WEEKLY STRETCH 6-29-17 ~ FEAR OF FLYING

More travel coming tomorrow. I feel so lucky to be traveling more than ever, though this will be the last trip for a while.

Once upon a time, not so long ago, I was terrified of flying. My fear (like so many of our fears) was irrational and out of control. And yet, I desperately wanted to travel and see parts of the country and the world I had only dreamed about. I was being called to visit Sedona and I needed to face the fear unless we were going to drive the many days it would take to get there and back. I love the idea of a driving tour of America but when vacation days and funds are limited, flying is the way to go. Honestly, I don’t know how or why this fear developed. I had flown to Europe, the Caribbean, California, Columbus, and several other places earlier in my life. Fears are often nonsensical, and this one was the Queen of Nonsense. Somehow it became paralyzing and I knew I needed to conquer it.

Luckily, we have a very close friend who is a pilot. Michael knew of my fear and often tried to explain the science oF aerodynamics, trying to quell my anxiety with facts. His mantra at the end of his science lessons was, “it can’t NOT fly”. I listened attentively each time; grateful for his patience and desire to help and doing my best to take the facts in and let the fear go. I wanted to go to Sedona, dammit. In true Infinite Possibilities fashion, we took a step in the direction of our dreams and planned a trip to Arizona. One way or the other I was going to get on an airplane and fly west. Also, true to the Infinite Possibilities philosophy, I remembered that I have flown before, it was fine, I survived and even enjoyed the experience.

Michael proposed to take me up in a small plane. His theory was that after that flight a commercial airplane would feel like flying in my easy chair. I trust Michael completely and decided – fearfully I will add – that I would just do it. OK, picture this: A beautiful sunny day, a small airport in Princeton, New Jersey, an airplane that barely fit three people crammed in like sardines, me in back with my “cans” on shaking uncontrollably. We took off with me screeching and wondering if this was the day I would die. As we climbed higher I was certain that I’d left my brain and my stomach back on the ground. I was grabbing at the side of the plane as if it could save me! Pretty laughable now, but instinct said, “hold onto something”. That’s when I realized that the sky was just beyond the wall I was using to keep me safe-probably about 2 inches away from my trembling hand. Yikes! What was I thinking? Mike kept telling me it was OK, to keep breathing, feel myself in my seat and trust him. He, of course, was in his heaven since flying is his greatest joy. So, I got hold of my breath and slowly began to calm down. Long story short, after the initial trauma I began to relax and look out on the beauty before me. Michael calmly explained the effect of heat from the ground on the plane, how high we were, what we could see ahead and below and when I caught sight of the Jersey shore in the distance and got into the groove and rhythm of flying I started to love it. We landed and took off twice that day and the fear became more of a thrill. By the time I got home I was elated and filled with enthusiasm for our trip to Arizona. I felt like Rocky climbing the steps of the art museum. I had done it! And in a tiny airplane of all things.

Fast forward to our trip to Arizona, sitting on an airplane burgeoning with jet fuel and energy to burn it, the fear is at its peak, knuckles white as bone, breathing labored, eyes wide and “what the hell am I doing here?” blaring in my head – my husband petting my hand trying to reassure me. I was hyper-focused on everything. “What’s that noise?”, “Why are they doing that?”, “Where’s that life preserver?” (no water this trip, but I needed to know!). Poor Bob! And then the inevitable revving of the engines, only to get us rolling toward the runway! Every step was another step to freedom from the fear, but every step was sheer terror. We finally took off, my head exploding and my lips uttering every prayer I knew with very bank, every change in altitude as we climbed, every sound, every movement. What got me through it? “It can’t NOT fly!”. I heard Mike’s voice telling me that despite its huge size, loaded with luggage and passengers, it can’t not fly. And so, it flew with me and who knows how many others inside, and we arrived safely at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport four hours later. (I will spare you the landing drama, but you can imagine.)

Many flights later I can say that I still get some butterflies when the engines rev up, and there’s some anxiety when we start our approach to land. I have my little flying rituals. I always kiss my hand and pat the plane when I enter, with a tiny prayer of protection in my mind. I always fly with my sacred mala around my neck and fondle the beads and crystal as we take off and land. But all in all, I love to fly. I claim the window seat so I can watch everything happen. I look forward to that thrill feeling; you know, the one when you can feel the build of energy just before the plane starts to move forward toward take-off. There’s an amazing rush of excitement and expectation that can be addictive. And it means I’m going somewhere cool, somewhere I want to be, exploring the planet and living life a little differently for a bit. Michael was right, and I remind myself of the mantra he taught me from time to time when I feel a little uneasy up there.

The story is about facing yet another fear. It’s about saying “yes” and taking steps toward dreams and desires. It’s about making choices and taking chances. It’s about flying as high as possible and getting where we want to go. There are so many more places I want to go – geographically, internally, emotionally, spiritually and in so many other ways. When I get scared I use this airplane story to remind myself, as Dr. Seuss says, “Oh the places you will go.” I just need to say yes and take that step.

