Present Tense

Not to Be a Debbie Downer…

I’m a pragmatist.

That’s just how I’m made. I try to clearly evaluate and assess information before I act or form an opinion.

There are always two sides (or more) to every issue/discussion/event and a pragmatist tries to weigh all of those factions and then, act; not out of emotion, but out of what will actually work. That is pragmatism.

I guess what I’m saying is that due to all of the Capricorn energy in the world and in my own natal astrological chart right now, I can’t be anything else.

I’d love to wax poetic about what is ahead of us and how this year will be the year of love and light and solutions, but the pragmatist (and astrologer) part of me, just can’t.

I hate to seem like a Debbie Downer because I’m not in despair; I’m coming from a place where I am feeling strong, empowered and CLEAR on what is happening and what is in front of us.

I’m an optimistic pragmatist. I acknowledge that the glass is half full; now tell me what’s in it and can I drink it?!

This is not a year of hopes and dreams; it’s a year to put your head down and put one foot in front of the other, with the tools and circumstance that you have right in front of you.

I know. That’s no fun. That’s not my typical love and light message is it?
But, it’s just the way that it is.

Does it mean that this energy will last forever? No, it does not. Nothing lasts forever. Haven’t you been reading my previous blogs??:)

In fact, if we look honestly at how things work and manifest, it really does take that kind of work and discipline and diligence and in some cases, tunnel vision to get to the top of the mountain. (That’s a Capricorn reference, for those of you who get it. Capricorn’s archetype is sort of a mountain goat. Hard working, strong, determined, undeterred).

Great things and huge changes just don’t suddenly appear out of thing air. This is our year of labor and diligence and hard work and discipline.

Collectively, as we hold our leaders feet to the fire and personally, as we quit whining and waiting for our knight in shining armor to rescue us.

It’s time to work with what we’ve got and to work toward what we would like to change, but in a coordinated and sensible manner.

2017’s primal scream of rage is over. We’ve cried ourselves out:). Now, we must pick ourselves up, put on our lipstick and figure things out.

Personally, professionally, financially, mentally, spiritually; we must look at our health, our money, our habits and begin to deal with our rage in a healthy way.

The chaos around us continues, but we have to find our safe, sacred space to merely watch and observe and then, act in a sane and productive way.

Pragmatism demands that we have clarity and focus. We can’t deal with ‘what ifs’ this year. That kind of thinking exhausted us and fed the chaos.

This is about standing firmly on the earth, feet planted as a strong foundation and withstanding those hurricane force winds of change and turmoil.

Gird yourselves, heal yourselves, strengthen yourselves. We have a long and bumpy road yet to travel, my loves. That’s just the reality right now.

January 3, 2018 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Hey, you! You’re a spirit

Om_symbol.svgI’m spiritual, but not religious.  For many of you that statement means that I’m not serious. That I can’t make a commitment.  The stereotype of that kind of thinking is an air-headed flake that can’t quite make up their mind.

For others, even uttering the word religion or for that matter, spirituality, will mean the conversation is over.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the words “I’m not like that” or “I’m not interested in that”, when I want to talk about spirit or the metaphysical or even religion.  Complete tune-out happens.

And that’s too bad because as humans, we truly are spiritual beings in a human body (I didn’t invent that phrase, by the way).  Our soul and/or spirit needs to be fed and nurtured.  It’s probably more important to our health, than is the physical.  The two are tied so closely together that many can’t even feel or recognize their spiritual component.

When I say that I’m not religious, that doesn’t mean that I reject religion, but that I just don’t embrace it as my personal path.  In fact, I believe that we are entering a post-religious era on earth as we watch all of our sacred institutions crumble due to corruption and because they no longer serve the needs of the ‘flock’.  They serve themselves and wealthy benefactors.

Religion in it’s current form, feels to many of us as if there are too many rules.  It should make us feel loved and uplifted, not punished or judged or broken.  I believe that we are made in love and of love and for a religion to assume that we are all sinners isn’t healthy for the world.

Having said that, Jesus was such a great teacher and the Sermon On the Mount is something that I re-read fairly often.  To me, that’s the essence of Christianity in it’s simple message.  If you’ve never read it, I encourage you to.  It’s powerful and a beautiful example of how we should walk in the world and treat others.

But, that’s my opinion. We’ll see how we evolve.

What I want to express to those of you who reject organized religion and are also throwing out spiritual practice with that dirty water, is that you can make your own path and form your own belief system.  You don’t HAVE to label it.  You don’t HAVE to join a group or community (although sometimes, that feels pretty good).  You don’t have to go anywhere or label yourself.  You ARE spiritual because you are part of humanity and an inhabitant of Mother Earth.

