A “nothing” massage?

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It hit me laying there still thinking (as the idea for this post popped into my head 🙂 ) about whether I should tell her to go hard. This session was meant to help and serve a purpose. And therefore she should ‘dig in’ to get rid of the knots that have formed.

Odd, but that’s how I and many of us approach our day to day life. To confront, to overcome, to get rid of, to manage… and the corollary, if we are not there yet, we had best work on getting to this ‘ability’ to confront, to overcome…

Really?

I have had strong massages, and they do serve a purpose – after a painful session and a couple of recovery days, I was finally able to feel my body and notice the knots had “miraculously” dissipated. The freedom is glorious.

There were also gentle massages for me, sometimes with the aromas of choice and, always focused on the healing touch of hands gliding. In that moment, to acknowledge the work we do often and to enjoy time for self, of not-doing…

And these are the times for deep breaths and non-thinking, of allowing things to unfold and appreciating them as they happen.

Even as the idea for this post popped into my head, I knew the session was for this. The decision was an easy one, to relegate my thinking mind elsewhere. Honestly, I didn’t care where it went at the time. Feeling myself drift in and out of consciousness, to be refreshed…

This is enough. There is freedom in this too.

 

Enough

Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to the life
We have refused again and again
Until now.
Until now.

by David Whyte

~ FlorenceT

 

© 2017 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

We touch lives…

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It was masked in righteous indignation and criticism because they were easier to tap into. The holier-than-thou feeling of ‘how could people not see this’, and ‘how could they be so mean’… The suppositions that everyone ought to see or be, and when they don’t, their actions were intentionally hurtful…

I noticed moments after they arose what IT actually was, this surge of aggression that welled up.

A mentee contacted me seeking help to address a bureaucratic process which compelled her to “prove” she was financially unable to meet a required fee. This fee would impact on whether she could pursue her career or not. Now, providing documentation in support is no big deal, guess we are all so used to supplying proof that we would hardly blink.

The reply she had received was a template email reply, which failed to respond to her request and the reasons she provided. The reasons for her financial hardship told of an estranged relationship, a proud family getting by, a neglectful father, the indignities of abandonment and much more. How does one provide proof of these? Do we require bank statements showing minimal balance? Do we require proof of the anxious feelings of insecurity and sorrow? Do we put a fellow human being through greater indignity and embarrassment? If someone had taken the time to make a phone call, her voice over the line spoke volumes, as I found out.

I needed to know ‘why’ for the impersonal reply and was told it was sent because she could have been lying and that she might be taking advantage of the system. Thus, by implication she was required to overcome this baseline by “proving her case”.

Two days of emotional processing later (subconsciously it would seem as the matter resolved that day and I didn’t think much of it after), I realised over and above the anger, I was sad.

I was sad that we have been “programmed” to expect the worse of another, to have a baseline from which we had to prove we are good and worthy.

I was sad that we are “programmed” to see our work as isolated from our environment, as a means to an end of just making a living, and to not see that our actions however small they may be and wherever we may be located, impact on another person.

When did we learn to disassociate our humanness from the industrious machine we call ‘work’?

As Maya Angelou said,

Your legacy is what you do every day. Your legacy is every life you’ve touched, every person whose life was either moved or not. It’s every person you’ve harmed or helped, that’s your legacy.

If we had taken time to put ourselves in another’s shoes and to mindfully exercise the empathy we are all capable of, we would realise few would create a family story such as that told to me. If we had stopped to have a real conversation, we would not have assumed the worse and prejudged the situation.

And in the failure to attend to the interactions and the relationships, we lose the opportunity to stay true to our humanness.

So in spite my anger and sadness, I believe we are not inherently mean nor are we intentionally hurtful, few are. Yet our unthinking and not-mindful actions can hurt.

We can choose to engage with and to make a positive difference to another’s life.

  1. Pay attention.

Behind every letter, email, text message, and in every conversation… there is a person and a story. Pay attention to it.

