I am the voice in my head.
I am the voice asking this, yes? Is that true?
Pointing inward, the voice coalesces, solidifying unto itself.
The voice is mute, and I listen beyond.
I am the spread of spring under the morning frost.
the curve of grapevine shimmering in ecstatic worship
the joy boom of stillness behind it all
the molten drops of sun dripping though viburnum petals,
branches strewn in glory
I am the spread of heart, entwined in the morning.
Am I this voice, here, asking this question?
The voice is mute and I listen beyond.
So good. Did you ever open up your ears to the night sounds and tap into a joy so vast that only the fringe of it could be taken in? Try it, wherever you are. Perk up your ears as though you are listening to something very far away, something you almost can't hear.
Does source want to speak though me? Night sounds. Quiet sounds. Sounds echoed from the edge of joy in childhood, or was it a dream? Into something so indescribably joyful and alive that a brush with it is enough to fuel a lifetime.
Sink into it. Open to it. Perk your ears up in the quiet night and listen. Stay there. Listen. Listen to the furthest away noises, and then listen beyond them. What is there? Listen. Don't stop.
Suddenly a melting happens and the night becomes you. You are child of the Ancient. You are of it. Listen. Do not be afraid. Listen. The buzz of the night bugs becomes sacred. The trucks passing in the dark tremor you with love.
Perk up the flesh of your ears, listen. Listen to the the darkest distant where thrills of life call you home. Listen. To the overreaching call of God. A chasm opens thoughout your being and a joy terrible and wild sweeps by.
The deepest longing of your heart is met and compounded and added a thousandfold. It's true. The glimpses in dreams, the wafting remembrances of childhood are real, so real.
Listen. Do it again. Perk up your ears and invite them out out out.
Do you speak absolute? I am the boom beneath it all. Quieter than quiet.
Do you speak absolute?
Sweetheart, my heart, rest now.
I sit on my beautiful Sun Porch, writing to you. Before the writing I sat in meditation. My eyes were open and the clouds moved slowly though the blue sky. The almost imperceptible glide enthralled me, poured into my eyes and smoothed back along my brain, teaching my inner body the orgasmic slowness of those majestic sailing bodies in the sky. The slow flow rolled down through my body, teaching me my own true speed. Reminding me, waking me up. It is a speed my heart knows.
Slow, undulating, like the soft absolute vulnerability of the underside of a slug, gliding over everything it meets with indiscriminate intimacy.
I want to talk to you about stillness. I want to give you an invocation that can awaken you to the experience of the deep absolute stillness that you are. Do you feel it? Can you touch that quiet place of unimaginable love?
How does stillness read this email? How does stillness sit where you are? How does stillness type these words? This is inquiry. The mind does not know, so do not try to find the answer there.
I invite you into my experience. I'll do it now. How does stillness sit here on the love seat, looking out of the window? And I wait, I listen, I feel into it intuitively.
First there is a little hurdle of the mind. A little blip that says I have to do this right. It melts. How does stillness sit here on the love seat?
An ancient holiness sets in. A quiet fullness emanates from everything. My cat's breathing behind me brings waves of peace. The hematite on the windowsill dances without motion.
A fabric of quiet is the world, flowing, ringing in silence. I am woven in. I am it. The ice encased hydrangea outside the window pierces me back to what I am, breaks my heart. I am of it.
Try it for yourself, this question. Whatever you happen to be doing when you think of it, ask "how does stillness do this?" And then listen, wait, feel. The clouds might show you. The sunlight on the armrest might show you. The wide flung arms of the trees, in there silent exaltation might show you.
My love to you today,
Good Evening Friends,
Last night I had the interesting experience of awakening with the same question over and over. I was not restless, in fact I was markedly peaceful, yet for some reason I awoke often, every hour or so. Each time, just as I began to move from sleep, the question "Who feels this?" was right there, as if someone else was asking it.
This three word question gently kissed my mind each time I was roused from sleep, there, unobtrusive, waiting for me.
The only thing that was different about last night was that as I fell asleep I asked Archangel Michael to clear away my internal blockages. Maybe this was his way? If it was, I like his style. Archangel Michael, I thank you.
