I Met God Today

Today I  meditated on compassion and not judging people, but just accepting them as is, including myself. My meditations are always a bit ADHD with thoughts coming and going. Images popping up before me and dissipating like smoke. I have learned not to fight what happens during meditation. I just stay present and accept what comes. I ignore my mind, which is constantly trying to narrate and document everything that is happening. I focus on my breathing, or a mantra, when the mind gets to insistent and just let it float to the background.

Today was no different. I was meditating, as usual, when suddenly there was this white light before my mind’s eye. It was a bright light and grew in intensity as it came closer. I grew to realize that this was God. I sat with him and just accepted the Divinity of this moment. My mind screamed at me to write it down and document it. I ignored the mind and allowed the observer part of myself to enjoy this extraordinary experience. Then it changed. The bright white light changed into an inky purplish black color. It was no longer a concentrated sun as the white light had been. It spread and filled the area of my vision, nebulous and changing. I came to understand that this was also God. She explained to me that God is all things; light and shadow. Duality is a necessary part of all things. She said just as I do not judge the moon, the negative charge of electrons or femininity, as bad, nor is the dark side of God or anyone. It just is.

This is a hard concept to wrap one’s head around. In the Taoist philosophy there is the Yin/Yang. This is the symbol we often see where the white and black swirls meet to form a perfect circle with a little spot of the opposite color on each side. It shows the nature of both being necessary for the whole and that each contains a bit of the other. Yin is feminine and the dark side. Yang is masculine and the light side. Neither is good or bad. But both are necessary for the formation of life. We could not continue the human race without both. A battery does not work if the charges are not aligned correctly. Night and day are both required for nature to exist in harmony. We must work and we must sleep. Why should it be shocking that God contains balance, duality within the Divinity of our source?

We have put so much negative connotation to the shadow side, that perhaps some of its true nature has been lost. Darth Vader tries to get Luke to come to the Dark Side and the movies make it all very evil. If you have ever watched the Disney movie Maleficent with Angelina Jolie, you know that a story can be told in a very different way, in which the villain’s story looks less like a villain and more human. Someone who is doing the best they can in the time and space they are in. What if we say that God is in all people? What if we noticed the duality and knew they were doing the best they could in the time and space they are currently in; to balance the duality within themselves? Know that they are doing their very best possible, to express the divinity from which they come. It does shift how we see each other, doesn’t it? I feel this makes it a bit easier to have compassion, rather than judgement, when experiencing others along this path called life.

Spend some time with this concept. Let it float around in your mind and in your dreams. Try it on and see how it feels. Find your own truth within it. I hope it helps you find more compassion for yourself as well as for others.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you find compassion over judgement naturally, as if by magic.

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Family Roots

Having placed a child for adoption, changed my life and changed me. It formed the way I think about things during a very formative part of my life. Maybe changed isn’t even the right word; maybe germinated things inside me is a better way to say it. I think, as a young person, it was not something I thought about a lot. Family was family.

It has given me new insight as I watch my daughter figure out who she is and explore her roots. The stories that I have heard my whole life about my ancestors, were not taken for granted by her. She, in fact, has a whole group of ancestors not even related to her by blood but rather by the heart. Because she has ancestral stories from the family who raised her as well. This does not makes these stories any less powerful or any less important on her journey.

I was recently having a discussion with a relative, where I stated people who are adopted need to find their roots. She shared with me that she was adopted. I had never known this about her. She told me she had completely bonded with her adopted family and felt no need to look for her birth family. I am so grateful that she shared this with me. It has taught me that the need to know blood ancestral stories is completely individualized. She does not have that yearning, that so many other people I have spoken to seem to have.

Since I grew up with my birth family, I cannot even begin to guess how I would feel. My grandmother used to talk about the importance of blood and family. I do know though, that family is much more than blood. There are soul families, who are not blood in this lifetime but may have been in past lifetimes. There are friends who feel like family. There are non-blood relatives like aunts, stepchildren and adopted parents that are every bit a part of who we are, without the blood connection. The face of what family looks like today is constantly changing and evolving. Who shows up to holiday meals can be a wonderful, changing, eclectic group of people that we call our family.

Family roots ground us. They hold us deeply to the earth. They can be like a blanket telling us who we are. However family roots, whether blood or not, do not define us. Allow yourself to be more than your story. Your story formed you but it is not you. Your story contributes to your view of the world through the experiences you have had, but allow that view to be ever changing.

I am blessed in my family heritage stories. They are full of examples of strength, comedy, and lots of love. They are not without their share of times of struggle, but it is that pressure that makes us into diamonds. As the parent of a child placed for adoption, I have spoken to many other birth parents over the years and it has been my experience that placing a child for adoption is a gift of love. Myself and other birth parents think about that little soul out there in the world. We send them love, wish them every happiness, and wonder how they are doing often.

