FINDING HOPE ON THE BEACH ~ 8-14-17


Bradley Beach, NJ 8-12-17

We are probably all a little freaked out with the hype about the eclipses, moon cycle, and Mercury going retrograde all at the same time. I know I am. And while I do believe that astrological events can and do influence how things play out in our lives, I sometimes wonder how much of these occurrences are actually the result of these energies at play, or my projections and fears about their power. Regardless, energy IS moving around that I think may be related to the action going on “out there”; and it’s gotten my attention.

I pay heed to the advice of astrologers, especially my friend Lisa Zimmerman, who is a gifted one. I’ve learned so much from her about how aspects of astrological circumstances surrounding my birth influence how I express myself in this lifetime and am often comforted by her advice as she helps me understand what’s going on with planets and stars in relation to how life is unfolding. The eclipse energy portends upheaval, endings, beginnings, release and a variety of other possibilities. I am noticing how that is showing in various forms and while I see it in my personal life, what is most important right now is what is occurring in a more global way.

The most dramatic way it has shown up this weekend has been the horrific event taking place in Charlottesville, VA, and the tragic and needless death of a young woman, two policemen, and injury of 19 others. It is impossible to continue this posting without expressing my own feelings of shock and disgust that my country finds itself immersed yet again in the calamity and crime of racism and intolerance. I feel like I’ve been in a time machine that moved me in reverse and landed me in 1966 America, when firehoses and vicious dogs were fixed on peaceful demonstrators asking to be treated equally as men and women. And as a person of Jewish descent, the sight of nazi flags carried by a gang of angry white men was chilling and sickening to say the least. I keep shaking my head periodically to force those images away from my mind. Thus far, they are not leaving me.

The images from Charlottesville brought back some of the most unsettling memories of my youth, a time when change was rapidly taking place and hope sprang eternal despite the extreme turmoil of the times. Today I admit that my vision of my country has been badly damaged and I feel estranged from hope right now. But, I cannot and I will not allow fear and grief to derail my fundamental belief that we as a people are kind and good and that fairness and equanimity are the birthright of all people. What we are perceiving as darkness will be once again illuminated by the light of Truth and we will once again be proud of the legacy of the Great Experiment that is The United States of America. People of conscience must stand up over and over against the “normalization” of darkness and continue to be the bearers of light and love. Thankfully, there has been a lot of that in the last twenty-four hours. Hope.

Yesterday Bob and I spent our day on a crowded beach. I commented to him that we were here with probably thousands of people as far as the eye could see, gathered to enjoy the bounty of nature, focused on the ocean and a collective experience of breathing fresh sea air, the refreshment of the ocean’s waters, the gift of sunshine – all of us together. No politics, no suffering, no anger or violence. Just a colorful sea of humanity enjoying a day at the beach. This is my America. Did the thousands of people on the beach have different opinions about this or that? Probably. But we were together in one place, with one thing in common that allowed us to be there in peace. To me, this was the epitome of “possibility”. It was a helpful balm to soothe my broken spirit and helped to begin to restore my sense of hope for all of us.

The eclipse energy and the various astronomical influences notwithstanding, we are the masters of our thoughts and our responses. We are empowered to offset these influences with consciousness and intention. We can reach out to each other for support and counsel to manage our emotions and impulses. We can navigate these troubled waters with our own focus and awareness along with skillful guidance from those who know. We are fully responsible for the choices we make and now is the time to make the best ones possible. Love is the foundation of life. Nothing and no one can alter that reality.

WEEKLY STRETCH 8-11-16 ~ SUMMER SO FAR

healthy boundaries beach
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 8-4-16 Make Friends With Yourself