STRETCH: How high can you fly? Can you take one step toward a dream or desire you are holding? You are like that airplane – you can’t NOT fly. Try it. One step.

PS I will always be grateful to Mike Jackson for his skill, his patience and his love. I owe you Mikey.

WEEKLY STRETCH – 6-26-17 ~ The Gift of Sabbath Time

The following was written on Saturday night, just before heading up to bed.

It’s been one of those rare days. No obligations. No plans. No appointments. No urgency to get anything done. A perfect June day of sunshine, low humidity, and gentle breezes. I can’t remember the last time I felt this sort of spaciousness for an entire day. Early this morning we had a wild and crazy storm that seems to have cleared away an array of toxins in the environment and left us with this beautiful clear day to stand in Creation and enjoy it.

My husband and I spent the early part of the day running a few errands after dropping Sophie at the groomer. We lollygagged (is that a real word) around the neighborhood getting a few odds and ends done and came home to decide how we would spend the rest of the gift of the day ahead. We desperately needed this sort of day. Bob loves his job, but it is mentally and physically taxing and his days are exhausting. After the winter we had, with my health problems and Bob caring for me, and the active life we lead, we desperately needed some time to just be home, doing what we do, without running hither and yon. Today was the day and the Universe provided us a doozy.

Don’t get me wrong – we love our life. We have great jobs, a multitude of interests, spectacular friends and family, and so many wonderful ways to spend our free time. Today, though, we had the spaciousness to be still. We did things we rarely do. Bob wanted to go to our pool. In the two and a half years we’ve lived here we’ve visited our pool exactly twice. I wanted to stay back, sit on our deck, read and nap. Another very rare occurrence. So that’s exactly what we did. After reading my book and snoozing awhile, I created a wonderful summer dinner for us. Bob came home from his pool time and as the sun hung low in the sky we sat on our deck, sipped our wine and ate our yummy summer dinner. We talked and dreamed and planned. We listened to our favorite music – Pat Matheny, Earth Wind and Fire, Eric Clapton, Steely Dan, Jackson Browne and rehearsal recordings from the bands Bob’s been playing music with the last few years. We relaxed. We celebrated. It was Sabbath.

Wayne Muller is one of the authors whose wisdom has informed much of our lives since we began our ministry sixteen years ago. In his book, Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives, Muller says, “Like a path through the forest, Sabbath creates a marker for ourselves so, if we are lost, we can find our way back to our center.” Today we gave ourselves the gift of Sabbath Rest. In Judaism we wish each other, “Shabbat Shalom”, which translates as “Sabbath Peace”. Sabbath is considered Judaism’s most sacred day. It’s the one day we can put down all our work, our responsibilities, our concerns – and just rest. It’s not an easy practice to maintain in our busy lives. But it is a wonderful concept to consider and great gift to give ourselves. Today I was reminded how much I love Sabbath time and how important it is to integrate into our week. Sabbath time can be as simple as a designated time to share a meal with loved ones each week, or a weekly walk in the woods or along the beach. It can be designated time to sit in contemplation or time set aside for self-care. The key to taking Sabbath time is to make it habit and take the time to rest and replenish our stores of physical and spiritual energy. It is a time to make space for peace.

I am so grateful for the blessing of today’s Sabbath. It’s been a day of rest and renewal after what seems like a very, very long stretch of time. I am mindful of how much this time is needed in our lives and will make it a point to bring it back as a true weekly ritual in whatever way works for us.
I leave you with another quote from Muller’s book.

“If busyness can become a kind of violence, we do not have to stretch our perception very far to see that Sabbath time – effortless, nourishing rest – can invite a healing of this violence. When we consecrate a time to listen to the still, small voices, we remember the root of inner wisdom that makes work fruitful. We remember from where we are most deeply nourished, and see more clearly the shape and texture of the people and things before us.”

STRETCH: Sabbath is gift you give yourself. Create Sabbath time in your week. It can be a morning, a few hours, an evening or a whole day. Give yourself the gift of Sabbath. You deserve it.

Postcript: I had a perfectly wonderful, restful, restorative night of sleep for the first time in weeks. Sabbath time works on many levels.

WEEKLY STRETCH 6-19-17 ~ SACRED REUNION

Once again, my weekly post was written from an airplane. I am blessed to be traveling more than ever and love using my time in the air to write. Below is my most recent musing from high in the sky. Sorry it’s late this time.

This post comes from 30, 000 feet, flying north from Orlando after an experience that defies description. It’s 1:15 a.m. My flight was originally scheduled to depart at 6:20 p.m. Mother Nature had other plans and storms over the Midwest wreaked havoc on the airlines. So, 7 hours later, bleary-eyed and wanting to be home in the arms of my Beloved, I fly.

