Monday, December 6, 2010

Gone are the days...


Gone are the days
when you could
put an upside down
container on your head
and pretend to
be a fireman
or a space cadet
or zombie.


Gone are the days
when you could
laugh out senseless
and roll on the floor
thanks to a
fart or burp
or other bodily sounds.


Gone are the days
when dewdrops
mesmerized you and
Mr. Moon excited you
no end; when a
fountain was all
you needed to
make your world complete.


Gone are the days
when everything was
new and held promise
when you didn't know
what tomorrow was
but you knew it
would be bright
like today.


Gone are the days
when you uninhibitedly
hugged
and kissed
those who made you
feel special.


Gone are the days when
the loss of a toy truck
was the biggest tragedy
of your life
and the acquisition
of a new one
your biggest triumph.


Gone are the days when
you could laugh
and cry wantonly
when you could
love with
utmost passion
when you could
pick yourself up
dust yourself off
and carry on
with the same
enthusiasm.


Gone are the days when
you didn't know
the meaning
of prejudice
aim
ambition
purpose
guilt
hatred
remorse
jealousy
or hardship.


Gone are the days
when your existence
was simple
your needs basic
your wants
limited to icecream
and one more ride
on a toy train.


Gone are the days
when you were
really, truly, genuinely
content.
When you lived
the meaning of
happiness
and didn't just
read about it
in a book.


Gone are the days
when you were
free.


 

 

 

 
Also posted on my blog.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

No Mittens Allowed!

Photo courtesy of Bing images
and Stephanie Lynn
A great many blog articles that I write are inspired by random conversations with friends, and this one is no different. It occurred through a series of emails and blog comments posted between my friend and fellow blogger, Dave Roy (Dave's Buttoned Up Mind blog) and I. He writes about a lot of tech-ish stuff, video games and such, as well as a fun series on music's one hit wonders. We're so opposite in writing style, yet we find a great deal to enjoy about one another's respective blogs. Dave has mentioned a couple times that he appreciates my ability to write long, thoughtful, involved blog posts that flow to the point that he never feels restless or burdened while reading them.


That made me smile, I must say, because every writer dreads hearing that they're writing content so ponderous and lengthy that it is exhausting to their readers to plow through. I am definitely verbose - I admit this right up front! In the past, I have actually challenged myself to write tighter content, to produce blog articles that are briefer in format, and I have succeeded. In fact, some of those examples represent some of my favorite work. That being said, writing short blog articles isn't all that comfortable for me. There's definitely merit in constantly challenging oneself, as it sharpens the mind and writing skills. I don't deny that concept, and I do practice restraint much more than anyone could imagine when writing.

Short articles, however, are not natural to my writing style. In that conversation with Dave, I likened it to wearing mittens. For the record, I am not a mitten person. Not even close! In fact, I loathe the things. During my childhood, mittens were the norm for children to wear and actual fingered gloves weren't all that commonly available in stores. So, mittens prevailed. My wee hands would be stuffed into those abominations, crammed together and sweating, muffled by the thickly woven material, unable to breathe or FEEL anything. I would fumble and drop things because my mitten wrapped hands were made clumsy and incapable of securely grasping items, or turning doorknobs, or picking something up. I absolutely despised it and begged my Mom for fingered gloves every winter, because as the original overly protective single parent, she was determined that we stay bundled up every second we were outside.

As an adult, regardless of the cold weather, I rarely wear gloves of any type. In fact, it is rare that I even wear a coat. East Tennessee has fairly temperate winters these days. But beyond that, my fingers would much rather feel frozen and be able to breathe than be cloaked in thick mittens, shrouded from the world, unable to experience or express emotions. Yes, I talk with my hands. It's intrinsic to my nature, much as is writing.

Ergo, in case you were wondering what my point is with this post, writing short blog articles is akin, to me, to being forced to wear mittens. Yes, I can write a brilliantly succinct, tightly woven, punchy article that is beautiful in its brevity. Off the top of my head, there are several of these that come to mind in the Healing Morning archives, and I am justly proud of them. However, where I truly shine as a writer is in the longer, flowing articles that Dave described. I like to mosey a bit as I broaden the body of the storyline. While brevity can deliver a knife edged presentation, there is a lot to appreciate for a bit more of a leisurely stroll down the path towards culmination. Nuances are there to explore and elaborate upon. Colors and textures and shadings....tangible memories to paint with words, scensory wonders to revisit and prompt within the reader's mind...those are so much fun to weave together in written format to me! And to do that in my own unique manner requires that my hands not be mitten muffled.

So, for the most part, my writing is going to be that longer format. I always do my best to ensure logical progression and flow to the thoughts expressed here, and I do appreciate the kind affirmation that Dave gave me with his comments on same. It's always a happy thing to be appreciated and accepted, unconditionally, for who you are at your very core. At my very core, I am a wordy writer! Bare fingers tapping madly away at the keyboard, or scribbling with equal fervor with pen and paper....the end product will rarely be brief, unless I am consciously making the effort, out of begrudged self-restraint. As I am much happier when not practising self-restraint in writing, you can expect the longer, flowy posts here. I hope that you'll enjoy my efforts and find that the reading is enjoyable.

For this writer, the rule of the day, no matter the weather, is simply, "No Mittens Allowed!" Freedom of fingers to produce a rhapsody of words suits me.

**Thanks to Stephanie Lynn for graciously helping me out with the above graphic image of the No Mittens Allowed icon. Stephanie is a gifted graphic artist who makes beautiful banners for Facebook and blog application. You can contact her on Facebook via http://www.facebook.com/#!/steph4c.**
_______________________________

If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me at Healing Morning blog.

Monday, November 29, 2010

When sons trump daughters

Every time I visit India, I am hit in the face with gender discrimination. Some obtuse remark, action, or general sense of “women are lesser than men” reminds me we still have a long way to go when it comes to mass societal acceptance that women can do everything men can equally well — sometimes better.

This time around the realization that we may never be able to reach the end of the journey was even more obvious.
As I sat cross-legged and moist-eyed in a room full of mourning relatives, I couldn’t help but question the “done things.” My cousin brother who lived halfway across the world had been flying in every other week to check up on his ailing mom. This time he had flown across two continents to light her pyre.

My aunt lost her battle with cancer. A breast cancer survivor, she couldn’t ward off the disease that had sneaked its way into her brain and liver.

Her youngest daughter sat across the room, head bowed, tears streaming down her face relentlessly. She was the only “local” child. Her older sister, like her brother, lived abroad. Three years younger to me, she had shouldered the responsibility single-handedly. Taking my aunt to the hospital, consulting with doctors, managing day-to-day household chores, being the caregiver for my uncle who had recently suffered a heart attack. She had left her job and moved in with her parents, so she could be there for them full time.

She did everything — and more — that folks in India expect of sons.

And yet, during the havan, she was sitting by the door, her role relegated to that of an usher.

She couldn’t handle any of the puja samagri, she couldn’t help distribute the prasaad, she had to ask if it was ok for her to touch anything that made its way to her during the ritual. The reason? Someone somewhere eons ago decided that the departed soul could only find peace when the last rites and other funeral ceremonies were performed by the son (or another male relative in case the deceased had no male offsprings).

And here we are, in 2010, blindly following that custom.

While the whole idea of the havan and other ceremonies associated with death doesn’t sit well with me (what’s the point? … the person who died is gone; all this “stuff” is only being done for those left behind … to give them some sort of closure and help the pundits expand their coffers), what irked me even more was the fact that the person who did the most for my aunt when she was alive, was not allowed to partake in any activity related to her death.

Things had to be done the “proper” way, i.e. by the son. If she participated, everything would become “impure” and the departed soul would find no rest.

Baloney.

I haven’t found any evidence in our scriptures that daughters can’t perform the last rites or actively participate in any funeral-related traditions. It may be considered a man’s “duty,” but is there any reasoning why?

For years I’ve heard how daughters are always so much more caring and affectionate than sons. For years I’ve witnessed the reciprocation of love and emotional nourishment between parents and their female offsprings. For years I’ve experienced zero gender discrimination in my immediate family. But at a time like this, all of that means naught.

Why?

I think my cousin sister had as much right –if not more! — as her brother to perform the last rites. But our culture doesn’t allow for that.

