With you

Hello beautiful one.

May I sit with you?

Together, quietly.

Now we hear the birds

and the voices of the trees,

children shouting in the distance,

cars on the freeway.

We feel the soft wind

on our skin

and breathe in the sweetness

of roses.

Above us, clouds create their

ever changing pattern

of white on blue;

below,

our feet touch

the damp grass,

feeling the earth so solid.

Here we are then

my friend,

breathing it all in,

breathing it all out,

you and me,

just as we

are meant to be.

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Where does love end?

Feel the sweet flood of delight for our loved ones,

they are truly a gift in our lives.

But I wonder, does our love stop here in the joy?

We have great gratitude for the gifts of nature

that support our life blood and bodies.

And yet, is there a place amongst the fields and rivers

where the love stops?

Let’s look together at our neighbors, our countrymen

and feel pride at our unity.

Can we say love stops here at the border?

Look at children everywhere,

in play, in fear, cared for, uncared for.

Does our love stop here in our wonder and sorrow?

Let’s open up wide to take in the horrors of violence and war

and people who are perpetrators and people who are victims.

Can we separate them out?  Can we say, I love you, but I don’t love you?

Yes.  We can say it, and we do say it, and the pain and fear continues.

But then, where is compassion?  Does it end somewhere in our confusion?

Now dear friends, look carefully at a stranger,

one whose skin is a different color, one who practices another religion,

one who lives in poverty, one who has no home, no family,

one who has forgotten their heart.

Can we say love stops here in the differences?

Maybe it’s time for us to look within.

Have we forgotten our own heart?

Can we truly find the end of love?

Or can we stop and listen

to our breath

to our heartbeat,

to the life force flowing

through you and me

through stranger and friend,

through lover and hater,

through the newborn child,

and say to our selves,

I love you

without end.

 

The Beauty of Us

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Dear ones,

let’s get lost in the beauty of life together

right now!

Here is our great heart enjoying itself,

experiencing itself

as love

as motion

as form

as stillness.

Sometimes we forget that we are all of it,

we forget the mind is but a tool

to quantify,

to separate,

perfectly designed

to marvel at

the immense creation

and diversity of the life force,

always changing,

always present.

We are all of it,

dear ones,

every little bit that shows up.

How can that be? the mind asks in frustration,

all I see is division, boundaries, in fact I can prove it…

And our great heart quietly smiles

and loves

and enjoys

the beauty of us.

The Wisdom of Mother Earth

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Dear ones,

I’ve been to the mountains for a week of camping and have come back with some things I’d like to share.  It was a time of sweet connection with family and friends, a yearly journey to spend time with each other in the beauty of nature.  Being out in the woods and mountains speaks to us in a very deep way—it takes us out of routine and busyness and immerses us in a fluid rhythm with no agenda.  We sink into the timeless movement of the natural world and breathe in the offer of a simpler way of being.

Without a busy calendar, time loosens its pell-mell momentum and we become receptive to whatever shows up.  We are offered great gifts—the ripples of a black snake gliding so smoothly through the lake, crawdads and frogs moving to and fro at the water’s edge at night, river otters splashing and playing in the currents of a mountain river, glimpses of a buck running along the rocky shore under the full moon, mist rising on a quiet lake at sunrise, sacred geometry in the swirl of a pine cone, so much beauty everywhere.  By week’s end the moon grew full and red, and while we marveled at its color, we knew its eerie glow came from the smoke of fast growing wildfires in the south.  It was like a naked heart in the sky, and it spoke to us of its sorrow.

We felt into the weariness of mother earth, the lakes are at their lowest levels we’ve ever seen, algae is building and choking the clear water, many trees are dying due to the drought which makes them susceptible to bug infestations, there is trash on the shores and even some far below resting on the lake beds.  A sadness settled into my heart.  I watched children play on the rocky shore and wondered what their future will be if we don’t teach ourselves and teach them how to live in harmony with our mother, the great earth.

