and fall deeply.. into yourself..