WEEKLY STRETCH 11-3-16 – “HELLO DARKNESS MY OLD FRIEND”

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It’s a wild and crazy week for me, getting wilder and crazier. With that in mind I am posting my weekly stretch early because my husband, Bob, and I are welcoming dear friends from Canada to our home for a 5-day visit and we will be touring New York City with them on Thursday when I usually write and post.

The holiday of Halloween is actually rooted in the Celtic New Year. Halloween is believed to have arisen from the Celtic festival of Samhain, which celebrated the end of the lighter half of the year and coming of the darker half. In reading an article in Parabola Magazine on the topic I had one or two moments of realization that may be useful to you as well.

First, in complete honesty, as a child my whole year pivoted on Halloween. I loved dressing up and I LOVED candy. Imagine? A kid loving candy? This kid still loves candy, unfortunately. But Halloween Trick or Treating has lost its luster. Year after year I’ve left a huge vat of candy outside my door (so that I could work with a client for an hour and so that the doorbell wouldn’t ring making Sophie bark) with a sign that asks the kids to take one or two pieces each and leave some for others, only to find an hour later that it is all gone. I promise you that much candy doesn’t disappear in one hour on a quiet street like mine unless someone decides to dump it all and run. I tested my theory and lo and behold…I was correct. Since we moved to our new home two years ago I thought I’d give it another try in a new neighborhood and…poof…same thing happened. It took about 5 minutes. So now I donate money to the local foodbank instead and it’s lights out at the “D” household on Halloween. I do miss seeing the little ones and hearing those cute little voices – ”Trick or Treeeeet” while they wait expectantly at the door to see what kind of the candy will be dropped into their little plastic pumpkin. So cute.

Samhain, on the other hand, has some real significance for me this year. I have historically had a love/hate relationship with Fall because while I love the vibrant color and the delicious smells and the crispy sounds under my feet, I dread the loss of light and the onset of the dreary frigid days of winter that it portends. The wisdom of Samhain is that the “veil” between worlds is very thin at this time of year, and continues to thin through the winter solstice when it is the thinnest. What this means is that if we listen carefully we can receive vivid clear messages and guidance from beyond the veil. What it means to me is that when “the darkness” arrives I am less distracted and more receptive to that guidance and to those messages, and for this I am exceedingly grateful. In ancient cultures darkness was actually celebrated and invited. Lights were extinguished to give the darkness the space needed to engulf the world in its wisdom. Lamps and candles were blown out in reverence for the darkness and its mysteries.

Parabola Magazine offered this: “Even if we think we’ve forgotten this ancient understanding, evidence of it remains. All-Hallows-Even or Eve (evening), falls on the night before All Hallows Day or All Saints Day, a traditional mass day of the saints. This is a celebration of the hallowed ones, the ones who have gone beyond the limitations, the likes and dislikes and blind spots that blind the rest of us. Renunciation and practice made these holy beings whole in the sense of being able to embrace all human possibilities and the wholeness of life, light and dark. Nothing human was foreign to them. Nothing was unforgivable and unlovable. Built right into our trick-or-treating holiday is the implication that we must dare to embrace the darkness, to be with the unknown and frightening, to fully love and live. “

So this year as the darkness continues to descend evening after evening I am setting an intention to welcome it rather than dread it. I’m asking the darkness to bestow its wisdom upon me, knowing that as I move into my own brand of hibernation there will be many gifts and illuminations to light my way through. And when light evades me completely, I pledge to surrender my whole self to it allowing the silence and absence of light enhance my intuition and my ability to fully live in balance…light and dark each given their due. Frankly, this is a mighty stretch for me and I expect I’ll need to remind myself of this pledge from time to time. But, I am willing and open to a new way to approach this time of year with an expectation that come Spring I just might be stronger, wiser, and more complete than ever before. I sincerely hope you will hang in there with me and together we will see what happens on the other side. Meantime, it’s likely I’ll be reporting weekly progress…or whatever manifests along the way. My intention – make darkness my friend.

STRETCH: How can you embrace the darkness? Can you imagine welcoming your shadow as you would an old friend? Take some time to notice when you feel an absence of light and consciously make space for the wisdom the darkness has to share with you. Be still and listen.