The night's experience of natural inquiry inspired me to record a video delving into the question "who feels (believes, thinks) this?" It is surely one of those deceptively simple questions that can fillet deeply into the subconscious workings of the psych in one gossamer stroke.
The link to the video is here. Admittedly it is a bit long, and my cat meows a couple of times, and I had the irrepressible urge to wear fake eyelashes. If all of that does not stop you, have a look!
Take care of yourself, and until next time,
Good Afternoon Everyone,
Do you know that quiet quiet stillness deep inside of you? Do you sometimes sit and breathe and melt into a deep peace? It is the sweetest thing. The heart lives here in this quiet eternal flow underlying everything.
The heart presence is so soft, so gentle. It moves towards everything with love. Adyashanti speaks of how the MOST important thing in life is to be operating and living from the heart presence. He says if you're not there it is important to spend as much time as it takes, a minute, a day, an hour, a week, to get back into your heart. (Here is a link to Adya speaking about this - it's a great short video.)
Anything that is done from the thinking mind's view point alone will be calculating, manipulative, economic. The heart cannot do those things. The heart is simply incapable of calculating, manipulating, or acting for its own benefit. When you take the time to shift down into heart presence, tenderness, love, and grace will flow into everything that you do.
This question comes to mind:
"What would keep me form taking the time to move into heart presence? What would keep me from love, from operating from the heart and the heart only?"
Sit with that a bit and see what comes up. What keeps you from allowing yourself to over and over move back into the heart? This in an inquiry question.Treat it as such and listen in, tune your ear to the unknown, and have patience. The sincere question has an answer.
The first answer that arises in me is that heart presence will fail me. I won't survive in the world if I abide in the heart. My mind goes so far as to say that I will literally die if I allow my heart to lead the way.
What comes up for you? What would pull you out of living in the heart? Take note, you are learning great things with this question.
These thoughts, these beliefs that convince us to move out of the heart are beliefs to bring to the quiet contemplative balm of The Work.
Let's look at mine. If I live from my heart I will die.
Is that true?
Right away I see what would die if I lived solely from my heart. Manipulation of others would die. Trying to get ahead at the expense of, well, anything would die. My ego wouldn't make it. What else would die if I abided fully in my heart? The ability to obscure the way people see me would die. Eckhart Tolle calls it ego posturing. That would die.
How do I react when I believe that I will die if I live from my heart?
Who has that thought? Who in me believes that they will die if I live from the heart?
The Little One inside of me that is scared, that believes that it has to use everyone and everything to survive is the part of me that believes I will die if I live from my heart. I can see her, she is very young and frightened. She lives inside of me, she is the embodiment of the core terror of the belief.
Now I look at that terrified Little One. That frightened one. I just look at her, gaze at her such that I can finally really see her. (By the way, this looking, this gazing, is the act of looking through the heart presence. The heart has the capacity to see what is truly happening. What is real.)
With this heart looking, as I simply look at this Little One. I see her fear. I see her loneliness. Oh my heart breaks open. I see a scared little girl that is trying so hard, she has tried for so long, holding nothing back. I want to scoop her up and hold her.
Is it a good idea, does it seem like a wise decision to put that Little One in charge of my life? If I were to elect someone to guide my life, to direct me in all decisions, would I my power in that Little One? No, I would not, nor is it kind to her. She needs love, not a job.
However that is exactly what I give her when I live with the belief that if I truly abide in my heart I will die. Subconsciously I put that scared Little One in charge of my life. And the sweet Little One, in complete earnestness, throws her whole weight into doing the job I've given her. She gives it her all, she just don't have the tools or the wisdom to do it well. She does not have the capacity to do the job. I do though. My adult self has that capacity. My deep self knows how to guide my life. My deep self also knows how to hold and love this Little One.
Again, how do I react when I believe that I will die if I live from the heart? "How I react', or question #3 of The Work, actually happens to the Little One. When we believe a thought we are literally fused with the Little One. We put our Little Ones fully in charge, and experience our life through them. The locus of perception in my (her) body swoops up into my brain. I feel it go there, and a global fright or flight response grips through my world. I put all of my trust into my thinking mind and have to figure out how to survive in every second.