And I doubt it will anytime soon.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Men just aren't designed for Christmas shopping

Hello all – as you can clearly tell I am alive, this is a bigger deal than you may expect, because this weekend I faced a deadly and dark peril.

This weekend we went Christmas shopping.

Ah yes I can hear the collective sigh as you tut, “but it’s the middle of November Glen, what are you going on about?” Yes indeed it is, but my wife has learned well over the years. Jo knows exactly how to work me.

We men do have a completely different outlook on the whole shopping experience to those of the female persuasion. My wife knows full well that if she wants my help and support when it comes to the Christmas shop, if she wants me there holding bags, making suggestions and decisions for her to overrule, then she has to think hard and use her most cunning tricks on me.
Firstly I absolutely refuse to go anywhere near a British Mall or High Street after 25th November. It just isn’t worth it. The crowds jostling for 5p off an Arran Jumper just get out of control and I can’t stand it. Therefore Jo has to accept that Christmas shopping happens early if I am to be present.

Next, Jo will arrange for the boys to be taken into care. It may sound harsh but it is for the best. Happily, in our case the care home chosen is where the boy’s Grandparents live, so it wasn’t too bad for them. With the boys taken care of for the night we were able to book a room and make a weekend of it. Jo knows full well that I can’t resist the idea of a romantic night away in a hotel, so she will hint and wink that that she will be packing her best underwear. I fall for it every time.
With a room booked and the boys in care, we headed off to Bath.

It wasn’t long at all before we arrived in Bristol.

It was a last minute change of plan forced on us by the appalling weather. At Bristol we could go to Cribbs Causeway, which is inside. When we got there, Jo told me that if I was good and stayed with her for two shops I could have a hot chocolate, and so we hit House of Fraser. I had been conned. House of Fraser may be technically one actual shop if you look at it objectively, but I always think that Department stores are a cheat and should count as at least five shops. We were in there for hours. Every now and again I’d get a knowing nod from another bedraggled husband as he was dragged along by his wife. I saw one man having a tantrum by the changing rooms, he refused to try a jumper on until he was told that if he didn’t try it on, he wouldn’t be allowed to stay up and watch Match of the Day that night.

Time stood still, literally. I asked Jo how long it would be until we could have hot chocolate every 5 minutes for an hour, and the answer was always 10 minutes. I had strayed into ‘Shopping Time’ which uses different rules and runs at different speeds depending on what sex you are. When we finished shopping I was 8 years 6 months, 4 weeks, 3 days, 2 hours, 7 minutes and 25 seconds older than before we started. Jo had only aged three hours.

Eventually, Jo released us form the store, only to dive straight into a shop that had absolutely NOTHING useful in it whatsoever. You have never seen anything like it. Every inch of every shelf was taken up by something utterly useless but pretty. I heard Jo mumbling about how this or that would look good in OUR kitchen, I figured I was supposed to be noting this down, but I couldn’t work out what it was that Jo was actually looking at. For sure it wasn’t a George Forman Grill, which I happen to think WOULD look good in our kitchen. Apparently it was something that you dangle from the door knob and look at from time to time, strictly on the grounds that it is the same colour as the walls – I really do not understand women.

True to her word, I was allowed a hot chocolate, and Jo even produced a packet of wine gums from her pocket as an extra reward. I think that may have been a mistake though, because I soon wound up in trouble for running around Costa Coffee giggling with the sugar rush.
The day continued in little chunks of two shops followed by a treat. Two shops, treat, telling off. Two shops, no treat, punishment and then back to the start. Eventually we made it to the hotel absolutely knackered and frazzled and cold. It wasn’t very romantic. Jo’s best underwear, also turned out to be her most comfortable.

The next day we hit Bath. Bath is lovely. In Bath there are (I counted) exactly four million shops. As the day slowly wore on, my will to live evaporated. We even somehow wound up in a couple of shoe shops. I thought to myself that Jo was being particularly generous to her friends this year, and tried to work out which one of them had exactly the same size feet as my wife.
Eventually Jo took pity on me. My wife is not heartless after all, so she gave me a smile and said “come on”. I was led into Bath’s one and only ‘Man Creche’ cunningly called ‘The Sony Centre’. I was led into the centre of this glorious haven and told not to leave until Jo came back to get me. Jo picked up a ticket from the lady at the door and left a small bag behind containing some spare pants – just in case.

I browsed about in a daze, looking at the beautiful systems on display. I listened to the sounds coming from the crystal clear speakers and marvelled at the 44 inch Televisions. A few of the other men were huddled around a 48 incher showing Star Trek and I happily joined them. We all shared a nod and a smile.

Slowly all my new little friends were picked up by their wives and headed away back to shopping servitude. I was left all alone, Jo was nowhere to be seen. The man who sells the i-pods, noted my growing concern and came over with a beaker of Ribena and a biscuit. It was a beautiful moment.

At last Jo returned and with a hug took me across the road to Debenhams. Apparently there were some baubles I needed to see.

The shopping continued until at last, we were done. Before I knew it we were back home and the kids were excitedly telling us what they had done at Grandma’s.

Job done for another year.

Happy bloody Christmas.

Glen Staples - also posted at www.Glenslife.com

Friday, November 19, 2010

Song of Friendship

Photo courtesy of
Bing images
As I drove around doing my errands today, I reflected on energy patterns and how they relate to friendship. This post will be published here on Healing Morning blog, but is also destined to be an article in the next quarterly issue of Aromatique Essentials E-zine in Australia. The general theme of this upcoming issue is friendship, and this is why it took me a while to decide exactly what to write. I didn't want to recycle old thoughts, or repackage a prior blog post.

Everything we do, say, think and feel is producing energetic patterns. These patterns manifest into myriad corporeal forms, but friendship is one pattern that is slightly ephemeral. It takes shape and form in those people we choose to call friends, be they blood relatives or family of our heart, but friendship itself is an unseen thing.

We all know a wide range of euphemisms that denote how we interact with others. One would be that "water seeks its own level". Another would be that "we are judged by the company we keep". Yet another is my own thought, and it is that when walking on a beach, one grain of sand cannot shift without affecting the millions of other tiny grains around it. We are like unto that grain of sand in relation to friendship and the people we allow into our Inner Circle.

As with water seeking its own level, we as human beings resonate at a specific vibratory level, attracting other people vibrating at that same or similar vibration. This is my own theory, of course, but I feel it rings true. It would be highly unlikely for any of us to feel physically, emotionally or spiritually comfortable spending time around another person whose intrinsic energy is discordant and not in harmony with our own vibration. I feel that in this manner, we attract others and we form relationships that complement on an energetic level.

Because all of Life is of a cyclic nature, there come those moments when friendship...and harmonic energy...no longer match. It is this moment that we usually find most painful, as it is the hallmark of that relationship coming to an end. I used to struggle mightily with this experience, as it is my nature and preference to keep people I love in my life forever. It took many years of living through these cycles to understand and accept that not all relationships are meant to last forever. For some, these cycles are more easily weathered, but I haven't always handled it with equanimity. Indeed, the realization and understanding for me, now, tell me that many friendships are meant to burn brightly, quickly, bring strong blessings, and cycle to a close rather quickly. I still don't like this particular manifestation, but I have come to recognize the beauty of these experiences when they do occur. I have found a way to be thankful and appreciative of the time and happiness of every friendship I am blessed with. If they are of a short duration, I have also learned that sometimes, they cycle back around years later in my life. When this occurs, it is particularly lovely, as both I and that old friend have grown and changed in the interim, allowing a homecoming that is a fascinating celebration.

With age comes wisdom....another old homily. The older I get, the more I recognize that Life is, indeed, an endless cycle of patterns, dances, puzzles, harmonies and paintings. I mentioned in my last blog post that "friendships are the defining, delicate touches of color on our Souls, I think. Each person we allow into our Inner Circle adds a new element to our personal canvas, and in so doing, they add contrast." (Contrasts, November 6, 2010) Through the medium of the internet, I have connected with people I would never otherwise have been able to meet in this lifetime. From Knoxville, Tennessee to Australia, I have connected in friendship with Julie Nelson (Aromatique Essentials proprietor) and as a result, my writing is reaching an even wider audience.

