aging, broken hearts, parenting your parents, Enlighten Me, Hard to Label, parenting

Smile though your heart is breaking…

My sister and I have spent the last week thinking that my mother was going to transition to the next life. Right now, it looks like she’s going to stick around for a little bit though we don’t really know how long.

I’ve had some issues with my mom in the past because we both thought we were in charge of MY life. Then we worked those out; I learned to listen and quietly do what I wanted to take care of my own needs and wants. And now we have occasional issues again and I realized that it’s because we both think we are in charge of HER life.

Funny…not in a haha sort of way because neither of us is in charge right now. Byron Katie says there are three types of business: your business, God’s business, my business. Clearly, my mom’s health is God’s business.

My mom worked as a banquet waitress until she was 82 years old.  Her mind was sharp and clear, but now she thinks it’s still clear and everyone else is confused…that the hospital stole her home, moved it, and reproduced all her furniture, pictures, and possessions in an attempt to fool her into believing that she was living at home.

She sometimes thinks she’s in her childhood home in West Virginia with a big Blue Ridge foothill in the backyard that housed wild cats and black bears and copperhead snakes. These things were true once upon a time, but not now.

She sometimes thinks my father sold their home to pay off some kind of debt to some nefarious individual and she sometimes thinks that my sister and I are plotting against her.

She spent days in the hospital promising to go home and bake raisin-filled cookies.

She told one of the nursing home residents that at the last hotel she was at they had put a bomb under her bed.

I think at one time in my life, when I was four or five and still believed in magic, in Santa, in ghosts and goblins, she dealt with my delusions and now we’re dealing with hers.

It’s fair, I suppose.

What isn’t fair is that my parents tried to maintain solid finances and a nice home so they could pass something on to us and they probably won’t be able to keep those things because getting old is very, very expensive.

My father blames the Republicans for that but I heard a report on NPR about a month ago that causes me to believe it’s a worldwide issue. In Japan, the report said, the prisons are becoming overcrowded with the elderly who can no longer afford to live at home or in a nursing home. One man in his late 70’s tried to get arrested for stealing bicycles but couldn’t get more than a lecture so he took a kitchen knife to a nearby park and threatened young women. He said he had to threaten quite a few with the knife, and beg a few more before one of the women finally called the police.

It’s a sad business, but if you’re smiling right now imagining a small-framed Japanese septuagenarian with a butter knife begging women in the park to be frightened and call the police, know that I am also.

If we don’t continue to smile, our smile muscles will atrophy.

If we don’t continue to find the humanity, our empathy muscles will disintegrate.

If we don’t continue to see the humor, we will totally lose our way.

 

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Enlighten Me

I Have a Dream Too

As MLK Day approaches, I’m thinking a lot about ‘why’. This could also be due to the fact that I’m having an extended stay with my 5-year-old granddaughter. Anyone who’s ever been around a 4-5-year-old knows what question adults answer most…”Why?”

At any rate, WHY has been on mind this week.

Dr. King’s ‘why’ was famous…he had a dream that he believed in and in order to make that dream come true, he had to get off his ass to walk the talk, and talk the walk. He believed so strongly in a world where everyone was treated with respect and dignity that he gave his life. I don’t really want to say MLK was like a 20th century Jesus, but he sort of was, wasn’t he?

He was spit on, beat up, murdered for his strong beliefs…but what makes him like Jesus is that they held the same beliefs. Contrary to what popular politics tells us, the New Testament’s message to me was that Jesus loves everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation. Maybe much of this isn’t stated implicitly, but it’s implied in the way HE approached everyone, healed anyone, and never made any bones about saying that God, His Father, was no respecter of persons, which to me and Bible scholars everywhere except apparently DC, means that God doesn’t care whether you’re black, white,  red, brown, purple or green. He’s gonna love you like nobody loves you come rain or come shine.

Isn’t that what MLK was not fighting about? What he marched for, got arrested for, and ultimately died for? Before 2016, I would’ve said that as a country, we were almost at the terminal…the MLK Dream Train was coming round the bend just about to arrive. But then… .