Who would I be without the thought that I will die if I live from the heart?
There's a settling down into something wise and old. (Do you see the Little One relax? Finally, an adult present.) There's a subtle leaning back into the moment. The almost imperceptible constant tilt forward out of Now relaxes backwards. The backwards step into Now. Feel it? That is where you can experience wonder. Wonder and love cannot be experienced when there is a constant tiny push forward out of Now into the next moment. You literally can't feel those things when your attention is compressed forward into the next moment. Our hearts abide Now. They cannot leave it.
When we live from the constant tiny push forward out of the Now and into the next moment we live a flat, bleak life. We live in our heads. We live with the Little Ones in charge.
I encourage you to try relaxing back into Now, relax back and allow your heart to open up and look around. What does it see? Take a minute, take a day.... take a lifetime. It's the reason we're here.
I also encourage you to really take note of the beliefs that keep you from residing in your heart presence. What would keep you from a devotion to Love? Who are the scared Little Ones inside of you? What do they believe is true?
My love to all of you. Next week I will send an email with some simple ways to shift into the heart center.
For now, bless you.
Good Morning Fair People,
And good night, afternoon, and evening to you from all over the globe. Greetings from a snowy Central New York State!
I am having the most peaceful morning sitting here in front of my wood stove, meditating, writing to you, and getting ready for the Yes, That's My Business teleclass this afternoon. I just got back from a 2 night excursion up to the Adirondack Mountains with my kids (9 and 15). We had a weekend filled with joy, coziness, and babbling, flowing laughter. I thank their beautiful spirits, The Work, and lots of meditation for this gift of a weekend.
And what would happen if suddenly all record of wrongs just dropped from your life?! This can be a micro-inquiry. Just do it now! Boom, all record of wrongs.... GONE. What's it like in that heaven?
For me I can BREATHE... all of a sudden! And a welling up richness of gratitude, but gratitude that is physical, has form, comes welling up through my embodied soul and the slow joy of chicken stock simmering on the big ol' farm oven in the kitchen flows over me.
I spoke quite a bit in the last email about the upcoming class I am offering in January - Love Holds No Count of Wrongs, so I won't talk about it a lot here.
I recorded a YouTube video on the topic ( a very very fun undertaking). The video describes the class, but more than that I spend time going into detail about what it means to contemplate "love holds no count of wrongs", as well as some common blocks that come up when we begin to delve into the teaching.Here is the link to the YouTube video. Let me know what you think of it! I'd love to get some feedback about the topic, the video, the class, or anything that comes up for you as you watch it.
I want to share a very simple practice with you today. I use this one frequently when I experience emotional or mental pain. It is deceptively simple, deceptive in that if you really drop into the practice it can completely flip the way you are relating to the world, and quite quickly.
The other morning I was preparing for the first teleclass of "Yes, that's my business", and I had some nervousness. It wasn't overwhelming, just sort of an unease waving up from the background at semi-regular intervals.
My first, mostly unconscious, response to the nervousness was to resist it. 'No... no, I have to get rid of this nervousness before the class starts. I have to be calm. This has to go away.'
Basic garden-variety resistance. Resistance to what is. It's normal to think that we should try to alter or amend the way that we are feeling.
Fortunately I am blessed with a meditation for just such times. Once I realized that I was in resistance (you have to notice the resistance before you can do anything about it), I allowed myself to fully let in it in. Let it in so fully that I could feel every little bit of it, to really allow myself to see how being in resistance to nervousness affected my world.
I said to myself "I don't EVER want to feel this nervousness ever again. And I felt into that position. I inquired into that stance, the stance of total resistance to experiencing nervousness. It doesn't feel good. In fact it feels hellish. Stuck, Terrifying.
Then I felt into the opposite stance, the Turnaround if you will. I said "I'm willing, I look forward to experiencing this nervousness. I'm willing to feel this." And I sensed into that position, slowly letting the feel of it revel itself. Relief, an easing.
And then the kicker, the stance that has the possibility of melting all resistance entirely - "I'm willing, I look forward to experiencing this nervousness for eternity." (Yes, I said that - FOR ETERNITY.)