My personal belief system is constantly widening and expanding and morphing and growing.  I’m like an octopus with eight arms, reaching out to wherever my intution leads me; many beliefs and practices speak to me and that’s okay.

I started with Christianity for obvious reasons and then studied Buddhism, began to meditate, was drawn to a more metaphysical approach. I am fed and inspired by nature, so I am drawn to some Native American/indigenous peoples practices.  I recently began reading about shamanism and have incorporated that into my meditation practice.  Delving into astrology in a deeper way has opened up my eyes to the ancient wisdom of man.

Every step that I take results in a richer spiritual understanding of not only myself, but everything else on earth and of the things that we can’t see, but that we can feel.  Death no longer scares me; in fact, I now believe that it will be another phase of my development and existence on another realm.

So, when I suggest to people who tell me that they’re struggling or angry all of the time or feeling lost or adrift, I tell them to begin a spiritual practice.  I usually suggest meditation and yet, so many reject it.  “I’m not religious.  Look at all of the wars and violence and killings that religion causes!”

Yeah, I get it.  I used to say that, too.  I used to say that I don’t believe in anything that I can’t see or prove.  “Religion is the opiate of the masses”, right?

So, don’t be ‘religious’.  You don’t HAVE to pick one.  And contrary to conventional wisdom here in the U.S., you don’t HAVE to be Christian.  You have a huge, rich, diverse body of spiritual thought, philosophy and literature to choose from.

Thousands and thousands of years of wisdom is available to pick from.  Be a rebel WITH a cause; your own spiritual growth.  The choice isn’t religion or atheist.  You are a spirit.  Your spirit aches for acknowledgement and growth.  Let it out to play.  Find what speaks to you and if it’s a tree, then study some earth based rituals.

The truth of the matter is that we are all made of earth, air, fire and water.  There’s a reason that we love walking the beach, a campfire, the smell of fresh cut grass ; we crave those parts of us and too often, we deny them.

If you’re struggling, know that we all are.  We all suffer as humans, we all are challenged, particularly by modern life, where we feel so powerless and untethered and unloved.  Your soul will tell you what you need, if you JUST LISTEN.  Stop rejecting spirit.  You don’t have to go to church or join a religion or follow rules.

Your path is yours.  Not your parent’s or your children’s or your government’s or your neighbor’s or your friend’s or your minister’s/priest’s.  Locate your spirit, talk to it, listen to where it guides you.  Be you.  Be brave.

May 1, 2016 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Don’t Know Mind

surrender2016 is the year of the purge; a time to cleanse. Every astrological, metaphysical and spiritual video/newsletter/blog that has shown up in my inbox over the past week has reiterated this same theme. It’s the year to leave some wounds behind and get your shit together. We can’t build anything new, until we expunge the old. Shred it, smash it, burn it. Just do it.

I’ve recently gone back to reading some things with the Buddhist tone or theme that awakened me 5 or 6 years ago, as I began to re-shape my life and my reactions to my life. The overriding theme of Buddhism, to me anyway, is that we cause ourselves and others so much pain by our lack of honesty and clarity. We cling to what “should be”, rather than what is. In Buddhist terms, that is called suffering.

We do it all day, every day. Because we are humans. Because we live in our minds and we make up stories about how other people should behave. We judge, we criticize, we rant, we argue. In some horrible instances, we shoot, we stab, we blow up, we murder or sanction murder via our leaders and governments. All in pursuit of our need to control what “should be”.

Painful, isn’t it? Yes. And it affects our personal health, both physical and emotional, our global health and obviously, our spiritual health, which some believe is actually beginning to come back from the dead, despite so much evidence to the contrary on the 24 hour news channels.

Accepting ‘what is’ and letting go of ‘what should be’ is one of the greatest paths to clarity. At least it has been for me. Now, I’m not saying that I don’t suffer and rage, just like you. I do, but I’m more and more able to arrest it more quickly, thanks to meditation and practice.

One of the most obvious ways that we suffer from ‘should be’ syndrome is with politics. We are all so invested in the outcome of elections that we fight and argue and call the other side awful names and in too many cases, expunge those who disagree with us from our lives or our Facebook friend list.

I’m not voting in the Presidential election this year. I’ve been lectured, I’ve been cajoled, I’ve been criticized and called selfish for this decision. I’ve been told, “well, then you can’t complain if you don’t vote”. Really? Watch me.

Here’s why I’ve made this choice: Every 4 years, we choose teams and then we fight and we name call and we invest a lot of time advocating, often with great hostility, for our team. It’s painful and frustrating and time consuming to go all in for one candidate or the other.

