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 6-10-17 ~ 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.

WEEKLY STRETCH 5-26-17 ~ BALANCE & CURIOSITY

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind since returning from Sedona and Santa Fe almost two weeks ago. It took almost a week just to get my feet planted back on home ground. There is still a pile of laundry awaiting my attention and some travel debris strewn about, but for the most part – aside from the huge piece of my heart that always remains in Sedona – I’m back.

I brought with me a dilemma. As you may or may not have guessed, I have many interests and pursuits. One could say I’m the ultimate Renaissance Woman. The list of all the things I want to do and CAN do with my time is long. And while I know that in “new age” terms time is a non-thing and we have all we need, in my day-to-day walking around reality, time as well as energy and resources can be limited. I realize and must accept that I simply can’t do it all despite a lifelong attempt at doing just that which has resulted in exhaustion and sometimes illness.

What that means is I must make some choices. In a very real way it’s an embarrassment of riches. And in another way, I find myself facing some old programming about not being good enough, fears galore, and allowing myself to be big instead of small. Not as much fun as the riches. I’ve been tentative about stepping fully into parts of myself that have been begging for expression. I’ve given them their moments but not their due. What I brought back from my trip is the knowledge that they are ready to have their day and I cannot deny them any longer. This requires me to be courageous on one hand and discerning on the other. As usual, it’s about balance.

So, the question I am holding is “What to do?”. Given I cannot do it all and do it well, and given that not doing it well is not an option for an overachiever like me, the dilemma remains. I’m taking steps to shake it all out. I’m asking The Universe for help with the shake-out process. I’m letting it be OK that I right now all I have are hints rather than crystal clear answers. Yet I’m absolutely certain that the answers I seek are on their way to finding me. Patience has never been my strong suit, but I’m allowing myself to be patient, and curious. Curiosity is something I’ve invited into my experience consciously. To me curiosity is a quality that is often lost as we get further away from childhood. I’ve had the blessing of a dear friend and colleague who often invites curiosity into our very spirited conversations. Because of my friend Martha I’ve cultivated the ability to be curious even as I feel daunted. Curiosity has become a friend.

I’m excited by the prospects and possibilities that have presented themselves. I’m thrilled that I have been gifted with some incredibly talented, kind, and generous people who are now part of my unfolding, and I am part of theirs. I love the questions and am anticipating the answers coming with ease and clarity. I feel like I’ve received an invitation to attend an amazing party and I’ve decided to RSVP with a resounding “YES”. I’m curious about what happens next.

STRETCH: When faced with a daunting choice or decision, approach it with a youthful sense of curiosity. Wherever possible allow the time and space for the answers you seek to present themselves, and expect them with joyous anticipation.

WEEKLY STRETCH 5-19-17 ~ Re-Entry and What Next

As an avid space travel enthusiast, I associate the term “re-entry” as that dangerous period during which a spacecraft encounters the Earth’s atmosphere and becomes subject to the intense power of gravity. As the spacecraft increases in speed and friction within the dense atmosphere the danger of it burning up before reaching the Earth’s surface increases dramatically. Spacecraft are equipped with heat shields which aid in deflecting the extreme heat but under the best of circumstances, re-entry is a rocky and very hot ride home. It is the precision and skill of the pilot keeping the craft at the correct attitude that prevents a disastrous outcome.

The same can be said of re-entry from a vacation or a conference – or both – which is precisely what I am experiencing as I write. I’m coming down, from a very high place, and it’s a bit of a rocky ride back to Earth. I realize that this pilot left the Earth’s atmosphere with some compromised heat shields which means that re-entry into my personal atmosphere has been turbulent and hot. The spacecraft is somewhat the worse for wear and needs some repair, so to speak.

At the end of our Infinite Possibilities Conferences we “elders” always advise the new trainers that they should be mindful of their re-entry; that they should give themselves space and time, allow for extra rest, eat well, and be gentle with themselves. This is great advice. I admit that I’ve had many opportunities to apply my own advice having spent many years attending annual intensives that required this exact sort of mindful practice in the aftermath. I think I’ve taken for granted that I know what to do and how to do it. Well guess what – not this time, and not under these circumstances. This re-entry has been humbling to say the least.