From a good health perspective, friendship is essential to us. Being able to confide in that close friend, being able to laugh, to play, to relax completely...all of these things nurture our Spirit and bestow a wide range of health benefits. I could go off on a wild tangent on all the good health aspects of friendship, but that is a topic for another article. Today, as I ran errands, I reflected on the esoteric application of friendship and how the interactions we have with our friends ultimately weaves a strong energetic presence, albeit invisible to our human eyes.


Photo courtesy of
http://www.silverfernz.com/
 I imagine that the love between friends produces the most beautiful energy pattern, if we could see it with our eyes....produces the most ethereal musical rhapsody, if we could hear it with our ears....produces a woven tapestry of unspeakable beauty, if we could touch it with our hands. We can do none of these things, but the gift we are given is to feel it with our hearts and minds. Our Spirit, that essential, unique thumbprint of energy each of us is, feels the blessing and happy energy that friendship produces. And we are all richer for this blessing.

Here in the United States, we are approaching our Thanksgiving holiday, so I find this a very fitting tribute to be writing about my own perspective of friendship. We are always, always exactly where we are meant to be in our lives, with the perfect people surrounding us, offering lessons and reflecting back to us what we are sending out to the world. Take a moment to give this thought, as it is a powerful statement. People come into our lives to teach us and also to reflect back to us. I often remind myself of this very fact if I am feeling dissatisfaction or a lack of harmony surrounding me. That niggling sensation of things not quite feeling right, as though puzzle pieces aren't aligning properly, is usually a red flag indicating some inner house cleaning is necessary. Yet another blessing friendship can offer us, if we are willing to listen, be open and also be honest with ourselves.

I find it very appropriate, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, to be writing about the beautiful harmony and blessings of friendship. As I have written this article, my thoughts have come together in a manner that pleases me, because I also learn from the process. Little gems of wisdom that I have stumbled across over a lifetime will suddenly surface, fitting into the body of text in just the right fashion. As a result, my own resolve and Spirit are strengthened and the vibrations that I radiate outward get a bit of a shine and polish. It is my choice, my conscious intent, to always radiate positive energy so that in return, I may attract similar positive energy and people. I want the friendships and love in my life to reflect the best version of Me that I am capable of rendering each day. I call it a song of friendship, this harmony that we all come together to produce.

To those in the United States celebrating Thanksgiving in the coming week, I wish you a safe, happy, blessed holiday. To my friends and readers elsewhere in this big, beautiful world, I wish you days of peace for the coming holiday season as well.

Namaste'.
__________________________
If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me at Healing Morning blog.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Spending quality time on urban India's streets

For the first time in two weeks I was able to comfortably lounge in the backseat of my dad's Honda Civic.


The cyclists who appeared from nowhere ceased to elicit a "watch out, you'll hit him!" shriek of terror; I stopped cursing the motorcyclists; turned a blind eye toward the rickshaws; and didn't care about cars being driven so close alongside ours that I could roll down my window and touch them without having to ever so slightly stretch my arm.

Yesterday for the first time I did not cringe when we were stuck in a traffic jam for an hour. I, in fact, made light of the fact that we headed out at 4 p.m. and were back home at 5:30 p.m. without having reached the store we were headed to.

The hour and a half in between constituted of being stuck in a jam on a side road (ironically, we avoided the main thoroughfare for fear of being stuck in a jam), taking a U-turn after three failed attempts, getting stuck in another jam, using an alternate and much longer route to return home (owing to a third traffic jam on the main road), getting stuck in a Saturday bazaar on the street when taking a U-turn again, and lots and lots of high-pitched arguments between drivers and street vendors.

On another shopping expedition last evening (yes, we are resilient), I was almost spat on, my posterior was attacked by a cow's snout, my arm was swatted by another cow's tail, and as hard as I tried not to, my shoulders brushed against fellow pedestrians in an attempt to keep up with my parents who effortlessly sashayed through the traffic jam, successfully avoiding vehicles, people, and cow dung.

While everyone continues to acknowledge, and be aggravated by,the traffic issues, it doesn't stop them from adding to the street chaos.

Whether they buy them out of necessity or as a social status symbol, more and more cars are being added to Lucknow's streets every day.


With 10 lakh (that's 1 million) registered vehicles on the roads and 200 being added every day, with 300 traffic personnel on the streets instead of the required 6,000, with an average of two vehicles per home in
multi-storeyed apartment complexes mushrooming everywhere, with roads being dug everywhere and street side parking constricting already narrow roads, with cyclists, pedestrians, and animals waltzing willy nilly on the streets, with everyone wanting to squeeze in their foot, hoof, or vehicle into any spot they can, the streets in Lucknow city have been transformed into a living hell.

According to an August 2010 report in India Today:
Compared to the mollusc, our cities have super speed records-Bangalore's peak traffic speed is 18 kmph, while Delhi's and Mumbai's are 16 kmph. Indian thoroughfares host over 48 modes of transport, with 40 per cent of commercial vehicles plying illegally. Forty-one percent of streets are taken up by parking. Most Indians drive 10 km on an average daily; one in four spending over 90 minutes every day; 32 percent of the country's vehicles move on urban roads. India has 50 million two-wheelers and rising. Despite this, national car sales have grown by 38 percent; 2009-10 was the pinnacle with 1.95 million cars sold. The cheapest car in India is about 12 times the annual per capita income of a citizen, while in the U.S. it is about one-third the average income. Urban India's love affair with the automobile is scandalous: the country's five mega metros have over 40 lakh cars out of a total vehicular population of 10 crore, its auto market growing by 26 percent last year. India is paralysed by its traffic.

Indeed it is.

I saw my parents' relatively calm composure in the midst of all this chaos. The car's engine was turned off, their necks were craned, they talked about daily "hassles" like these in subdued tones, and as soon as the rickshaw in front moved half a foot, they got excited at the prospect of reaching their destination.


For four years I rode my scooter on these streets, for another four I drove my mom's car, but now when I look around at the stalled traffic, I can't imagine sitting in the driver's seat.

The Lucknow I deftly navigated my way through no longer exists. In eight years, this peaceful Nawabi town has become a metro-wannabe bursting at its seams.

It's only a matter of time before it explodes.

In the meantime, the "relax, this is India" attitude has rubbed on me. The roads may have come to a standstill, but life goes on.

Also posted on my blog.




Saturday, November 13, 2010

Communion



Inside the altar
of my heart,
I knelt down before him.
My forehead touched his feet,
his hands gently rested
upon my bent back.
Waves of bliss rose,
mingled with tears
of pure joy.
I looked up at him
with misty eyes,
and immersed myself
in the shimmering
ocean
that sparkled within
his radiant eyes.

(Also posted on my blog)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Apple Charlie; a Memory

Bill Grover at Apple Charlies

I just wanted to see some pumpkins!

The farm is well taken care of by the new owners.

I carefully scanned the pavement looking for signs of Mom left on the driveway.



Coming back from Michigan, I again thought of the life that was made for me there, and all that has changed because I left home at seventeen (and didn't look back). The years of separation and absence have provided an unbroken memory that continues to be alive in me. Though the events and relationships are long gone, they exist completely intact in my memory.  I continue to feel close to people I have not seen for three decades. My unbridled affection is surprising because I'm essentially a stranger who has unexpectedly popped up from the haze of the 1970's. 

Bill is a friend from Huron High School. He is connected to the fall season the same way apple cider, orange pumpkins, and leaves caught in the wind or crunching under our feet are connected. He was a football player and champion wrestler who celebrated with us after the games with pizza (and sometimes beer) in Flatrock. I was a drum major, flag captain, clarinetist, all around band member and team supporter. He was protective of my sisters and me, and I believe he had a special deal with our father, Richard, to guard our honor; however, an unforeseen event wedged a terrible break in our friendship and we could no longer be friends.