Then, we have an election. Half of the people celebrate. “We won!!”. The other half are bitterly disappointed. “Our lives will be horrible, now”. Neither is true. So, again, we are living with what “should be”, rather than “what is”.

The losing team, now spends the next 4 years berating, complaining and hoping for complete and utter failure of the winning team. There is no compromise, no tackling of problems or working toward solutions. New problems and crises arise and the losers complain bitterly that it’s all the winners’ fault.

The winners refuse to see that there might be some credence in the philosophy of the other side. That the losing team might have some good ideas. “Elections matter. We won. You lost. SHUT UP.”

Sound familiar. Sound painful and non-productive and silly?

We are all too invested in outcomes. We all just want to win and be right and then rub the losers’ noses in it. Nothing really changes. Nothing gets solved and it is a vicious, every-4-years cycle that I choose to remove myself from.

I honestly don’t care who wins. I have to live my life regardless of who is elected as the Leader of the Free World. So, why invest? I have to deal with ‘what is’ after an election. Period. This is referred to as “don’t know mind”. In other words none of us can ever predict an outcome with any accuracy at all, so why try? Any one of those running could be a great leader or a horrible one. We just don’t know, do we?

Think about some instances in your life that seemed tragic or painful or catastrophic, that actually resulted in a decent outcome or at the very least, some personal growth. I was fired from several jobs. In that moment, it was horrible, but I ended up in better situations.

I suffered some very painful losses of loved ones over the course of a short time and yes, it was extremely painful, but I’ve had a spiritual growth spurt thanks to that shock.

We honestly have no idea of the consequences of any action. Embrace that, open up to it and begin to let go of the ‘should be’ and live with ‘what is’.

So, what if we just remain open to whatever arises? What if after the election we accept the outcome and accept that we have no idea whether it will be good or bad? Because it will be; good and bad and calm and chaotic and scarce and abundant. That is life. Accept it for what it is. You will adapt, you will change, you will be forced to.

And that’s okay. Nobody is right or wrong.

Life has a way of making us face reality anyway. Might as well be two steps ahead, eh? Embrace the ‘know nothing’ mind. Be free. Surrender.

January 30, 2016 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

So long, suckah!

pastSo, last year on this very day, I wrote a note to 2013 and told that year in no uncertain terms, how much it sucked. I kicked it in the ass and said good riddance; I even went on to say that I was sure that 2014 was gonna make me forget all about the challenges of 2013. I was right. 2014 was even worse.

I won’t go into all of the tribulations of the past year, other than to say that losing my dad in April pretty much set the tone. What I will say is that I feel as if the last 18 months have been my personal ‘dark night of the soul’ that is required of all humans. Could it get worse? Of course and at some point, it probably will. Far in the future, if I have anything to say about it…which I probably don’t. And that brings me to the year’s large lesson.

Control: we have none. Planning: kind of a joke. Loss: inevitable. Time: dampens the pain and gives us perspective.

“This too shall pass” is such a cliché, but it’s such a useful one. Time is like a power wash. If we can just get through another hour, another day, another week and if we watch and listen and pay attention, that time also gives us the space to see events in our lives with more clarity. For me, clarity is comfort.

I was listening to my latest guru Caroline Myss recently and one of her main lessons is that we will NEVER know why things happen the way that they do. We just won’t and wasting our time digging through our psychic and emotional archives for “why” is a waste of time. Life truly is unknowable and if you relax into that, peace will find you.

So, I bid farewell to the hardest year of my life (so far). I can look back and see a cross country move, leaving friends and comfort behind, losing my soul mate dog, losing my dad, navigating a new environment, trying to help my 94 year-old mother accept her ‘new normal’ and recently retiring from a 30+ year radio career. That’s a lot to pack into a year and a half, but it has passed.

I’ve emerged from my dark night and though I’m still a little banged up, I’m ready for 2015. I’ve come to the conclusion that my mom is in the right facility and she’s safe and comfortable. I’m completely at peace with leaving my job. I am ready to take more time to explore our new home and community. I’m going to get back into my health and wellness routine. We are heading back to my beloved Rocky Mountains for a ski trip in about a month and then spring will come, as it always does.

The biggest thing that I’ve taken away from this period is that I am now more in tune with other’s losses. I am a more compassionate and empathetic person and I’m able to express that now. In 2014, 9 of my friends lost their dads and I know that so many more humans suffered as well. The world has been a brutal, chaotic place for the past year.

Peace begins in each of us and in the choices that we make.

Peace be with you and in you. Here’s to a new year and a Detroit Lions play-off win. For my dad.

December 31, 2014 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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