Listen, truly listen with a compassionate heart and an open mind. In that moment, be prepared and seek to understand.

  1. Be mindful.

Let go of judgment of another or what they may think of us. Attend to the person, not your idea of the person. Choose to be mindful to every word, every gesture, every pause, … they are meaningful.

Let go of time as the arbiter of our actions, there is always more time. Easier said than done, I agree though it is not undo-able. Perhaps we’ll be inspired by what’s next.

  1. Stop, know this.

What we do is not just about us, our efficiency, our productivity, our task completion. What we do impacts on another person, what we do influences the culture in which we work and how we live.

Kindness shown is always felt, and more likely to inspire kindness.

 

Not everyone has to do “great things” to make a difference; every one of us can do small things with love and that makes a difference to those we come in contact with.

 

~ FlorenceT

 

© 2017 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

 

 

Let it be…

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The Owl (c) FlorenceTToday is strange in that I do not know what to make of it. My mind struggles with labels.

In many ways I am grateful for the year that has passed, for the voices of support, the strong arms which held, the love enfolding. I am grateful for a life continuing to unfold with ‘yes’ and ‘welcome’.

I am a little sad as this day will always be the day it began, no not began but finally happened as if the many years before were practices for the real thing. In hindsight the real thing was not as I expected it to be, the lesson being life never is…as expected.

I ought to celebrate and I did. Somehow the spirit is not entirely light.

I ought to let this be just another day. Somehow the heart rebels, the child wants care.

When one is not entirely present in the living but instead attached to an outcome, a dis-ease arises. This agitation of the spirit, the tantrum as the soul demands attention. So here is my experience…

I am opening to the present and what it is, today is however way it comes with a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

~ FlorenceT

 

Photography by FlorenceT

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

 

 

 

Living conscious – Are you there yet?

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consciousness

Conscious being, some of us are and at some of the time.

When a certain insight hits us, those ‘a-ha’ moments (no, I don’t mean the Norwegian pop group), when our attention is focused on another for his or her sake, when we are attuned to our impact on the world around us. Been here?

For some of us, these instances are not persistent or sustained.

Being conscious is a habit cultivated through practice.

It does not come easy. Yet we are too busy to be mindful, to take time with it.

Stephen Levine, meditation teacher, who had spent his life assisting people in ‘conscious dying’ passed on some ten days ago. This spiritual writer of books such as ‘Who Dies?’ and ‘Meeting on the Edge’ spoke of conscious dying as a process which begins with conscious living.

To live a conscious life, we have to take responsibility. Responsibility, not blame.

We need to live light. Let go of the ego need to be right, to come up triumphant…to dichotomize and polarize what is. We participate fully in our experience of living – with the joys as with the pain. But few want to experience pain – our rational minds build fortresses to protect us from them and we assemble weapons to defend ourselves. Ah, the war metaphor… but it’s true, is it not?

To live consciously is to acknowledge pain in our lives.

To accept it but not as a tool for self-pity. Pain is a universal experience – my pain hurts me because it is mine, your pain hurts you because it is yours. There is no greater or lesser pain – just the pain. Once my pain becomes the pain, it becomes a ‘thing’ which we can observe, and let go if we choose to. Yes, we have choice too.

Pain need not be suffering because suffering is choosing to be attached to the pain, to identify with the pain, to stay stuck with the pain. Conscious living is to accept the pain and know that it is one of many states we go through. Nothing more, nothing less. It too will pass.

A phrase I have heard in recent years is the term ‘conscious coupling’ and in more recent times, ‘conscious uncoupling’. Perhaps I am more ‘qualified’ to speak of conscious uncoupling. Many therapist have stated conscious uncoupling invariably finds its source in unconscious coupling, where two beings got together for gratification of their unconscious minds. Examples? Partnering a thrill-seeker who is ‘exciting’ mistaking it for courage and strength, being with an intelligent person who ‘understands’ mistaking it for wisdom and compassion, determining not to marry someone like our fathers or mothers… Familiar?