It was my sixteenth birthday party and all of my family, friends, and their friends were there. The house was open, and traffic flowed in teen party fashion. People were drinking, smoking, and talking too loud. My sister came up in a car with her boyfriend. She had disappeared for many months, running off with her older boyfriend in the middle of the night, packing her clothes in large black plastic garbage bags and storing them behind the evergreen bushes that lined the front porch. Her arrival to my party was tense and unexpected. My father was quietly ignoring this turn of events. The couple was arguing in the car, perhaps about coming in the house or leaving before there was trouble. The discussion became physical and one of my cousins ran into the house yelling, "He's beating her up and she's in labor!" My father sprung into fierce action; he ran outside, grabbed the man and pulled him out of the car. My sister started screaming for everything to stop. However, it was too late and a fight became the main event. Yelling party goers crowded around shouting, "Fight!" Bill tried to break the two men apart, but it was impossible. They rolled into the field next door and it started to get bloody. Mom went into action, picked up a two by four board, and slammed it down just when they flipped over. She nearly knocked Dad unconscious, and it was all he could do to maintain awareness. I was appalled at her mistake! "She almost killed Dad", I thought. Mom came running back with a hammer, and I blocked her by grabbing her hand, "Don't you dare!" I was ready to get physical. Suddenly, lights were flashing, and people scattered. The police broke up the fight, and began taking reports from witnesses. "Who started it?" was the critical question. When Bill was asked he reported what he had seen, and so Dad was taken off to jail. Later, Bill stood as a witness for my sister's boyfriend, and that is why we could not longer be friends. It was as if he disappeared. He was completely removed from all interactions with us, all contact. My father felt he was disloyal to our family because he told the police exactly what he had seen, and in Bill's version, Dad was the angry aggressor. My sister went to the hospital, had my nephew, and decided to stay with her boyfriend because children need a father. Mom went to the hospital to be with her, and later helped her get settled but Dad remained stoically detached. He felt betrayed by family, friends, and society. A father is supposed to defend his child, isn't he?

The farm is well cared for now, with the exception of the circle driveway, which somehow seems appropriate. I stood looking down the drive for several minutes trying to find some remnant of my mother, a darkened area, a bit of the chalk that outlined her body but all that remained was broken cement. I feel sorry I challenged her when she was "defending" Dad. She wasn't ever a bystander, patiently waiting and helpless. She was a powerful participant- abet with a poor aim. She continued to be brave, running out to try to help her partner, Christine, after she was shot by our neighbor, Brooks. I wish she had stayed inside and waited for the police to arrive. I wish she were still alive. I wish we had just celebrated her birthday on Halloween, instead of her being murdered at fifty five years old.  Dad made peace with my sister and she escaped the domestic abuse situation. (He died when he was forty-nine.) Dad never knew about Mom's lifestyle changes.

I don't know if Bill remembers this story; we didn't talk about it. As a matter of fact, I didn't even know that he was "Apple Charlie" -or rather that was the name his father used. My cousin, Tammy, was just taking me to an apple orchard and a place to see a pumpkin patch. (Living in the tropics makes me yearn for signs of seasons sometimes.) We drove up to Apple Charlies, I got out and started taking lots of poor quality photographs with my cell phone, then I started chatting with one of the workers, "So who is Apple Charlie? What's his last name? What's his first name? I mean, people don't call him, Apple, right?" I was just bothering a stranger with questions when I discovered that this was Bill Grover's place. I had forgotten his family owned an apple orchard. I wondered if he wanted to see me again. I decided to be bold, and when I saw him heading into his house, I called out, "Bill! Hey, Bill!" I'm glad I did. I feel as though a new bookend has been placed on that past disturbing phase of my life. When I left, he said, "Thanks for stopping by and looking me up." Bill's okay. I'm okay. Life goes on.

Reprinted from Oasis Writing Link (TM) 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

365 Lessons-Lesson 303: No Pain, No Gain

My husband Yoon has adopted the English expression "no pain, no gain." His other favorites are "location, location, location," "bundle of joy" and "awesome." He uses words and expressions until he finds new ones. Sometimes, in his yoga class, he says "no pain, no gain." That might sound very against the way of yoga. After all, in yoga you are suppose to tune into your own body and go at your own pace. It's meant to be a journey from within. But when he says these words, I don't think he means for his students to push their limits or suffer a charley horse in class. I think he means something entirely different.

When he says these words I feel love in his voice. I don't feel like he's a drill sergeant up there shouting out commands. When he says these words, it's out of compassion for what each student might individually be experiencing. So much gets released during a yoga session with Yoon. There's a lot of contraction and expansion happening in the class. As we work different groups of muscles, things come out. Every experience we have ever had in life is imprinted on the body. The mind and body are so connected. In meditation, I have often felt a pain somewhere in my body along with a memory. As soon as I witnessed the unpleasant sensation in my body instead of reacting to it, the pain passed away along with the memory. The body says a lot about a person's state. You can't hide how you are feeling, it's written all over you.

So, "no pain, no gain" in Yoon's class means that when we go in and work from within, sometimes we might feel pain or memories. If we stay in our body and work from within, being gentle and kind to ourselves, that which we feel as pain will come to pass, but it might not be a pleasant experience as it is happening.

I'm working on a difficult chapter in my memoir. For those of you who don't know, I have a book contract. My book is called Lessons from the Monk I Married and it will be published by Seal Press/Perseus Books in March 2012. By the first week of December, I have to turn in half the book to my editor in Berkeley, California. It's very different from this blog even though it has the same title. It's about my 14-year journey with my husband, a former Korean Buddhist monk.

The chapter I'm working on was a very painful period in my life. I have found, while writing this book, that my body remembers the experience and as I'm writing it, I go back to that time. Chapter Five has been so painful and slow for me because that's how it was in real life. I read the chapter to my husband and asked him what he thought. He said, "Oh...it's intense. I seriously feel pain."

So I wonder why I am choosing to re-live this experience and my experiences in this memoir. Why am I going through the pain again? It was so hard to go through the first time. I barely made it through and now I'm re-living it again. Why?

Well, it's in the book. I guess you'll have to buy it to get the scoop. No, in all honesty I'm writing it to share my experience. I gained so much through this journey I've been on, but I had to go through some seriously difficult times. I had to follow my heart even though I felt like I might die.

It was a process. Life is a process. We all experience and go through things. What I have found is that its true. No pain, no gain. If you really want to experience life to its fullest, you can't remain stagnant and hide from your fears. Hiding or running from what scares you or what is painful only increases the fear or pain. You have to face life head on. Once you do you will realize that everything comes to pass. That it all changes. Instead of feeling restrictive or holding pain in your body out of fear, when you face life and accept the reality of life as it is, you will find that life becomes more fluid, that you don't feel as much pain, that you are stronger than you think. By facing your life, you become confident. It takes practice, but step by step, it will become so natural. Soon you realize that what you feared or what was painful for you was mostly created by you. By facing yourself and loving yourself as you are through both your fear and your pain, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Also posted on my blog Lessons from the Monk I Married where I have been writing 365 Lessons for 2010.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

If you can't do it for yourself do it for others!

I have been a yo-yo exerciser since way back. It is silly really because I get on such a high after I exercise and it rubs off onto all areas of my life.

Why I don't make exercise full-time is one of the mysteries of my world! But, I have decided to beat myself at my own sabataging game and tap into a new kind of motivation.

IF I CAN'T DO IT FOR MYSELF ALONE, DO IT FOR OTHERS!

I asked myself what could I could commit to achieving that would leave me no room for quitting, something bigger than myself, something I would not let down.

The answer appeared to me: The Afghan Women's Writers Project: An online magazine run purely by a volunteer organisation to give Afghani Women a voice while the security situation remains unstable. The stories from the women who write here have touched my heart and I believe to be able to write to make sense of the world is so important, even moreso in a country where so much of your expression is not permitted.

Their Kabul team is setting up a writing corner for the Afghan writers.

The site, to open this month is located in a small nondescript apartment building in the capital, unmarked from the outside in one of the safer neighbourhoods.

A building guard lives on the premises. Here, the writers will be able to gather to send their poems, essays, read books, and partake in community along with chai.

This is the prototype of what they hope will eventually be Afghanistan's first women-only Internet Cafe.

I am using this AMAZING cause as inspiration to take the Couch to 5km http://www.c25k.com/ training regime. Currently I cannot run 200metres without stopping. BUT by the 12th of December I am determined to achieve this personal goal. RUNNING WIThOUT STOPPING (witnesses and vid cam on standby)


I am taking pledges from readers on what they will donate towards the Afghani Project upon completion of my run.

