Tag Archive | Spirit

Striking Balance and Scheduling “Me-Time”

 

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This clear message to focus on self-care appeared on my daily calendar right on the heels of a similarly veined conversation with a friend. We were discussing our recent struggles with being over-booked; striking a balance between committing to too much and leaving enough space for down time.

The struggle with balance is not new. We toss around this subject with regards to our diets; to love, life and work; to our children and our partners; to our hobbies versus our paid endeavors… the list goes on and on.

But what often gets thrown out first is time spent dedicated to just being. To replenishing the spirit. To feeding the soul.

To taking time to love yourself… so you then have the capacity to love and care for others.

To saying, “Stop! Enough is enough; it’s time to fit in some me-time!”

Our society does not encourage this habit of self-care. We live amongst a go, go, go mentality. The idea that if you say no to one opportunity, another one will never come your way. That if you take time to pause and rest, someone else will take your place.

When my body fell off the gerbil wheel and effectively shut itself down as my autoimmune disease announced it was now taking over control of my ability to do or not do, a new challenge arose in the strive for balance. A similar struggle is heard echoed by friends with various chronic illnesses (mind and body). We spend so many days as slaves to our disease, that when we have a “good patch” we want to take full advantage of it. So, we too, push, push, push, until we reach overload and crash.

I recently read about why we have resistance to letting go of these patterns of behaviors. It comes down to one of two fears: 1. A fear of losing something we already have or 2. A fear of not getting something that we want.

When stripped down to this straight forward approach, my friend and I could clearly see the impasses in our behaviors. For her, it was an abundance of exciting opportunities to suddenly participate in the craft she loves. She feared losing this new-found standing in the community as a respected musician. And was afraid to say no to even one opportunity, leading to being “put off the list” and never asked again. As well, she feared losing this dream. She had prayed and the Universe had delivered; how could she turn down that?

For me, I didn’t realize it came down to such a blunt answer until I said it out loud. I fear losing my life. I fear that each day may and well be my last, so I certainly do not want to squander what precious time I do have, and the beautiful opportunities presented to me to spend that time. For me, it was (and is) this insane grasping at all life has to offer after another extended hospital stay.

So where does one go from here? …

The first step is asking yourself that very same question, “What am I fearing right now?”

Then it’s reminding yourself that you are no good to anyone, especially yourself, if you do not incorporate “me-time.” You could say yes to everything, forgetting your own needs in the process. Think back to times you’ve made that choice. Many times we run ourselves into the ground to the point where we may show up for each thing, but are not wholly present for any one thing.

Remind yourself you have choices. My friend decided to keep her present commitments, but to not commit to taking on anything new for the fall. As for losing out? She can let these generous offerees know that she is fully booked now, but is still interested and would like to check in with them in December.

Me? I listed my obligations and put them in order of priority. What is most important? I had to cancel almost half of my “dates” and trust that there will always be something new around the next corner. Also, I will be better equipped to fully enjoy the choices I “kept” because I put moments to pause in between each.

Which leads me to the most important suggestion I have…

Look at your calendar right now and schedule time for yourself. Yes, at least a full hour of “me-time.” Put a big X through it. Do not attach any thoughts to how you are going to spend this time. This is truly down time… you’ll know what you need when you get to it. It is NOT a time to do errands, or catch up on work, or clean the house, blah, blah, blah! Do something that recharges your soul; whether that’s a nap; a walk in the woods; or watching funny kitten videos on YouTube. This is your time — relax, rejuvenate… refuel.

Your first reaction may be the same as my friends, “but what if I schedule it during a day/time that I don’t really need it?”

It doesn’t matter… take the time no matter what. Treat it as responsibly as you would any other appointment with a colleague, doctor, etc. You wouldn’t cancel or double book on someone you respected, so don’t do the same for yourself. Respect yourself as highly as you do others!

Once you get in the habit of honoring yourself with a “me meeting” each week (or several times a week!), your mind and body will start to naturally remind yourself when it’s time to fit in some self-care.

