Pick Living

I walked into a facility this afternoon. The cutest elderly lady was walking the hallway. Forty five minutes later, after visiting my client, she was still walking them.

I stopped. She stopped. “You are adorable. My name is Millie.”

She extended her hand out, “I’m Betty.” I drew her close and gave her a hug. She smelled delicate.

“I think it’s wonderful you walk so much and without any assistance.”

“At this age if I don’t everything gets stiff!” She giggled.

She didn’t say her age. She must be in her 80’s.

“What’s the best part of being this age?” I don’t know why I asked.

She smiled and without skipping a beat, “I’ve lived! Long. It’s been a life. It’s been full. It’s been a privilege. I don’t have to rush anywhere. I’m already there.”

I saw no signs of dementia. She was clear. Strong. Alert. I caught myself exhaling a deep pause. My arms got goosebumps which is a sign of truth and a divine aha.

I hugged her again. She touched my left cheek. I thanked her for the hall pass and class. She smiled. Her eyes twinkled. She kept walking.

I am grateful for living. This long as well. I’ve never been this old. I will never be this young again. It’s a privilege. I’m trying not to rush. Signs keep showing up about slowing down. I have chosen this life. Not settling for anything that makes me cringe. I’m here…Collecting wisdom from halls and angels.

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Gathering of Souls


Every single time I meet Someone it becomes an opportunity to open shelter for amazing stories: the dreamers, worriers, artists, parents, children, healers, damaged, scarred, mischievous, adventurous, therapists, creators, believers, artists, doubters, skeptics, searchers, lovers, haters, naturalists, teachers, optimists, poets, spirits…on and on.  
We classify ourselves with labels. Who we are has little to do with what we are and what we do. And when you ask someone about themselves they will have categories. We relate to the titles because that’s the way we have been programmed to perceive our status in society.

I am always deeply surprised at the stories of those who are willing to share their truth. The superficiality skims off, sliding to the sides and the light in their eyes shines brighter than any star.  
These are the ones who interest me beyond mysticism. I am always in awed at those souls who do not see their light but make no excuses for who they are. They are certain of their journey. I love them! They teach me something about what I don’t see in myself. The reflectors illuminate the way. I step back and think, “How can I be more like this? How can I find my purpose and truth with certainty?”
If most people knew what was around them, the beings they carry with them: the guides, teachers, and souls who have passed on, they would release so many fears. We are always taken care of and watched over. The paradigms of our belief systems have conditioned us to live in boxes. We have been taught to follow the masses and not ask questions. Many hide behind religions, political views, and narrow-minded prejudices.  
I am so thankful for those moments when I meet truth via a new soul.  
I forget how laughter, creating, and sharing allow our spirits to soar. This beautiful forum of posting and engaging has helped us find many who understand. Thank you! Thank you for such a beautiful reminder of what is truly important in life: the simplicity of being present among another and interchanging experiences. May you find that one thing that lights your spirit on fire this week!

My soul honors yours

namaste

There are days that require more inner self-awareness than others. Some days demand acceptance and a higher state of consciousness to take the wheel. I recognize I am not in control. I can only continue showing up, day after day, to learn, experience, and travel towards the end of my last breath.

After only sleeping 3 hours last night, I decided to run towards yoga. I figured it would stretch and open up space for whatever is causing my lack of sleep the last few days. Sitting outside looking at the stars in the middle of the night isn’t working. Meditating relaxes me but it isn’t putting me into sleep. Deep breathing alongside our Great Dane isn’t helping either. “Yoga,” I thought, “Would do the trick to get through the crevices and gaps of my body that seem to have an inability to find a dream state.”

So, yoga it was! Because…I have some brilliant ideas every once in a while.

I am extremely open minded when it comes to people. I could care less what anyone wears, believes in, or how they express themselves as long as it’s not hurting me (or anyone around me). I am oblivious to my surroundings as I have learned to detach from all the energy around people. I, basically, stay in my own little world.  Very few things can rattle me.

The class was full. I took my mat and placed it in the middle of the room in one of two spaces available. A sweet young yogi took the last open space right next to me. He was adorable. But, within minutes I became uncomfortable. I have a keen sense of smell. I am put into shock with certain scents or odors. I had to stop the gagging reflex. This smell was poignant and it took more than half the class for me to be in the moment. I even envisioned a huge flood of lavender and eucalyptus waves hovering around me. To no avail! I couldn’t concentrate or get comfortable for a long while.

Now, you must ask, “Why didn’t you get up and leave?”