Love you to jump onboard. You can make a pledge in the comments section here, subscribe to Sharnanigans and follow my weekly progress, or join my Facebook Page.
I will be including stories from the women in Afghanistan in my weekly updates to keep the inspiration alive.
Lesson? If you can't do it for yourself, do it for OTHERS

Please be generous and pledge!

If you can't do it for me, do it for the women in Afghanistan!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Mansi asks: Do you believe what goes around comes around?

I am really not sure what I think about this question.

I certainly don't believe in destiny, kismet, fate, call it what you will ... even though many eventful happenings in my life have been attributed to that amorphous, yet comforting, idea.

But the concept of karma ... or what goes around, comes around has always intrigued me.

It disturbs me because it trivializes the notion of doing good for good's sake -- making it more of an undertaking for fear of retribution.

Karma is a bitch, say people, when they see a tyrant die a painful, slow death. Or when a miser's children are killed in a car crash.

We like to think there is some power in the cosmos keeping tabs on our daily activities, an account of all our wrongdoings that will eventually catch up with us in some form or the other: loss of loved ones, cancer, loneliness, etcetera.

But then why do rapists, murderers, corrupt public officials with whom the law enforcement or justice systems haven't caught up, not suffer? Why do we see those who squash, plunder, and ravage other people's dreams and lives thriving in an abundance of health and wealth?

Some say it's because they face a bigger judgment day. Convenient, eh?

They don't know that. No one does.

It's just something we've invented to keep societies form getting out of control. You see a bad person not getting his due in this life and you pacify yourself with the "knowledge" that someone up there is watching ... That the Supreme Power will make him pay one day.

What about paying for your "sins" here and now? I don't see that happening with 100 percent accuracy ... Or even 50 percent of the time.

Just because someone has been a law abiding, generous, upstanding citizen and a compassionate, loving human being, doesn't mean that person won't die of pancreatic cancer.

And conversely just because someone has been corrupt all his life, doesn't mean he will "get what he deserves."

That's just not what happens.

And yet, there's some romance in the idea ... A sense of optimism and hope ... That we will reap what we sow.

So, my readers, what's your verdict?

Mansi asks: do you believe what goes around comes around?

Chime in.

Also posted on my blog.


In this moment

Photo courtesy of
Bing images
If you read my blog occasionally, you'll know that quite often I will gather inspiration from a quote. This has happened today. Being a fan of Jerry and Esther Hicks, authors of many books on Universal Law as delivered by Abraham, I receive weekly emails to my Inbox that contain a Quote of the Day. Today's quote is as follows:



No one can deny you or grant you anything. It all comes to you by virtue of your vibration. - Abraham (Excerpted from the workshop in Lincroft, NJ on Tuesday, October 15th, 1996 #600)
You know how sometimes, God/Universe will interact with us in a beautiful way and deliver just the most perfect thought that matches how we're feeling? This is what occurred with the above quote, and it is the personification of Universal Law, to my way of thinking.

I have made no secret of the fact that Life isn't always a bright, sunshiney, flower-strewn meadow for me. I step out of bed each day with my own personal challenges, responsibilities and dreams to better myself and my circumstances. Some days I hit the best note possible, other days I don't. Here very recently, I have been making more of those wee steps of progression, embracing the better thoughts, choosing to focus on uplifting mindset.

And today, in the small, quiet hours of the morning, just moments prior to reading the Hicks-Abraham quote, I was smiling because I was very consciously aware of feeling....happy. That warm, satisfied, just all around good feeling that we are occasionally blessed with was suffusing my mind and body. Then I opened the email containing the quote above and I laughed out loud at the delightful Divine Order of it all.

I am in a space where my skills are being recognized and appreciated by colleagues - both those in the blogging world, and also those in the professional arenas where I make my living. I am building up a client roster of people that I truly enjoy working with, and this makes me equally happy. As Abraham has indicated, this generates happiness and that uplifting tone, harmony and energy begets more of the same. It has happened over a vast stretch of time for me, yet now that it is clearly manifesting, it has almost caught me off guard with the gentle evidence.

My last post, Choosing Positivity, was a requested guest post for Mansi Bhatia's wonderful blog, First Impressions. Perhaps this post is an adjunct, or continuation of that general theme. Normally, I do my best to not repeat themes in concurrent blog posts, but this is what hit me this morning and it felt appropriate to write about.

I have pondered esoteric laws and concepts from my very early years, as I have always been a rapt student of this type of knowledge. For a great many years, I understood the concept of Universal Law on an intellectual basis, but it was the nuances that escaped me. I spent many years focusing more on the "Don't wants" than focusing on what felt better in that particular moment. When I finally came to clarity on that specific application of Universal Law, I remember rolling my eyes at myself with how I managed to overlook that part of the whole equation for so long. As we all know, the Lightbulb Moments hit when we are ready to receive them. I was close, so very close in my younger years to that clarity, but not quite ready to fully grasp the simplicity therein.


Photo courtesy of
Bing images
I'm very good at what I call "getting in my own way". I have a strong tendency to do things the hard way first, every time. Why, you might ask? My brain just seems to be hardwired in that manner. Until someone points out the exquisite beauty and obviousness of the more simple approach, it just doesn't occur to me to do it that way. It can be comical to family and friends, because I confuse them at times with my elaborate approach to some very simple task, applying great amounts of energy and concentration and enthusiasm...until someone says, "Dawn, have you ever thought of doing it THIS way?" This is the point where I always stop dead, absolutely captivated by their suggestion, my brain all a-goggle with the searingly simple method they have suggested. It is as though the Heavens open and a bright ray of sunshine beams down upon my fair head, with an accompanying orchestra and choir in the background.

No, I'm really not kidding. Sometimes I really do just do things the hard way first. Okay, LOTS of times I do things the hard way first. It's just my nature, apparently. This is not to say, however, that I enjoy making things difficult for myself! Indeed, it is always a goal of mine to simplify and find more logical methods.

At this point in my life, I feel I have come to a very solid, positive approach that serves me well. I know this because when I check in with myself throughout the day, the majority of the time, I detect joy. Happiness is the note of the morning for me and I have to admit, it feels pretty darned good! What makes it even more enjoyable is that I am quite aware that I am responsible for this inner feeling of satisfaction and happiness. I have chosen the steps to maintain that positive outlook, even during the days where I would much rather embrace gloom and irritability. I've made that conscious effort to focus on the next best feeling thought and emotion.

Oftentimes, that next best feeling thought is tiny....minor to the point of being relevant only to my heart. Yesterday, it was me standing at the mailbox and glancing up in the sky to see a cloud shaped like a bird's wing. This morning, it was the simple realization that although my work is not where I would wish for it to be just yet, it IS getting there. I have work coming in the door after a very long, stressful dry period, and it is work that I enjoy. I am helping people and making a difference in the world with these new projects, and for me as a writer, this is sublimely satisfying. That satisfaction is glowing inside of me this morning, blossoming into a larger sensation of happiness as I take time to identify it, focus upon it and feel appreciation for it.

So, today, my inner feeling is one of simple happiness. Nothing complex, although admittedly the path to get here was riddled with obstacles and myriad frustrations at times. I am happy, in this moment, and I am taking time to focus on this emotion that is welling up inside me. I imagine it to be a warm glowing ball of Light, much as I have described in other blog posts, and I imagine that this same emotion, this same energy, vibration and tone is calling out. Remember, my friends, that thoughts and words are energy and translate into electrical impulses that dart outward to the Universe! According to Universal Law, this energy is attracted to similar energy...vibrating and spinning, flying outward to unite with more of the same, then returning to us, bringing again, more of the same. More of the same, only amplified!


Photo courtesy of
Bing images
 I am reaping the benefits of structuring my thoughts, habits and actions, and these benefits are that I am happy, satisfied and feeling fulfilled on many different levels. My plan for navigating the day is to continue to dwell in this feeling of happiness. In each moment that I focus on this quiet sensation of bliss, I am, in effect, dialing accurately into the vibration of God/Universe/Spirit and creating a high level of harmony that will continue to perpetuate itself. In this moment, this awareness brings a smile. In this moment, I greet myself as an incredible part of the bigger picture that creates my reality. In this moment, I am basking in a lovely, happy place. I hope your own day brings you equal joy, my friends.
______________________________
If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me at Healing Morning blog.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Protect Your Dreams

I had a dream the other night !