WEEKLY STRETCH 8-25-16 – What Else Can We Create?

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FAM Tuzigoot

In 2006 Bob and I visited Arizona for the first time and we fell in love with it. That trip was paid for by years of accumulated travel points from our credit card. It was the first time we had been able to travel anywhere. We spent the week in Scottsdale and visited The Grand Canyon for one day and Sedona for a day and half. For me, coming to Sedona felt like coming home. At the end of our week, as our plane lifted off of the tarmac at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, we cried. It felt like we were being ripped apart and we were heartbroken to leave. On the flight home, through his tears, Bob told me we would be back, and often. He didn’t know how or when, but he said it like it was already a done deal.

Shortly after that trip a close friend of the family whose wife had become ill approached us with an unusual offer. He owned three timeshares and was unable to use them since he and his wife could no longer travel. He offered to sell us any one of them for a comparatively low price and to pay him what we could and for as long as we needed in order to pay it off…interest free. This made it possible for us to visit Sedona or almost anywhere in the world in “like home” comfort. I’m certain that Bob manifested this for us and I am writing this post from our timeshare in Cornville, Arizona only 15 minutes out of Sedona. This is now our 8th visit here.

Our second trip to Arizona took place over Mother’s Day weekend and I remember calling my daughter from a rest area just outside of Flagstaff where I could actually see the glow of the red rocks of Sedona in the distance. It was during that trip, at that moment, that I knew I needed to share the experience of Sedona with my family. In fact, Bob and I longed to make the trip with my brother, sister-in-law, niece, nephew and of course my daughter, son-in-law, and our grandson. We made the trip with my brother and sister-in-law in 2012 and right now, as I type, we are here with the whole family…all nine of us…staying at our timeshare and having the experience Bob and I have been dreaming of for all this time. It’s truly a dream come true and I keep pinching myself to make sure it’s real.

What keeps coming to mind as this dream-come-true unfolds is that I know we made it happen. We manifested this week with our thoughts, our feelings, our vision, our desire and our intention. We are the creators of this amazing family experience. And as I reflect on the way this dream has unfolded I ask myself, “If I can do this…If I can make this magic happen…what else can I create?” I think about not only the material things my heart desires – trips, living arrangements, furniture, clothing, other acquisitions; but even more importantly the interior things like a healthy strong body, peace of mind, self-acceptance, forgiveness, stamina, clarity. My sense of personal power is being enhanced with each passing day – as I take in the sacred energy of my beloved Sedona and tap deeper into the depths of what my heart truly desires I feel the energy of creativity stirring ever more strongly and I welcome it with arms open. I am humbly grateful for the tremendous gifts I’m given. More please.

STRETCH: Think about the some of the things you’ve created in your life that give you joy, bring you happiness or a sense of satisfaction. Now envision something your heart desires and feel the way it will fee when that something arrives in your life as if it already has. Bask in those feelings and enjoy them. It’s a done deal! You’ve created before, you’re creating now, you will continue to create.

WEEKLY STRETCH 8-11-16 ~ SUMMER SO FAR

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Photo by Franne Demetrician

It’s been a great summer so far, not without ups and downs of course, but in general I love these wonderful days of sunshine and warmth. I even enjoy the occasional thunder storm, watching the sky do its thing with voluminous clouds that gather and scare me…along with the wonder of lightning and thunder and the awesome power of Nature when She decides it’s time to get out of the house and do something a little different. It’s thrilling and scary and all about summer.

I’ve been anxiously awaiting our summer vacation. We will be traveling to Sedona, AZ with our family in a little less than two weeks. This trip has been a dream of ours for quite a few years. Sedona is a second home to us and we’ve dreamt about sharing this very special and sacred place with the people we love most in the world. It’s not easy orchestrating a trip for nine people, but we are just about to see the realization of our vision and it’s quite exciting.

There have been some wonderful experiences this summer and as I reflect back on the last few weeks I am grateful for the insight, the fun, the music, the connection and the gifts received. I truly love the beach and I’m happy to have been there a few times so far to surround myself with the healing energy of ocean, sun and sand.