I have shared this idea with some who have met it with aplomb, and others still that have great resistance to the idea. But, can you honestly say you can not find one chunk of time (just 30 mins) that you can dedicate to yourself for just this week?!  At least give it a try…

This is the first step in retraining yourself to put yourself first.

So that you may be fully present in all things and for all others.

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The God I Have Vs. The God I Want

courage anf fear

I was recently challenged to write about “the god you do believe in and the god you would like to believe in.”* I read this as the god I have versus the god I want. Upon reflection, I quickly realized they are now one and the same.

I did used to think of god as a punishing god… or more often, an absentee god. I couldn’t see the ways god was working in my life, so I denied any existence of a god, or a higher power. Truthfully, this “me of the past” probably would have skipped even reading a post with “god” in the title. I was that closed off to the existence of something greater than myself.

If there was a god, where was he/she when I was sick and dying?
When I was abused and attacked?
When addiction consumed the lives of my family and myself; the monster, Alcoholism, marching its deadly force straight to my beloved Dad’s doorstep?
Where was god when physical and mental pain and anguish played ping-pong with me and Dave?
Where, where, where?! I lamented.

Thankfully, I finally surrendered myself to the idea of a greater existence, to a god, in whatever form. For me, it started with daily prayer, most often filled with thoughts of gratitude.

My god today…
…travels in the minds and bodies and hearts of those around me; sending messages and offering Hope through their words and actions. My god wears skin.

My god is energy… energy that flows freely in and around me; energy that is never stagnant. And when I tap into this never-ending supply of energy, creative flow happens. Joy happens. Hope and inspiration happens. Love happens.

My god is always leaving presents in my path. I just have to stay open to receiving them, to recognizing them when they appear so that I can embrace them, fully.

My god is abundance. There is always enough spirit and energy to go around.

My god is a River of Grace that flows through each and every one of us.

My god is neither good nor evil. My god neither rewards nor punishes. My god needs no definition. My god is unique to each and every one of us. My god just is.

My god lives deep within the earth, growing roots to ground me… to bring me home. All the while connecting these roots to others and creating a collective conscious of love and community.

My god is my intuitive voice. The one that sees the path clearly and always know “the” choice for me–never waffling. When I turn a deaf ear to this voice or question its motives, I turn my back on god and my one true purpose in this life.

And, my god lives in the Now. It’s when my mind wanders off the present path and tries to predict the future or live in the wreckage of my past that I lose sight of god.
But when I keep my feet firmly planted in the soil of the now, not questioning the why, only focusing on the what, that I am always moving in a Good Orderly Direction.

Inspiration flows freely.
Opportunities open up like butterflies from their cocoons.
I never have to be alone or feel isolated again, because I feel god everywhere and in every one. And I too shine from within with the light of god.

My god reminds me that “I have arrived.”

* Exercise came from Julia Cameron’s, The Artsist’s Way (p.106)

Little “Seeds” of Hope

friendship-quotes-picturesIn the darkest of hours, a small beam of light will appear at the end of a long tunnel of pain, suffering, and sadness. Two choices lie before you: 1 – face this light, walk towards it, and let it grow into a beacon of hope and faith. Or 2 – turn your back on the light, shrouding yourself in darkness, the known place of suffering seeming safer than the unknown possibility of hope… of taking a leap of faith.

I experienced this very cross roads just last Saturday. I woke once again in deep, unrelenting pain, with a throbbing sadness in my heart for all that transpired over the previous 10 days.  I felt defeated. I felt lost. I wanted to move forward, but I didn’t know how. And, let’s face it, there was that part of me, as well, that wanted to stay stuck right where I was. I felt tired of “fighting,” of constantly pushing through the pain and misery. I witnessed others embracing this place and dwelling in it. And I actually saw benefits to this option.  The biggest of which would be that people would finally recognize, that just because I can see the beacon of light in the darkest of times, doesn’t mean that I don’t also experience pain, and disappointment, and suffering. They are not exclusive.

I had just settled into my comfy chair when the doorbell rang. Upon answering, I discovered an unexpected visitor on my porch.  A supportive friend and champion, she intuitively knew to take a moment out of her day to bring lightness into mine. She hadn’t intended to bother me, only wishing to leave a small package and note in my mailbox. But my mailman had foiled her plans, ringing the bell just before her arrival.

