Shadow Selfie – and on Not giving up!

Another ‘Day of Mindfulness’ event, and the “witness” of never leaving, never returning… is ‘always’ leaving and ‘always’ returning. How many steps have we walked together?

I’ve been keeping record ever since May of 2017 of my steps with myself, but even earlier than that when my disk herniated in 2012 and seeped out triggering my nerve and years of confusing debilitating pain, confused muscles and who knows what else – a month after I moved across country; it changed everything in my life. Then I got married in 2013, and then in 2014 I started grad school part time, doing yoga in class to get through the pain at first. Technically, I have one more year to go of internship and class.

I feel a lot better, but not without many setbacks along the way. Fortunately none of the setbacks were complete and all-encompassing – I found myself digging smaller holes to climb out of each time. I’m very unamazing, but I did write a poetry book, which is something I am proud of.

Since then, I’ve seen people overcome back issues much quicker and be far more determined and dedicated than I was at the time. At the time, I dug my hole – on one level – and on another level, I was leveling-up and being much stronger than I ever have been. There’s so many ways to look at things, I suppose it depends on the mind-set we are in which interpretation gets to hold the most weight for the longest time; therefore re-patterning the brain connections.

Everything felt like it needed to change, and it has. Everything still is changing.

Of all I learned, most of all: I cannot compare myself to others. If I do, it always hurts inexorably. I’ve watched so many people fly by me in the race of life – so many people with good solid abilities be brave and continuous. There are so many people that I admire, that I almost basically admire anyone. Let’s just get up today, and tomorrow, and every day! Let’s just keep going…

When I first started grad school, I thought that my gratitude for my improving situation could carry me through! I thought, after all, I re-trained myself how to walk!  But by now I was in California, and all the people around me seemed just so much more amazing and so much more able. Hey, other states have really cool and talented people too!

Many days along this road, it’s just been, well, hard to love myself. But it wasn’t until about 2010-2011 that I found a way to love myself, anyways. What I learned is that I didn’t find a way to love myself until I had something I had to walk away from. I needed to experience the depths of my despair in order to realize the urgency of my need to self-love. Then it came. Also, my nana passed, and I held her hand as she died (2007). Love came.

But, when I thought I was done – and had cleared the “boards” of my life, had my whole life ahead of me: I was on my way to the next major challenge, years of back outage and struggle. It would be an untrue story to stay that it was all struggle: these were also the brightest, the best, the most love-filled times of my life – even as my social circle mostly waned, and I felt so lonely at times.

I think this is just the way life is: it gives us everything – the good and the bad – and the in-between. This is how we grow and develop, and it is OK. I am always just beginning. This is my reality. The more I learn, the less I know.

What is mindfulness about? Well, it’s not about a full-mind (we all know that!), nor it is about all the noise in our heads as we practice our steps in walking meditation. It’s not about walking through just one or two “dark-sides,” or doing some shadow work in a couple of workshops.  It’s about being willing to continue…despite all that junk that’s going on. It’s about constantly signing up and constantly narrowing down, and honing what’s important and valuable to oneself in this precious, valuable life.

That’s what it is about.

You see that speed bump up there? That’s part of what makes the ride “doable.” It kind of looks like a DNA strand, and the shadow – well, I think I prefer shadow selfies. That’s how I see myself, as I blur on the landscape…skidding off bumps, sometimes I see them – sometimes I don’t!

While at the day of my mindfulness, I caught a glimpse of one of the young monk’s books and it said, “be. silly.” on the cover. Isn’t that right? Do we do all this, just to ‘let go’ ?  Well, yes, why yes… we do.

You see that picture up there of my hand? Well, sometimes I have to just ‘hand it to myself,’ if i can except myself, while not measuring up to the expectations of others, or the abilities of others, I can keep going, and keeping going… is exactly what I am doing.

Now my hand is an incredible claw that will dig me up out of my hole with the silliness of the moment. I can still cry and be serious on a dime – whatever life requires of me.

You see that buddha up there? Broken in 3? It’s about being both broken and not-broken.

It’s about living in the middle. I don’t ever see myself as taking on the role of the expert, or knowing one, but one day – I hope people learn something from me that gives them value, value they make for themselves. One day I hope to be that strength for others that I had and have to continuously keep becoming for myself. A lot of days I am that person, and I get all the pleasure of making a difference in the lives of others, but most days – I still feel like I’m not making enough of a difference, or healthy enough to ‘show up more,’ but I have to be patient… and find the skip in my step, no matter what. No matter what is going on inside of me or out there in politics and war. I have to find the anchor in my claw-shadow-hand. It will pull me up, unexpectedly from any disaster I find myself in! It’s the superpower I’ve been cultivating… it’s entirely unamazing – but it’s worth the whole shadow!