So as we approach yet another MLK Day, I wonder about my own dreams…deep, inner dreams that have nothing to do with the kind of car I dream of owning (Tesla), or the  income of my fantasies (A LOT), or vacation destinations of my daydreams (Everywhere!). I’m talking deep inner beliefs that drive my behavior, set my boundaries, inform how I talk, walk, treat others. So, let me list a few, but I don’t think you should hold me to only these…I might want to add to my list, even though it’s difficult enough for me some days to stay in alignment with even these!

I BELIEVE:

  1. in a world where everyone has enough to eat, clean water to drink, a warm place to sleep, and someone who worries about them when they don’t come home for a while.
  2. in the equality of ALL human beings regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, creed, political persuasion, ethnicity.
  3. in a God who loves us all unconditionally and wants us to be good disciples and follow His lead.
  4. that war is evil and futile and should be a thing of history.
  5. that there’s nothing more important than family…and that we’re all family!

 

So, between now and this MLK Day, then to next MLK Day I have a lot of work to do to walk my talk…obviously, I need to go back to volunteering at WARM whose mission it is to feed people in Central Ohio. I need to see ALL people through the eyes of God…(this is so difficult for me…think TRUMP!). I need to have peace in my own heart and welcome everyone I meet into my family where they belong. (Which I do not think means they all live with me!)

How about you?

What do you believe and what are you willing to do for it?

My challenge to you is to think about it…it’s the least we can do to honor the man who gave his life for his dream of an America without all the ‘isms’ that keep us separated.

 

Enlighten Me

Reflections on Reflecting

Everyone’s reflecting right now. I attended my husband’s church with him this morning and heard several people reflect on 2018…what went right; what went wrong and how it played into their purpose, their dharma.

President Obama posted a list of things that had impacted him in 2018 on his Facebook account. You should check it out…it’s basically a list of nonfiction books that he read…movies he saw…songs he loved…which filled me with awe and wonder! How can the guy read that much and still have time to see movies and listen to music? If I had done all that reading, I’d never have had the time to play Words with Friends, Destination Solitaire and Fishdom!

As it is, I barely squeezed in my favorite podcasts, and forget about exercise…I abandoned walking 5 miles a day somewhere in muggy-forest of August.

Tomorrow night, I’ll attend a Burning Bowl ceremony at the Centers for Spiritual Living. It’ll be a ritual of reflection, letting go, ushering in. I like rituals like this one…it allows me to contemplate the insights gained over the last twelve months and the obstacles that need dismantled.

So, what are my BHI from 2018? (BTW, BHI stands for Big Hairy Insights…oh, and BTW stands for By The Way, as if you didn’t already know that one.)

BHI #1:

Miracles happen every day. REAL miracles. And they happen to REAL people like you, like me, like my husband. They happen because there’s a force bigger than us who listens when we pray on a thought. Ok…I call this force God, but that’s a trigger word for a lot of people. A lot of people believe in a creative being who set everything in motion but they don’t believe in a bearded, angry spirit who lives in the sky.

I don’t care what you call Her. I call Her God and She came through for my family BIG-TIME this year, in a number of REAL MIRACLES.

We have a GOD-team behind us who won’t leave us stranded on third base. 

BHI #2:

Love isn’t always kisses, heart-filled cards, red roses, and blindness. My biggest irritant in life is the guy who’s been by my side for 42 years. This year I realized when I almost lost him to a subdural hematoma that he really is the love of my life…even though, like I said earlier, he also keeps me in a state of constant irritation.

Love is the commitment we honor with another person through thick and thin, even when it isn’t pretty. 

BHI #3:

Manifesting Miracles doesn’t mean that The Sun or Creative NonFiction editors are going to contact ME and ask what inspirational essays I have stored on my computer. IF I want to get published again, I need to SUBMIT!

We are active participants in manifesting MIRACLES!  

BHI #4:

Honoring my boundaries means that I don’t say yes to something out of obligation, guilt, fear. If my heart isn’t filled with love, it isn’t the right thing for me to do.