And that is where the flip happens. Total acceptance and suddenly a peace moves in. I'm willing for this sweet Evangeline to be nervous forever. I love her. I'm willing for her be a total nervous wreck on the teleclass. Even for eternity. No pressure sweetheart.
With this unconditional acceptance of what is (nervousness) magic happens. The human is forgiven and allowed and loved, and with that a great peace comes.
I invite you to try it, but go gently with yourself. All things in their time. The first time I tried this I thought my teacher was a complete nut case. It took 3 years for me before I felt the flip. I COULD NOT see how accepting myself speaking from the ego for eternity could do anyone any good.
May you bless and be blessed,
In the works - mark your calendar - a 3 night night retreat June 20th to 23rd 2019 at the Lodge at Light on the Hill. Details forthcoming.
12 Credits for Certification Candidates in The Work
I find that I prefer speaking over writing these days. We'll see if that keeps up, for now YouTube videos it is! I have been on a roll.
I realize that everyone has a preferred mode of taking in information, I imagine that videos are good for some of you and less so for others.
This link will bring you to YouTube where you can watch a video about the six week teleclass that I am teaching beginning in the middle of October called "Yes! That's My Business". The video is a bit of an infomercial AND it contains some interesting ideas and explorations about what we take to be our own business. I think it's worth watching even if you aren't considering taking the class itself.
When I reference "my business" I am referring to the idea that there are three kinds of business - mine, yours (other people's), and God's/Life's. Byron Katie has a fabulous, succinct video in which she lays this idea out with classic Katie panache. Click this link to watch Katie's video.
When we believe something is for sure, without a doubt our business to deal with, take care of, take responsibility for, a concept is laid right over top of whatever it is we are looking at in reality.
This conceptual overlay by it's very nature changes the our ability to directly perceive reality. Can you see this in your mind's eye?
I see the thing I take to be my business - whatever it is - mothering, what I eat, how I treat people - I see it sort of floating there, and then I see a very thin film get dropped over it as soon as I believe that it is my business.
The thin film prevents me from clearly seeing what is going on, and it also begins to tighten, constrict, and truss up the actual thing sitting there. When this film and constrictive, controlling energy that is created when we believe something is our business is firmly in place, our innate love and presence cannot come though as easily and wisely "see" this thing we are taking to be our business. The natural, love-propelled response or right action latent within us is muted, or even completely transmuted.
In practical terms, when I take mothering to be my business (I have 2 children) I begin to relate to them through a lens of tension. It feels tight and frightening to be the mother. I begin to see my children as objects that I have power over, objects I have to deal with, objects that I have ultimate responsibility over.
I innocently believe that this thought - mothering is my business - keeps me a good parent. The true effect is much different. And, right underneath the thought that mothering is my business is the belief that something deeply loving, wise, and beautiful would not arise to be with my children if I were to let go of it being my business. I believe the thought keeps me being good, and without it I would run away, or be negligent. When I believe that it is no wonder I hold onto the idea that mothering is my business - my integrity allows nothing less.
I go into all of this more thoroughly in the video - I invite you to watch it if you are called to. I love getting comments and questions in the comments section below the video - as well as via email.
I hope you have a beautiful day (I am spending my afternoon on my cozy sun porch, rain falling heavy and delicious outside on the green fields.)
Radical Self-Care has been coming up again and again as I work with people. This is a rich, meaningful topic, and I want to share some practices and inquiry questions with you that invite deep Radical Self-Care into your daily life. These practices and inquiry questions invite Radical Self-Care to become a lived part of your experience rather than something that remains up on a shelf in your mind as a nice concept.
There is a deep belief that many of us carry, a half submerged, hiding-in-the-depths-of-subconscious belief that says "I don't deserve self care."
This belief, when sat with patiently and really listened to often reveals itself as a hurt child, a little one that has lived inside of us for decades with unkempt hair, bruises on their face, in a little scrabbled-out hovel with a pile of filthy threadbare blankets for comfort.
This little one is the energetic form of the belief that "I don't deserve self care." Seeing these little ones for the first time can break your heart open, or cause you to pull back in fear or revulsion. All reactions are OK.