All of this said, this week I had an experience of great disappointment. It was staggering and left me with many questions. I found myself in a quandary that seemed impossible to resolve given the circumstances. So what I have before me is an opportunity to grow. OH BOY…yet another opportunity to grow (or as it’s been said, AFGO!…Another F*&%ing Growth Opportunity). Life is filled with them, of course, but this one is about as challenging as it gets. I asked a confidante, “What do I do now?” and the answer was, “You have to let it go.”. Deep breath…how do I do that? I think right now the only answer is to love myself enough to keep a safe distance until the pain and disappointment reach a tolerable level, then move forward with the information and wisdom I’ve gained. Mostly I need to “drop the knife”. This idea comes from a poem by Hafiz which I share below:

Once a young woman said to me,
“Hafiz, what is the sign?
of someone who knows God?”
I became very quiet,
and looked deep into her eyes,
then replied,
“My dear, they have dropped the knife.
Someone who knows God has dropped
the cruel knife that most so often use upon their tender self
and others.”

So today I make the commitment…albeit a shaky one…to drop the knife. To be kind and gentle with myself and my tender heart. To be OK with conflict and to dig as deeply as I can to find forgiveness, remembering that forgiveness is NOT condoning, but simply letting go of attachment to what I think “should” be rather than what is. I am speaking with the Universe and asking for support on this task because it’s about as important as it gets that I get it right.

And so this summer thus far has been rich in so many ways, including the challenging ones. I learned today of the death of someone who is about my age. I feel blessed to be here and thankful that I am given every day to live fully, with as much grace as I can muster. In spite of challenges…or really because of challenges…it’s certainly never boring. And because of the lifetime I am living and the people in it, it is filled with love.

STRETCH:
I offer this stretch for you and for me.
Ask yourself, “Where am I able to drop the knife I use on myself and others? Can I love myself enough to let it go?”

WEEKLY STRETCH – 5-27-16

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This week I find myself feeling a sense of emptiness. It’s not necessarily a negative thing. Rather I think it’s a much-needed time of clearing out and cleansing. I admit there is also a bit of melancholy associated with this emptiness, but in honesty it’s not sadness as much as pensiveness; a time of checking in and noticing – noticing feelings, sensations, qualities – in myself, in my relationships, in the world around me. I’m fortunate to have the time and space to be in this state and I’ve tried my best to use it wisely by working on a painting, planting my garden, sitting in silence, reading and some other solitary pursuits. I’ve taken my current state into account in all of my activities and made self-care a high priority. I also realize that in emptying and clearing out I make room for something altogether new and that knowledge gives me a sense of excitement and expectancy.

STRETCH: Take time to empty. Let your spirit breathe in clear, clean white light and breathe out that which does not serve. Feel the spaciousness within you as you allow yourself to let go. Know that when you clear out the clutter in your heart you make space for something new, something exciting, something wonderful to come in. Breathe in clear, clean white light; breathe out that which does not serve; invite new delights into your life.

WEEKLY STRETCH 4-29-14

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Sitting at my computer this evening watching the news I was contemplating what I want to share with you this week. As I turned my head to speak with my husband, the sight of him and our dog Sophie cuddling was all the inspiration I needed. Here’s is the picture. He’s sitting in his recliner, Sophie is curled up on his chest like a little baby, sound asleep. Bob is gently petting her head, his own tilted down toward her, his eyes gently closed, their breathing in perfect sync. It is the picture of Love…perfect, complete, and unconditional. The utter softness of it was enough to bring my to tears.

So tonight I am mindful of the unconditional love and trust our little furry family members place in us. The sweetness and gentleness of the love they give and the fact that they ask nothing of us in return. I am mindful of the fact that these little (sometimes not so little) creatures give Love generously, without attachment, simply, and joyfully. And when I look at Sophie curled up on Bob’s chest I feel humble and grateful. And through my tears of gratitude, Sophie inspires me to be just like her. Trusting, Joyful, Generous, and Unconditionally Loving.

STRETCH: Ask yourself, “How can I share love without attachment?”. Take time to notice how you are loved and how you can offer love unconditionally.