Seeing the Wonders

May 31, 2015

 

Seeing, perceiving. These can color everything. How you perceive your walk down any street makes all the difference. Maybe you are too preoccupied to notice anything? Or do you see the life force bursting out of every crack and crevice, perching in the trees, dancing and twining and inviting you to join in? Is it the evidence of human folly, degradation and loss that strikes you most profoundly? Maybe some of both? Well, they are indeed both there on every street, and while it is not good to be in denial of one or the other, you can allow yourself the joy of knowing the vibrancy even as you acknowledge the reality of its opposite.

Here is a sweet little practice that will increase your awareness of the beauty that is everywhere on the Earth. Try it out if you have a few minutes each day and see if it doesn’t expand your experience of the wonders around you.

* Plan to take a short walk, preferably in a place that is near home or work, somewhere you can visit daily for a week or so. The walk need be no longer than three or four minutes, but it is important that you be able to give it your full attention during those minutes. It is best done on your own, without companions. And it is important not to alter your route much.

*Before you set out, pick a color you want to notice that day. It is good to choose one that is in relative abundance at the moment. Green works well in the springtime. Brown is marvelous in the autumn. Greys and blues are good to start with if you are near the water. You can pick a new color each day, or stick with the same one, if you prefer. Go out and take your walk with full consciousness tuned into that color in the nature you encounter.

*Scan your environment, looking for your color in all its variants of hue, tone, texture. See the way that the light reflects or is absorbed, the gloss, the feather, the wet, the dry, the way one color shades into the next. No need for analysis—just allow yourself to be absolutely filled with all the many manifestations of that particular color which flourish before you. By the fifth or sixth day, if you have been looking at different colors, you will have covered most of them and can take your walk with eyes wide open to the profusion of all the colors, shades and textures. You will be able to see them all, having isolated each color on previous days, and at the same time, you may be able to feel the wholeness, the oneness of the landscape through which you are walking.

That’s all. You do, despite all the challenges, live in a magical kingdom of many wonders. Enjoy it. Why not?

With all our love and blessings.

 

Loving it All

May 24, 2015

 

Each morning, take just five minutes, as always, to do something that makes your life better, and your contributions to the world and its beings greater. This week we want to invite you to sit quietly and allow yourself to connect with a personal quality that you dislike or condemn yourself for. Perhaps you are perpetually late, maybe you don’t like the way you look, possibly you lose your patience in situations where you really wish to be gentle. Everyone has internal critics who find things to complain about and each of you has something that you lies unforgiven.

These pockets of harshness, turned within, diminish the love that you are able to access for yourself, your life, your beloveds. They are like dark corners which delimit the light that you can hold, which circumscribe what is possible. As we encourage you to live as fully and as joyfully as you would want in these uncertain times, it is essential to know deeply who you are and to befriend even the dark corners. It is likely that you are always, peripherally, aware of these aspects of yourself, but you keep that awareness in obscurity. This ties up so much of your life force, and it restricts the freedom and ease that you might have. If you fear them, if you leave parts of yourself rejected and despised you will find that there are times when you are ruled by them. Is this what you want?

If not, then take some time this week to sit with the parts of you that live in the dark, that you do not love, and find out what is possible.

Here is what you can do:

Start with grounding and breathing. This need not take long; you will know when you are ready to move to the next part. Ask to be shown the aspect of self that you reject or condemn that you are to look at. Then, imagine that you are sitting before an altar. Take a minute or two to create—in your mind’s eye—the altar (or some sort of container space) you’d like to have for this exercise, that you’d like to work with all week. Put on it items that feel important or beautiful or meaningful to you, that you want to help you explore and hold truth. (You can create a real 3-D altar if you wish, but it isn’t necessary.) Once it is ready, place one aspect of yourself which you do not love on this altar. Take a good look at it, and then ask yourself the following questions. Listen quietly for the answers that arise:

  • Do you love less because of this quality?
  • Who is hurt, and is it the quality, or is it your condemnation of it, or both, that causes the hurt?
  • Is there any purpose (that has value for you) that is served by withholding love here?
  • Can you forgive yourself? Even for a moment? (Be honest here. It is perfectly ok if you can’t.)
  • Can you find any forgiveness or compassion in your heart for others with this same or a similar quality?
  • Do you need to change anything to be loveable?
  • *Do you want to change anything?