I asked myself the same question a few times too. I tend to withhold space even in discomfort. It sucks at times, while other times it is priceless. I have a relentless tenacious gene. I knew there was a lesson in this situation. I felt the tears come up in anger for wanting a self-loving class where I could just relax and be.

This was the best thing that could have happened for my soul…today!

The entire discomfort obligated me to focus on letting go. I had to adjust and readjust by own internal senses, judgment, and find empathy. I had to cut through the bullshit of my moral compass and find compassion for every pose. I was forced to visit some things that I find intolerable and must address (cause I tend to put up and shut up sometimes for way too long). There were moments I held my breath until the pose changed. This caused so much heat in my body, that I began to feel light headed. I, also, felt that the one hour and fifteen minutes seemed to last three hours.

And, then something happened towards the end.

I no longer smelled the cutie pie next to me. I didn’t feel anything. I had opened up space for three women who are having some major issues. I was able to send light, love, and the extension of peace. My heart softened and opened up. I felt me again. I felt my muscles relax. My mind stopped reacting.  I had to reach that inner peace, on my mat, before I could have provided it for anyone. It was a struggling time. It was ridiculously challenging for 75 minutes, or 4,500 seconds of my day. The moment I chose to zoom out of the room, into a higher state of consciousness, I felt the release of ego. And, a deep sigh escaped my body in a silent room….ahhhhh!

Life can be hard. Choose to shift perspective. Let things go. Why the hell do we resist the crap that comes up? Why do we stay, or why do we go? Why can’t we just dive into the discomfort and see where it takes us?  We’ve been conditioned in our society to find quick fixes to replace the discomfort.  This is why addiction is present in so many.  We have been taught to survive and not exist. We avoid anything that puts a little inconvenience in our way.

I want to live. I want to exist. I want to not feel as if I am surviving another episode, circumstance or situation. I want to embrace the lessons and pray that the next one is sweet and delightful.

It doesn’t matter if it’s through silence, odors, sound, or the Ego chit chatting excessively in our heads. The universe will provide the most amazing opportunity, usually through a negative vehicle, in order for us to learn. It’s up to us to be selfless and find the deep awareness to recognize the invaluable lessons. Discomfort is the priceless teacher in the journey. Today you may find teachers in your path that will make you think and rethink who you are, what you believe, and the things you are no longer willing to tolerate and accept.

Allow for those teachers.  Make space for them. Thank them.

When I was packing up, rolling up the mat, I bowed my head to the young yogi, smiled, and thanked him for participating in practice with me. He smiled, bowed and returned, “Namaste!”

My soul honors yours. I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides.

I am grateful for those souls who instruct me with their presence. I honor the divine light in them, the truth in us, and the ability to love freely.  The universe has a way of providing everything we need when we are ready to accept.

Humanity is Tough

This morning I went to get some candles at a store and no sooner did I walk in that a friend called to meet for lunch.  As I was rushing to exit the store I saw this frail older woman looking at towels by the registers.  I passed her but as I got to the sliding glass doors I was drawn to turn around and go speak with her.  I touched her lightly on her arm, “You are such a beautiful woman.  I am drawn by your light.” In total shock and dismay she looked at me and began to cry.  She couldn’t speak.  I continued while reaching for her hands, “I know you must have looked at yourself in the mirror today and spoke to your image very negative ‘cause that’s what we do, but you are stunning!  I hope you see the delightfulness of your being.”

After she composed herself she began, “I am not half the person I used to be.  A year ago this month I had cancer and my intestines have been chopped off.  I’ve lost over 50 lbs.  Chemo has basically killed me.  I am a walking cadaver.  I am not a young woman and I feel even older than what the image in the mirror tells me.”  I began to cry.  Her words carried such loss, desperation, and a complete lack of faith.  “I shouldn’t be here right now.  I’ve passed my expiration date and cannot understand why I am still here.”

I hugged her tightly and said, “Oh my God, what an amazing and magical opportunity to live life to the fullest.  What an incredible journey full of endless possibilities.  Here you are standing in your glory looking all glamorous with an angel by your side.  What an amazing way to take the world by storm because you have been given a second chance.”  She looked through her tears and smiled gasping for more words.

“Thank you!  Thank you for saying this on a day that I felt was my last.  Lately that’s all I am doing is waiting on death to come get me.  I came to this store to distract my thoughts and here you are telling me such beautiful things.”  We both hugged and cried.  She asked me for my name and I just answered, “It doesn’t matter.  I am you.  You are me.”  Quickly I remembered that my friend was in the parking lot waiting for me.  I kissed her hand, rubbed her face with tenderness and exited.  I was so moved into overwhelming sorrow that my friend thought something had happened to me in the store.