Honoring my boundaries keeps me sane, kind, balanced, at peace. That means that I take all that good energy into the next thing I do with you…for you…because of you. And isn’t that better than sending more regret, resentment, bitterness out into the atmosphere?

Boundaries are wonderful things!

BHI #5:

There’s 3 Kinds of Business: Your Business, God’s Business, My Business. And if I’m in yours or God’s business, there’s nobody home to mind my own business. That’s lonely…and a little crazy because I can’t control you anyway, so minding your business is like running on a treadmill…it wears me out but gets me nowhere. ANd minding God’s business just fills me with anger and hopelessness because Her issues are way above my pay grade!

Minding my own business is my new mantra! 

BHI #6:

Traveling continues to teach me that my priorities can become really mixed up very quickly. In other countries, people are satisfied and HAPPY with so much less stuff than we think is absolutely necessary in this country. I come home from traveling and empty one more excess from my life. It’s cleansing, refreshing, exhilarating. The idea of keeping things I haven’t used for a decade because I might need it someday, is a little wacky. The thought that the brand of our cars, the size of our homes, the label on our shoes means anything is lunacy.

I HAVE enough. I AM enough. I DO enough. 

BHI #7:

Who do you remember from your life?

I bet you answered that with people from 2 categories: people who made you feel special and loved, and people who made you feel stupid and inadequate.

When there is fondness as the thought of a specific person crosses my mind, I know that that person is from category # 1…they add love to my life and therefore to the world. That’s the category I want to be in too.

There is nothing more important in life than how we treat other people. 

BHI #8: 

I love this quote from Winnie-the-Pooh. It’s been my favorite ‘insight’ for years!

You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

BHI #9:

Plastic is everywhere…some of it is good and some of it isn’t. Single-use plastic isn’t…plastic in our cosmetic isn’t… plastic in our food isn’t…plastic in our oceans isn’t. A good life isn’t just about morals and legalities. It’s also about ethics. It’s been tough to refuse straws in restaurants when I love straws; to remember my reusable tote bags every time I walk into a store; to pay more (a lot more) for disposable utensils made of bamboo instead of plastic. But it’s the right thing to do for our future.

Being ethical isn’t always easy, but it’s always right. 

BHI #10:

I always want to be right. Always. I know it’s an ego thing and I should be over that by now, but I’m not. I admit that I have ego issues…I want to be right. And I don’t just want to know that I’m right; I want you to know it too. I know that everyone has this need to be right…we’re all part-ego, so it makes sense. But this year that realization hit me in the gut. I mean, I finally get it… my need to be right conflicts with your need to be right when we’re on different sides of an issue. Last evening I had dinner with a dear friend and learned that we disagree on a very prickly issue. I couldn’t believe it, actually. I felt myself digging in and then all of a sudden there was a flash of awareness…EGO! I love this friend, so do I dig in or let go? I let go…as soon as I did…she did also. We had a good discussion about the issue and it turns out…we’re both right to some degree. And to that degree that we’re both right, there’s a small pinpoint of resolution…I mean actual resolution to the decades-old argument. We stopped debating and began creating and it was an amazing feeling…energizing, inspiring.

EGO has created a rift in this country politically. We cling to our party-identity instead of prioritizing our relationships, our country, our fellow citizens and friends. THat’s ego. And the fact is…it’s stopping us from solving so much. Wayne Dyer said that EGO stands for Edging God Out. If you don’t like the ‘God’ thing, replace it with ‘GOOD’.

A world that works for everyone is a better goal than always being right. 

 

Those are my Big Hairy Insights from 2018. I want to hear yours. In sharing your thoughts, you are expanding your influence and helping us all build a better world…one that works for all of us.

Let us hear from you.

