Tag Archive | joy

Relationship to the Natural World

Until the last five years or so I lived from my mind and emotions most of the time. Since learning to live more from my heart all my senses have opened more fully to the brilliance of our natural world. The sky, the clouds, trees, the ocean and so much more are in technicolor for me most of the time. The gift of the Earth takes my breath away often.

It is interesting when I look back on the last few years to see how my opening to the Universe brought more wonderful opportunities to connect with nature. I traveled in the mountains of Virginia as part of my job when I was working as a trainer. Traveling all times of year allowed me to see them in their coats of many colors. I even rejoiced when seeing cattle and sheep negotiating the hillsides. The month I spent in Maine last year allowed me to connect to both the beauty of hills and the ocean in a quiet, joyful way. There really are no words to describe how the experiences there confirmed the freedom of my heart.

This past fall I did an experiment using my imagination in “feeling” from my heart into the southern East Coast states on the ocean the ocean side. Maybe later I will write a blog on that experience but it was incredible in what was revealed to me and I ended up focusing on the Gulf Coast of Florida from Sarasota south and the Merritt Island section on the east coast of Florida near the Space Center. At Christmas my brother gave me a book about the living beaches of Florida and I am fascinated by life in the ocean and on the beaches. I am blessed to have experienced the beaches in Virginia Beach, VA, Outer Banks of NC, Folly beach, SC near Charleston and the Gulf Coast beaches in the Venice, FL area. In my travels and experiences with all these beaches I began to open my heart connection to the ocean and now recognize my soul frequency match with it and how we support each other. And just as an aside I have again learned the truth of the saying “Never say never” as I have come to appreciate Florida a place I said I would never live😊. But oh the ocean there is marvelous.

In 1962 Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring predicting environmental disaster based on the use of pesticides. She focused on birds but we have seen the impact was much greater. Many of you may be old enough to remember the Keep America Beautiful campaign of the 70’s and the tv ad showing an Indian canoeing down a pristine river that turns to being polluted, etc (it is on YouTube). The ad ends with the man looking at the mess and a tear rolls down his cheek. Jacques Cousteau tried to educate us about the wonders of the oceans and the importance of taking care of them.

Where are we now with all this. We did pay attention to this early teachers. Today we have many conservation groups working toward preserving the land, the seas, and all the creatures who live here. Certainly since Rachel Carson’s book progress has been made. Some pesticides are banned and many of us are more aware of our responsibility to the Earth. Many of us no longer blindly believe what big corporations tell us. For this post I am going to just mention a few impacts on the ocean from our disregard for it. Tons of plastic and other materials are dumped from ships into the ocean. People either leave items on the beach or blatantly throw them in the ocean. In the book Florida’s Living Beaches by Blair and Dawn Witherington (2007) the authors state: “About 85% of small loggerhead sea turtles washed ashore in Florida have ingested plastics.” We all have probably seen studies about how our lighting up the beaches with our need to live on them can have disastrous results when sea turtle hatchlings get confused and head away from the ocean. Thank heavens for the volunteers who sit vigils waiting to help them on their way. I could go on and on but most of us know how full of waste our oceans and seas and rivers are due to our negligence or unwillingness to take action for solutions.

I admit to being a tree hugger now (in the literal sense) and in fact encourage us to teach our children to hug trees and understand how they give us so much. We all have a place in this natural world. Some came here to support the advancement of humanity. Some came to work actively in conservation of our natural resources. Some came to teach us about our spirituality and other came to experience human life and through that experience advance themselves as well as others. I know I am here to love and show how we are the peace and hope we seek. I am also coming to believe now that my purpose is connected to the ocean and the creatures that live it. This may be as a support to me with a frequency that resonates in my soul while I create near it or a more active conservation. I am saddened by so much of humanity disregarding anything other than self and living as though everything is not interconnected. We are told 50-75% of a human body is water.We came from water. We cannot survive without it. It is my prayer we can begin to understand and live from a place that appreciates and supports the rivers, streams and oceans that support us. For me there is such excitement in learning more about shells and plants as well as creatures of the seas and the beaches. At this time of my life there is such joy in clearly seeing the majesty from a depth of my soul different from how I saw the natural world previously.

We humans are so incredibly intelligent with a spiritual core that knows Truth. We just need to allow it to rise up before us. Thankfully many are now working diligently to not only preserve the natural world but see it and us thrive. But there are still many that disregard any responsibility for living what I consider responsibly and lovingly. My prayer is that more and more people will wake up and realize living in harmony with the Earth increases the joy of living for all.