It’s not quite as big as Martin Luther King Jnr’s dream and I don’t think it will affect or alter too many people’s lives other than mine, but it is an important dream non the less and it’s MY dream !

I used to dream a lot as a child. I would dreams so vivid that I could smell and taste them, dreams that were so strong that I could get up several times in the middle of the night, get a drink and walk around for a bit then go back to bed and jump straight back into the dream where I left off. A dream world filled with adventure and mystery, a parallel universe to my reality world, a world that at times helped me understand my real world and then at other times poked fun at my real world to show me that it wasn’t as serious as I felt it was at the time.

They were very rarely nightmares and were usually pleasant and insightful. My dreams always seemed to help me understand my real world better and in times of confusion they helped me find answers.

I’m not really sure when I stopped dreaming but I vaguely remember stopping around the time that I left school and entered the workforce, a long time ago anyway.

I’m also not really sure why I stopped dreaming but suspect it was because of a lost connection with myself, a lost innocence and connection to my higher self, brought about by my temptation of a largely material world which I had been introduced to through the entry into the workforce and a supply of income that I never previously had.

Suddenly I didn’t have time to sit and contemplate, I didn’t have time to relax into a deep and secure dream world, I had lost the ability to STOP! To stop and smell the roses, stop to actually hear myself think and time to listen to myself. I was too busy to connect.

With my loss of connection to my higher self was the loss to understand my real would with the clarity that I once enjoyed and it also heralded a period in my life filled with chaos and self-doubt.

Interestingly enough, the loss of my ability to dream also coincided with my loss of drive or ambition to artistically create. I used to love painting and I actually won a few encouragement awards for my paintings and drawings back in my high school days. I also used to write a lot of poetry and always dreamed of learning the guitar and putting my poems to song like one of my artistic Idols “ Bob Dylan ”.

Nude Lady © 1985 By Andrew Swansson ( My Last Painting )


I have attempted to reconnect with my artistic side may times over the years but could never find that river to tap unless I was in a period of turmoil and self-reflection. Now while I loved the artistic fruits of these moments of deep self-reflection they were more times than not painful periods in my life and it got to the stage that I preferred not to connect rather than take my mind and soul to these dark places to find inspiration. I wanted to connect in the light again and was not willing to walk in the dark.

My life as it turns out has taken many rough roads over the last 5 years and in the process my life has fundamentally changed in many ways. With these changes have come the deep realisation of mortality and the realisation of what is really important in life. The realisation that life is limited and the most precious commodity that we could ever hope to hold. The problem with this is that we can’t buy more when we run out of our life’s allocation, once you have used, spent or squandered your allocation that you were given on the day that you were born, it’s gone. You can’t buy any more life, you can’t borrow any more life and you certainly can’t steal any more life once yours is gone.

So life is precious and the lives of those that you love and hold close are equally as precious. To share your life with another person, and to have them openly share theirs with you has a profound effect on the average life, it makes them Shine ! And when they shine they illuminate your world in such a way that it removes all the dark places and dark corners, it illuminates your life and allows you to see your world in a perfect clarity, it allows you to see the path forward.

Another thing I have learnt in recent years is that of priorities and the real importance of “ Stuff ”. It has magnified my “R.I.S.E” gauge. Now my R.I.S.E gauge or should I say “ Real . Important . Stuff . Evaluation ” is quite simply my assessment of what is really import and what is an illusion created by society and marketing.

For example, my awesome 42 inch Plasma TV can’t make my lonely heart feel any better on a cold winter night when I am home alone. Sleeping alone with 7 pillows in a top of the line king size bed and pillow top mattress is nowhere near as comfortable as sleeping in an old wire base bed and 15 year old mattress when shared with the one you love on a cold winter night. Having that impressive high flying corporate job that pays a squillion dollars means nothing if you go home to an empty house or even worse, a full house where no one knows who you are because you have so little time to spend with them and communicate with them. All that money will only help pay the solicitors arrange a settlement. Having a successful corporate career does not equal a rich and rewarding life. The sweetest sound is that of a child laughing, the most honest words are the words of children, the most important place to be is here and now, home is where your heart is, the truth is more valuable than the answer you were hoping for, Bigger houses are only better because they have more storage space for your stuff, cuddles are fuel for the soul, happiness is having yourself as your best friend and you can never lie successfully to the person in the mirror.

I wrote a poem a few years back called Love is Elusive and the first section goes like this “ Love is elusive, Love is a dream, Love is always there but rarely seen, our eyes are closed to the simplest of things, of what love is and what it means.” By connecting with our R.I.S.E Gauge we can all open our eyes and understand better.

As I started to say at the beginning of this Blog, I have had a dream again. In fact I have started to have many dreams lately and while I won’t go into specifics of these dreams the important thing is that I am having dreams again.

Partly due to being made redundant four and a bit months ago and partly because of changes in my life’s circumstances I have found myself stopping and listening to life. Listening to the birds in the morning, listening to my heart. I have been looking at life through the lens of my camera and actively seeking out beauty in this world. I have been listening to natures little clues to know which road to travel to find that next beautiful moment and to capture it in time with my camera.

I have been actively reducing my material possessions and distractions to a point of needs rather than just wants and I have been reducing my consumptions based on boredom and frustration until I reached the point of consumption based on needs.

All of this has made life a more real entity with purpose rather that a life based on distraction.


Now I don’t know if this is just a coincidence or an equal reaction to my actions but suddenly I am dreaming once again.

“ I Have A Dream ”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you for taking the time to read my Blog

Dohi

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Other Side of Me

I see you
in the shower
head bowed
eyes closed
standing still
letting the water
wash away
your stress.


I see you
eyes glazed over
staring into
the technicolor
images on the TV
but not really
watching anything.


I see you
watering the plants
lost in your
own world
as you pluck
out dead leaves
and gently
caress the roses.


I see you
immersed
in your work
trying to
find an
escape from
the thoughts
that plague you.


I see you
quiet and languid
and I want to
make you
smile
free you of
the burden
you carry
help you
feel alive again.


I see you
and I feel
the pain
you're going
through
but there's
nothing
I can do
except wait
for the tide
to pass.


I see you
and in your
eyes I see
a shadow
of myself
experiencing
everything
you are.


I see
that I am you
and you are
me.


Also posted on my blog.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A New Beginning!

I haven't written anything on my blog or posted anything here for a while. Following is a post taken from my blog written on Wednesday, 18 August 2010. Katherine thank you for your lovely comments. As you have requested, I post this here with love, on this very special day, 10.10.10, which is the start of New Beginnings for the whole planet.


I have been on a private journey, practising what I have been preaching more or less and finding bits of myself I left behind, or was too scared to look at.

I have read some more, practised some more, forgiven some more and let go some more. Am I whole?

I was always whole, this is the most important lesson I have learnt; that the true essence of who we are; is and always was and will be whole and perfect.

I have re-membered that to become whole we need to separate in order to come back together.

We live in a world of separateness, or the illusion that we are separate, but in actual fact we are all ONE; as the body is made of many parts, they are not of much use by them selves, even though they are important in their own right, they are made to work together as ONE.

I have reflected more on the Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle, and read some other inspirational books on the law of attraction, and the conclusion I have come to, is that all wisdom is true.

Truth IS, it is always the same. There are many routes to it but Truth does not move, it waits patiently for you to accept this fact.

I can read something and see the truth in parts of it, I can dismiss other parts, but what is important the truth is there to be seen, whether we can see it or not.

When I have seen it, I know it to be real (true) for my heart sings. I feel some resonance, as if my heart is tuned into the same frequency.

There have been times when I have read something that does not resonate with me. Does this mean it is not true, or is it that I cannot see the truth. Truth is there, you have reached insight when you are able to see through the words. For behind it all is truth, waiting patiently to be reached.

I have also been re-learning, about who I really am. I have found the truth, again through words, as this is my medium of enlightenment. To others it may be something else.

I have come to see that I am not really just my body, my name, my culture, my religion, my sex, my marital status etc. I am part of the Divine. I am more Divine than all the rest of these parts.

I have also come to see that when I am in alignment with this bigger part of who I am, my life works. There still are similar situations, problems and issues, but the difference is that I am not been washed up by the waves. I can ride the waves and still be at peace.