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A little bit about astrology: This upcoming eclipse on August 11, 2018 will be the last in the N.Node in Leo series. It’s conjoining my N.Node in Leo, within a 2 degree orb, and conjoining my Leo Sun. Remembering back 18 or so years ago to the last N.Node in Leo transit, well, it wasn’t easy. I was single then, even with that 7th house Sun. In fact, I had spent a lot of time alone in my life, self-reliant (S.Node in Aquarius, 1st house). But, there’s something great and new around the corner. I can just “feel” it. It’s free and it’s fun, and I will never stop striving for it. The bliss of the N.Node Leo “fun” is how we learn to dance while we cultivate ‘courage’ and ‘strength,’ overcoming even the most realistic of fears. This is what Leo is about, not the glitz and glamor that everyone confuses Leo with, but who knows…

Yes, recently I caught a glimpse of a man in a parking lot who it looked like his wife and daughter where heaping gold glitter onto him. What was he doing? Preparing for a music video? I have no idea. But, he glowed. He laughed. Maybe he was preparing for something big…. or maybe, he was just having fun. The answers are inside. All the answers are inside. Is there really any difference to ‘just having fun’ and ‘making it big?” You tell me. Life is already quite a modest affair… or is it, really, more like a dandelion bursting through the concrete: a regular miracle of strength and life force!  May you all be ready to live your best dreams…or at least have fun getting ready…as we smile through the tears.

 

Making a Difference

We are between eclipses and astrology continues. What about where we are beyond that, when not lost in translation? I have been taking my time and focusing my energy on taking care of my home and my personal needs so that I can support those who I care for offline – attending workshops and working on my center, developing technique and building up my qi.  I’ve been more dedicated to my private practice of journaling, meditation, and spontaneously creative breath work. 🙂

Before, when I started this blog, I was more “out there,” dispersed and now, it’s clear to me, that my immediate environment  – the neighborhood, etc, are more my proximity, is where I literally dwell, even from a shamanistic perspective. I think part of it is because I was actually moving in 2012 (blog started in 2011) and then I moved again in 2013, and then nearby to the previous location in 2015; since then, I’ve gotten settled, reclaimed more of myself from fragmentation, and have started running ‘deep’ once again. I’ve been going through transformation in a number of ways as I interact with all sorts of teachers in person, and when I meet with clients or patients in person. It’s really about re-forming myself, finding places where my illusions keep me from the present moment, and deepening my practice of self-work.  Getting good results is inspiring; it can also be a reminder to me that I need to keep at it.

Also the shifts have a lot to do with me getting much more physically healthy and being busy away from old focuses, and into new ones – or at least increasingly into the endeavors I started more recently, a couple years ago. As a result, blogging has not been a high priority for a while now. The poetry isn’t coming as regularly, but maybe it will return again.

I have some questions about the purpose of the internet and blogging right now as it relates to where my needs and those of others’ intersect.

I do believe that many bloggers are here to make a difference, as a main motivation. To me, that’s one of the keystones of blogging. What to do, though, when one is getting their ‘connectedness’ offline primarily. What to do when wanting to show people that caring is happening, but the focus is more deliberate now, and definitely self-centered.

When I get a text or two in reply to me, and I’m told, “you made me smile,” I feel like that’s a complete moment – that was making a difference. When I think about how I will use my newly acquired and honing skills, I think: YAY! Where can I be of service… next? I love that my work is offline!

Those bloggers who I most want to connect to, are people who want to make a difference, and already are making a difference. I see it all the time. Not living online daily, while knowing that there’s this online world, with online connections that are taking place, and people are interacting and supporting one another. It’s really a brilliant thing!

So ~ This is a gratitude post.

Also some questions:

  1. How can blogging best serve people who are only part-time or 1/4 time (or less) bloggers?
  2. How can we maintain relationships that have infrequent interactions? (i’ve had years of this and I love those friends/family dearly!!)
  3. How can we keep connected for the teamwork purpose of creating a healthier, happier planet with people who aren’t being left behind?
  4. How can we allow for people to be free from the internet for whatever period of time they need, and then be ‘welcomed back’ again?
  5. How has the internet and social media transformed and shaped social obligations?

A day of mindfulness

My focus has been renewed, and I seem to be away from blogging more and more during my current cycle – which is very healthy and supportive for me! Times always change and so maybe I will be back again to blogging when it is most beneficial.

While my spirituality is owned by no one particular teacher or set of teachings, I follow many wise persons who have come before me, as well as my inner guidance.

About a decade ago I began meditating with a group in a different state, on another coast. It was my home then, and sat for years with this group. I also sit alone and regularly meditate, with or without family, and sometimes it just so happens unplanned meditation with classmates while in different locations: serendipity, yes.

Since then I’ve been making my life on the opposite coast, and settling happened, and day of mindfulness and schedules converged, so as to enjoy a meaningful and in-depth experience at Deer Park Monastery.

The last time the “main monk” and founder was present there, I was outside suffering from back injury. I’m happy to report that I’m much improved!

I only hope that one day Thay will be in the same place at the same time, once more! I believe Thay is still recovering in Thailand. He established Deer Park Monastery and a satellite 🛰 meditation sangha , and now this. Many beautiful monks and mindfully kind people dwell and can be found sitting and eating peacefully.

Here are some pictures! May your day/days be filled with peacefulness and gratitude…