Enlighten Me, Hard to Label

Post-Thanksgiving Ramblings

There are a few events that have triggered some deep Thanksgiving reflections this year:

  • The 57th birthday party of a sweet woman who suffered a stroke 7 months ago and is now struggling to re-learn to talk, move, walk.
  • The memorial celebration for the 53-year-old music genius who gave in to her cancer on the last full moon.
  • The Parliament of World Religions discussion about the mistreatment of farm animals in the United States forcing me to really, really consider vegetarianism. (But I did eat turkey on Thanksgiving.)
  • A visit to see my Aunt and the uncle whose overachieving bladder cannot stop making tumors.
  • A visit with one of my cousins and her family.
  • 86-year-old Ruth who is an environmental warrior and an independent lady.
  • A text message that my brother-in-law had a massive stroke.

Maybe you’re waiting for me to tell you what they all have in common; what my ramblings and reflections have taught me about life. I’m sorry to disappoint, but I cannot. Not because you as the reader need to make sense of it all for yourself, though that might be true; not because I’m being coy, because I’m not even sure what that means having never been coy in my life!

No, I can’t tell you how they’re related because I don’t know. I have no clue.

That’s probably why I’ve been holding them in my heart. I like things to make sense and so much of life does not. I like organized thoughts and events to follow patterns, but my mind usually jumps from one topic to the next so that I have to make notes to stay on track and the steps I take to finish my to-do list are anything but sequential.

I keep reading and re-reading this list. What do they have in common? What does it mean? What lesson am I to be learning from these several events? I feel like there’s one piece of the 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle missing…THE PIECE that makes the picture come together.

I can tell you that I love my family. All of them…I have the best family in the world…from my grandkids to my parents; from my sisters to aunts; from my daughters to nieces and nephews. My cousins are truly, truly special people. I’m just so lucky to have all these great people in my life.

I can tell you that I love my life…except for winters in Ohio.

I can tell you that God is a real person in my life and I don’t talk to her nearly often enough.

I can tell you that I’m so flawed, and in spite of …maybe because of…the flaws, I sincerely like who I am.

I can tell you that the gratitude I talked about on Thanksgiving doesn’t end with that day. I’m grateful every day of my life…for everything I have in my life: health, family, friends, the ability to pay my bills.

And I can tell you that I still don’t know what triggered so much reflection this year. I still don’t know why these events impacted me so profoundly.

I can only tell you that they did.

That they helped me feel vulnerable, powerless, blessed.

That they triggered a loving response, prayer, and prayerful thoughts.

That they illuminated for me the careful layering of our emotions: the bedrock sadness, gratitude that constitutes more layers than any other single emotion, the grief, the too-generous portion of fear, inspiration to do better, motivation to do more, love, more sadness, and even more gratitude.

These are emotional reactions. They don’t give me a neat little quotation that will trigger the same emotional responses for you. Nothing I’ve written or thought of writing has helped me make sense of why my mind is stuck on these events specifically.

They are just a diorama of life, right? Miniature figurines in action before a construction paper background, sun, trees, grass, stick figures playing ball drawn in black crayon.

It’s just life. Nothing to make sense of; nothing to reason out; nothing to acquire.

Life in its complexity, simplicity, irony.

Maybe I don’t need to make sense of it. Maybe feeling this deeply was enough.

Maybe.

Enough.

 

 

 

Enlighten Me

F.E.A.R.

I don’t know why but the Edwin Starr song WAR is my current earworm…just began playing when I typed the title and I suppose you could interchange those two words:

FEAR, huh! What is it good for?

Absolutely Nothing!

Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet too…

Except, technically, that isn’t true. Fear is not evil, harmful, or bad in and of itself. It’s value-equal with joy, shame, happiness, guilt, anger, calm…and any other emotion we human beings experience.

The emotion itself is neutral.

Our reactions to the emotion are what can cause positive or negative consequences.

Fear can create reactions that keep us safe…like staying back from the edge of the Grand Canyon where there are more deaths from falling than you might think. (In 2012, the count was 685 with two or three deaths added each year.)

But if we let fear keep us from ever SEEING the Grand Canyon, then we’re letting it limit our lives.

I’ve been to the Grand Canyon once in my life…on my honeymoon. My crazy husband could, and did, lean out over the rim of the 6,000-foot drop and was lucky enough to NOT experience a dizzy spell, slip on loose gravel, get pulled off balance by a gust of wind, all of which have been reasons for GC deaths.