However you define your family or who you chose to claim as your people, remember that those stories are a part of who you are, but you are much more than your family roots. Just as the roots of the tree hold it to the earth, nourish it, and allow it to grow; so do our roots. However, a tree is so much more than it’s roots and is shaped by so many things that have nothing to do with the dirt in which it’s planted.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your roots give you comfort, as if by magic.

*photo was taken in Bellingham, WA

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Silliness is Always a Good Idea: 7+ Ways I Have Added it to My Life

Do you like to be silly? It can feel very vulnerable to be playful and silly but it can also feed your soul and support your inner child. Let’s face it, there is a little kid hidden deep inside all of us. Here are some examples of how I have added some more play to my life. Trust me, even if it feels awkward at first, before long you will be laughing and not giving a darn what others think when they see you being goofy.

1. A friend and I recently drove up Mt Baker in Washington State. Along the way there was a big silhouette of Sasquatch. I excitedly ran up to him to shake his hand. My friend was not there to judge me but did manage to grab a shot for Facebook. Perhaps the cars driving by thought my behavior was a bit odd, but what they think of me does not impact me in the least. It was fun and we had some much needed laughs.

2. I invited a friend over for supper and decided to make it a theme meal. We had an inner child party; complete with sticky alien party favors, corndogs, and dreamsickles for dessert. It was a fun way to spend time with a friend while letting our inner children play and feel nourished.

3. Yet another friend and I went to a theme park together. It was busy time of year, when there seemed to be more work than hours in the day. There were big tubes for the kids to crawl through, on, and over. We got down on our hands and knees and crawled around in the play area like children; giggling and released a lot of the stress that had built up.

4. We try to have a family dinner once a week. For a recent family dinner we decided to have a tea party, complete with crustless sandwiches and fancy china. The kids had a great time but so did the three grown men around the table. They sipped their tea, held their pinky out, and laughed big belly laughs. They were a great example to the teenaged boy and younger children at the table that it is okay to be vulnerable and yourself.

5. When going for a walk, if I happen across a child chalk hopscotch game on the side walk, I cannot pass by with out hop, skipping, and jumping my way through it. It’s just plain and simple, feels great to be a kid at heart.

6. When my kids were teenagers we lived in a small rural community. There was not a lot to do. One night we just decided to crank up the music and dance the night away in the basement. Dance is a wonderful way to release pent up energy and be as silly as you want too. Those around you may get a good laugh and you will have some disco disco fun!

7. When Emy and I go the the BWCA, we bring kid’s blowup tubes. We push them down around our middles like pink and blue tutus and float in the clean cool lakes. We chat and play in the water like carefree little girls. It feels great to be so free for a little while.

The amount of silliness you can allow into your life is only hampered by your imagination and bravery. Play Clue by candle light, wear something fun like a big floppy hat, pop silly poses with statues, go to the park and swing as high as you dare, finger paint, or anything else your imagination suggests. It is a great way to have fun, release stress, and get some great big belly laughs going.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your life be filled with laughter, as if by magic!

*photo was taken at our kitchen table

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Wisdom From An Ancestor

My great grandmother had a saying; “You will never be truly happy until you think more about others than you do yourself” – Ura McGurran. When you make choices in life, do you consider how they affect others? Maybe too much. Maybe so much that you are living your life for others and not taking care of yourself. So how do you strike a healthy balance? There is so much emphasis today on self care and putting ourself first. How can my great grandmother’s words still be relevant now? Let’s take a look at some self care activities and selfless acts and see where the common ground lies.

Do you feel guilty when you participate in self care activities? There is no real reason to feel guilty for caring for yourself. Do your self care activities hurt anyone? One really wonderful thing about self care, is that by doing it, you set a good example for others. A recent conversation I had with a friend, was about her feeling conflicted because something she needed to do for herself, was being viewed as selfish by her daughter. I encouraged her to go ahead and do it anyhow because, by doing so, she was setting an example for her daughter about taking care of herself and following her dreams. Her actions didn’t hurt anyone. In fact her actions help recharge her to further help others. Even when we take care of ourselves we can still be thinking of others and the example we are setting.

Selfless acts can also be a form of self care. My husband helps a friend rake his leaves, every year. He has never been asked to do this. There is no expectation that he does it. He just does it because he cares about his friend. The really good feeling he gets in his heart from helping out his buddy is a form of self care also. Selfless acts can also be a form of self care. Does this idea surprise you? It is possible to think more about others and still find happiness and balance in your life.

