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.

Meditation? For love and power…

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The point [of meditation] is not to improve yourself …but to come back to who you are, the awareness that is your birthright

These are the words of Jack Kornfield, who facilitated the first session of the ‘Love and Power’ weekend retreat.

Mindfulness

Jack Kornfield quoted Zen master, Suzuki Roshi who when asked to talk about higher consciousness, said:

I do not know anything about higher consciousness, I just try to teach my students how to hear the birds sing.”

How beautiful, how simple!  Be present to the mystery and beauty that is life, and you will be content.

There is so much that we are not aware of, most significantly ourselves.  This then is the power and magic of meditation – to come back to who we are, to be aware and present. The practice of meditation is continuous and eventually it becomes easier. I have no answer as to the measure of time this may be for you nor even I.  It is not about arriving somewhere.  To be honest I am not certain there is a destination we need concern ourselves with.  It is the practice journey of meditation itself which teaches, which brings us back to who we are.

journey-ii-h-kopp-delaney

The essence of meditation is twofold – silence and stillness. As opposed to being ‘silenced’ by a fear, in protest or by resignation, silence in meditation is empowering because we come to sit in that space in which we are aware of ourselves, of our world and our relationship with the world; and we then have choice to accept ourselves for who we are.

I have written on occasions about our humanity, our flaws, our Shadow.  I hold mine gently in the palms of my hands, sometimes in playful lightness, sometimes in contemplation, always being mindful not to judge. I do not always succeed. That is okay too.  The very act  of being aware of my Shadow is by itself, empowering – to walk this life with consciousness.  As for judging, whether self and others, the crux is to know when you are judging; if you can name it, you are more likely to be able to let the act or thought go.  Practice, practice, practice…

Life is difficult – broken friendships, marital discord,social injustice, discontentment, illness etc.. Life is beautiful – bird songs, dew drops, oceans, loving relationships, desires, talents and abilities, etc..  Of the two, our common usual want is to embrace the ‘good’, the pleasant; while we ignore and avoid the difficult.

To paraphrase Jack Kornfield as he closed the first session,

Turn to that which is difficult (i.e. suffering) and you’ll learn something of value
Seat yourself in the middle of everything, joys and sorrows
Trust the space of awareness
With a loving heart, acknowledge this is our humanity
Without judgment, the need to fix it, or ideals.

This is what it means to be present – to not look to our history and judge and attempt to fix it, to not look to our future and judge it against ideals we have inherited from our past or history.

mindfulness-meditation-Jon Kabat-Zinn

Be present!

I know it is easier to be nostalgic of ‘the good old days’, be resentful or hateful of a history of a relationship, to look to ideals and be stuck when a future does not seem to be as planned.  We live everywhere – the past and the future – except in our present.  I know, I go there, more often than I care to admit.

We have the capacity to be present, what is required is the courage to do so. Because to be present may necessitate looking at our own pain now.

So will you take your seat amidst your humanity
With affection and tenderness
With love?
And be present to your humanity
The joys and the sorrows
With awareness and acceptance?

namasteIn Love,
– FlorenceT

 

Image 2: Journey by H Kopp-Delaney http://fineartamerica.com/featured/journey-ii-h-kopp-delaney.html

Image 4: Namaste by John Stevens http://johnstevensdesign.com/photo/namaste/

© 2014 Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.