Exactly as it was meant to be.

Inside this “Delicate! Do not squish” package lay three, half-dollar size, whelk-egg-cases-and-teeny-contentsoval seed pods. Transparent, with a little seed inside. Shake. Shake. My friend takes one and gently begins to coax this “seed” out. And lo and behold, it is not a seed after all!  It is this miraculous gift from the sea, the teeniest, tiniest conch shell I have ever laid eyes on (a mere 2-3 mm long!).

I gasp in surprise as my heart swells with wonder and awe.

She explains that upon discovering these years ago on the beach, she researched their origin, learning that conch shells are born by the thousands in connected translucent “cocoons” (often called a “Mermaid’s Necklace”). After a dozen years, they mature into the large conch shells we all covet finding on southern beaches.

conch shell symbolismLater, I researched them further and found that conch is also one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism and “represents the beautiful, deep, melodious, interpenetrating and pervasive sound of the Buddhadharma [“natural law”], which awakens disciples from the deep slumber of ignorance and urges them to accomplish their own welfare and the welfare of others.” (Wikipedia)

And that’s how I felt; as if I was awakening from a deep slumber of depression. And for the welfare of myself and others, I needed to face that beacon of light.

I was reminded of Helen Keller’s wise words: “Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.”

And the gift didn’t stop there; she nudged me to read her note …

“When I’ve been through tough times, I have trouble seeing anything besides my pain.  These [shells] can’t heal your suffering, of course, but I hope they remind you that the universe is full of joy and beauty and awe inspiring creations at the same time.  I hope you find moments where you can access that joy.  Please know that, even in your toughest times, you yourself are a source of joy, inspiration and an example of how beautiful God’s creations are to me and to countless others.”

I felt shaken awake. Flashes of beauty and moments of grace began to pass through my mind and heart. Just in the past week, during the period of my deepest pain, I was gifted access to that Universal Joy; I had not fully shut down. There was a crack in my soul just waiting to be re-opened. And, here was an unexpected angel, pushing her way through!

Her words brought welcomed tears and memories of past experiences where life and death, beauty and sadness coexisted in my life. I shared with her another time of deep sadness, when my mother in law collapsed suddenly from invading cancer and passed away 10 days later. My husband and I rushed back from Boston and never left her side. During this time, we would find ourselves sitting outside at the hospital staff picnic table, all hours of the day, situated right outside the birthing center. As my beloved second mother was lying 7 floors above in hospice, we were witnessing couples and families rushing in to bring new life into the world just below her.

And we couldn’t help but feel peace in the light of God’s grace, the universal cycle of life and energy.

There is no pleasure without pain.

There are two sides to every coin.

I made a choice on Saturday to walk towards the light.  This does not mean that my pain, or frustration, or anger, or sadness are gone.  It just means I no longer give them permission to consume my life.

I am actively seeking out moments of grace, of joy, of hope, and of healing. These are the foundation blocks to my continued survival.

I did not arrive at this conclusion alone. Because my “God” wears skin; meaning I see the God in you as I see the God in myself. And when that spirit knocks on my door, I am choosing to answer it.

I am choosing to let the light in.

Time for Some Soul Food

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I need to feed my soul.  I have been putting myself on this almost deprivation diet in hopes that my body will rest and heal itself.  But, I think it’s time for some divine intervention!

The first item on my Soul Food List?  MUSIC.  Such a simple solution; healing medicine  and absolutely free.  Yet I have sat here in my silence for far too long.  As the first strands of banjos and snare drums snake their way through my nervous system and into my brain, I can already feel my body relaxing into these soothing sounds. I pause to slightly sway, stimulating my lymphatic system, adding some gentle foot pumps for extra “oomph.”  I’ve slowed my breathing to a measured refrain.

I have been so caught up (again- sigh) in all the ways my body is not working right now; all the spots that are thrumming with pain; all the activities I’ve had to bow out of…  These are the things I know. They are smack dab in the front of my everyday face.  Why focus on that?  I am only amplifying the pain.  And the loss.

