Monday, November 30, 2015

Listening In and Letting Go~

When we are open, what we need comes to us.

 It's easy to think we always have to work hard to find the answers to all of our questions, or to understand the lessons life wants to teach us, or to figure out the next step in our life's journey, but I don't think that is necessarily true. What I mean is that I think the answers we are in search of, the lessons, the next step, or the direction we keep searching for shows up and becomes clear when we are ready and open to receiving what is next. And I can hear my higher self saying, "And not a minute sooner!" I think most of us are used to working hard at figuring out what's next. And for most us on that constant quest to figure things out, whatever we are after doesn't seem to come fast enough. I'm no different, but I do think my patience and faith in the unfolding of my life has improved.

Here's a good example: As I was reading through this great book I got recently by Colleen Saidman Yee called "Yoga for Life," I had several moments where I realized that the main teachings of the practice have become an integrated part of my life and some of the teachings that I also share with my students. In the book Colleen writes, "Yoga tells us that it's more useful to practice swaha, the idea of which is to do the best you can, and let go of the rest. Tibetan Buddhists often translate swaha as "so be it." I often tell my students, especially the new ones, to just do their best and let go of the rest, I often tell my students this because I want them to realize that you can only do what you can do right now. And I want them to be okay with that and to let the learning happen over time. Understanding the poses and making the practice a part of your life doesn't happen right away, and yet every time we step on our mats, something is happening even when it's not noticeable.

I think a lot of us think that if we read the right books, study ancient scriptures, practice daily, claim a Guru, go to India, become Vegan, all of the above, or anything else you can think of, then we will be deemed good enough, understand life, and will have the answers to what next. But that's not true.

I'm not saying that good things can't happen or won't happen if you decide to do any of the things I've just listed above. Good things happen all the time in the most random of situations. And I'm sure you can think of an example from your own life recently. What I am saying is that just because we go to India or read an ancient text does not guarantee understanding or answers, experience or wisdom that can only be gained from living life itself.

And even as I am writing that all the seeking and doing in the world will not necessarily yield the answers or direction we are in search of, what we need is coming to us all the time. It sounds like this makes no sense at all, but it does. We get what we need when we are ready and when the time is right, or ripe for integration and use.

It's kind of like channeling while writing, or hearing the voice of your higher self while writing. If you try too hard to hear the voice of your guiding ones, or higher self, you'll miss it. To grasp is to chase it away. It's really just about softening and listening lightly but deeply to what rises up into your field of awareness. The teachings, the answers, the direction we need, or whatever it is we are wanting to attain arises in the very same way, lightly and when we least expect it.  It's all really just about letting life happen.

Let what you need come to you. It's already there, or at least it's on it's way. And in the meantime, do whatever works to help you maintain that deep inner connection and to keep the channels clear, whether that's writing or walking meditation, art or baking, star gazing or sun bathing. Learn to let go a little, soften and listen in. If you are paying attention, you will get it. You will get what you need when you are ready, and not a minute sooner. ; )

Stay Open,

Friday, November 6, 2015

Life is Precious

It's been one of those can't-stop-crying kind of days. I managed to pull myself together enough to get Liam to school for the Veteran's Day celebration and ceremony his class and school had been preparing for over the last few weeks. We made it for most of the day and then Liam and Lila both started to fall apart from too much sitting and not enough food. I decided it was time to go home and regroup.

It's been a hard couple of days full of unexpected news, changed plans, disappointment, loss, and sorrow. My parent's were supposed to arrive yesterday for a visit and for Papa to attend the Veteran's Day ceremony with Liam. This was going to be a special occasion for Liam and Papa. Unfortunately, while my Dad was on the road headed to our house, he got a call from his sister letting him know his youngest brother, Troy, was dying. We knew he wasn't doing well and that his last round of Chemo was particularly hard on him, but everyone thought he had more time. In light of the bad news, my Dad had to make the hard decision to get the next available flight out to try to see his brother one more time.

My Mom and Dad jumped on a plane at midnight and flew all night in the hopes of making it in time to say goodbye to Troy. They arrived a couple hours after he passed.  It was hard to tell them the news this morning. Since hearing the news of my Uncle's passing this morning, I have not been able to stop crying.  I know part of my sadness is knowing how much he was suffering and knowing my Dad just missed seeing his brother alive one more time. I know I would be heartbroken in this situation myself. But my Dad is an eternal optimist and capable of finding peace in even the most difficult of circumstances. For this, I deeply admire him.  I know my dad is sad he missed saying goodbye but know that he is at peace because he knows his brother is no longer suffering.

Even as I am aware of part of why I feel so deeply saddened by my Uncle's passing, I am surprised by how hard it has hit me. This loss feels closer somehow. I'm not quite sure why that is since I have not seen my Uncle Troy in person in 20 years. Sad, I know, but true.  I think it's that realization that 20 years has passed since I was last back in Iowa to visit family there and that blows me away. How is it that 20 years has passed?! I know I can look back and tell you where I have been and that I went to college, got married, moved 4 or 5 times, and had two children, but I still cannot believe how fast that time has passed.

 I think Uncle Troy's passing has made me remember how fleeting and precious life is. We've all heard this before. We know life is precious and yet, we forget what that really means.  It's almost as if I understand how important and valuable the life we live is. Today I am reminded that wasting time is just not an option. We don't have a single minute of this precious life we share together to waste on petty shit or on things that really don't matter in the end. Today I am reminded to consider what it is that is important to me and what it is that I want to remember about my life, and what kind of legacy I want to leave behind.

And this is what I know right now, I know that I don't want my life to be about making living, I want it to be about love and the beauty that this life has to offer. I want it to be about my family, making sweet memories together and strengthening our bonds. I want it to be about drinking in the beauty of the sky, the trees, the ocean, the mighty wind, and the way of nature. I want it to be about giving my best and being of service in the world in whatever way I can find to make that happen. I want to know that I made a difference simply by helping and doing my best. And I want to remember that every moment I spend with the people I love is valuable. And when I forget, because I will, I hope that someone will kindly remind me that today, this moment, this life is precious.

Over the past couple of days I have been thinking a lot about this passage in the book "Siddhartha" where Siddhartha is lying nearly dead by the river when he closes his eyes and remembers a time from his childhood.

"It was the annual celebration of the spring plowing, and his nurses had left him resting under a rose apple tree at the edge of the fields. Sitting in the cool shade of the tree, the child watched the men at work , sweat pouring down their faces; he saw the oxen straining to pull the plow. In the cut grasses and the freshly turned soil, he could see insects dying, their eggs scattered. Sorrow arose in Siddhartha for the suffering that all living beings experience. In the tenderness of his compassion, Siddhartha felt deeply opened. Looking up he was struck by how brilliantly blue the sky was. Birds were dipping and soaring freely and gracefully. The air was thick with the sweet fragrance of apple blossoms. In the flow and sacred mystery of life, there was room for the immensity of joy and sorrow. He felt completely at peace." 

This is the crazy thing about life, it's full of both immense joy and sorrow. We have to remember that we will always be presented with both. Life is not a clean, straight line, it is messy and, at moments,  hard, beautiful and amazing in unexpected ways. All we can do is vow to be present for all of it, to embrace the fullness that our life has to offer us.

May Love and Light fill your days,