It’s a sadness that I brought home with me, a feeling that we have forgotten the source where all life is born, created, and nurtured.  A feeling that we take so much for granted and overlook what’s most important.  For three days I felt this heavy sorrow that turned me inward to see what I can do to deepen my own relationship with mother earth.  What came up first was a feeling that I need to do things, more things than I already do like buying and using less stuff, recycling and reusing whatever I can, eating organic and local foods, and so on.  And while each step that we take to reduce our physical footprint is so important, I’m coming to know in a whole new way that what is most powerful is inner change, a deepening of the understanding of ourselves and our connection with mother earth.

The sorrow of these past days is still present but is becoming less opaque.  Now it’s imbued with great gratitude and love for how the earth is teaching me its profound wisdom.  There is a sense that the most important thing we can do is to rediscover what is most sacred within ourselves, to come to live from our great heart, and to understand that from there we can work together to lighten the weight of our footprint on mother earth. We are her caretakers and when we take good care of her, she offers us endless abundance.  When we take advantage of her gifts without wisdom, we lose sight of our connection with all of nature and with each other.  We become separated, isolated, and there is the feeling of lack.  Fear arises and we forget our heart connection, we forget our true strength, we forget our source.  But when we listen to the whisper of our heart, we begin to hear the wisdom that is always present, that is always offered.  We are love, unconditional and boundless; may we soften into its grace with open gratitude and wonder for the miracle and sacredness of life.

 

On being present

Yesterday in our women’s heart circle gathering, seven of us gathered together to share our deep exploration of what being present means in our lives. One of the observations that came up was how we often feel  present when things are going well or when we’re doing something we love or when we’re immersed in the beauty of nature.  But we noticed that sometimes in situations that aren’t comfortable or are downright painful we feel we are out of the flow of being present because whatever is happening doesn’t feel good, and with it comes the thought that we are then not fully present.

Naming this is so profound because it brings to light that judgment that all those uncomfortable things shouldn’t be present.  Or at the very least, we should know how to navigate them better.  But as we all know and experience, that’s how life shows up.  It can be ugly or painful or scary or beautiful.  And there is no right way to navigate it perfectly.  There is no “right way to do things” template to place over each situation. What happens when awkwardness or irritation or anger show up?  Do we feel then that we have somehow once again failed?

Can we ask ourselves then, what does that feeling of failure mean?  This is so rich for each of us.  We all bring in our own version of not good enough, not spiritual enough, not smart enough.  So many ways to stab our selves with jolts of pain. And those jolts will keep arising until we name them for ourselves, allow them to speak, and follow them to their source—was I called stupid when I was young for not understanding math, was I told I was not as good as my sibling, did someone abuse me, and on and on.  So many strands of hurts that we’ve taken on ourselves by tucking them into our hearts so sadly, so innocently and now all those layers seem to have coalesced into our identity.  And each time we feel that jab we say, oh that’s me.  That’s who I am.

Are we willing then to ask, is this really true?  Is this who I truly am?

Right here is the opportunity to open and unfold our deepest fears.  What if we go to the source of feeling limited somehow, what will we find?  Will we find out that we really are stupid, worthless, bad, afraid?  Here is where we can either say yes, we are willing to examine this feeling, to allow it to speak for as long as it needs to be seen, or no, we’re not ready.  And if we’re not ready, we can resist fully experiencing what is showing up just as it is.  And our mind can once again take that word–resistance–and judge ourselves over it: oh, I’m resisting, I’m not being present, it should be different, and on and on.

But the beautiful thing about this resistance is that it doesn’t say anything about us.  Whether it’s physical, hormonal, emotional, mental, spiritual, this feeling of resistance just offers itself up as often as needed as a pointer that there is something to soften into.  To discover what it is that’s pinching us in this feeling of resistance. Can we allow and follow this discomfort as often as needed?  Can we be truly kind to ourselves by being okay with however it shows up as often as it needs to?  Over and over again? And if we can do that, can we see it, feel it, love it fully, tenderly?  And what if instead of saying, go away, we open our heart and say, hello friend, you’re here again.  Show me what this is.

