I was a little surprised on The Path today to see two separate wreaths. Same path, different focus every time! Strange! I thought. They are what stand out for me most powerfully today and yet, I don't think I am feeling grief or loss. Or am I? This is why I love walking in nature. It gently helps me access those deeply buried emotions and fears of which I would ordinarily be unaware. And for good reason - they are too prickly to handle. They hurt!
So, am I in denial? Well, I do notice a lot of sadness and devastation around me, and in the world at large, but somehow this feels like a cop-out. Yes, much easier to focus on someone else's grief rather than my own. So, inside I go! Well, there is that friendship that seemed to unravel out of the blue. I am aware of loss and heartache around that. Furthermore, I'm not sure what to do or say, if anything. Just like the ground today, I am a little frozen.
As beings of love, I don't think we do separation very well. It's not natural. It's not who we are at our core. Yet, as human beings, the pain and frustration of separation is all too familiar. The fear of rejection, saying the wrong thing, messing up (again!) often immobilises us. It takes courage to open our hearts and come face to face with our vulnerable selves.
As for the friendship, it feels important to acknowledge not only the grief and loss and fear and shame I feel but also the deep and enduring love and appreciation, whatever may unfold from hereon in.
The feeling on the Path today is surreal. The pine forest is snow-covered despite there being no snow anywhere else. The expanse of white brings a sense of vagueness. A lack of reference points, I guess. The words blank page and clean slate come to mind.
Towards the end of the walk the path is blocked and a diversion is in place. Having walked this path a couple of days ago I know the diversion will take me through a magnificent avenue of pine trees. Or do I? This time there is one diversion after another, which eventually takes me back towards the start of the path. (Disappointment is the flip side of expectation!) But - if I'm not mistaken - it's starting to snow! Tiny, delicate snowflakes. Magical!
Since the diversion has me re-tracing the start of the path in reverse I notice my original footsteps going the other way. The soles of my boots are quite distinctive and stand out clearly among the many other footsteps. How bizarre! It's like meeting myself on the way back. It's all very mutli-dimensional...cue Twilight Zone music :-)
Finally, as I leave there is no evidence of snowfall beyond the park. It's as if I just entered one of those snow globe paperweights...though thankfully without the vigorous shaking :-)
Here's to unfathomable days like this.
Setting off on The Path today the words natural and at home come to mind. I am very relaxed. Before long, however, my mind is lost in thoughts about one thing or another and I realise despite this being a walking meditation I am all in my head. I decide whenever I notice this happening I could bring awareness to my feet and just focus on what I am feeling here in this part of my body. Even with wellies on I can sense the lay of the land and every bump and stone beneath my soles, but it does bring me back down to earth and I quickly regain a sense of ground. Cool!
Before long I am off again! Up in the air. This particular train of thought begins with me feeling compassion for someone in their suffering when, like a bolt from the blue, I am suddenly feeling deep shame wondering if their suffering is my fault in some way. There is no particular reason why it would be but nevertheless I am feeling horrified right now.
Thankfully I remember to lose my mind, as it were, and bring awareness back to my feet. As I take the very next step I glance down at the ground. It seems I am about to step on a hand grenade. In actual fact, it's just a pine cone half buried in the mud but the powerful symbology stays with me as I watch myself step right down on to it.
It occurs to me that the feelings of deep shame that we unconsciously allow to cycle around our heads have as much hidden, destructive potential as unwittingly stepping on a land mine or live grenade. Although it is healthy for shame to come up out of the shadows to be acknowledged, it is equally important to then release it. That is, let go of the shame. For to try and push it back down inside from whence it came is akin to swallowing a ticking time bomb and hoping it won't go off ;-)
Much Love and Joy and Happiness on Your Path xxx
Pssst! Don't tell anyone but I'm not enjoying The Path today. Walking my walk isn't always the easiest, most pleasurable experience. I haven't forced myself outside or anything. To the contrary, I've been quite kind and gentle with myself. It's just that from experience, I know that however I feel in the moment ultimately, walking the walk helps. The quietness of nature helps clear and calm my mind. It helps me feel. Only right now, I feel sad for some reason. A feeling that everything has changed. It's true, so much has fallen away lately and, whilst in many ways that is fabulous, it's also unfamiliar and a little disorienting.