We are a tough bunch.  We are harder on ourselves than others.  We are given a zillion chances to see the positive light of hope, and yet, even with scares and obstacles that we overcome through grace we still decide to live in the past of sorrow.  Our humanity has such rough edges.  We don’t stop to touch another with a gentle word or a smile.  Half the time we rush around like if we were in ant colony looking for food.

Now hours later I think of this broken soul.  I came home and lit a candle for her.  She was my teacher today.  A total stranger lifted my hope, grace, and love.  I’ve been her many times.  We all have had moments of pure desperation, thinking of checking out, rushing out of this world to something calmer to find peace.  She will never know what that conversation meant to me.  I only hope she finds the strength to look inside herself and explore that light that is casting out into this world.  That’s really all that matters.  We are reflections of one another.  In the end all we have is our humanness that connects us to divinity. We are never ever, ever alone.

Lessons from an Infant

infant

It has been 26 years since I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing the intricate lessons from an infant. They arrive into this world with complete presence and a spiritual awareness that gets lost throughout the years. We, as parents and caretakers, mold a child and tarnish their essences from the openness to the deformity of what is acceptable in our society.  How very sad!  I am guilty and have been responsible for this as well.  Now, in my years of middle age, I can appreciate and marvel at the teachings from a little one.   It takes a second chance at raising a child to notice what was once dismissed in youth:

  1. Be present at all times.  A baby isn’t worried about anything but what (s)he needs.  They are completely living in the moment.  They poop and cry to be changed.  They are hungry and cry to be fed.  They are tired and cry to be put down.  Time is an illusion. Babies have no sense of an hour, a minute or a day.
  2. Vulnerability is strength.  Babies don’t worry about what you think.  You smile, they smile.  They ask for everything through a cry or scream. Their facial expressions are endless.  They show openness at all times.  A baby isn’t thinking, “What will they think of me when I crap? What will they think of me when I pass gas?”  There are no mixed signals of what they want and cannot have. They don’t make excuses for it their desires. They wear vulnerability as their main guidance and trait.
  3. The world is a playground.  A baby will marvel at a red bowl, a stuffed animal, or a sofa cushion with the same intensity of wonder. They study it with a beautiful bewilderment of learning.  They are constantly studying their surroundings.  You can leave the room and return and they will look at you with appreciation.   The acquired knowledge is miraculous.  Every part of their day is magical while they reach a milestone: whether it is sitting up, crawling, talking or walking. A baby relishes in playtime.  Their curiosity allows them to turn everything into an adventure.
  4. A smile is contagious.   Babies are pure joy.  They mimic smiles.  They smile, you smile, and the continuous action turns into laughter.  Their eyes even smile.  They are pure ecstatic energy.  Babies teach us to find happiness in every corner.   A smile is a mood enhancer.
  5. Touch is a means of survival.   Babies require touch.  They depend on it for their existence.  They require the hands of an adult to care for them.   They will grab on to a finger, a hand, a leg or whatever they can to feel the touch of safety.
  6. Love enters through birth.  You want to know God, spend some time with a baby.  They are the embodiment of love and spirit.  They are raw, without judgment, and full of divine light.  To be this open as an adult is a gift for our humanness.  It would benefit us tremendously to keep an open heart.  Infants are ego-less. They love and forgive every second.
  7. Every day is a miracle.  Each morning my granddaughter looks at me and her environment as if it was the first mystical moment of her life.  She coos and jerks with excitement.  I wake to this and for a few seconds think about how she is seeing her world.  I am reminded that there is always something to be grateful about during our day.  Babies live through the generosity of miracles and God.
  8. Never give up.  Babies keep trying to roll over, to sit, to stand and to walk.  With every milestone they keep moving forward.  They don’t give up.  They have the most tenacious spirit out there. Survival of the fittest!   They fall and get right back up as if the ground is their cheerleader.
  9. Don’t feel guilty for sleeping.   In our society we are scrutinized for taking naps.  I personally like to go to bed early and rise before the sun is out.  Those around me usually have some kind of sarcastic or negative comment about my sleeping routines.  For many years I would be frazzled by the judgments.  Babies don’t care.  They are the best teachers in how to sleep peacefully.  They are tired so they sleep.  They also teach us how precious sleep plays a huge role in our clarity, concentration, and personality.
  10. Be authentic to your knowing.  Babies are great judge of characters.  When they feel comfortable with someone they will let you know it.  They are at home in your arms.  If they don’t feel safe they will scream.  Babies teach us that we must follow our gut.  It is this divine knowing that gets clouded later on in childhood.