I never made it closer than 15 feet from the edge. I saw the brilliantly colored layers of rock glisten in the Arizona sun while remaining at a distance that kept my fear at bay.

Adrenal junkies may test their fear by hang-gliding off the edge or flying across it on a jet-packed motorcycle, but I feel fairly proud of myself for just getting out of the car.

In my life I’ve known a LOT of fear:

  • of flying, though now I fly three or four times a year
  • Of riding a motorcycle…before I married a Biker
  • Of public speaking…until I began facilitating presentations for my career
  • Of embarrassing myself…until I became aware that my embarrassments turned into fabulously funny stories that entertained friends and family and became some of the best essays I’ve written, one of which won a Thurber prize.
  • Of having surgery…until one saved my life
  • Of going to the dentist…until…okay, I’m still a little nervous about dentists, but I have found one who doesn’t terrorize me!

Once I told a friend that I was like Piglet in the Winnie the Pooh books; afraid of anything and everything. She said that made me one of the bravest people on earth.

Because I challenge myself to get uncomfortable, even through the fear. If you are never afraid, you don’t have the opportunity to be brave. Pooh told Christopher Robin:

You are smarter than you think,

stronger than you believe,

and braver than you feel.

I go back and forth on whether or not I believe her…or Winnie the Pooh, a bear of little brain, but most days, I choose to believe them both. And why not? To believe I’m brave gives me the ability to face my fears and do it anyway. If I believed that I am a coward, I’d act like I’m a coward and then fear would be the boss.

The Loving Wisdom of Molly Cameron

Last Sunday at the Columbus Center for Spiritual Living, Rev. Molly Cameron talked about fear. She talked about how limiting it can be when we allow it to push us around and she gave us a great acronym for fear that is the antidote to fear:

Feel

Everything

And

Release

 

Here’s how it happens according to Molly:

You don’t deny your feelings or shift them to the bottom of your to-do list. Feelings give us valuable information that we MUST pay attention to if we want to make effective and productive decisions. When we feel fear, there’s a reason. Don’t ignore that. Feel everything…even the negative emotions that can rain on a great parade.

Start with your head:

What do you think about this fear? Is it rational/irrational? Is it there as a caution light or a stop light? Am I feeling afraid because of the Grand Canyon or afraid of falling?

Move to your heart:

Is this true? Is there evidence this is true? What’s my heart saying? Do I want to see the Grand Canyon? Will I regret staying in the car?

Then to your soul:

What do I truly believe will be the highest vision for my life? What actions will be a lighthouse for others? How does this all fit into my purpose?

 

Release it to your higher power. By this point, the fear has dissipated; the rational part of your brain is back in charge.

You can decide to stay in your car if that’s what ration is telling you…as I said, I got out of the car but stayed back far enough from the rim that I could actually enjoy the vision of natural beauty that was in front of me without worrying about vertigo, a major gust of wind, or a bout of the ‘klutzies’.

A braver person might have walked to the edge.

I can only be as brave as me. I can’t be as brave as you.

 

Be Braver than you Feel…

If this is a topic that speaks to you, practice Molly’s process this week in the privacy of your own head, heart and soul.

When you feel afraid, ask yourself what your first thought was before the fear crawled up your spine. That thought will point you toward what you’re REALLY afraid of…and it probably isn’t the 6,000-foot ditch in the middle of America.

Tap into your heart’s wisdom. Is that something I really believe? Is there evidence for it? Will being close to the Grand Canyon cause me to absolutely fall? Will a great gust of wind? Vertigo? Slipping on loose gravel? Well, there’s evidence for those things. Will I regret missing the vision if I stay in the car? Yes.

Get in the spirit…what is it you believe is part of your purpose? What’s your highest vision for your life? I have a passion for travel, so to be in the parking lot of one of the Natural Wonders of the world and NOT get out of the car would go against the learning from experience that I believe is part of my purpose.

This fear was a caution light for me…and once I took precautions, I could enjoy the wonder this site had to offer.