…and then I see this label on the ground, Tickled Pink, and my mood lightens immediately. It seems a simple shift of focus can change everything. Maybe I am not sad after all? Perhaps this feeling of emptiness is what it feels like to be un-troubled, stress-free. It seems I am right about one thing…these walks really do help ;-)
I love autumn! Having barely left my house I can't help but notice these vibrant, yet perfectly still, red leaves. Despite the apparent paradox, that's exactly how I am feeling on The Path today. Vibrant and alive yet, calm and still. It occurs to me that being vibrant doesn't necessarily mean bouncing around and doing stuff, it can be just as easily experienced in quieter moments when through the stillness we simply ooze life.
Ok, so everything is information. Quantum science is confirming what the wise have known all along. That's great! Or at least it would be were not most of the information invisible to us. Thankfully, this is where the power of metaphor can help - by bringing what is ordinarily unseen, to light. In doing so, we get to experience moments of clarity, from which springs enlightenment about ourselves and our reality.
Although accessing the power of metaphor as I walk in nature is the basis of this blog, The Path doesn't have to be literal. I choose to walk in nature simply because I am better able to hear what I am thinking and feel what I am feeling. Though, first and foremost, I do it because I enjoy it. The truth is, we are on our path wherever we are, whatever we are doing, and regardless of whether we are aware of it. Today happens to be one of those on the path @ home days where I find myself contemplating…coffee.
Over the last year or two, having never been a coffee-drinker, I seem to have developed a penchant for a certain instant cappuccino drink and I'm curious why. Part of me is concerned that the caffeine is having an effect on me that, were I able to see the bigger picture, I most likely wouldn't choose. The other part of me knows coffee, as with everything in life, is essentially neither "good" nor "bad" but simply a choice of experience. It may well have an effect but doesn't everything? What the hell, just enjoy it! And so, a dialogue with myself ensues regarding what it is about this instant cappuccino drink that I like so much:
Well, it's the creaminess and the warmth.
Ok, warmth is a nice feeling, I get that. But what's so good about creaminess?
Creaminess feels…full, and luxurious. (A treat, after all those miserable fat-free years!)
So, you are wanting to experience warmth, fullness, luxury, now! That makes sense, but what I also notice is you tend to want one when you are feeling a little edgy.
Yes, I like the idea of settling down with a nice creamy cappuccino.
But caffeine is a stimulant.
So it is!
So your intention is to calm your already jumpy nervous system by drinking a stimulant?
I never thought of it like that. Doesn't make an awful lot of sense, does it?
The buzz of having what (I think) I want when I want it gives me short-term relief but I guess long term it might be contributing to the edginess, the headaches I've been getting, and the general lack of clarity.
So what do I do? Deny myself? I tired of that.
No, you deserve to experience warmth, fullness, and luxury, in this moment. As do we all. The question is; are there any other ways in which you can access these experiences. Ways, perhaps, that aren't detrimental to your long-term health and happiness. The warmth of contact, family and friends perhaps? The fullness of your being, as you allow yourself to simply be? The luxury of your health and alive-ness? Here and Now.
Aha, so the instant creamy cappuccino is a metaphor! It is showing me what I am missing in this moment. That the warmth, the fullness and the luxury is already here. I just got distracted by the busi-ness of life. I simply forgot.
Well, when I put it like that, the coffee doesn't seem so appealing after all!
…I wonder what it would be like to chat with Me like this all the time?
Once again I begin The Path with a cracking headache. I feel like a porcelain doll that has been hit on the head with a sharp implement, the impact of which is causing my exterior (my façade) to fall away piece by piece. It strikes me something is going on around transcending our human form. Transcending limitation.