Every new day I am learning from my sweet baby girl.  She is reminding me what is important.  I am blessed by the lessons.  Teachers arrive in all shapes and sizes.  Lately mine is a tiny 15-1/2 lbs. baby girl with a tender heart and a smile that melts me in seconds.

Failing our children

We are failing the children of the future by the actions we have allowed through laws today.  I rarely watch the news, however, two nights ago Matt stopped on Anderson Cooper.  He was covering the news on a 9 year old little girl who was sent back to her biological father after several years of being in a stable foster home.  The foster parents were in the process of adopting her.  Her biological dad just came out of jail.  Apparently due to the wonderful laws in his state of Nebraska because his sentence was reduced from 10 years to 8 years he now has the custodial rights to this child.  May I say that I don’t know why he was in jail and don’t care!  This man has been out of her life for years and this young girl has had the chance to have a normal life with folks who love her.  These adoptive parents are heartbroken.  They are devastated.  I don’t know where in a judge’s right mind she can be placed with her sperm donor.  This is the perfect example of laws failing in this country.

I don’t normally write about politics.  I live in my own bubble of love, contentment, compassion and happiness.  Recently I have come to see the injustice of what’s considered “human rights.”  When my adopted-mentally challenged-bipolar daughter was a teenager I tried through every venue to get her tubes tide.  I didn’t want to think what would become of her with a child.  She’s barely able to make healthy choices for herself, let alone a child in tow.  Every doctor I visited, including Plan Parenthood, expressed to me that she had “rights.”  In those rights she had to be the one to choose if she wanted the operation.  Mind you, before the age of 18 if she hurt anyone (with her volatile temper and violent demeanor) I would be the one in jail.  Yet, she had the right to make such a life changing decision!   Once she turned 18 years of age she was responsible for herself.  I was able to get her into an assistant living facility.  I never babied her or enabled her to do things for herself.  She’s a survivor.  Now several years later her poor choices have landed her in the hospital beaten by her partner, and a baby to support.  Watching the news I am reminded that this monster of a man could possibly fight for custody of my grand-daughter at some point between his in’s and out’s of jail.  The laws are made by folks who have no clue what it is to be in those sorts of situations.  Let’s get real: the common folk have no say!

I don’t know what will become of my daughter and her daughter.  I have no rights as a grandparent.  Apparently it is what it is.  We have to adhere and abide as good citizens of the law.  I have exhausted my own resources to see how she can now get her tubes tide since one child is way too much for her.  Her answer is always the same, “I know my rights.  You can’t make me.”  She does have her human rights memorized.  I must say even without medication she still can focus on those sorts of issues.  Most likely she will end up pregnant again and again while the system supports her with funding, exhausting the tax payer’s money.  It’s a vicious cycle.  I don’t have the money to go fight the State, the Supreme Court, and their appalling laws.  My daughter was adopted from a third world country but her mentality seems to still remain there since the age of 9 when she arrived into my care.  So the next generation continues to run through the cycle of fostering, drugs, prostitution, abuse and everything under the sun that comes with that kind of living.  And, add the chance that her partner chooses to protest against her, he may then have custody of this child.  Apparently the media will cover it and make a sensational story out of the events!

I ask, am I the only who sees a desperate call for changing our laws?  What has happened to our society?  If it doesn’t pertain to us we look straight ahead with blinders on like the horses in a race.  I am guilty of this as well.  I figure, I can’t fix the world.  I ended up with six children because I thought I could fix the world one child at a time.  I had schizophrenia, fetal alcohol syndrome, bipolar, learning disabilities, mentally capacities, split personality disorder, narcissistic and detachment disorder just to name a few (and I say this lightly).  There is not one person who can fix all that.  I believed love would help these children.  I believed a healthy home structure would give them all they needed to go out into the world.  The joke has been on me.  Now, I sit with my heart in my hands, praying that no other child falls through the loopholes of our system.  There is no help for our society if we don’t start to make changes through lawmakers.  I have no idea what needs to be done.  I only know we are letting our future generations down.

I have a friend who lives in Florida and her daughter and grandchild live in Chicago.  The ex-husband and baby daddy has gone in and out of the courts to make sure that they are prisoners of that city and state.  My friend can’t have them in Florida living with her because the courts have given this self-righteous man the rights to govern the future of these two people.  The rights to be parents have been removed in so many levels.  The rights for teachers to teach have been ignored and overturned.  And, the rights to make healthy choices for our mentally challenged children have been diminished.

