Saturday, February 27, 2010

My Teachers

When I was about 13-years-old, my mother gave me a book by Richard Bach called Jonathan Livingston Seagull. At the time I was not a voracious reader, but I loved the short parable about the seagull who felt a little different from his flock--who had a dream to transcend the expected existence of flying in low circles and scavenging food. Jonathan felt a different calling--he wanted to fly faster and farther and experience the rush of Flow. Flow--that feeling of being in a place where you are working and creating, and the moment of Now only exists.

At 13, I understood that Jonathan was different. That he had dreams and his fellow gulls just didn't see the importance of perfecting flying patterns. They tried to convince Jonathan that his efforts were wasted and the he belonged with the flock. Years later--and many rereads of this book--I realized that Jonathan was not only a gull with strength of character, but he also was a symbol for Transcendence.

I also realized that this book was the beginning of my own quest to find that Flow. I had long felt a little different from those around me, though still strongly connected. And I had a curiosity about existence and souls and dreams that surpassed any other interest (except perhaps music, but I believe that the soul is inextricably linked to music).

And in the years since, there have been many books placed in my hands by friends, lovers, and my own stumblings around book stores and libraries that have brought me more answers, more insight, and more connections. And while the following books have taught me many things, the people who have come in and out of my life--and the lessons I've learned from my experiences with them--have been my greatest teachers, and I am grateful for them.

Book List:
Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach
Running From Safety, by Richard Bach
Illusions, by Richard Bach
Seat of the Soul, by Gary Zukav
Conscious Living, by Gay Hendricks
Conscious Loving, by Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks
Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom, by Dr. Christiane Northrup
The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Luiz
The Law of Attraction, by Esther and Jerry Hicks
Ask and it is Given, by Esther and Jerry Hicks
The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne (also available in DVD)
The Higher Self, by Deepak Chopra (and many others!)
The Elegant Universe, by Brian Greene (also available in a PBS documentary series--highly recommended for those of us who are not trained scientists!)

And there are so many more... if you have suggestions for me and other readers here, or there are books you've found especially enlightening on your own quest for Self and Soul understanding please comment below. I'm always on the lookout for new and exciting books, movies, and information about this grand universe we are living in.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Labels and Limitations

Who would you be if you didn't have somebody to tell you who you are? --Wayne Dyer

Call them labels, stories, characteristics. Call them signatures, traits, even genes. Whatever you call them, the categories other people place us in--or the labels others give us (and especially the ones we give ourselves) can result in limitations.

Like the Sesame Street segment and song about "which one of these doesn't belong," it is natural for the human mind to sort and categorize. It's the way we map out the world. The way we make sense of the things and people around us, and in early development it is naturally taught and encouraged. Sorting blocks: the triangle plastic piece only fits in the triangular space.

As we age, and especially during adolescence, labels and categories not only become more important to development, but they also become more powerful: the jocks, the nerds, the princesses. The task of "which friend group will I belong to" becomes more about what's on the outside--what we do, how we dress, who we talk to--than what is on the inside. I've watched it happen as a teenager myself, as a teacher, and now as a parent. I've watched how labels first work to identify, and then become rigid and limiting.

There are myriad ways in which art seeks to dismantle the limitations of labels. Even popular culture now attempts to send a different message to teens. The premise of the highly popular movie, High School Musical is that the geeky girl gets the adorable jock as they bond through musical theatre. An unlikely story? Maybe, though even in the movie, stereotypes abound.  But, sometimes we don't give our pop-culture-crazed teens enough credit for being individuals. And the term "teenager" becomes its own limiting label. 

Think about your own labels. Who gave them to you, and which ones did you give yourself? Examine them. Where did they come from? How have they defined you? How have they helped you? Or how have they limited you? 

Look deep into your Self and identify the things that make you happy, the words that feel good. Now take the labels, the categories, the stories and hold them up against who you believe your Self to truly be. Your best Self. The Self you strive to be. If they align, immerse yourself in that feeling of contentment. If there is discord in your heart, begin to let go of the particular labels and categories that make you feel uneasy. Find ways to change them--incorporating the opposite, or positive label into a mantra or affirmation. 

We naturally sort and label, but we also have the natural capability to look beyond the definitions of things and people. When we look upon our Selves and Others as being limitless, new opportunities, ideas, and feelings open up.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Letting Go

When you let go, the world opens up to you.

To let go means that you decide to live in the Now: observing your thoughts, feelings, and actions as they relate to what is actually occurring--freeing you from both the memories of what is past and the expectations of the future.

When you find yourself feeling a certain way that doesn't align with the present moment, that is the signal to your Self to ask the questions: when have I felt this way before? What expectation do I have of this moment that isn't being met, and why am I having this expectation?

To let go means that you check your ego at the door. Self-consciousness and self-awareness are two very different things. The former is ego driven (what do others think of me? how can I compete?) the latter is Soul driven (how can I live as my highest Self, how can I understand my Self in order to understand Others?)

To let go is to release worry and have faith that what you need will come to you, exactly when you need it. Not when you THINK you need it, but when the time is right. Feeling that faith and having Trust in the Universe to support you will open up opportunities you didn't even know you had. Let go and trust the path before you, because it is great.

To let go is, ultimately, freedom. Freedom from fear, from complaint. Freedom from expectations and attitudes that do not serve your Highest Self. To let go gives you the freedom to Allow more of what you want into your life.

Begin now: that circular thought that has been plaguing you for hours or days. That worry that rests on your shoulders and down your spine--let it go. Breathe and look around you: is that worry a reflection of the present moment? Let it go. Release it into the air with each exhale and remind yourself that the answers, the support, the Love you need will come. Another breath in, and imagine Light lifting you and warming your heart.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Flesh and Love

flesh and love
remind the skin
what wonders it once held
lines across hips
freckles across lips
and the phantom flickers
that trigger the senses to recall
a foot to the rib or
an elbow cascading across 
a taut belly 
where flesh and love
were one

Begin Here

Ask yourself: what is it that I truly want for myself in this life?

Then dream it, feel it, allow it, and live it.


Change your thought, and it changes how you feel.

Breathe. Be Aware.


Now is the only time that exists.

Let go of expectations.

Believe in all possibilities.

And most of all Love.

Love Self. Love Other. Love Source

For we are One.

And Universal Oneness is the Divine Energy of Creation.