I end with a wonderful quote from Rumi:
“And still, after all this time, the Sun has never said to Earth,
‘You owe me.’
Look what happens with love like that.
It lights up the sky.”

How do you see your relationship with the Earth and our natural world? Is there anything you want to change or expand in that relationship. How do you see this fitting in with your day to day living?

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Maine Journey – Part 3

It has been two weeks since I arrived home from the Maine vacation and it is taking time to adjust to not being there. The last two weeks of the trip flew by with a walk up Mt. Battie in Camden Hills State Park, a ferry ride to and hiking on Monhegan Island, a visit to the Belfast Cohousing and Ecovillage as well as a stroll through the Farnsworth Art Museum. And in between these trips were walks into downtown Rockland and the Breakwater.

The last weeks were filled with the continuance of grace as I was enveloped by much beauty and touched by the people I met. There were more opportunities to laugh at myself such as during the climb up Mt, Battie. As I kept stopping to catch my breath I wondered why a short mile hike could seem so long and deciding dying on the side of a small mountain in Maine wouldn’t be so bad (working out at a gym does not necessarily prepare one for steep hikes). But I made it to the top to partake of not only another beautiful view but to connect with another lovely family. They were from New York and reflected both awe at the beauty they were seeing as well as a quiet sense of peace. Of course there were also families dealing with tired whining children and whining adults complaining as their expectations were not met. All a part of the human community and our various stages of being.😉

An exhibit at the Farnsworth reminded me how extraordinary what we see as ordinary often is when we open our eyes, mind and heart. Currently there is an exhibit “Andy and Kosti” that displays works by the painter Andrew Wyeth and the photojournalist Kosti Ruohomma. These men were great friends both with a love for Maine. The exhibit features photographs by Kosti paired with paintings by Andy. A striking talent of both was to take “ordinary” subjects and help us see their extraordinary nature. This led me to think of all the many entrepreneurs in Rockland at the local bakery, coffee roasters, spa, art galleries, grocery co-op as well as clothing and gift shops. To me the risk taking, following their passions and giving to their community is beyond ordinary. I am sure at times it is highly stressful but also produces times of joy as they share their talents with us. I pray to never again look at small business owners as ordinary or fail to acknowledge their heart.

As you probably see places and people filled my heart in Maine. There was more clarity of vision and feeling I believe because I was free from my “Virginia” routine and responsibilities (whether real or perceived). That supported the ability to relax, live more in the moment and be more light hearted. So what did I discover about my self- nothing new😊. What I knew before this trip is that I am love and at my core is peace and joy. This adventure let me experience that more fully and freely especially on the feeling level. It is a gift that I now will strive to integrate more into my perception and action of daily life.

What do you see in your life that is extraordinary? Might it be you? How do you see yourself connected to both people and the Earth?

A Clear Day

“On a clear day
Rise and look around you
And you’ll see who you are
On a clear day

How it will astound you
That the glow of your being
Outshines every star”

And so start the lyrics to the theme song from the musical “On a Clear Day”.  Some of you may know the story of Daisy the young woman who is clairvoyant and a psychiatrist decides to study her.  It is one of my favorite movies (although not critically acclaimed) with Barbra Streisand and I highly recommend watching it if you have not as it is great fun.  But to make a long story short with hypnotism previous lives are revealed and she begins to truly appreciate who she is in this lifetime.

As that song came to mind for me (and isn’t interesting how things pop into our consciousness when they do) I realized the truth of the words as far as my journey goes and I suspect the journey of many others.  At some point we experience a dark night of the soul that finally pushes us to want joy rather than pain as we grow tired of the drama and trauma.  So we begin reading, taking classes, learning to breathe, learning to meditate, asking questions and often demanding answers.  In many ways we are still in a stage of struggle although we are learning and growing.  We feel hopeful much of the time and just know “the answer” is right around the corner.  With the next book, the next class we will know Truth.  Amazingly we also often draw the right teacher and/or experience to us at just the right time.