I’ll never forget standing fifteen feet from the Grand Canyon; the oranges, reds, golds illuminating the space between the bottom and the soft blue of the Arizona sky. I’ll always remember the insights gained there as I stood mesmerized by a 6,000-foot ditch made by the power of water, a power I knew about from physical science classes and could now feel in the deepest part of my heart. Water, that keeps us alive, relaxes us with its rhythms and fascinates us in its flexibility; reflects back to us the images of heaven in diamond sparkles on its surface; holds us in its arms as we trust in the science of buoyancy.

That same water is one of the most powerful forces on earth.

Authentic power isn’t physical strength; it’s flexibility, adaptability, the art of influence and persuasion; it’s challenging the status quo of the shoreline gradually, gently without violence or hatred.

I doubt I would have seen all that from the car.

 

 

 

 

 

Books, Enlighten Me, The Write Life, Write Your Life, Writing Business, Writing life

Alexander McCall Smith

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Your first sentence is the most important thing you’ll write because it might be the only one that anyone reads.

So says Alexander McCall Smith, author of one of my favorite series, //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=vickinoll-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=1400034779&asins=1400034779&linkId=bc6631b913342eaff914fb2ee5bd8fda&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066C0&bg_color=FFFFFF“>The #1 Ladies Detective Agency,

AND the //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=vickinoll-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=1400079446&asins=1400079446&linkId=b8d2810df755effcdc44bbf2edb12244&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>44 Scotland Street Series,

AND the //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=vickinoll-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=1400077087&asins=1400077087&linkId=f1e886a36d86868808ae5157e249c19d&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>Professor Dr. von Igelfeld series,

AND the //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=vickinoll-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=1400077095&asins=1400077095&linkId=cd635f39cf172cf14dcc5f95feb47fde&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>Isabel Dalhousie series,

AND a crate full of stand-alone //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=vickinoll-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=1101972831&asins=1101972831&linkId=e42836ef3815c76b29cded06ddcb5f69&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>novels,

AND short stories, AND… hmmm.

You get the idea…this guy is prolific and his work isn’t formulaic or repetitive. His characters are dynamic and chock full of contradictions and quirks just like the rest of humankind.

I got to listen to him talk about his work, his life and his travels for 45 minutes today at an event hosted by the Westerville Public Library. Walking on stage in his traditional tartan kilt, Einstein hair, and rhinestoned reading glasses, he began his talk with the subject of culture and etiquette.

Americans, he says, have issues with etiquette but they all seem to revolve around when it’s okay to wear white shoes.

casual classic clean couple
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Other things he’s picked up in his studies of culture include that Californians bond over stories of their health challenges, and German professors use their doctorate in their titles, making a professor with a double doctorate, Professor Dr. Dr.; his wife Frau Professor Dr. Dr. . Of course there’s a complexity if the wife has her own doctorate. Then she’s addressed as Dr. Frau Professor Dr. Dr.

In a talk sprinkled with such humor, I was enlightened, making my way to the highest level of nirvana in a short 45 minutes. Buddha had the 8-fold path. Alexander McCall’s Smith (AMS) has the UK Tube that employs, I believe, two major rails for a high-speed trip to self-actualization.

RAil # 1 on the AMS Path: Everything is what you want it to be. I can’t count how many times he talked about events gone awry that always led to something positive and funny. These same circumstances could bring most of us to tears or tantrums. The moral of the story is that everything that happens in our lives will be sad if you want it to be; joyous if that’s what you’re after; funny if you look for moments to laugh.

The trick is to figure out what we want more of in our lives and look for that in every situation…every single one.

Rail #2 on the AMS Path: People are kind when we are kind. Throughout his talk, Alexander McCall Smith spoke about living in or visiting different countries and how kind the people were there: Botswana, Italy, Scandinavia, Scotland, Muncie Indiana. Yes…Muncie. I’m sure that he’d receive kindness from the same stranger who cut in front of you in the Starbucks line because he exudes a very strong kindness-aura. You can’t help but feel better about the world when you’re in the same room with AMS.