How???

- By waking up each day from the starting point of wholeness and not lack.
- By looking at all the possible things that can go right today, than hold on to all that went wrong yesterday, and think more of the same today.
- By honoring my feelings, feeling the power they evoke inside me, trusting that I will not be engulfed by them, and breathing, whilst they gently subside.
- By understanding that at the end of an unhappy moment/event there is an opportunity for a happy outcome.

The above can be explained as follows:

If everything in this life is made up of opposites then the opposite of sadness is happiness. There is a variation of both these feelings/situations as there is variation in the hues of colour.

So on a scale of happiness/sadness it could look as below:

(Sadness)Pain->anger->frustration->surrender->forgivenes->PEACE(happiness)

As you walk on the the path towards happiness, you can experience sadness and along the path there is pain, anger, frustration and all the rest that can make us unhappy. The important thing to remember is that at the other end if you continue there is peace, which is happiness.

Surrender is not giving in to the situation or circumstance, it is an acceptance, a letting go of, and this gives you the opportunity to forgive, which is to fully release the past, leaving just peace.

Along this journey of life, we will be taking steps forward and then seemingly fall backward into pain. We can choose to stay at any point, we can bring in surrender at any point, we can forgive at any point. We don't have to ignore the hurt and frustration, just accept it, this helps for the biggest transformation.

Life offers many opportunities to find peace in all situations. It may seem a pointless venture since there is this situation of duality/opposites going on. But each time you forgive, you have put yourself on a higher level of understanding and consciousness.

You now have more awareness and more power of your actions. From this new awareness, you can reach peace quicker, as you are embodying more peace. You are being more of who you really are. You are aligned to the Divine, and the Divine is LOVE!!!

With an awareness that you are essentially made up of love, the more connected you feel to this part of you, the more peace you will see all around you.

So, here are my lessons, for now. I hope through these words you are able to see the truth. I hope you can see your own light shining through!

'A man should look for what is and not what he thinks should be'
Albert Einstein

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sometimes

Sometimes I look and don’t feel seen.
Sometimes I shout but don’t feel heard.
Sometimes I hold on but don’t feel held.
Sometimes I want but don’t feel wanted.
Sometimes.

Sometimes I look but don’t see.
Sometimes I talk but don’t say anything.
Sometimes I listen but don’t hear.
Sometimes I want what cannot be given.
Sometimes.

Sometimes those closest to me seem so far away.
Sometimes they are not far enough.
Sometimes I don’t understand.
Sometimes I can’t explain.
Sometimes.

Sometimes I need help but just don’t know why.
Sometimes I need help but don’t know what.
Sometimes I need help but don’t know who from.
Sometimes I need help.
Sometimes.

Sometimes I am a man.
Sometimes I am a son.
Sometimes I am a husband.
Sometimes I am a dad.
Sometimes.

Sometimes.
I am me.
Also posted at www.Glenslife.com

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New Discoveries

Photo courtesy of
Bing images
I have never been what I would describe as militant about anyone's food choices. I respect everyone's right to make those choices for themselves, whether that means you're a card carrying, true blue meat eater, or whether you're an all out vegan who wouldn't think of touching anything that got within light years of a living, breathing animal, or whether you're somewhere in the middle. Live and let live has always been my preference. I will admit that I have some vegan friends who are rather aggressive with their beliefs and approach. I make it clear that I'm not open to being preached to or chastised over what I choose to eat. I am a capable adult and make those choices for myself.


That being said, I do have interest in eating in as healthy a manner as I can manage, with my own food preferences and slightly odd food issues (allergies) taken into consideration. Recently, I have been exposed via a client of mine to the whole scary world of Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs). In the process of researching this topic, I was stunned to learn that the highly touted label of 'organic' doesn't necessarily mean the food you're eating is healthy for you, OR that it is truly organic.

Take honey as an example. In order for any United States company to make a true claim that their honey is organic, they have to be able to prove that their bees are deriving nutrition, pollen and water from proven organic sources within a 50 mile radius of their home location. I don't know if these stipulations apply in other countries, but just that one fact stopped me in my tracks and made me reconsider some of the food purchases I've been making over the years. With that as a simple guideline, given that a huge number of crops that provide cross pollination to bees in the U.S. are likely to be GMO crops, honey produced in the U.S. can't really be truly labeled as 'organic'. See what I mean? Scary!

Spelt Grain
Courtesy of Bing images

This client, fortunately, is a wonderful U.S. company, Berlin Natural Bakery in Berlin, Ohio that produces a wide range of spelt products that are Non-GMO Project Verified. I am happy to report that I can source their products here in my local area and plan to make a big shift in my own household to their breads, pastas and more. This is a simple thing that I can do and feel good knowing I am consuming healthy foods that have not been genetically tinkered with. It's a small step, and some may argue that everything else I eat can't be proven to be equally healthy and 'safe', but for me, it's a good step in the right direction.

Another fairly new avenue [to me] for health and holistic maintenance is essential oils. I have some clients and dear friends who are masters at this art and science, and I am learning fascinating new details and knowledge almost daily from my contact with them. As a former licensed massage therapist, I always used essential oils in my practice, but didn't give a great deal of thought to the healing properties of those essential oils. Looking back, I wonder why I didn't delve more deeply into it, but at the time I was more focused on establishing my business and being successful. My clients enjoyed the aromatherapy aspects of the oils that I used and that was great. Now, having connected with two amazing women who have successful aromatherapy and essential oil businesses, I am being exposed to a whole world of health benefits I never realized essentials give us.

We all know that scents give us visceral, emotional reactions. The smell of baking bread or chocolate chip cookies in the oven will take us right back to happy childhood memories. The smell of freshly cut grass kicks us into thoughts of hot, lazy summer afternoons walking behind the cranky push mower, sweating like a fiend and looking forward to a cold drink at the end of the chore. Perfumes bring to mind specific people. Every scent has some personal tie in our minds and memories. The wonderful thing about essential oils is that they're not just delightful to smell - they're full of amazing healing properties.

Photo courtesy of
Bing images

I am a novice at this and can only refer to my friends Julie Nelson of Aromatique Essentials in Australia and Sheen Perkins McKeever of Agape Oils and Essential Oils by Nature in Wilmington, North Carolina as the true experts in the essential oils field. One good example that I've learned is that the ages old resin, Frankincense, has the following powerful properties: it is antiseptic, antifungal, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, diuretic. Wow, right?! It is also a wonderful ingredient that can be incorporated into aromatherapy for its calming influence. What I am learning that is so exciting is that essential oils can be efficacious for so many ailments, ranging from aches and pains such as arthritis and bruises to more serious complaints such as respiratory issues and such dread modern issues as MRSA infections.

I consider myself quite fortunate to be connected with these wonderful people running these progressively thinking companies. Through working with each of them, I am learning and being exposed to ideas, products and information that are changing the way I live my life...changing it in a healthy way! Because learning and growing always excites and makes me happy, when I stumble across topics of this nature, it is my first wish and impulse to share the information. I hope many of you will take time to click on these various companies I've mentioned and do some research, and discovering of your own. These are small steps to take, yes, in the broad scheme of all the toxins that we are bombarded with in our daily lives, but we all have to start somewhere. Why not take those first steps in directions that taste and smell good?

Happy eating and happy fragrant moments!
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If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me at Healing Morning blog.

Monday, October 4, 2010

I Am Not Perfect

I am not curvy
or lady-like
in physical appearance
or mannerisms.


I am ambitious
and have a strong
sense of self-worth.


I snore
I hate shopping
I don't like socializing.


I hate doing the
laundry
and the dishes
and am no
fan of keeping
things organized
.


I like hanging out
with the guys
And can argue
Until the moon
goes to bed.


I am judgmental
and opinionated
and you've heard
me fart.


I am obsessed
with planning
and usually have
a Plan C and D
ready in case
A and B fail.


I prefer my space
and want you
to have yours.


I nag at times
and complain
that you give away
"my" unused things
to those who
need 'em.


I am selfish
and clingy
sometimes both at
the same time.


I don't like
sharing you
with anyone ...
not even your mom.


I am not patient
or wise
and I'm a
sore loser.