It might help to print or copy out these questions so you can refer to them easily while doing the exercise. Once you have checked in on each of them, make a few notes about what has come up for you. You don’t have to DO anything or work on this. Just see it, answer the questions as you can and give yourself permission to be conscious of this piece of you during the day. In the evening, before you go to bed, take one or two minutes to check in and see how your relationship with that aspect of self is. Has it changed at all, even subtly? Have your feelings about it altered at all?

On the following days you can decide if you want to spend more time with the original issue, or if you want to move on to another part of yourself that you relegate to the corner. You have already ‘built’ your altar, so feel free to return to it each morning.

Opening up the space within allows you so much more freedom and it creates more room in and for your heart, for loving. Wherever you hold back on yourself, you almost automatically create limits on what you are able to share with other beings, with the earth. This is not a time for constriction. It is easy to be drawn into that energetic pattern, but it hurts. So we urge you to open your heart to yourself this week and see how it might change your experience in the world.

We send all our love to all of you, who are perfect just as you are.

 

A Note from Elizabeth: This practice is slightly more time consuming than the others to date, but not much. It may be that you just need to spend a few extra minutes at the beginning of the week. It really helps to have those questions easily at hand—printed up. I’d recommend that if you decide to try this one. Overall, it has been helpful for me, in a quiet sort of way. I certainly haven’t rid myself of all the dark corners, but this week I have been more conscious of what is lurking there, and thus, much more able to choose what it is I pay attention to. And that means more freedom. Which, to me, means a lot.

I’ll hope to hear from any of you who try this one how it goes, what you find and any advice you might have to others who give it a go.

Much love,

Elizabeth

Your Script

May 17, 2015

 

This week’s offering is so simple that you may be tempted to dismiss it out of hand. So we’ll begin by acknowledging that while there is nothing mystical at all about this one, it can be rather magical. We have seen it shift a great deal in those who engage with whole-hearted intent.

The core of our current focus, as you may be gathering, is awareness, and how you direct it. This is the realm where infinite choice remains for you, where power lies and where the life you want is to be accessed. There are many things that are beyond your control. In fact, most things are not in the sphere of your control. This has always been so, but the veils have tended to obscure that reality. It has been possible –for just ages—to imagine that your mind, in this incarnation- is what determines your physical fate. What job you have, how your children do, whether you live under a bridge or in glory by the sea. There are elements of free will in your lives certainly, but by and large, you have always been less in charge of things than you have generally preferred to think. Now, the enticing but not very real notion of self-determination, is being exposed as wars expand and jump the lines, as the ice caps melt and the earth itself explodes. It is here and now, with that recognition advancing on all of you that it is most essential that you take your free will and use it where it actually operates, where it can make a difference in your life. You probably cannot do anything about Fukushima, or about the drought or the mega-storms that balance the droughts, but you can choose who you want to be—whether things are going perfectly around you, or you are in the midst of disaster. This is a critical realm, and the one where you have both agency and choice, if you decide to exercise them.

And that, of course, is the nub of it: exercise. Thinking about lifting weights builds very little muscle mass, and considering being joyful has about the same impact on your level of happiness. Some might say that contemplation is the first step toward making change, and this is often true. However, our role here is to urge you toward action, no matter how simple and small. We want to encourage to do more than read what we have to say. If you want to feel better, to have a richer and more joyful moment-to-moment time in your world, then you can. This little option, then, is here for you, on offer. You must reach out, though, and meet the beauty and the brightness half-way.

