To experience Great Love - and lasting friendship, we must begin, within Ourselves, a daily practice of Self-Forgiveness, of Tolerance, and Mercy.Read More
“…feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.”
― Pema Chödrön
Joy can seem so elusive and often, we hold ourselves back because we have pre-conditions to Joy that we're not even consciously aware of. Take a look at these 7 reasons that I'm sharing here and see which ones ring true for you. I'd love to have you take a moment and share your thoughts about Joy and what you might be waiting for!Read More
Advent literally brings a week by week brightening as each candle is lit - first one, then two, then three, then four. Each week as we light another candle we can be reminded to slow down, turn our gaze inward and “enlighten” ourselves from within. If we embrace this fully – we’ll experience a week by week brightening within us and a Lightening around us. In the culmination of the season, we will bear witness to this beautiful candleLIGHT – a full Illumination of exquisite clarity that cannot be seen in any other light. CandleLight brings with it the softness, the tenderness, the subtleness of LOVE. It offers compassion and peace - a respite for the weary.Read More
My Body is a microcosm of its time and place within the world.
I feel deeply. The sadness, fear, and estrangement of others seeps deeply within me. It's always been this way. These feelings might come on when I'm just standing next to someone in a line, and before I realize it in my cognitive brain, I feel it. I well up with tears. They engorge me. They flow. Sometimes, it takes a while to understand what is causing it. It may be the empathic acknowledgement of fear/sadness/pain of someone I'm in close proximity to, or of someone I love. It may be a triggered memory - a sadness from the Earth or even from the Greater Universe as something or someone is transitioning - and the loss is transforming all.
I tear-up and sometimes cry with beauty, music, the Truth in spoken word, the observed gesture of loving kindness or in witnessing the love between people. I'll experience the feeling of the great and inconceivable beauty of the natural world and the Cosmos (what an incredible Super Moon this past week!), and well up with tears of Joy.
And, like many of you, I've lived a life of working hard to compartmentalize my deep feelings so I can operate in a world that often doesn't care so much for their expression - even to the point of shutting them down - shutting them off.
Messages of our youth go deep: "Stop Crying!" - "Go to your room until you're done crying" - "Don't cry" - "Crying is for girls" - "Crying isn't going to change anything" - and there's more. We've all heard it -or at least most of us have. And then there's the internalized idea that to be Strong, You must not cry. I've been pretty good at that one - holding on so tightly - pushing feelings down, down deep.
And how about the Joy side: Do you ever get the feeling some people believe you don't have the right to be Happy - That joy can't be felt in the midst of sorrow - That feeling happiness/Joy must mean you don't really care - That happiness is only the right of a chosen few...
Wait a minute! Has anyone ever sat you down and told you the Big Secret?
If not, here it is... Joy is not something we need to deserve. Joy was present when we entered this world - infused in us in our Creation as our first true gift - always there, always available to us. You never needed to deserve Joy. You are Joy - maybe covered under feelings produced from many layers of words spoken and actions committed by others in their own pain - but Joy is there - It can be uncovered again.
And, here's something else I know is important - something I've learned the hard way and only fully understood when I heard this spoken aloud by another. Each time I will, and do feel this CRY (individually or collectively) - I don't need to run it through my body and allow it to take up permanent residence inside of me. The residual effect of shutting down and shutting off emotions/feelings over many years takes a high toll. I don't recommend it. Our emotions don't go away. They become stuck and show up in other ways - anxiety, depression, illness, disease. I'm not saying that blocking feelings is the only cause, but it's one cause that's only now getting some attention in the mainstream. It deserves our attention - and we can do something about it.
When we are feeling stuck, overwhelmed, deeply sad, or just "Off", we can start coming back into our bodies through our Breath. Breathe - slowly - concentrating on the Breath - counting slowly as we inhale, holding the breath briefly - counting slowly as we exhale, holding briefly - again. and again. and again. - until we feel that we are coming back into our bodies - released from the energies that hold us hostage and that are not our own.
Once we've found our breath and we again feel "embodied", we can begin to allow ourselves the space and time - both within and around us - to truly feel deeply - and to witness, in our bodies, in our minds, and in our hearts, what happens when we do. We don't need to fix the pain/sorrow/anxiety, etc. -instead, we can take the opportunity to create a safe space around these feelings, and to observe these feelings and what is underneath them in this created space - with curiosity and an open heart - with Courage. What we find underneath is usually fear. And, instead of giving into the fear we can simply acknowledge it. Stay Open. Stay Aware. Stay Present. Continue to Breathe. Let our fear rest in the Heart Space - in the Courage.
You might just begin to feel those fears unwinding, softening, losing energy.
In creating an opening - a sacred space - and allowing our feelings into this space (so as not to take up residence in our bodies), we can also summon Spirit to provide us with the comfort, clarity, direction, and Courage to act - or take action in a way that is most appropriate and loving for us - and for others. Taking heart-centered action cuts through the stranglehold of fear. Is this easy? NO. But not to do so will be much harder. I've been down the harder road. In fact, I took up residence along this road for many years.