Partnering, or coupling, is but a state in our journey of life. I have a responsibility to the conscious uncoupling, not for it. There is no one to blame, only to accept it is part of life’s journey. The once partner will remain a figure in your past, a catalyst for your growth (I hope). Whether your coupling lasts 1 or 10 or 50 years, it runs its course as life unfolds. No blame, no regret, no suffering. And in this space, the possibility is open for this human being to be a part of your present, which is quite significant when there are young children. And there are also instances when it is imperative for the conscious uncoupling to result in a strict separation, a ‘never to see the other again’ state. There are indeed many ways of being in a conscious uncoupling. It is personal. I have learnt that it only takes one to consciously uncouple to make a difference.

To live consciously is to watch joy and pain as transitory states; which like a river flows through the landscape of our life.

Are you conscious? Practising?

– FlorenceT

Visit SilverThreading.com’s Writer’s Quote Wednesday – Ian McEwan for further Quotes selections and RonovanWrites.WordPress.com Louis Nizer-“The excitement has never diminished.” for more #BeWoW (Be Writing on Wednesday with positive articles to share.) offerings.

All quotes courtesy of Florence T.

2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

 

#Haiku Challenge 77 @RonovanWrites

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RonovanWrites Haiku Challenge 77 with prompt word – New, Year

stepping_stones_by_ekuboryu

Annual  laments scream
Life proceeding, nothing new
  But conscious choices.

– FlorenceT

 © 2015 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Background image: Stepping Stones by Ekoboryu

Drifting: in Love and Happiness.

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Drifting In Love and Happiness. A Poem.

Time drifts into a path of mayhem without a destination.

Setting my course on the waters of peace and calm.

I turn my fate toward that which holds my compass true.

There is no turning back once truth has been found.

 

Does your life fear reality in all it’s frayed tapestry?

Do your hours run past you without meaning?

Does your heart beat faster without a purpose?

Do you know where you are going?

 

Embrace the obvious when it embraces you in its warmth.

Allow your mind to drift along and ride over the waves of madness.

You will find gentle slopes on the other side, bringing thrills to your heart,

And enliven a life with the missing part that was never found till now.

 

Peace, calm, floating, drifting, feelings of air beneath your body.

Feelings of pure love and happiness permeating your mind, body, and soul.

Delivering you each moment, in thought and spirit into the land of hope.

Always move forward with the knowledge love and happiness is there.


My appreciation goes out to Florence. My blog has moved in some other directions of late and she has graciously allowed me to share some other works here for now.



Ronovan Hester is an author, with his debut historical adventure novel Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling due out in December of 2015. He shares his life as an amnesiac and Chronic Pain sufferer through his blog RonovanWrites.WordPress.com. His love of poetry, authors and community through his online world has lead to a growing Weekly Haiku Challenge, a Weekly Friday Fiction Prompt Challenge, and the creation of a site dedicated to book reviews, interviews and author resources known as LitWorldInterviews.com.

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@RonovanWrites

 © Copyright-All rights reserved by ronovanwrites.wordpress.com 2015

Halfway there – an update

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It’s the halfway point for Mindful in May. May which seasonally is autumn here in Australia.

I have meditated daily for 2 weeks now – honoring a commitment I made. Well, a good cause motivates. Also having told the world about it, well, this lady’s got pride! 🙂 So far so good, and loving it.

“Just 20 minutes a day. That’s all the time it took for Harvard researchers to see measurable changes in the brain that would help us become more focused, creative, and productive, not to mention less anxious.

What do you do with this time? Meditate.”

Week 1 of Mindful in May is on body scan meditation and Week 2 on breath meditation. Click on the links if you wish try these meditations.