And if our mind wants to chew on it and chew on it like it does, that’s fine.  Presence hasn’t disappeared.  But the mind with its brilliant functioning is simply too small to understand our immensity.  Something in us can say, hello mind, even though you can be useful, right now I’m not interested in the same old stuff you keep telling me.  And if we’re curious we can wonder, what is it that’s saying that to the mind?  With love and humor no less! And so here, in total vulnerability, we trust that something greater than the mind holds us, and we can gently let go by feeling into our hearts, into our bodies, into the immense fullness and emptiness of the universe.

Oh how our whole being resonates when we get a taste for that fluidity; this is what feels true.  It feels so natural and in flow with all life.  That feels present and alive.  But in an instant, the mind can pop back in with its persistent call: I want to know.  I want it all the time.  I’m not feeling it now so what’s wrong with me?  Wily mind, it’s only doing its job, but sometimes we forget its limitation and take it as truth. It claims to tell us who we are, and if we’re honest, it can feel comforting to be presented with a finite identity.  We feel it as safety, as a way to navigate and cope with a chaotic world.  It feels like it gives us control over our destiny.

And this is where we find ourselves.  Are we willing to let go of all control?  Can we trust enough to let go of all our handholds to be the presence that allows everything?  Yes, everything.  Allowing everything unfiltered can feel intensely frightening.  And it is total liberation.  This is the beauty of our human life. Each moment, each experience offers us the most exquisite opportunity to see ourselves as we truly are.

~~~~~~~

Thank you to my dear heart circle friends for your willingness to share your truth, your wisdom and your love.  Thank you to all of my beloved friends and family for sharing this grand journey with me.  What a gift this life is.

This Beautiful Earth Day

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On this day, let’s slow down and truly take in the miracle of the earth and all that inhabits it.  Take in the beauty, the perfection, the complexity, the simplicity.  Feel it in our hearts, deeply.  Oh how we love it, and right in that amazing love, we know we are inseparable from all of it.  We are life itself. Let’s not forget to take care of our one great self.   ❤

 

The universe is enough and so are we

Hello dear ones,

this morning is sunshiny beautiful.  The breeze already feels warm and holds the promise of a day filled with vibrant colors and smells.  The birds are talking at the feeders, maybe to each other or maybe just simply singing their songs because that’s what they do.  The new green leaves are fluttering in the wind.  The bees are out early in the warmth, already busily collecting pollen from the rhododendron, doing their job in the miracle of growth and regeneration. Everything is moving, doing, and being just as they are.  And they are enough.  Nothing needs to be added or changed for them to be, to express themselves in their unique aliveness.

And how about us humans?  Can we live in that same natural way?  To deep down know that we are enough, that we are full, that we can let deepest love have its way with us.  Or have we forgotten the simple truth that we are not missing anything at all?

In our busy lives, our mind with its to-do list and judgments often drowns out the whisperings of our heart.  Our vast heart, the one that knows no divisions, no lack, the one that needs no confirmation because it shines always.  Can we feel into this unconditional love?  Can we allow this within ourselves, to remember to love ourselves so deeply that we come to see that the self we thought we were is actually the substance of all of us, of the universe itself.  Then can we say, we are not enough?  Is the universe not enough?  Oh, such wonder to spread our wings into this feeling!  And we can laugh out loud about our innocent misunderstanding while at the same time know that it’s not easy being human.  That there is such richness in the discovery of our unique humanness.  But oh, such gratitude for the gift of discovering our vast natural self.  Let our wise heart guide us, let the birds and the leaves and the bees guide us, let the universe guide us to listen to our deepest song.

with much love, Lorraine