And in the middle of this melancholy, I’ve lost sight of the simple things that lift my spirits, that help my mind drift away from the darkness of pain (and fear) into the light of healing (and love!).

angel male and femaleI was graciously invited to an amazing collective meditation at 4:11 EST this past Saturday.  At that exact moment, every planet in our Universe created a perfect star around the Sun.  Harmony.  A portal into divine light.  We began with ten sensual singing bowls, opening up the sleeping channels of higher consciousness that resides in us all.

We let our minds and our bodies float on the soothing, guiding words of our conduit that day, Mimi.  Through her guidance, I was able to experience a pulsing, swirling, expanding circle of light that wove it’s tendrils to all the corners of the Earth.  To the heavens above.  And Mother Earth below.   I was at once one with everything as everything was one with me.  The Divine Goddess Energy became one with the Masculine… no longer male and female… just living, breathing Beings.angel_heart

As the meditation came to a close, we were guided to return to our bodies, to the physical realm.  Suddenly, I was lost in a sea of black.  Complete and utter darkness. Where had all this warm, strong, healing energy and light of just moments before gone?  I could feel it vibrating behind me, almost lying in wait as I lost all guiding light back to Earth.    As I struggled with this dichotomy, a clear voice came to me…

“You will encounter much darkness as you bring this experience back to Earth.  It is easiest to spread light onto others who are already experiencing glimmers of light and love.  Your task is to bring the light into the corners of darkness, to shine your love and energy onto those who struggle with receiving it.”

Whoa.

As soon as I silently accepted this “mission,” shards of light started to splinter around my entire being until there was so much light, angel of lightI became pure energy.

That evening I came home and continued my connection, listening to native music while drawing the abstract light being (angel) who led me on this powerful journey.

Yet, since that night, I have been adrift.  Lost once again in this sea of unremitting pain and worry that this pain will be what I will feel from this moment on.  Selfish thoughts of missing out on the holiday festivities to come; guilt over cancelling and being inconsistent with my commitments to my friends and family; unable to do anything but sit and stare.  Sit and stare.

But, then I suddenly awoke from my afternoon (well let’s just be honest, and say my “all-day”) nap, and was driven to write.  To put on music and reignite that inner fire.  To awaken my Soul Beacon, and let its wavering light start to trickle outwards again.

Truthfully, I have been away from blogging because I have yet to complete my “task” of awarding ten other bloggers with the kind awards that were bestowed upon me.  This activity has overwhelmed me, mind, body and spirit.  And for this I’ve allowed deep roots of shame to grow beneath me; creating an impasse to any spontaneous writing and healing.

This is my Soul Food.

All of you are my Soul Food.

I needed to sit and stare until I remembered that.

The holidays to come aren’t about making the best (one-up-manship) sides for dinner, or hitting the sales that invade my brain with their earworm tactics.  It’s about doing what I can.  And knowing that I am enough.

All my family wants, is me.

And all I want is my family… born into, married into, chosen.

Perhaps, for today, the darkest place that needed light was me.  Now I am ready to start spreading that light to you.

Interesting that this comes to me on the eve of the Festival of Lights.  Happy Hanukkah… we can all rejoice in the miracle of taking a small amount of fuel (energy-light) and spreading it out, until it exponentially grows into days and days and days of lighting the way for others.

May you discover moments to spread your own light and love in the coming days.

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Shine On, Soul Beacon, Shine On!

lighthouse

I have mentioned in many of my posts the idea that each of us has our own Soul Beacon. This is a concept that came to me organically during a moment of extreme illness.  It was a vision and even more so, a “knowing,” that I felt soon after my first near death experience. I was in a “stripped down state,” mentally, physically and most certainly spiritually.  I felt raw and exposed.  But, in this vulnerable state of being, I opened myself up to being completely vulnerable.  I felt as connected and observant as a child when discovering something new in their environment.  I became aware of the flow of energy between people.