The deliberate act of stilling my mind to welcome the day has been enlightening.  It allows my mind to stay present amidst the relative chaos.  There is a certain sense of being ready for my day, a contemplation of how I am in the present which manages to inform the rest of my day. I am not sure if I am painting the picture well enough :-). The ‘luxury’ of emptying my mind of cares and worries at the end of the day has helped my sleep. To cease worrying about what was – to measure and judge what I could or would have done better for example – and to refrain from looking to tomorrow, filling my mind with the chores and planning… instead by being present in a quiet mind, my sub-conscious speaks and I hear. There is attention and love and power. That is the ground upon which I stand.

As you may notice, I have yet to commit to a specific time for meditation.  I do it when I can, either morning or night.

The discipline of meditating at a specific time of day enhances the experience.  A new routine becomes a habit which the mind embraces. Over time, this becomes the ‘default’ switch.  I can live with that…so between you and I, an intention for the remainder of  Mindful in May (and I hope beyond it) – to meditate twice a day, morning and night.

See my post, A Mindful Journey, about what Mindful in May is 🙂

– FlorenceT

 

© 2015 Copyright reserved. The owner and/or author asserts his/her moral and legal rights over this work.

A mindful journey

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Change is inevitable in life, and I have written much about this here. Some of us react to change in a maladaptive manner that can be injurious to self, some respond with equanimity and acceptance, and many of us do a bit of both. We are after all human, and a little flawed :-). And we are all beautiful. It’s true, though at times we have difficulty seeing that in ourselves or in others.

In moments of change, great or small, what do you do?

You know the times of peace and rightness, when you are grounded and know that all will be well, that life is indeed a journey and must be experienced. Every perceived curveball is an adventure, every obstacle a challenge to show you how strong you can be. You move forward, one step at a time, hopefully still appreciating the lessons to be learnt, listening to the messages the Universe is sending.

And then you have moments of self-doubt, fear, anger or confusion. When you just want to shout at the heavens, ‘why me?’ You may find yourself immobilised, stuck, unable to form a sensible thought, a coherent plan…nothing works.

In times like these, I go to a place deep within me. I look into this sacred well and see reflected there the parts of me that were momentarily forgotten, dismissed, undermined, devalued… the parts that will serve me. The intelligent me, the rational me, the loving me, the creative me, the assertive me, the confident me…whichever that I need to call upon in that moment. I gaze into the well, noticing the calm of the water, listening to the silence, feeling the gentle crisp air on my face, sensing my body falling into weightless support… until I reach the parts of me I need to revive.

water-well

And I do this through meditation, specifically mindfulness. Mindfulness allows me to watch myself – my reactions and to be aware of what I need in the moment. It creates a space for me to harness my resources and to generate responses that are true to my values.

Which brings me to this – I have signed up for an online challenge to raise funds to provide clean water to people in developing countries. Called ‘Mindful in May‘ this challenge is to meditate for at least 10 minutes each day for the month of May. Sounds simple but often, I forget. Especially now, this is a habit to entrench.

So why don’t you join me? Register to be mindful for a good cause. Every day you will receive an instructional email to assist in your meditation. Alternatively, support the cause by sponsoring my efforts. Any amount is welcomed. Oh to be abundantly clear, I do not obtain any benefit to promote this challenge.

I am doing this because I believe mindfulness practice is awesome. Mindfulness teaches us to love ourselves a little bit more each day, it removes the judgment we hold about ourselves. It creates a still mind, a focused mind, which leads to an incisive mind.

Why not learn a new tool (if you must call it that though I see it as a way of being) to help ourselves become more aware? And while doing this, you are providing those in poverty with clean water, a basic human need.

Namaste!

– FlorenceT

© 2015 Copyright reserved. The owner and/or author asserts his/her moral and legal rights over this work.

Slow dance…

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This poem has been on my fridge door for close to 10 years now…ever ready to remind me to stop, to breathe, to see and hear, to appreciate, to be.

Slow Dance

Do you have reminders that keep you grounded? That make you pause and re-think, re-do, re-live…

So as we approach our weekends, may we feel the rhythm of our life, hear its music playing gently … and slow dance.

– FlorenceT

 

© 2015 Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.