One way to access this little one inside of yourself is to listen to exactly how the thought "I don't deserves self care" sounds. What is the actual sound of the thought as you hear it in your head? What is the energy of it, the emotion of it? With sincere listening to the way the thought is said in your mind the little one will often appear.
Sometimes the little one will appear as a child, a baby, or a teenager, and sometimes as another entity - a stone, a monster, or cartoon creature. All will have the unifying element of being personified, and all will convey a vast amount of information in their very form, the essence of their physicality, in their eyes, in how they look at you or don't.
All of the information they hold is there for you to discover, but beware of any pushing or insincerity on your part. These little ones yield to honest listening, to a true willingness on your part to really hear how they are doing, to what their world is like. They are just waiting to he heard, and will wait for you for eternity.
There is a lot more to say an know about how to be with these little ones. It is an area of inner work that I am drawn to. I will write about that more at another time.
Right now I want to talk about a line of inquiry questions born from past dialogues with the little ones. Dialogues that I have entered into with my own little ones, as well as dialogues I have facilitated between clients and their little ones.
This line of inquiry uses what I call Heart Inquiry Questions. These questions are asked of your own heart, with your hand or hands place over your heart. As with any type of inquiry question you ask the question and then simply listen. In a Heart Inquiry you listen of the actual felt place right between your hand and heart.
So first take a moment to put your hand or hands over your heart and connect with the feeling there. Then ask:
What is the absolute most loving this I could possibly do for myself right now?
Ask this, and then just listen, listen to the place right between your hand and heart. Sense into it. The answer is there in the quiet.
This question can be asked on the fly. It can be asked when you are devastated, when you are exhausted, when you are at your wits end. It can be asked in the middle of a calm, peaceful meditation. It can be asked of this moment, right now. And it can be asked of a day, a week, or a year.
A beautiful, effective way to explore this question is as follows. With your hand on your heart say
"Show me, show me what a day (a week, a year) would look like where I hold self-care as a guiding value. Show me what it would look like if I was devoted to deep self-care, and allowed that to guide and inform all of my decisions, to infuse my life."
And then just sit with that. Allow yourself to be shown what that would look like, what that life would be like. Let some people arrive in your mind's eye. Maybe your family, maybe friends, co-workers. How do you relate to them? How do you treat them when this beautiful deep devotion to self-care is informing your decisions, you actions? What happens there?
Now, once you have explored that thoroughly, explore the opposite world. With your hand on your heart ask
"Show me, show me what a day (a week, a year) would look like where I completely dismiss self-care. Show me what it would look like if I relegated self-care to the least important thing, if I never allowed any self-care to come though into my daily life, actions, or decisions. Show me what that would look like."
And then just sit in that. Let your heart really show you what that life would be like. Notice how you treat other people in that life.
After you have explore that world, that life, come back to the question
What is the absolute most loving this I could possibly do for myself right now?
And let your heart guide you. It knows, the heart knows how to bring radical self-care into your life, and if you listen, you will hear. Trust what you hear, and take that incredibly brave step and begin to act on what you hear.
I had such a beautiful meditation this morning. I asked to be show anything I needed to know about the upcoming Immersion into the Heart of Listening Retreat at Light on the Hill.
I often use this sort of inquiry question for guidance. The wording basically goes something like this:
"show me, what am I ready to see, what am I ready to know about ...... " and then fill in the blank with whatever is close to your heart.
And then the indication is to just sit in that question, listening to the quiet wild unknown all around you, listening to your inner most heart-of-hearts.
This morning I did this inquiry for guidance about the retreat. I was shown a ring of beings sitting in a circle, holding a deep listening together. There was some sort of mysterious portal open within the circle, a pool of spiraling luminosity created by the sincere intention and listening of the beings. The stuff of the portal and the stuff of the beings were in essence the same, a beautiful mysterious swirling of light and deep dark.
This is the sacred gentle power of sitting in retreat with beings that are willing, that have a calling to sit deeply and quietly in their own hearts, listening for the voice of the Beloved. I invite you here.
Love and peace to you,
~ A Three Day Retreat at Light on the Hill, September 20th to 23rd. Details here. (Credit for Certification Candidates available.)