I started to notice that energy exchanges could be both positive and negative; they could either lift one up or drain them entirely.  This was not just a feeling; I actually visually experienced this phenomenon. That insight gave me an intuitive knowledge of human interactions that I hold to this day.  When people exchanged laughter or encouraging words, streams of soothing, white strands of light would connect the interacting parties.  I saw this as a “recharging of the soul.”  It was pure energy, being given and being received.

Conversely, when an exchange was less then pleasant or supportive, there wasn’t a free-flowing exchange of energy. The flow would become heavily one-sided, with one party literally “sucking the life” out of another. This would show itself in forms of jealousy, fear, anger, insecurity, and dominance.

I had a clear vision of a beacon of light.  I saw that each of us is born with a cache of energy.  But just like any form of energy, if it is not recharged (refueled), it will deplete.  And when our energy sources are low, we experience depression, illness, sadness, despair, fatigue, hopelessness, and diminishing spirituality.  Most people respond to this feeling by hoarding the small amount of energy they have left.   We don’t share this energy out of fear of running on empty.  But in that hospital room, I discovered the key to unlocking a never-ending supply of energy.  The key is…

You have to give your energy away in order to receive more for yourself.

Give it away?! Yep.   This is where the concept of a Soul Beacon comes in.  Imagine a lighthouse.  The night is foggy and therefore the beacon’s light source barely reaches beyond its own standing.   Now translate that to the situation I spoke of above.  You’re feeling “foggy” and out of sorts, so you only shine your light source on yourself.  You keep your depleting energy close at hand and do not include anyone else in your circle of light.  Eventually, that circle of light will get smaller and smaller until its hardly providing any energy source for you to face the world.  This is the moment when many want to curl up in a ball and tell the world to go away.

This is when you need to stretch your final energy source far and wide; to imagine that Soul Beacon, seated in the center of your body, stretching its fingers of light to illuminate others paths.  Because this is what happens when you do: that light shines on someone else in need; the receiver is then recharged from this positive exchange and shines their light back onto you.  You will feel your inner beacon growing in strength.  With each positive interaction, the foggy veil of sadness and fear will lift.  You will start to have energy to take that next step, and then another.  And the best part is, while you’re recharging your own energy source, you are also giving that gift to someone else!

Who are you going to illuminate today?

How can you reach out in order to replenish your own light source?

What choices can you make today from a place of compassion and faith whether than from fear and insecurity?

How can you shine your Soul Beacon from heart to heart?

Read the story I wrote of a young girl and an old sage in: It All Began With A Beacon of Hope (click link)

Please share your stories and experiences!

The Miracle of Music ~ To Heal Mind, Body, & Spirit

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Music is curative.  It soothes the soul and quiets the mind.  It awakens the senses and reminds you that you are alive.  It makes the heart sing and the spirit swell.  It can lull you to sleep or jolt you awake. It can be enjoyed alone or with others. It is free.

It is an elixir that has been known to man for millennia… yet we so often forget to utilize this healing tonic!

As soon as I turn on music, I can feel every fiber of my being relax into living.  It does not discriminate me because I am disabled; it reaches out its fingers of cohesive notes to massage all of my senses.  It stirs pleasant memories from the past and teases me with the prospect of creating even more memories in my future.  And, that’s it: to me, music is filled with possibilities.

I’ve recently been reading a powerful book by Paulo Coehlo (author of The Alchemist) with deep purpose.  This book is the chronicle of a woman who lived life fully, and freely.  Unfortunately she died before reaching 30, but one can tell by the interviews in this book that she left an indelible mark on the people she met.  Most of her passion was in experiencing life sensually.  And I don’t mean sexually, I mean by engaging all of her senses, and encouraging others to do the same.  One portal to the divine that she patches into over and over is music, as well as the expression of music, dance.  At first, I felt sad reading her account.  For I was a trained dancer growing up and then danced my way through life until my body could no longer keep up.  If there was music to be heard, my body couldn’t help but physically respond!  I started to feel less than and got stuck in the “woe-is-me’s.” Then I reached an acceptance point.  I can still move my body (maybe not as fluidly as before, but movement is movement!).  And I certainly can remind myself to incorporate music into my daily life.  It has once again, become one of my most important therapies!

