Friday, November 9, 2012

The Leaf on the Windshield - Meditation On and Off The Cushion - Both Sides Now

As you my regular readers know, I love meditation classes with William Jackson at South Boston Yoga. He teaches us about meditation and Buddhism followed by our practice. We share after our practice sometimes using structured exercises to help us gain insight. It's an incredibly special and sacred time.

On Wednesday evening, William had car trouble and couldn't make it to meditation class. There were two other students who came to practice with Tom and me. Wedecided to share practice even though our 'teacher' was not present. Ahhh but although he was not physically present, his presence was strongly felt.

We began practice with listening for the sound of the bell three times.

We did a walking meditation for 25 minutes and then a seated meditation for 20 minutes. I felt incredibly blessed to share the space and practice with the members of our sangha, and to have the opportunity to tap into my own inner teacher as I practiced. After we finished our meditation, we shared our experiences. A good teacher is one who leads a class well; a great teacher is one whose presence and teachings are experienced even in his absence.

The next morning was snowy and slushy. I was dropping Tom off at work and then heading to practice yoga with Todd at South Boston Yoga. There was a leaf that got stuck in the windshield wiper.

Tom commented on how annoying it was since it was streaking the windshield. You've had that happen right so you know how frustrating it can be...And I said to Tom, recalling what William taught us about using the filter of our mind, "That's just a leaf on the windshield. Through the filter of your mind, it has become an annoyance." We both smiled and in the next moment, the leaf was gone.

How often do we focus on something that is annoying and allow it to overtake the moment when before we realize it, it's gone...That's what I learned from the leaf on the windshield as I practice meditation on and off of my cushion seeing life from both sides now....

Footsteps - from "Songs of Freedom:Poems From a Healing Odyssey" Volume II - Volume I is now available on Amazon

Gentle barefoot steps
nowhere to go
nothing to do but be
in blissful solitude
surrounded by soul mates
fellow travelers taking time as time and judgments suspend
inquiring inquisitive minds
seeking to find
the heart of the matter
nothing matters
heart opens
footprints fade
sweet scents of incense fill the air
essences of love and Truth.

From my heart to yours
With total love and deepest gratitude,


Thursday, November 8, 2012

The First Snowfall - Simple Pleasures

"'Some of the greatest things in life don't have to be so dramatic',the rabbi said. 'Remember that. You can do something modest. When a mother cradles her child, fireworks don't explode. That's the secret of all of life. Some of the most beautiful things happen below the radar. Not on Wall Street, not on television. Not with all the hoopla. It's in the quiet moments that our lives are shaped. In homes, in cribs, in bedrooms, in the little things,' the soul doctor said to me sweetly. 'That's where it all happens.'" Priscilla Warner Learning to Breathe:My Yearlong Quest to Bring Calm To My Life"

As I look back on these past 6 years, I realize that I probably worked harder than I have in my entire life to heal and recover from a lifetime of neglecting my mind/body connection as a result of trauma and paralytic polio. But yesterday I thoroughly reaped the rewards of my incredibly hard work. I rested on a plateau feeling incredibly satisfied and contented with myself and my life.

I took my time with a morning meditation and then had a delicious breakfast. It's the breakfast I have almost every day but I was able to really enjoy and appreciate my simple meal. Oats n flax oatmeal from Trader Joe's

orange juice, banana and a slice of quinoa bread toasted.

Since it was my day off from a physical yoga practice, I could treat myself to a hot cup of decaf coffee. During my morning meditation I was inspired to write a birthday poem for David from the yoga teacher trainee tribe (shhh don't tell him). As I savored my breakfast, I allowed the poem to flow smiling and enjoying the creative process.

With teacher training and Tom's marathon training, we don't spend a lot of time cleaning the house. It was a perfect day to clean. I cleaned out contacts from my gmail account and made space in our beautiful home. I enjoyed cleaning, taking my time, and pacing myself. I downloaded some new music into my iPod. I studied anatomy using the DVD for Trail Guide to the Body.

And then after a nutritious lunch with a cup of peppermint tea our first snowfall.

By 3 pm, I was feeling ready for a nap. My beautiful four foot and I enjoyed nap time together.

There was no pressure to do anything, to plan anything, to be concerned about anything beyond each moment I was experiencing throughout the day. It was an amazing day filled with simple pleasures.

If only...from "Songs of Freedom:Poems From a Healing Odyssey" now available on Amazon

If only I could stay in the sacred space of My Spirit
to feel the delicious warmth and leaps of joy
If only I could sweep away all the fear, the doubt
to allow my Spirit to take center stage
If only I could live in Love
and allow trust to be in the spotlight
If only I could let peace wash over me
and watch anxiety go out with the tide
If only I could wholeheartedly believe what I know to be true
and allow my heart to bathe in delight
If only I allow myself to experience all the magic and wonder
that life has to offer
If only I allow my heart to break wide open
crushing the walls of protection and Divine Love comes rushing in
If only I live my truth
and allow me to be my authentic self
When I throw off the shackles of the past
if only becomes now.

From my heart to yours
With total love and deepest gratitude,


Monday, November 5, 2012

A Fork In The Road

I am working on my sense of direction which of course can have multiple meanings but for the purpose of today's post, I am referring to getting from Point A to Point B driving in a car. I know it's a fear thing that I'm going to get lost and not trusting my intuition. I always allow plenty of time to get to a place I've not been to before and if it's a really important event or appointment, Tom will drive me or we will do a dry run before I go there.

On Friday I had to venture out to a new place. Tom and I had done a dry run and there was a part of me that wanted Tom to drive but I knew it was time for me to get over myself and have the confidence that I would arrive at my destination. Tom had a brilliant idea. He would lend me his phone for the day with his navigator since I no longer have a smart phone.