Here is this week’s invitation:

 

  1. First thing in the morning, sit quietly with your eyes closed, breathe deeply and allow yourself to find a quality you want more of in your day. Joy, patience, gratitude, truth, courage…these are some possibilities to get you started. Just be sure to think in terms of experiences that you hold within, rather than those which are dictated by externals. In other words, there is a difference between celebrating or seeing the abundance that already exists in your life and wanting more. Once you have chosen the one you want to focus on for the day, write the word with your non-dominant hand in a focused manner seven (7) times.
  2. Give yourself permission to have and to notice that quality as it appears throughout the course of the day.
  3. Before you go to bed at night, write the same word on the same page with your dominant hand, allowing yourself to reflect on how your intention manifested during the day.

Although there is a similarity between this practice and the use of affirmations, this actually works with a different faculty, and by going through these steps—using your body, your hands—you bring the aspect of your life you choose to increase into focus in a grounded and ultimately corporeal manner.

We send you the strength and all the love which comprise the force which beckons—the promise of living really well begins only when the externals no longer determine your success or your satisfaction. There is a great joy in just knowing that.

 

Drawing Joy

May 10, 2015

 

This week we offer you an option to play in another space that connects form and formlessness. Each time you link the two, you see, you bring a spark of the eternal and the divine into the every-day of your life. There are millions of ways to create that moment, that opening between realities, and this week’s exercise is another one. Obviously, some of these suggestions are going to resonate more deeply with some of you, which is why we are putting forth a range, a panoply of choices. We encourage you to try each week’s practice, or play, and if you find one that really works for you, continue with it. Add it to your routine of care for yourself. And then go ahead and try next weeks!

Your energy, both as it fills and surrounds you, and as it reaches beyond you to touch other forms of consciousness (both human and non, animated and not) is central to how you experience yourself in a given moment, and how you perceive the world and your relation to it. You know this: you wake up grumpy (or sad or excited or full of love) and that initial state often colors your day. You go out into the world filled with gratitude which spills into smiles at passersby and you get back that energy twice over. On the other hand, the toast burns, the pants you just put on have a stain you hadn’t noticed, and you are late and sure that everyone is annoyed with you.   It goes on from there….

The energy that you carry with you through your day comprises a number of components. Some are beyond your control, but most are in your hands.   This week we hope you will try a simple and concrete means to shaping it. Play with this, please!

You may need a few minutes to gather your supplies at the outset, but going forward, you should only need five minutes or so each day to work with this one.

Have on hand white paper and some drawing instruments. Colored crayons or pencils or markers are ideal. If you only have a pen or pencil you can still do this exercise.   You will be making a picture and will also need a means for affixing it to a mirror, a refrigerator—somewhere you’ll see it throughout the day. Tape or pushpins would be helpful.

Begin by sitting quietly first thing in the morning and envision the energy you would like to carry throughout your day. Try to see just shape, color and movement. Do not censor yourself at all, but stay simple. With your eyes closed, look for what first appears in your mind’s eye or in your heart. It might be a geometric shape like a circle or a diamond, a bird on the wing, a fountain, a tree, a great heart, an opening flower. Without getting fussy, notice colors and movement in your shape. Notice what makes you feel good and right. Your heart will tell you when you have it. Now take that simple shape and translate it onto your paper.

This should take no more than five minutes. It is not about creating a piece of artwork, but about concretizing the energetic impulse you choose for your day. You don’t have to be ‘good’ at drawing, nor do you have to have expensive supplies. Just bring that picture of the energy you wish to hold today into this dimension. Try not to think as you draw and shade, but rather to feel the energies you are deliberately putting on paper, feel the field you are drawing for yourself.   Intend that you carry this energy foremost today, and put the drawing on your refrigerator, your bathroom mirror, your computer—-somewhere that you will see it during the day and agree to allow this representation of your intention to hold you.

At the end of the day, before you sleep, take a minute or two to consider the relationship between the energy you drew and your day, your interactions, your experience of yourself and the world. Writing a sentence or two would be a good idea. You can even write it on the back of the drawing.

You are so powerful, dear ones, and yet you so often abdicate that power. Your world is a place of marvels and things of extraordinary beauty—you being foremost among them! Please give yourself permission to live in that marvelous beauty. To be aware of all the brightness that lies both within and without, and the living bridge that ties them together.