Here are the passages that stirred my soul into action:  an excerpt from a conversation between Pavel Podbielski and Athena, the divine female focus of the novel, The Witch of Portobello:

 “Everything moves, and everything moves to a rhythm.  And everything that moves to a rhythm creates a sound.  At this moment, the same thing is happening here and everywhere else in the world.  Our ancestors noticed… [that] things moved and made noise.  The first humans may have been frightened by this at first, but that fear was soon replaced by a sense of awe: they understood that this was the way in which some Superior Being was communicating with them.  In hope of reciprocating that communication, they started imitating the sounds and movements around them – and thus dance and music were born.”

“Yes, when I dance, I’m a free woman, or rather, a free spirit who can travel through the universe, contemplate the present, divine the future, and be transformed into pure energy.”

I find that quote supremely beautiful.  It shows how music has the power to get us in touch with the root of our being, that which is entirely Pure Energy.  We become the people we are meant to be.  Music touches me in such a visceral way, that it’s hard to put in to words.  I read the above passages during the days I was in the throes of my neuropathy situation (see previous posts!).  And I couldn’t imagine how to even begin utilizing the curative force of music, let alone dance.  But, I was both desperate, and open. I had gotten on my stationary bike to gently move and free up my stiffened joints.  I had music on softly and was reading when I realized I needed to just close my eyes and let the music take me to wherever I was meant to go.  I tried to free my mind of thoughts and just listen to the purity of sound, to feel the music resonate in my body. A clear visualization of a chrysalis lying on stones came to me. As I leaned in to inspect, an exotic butterfly emerged, stretching her wings.  She floated up into the air and silently begged me to follow her. With no mind, I discovered that I was gracefully flapping my arms like the wings of the butterfly; each beat a mirror of the music’s tempo.  My journey of flight took me deep within, to the base of my spine, to my root chakra.  I intuitively knew I was completely out of balance, and the power to restore harmony to my body was in my hands and mind alone.  That butterfly, floating on the wings of music, helped me to shift and align each chakra, travelling up and down the spine that just minutes before was in the midst of a spasmodic episode.  But I no longer felt any pain; my body was floating, light as air through the universe, both in the present and in all the time before and yet to come. My journey ended in the middle of my forehead, at my third eye. I visualized what I can only describe as the “Superior Being,” more beautiful and radiant than anything I had ever seen.  We became one, and in that moment, my journey was done.  I opened my eyes, and looked wearily around. My pain was not gone forever, but for the next hour my third eye tingled with life and energy and I felt at one, at peace.

And since this experience, I have been consciously placing music front and center in my days.  I allow my body to move at is able, just like I did when I imitated the graceful path of the butterfly.  It may not be dance in the “traditional” sense, but it is my body harmonizing with sound, which is the purest from of dance.  No matter who you are, with your unique combination of abilities and dis-abilities, you can harness the Miracle of Music!!

~ MUSIC HAS THE POWER TO CREATE “ECSTASY”:  WHICH ORIGINATES FROM THE GREEK AND MEANS, “TO STAND OUTSIDE YOURSELF.”  AND THAT’S THE MIRACLE OF MUSIC TO ME… TO STAND OUTSIDE MY AILING BODY, MY ACHY LIMBS, MY ANXIOUS MIND, MY POST TRAUMATIC THOUGHTS… TO EXPERIENCE FREEDOM, IF ONLY FOR A SONG ~

Curious about the scientific evidence re: the curative powers of music?  Look for more on this topic in my next post . . .

The Art of HOPE

 

Image“A human life is like a single letter of the alphabet.

It can be meaningless.  Or it can be part of a great meaning.”

(Talmudic Zen)

I’ve always lived from the heart and been a child of wonder and light, but the static of everyday clouded my vision.  Until 8 years ago when I became so sick; I was on the brink of death.  To others this would be a curse, but to me it was a great gift… of insight, of love, of light, of Hope… of Living from the Heart.

I was stripped bare of all external armor, and all that was left was the rawest sense of my being.  This sounds frightening at first.  We need our protective shells to survive, right?  In some respects, that’s true.  But in so many other ways, the same armor that protects us from life’s pratfalls, also keeps us from falling.  And sometimes we just need to fall in order to be caught.