I hope his kindness, nothing-is-serious energy rubbed off on me when he shook my hand. I could stand to be more kind, to take myself less seriously, and to exude so much warmth that I could wear a kilt on a cold November day in Ohio.

 

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And, BTW, I’ve become an Amazon Associate, so if you click through my book links and purchase any of these from Amazon, I will make a commission from your purchase at absolutely no additional cost to you. I am using this commission to defray the costs of maintaining my website. 

Enlighten Me

Root Chakras and Tuning Forks

Sound Healing

My friend Kristy is a sound healer. She uses perfectly pitched tuning forks to activate the energy fields in our bodies called Chakras. These are spinning centers that allow the prana (life energy) to flow more freely. I guess there are many chakras in the body. I don’t really know, but that’s what I read so we’ll go with that for now.

Most of us, however, only focus on the seven major chakras…which is good because who can remember more than 7 anyway?

The Seven Chakras

  • Muladhara
  • Swadhishthana
  • Manipura
  • Anahata
  • Wishuddha
  • Ajna
  • Sahasrara

Okay, so if we have to remember the names in Hindi, I’m out! In layman’s terms, we have:

  • Root Chakra (Muladhara)
  • Sacral Chakra (Swadhishthana)
  • Solar Plexus (Manipura)
  • Heart (Anahata)
  • Throat (Wishuddha)
  • Third Eye (Ajna)
  • Crown (Sahasrara)

You can get a really good education about chakras on-line, old-fashioned books, Buddhist temples, and sound healers like Kristy!

My first experience with sound healing

When Kristy first became certified as a sound healer, she needed people who didn’t mind being guinea pigs. I don’t mind being a guinea pig for any type of energy healing so I signed up. That first session was AMAZING! I was laid out on a massage table, eyes closed, while Kristy struck her tuning forks in harmonious successions and waved them over me.

Big deal, right? Truthfully, I thought, ‘well, this will be a great nap’ and I did leave the session feeling energized, refreshed and rested. But I did not nap! In fact, my brain was so active that it created a light show for my personal entertainment.

I saw swirling colors, mostly purples and greens but there were flashes of yellows. They splashed across the screen of my closed eyelids…not literally…and swirled like perfect tie-dyed t-shirts in neon colors.

Something was happening. 

Beyond the light show, I left feeling more relaxed and organized. Organized? I know! Sounds far-fetched, but I entered with about a thousand things on my to-do list, feeling overwhelmed and under-resourced. I left feeling purposeful and confident.

How did that happen while I was zoning out for a private laser light show? 

Kristy explains that my root chakra was blocked and my crown chakra was wide open. The combination, is apparently, not great. I was taking in energies and information that lead to enlightenment in someone who is well-grounded, centered and focused, but in someone (ME) who had a blocked root chakra…not grounded, centered or focused…it just overwhelmed my human brain. When she ‘tuned’ me, she activated ALL 7 chakras and through the various tones, got them dancing together.

The Importance of Being Grounded

When I took my basic Reiki course, the instructor spent most of the weekend class teaching us how to center and ground ourselves before beginning to use energy on anyone else.

When I took a Natalie Goldberg writing workshop, she spent much of the time teaching us meditation…a grounded, focused starting point from which to create better writing than I thought I could ever produce.

When I gave birth to my daughters, the nurses spent much of my labor helping me focus on my breathing.

Being centered, grounded, balanced, is a necessary condition for anything and everything else…especially creativity; especially spirituality; especially relationships; especially…you get the idea.

Here’s your assignment, should you choose to accept it…

Before you begin each day, get centered and grounded.

Get clear about your values and create your own grounding ritual around them before you interact with another person.

I begin my day with a full glass of water, writing my 3 pages in my journal and then a short breathing, meditation. It reminds me who I am so when I walk into the world, I walk in a gorgeous light show that illuminates my tiny corner of the world.

I think it’s the best thing any of us can do…what do you think?

What do you do to get grounded?

What energy healing modalities do you love? And what do you think I should try next?

If you live in Central Ohio and would like to try sound healing, contact me for Kristy’s information or go to the link to her Facebook page provided above!