I find myself at a loss for words to speak of this time and the series of events that brought it about. One thing I know for certain – Divine Providence brought me to Florida, to be with my friend Anni, her husband Randy, and their two furry kids – to begin a friendship in this life that is lifetimes long and lifetimes deep. Somehow, at precisely the right time and in precisely the right place, we recognized each other and knew we were meant to continue an ongoing connection we brought with us from beyond our present life’s knowing. What we experienced together in these four days is something only we two can know or understand, try as we might to verbalize it to those we know and love. We are both blessed with life partners who totally “get it”; who understand and recognize the intimate connection that happened when this recognition occurred, and they supported us taking the time to reconnect and celebrate our “reunion”. We talked and talked, we created beauty, we learned, we shared, we nurtured, we commiserated and collaborated – it was and is glorious. And it was so much more. These extraordinary days are only the beginning of a loving creative collaboration of two hearts and two minds together again in this lifetime.

I don’t really know what else I can say about it that would make any sense. In fact, as we attempted to summarize our time together, we got lost in words and eventually had to laugh at how ludicrous is was to even try. What does make sense is that I don’t need to say any more. It is enough to have had the experience and to know how much has changed as a result. I’ve stepped across a threshold into a higher expression of myself and there will be no turning back. I am grateful for this rare and wonderful gift of discovery and mystery and for the reunion I’ve had with my friend. I thank you, Anni, for seeing me and for allowing me to see you. And I thank you and Randy for receiving me with arms wide open.

There will be more about this heavenly collaboration, and another collaboration between the two of us and another Goddess sister from Florida, Cristiane. Another star-blessed connection. Stay tuned.

STRETCH: The Universe brings us unique and precious encouters, some with people who have been with us in loving connection for lifetimes. Take a look around you and tune into the people in whose presence you feel ease, comfort, and a deep sense of cosmic connection. Give thanks for them, the many lifetimes you have shared, and those yet to come.

WEEKLY STRETCH 6-10-17 ~ Woman On Fire

The last two weeks I’ve noticed contrast more than usual, doing my best to take a clinical look at it rather than allowing myself to become emotionally caught up in it which is my usual M.O.

The world situation is daunting to say the least, and my position in relation to it is now more as observer. This has happened organically over time as I my energetic body gives me feedback saying, “back off” when my reaction to the news of the day causes emotional and physical responses that are less than healthy. I have consciously filtered the news and social media so that I have become skilled at skimming right by anything that might disturb my hard-won sense of personal peace and stability. That is not to say I am uninformed or uncaring. It is simply that I cannot allow myself to be exposed to the endless stream of disturbing information. I have set limits and sought balance. And so it is.

My personal news stream is very exciting and positive and my focus there is much more satisfying. I find that the unfolding circumstances of my life are a great help in finding balance. I’ve been called to create. I have felt a tug toward creativity all my life and I am now able to surrender to that tug fully. The Universe has aligned my dreams and I have manifested the right people to walk alongside me and to collaborate with me to make things happen. Last year I was given the opportunity to collaborate on creating a new publication called The Owl. That collaboration and the work of creating something new has encouraged me to continue to step out of my comfort zone to embrace the call to create even more. I’ve been making art for the last few years; I’ve been taking pictures too. And now I’m showing my work to people whose opinions I value and respect. This is a huge step for me – to identify myself as artist and photographer – as a writer – as a creator. Another huge step – taking myself to Florida to answer the call to create with others. In the face of all that is happening around me, my work is to create something beautiful; something that reflects the sacred gifts of Creation and Creator. And the Universe, in its infinite wisdom, has brought me the angels who will walk this journey alongside me and has shown me the depth of my intrinsic courage to create.

My journey continues to unfurl itself. My inner fire has been stoked into a fierce blaze. I feel a sense of freedom and spaciousness that seems new and fresh, unlike I’ve ever felt before. Something has changed in a big way and I am filled with a powerful sense of possibility and potential. I will head to Florida to step fully into that something, confident that Creation awaits. I am blessed. More to come.

Something’s Coming – Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim

Could be!
Who knows?
There’s something due any day;
I will know right away,
Soon as it shows.
It may come cannonballing down through the sky,
Gleam in its eye,
Bright as a rose!

Who knows?
It’s only just out of reach,
Down the block, on a beach,
Under a tree.
I got a feeling there’s a miracle due,
Gonna come true,
Coming to me!

Could it be? Yes, it could.
Something’s coming, something good,
If I can wait!
Something’s coming, I don’t know what it is,
But it is
Gonna be great!

With a click, with a shock,
Phone’ll jingle, door’ll knock,
Open the latch!
Something’s coming, don’t know when, but it’s soon;
Catch the moon,
One-handed catch!

Around the corner,
Or whistling down the river,
Come on, deliver
To me!
Will it be? Yes, it will.
Maybe just by holding still,
It’ll be there!

Come on, something, come on in, don’t be shy,
Meet a guy,
Pull up a chair!
The air is humming,
And something great is coming!
Who knows?
It’s only just out of reach,
Down the block, on a beach,
Maybe tonight . . .

STRETCH: Can you tune into your passion and imagine yourself living into it? Can you take a step toward one of your dreams? Just one tiny step that affirms the potential – the possibility – that your dream is attainable? Think about it.