Today, I was preparing to publish an entirely different post when I came across the marvelous blog:  http://heartflow2013.wordpress.com/ Reading about his experiences “Living from the Heart,” struck such a deep chord within me, I instantly knew this is what I was supposed to write about today;  I decided to follow my heart.

I’ve struggled over the years in how to explain to others about what happened to me when I nearly died (on three separate occasions!).  But I also know my experiences can benefit others.  So, just for today, I’ll begin to tell my tale… 

I believe that to live without an exoskeleton, means I listen to my heart when it speaks.  I don’t question it, justify my behaviors, judge my thoughts.  In other words, I don’t let my head take over for my heart.

And isn’t this most of ours “go-to place?”  We’re taught that strength lies in pragmatic thinking.  In analyzing our behaviors and reactions to situations.  In measuring our responses to the ways others may respond back to us.  To put on a front.  To bury our hearts deep below a fatty layer of protective tissue.

When one comments, “Oh, she’s one to wear her heart on her sleeve!,” it’s not generally meant as a compliment.  It’s “those people” who can’t keep their emotions in check, who are reactive, who are overly sensitive.

But I see this so differently!  There is a freedom in leading with your heart.  A freeing of your one true nature.

After I awoke in the hospital ICU, I was stripped bare (and I’m not just talking about the flimsy gowns!).  It was like all the external stimuli had dropped away, and I was now relating at the most humanistic of levels.  The language I heard was of heart-heart, soul-soul.  At first, it was like I was now hearing in colors. I know, I know, it sounds a little wacky.  But that’s just because it goes against the grain of everything we’ve been taught.

But try thinking of it this way… we live in a world of a thousand languages.  Yet, at some elemental level, we all speak the same language, right?  We all walk to the same life beat, right?  That’s the language of souls.  That’s a conversation in color.

When I was at my most physically vulnerable state, I was presented the greatest gift of my life: the gift of sight.  I began to notice that people dragged around wisps of light and color with them.  Some would glow, some would breathe and for others, it appeared as a gauzy cloak enveloping their entire body.  At first, I didn’t pay it much heed instead attributing these visual anomalies to drug-induced hallucinations combined with a severely weakened physical and mental state.   But as my body regained its strength and my mind its clarity, I discovered that these visual auras stayed.  And not only was I able to see the energy that encompasses each human, I became aware of how my energy interacted with theirs.  I witnessed energy being drained by hostile and negative encounters; and inversely, how the energy would grow bigger and brighter after positive and uplifting exchanges.  So I began to experiment with my own interactions.

I discovered that we all have a tendency to hoard our cache load of energy.  We live in a fear-induced state where we are afraid to become completed depleted by the giving away of ourselves.  I was certainly in a physically depleted state.  All my energies were directed at pure survival.  But, what is surviving without soul… that’s just thriving.  And I didn’t want to thrive; I wanted to and still want to SURVIVE!

And to truly survive, you need the energy and love from others.  I had a vision of sorts that inside each of us is a Beacon of Light & Hope.  I named this our “Soul Beacons” (c.).   Over the next few days, I’m going to post a variety of current day experiences that highlight the strength of living from the heart and embracing Hope in everything and everyone.  How in shining your Soul Beacon out, illuminating the pathway for others they, in turn, will light your way.   It shows itself in big ways and small ways, in expected and unexpected ways, and in a variety of interactions.

I have felt the floor disappear between my feet, the walls crumble between people, and my soul merge and meld with all around me.  I have experienced the spirit within all of us.  It was so obvious and easy to participate in the flow of energies from soul to soul, when I had no external distractions.  But as I have become healthier and therefore more immersed in daily life, I’ve also been re-exposed to all the daily noise.  The static that clutters our minds, and clouds are hearts. 

To practice the Art of Hope takes dedication.  What interactions will you have today that are purely heart to heart?  How can you reach out your heart to another?  How can you embrace the energy that will flow freely back to you?  In what ways can you center your thoughts, clear away the clutter of your mind, and get in tune with what your heart truly wants?