When we think about people who have inspired us as a world, we see that their acts brought them both happiness and purpose. People like Martin Luther King Jr, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, and the Dalai Lama; show us how caring for others is also caring for ourselves. I assure you, that new outfit will help you feel great, but there is no greater joy than helping another and seeing the true appreciation in their eyes. When we help others do something they could not have done for themselves, a ripple goes out into the world. The movie “Pay It Forward” taught us this. It entertained us while sending a message that “random acts of kindness” are a form of self care. They help us feel good and shift the energy of the world higher.

By thinking more of others than we do ourselves, as my great grandmother so wisely shared with her children generations ago, we are also taking care of ourselves. By lending a hand to those in need, we can find happiness, change the world, and set an example for future generations.

Yes, please care for yourself. Treat yourself to quiet walk in a pretty place or take a nap when you are tired. But remember, true happiness can also come from helping others.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May your life be filled with true happiness, as if by magic!

 

 

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A Story of Remembering

I want to tell you a story. This might be a story of old or it might be the story of now. It is likely a story that has occurred countless times throughout history. It is a story of trust and a story of renewal, but most of all, it a story of remembering.

There was a young woman. She was a mother or she wasn’t. She had responsibilities as we all do. One day, as she was walking through the forest of life, she saw a path. This path was not into the light but rather was a path into the darkness. This path went deep into the forest and it looked very dangerous. It was jagged and had many curves. It would have been impossible to learn were the path would take her by simply looking. The darkness of this path called to her. It called to her and it pulled at her, although she knew pain and betrayal waited for her along this path, she felt oddly intrigued by it.

Now I have to tell you, this young woman had always been responsible. She had always done what had been asked of her, what was expected of her, and even more. Everyone in her tribe felt she was the perfect young woman. Every mother wanted to call her daughter. The older men all wanted to call her daughter and the younger men chased her to be their bride. She cared for the young and learned from the elderly. She was the definition of smart and responsible.

Despite her history, as such a stand up member of the community, the young woman felt she must walk this path. She had to voyage into the darkness, even though it meant walking away from her responsibilities. She had to risk being hurt and had to hurt those who had placed so much trust and pride in her. She stepped onto the path, dropping the baskets that she had brought into the forest, leaving them where they lay.

The path was arduous. She stumbled and fell many times. She met scary creatures who pretended to be her friends or help her, but in the end, they we leading her farther into the darkness. They hurt her, physically, emotionally, and separated her from the light. Sometimes she tried to find her way back but they kept pulling her deeper into the darkness. They kept pulling her further from who she had been. They caused her to feel like a completely different person. It did not take long before she forgot who she was. She forgot she was from the light and she believed she was a creature of the darkness.

This went on for many years. The village mourned her. They felt that she was lost to them forever. They feared she would never find her way back to the light. But one day, she stumbled into the village. She was wild and untamed. She was a mere shadow of the bright young woman who she had once been. The darkness hung all around her and her “friends” from there, watched from the shadows. They called to her and pulled at her.

There was something about the village that felt like home to her, although she could not really recall. The community did not trust her, they avoided her. They would not let her care for the young or spend time with the elderly. They did not want to claim her as they once did. When they tried to give her responsibilities she would wander off or never fulfill them. Even though she was back, they felt she was still lost. They still did not recognize her as the brave and ambitious woman she had once been.

One day the village wise woman (the witch) was working quietly on something. She had been watching all of this. She saw how the darkness pulled at the woman, but she also saw how the woman tried to resist the darkness. She knew something deep within the young woman wanted to live fully in the light again, but there was so much baggage from the darkness, she couldn’t seem to step away from it. It had become a part of her identity.

The witch touched her finger to the young woman’s brow. The place in front of where the third eye resides. “Remember” said the wise old woman, “remember who you are”. The young woman blinked at her elder. The darkness seemed to fall away. Her “friends” let go of their holds on her and slunk back onto the treacherous path. Light beamed all around the young woman and she suddenly did remember who she was.

From that day on she worked to gain the trust of her community. She became who she had been only better. She was wiser now. Having known the darkness and living among the darkness helped her better see how she belonged in the light. It helped her embrace and enjoy her responsibilities. She become one others looked to for wisdom, for she had lived what they could never imagine and returned to the light.

Time would pass and worlds would change. The young woman would become the witch in the future. The wise woman would become the young woman again. This story would continue to unfold throughout history over and over again. Is this your story? It is my story. It is many peoples’ story. Forgive yourself for the time in the darkness. It was a part of your journey. It is done or nearly done now. You are wiser for it. Remember who you are! Remember that you are of the light!

Thank you for ready no my blog today! May you remember your true nature, as if by magic!

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What inspires you?