And then at some point an opening occurs in our heart and we get a glimpse of the beautiful soul we are. And although our ego may try to fight it we have more and more frequent glimpses.  For me there were many moments on a long journey but I do believe there was a moment, “a clear day” when I rose within myself and saw, truly saw the magnificent creature I am.  It was as though the few dark clouds left covering the sun moved on and I saw a flawless sky. Unbelievable joy and appreciation wrapped itself around me as I sang and danced and laughed.  There is still so much gratitude for all the experiences of my life that have brought me to see who I am.  It is astounding and at the same time it makes so much sense.

That does not mean I do not still have human doubts at times or never get irritated.  But what I am discovering is that those times come less often and when they do for the most part they fly through quickly and peace returns.  I walk around my house often in a semi dance or sashaying state which is someone of a hoot since I have no real sense of rhythm.  But it sure is fun!  The funny part is I am amazed at where I am now every day.  It is not something you “get used to” and treat as a habit.  It is a celebration of most days.  Gratitude flows freely.

As you walk your journey never give up.  There comes a point where you allow your soul to inform you.  When that happens you are never allowed to go back and you are given support after support even when you do not realize what is going on.  May you have many “clear days” as you travel your path.

Do your experience clear days?  If so, what is it like for you?  If not what questions do you have about the process? Are you willing to allow yourself to be joyful?

From Affirmation to Intention

The other day I was reading through some old journals as I sorted through “stuff” to throw away or give away.  As I read I felt such appreciation for the person I was then and how hard I worked to find the answers to life and why I was here.  During that time period I committed to a disciplined use of affirmations as that was part of the teaching of several people I was reading and listening to at the time.  It is also an integral part of the philosophy of Unity and I was attending a Unity church.

There are probably several different ways to define the affirmation process to which I refer.  The Bing Dictionary definition from the internet is: “…act of affirming; a positive statement or declaration of the truth or existence of something”.  An example of one I used is: “I am a child of the universe, perfectly designed to live in balance and harmony with all that is around me,” or a simple “Everything I need now is here” (Wayne Dyer).

As I learned to work with affirmations I stuck them on my bathroom mirror, refrigerator and carried them written on note cards in my purse.  I was diligent in reciting them and memorizing many.  Along with other teachings I believe this process assisted in the beginning of a real shift in focus for me from outside myself to inside.  My mind that holds fear and belief in separation began to “hear” that the being it is a part of is more than fear and is in fact above fear.  In my situation affirmations taught my mind to focus on the Truth of being rather than negative thoughts and beliefs.  Initially it was just a “thinking” process but over time and with practice it became a “feeling” process.  I began to recognize I was more than a sad, fearful human and could see it as I looked in the mirror.  At times joy would just bubble up and I would begin to sing or dance or both.

Then at some point the process changed for me. I cannot exactly pinpoint when as it was probably just a subtle moving in my heart.  I began to recognize that once I “accepted” the Truth taught me through affirmations and other learning that “doing” something with who I am became the next step. And the “doing” switched to “giving” who I am along the way.  At that point I no longer needed to “affirm” truth but began stating “intentions”.  The Merriam Webster dictionary defines intention as: “…a determination to act in a certain way”.  For me this means I have accepted the Truth, know who I am and willingly participate in my purpose for being in this life on the earth at this time.

Stating intentions helps to remind me not only of who I am but that Creation, God, the Universe provide supports as I am connected to all.  This practice helps me center myself.  So every morning before I get up and again before I leave the house I say: “I set an intention to be the Love that I am this day focusing on the feelings of Peace and Joy at my core as I serve as Your (God) channel of Grace, Healing and Service.”  That lets the embodied me- Light Being and Human – set the tone for the day.

Now this does not mean that every day is a perfect day and that I fully give without frustration or question.  For remember we are still human.  However, I more quickly recognize negative thoughts and move to bring myself back to center as I remember my intention to fully be who I am.  I am finding coming back to center gets easier.  In addition speaking truth with others becomes more natural when fear is no longer so attached to interactions.  Vigilance and practice are a part of every day but so is the level of Joy and Freedom felt with the process.

Certainly, we could get into a discussion of semantics between using affirmation and intention.  However, for me this has been a progressive process and I rarely if ever use affirmations at this point.  Using both tools together maybe more helpful for some.

Do you use the affirmation or intention process?  If so how has it impacted your life?  If not do you see any value in applying either process?  What questions do you have about it?