I keep grudges
and it's hard for
me to let go
even when I know
I should.


I am strongly opinionated
and will not
take advantage of
the perks that come
with "being a woman."


I am self-critical
and confused
about where I want to be
and what I want to do.


I lie at times
when I think it's
the reasonable thing to do
but also sometimes
because it's easier.


I dig my nose
and my ears
and will not wax
my armpits until
I absolutely have to.


I make excuses
for little things
when I don't need to
but still have the
urge to.


I recognize
all my "flaws"
and know that
perfection is but
a myth
a mirage
a non-attainable
ideal.


It doesn't mean
I don't try to
become a
better person,
more tolerant
less critical
more accepting
less disparaging.


It doesn't mean
I don't strive
to improve
upon my shortcomings.



All it means
is recognizing
that perfection
isn't a standard
by which to judge
ourselves or fellow
human beings.


I am not perfect.


But my imperfections
make me the
unique person
I am.


They make me
the real me
not the person
I want to be
or pretend to be
but the person I am.


I am not perfect.



Are you?





Also posted on my blog.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Live YOUR Life

Photo courtesy of
Bing images
A couple days ago, I experienced a very unpleasant situation online, on Facebook. It was in a peripheral manner but still disturbing. In a nutshell, I had clicked to Like/Follow a new page that is quite successful for a specific product that I use. The owner of the page appears to be quite successful, with thousands of followers. I thought, "Okay, why not? A lot of people I know follow him."


Less than an hour later, one of his posts hit my wall. It contained what can only be described as a poisonous diatribe...a vicious, supercilious, holier-than-thou attack on someone who had interacted with this man on some earlier thread on his Facebook wall. I am not going to disclose the Facebook page or names of anyone involved. The personal attack this person perpetrated was long, involved, ugly and full of a confusing, garbled message that after reading, left me wondering what had riled him up so badly. He took pains to post what had been a fairly innocuous conversation and proceeded to ridicule, lambast and accuse this other person of outright heinous behavior. What I saw from my end was a woman who had written a thoughtful, fair minded and relatively mild comment that didn't agree 100% with this man's perspective.

In response to his attack and his blatant act of putting her on Facebook blast to his readers, she took the High Road and apologized in a sincere manner. She addressed his points, stood her ground in a polite manner, but also took pains to express that if any insult was given, that wasn't her intention. His reaction was to write what I would describe as an Epic reply....we're talking paragraph after paragraph (more than 15 paragraphs, in fact - I stopped counting and reading at 15) of ranting, snide remarks and insulting, ugly comments about this woman's intelligence. It was simply disturbing. I went so far as to write a short comment in the thread that I found nothing incendiary about the statement that caused the whole ruckus, but then I bowed out.

What is my point? Well, if I can say anything about this whole mess, it is that I often wonder why so many people insist on living someone else's life for them. That is exactly what this guy was doing. By attempting to bludgeon someone else into bowing down to you just to keep the peace, by reacting in outrage and an attacking manner to force that other person to adopt your opinion, all you are doing is trying to step right into that person's life and take over. News Flash to those of us who behave in that manner....YOU DO NOT BELONG THERE!! Step back into your own body, your own life and your own arena.

My Grandmother Reagan was quite fond of telling all of us grandkids (there are 27 of us) when we were small and falling victim to the need to exhibit anywhere near that type of behavior, "Stay on your own back porch and tend your own backyard. That will keep you PLENTY busy!" Sage words, my friends.

What joy could it possibly bring another human being to behave in such a churlish, vindictive, antagonistic and public manner towards someone they've never met face to face??? It is beyond my ability to comprehend, but it was quite clear in that thread that this guy was LOVING what he was doing. Thankfully, one of my friends had recently posted on his wall the way to UnLike a page on Facebook, and I wasted no time zipping over to his wall to find that thread, copy the directions and delete that man's Fan Page from my wall. I do not ever want that level of toxic energy around me.

There was a bright side to the whole drama. I sent a private message to the lady that was the victim of this scenario, offering my own opinion and support. She wrote back and we struck up what appears to be the beginning of a very nice friendship. File this under the category of one of my older, archived posts, "It's 'Funny' How". Sometimes wonderful things result from the strangest, most unlikely, occasionally unpleasant circumstances. Happily, this was such a moment, and I look forward to getting to know this new friend better in the coming days.

Am I saying that we should never offer our own opinions about anything? That we should stand meekly and mutely by as a friend, or even a complete stranger walks directly into the path of an oncoming bus (literally or figuratively)? Absolutely not. I am not saying either of those things. There's a handy word to apply here and it is 'prudence'. If you read Healing Morning blog often, then you already know I'm a fan of the dictionary, so here's what Webster has to tell us about prudence:

Prudence
Noun
1. The ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prudence)


I think we all can agree that there is no way on Earth that someone can exercise prudence when they're occupied with the egotistical tantrum this man was throwing out on his Facebook wall. I cannot speak for him or what wound him up to such an irrational level. Clearly, there were emotional triggers that were tripped for him and he just dove right into the thick of it, wallowing around, pulling it close like a favorite teddy bear, enjoying the whole drama of it all. To my way of thinking, this did nothing to serve him well. It shined a very harsh light on him and actually made him look and sound petty, vengeful and childish. My newfound friend, however, stepped firmly into loving, forgiving and conciliatory energy, forgave, apologized and then walked away.

It is human nature to want to slap back at someone when they attack us. This situation went beyond anything as simple as an attack and slipped over the edge into character assassination. Nothing good can result from that type of dark, ugly energy. I predict that this person [perpetrating the attack] more than likely lives in a constant state of turmoil, has endless disappointments and often wonders why nothing ever goes his way. If he could step outside of himself for a wee span of time and watch his behavior from this whole episode, he might truly be appalled at the negative energy he was spewing. He might, just maybe, recognize that he is creating his own reality...and a grandly negative one at that.

I don't know his history or what has made him such an unhappy person inside that he has to resort to publicly tearing another person down to derive some sense of self. It is saddening to me, to be honest, that this man walks such a negative path. Granted, this was a small, isolated window into his world, so perhaps I am painting him with an unfair and broad brush. I have found, however, that that type of aggressive, angry energy blasted in such a public manner tends to indicate ingrained, habitual behavior. I can only wish peace towards him and remove myself, which I have done.

It generally comes from a vast sense of dissatisfaction that someone is motivated to thrust themselves so forcefully into another person's life in this way. If you're happy with yourself, content with your beliefs and perspective, you will have little to no need to force anyone to believe, think or feel as you do. That's because you're tending your own yard, staying on your own back porch and living your own life. It sounds so simple, right? For some of us, it is. For many of us, it comes easy. For many, it is hard fought and hard won, this realization that living your own life is the quickest and surest way to happiness. It is when we stray from our own path and start meddling with others, telling them how to live, that we come to grief and cause some truly unnecessary, hurtful situations.

I know the road I choose to take. Yes, I stepped briefly into this whole scenario in an effort to soothe troubled waters. I'm a peacekeeper by nature, but not to such a degree that I will charge militantly into someone else's space and forcefully inflict my opinions. When it was clear that nothing could mitigate the situation at hand, I, too, walked away. But I wasn't alone....I had a new friend walking with me. So, again, it really is 'funny how' Life throws us these unexpected moments of startling beauty in the midst of a tangled mess!

Accountability is another good word to partner up with practising restraint, respect and prudence. I agree with my beloved Granny Reagan that staying in my own backyard and living my own life keeps me plenty busy on any given day. I find that I resonate and enjoy spending time with other wonderful people who embrace this concept, because in general, they are happy Souls. Certainly, we all have bad days where we slip up, but I find that I can detect that bright light shining from within that other person when they are tending their backyard, keeping their porch clean and neat and authentically living their own lives.

Photo courtesy of
http://www.coolfreeimages.net/
The harmony of someone who is emotionally well balanced is obvious and joyous to be around. It's a daily choice...sometimes a moment by moment one...but as I said earlier, I know which road I want to be on. And I know the type of people with whom I prefer to interact. My own Light recognizes you all, you know.



Your Light is a beacon and you make a difference in this world when you step forward in Conscious Thought, Conscious Love and the decision to Live YOUR Life.

Namaste.
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If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me at Healing Morning blog.