Without going into the gory details, I will simply say that I am doing my best to navigate some rugged terrain emotionally and physically. Of course, I’m thrilled to be reunited with my family and precious friends, and our sweet fluffy girl Sophie. Coming home has some wonderful rewards. And yet I feel the tug on my heart back to our beloved Sedona and wish bilocation was one of my skills. It’s never easy to leave this place that gives us so much peace and joy.

The conference was a tremendous gift and planted seeds that are germinating in the fertile ground of my heart and mind. The question that keeps turning up is “What next?” and I’m not quite certain how to answer it. That fertile ground I mentioned is ripe with possibilities and for the moment I’m choosing to allow the planted seeds the time and space to sprout and grow. My experience has shown that being pro-active works better for me than being re-active (my customary knee jerk response) so I’m listening to my inner guide that says, “take it slow, give it space, listen and watch”. And then there is my father’s voice, the one that guides my every day and my every move – the one that has kept me and my husband on our path in the face of adversity and uncertainty – the one that says, “just keep going”. So, right now what is next in the immediate is to keep going. I am anticipating my seeds growing and blossoming into something wonderful and I will know it as soon as it breaks ground. For now, I will continue the rough terrain of re-entry until the road smooths out, which I know it soon will. Good things are coming. I welcome them.

STRETCH: In the words of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, “Take it easy, take as it comes.”

Weekly Stretch – 5-6-17 ~ On Practicing Awe


Photo taken somewhere between Newark and Santa Fe.

Note: This entry was written on Wednesday, May 3.

I write this post from 33,000 feet flying over some part of this magnificent land on our way to Santa Fe. I love sitting in the window seat, in spite of the inconvenience of climbing over people when I need to head to the head. Surprisingly I have issues with heights but I love looking out the window of an airplane and seeing the majesty of Creation from a different vantage point than my walking around daily view.

I use the word “awesome” frequently. It’s become part of the vernacular in our culture and it has crept into my language enough that I sense it may have lost its meaning. Today I am looking deeply at the word “awe”. The period between the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are called “the days of awe”. During this time people are focusing their attention on offering and asking for forgiveness and standing humbly amidst God’s miracles. I have been reflecting on miracles lately and as I look out the window today at the Earth below with its meandering waterways, endless blue sky and cottonball puffs of clouds, awe is the word that repeats in my mind. It’s easy to take so much for granted in our lives.

Until recently I thought I was a fairly conscious person. After all, I’ve spent a good deal of my life studying, meditating, self-discovering, waking up – or so I thought. What is miraculous is that The Universe gave me an opportunity to “think again” and with great humility I am doing just that. I look at my world with new eyes and am consciously asking for the wisdom to approach all of my encounters with an attitude of curiosity and open hearted-ness. I see more and hear more. I feel more and embrace more. I am aware of old patterns and am making it my business to take steps to change them as soon as I notice. Not always easy but worth the effort.

Flying this high over the planet one sees how the terrain changes and shifts. This particular route from New Jersey to the southwest is rich with change. I’ve traveled this route enough times to know when to expect one change or another and each time I’m filled with wonder at the power of Mother Nature. I think this is a great metaphor for how our own terrain shifts, ebbs, flows and even stays the same or can be predicable.

As we move closer to our destination I realize that every day is a day of awe. Just like the majesty of the view out my airplane window, every moment of living is truly awe-some. Just the idea that we have a body that is it’s own Universe is awe-some. Gravity is awe-some. The fact that I am sitting in a huge vehicle with a whole lot of people, flying high in the sky is freakin’ awe-some. I cannot take anything for granted. I can humbly notice it and marvel at its wonder and awe and live my days in gratitude.

STRETCH: Cultivate the practice of awe and notice something truly awe-some every day.