The Past Two Weeks

In the previous post I did not add the comment that because I/we are human vigilance is still required even when your heart recognizes the truth of freedom.  That was apparent over the last two weeks.  In trying to describe that time words come to mind such as irritating, humorous, exasperating, disappointing and surprising.  A full spectrum of emotions, feelings and thoughts arose and passed through.  And yet here I sit calm and at peace reflecting on it all.

The first week was a continued mix of peace and frustration.  Maybe it was similar to a state of shock as the realization (again) came of lack of control and what I saw as disrespect for my work and for me.  I kept reminding myself to watch and listen remembering the freedom at my center.  This meant frequently going into the silence even if only for two minutes.  The desire to walk out the door became quieter as I kept pulling myself back to center.

This past week I saw one door open and one close with mixed emotions.  It was all rather fascinating.  One day I met with the supervisor of the new job and discussed how she saw the work.  Wonder of wonders it involved exciting new learning opportunities in areas of interest to me as well as ways to use the knowledge and skills I already possess.  There are still unknowns but many possibilities to grow and shine.

The same day I learned the area I am moving from planned to use a vacant position to carry out many of my old duties as systems coordinator.  The next day I met with the assistant director who among other things indicated the job was mine if I wanted it.  I was able to voice my concerns about the whole process and felt something was just not right.  I did learn that several mangers voiced strong displeasure with my leaving and am very appreciative of that appreciation as I told several of them.

The next day something happened to push my buttons and I literally saw red for the first time in ages.  I was again ready to walk out on it all.  However, with the help of my supervisor reminding me to breathe and calling on imagery I use in this type of situation to let these feelings just flow over me I calmed down.  Then I just began to laugh.  I knew at that point that it was time to leave the toxic atmosphere and try my hand at something new.

What happened in this whole process?  I believe it goes back a year or more when I began a practice of consciously appreciating the financial prosperity, connections with people and the good, bad and ugly lessons learned in this job.  I told the Universe that I released the job and was ready to move on. Of course I had my idea that I needed to move to the ocean NOW!   About six months later I began to have thoughts of suggesting changes in the job and was encouraged to speak out.  When I proposed more of a training focus to the job my supervisor supported it and was a strong advocate.  My soul coach at some point advised me to just watch and be ready.

So it was several months later that I got the news the position was moving to the training division and initially reacted the old way with “How dare they not consult me” and on and on.  Then the Universe threw in some more humor when I was offered a position to stay in the old place even when it was work I no longer wanted to do.  My ego was stroked by folks telling me they did not want me to go.  Also, I work with so many good people in the current job and will miss working closely with some of them.  However, there will still be some contact. Through most of this last week I knew in my heart that I was being given a gift with the change.  It was all so easy.  Not only is there a new adventure to look forward to but in this process another piece of the puzzle of who I am – Freedom and Love – fell into place.

I understand now my soul coach encouraging me to speak up, stand in my truth and watch creation move. It took over a year (and in truth how quickly that time went by) but I look forward to at minimum more learning and making new connections and at maximum a great experience of playing in a new playground. Of course I will be ever vigilant.  I thank God and all the angels that are sent my way for providing what I need always and have faith that realizations of other dreams will float right into my life.

Are you comfortable with your voice?  Do you use it to inform your creation?  How patient are you?  Think about what you see as your playground.  Is there a way to expand it?

Chasing Joy

Do you have a vision, an image of your perfect life?  My vision has always revolved around a house at the ocean.  I can see it, feel it and even see the animals I have with me.  It brings a smile to my face when I picture it.  A large part of my life I really had no big dreams other than to survive or what I considered romantic notions that I put aside.  Then I began to move beyond my need to just survive and began to study what this life is all about, why I am here, what rings true for me.  And in that study I began chasing joy.

Oh, I read so many wonderful books, listened to informative and challenging cd’s, took classes to expand my spirituality, attended retreats and so on and so on.  After each book, each class I expressed my appreciation for what I learned about myself-my humanity and spirituality-and then moved on to the next.  I was sure I did not quite get it but if I took one more class then everything would come together and I would have that house at the beach and a peaceful, joy filled life.  I am not saying all of the study and exploration did not help.  My goodness it pushed me forward to recognizing the truth at my core.  Each time I learned more and opened more.  However, it was never enough.  Surely there was a piece I was not getting as I was still in a job I did not particularly like or want and still not living at the ocean.

My visions of what I was to do with my life expanded and I just added that to the “what am I doing wrong” mantra.  There has to be the perfect, right solution that will catapult me where I want to go.  And running through it all was a belief that I had to find a way to make more money as maybe that would be the solution.

