Monthly Archives: October 2011

Omens

I do believe in omens.  That might need a little clarification.  I’m not talking about the kind of belief that comes out of reading a book.  The owl in the night may not signal the death of anything more than a field mouse.  The bird in the house may be the visitor himself.  A black cat crossing my path is more likely to bring a smile than a worry about impending doom.   

I believe in synchronicity, things going right, falling into place, as an indication that I am doing the work that I need to be doing.  It’s like getting confirmation that I’m going along appropriately on my Spiritual path.  I see synchronicity as encouragement to take a risk or to agree to something without worrying too much about the details.

The other side of the coin can also be true.  When it becomes exceptionally difficult to get somewhere I begin to wonder if I should even be going.  When it becomes extravagantly expensive (hidden costs revealed right and left) I question buying in.  Resistance doesn’t necessarily stop me from doing something, but it often brings the value of the action into question.  Is what I am doing, what I hope to achieve, really worth it?

So, the omens:

The city tagged one of my trees with Dutch Elm and when the tree service came out to take care of it they broke the equipment to grind the stump.

I came down with a nasty seasonal cold the same week I had a business meeting, a presentation and several small jobs with deadlines.

The water heater died Friday morning.  Diagnosis didn’t happen until afternoon – too late to repair that day and planning to be away at a conference most of the weekend.

The “Check Engine” light came on in the car.  Apparently something is out of alignment and it’s making noises like it needs new brakes or maybe a bearing.

And the other side of the story:

The tree guys were half the price of any other bid and were out the next day with the equipment fixed to finish the job.

The cold never become deadly, I had plenty of tea and OTC medicine in the house, and I got to bed at a reasonable time all week.

The side jobs really were small and easy, the business meeting was with good friends and gave me some good leads and the presentation was extraordinarily well received.

The water heater is over 10 years old and I’ve known it was going to need replacing soon for at least the last 2 years.

The car has 250,000 miles on it and I’ll probably drive it into the ground before I put any more money into keeping it going.

Additionally, I have help paying for both the tree and the water heater.  My son is staying at his Dad’s where he can get a bath.  I have a lot of big pots for heating water.

I have learned that it takes a lot of gallons of water to fill up a bathtub.  But that a bath, even when the tub isn’t full, that required hauling the water yourself is worthy of a good soak.  There is something very rewarding about climbing into a tub after doing that much work to prepare the bath.

I have learned that when I really need money it usually becomes available, either through extra work or extra assistance.  Did I mention I won $25 in a drawing through one of my little side jobs?  My work in this life isn’t about dealing with money.  If I am simply contentious rather than careless things fall into place.  Synchronicity happens.

I have learned that omens can be useful markers.  But in and of themselves they don’t really tell me anything.  They are just a reminder to check my point of view and pay a little more attention to the choices I’m making.

Now lets cross the fingers and hope the new water heater gets installed without a hitch!

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Daily Practice

Spirituality is such a day to day part of my life sometimes I forget to give it any attention.  I take it for granted.  I don’t stop and appreciate the beautiful weather, or my amazing children, or even the fact that there is enough money to pay the bills and buy groceries.  All of these things are in my life as gifts from the Universe.    

One of the ways I try to remember to spend time on my Spiritual relationships is by doing daily practice.  Now this isn’t something I’m good at.  I struggle to remember to take my blood pressure meds daily, much less any task I may undertake.  To keep myself engaged (entertained?) I occasionally change up my daily practice.  I’m truly a generalist.  Thats not the sort of person who devotes themselves to achieving perfection at a particular task.

Currently my daily practice is reflected in my writing.  I have struggled plenty with journaling over the years.  But for right now I’m finding daily writing, open ended and on any topic, is compelling.  The thing is, if I don’t write about my Spiritual experience does it really serve me as daily practice?

That’s where this blog is supposed to come in.  The idea here is to keep me honest.  If I can find something in my daily writing, in my daily living, that inspires me to write here then I have succeeded in utilizing my daily practice to promote my spiritual journey.

Sadly, last week was a long and boring week.  There was a certain amount of fatigue that contributed to my lack of inspiration.  That was caused primarily from the pain induced from the de-cluttering you read about last week.   It was an avalanche of malaise and it was not particularly inspiring.  In the face of all that I did continue writing.  Perhaps not as much as I might have otherwise, but I did keep up the daily practice.

I also found myself falling back on other spiritual practices I’ve had in the past.  I had a daily practice for a while of an astral temple meditation before I went to sleep.  I did that several nights last week.  I’ve had a daily practice of casting a healing circle.  I did that several nights last week.  I didn’t get out my old prayer beads, but I remembered that prayer and a few others I’ve used over the years.

Last week I ran across a quote, or someone referenced it, or I overheard someone talking.  Don’t you love the way I source my material?  Anyway someone said something like, “The reason we do daily practice is to get us through the times when we can’t do daily practice.”  That’s definitely the way I felt about it last week.

So now I’m back up on the horse, metaphorically.  I’m a day late on the blog, but it’s out there.  I’m still writing daily, more than the minimums I’ve set for myself.  I’m continuing the process of cleaning up and de-cluttering.  (Thank you Tim, Bonita and Karina)   I’m also getting my notes together for a workshop I’m giving this weekend at the Mankato Women and Spirituality Conference.  Can you guess the topic?    Daily Practice.

BB

Clutter

There are a lot of books out there that talk about clutter.  There are systems for dealing with it and for keeping you from creating more.  There are theories about clutter on your desk at work.  There are theories about clutter in your home.  There are hoarder shows, clutter to the nth degree, on TV.