20150804_203438578_iOS 1
Bradley Beach, NJ
Photo by Franne Demetrician

Yesterday morning, I began my usual morning routine – stumble down the stairs, get some coffee, check email, drink the coffee…drink more coffee…read email. Sophie (our little Havanese four-legged) came down and indicated in her special way that she needed her own morning moment so I set my computer and coffee aside and hooked her up. All of this was pretty robot-like in terms of my presence…not quite in my body as yet. I hit the button to open the garage door and it was as if the world, my world, suddenly woke up. Everything was bright green and crisply in focus, my own car in the driveway seemed to have been edited somehow to be more vividly red. As I stepped across the threshold of the garage into Creation my senses were hit by a barrage of information. Light, smells, sounds, sensation. And the air had a perfume that stopped me (and Sophie) in our tracks. It’s not as if I haven’t smelled this perfume before, as I’ve probably reported…it’s just that I haven’t been there for it lately. Ah, it was a very special moment and I enjoyed it fully. I breathed in the perfume of morning, noticed the dew sparkling all around me, looked at the leaves on the trees and noticed the way things were growing. I listened to all of the birdsong and squirrel cacophony around me. It was different because for various reasons I’ve been inside for days and haven’t stepped into Creation in quite this way for a while. I realized I missed it. I won’t let that happen again.

I receive dozens and dozens of Facebook posts sharing wisdom and platitudes all day long. Some of them hit me hard, some of them not as much. In fact, today I realize that many of them are simply redundant and I need to begin weeding out which of these pages I really want to see and which I can remove. As you all know, there are more than enough distractions in our days. It helps if we can consciously eliminate at least some of them. One consistent message I am receiving is that it’s time to take steps in new directions. In fact, I do have something new I am in the process of creating, but more to come on that.

On the topic of doing something new, I decided to take myself on a date. Yesterday I drove myself an hour away to my favorite New Jersey beach. I admit that I’ve never done this before…taken a long drive to sit on the beach alone. So taking this journey on my own was new for me. And I loved it. It’s been awhile since I took a long drive alone so I cranked up my music and took off. It felt great to make friends with myself again; hanging out at the wheel of my car, finding a parking space, schlepping my beach stuff out the shoreline, just me and myself doing my day. I had some productive and invigorating creative space to envision and begin writing a project I’m working on. I was able to simply be with myself without distraction and in a different environment. I feel like the entire day shifted some stuck energy like the proverbial “breath of fresh air”. I feel refreshed and empowered all because I changed my routine, took my day in hand literally, changed my environment, and simply enjoyed my own company. I would imagine the power of the ocean may have played some part in my shifted energy, but I think it was the whole package. I’m so glad I did this for myself.

STRECTH: Think about something you could do to “change up” your day. Try taking yourself on a “date”. Maybe a walk in the woods with a picnic lunch, or a trip to a lake or the ocean. Maybe visit a museum or art gallery, or anything out of your ordinary day-to-day that you love to do. Make it a date in your calendar and choose your activity consciously. At the end of your day, check in and see if your energy has changed. Make friends with yourself.

WEEKLY STRETCH – 6-24-16

healthy boundaries beach

SUMMER DAZE! Oh how I love summer. The Summer Solstice is my absolute favorite day of the year. It is the day filled with the most sunlight and to me it is ultimate gift of Mother Nature. I spent my “first day of summer” at the beach. It was delightful (no pun intended – well, maybe pun intended). It was a beautiful day with shore breezes, high willowy clouds, sunshine galore, the rhythm of the waves, the wonderful salty air, seagulls, sand, the works. Nirvana!! I was there with my sister-in-law Kathy. Soon after we set out our chairs and got settled with our toes in the sand, looking out at the ocean I said to her, “Even in this wonderful place that I’ve longed for since last summer, I can’t get my brain to slow down.” Her response was, “Breathe”. Such a simple directive…”Breathe”. So I did. I consciously took in a long slow breath, and consciously let it out in a long slow exhale. I did it again, twice. And finally the thought stream slowed down a bit and I was able to be fully immersed in the deliciousness around me. (Thanks Kath!) Funny…I frequently give the same directive to my clients, but in the moment of my own wandering incessant thinking I needed Kathy to remind me to walk my talk. Maybe it was the intoxication of the beach and the ocean that made me forget one of my favorite thought interventions. Or maybe that’s just an easy excuse for what happens to all of us; we forget to use the tools we have to take care of ourselves.

Summer is a time to slow down and be. Let yourself.

So today’s stretch is twofold:

STRETCH: 1. Go to the beach or lake or some large body of water!!! Let the energy of water rejuvenate your body and soul. 2. Breathe! Take a moment in your day to stop…inhale deeply…hold your inhale for 4 counts…then exhale to a count of 8….S L O W L Y. Check in with yourself. Do it again…and once again. Enjoy the peace.