This morning I stand open hearted praying for a shift in our society.  I have no idea what will become of my daughter and this precious baby girl.  I have no clue what will happen to that little girl who is with a father she didn’t really know in Nebraska while her adopted family is in Tennessee.  I fear that the system will work against us all.  There are times that “human rights” pertain more to those who have the funding to make things happen, than to those who are living the scenarios.  What’s best for everyone?  Who determines what one family should have and another shouldn’t?  I have to believe that there are still folks out in the system looking for a child’s best interest.  That’s my meditation today.  And, that’s all I can hope for while watching the world disappoint one child at a time!

the case of Sonya: http://bringsonyahome.com/

 

…Until you walk in my shoes

love is the absenceWhenever I feel an attack I become a recluse.  My hermit ways grab a hold of me and I escape into a world of silence.  After releasing it writing about it comes natural.  Judgment has many complexities.  It is about our own intuition and perception.  It is also about wisdom, telltale, warnings and consultation.  Judgment is also painful, opinionating, deceitful and full of many false criticisms.  It can destroy relationships, friendships and anything it comes in contact within the umbrella of gossip.  We are all subject to it.  No one is exempted from it. And, this simple noun, with all its complexities, rises and grabs us hold.  We are forced to step back and re-evaluate, not only others but ourselves in the process of relating to them.

When we are emotionally unavailable life is a huge struggle.  We show the strength in our spirit as soon as the walls start to cave around us.  Strength is not shown in moments of comfort and happiness.  It appears in moments of trials and difficulties through the courage of letting go. Judgment and criticism are catalysts to stepping back and watching the ego take the lead.  Challenges push us to stay in hot water and brew to develop into something magically unavailable to us in other instances of our lives.  We become authentically in nature if we allow the self to live in honesty while honoring our truths.  The judgments from others can’t really hurt us if we are grounded in authenticity.  I always say out loud when I am making a point, “I know my truth!”  That knowing comes from divinity.

I believe that we learn through the challenges of feelings.  We are pushed to escape our egos and allow the Divine to help.  When things are going well we rarely go to Spirit.  It’s as if we need to find pain in order to fall on our knees and get closer to God.  It’s ironic.  The lower you are the higher you become.   Being emotionally honest allows the freedom to celebrate Spirit, the core essence of our being.   I find that the older I get the more emotionally available I become with myself.  I am not running.  I embrace the emotions, sometimes holding them too tightly to finally allowing them to subside.  My humanness craves for the liberation of principle.  I am accepting me in the perfection of being the best version of me there is in this world.

A few things I have learned from the vile of other’s opinions.  And, here are quotes that fit any situation that causes us to step into the uncertainty of criticism and how it affects us.  Unless you’ve walked in my shoes, you cannot know how I will react, and vice versa.

– “Do not wait for the last judgment. It comes every day.” – Albert Camus

– “People hasten to judge in order not to be judged themselves.” – Albert Camus

– “Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping them up.” – Jesse Jackson

– “We judge others instantly by their clothes, their cars, their appearance, their race, their education, their social status. The list is endless. What gets me is that most people decide who another person is before they have even spoken to them. What’s even worse is that these same people decide who someone else is, and don’t even know who they are themselves.” – Ashely Lorenzana

– “I am aware that I am less than some people prefer me to be, but most people are unaware that I am so much more than what they see.” – Douglas Pagels

– “Don’t judge a man by his opinions, but what his opinions have made of him.” – Georg Christoph Lichetenber

Sadly enough there’s no return from gossip and judgment.  Once it is out there it is difficult to deny it.  The only thing one must do is keep moving to the best of your own judgment.  All the great masters expressed that the secret to compassion is to turn the other cheek.   We must give thanks for those teachers who hurt us and push us to expand our hearts.  Our hearts have to break, pain has to be somewhat present, and then we grow.  I’ve come to realize that’s how it is with love and God.  There is such beauty in allowing the truth to come through our weakness.  The more we allow ourselves to feel the discomfort, the easier the journey becomes.  I vow to become more emotionally honest and speak up when the pain appears, when joy embraces me, and when Spirit speaks to me.  I wish you freedom as you gift yourself the ability to honor all emotions and live authentically.  Life is too short to pretend, hide, neglect and reject the emotional roads that lead to truth.  Judgment, or not, the choice is always yours…until you walk in my shoes I will not allow you to dictate my emotions.  Ultimately you are only responsible for one person…YOU!