Here we are at 2018, wondering what we should aim for in the coming year. In the mornings I spend some time in conversation with my Soul, and this morning I asked, “What would you like for me to accomplish in 2018?” “Are you playing enough?” came the answer. “What you call Work should be…
Open Windows: Living with Energy, Meaning and Purpose Oakland, California Cool and Sunny, November 29, 2017 The way we live opens windows and calls in a secret voice to anything still missing.” Too Many Habits? “I have too many habits!” said my friend as we drove to a practice group meeting for people learning…
“I want to get out of here! This is the 70’s all over again!” The year was 2004 and I was at a healing retreat, but it was a reprise of everything I had not liked in the 1970’s. In the 70’s, Esalen in Big Sur on the California coast, was becoming famous as a retreat center continuing in the tradition of Fritz Perls, the great psychiatrist and founder of Esalen. Groups promising emotional release were springing up everywhere and personal growth was in the air, but I, divorced with a full time job and four children, was having none of it.
Last month I talked about growing new leaves on our Soul-tree. But growing new leaves isn’t always easy, and sometimes our painstakingly tended branches may be clipped off our tree by unforeseen events. The Divine Gardener may have a different plan about how our Soul-tree will flourish.
Often we do not see the great Pruning Shears in the Sky coming. Our secure job may suddenly be eliminated, our spouse may decide that he or she will be happier with someone else, a new technology may come along which makes us obsolete. These are worst case scenarios, which we don’t like to think about, much less prepare for! My mentor used to comment on some new plan of mine, “That is fine, but what is the worst case scenario?”
The Master Gardener is shaping our Soul-tree into a magnificent bonsai by cutting and trimming and tying and twisting, We cannot know the outcome, but what we can do is Be Ready for the worst case scenario.
“I’m so vulnerable. I have no self-confidence and I cry all the time for no reason.” Tears filled the eyes of the young woman with long brown hair and plastic-rimmed glasses hiding her child-like blue eyes. We were at a retreat in Marin County in Northern California, where we were exploring “Transparent Communication.”
This person wanted to know what to do so as not to feel so exposed in her vulnerability. Yet she was a psychotherapist and her ability to access her own emotions was an asset to her in working with her clients. However, she needed to protect herself from her feelings. She wanted to be able to switch off her vulnerability.
“Grow new leaves,” I said without thinking.
Last night I was watching a special program about Judy Garland on public television. Judy’s role as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, which has become the myth of our time, was the introduction to the program.
Whether Dorothy of the Wizard of Oz or Dorothy Seeger, or some other Dorothy, it doesn’t matter. The story of “Dorothy” has become embedded in America’s collective unconscious as a tale of loss, search, and empowerment.
So I will tell you my Dorothy story. Some of you will find that it is very similar to your own. That is why I am telling it.
Last month we suggested that, instead of Occupying Wall Street or Hong Kong, we focus on occupying ourselves. What does “Occupy Yourself” mean? It means to live inside your own body, to live in your heart. To connect with others from the heart, and to listen to what your own Internal Guidance System is saying.
Ten years ago, I was living in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I had moved from California to study Ayurveda. I thought it wouldn’t matter where I was living as long as I was learning something new.
California was my Home. From my Midwestern childhood I had dreamed of California. It was like the Emerald City in “The Wizard of Oz”. California was Over the Rainbow for me. When I was given a scholarship to go there to college, it was the fulfillment of a dream.
We have had “Occupy Wall Street” and “Occupy Washington”, but we have never had “Occupy Yourself.” Instead, we are the ones who are occupied – by worries about money, relationships, children, work, and by the News. These worries are the terrorists who hold us hostage.
What ransom can we pay to free ourselves?
Where are your bubbles?
As we go about our daily life, there are bubbles all around us, but do we see them? Do we experience their bubbleness? Or are we too rushed, too busy thinking, too occupied with our worries, our responsibilities, our have-nots to notice them?
Fleeting moments cross our path – a black crow waddles across the road, a purple rose in a neighbor’s front yard says, “Smell me,” a cat meditates quietly on a front step, his feet curled under him, so calm, so contented. They are all bubbles floating around us.