The paradox is, in order to transcend something we must first accept it. Since what we resist, persists; we work with it.
Over the last few weeks I have felt under an enormous amount of pressure. In trying to make a dream of mine a reality I have stretched myself to my limits financially, emotionally and spiritually. This, I always thought, is what it takes to be "successful". It doesn't feel very good. What started as a remarkably easy process has suddenly been met with block after block. I am running out of options; and each one is applying a tighter and tighter squeeze. Today I am questioning whether this particular dream is worth pursuing any further. It breaks my heart to let it go but right now I suspect it might be the best thing all round.
Ironically, the blocks are a direct result of changing our family business last year from a partnership to a limited company. At that time (being the queen of metaphor), I was slightly perturbed by the thought of being limited in any way at all. Surely this can't be good, I thought to myself. I'm all for expansion but partnership sounded much nicer.
I wanted this particular dream for many reasons. To have greater financial abundance and security, to create a peaceful sanctuary to which I and others might retreat, a space in which to experience health and wholeness, somewhere to walk in nature and appreciate the rising and the setting of the sun. A place I can write and connect with Infinite Potential.
Today, as I walk The Path and ponder all of this I hear the words FORGET THE DREAM; ENTER THE REALITY. Slowly it dawns on me I have all this already, right where I am. Moreover, without the distraction and the financial pressure of 'the dream' I can experience all of the above with greater ease and grace. In truth, choosing not to pursue the dream right now actually creates much more time and space and energy. Here too, the potential is infinite.
Suddenly I am filled with immense appreciation for the power of limitation. As intense as it might feel in the moment, the pressure of being limited forces us to be creative (the whole point of Creation!). Being re-source-ful allows us to use what we already have and make decisions from where we are, rather than where we would like to be. As a result of working creatively within our boundaries those boundaries begin to expand. In other words, by accepting and working within the limitations of being human, we are able to expand our experience to include our Divinity. Our Unlimited Potential.
When a porcelain doll is smashed and its exterior falls away, what is left?
A: Nothing…no pressure, no stress, no confinement, no limitation.
As I walk The Path today I catch myself shaking my head and thinking What a load of b*llocks it is being here on earth sometimes. Really! Fraught with tension around my skull it feels as if my head is cracking open. The image of President Kennedy's assassination comes to mind (a video I re-watched only this week to assist my son with his history homework!) Whatever this is I am experiencing, it is in-tense!
I take a moment to lean against a tree and catch my breath. The buddha springs to mind. It dawns on me that he wasn't always enlightened. Of course, this is how the story goes but right now it is really hitting home. He must have been well-p*ssed off about something to sit under the bodhi tree and refuse to move until he had reached enlightenment. (All the pain and suffering in the world, as it turns out!)
Now Jesus pops into my head and it occurs to me he must have been pretty angry too. Why else would he have cried out My God, my God, why hath thou forsaken me if not because he was experiencing a moment of confusion and betrayal? So, if nothing else, it seems I am in good company right now.
On a serious note, it does highlight how easy it is to glorify people like the Buddha and Jesus. To imagine them as doing no wrong, never having a bad thought, of being perfection personified. Yet, I don't think this is why they incarnated - to make us feel bad about ourselves! I think they came to earth to find their inner light and shine it. To show us the truth of who we are: exactly the same reasons we are here. Yes, they are Masters, and so are we. They were also human, and so are we.
In the midst of my own anger and confusion I realise it's perfectly ok to be feeling what I am feeling right now. No need to feel ashamed, nor to try to stifle it. Simply life force energy wanting to be expressed.
As I make my way through the dark wood I hear the flapping of many birds all at once. It's quite a racket! Hmmmm…yes, having ruffled my feathers and flapped my own wings a little I am feeling much better, thank you :-)
Trained in a depth, buddhist-based psychotherapy, using everyday outer world experiences to develop inner wisdom, one day at a time.