I was ready. I had my printed directions and was calming my mind. I was remembering our dry run. My faithful companion was awesome until she wanted me to take a route that was not the route of the dry run. I figured she'd just recalculate. Okay cool - we're back on track now.

And then I came to a fork in the road that I did not remember on our dry run. Do I bear left or bear right. I looked to her for advice. Where was that wonderful voice telling me in so many hundred feet to go this way or that way. I looked down at the phone. It was black.

I had a Luke Skywalker moment

and I made a choice.

I could feel the anxiety start to rise but I stayed steady. A car pulled up next to me. I asked them where the road I needed to be on was and they said - you are on it. Just follow us.

The left turn I needed to take came up really quickly and since I did not have miss i'll tell you where to go guiding me, I simply put on my indicator and flashed my winning smile to get across the lanes.

I arrived safely at my destination.

A wonderful soul lesson about what happens when we come to a fork in the road. Just choose and trust that no matter what, there will be someone or something to guide you and one way or another, you always arrive at your destination.

Weeding Out Fear - from Songs of Freedom:Poems From a Healing Odyssey now available on Amazon

The weeds of fear
dim my vision
drown out the voice of love
cloud my mind.

One false move
false belief
the weeds of fear
tangled in a web of deceit
stranglehold on roots
thirsting for life
sapping strength
draining life force
choked cries
hungering for Source of life.

The garden of my soul
tended with care
trust and patience
watered with Love
gently weeding out fear.

open to the light
living in the glorious now
all there is.

From my heart to yours
With total love and deepest gratitude


Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Tree - Part III

Back in April of 2011 I wrote a blog post about the tree outside my window. In June of 2012, I gave an update about my tree in My Tree - Part II - It's a Miracle.

“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” - Albert Einstein

As I watched the winds of Hurricane Sandy batter my tree I thought for sure there is no way she is going to survive this storm. Her branches bent with incredible grace and flexibility. Her roots held strong:

By contrast, there was a tree that by all appearances should have had no problem weathering the storm but sadly she was uprooted and fell to the ground:

We never know how or when the winds of life are going to blow. I do know that I can live and breathe, embracing the present moment feeling the miracle that my tree survived another storm.

Tree Pose - from "Songs of Freedom:Poems From a Healing Odyssey" now available on Amazon

Violent winds battered my limbs
strong roots held fast
I feared I might break
Divinity the sap coursing through my trunk
sustaining me.

Find my drishti
moving slowly
feel my balance
trauma turned my world upside down
but did not uproot me.

Standing strong
the storm now passed
as raised arms grow my tree
my Spirit rises
I bloom.

May all beings be happy and free!

From my heart to yours
With total love and deepest gratitude,

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Through the Lens of Grace - It's Gonna Turn Out Fine

...only rainbows after's hard to remember's gonna turn out fine

"The grace of God is coming down all the time, like rain, but we forget to cup our hands." - from "Learning to Breathe:My Yearlong Quest to Bring Calm To My Life"

During a morning meditation I was reflecting on my life. On 11/6th, I will be the guest on Bernie Siegel's radio show, Mind Health Matters. I looked back on how I came to know Bernie and his work. What came to light is how blessed I am to be able to experience everything that has happened to me through the lens of grace. It wasn't always easy to have this perspective and know and trust that everything was gonna turn out fine but there is really no other way to live. When we live in the present moment, everything IS fine.

In 1982 I was hospitalized with a serious staph infection which temporarily left me without the use of my right arm.

The first touch of grace I experienced in this scenario was with an orthopedic surgeon who has been an angel in my life several times over. Dr. Reilly just happened to walk onto the medical floor I was on as I was talking a walk around trying to keep myself together with what was happening to me. He asked me what the xrays were showing. I told him none had been taken. It was like a scene out of Grey's Anatomy. He grabbed my chart, ordered xrays and by the afternoon I was in the OR having an operation to save the use of my right arm.

During my hospitalization my primary nurse, Beth Jordan, brought me a cassette tape - yes a cassette tape of Bernie Siegel

for a tape player.

She brought me trail mix. She told me my life needed healing. We stayed in touch with each other for many years after my hospitalization until she moved to Maine to care for her elderly parents. I carry her with me in my heart feeling her love and the touch of grace she imprinted on my heart. She lived on Lily Pond Lane where water lilies floated serenely on the surface of the pond where we went canoeing together.

After hearing Bernie's talk and reading his book, "Love, Medicine and Miracles"

my husband and I went to hear him and his wife Bobbie speak at Harvard. It was a life changing experience. As so often happens, we lose traction of the practices we need in order to maintain a healthy, balanced life for mind, body and Spirit.

After I was diagnosed with post polio syndrome back in 2006, I reconnected with Bernie. I joined his Forum. I went to hear him speak and he became what he calls, my chosen dad or CD for short. He was an incredible cheerleader of mine during my Boston Marathon experience and somehow I ended up being interviewed on his radio show, Mind Health Matters last May. You can listen to the archive of the show, Life and Poetry.

Yes my life has been very challenging but through every challenge, through every moment of hell, there always was and always will be my ability to choose the perspective of seeing it all through the lens of grace.

The Present - from "Songs of Freedom:Poems From a Healing Odyssey" now available on Amazon

What glasses am I wearing?
Am I seeing through the prism of the past
tainted by others

What glasses am I wearing?
I tremble in your presence
feeling Divine Love
afraid to trust its pure intention

What glasses am I wearing?
I see the truth
of my own Divinity
a birthright to be happy and free
being as I am truly meant to be

What glasses am I wearing?
I see the beauty, the grace
allowing peace in this moment
shaking off all that went before
allowing the butterfly to fly free

Embody my Being
offering the gift of myself to the world.

From my heart to yours
With total love and deepest gratitude
Yours in grace,