Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Breathing In, Breathing Out

In a few days we begin the year that some believe will be the end of the world.  I prefer to add the phrase "as we know it" and join in the celebrations around the world that predict a marvelous transformation of fear into love.

            The energy is mounting.  More and more, I find myself in cosmic conversations that blissfully dance around images of joy.  Beatific smiles grace the voices on many different venues where people feel more free to describe the sense that wonderful events are unfolding.
            I recognize that I am in Vermont where progressive ideas are common place, but the internet proves to me that the euphoria spreads like a wildfire of coals even the most timid may soon be brave enough to walk upon.  In grocery stores, at high school soccer games, on talk shows and seminars, in a wealth of books printing from many presses, the joyful tales are told how spirit is rising in so many of us.
            After a lifetime of work, I have published my own book.  The sense of pride and satisfaction to hold a copy in my hand is immense, complimented wonderfully by the gentle "pling" of an email's arrival to announce another copy purchased.
            My ego is less salved by the effort, however, than that I am proud to be contributing one more story about leaving expectations behind and pursuing a more heartfelt way of life.  Some of my family and friends are at a complete loss of patience and lack of understanding for my leap into this blatant and unapologetic revelation of my embarrassing secrets.  I hope anyone reading it will find resonance in the description of finding faith and meaning in embracing the parts of myself that are the truest expression of my heart.

          To leap into one's faith, to invest in the unsupported belief that intuition will lead to a more secure happiness than following rational rules is a scary act to take.  I am full of fear and fighting my conscience every hour to keep panic at bay.  With no solid job in sight, no reliable income to pay my rent stored in the bank, I can shudder with fright, nearly immobilized if I ponder too long.

            Listening to headlines and watching the news, the world does not seem to be a safe place.  My job search supports the theory that the economy is desperately slow, trying to hold itself together, but is ultimately a pyramid scheme heading for an inevitable crash.  Grim faces struggle around me to make ends meet.  More diseases from a toxic environment take the lives of friends.  We still insist on making war on terrorists by broadening the definition to include just about anyone, even our own citizens occupying their right to freely assemble and speak.
            Sleep-broken nights for several weeks have been terrorizing my own balance.  Taking on a carpentry job to make ends meet this month is counter-intuitive to my claims two years ago that doing so ever again could mean a fall much worse than from my scaffold.  Having one book in my hand, my heart aches to scribble loftier thoughts instead of calculate the inches between two by fours.
            Despite the fear, compromises must be made for now.
            Relief comes when I remember my promises to my heart.  While I breathe between hammer strokes, I consider that my purpose may be in doubt, my faith once again jeopardized by the pursuit of dollars, but my heart strives to hold strong.
            The power is in the breathing.  With each conscious inhalation, I remember that these are all steps, small steps in a large life, leading to something I cannot see. I have hopes and dreams.  I trust what I feel and know what I know. No clear thought enlightens me to get ahead, but the simple act of breathing, the concentration on the very simple action itself, stops my mind from wandering and gives me life.
Please share with your friends

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Good Cheer

           Christmas morning early around the world children are waking up with visions of wrappings torn from their packages.  Parents hold hands and are proud, joyful and loving to hear the delighted screams.  The day of peace on earth and good will seems abundant with truth and beauty.

            Other religions have their celebrations of light in this time of short days and dark nights.  Spirits are rich with giving and tolerance.

            So quickly, however, the new year comes and we are immersed in the struggles and surrenders of daily lives.  Mortgages and rents must be paid.  Food scrounged and purchased.  This day of celebration is an oasis for many, a time when stress is suspended and we gather together to honor and appreciate what is most important. Families share, friends reach out.  We hold to what is most sacred in our lives.
            This morning, I awake alone at a friend's house where I am caring for animals.  By choice, I am isolated and separate from festivities.  Economics plays a part, but consciously in this time of togetherness, I am meditating on what it is to be alone.
            Ultimately, no matter the strong bonds of families, friends and lovers, we are each leading our own separate lives, creating a unique story of our steps on this planet.  We variously depend on and fend off from each other as energies shift.  We insulate and embrace according to sometimes arbitrary-seeming impulses and commands.
            Throughout our lives, however, is a consistent undercurrent of connection, a pattern of flow that unites us more than keeps us apart.  No matter the singularity of our thoughts and the self-preservation of our egos, we all recognize that life is empty of meaning without sharing.  True wealth is measured by the company we keep close to our hearts.
            On any given day, we may feel alone and desperate, isolated from those we see laughing with hugs and kisses.  Our own life may feel more troubled in comparison to who we might see in a bigger house or a fancier car, surrounded by others in merriment.
            It is simply their moment to shine while we witness from the shadows.  On a holiday such as this, most of us make the effort to surround ourselves in gratitude with those who are important in our lives.  We celebrate our loved ones and relish the joy of our creations. We give to each other and receive bountiful pleasure in return.  We make the effort.

            Being alone is a choice.  Scrooge was shown that his own actions had created the reality that kept him miserable.  Joy is always just a heartbeat away.  Whether we have a lifelong history together or are just passing the person next to us, we can look in their eye and find the soul who is longing to smile.
Please share with your friends

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Heart-centered Holidays

           As the days of December darken into winter, holidays ignite magic into our hearts, creating light to find our way.  Be it Christmas, the Solstice festivals, Hanukah or Kwanzaa, the time is of celebration and gratitude for all the gifts material and metaphysical that we have received.

            Tinsel and glitter, red cheeks and candles, song and festivities create sparkling energy.  We eat too many cookies, dance with our friends and carol to our neighbors.  We give gifts and acknowledge the love for those around us.
            December, unfortunately, is also a time of great stress.  As if to counter the darkness, we can be caught in a frenzy of materialism that attacks with pepper spray in a Walmart to get the best deal.  Strained and compulsive, while our children are all safe with visions of sugarplums in their heads, we scurry about frantically, shopping late every night and maxing out credit cards instead.
            To balance the frantic motion, I  offer a teleseminar conference this Wednesday December 14th and Thursday the 15th focused on creating a heart-centered holiday.  Through interviews with authors and coaches, we look at the little rituals and celebrations that hold the spirit strong and remind us of the deeper importance of the time.
            You can register for the program here and receive a collection of short stories about transformations of lives that can happen in an instant. Each writer will also offer a bonus gift particular to their interest at the end of their interview.
            In true alignment with heart and soul, writing is a transformative process.  When troubled by doubt and uncertainty, in the act of scribbling in a journal or creating a novel, answers once looming vaguely transparent in the distant mist, come more clearly into focus. We are all writers in our own ways and these conversations will encourage listeners to find your own style for a deeper understanding of what connects you to the rest of the world.
            In addition to fireside chats of stories and spiritual affirmations, this webinar through your computer or phone, also celebrates the release of my transformational book “Zen & the Art of the Midlife Crisis”, a memoir about the process of recognizing and shedding the parts of life that are not working to follow a path more centered from heart and living with purpose.  By looking deeply at choices and influences of the past, I am better able to steer my life into the future and encourage readers to make similar choices.
            Registering for the Heart-centered Holidays Teleseminar right here and now is at absolutely no cost and ensures two peaceful evenings of insight and affirmation that the world is indeed full of love, compassion, serenity and support.
            Please join us in celebration of all that glitters and is truly gold.
Please share with your friends