We send all our love and deepest appreciation.IMG_1631

The Sense of Joy

May 4, 2015

 

This week, dear ones, we have a more kinesthetic activity for you to play in. A simple, truly delightful little practice, that should take you as little as four minutes each day.

As beings you are asked to create and hold a bridge between highest consciousness and form. And your body is the very stuff of which that bridge longs to be built. It is the link, the connector between what you conceive of as ‘above’ and ‘below.’ Miraculous! Your body is an amazing creation itself, and one which holds endless mysteries and surprises. One of its capacities, which we want you to delve into this week, is to bring you to joy through the gift of the senses.

This week we encourage you to try the following daily in order to feed and nurture this brilliant channel between the formless and form, your body:

Spend three minutes each day in focused absorption of a sensual pleasure offered by the natural world that you tend not to give yourself enough of. Some suggestions might be: spend three minutes sitting with and inhaling a rose, or listening to the birds as they sing their morning songs, or trailing your hand in a cool stream, or consciously feeling the sun on your skin, or watching the sun go down. Do something different each day, or feel free to repeat a practice that really sated you. The point is to allow your body and soul to be deeply nurtured and fed by taking the time to receive with awareness a gift from this Earth through the avenue of one of your senses.

So here is how it goes: you sit with a rose or a fall of honeysuckle or a lilac and you bury your nose in it and allow the scent to fill you. Allow yourself to feel blessed by such beauty. And stay there as long as you like, just taking it in. So often, you want to stop and really feel, taste, smell, devour, listen, gaze but you settle for a passing whiff, a quick glance. This week, indulge! If you need something for your mind to ‘do’ during this relatively sustained period of attention, try to notice the layers, the subtleties of scent, color flavor, timbre.

Do your best not to analyze or categorize-—just enjoy! Notice how your body feels, how your heart feels, how it is to live on this planet, and then make an intention to carry that feeling forward through your day, giving yourself permission to touch back into it again and again.

If you want to make a note of what you experienced, that might help, but it isn’t necessary. Since this practice does not always lend itself to being done first thing in the morning, you might want to create a reminder for yourself to actually do it during the course of the day. You know yourself, and what works best for you. However, at the end of each day, before you sleep, take a minute or two to revisit your experience and to notice how it changed the day for you. Give thanks to world of form, which offers up such wonders, and to your body, which was created to receive them.

We wish you much delight and send our love.
Note from Elizabeth:

You will have your own unique experiences with this practice, I am sure. But I have found for myself a sense of belonging, which is truly beyond anything I expected. I have marveled on different days at the peppery bite of a nasturtium blossom and the power and intensity, the waves of the flavor, at the vibrant orange—sinking into it more and more deeply with each breath, at the velvet touch of its petals on my lips. This common flower, which I smile at every day as I go in and out of my front door, holds so much more than I ever knew. And knowing it, in and through my own body, I am exquisitely grateful. There is a kind of quiet joy that I feel.

Listening intently to the birds one morning I felt a blessing of belonging that took me quite by surprise. And similarly, lying on my belly on the grass one morning, breathing in the scent of the earth and feeling the tickle of the grass, the warmth of the sun, I was overcome with a feeling of rightness–I am part of this, I am meant to be here. Having struggled my whole life with questions about that rightness, it was a revelation.

I notice that I am forgetting these moments of awe and peace more than I was last week. It hasn’t been so easy. On the other hand, I am finding that the more ‘things’ I spend a few moments connecting with, the more cues the world holds to remind me. I may be forgetting but the birds remind me, the flowers I have sat with remind me, the herbs in my garden remind me, and I have come away from a week of this practice with a much more profound sense of home.  I plan to continue this practice as it has been so rich for me.

I wonder where your longings will take you, and I hope you will share some of the things you decided to allow yourself to know more deeply, more fully.  Please feel free to post any comments, suggestions and ideas below!

Much love,
Elizabeth

http://www.loveslonging.com