I went to a speech contest for my Toastmaster’s District tonight. There was a wide variety of speeches. Funny tall tales started the night off with great humor. There were passionate speeches, speeches that were serving a mission, and teaching speeches. The speakers were all good, brave, and inspiring. It got me thinking about what is inspiring. What inspired me? What inspires you?

Motivation is an external, temporary high that PUSHES you forward. Inspiration is a sustainable internal glow which PULLS you forward.

~ Thomas Leonard

What is it that makes something inspiring? Why is it when we read or hear some message, we feel that pull to take action. Something inside us resonates with the message. One of the speeches tonight was about running. I have run for fitness and to train for events. I have completed several road races (enough to have a quilt made from the t-shirts) and 3 half marathons. I know the love hate relationship with running. I hate to do it but love to be able to do it. My husband is a kayaker and hiker but has never been much of a runner. I asked him if the speech had the same motivating effect on him. He said that it did make him consider giving it a try. Was the inspirational call to lace up the sneakers more of a call to me, because I know the sound of shoes hitting the pavement in a rhythmic pattern in the still, quiet morning? The feel of runners lined up for a big 5K event with the group excitement carrying everyone across the starting line when the pistol fires, runs in my veins. I have a running playlist on my phone and certain songs that have play during my train times will always be linked to running in my heart. Does all of this predispose me to be inspired by her speech, even though I have not run in a few years?

I want to inspire people to overcome their self limiting beliefs. I want to help people do what they may not; even believe is a possibly for them. Am I more likely to reach those people who have already experienced overcoming their own fears? Those who have moved past their own self doubt in the past, are they the spirits I can reach? I am happy to to inspire all of these people, but I also want to inspire those who have not had that experience before. I want to reach that person who is feeling my messages are for others…  who hasn’t tasted success. I want that sneaky inspiration to get beyond their walls and start to pull them out of the darkness. I want them to break the shell they have been in and grow beyond what they thought was impossible. Then I want them to share their stories to inspire others! We have all been there. I was the overweight kid, who had no athletic ability and poor self esteem. Somehow I have become a woman who has roughed it in the boundary waters, ran half marathons, kayaked on the Mississippi, hiked on Mount Reiner, traveled to 18 different countries (so far), and Co-authored 3 books.

I want to inspire you! I want you to feel the pull to do what you think or thought you couldn’t! I want to hear about you blazing trails, taking the trip of a lifetime, and surpassing your dreams! Be inspired fiends and inspire others!

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Who Am I?

Recently I asked a group of friends for advice. The answer heard over and over again was to be myself. What does that mean? Who am I, really? When you think about yourself, do you know who you are? We have many different faces that we show the world. Is one of them truly you?

Eckhart Tolle would tell you that you are the watcher. The consciousness who sits behind your personality watching the story of your life play out. Are you aware of your observer? Do you notice the noticing? It is wild to think about? This is what meditation is supposed to help with. Some people get confused and think meditation is supposed to quiet the mind, but really what should happen is the noticing. Noticing the thoughts and allowing them. Don’t try and stop them or control them. If you try to do this you will just have more thoughts, about why you can’t stop your thoughts. Then you will notice that is also a thought and the cycle goes on. By just peacefully allowing the thoughts, with no judgement, you find quiet. If you are walking through a prairie of beautiful wild flowers, you allow the flowers, you do not make them wrong or right. Some may be more pleasing than others but you do not try and control them. You allow them to grow in their own perfect time and place. You are content to be the watcher, strolling through the field of flowers.

However, when someone tells you to be yourself, I do not think the silent observer is really who they mean. So where does that leave us? Did they mean I should be myself as I am with my daughters; a mother and nurturer? Do they think I should be the me I am when I am at work; driven and ambitious? Maybe I should be the me I am with my friends; happy and encouraging. Perhaps the me who is a spiritual teacher; guiding and confidant. Guess I should have ask them what they meant by being myself. Who I am when I am with my husband is different from who I am with my grandchildren or parents. They are all true versions of me but each role asks something different of me. My husband needs me to be his teammate and best friend. My parents need me to be someone who has grown up and made them proud. My grandchildren need me to be fun, loving, caring, and to help them explore and learn about the world. These are all true versions of myself. No one, is more true, than any other one.

So with the advise to be myself, where does that leave me? The watcher who sits quietly in the back of my mind or one of the other roles that I play in life? It is all of it. It is staying true to what intuitively feels right in the time and space I am in. To hold on to the parts of myself that sees the divine in all people. That believes only love can conquer fear and that fear is at the root of all negative emotions. This is who I am at a soul level.

Nameste my friends! The Divine in me sees the Divine in you. May your day be filled with peace and a sureness of who you are. I love you.

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