I am a pile maker.  I have a stack of books to read.  I have an accumulation of files that need to be put away.  I have a perpetual mound of dishes in the drainer.  I have a basket of socks that need to be paired.  This leads, quite naturally, to clutter.

I have noticed that I am really good at keeping a clear space clear.  I am amazingly organized when I travel.  I don’t spread out all over the hotel room.  I keep dirty clothes in a clothes bag.  Even at home, if I establish a “clear space” I tend to keep it clear.

Except

I have also noticed that as soon as one small object invades a clean space, all bets are off.  If I happen to set something down on an empty table and leave it there, within the week it becomes a pile.  If I happen to leave something out on a clear counter, more things just collect.  It’s my experience that clutter begets clutter.

I have two problems with the theories about putting things away in the moment and not letting them become clutter.  The first problem is that I don’t live alone.  90% of the time the one piece of paper, or pen, or can of soup that gets left out wasn’t mine.  It doesn’t stop the clutter from continuing.  Apparently clutter is an indiscriminate breeder.

My second problem is even harder to address.  I have some significant health problems.  I get by, but I do tend to push the edges.  Sometimes I will come home from shopping, carry the bags in one at a time, and be so worn out that I literally can’t unpack.  This also applies to traveling.  The bags often don’t get unpacked for a week or more.

With these bad habits eventually the clutter does become overwhelming.  This is when I really start to notice those books may be right.  I get preoccupied with avoidance.  Not only do I avoid the clutter, but also some of my other daily tasks.  I start to lose track of things.  Sometimes it’s papers I was sure were in the pile, but that expands.  It’s as though my brain doesn’t keep track as well if the house is cluttered.

If living a spiritual life is being in alignment with your higher purpose, that alignment is also disturbed by clutter.  My shrines don’t get tended.  The plants don’t get watered.  The environment doesn’t lend itself to doing any kind of spiritual work.  There is a reason our imaginings of cloistered communities include nuns and monks on their knees scrubbing the floors.

So this is a week devoted to dealing with the clutter.  I’ve been sorting through my filing.  I’ve been cleaning up the kitchen.  I have the “get the car in the garage” project on the calendar.  I’m happy that it’s getting done.  My load seems lighter as order begins to prevail.

But again, I do have some physical issues.  I’m worn out. I couldn’t do this all by myself.  So I also am grateful to everyone who is lending a hand.  Sorting through piles is not a job I can delegate.  But my thanks go out to my friends and family who have rolled up their sleeves to help with the haul and carry.

There is still more to do.  The other problem with clutter is that it’s one of those jobs that’s never done.  But I can take a little time out to sit with gratitude.  I can kick back and enjoy the extra space.  And I can dash off a little blog.

Blessings

Acceptance

Floating in the warm water.  The echos in the pool muffled as my ears slide under.  Drifting and being held in strong, capable arms. I have to remind myself again to breathe.

I had a Watsu massage last week.  I love Watsu and it’s not my first time in the pool with my therapist Derek.  What strikes me about this is that my experience is so different every time.

Watsu is a massage technique that’s based in shiatsu, which is based in acupuncture.   It takes place in a therapy pool, extra warm.  Ideally the water should be body temperature, a technique used in sensory depravation.

Because of the water, Watsu does not put any pressure on the joints.  It’s more like a position/release therapy than like the deep stimulation of classic shiatsu.  As a technique it actually reminds me of Orthobionomy more than massage.  It works with the body where it’s comfortable rather than pursuing the edge of tolerance.         

Do I sound like I’ve been trained as a massage therapist yet?  My first try at Watsu I talked with Derek about the technique.  I told him which of my vertebrae were out of alignment and which meridians were weak.  I knew Derek, had taken a class from him.  I trusted his training and skills as a therapist.

I laid back in the water and totally checked out.  I don’t know if I dozed or if I just ‘went somewhere’.  The time was too short.  At the end of the session I felt rested, invigorated.  I was moving a lot more comfortably as well.

Maybe it’s the water.  I’ve had clients, and heard many stories, about people having emotional releases in therapy sessions.  It’s not usually how I respond, but it’s not uncommon.  There is something about emotion and water that goes together.  I asked Derek once if he found Watsu a particularly powerful technique for releasing emotions bound up in physical issues.  I got a classic therapeutic, “It certainly can do that.”

It’s different every time.  Any therapy session is of course.  In the moment you address the body where it’s at.  What are the needs today?  What is possible right now?  But the added meditational element I find with Watsu expands those possibilities beyond any other therapy I’ve experienced.

I’ve had a Watsu where I felt like I was revisiting my childhood, both in joy and in pain.  I’ve had a session where I just cried.  Not sobbing, but tears flowing down my cheeks along with the waves from the pool.  Stress freely being released.   I’ve had a session where I went to my spiritual center and just renewed my connections with the Divine.  I don’t fight it, I just go.

This last session was different again.  It has been awhile since I’ve been in and my back was particularly tight.  I had expectations of drifting off and taking a little break.  Instead I found myself resisting.  Derek would put a hand on my shoulder and I would jerk away.  He would push me through the water and I would hold my self stiff, muscles tight and ready.

Breathe.

Awareness doesn’t always make relaxation easier.  I needed to do more than that.  I needed to find a way to breathe through the process.  I needed to get out of my own way.  I needed to lay back and float.  I needed Acceptance.

Acceptance of my body as it is right now.  Free to flow through the water.  Opening up my chakras.  Open up my heart with light and breath.  Accepting both the limitations and the support.  Accept the help being offered by these gentle supportive hands.

Breathe

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