Are you on this road?
The harder road begs us to act with patience - especially with ourselves. AND, it always gifts us with an opportunity to tune in to what we truly want - in alignment with who we are and how we want to show up in the world - right now. Taking time to Feel is necessary if we are to stand fully present and show up first of all for ourselves, then for our families, friends, our micro-world, and the larger world. Can you feel the rippling effect?
Right now, in this moment, I am experiencing a deep collective cry - The cry of the Earth, the cry of the displaced, the cry of the poor, the cry of the disenfranchised, the cry of the marginalized, the cry of all people who feel helpless, scared, and alone. But it isn't all I'm feeling.
I also feel the great Courage, the incredible strength, the immeasurable hope, and the unconditional Love of those who are showing up - fully heart-centered and fully present - to Lead in response to this collective cry. I'm talking about Standing Rock - about Doctors Without Borders - about Black Lives Matter and so much more- AND I'm talking about the visible gestures of those who quietly embrace and support those in need.
If we look - if we listen - if we see with our heart's eyes, we can feel the raging energetic movement of Light - moving as a counterbalance to the Darkness.
This sensation of energetic movement is palpable. We feel it when we keep our Courage - if we, with Intention, keep our hearts open. In Courage, is possibility. Be Curious. Practice using breath and creating sacred space to Feel. Call in your Heart - your Courage. Call in support from those you love and who love you right back.
And, don't forget to call upon Spirit - the Higher Life Forces - whatever you deem them to be. Watch. Listen. Feel. For the Answer - the feeling of Joy - is maybe only a quiet whisper - maybe only a dim flicker - maybe only a gentle murmur. Claim it and watch it Amplify. The effect of our actions affect us All. Deeply. The way forward calls for heart-centered action - for Courage.
My body is a microcosm of its time and place in the world.
Please share your thoughts in the comment section below. I'd love to hear from you. Jo Ann
Coming into the Spring Equinox, we find day and night, Winter and Spring, engaged in a delicate balance. How do you find yourself? Are you also within that delicate balance that enlivens you?
Many, if not all, of us struggle maintaining a healthy balance. Let’s face it. Life is filled with challenges that pull and push us, enlighten us and weigh us down – often in the same breath.
If you feel off center, on the verge of illness, more on the weighted down side or just in search of that delicate balance to function better overall, a Reiki treatment will help. Book a session today and begin to feel the difference!
Here’s the link: https://enlightenedmama.frontdeskhq.com/categories/33941
The fact is that we live only in communion - not only with our present but with the past and future as well. We are haunted by a whole poetry of living, by lullabies half remembered and the sound of train whistles in the night and the scent of lavender in the summer garden. We are haunted by grief too, and fear, and the images of childhood terror, and the macabre dissolutions of age...But I am sure that it is in this domain of our daily dreaming that the Holy Spirit establishes communion with us. This is how the gift is given which we call grace: the sudden illumination, the sharp regret that leads to penitence or forgiveness, the opening of the heart to the risk of love... Morris West ~ The Clowns of God
How do we come to this knowing - this grace - this courage to "open our heart to the risk of love"? My own experience tells me the beginning comes with a compassionate acceptance of ourselves - present in full communion - in full presence - in full awareness of our deepest Self - the darkness and the light. This isn't easy. In fact, we (I) tend to run from it because sitting within yourself is, at times, scary. Risk it though, and the rewards are more than we can possibly imagine.
In the beginning, this self-communion comes in "glimpses" - glimpses of this Love waiting for full experience and full expression. We may see the possibilities of this Love in the opening of the clouds as sunlight pours through an otherwise cloudy day. Perhaps we see it in the sweet moment of meeting the beaming smile of a child. I believe we know and recognize this grace - this sudden illumination - the Holy Spirit in our lives each time we catch a glimpse. This takes practice and perseverance. It takes a strengthening of the heart. And, the amazing thing is, this strengthening comes with the Will to open and stay there - even just for a second. We can test this "muscle" of a willingness to stay present, then, test it again, and test it again and again. With perseverance, the muscle is stronger. The glimpses become pictures; the pictures become US. We begin to reside in Communion with our Self. Do we have the courage and strength to cultivate this Love in ourselves and knowingly accept our Self - just as we are?
One immediate way we can cultivate this courage to open our hearts and expand these "glimpses" to a fuller and more profound "knowing" of this grace and sudden illumination is through a daily, disciplined practice of presence. Whether through a solitary walk in nature, breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, self-Reiki, or other mindful practices, we can begin to fill our hearts with an acute awareness of the incredible beauty, trials, and depth of experience available to us in the comings and goings of this courage to Love.
I love Pema Chodron! Does this message resonate with you? If so, I'd love to hear more.