And then one day the chase stopped.  I allowed the joy at my core to break through and all of a sudden it felt as if my heart would burst over looking at a beautiful cloud formation or just walking through my house.  I found myself dancing and singing through the rooms for no particular reason except for the JOY of it.  What happened?  There came a point when in my morning quiet time I set an intention to focus on the peace and joy at my core that day.  I knew it was there and it was time to remember.  Some days the focus lasted all day and other days for five minutes.  And that continues today.  However, my chasing after joy for the most part stopped as I realized I am that. It is always with me.

No, I have not given up my dreams and visions but I do not yearn for them or feel they must be chased.  There is such freedom when the chase stops.  I open my heart to learning now and I know that my light shining every day is my joy.  Most of the time there is no wild, exuberant dancing as I learn to recognize the quietness of joy so different from “being happy all the time.”  For me it is accepting and embracing how loved I am by the Creator no matter what is going on in my life or the world.

Recently I experienced the truth beyond my dreams and visions.  In the quiet one morning I asked how was I to serve that day.  The answer came: “Welcome All.”  To me that meant all people, all experiences that came my way that day and from that time forward.  I am now welcoming joy rather than chasing it.  I was given a lovely book for Christmas titled Joy (remember there are no coincidences).  I end this post with a quote from Marcus Valerius Martialis along with the author’s (M.H. Clark) two word summary of it. “‘Tomorrow’s life is too late. Live today.’  Inhabit Joy.”

Are you chasing anything in your life?  Is so, what?  Where is your joy?

 

Choice From Feeling

In this time of the beginning new year I have mulled over what to blog about next.  For a month or more the word “choice” keeps popping up and I keep ignoring it.  One excuse has been that so many folks are writing and speaking about choice what additionally can I have to say.  But the word will not go away so here is the beginning of my exploring “Choice”.

Our days are filled with choices and decisions that are small, medium and large as well as easy and hard.  We make a choice to get out of bed in the morning; we choose what we will eat, what we will wear and on and on throughout the day.  Some are easy and we do not even think about them as choices.  Others take time, consideration and sometimes pain and/or joy are involved.   Some of us make decisions quickly without hesitation even when there is a difficult choice involved.  Others take time considering all sides trying to ensure the “right” choice is made.

Those of you who have been following this blog from the beginning know that I made several significant decisions out of anger and fear.  These were choices made from my emotions that took over my thinking.  Of course we use our minds to evaluate information collected to make decisions including the direction we will take on our path in life.  Some of us choose to stay moving in the same direction and others explore north ,east, south and west as they move through life here on earth.  But regardless I am coming to understand that on its own the mind can get confused as my ego (often led by survival fears) becomes involved.  It is when I go first to my heart, the core of me, asking questions and listening that my mind then freely receives critical information from Spirit. It is through feeling (not emotions) informing thinking that choices filled with joy are made.

The difference between emotion and feeling is not something that was easy for me to learn.  And it is not easy for me to put into words.  For me feeling is a knowing, a peace that washes over me when something is right.  When it is not right at a particular time the feeling of peace and joy is absent and I am often agitated.  This has taken practice, practice, practice and a willingness to accept all choices and decisions made as part of my learning.  If something does not turn out as I expect or is not the “right” choice, I consider what I learned, let it go and move on.  As I said earlier this takes practice, practice, practice for most of us.  It takes making the time to sit in relaxed silence and listen.

Our busy lives so often get in the way of our plans to set aside daily time to sit in quiet or silence.  It means developing a discipline.  I find now when I get out of sync with this my day is frequently out of sync.  The amazing part is that the  heart becomes so attached to this practice that it lets you know and often draws you into silence even if only for one or two minutes.  You begin to see that even one or two minutes can turn your around.  Without the help of mentors and friends I am not sure I would be where I am in my understanding now.  And there is so much more growing, learning and giving ahead that it is with joyous trusting that I continue on the journey.

One practice may be to try this with small choices or decisions to begin to notice the difference in a heart choice and a strictly mind choice.  I strongly recommend that you find someone who is a coach, a mentor, friend or all three who can assist you in focusing on discerning the language of your heart.  So much joy awaits you.

What choices or decisions have you made recently?  Have they been based on feeling or thinking?  Are you satisfied with your choice making process at this stage in your life?  Share where you are in this process.