Tag: healing

Being an Instrument

Being an Instrument

I stood within the ancient fort atop a 700 foot cliff on the Atlantic Ocean. Metal pipes, drilled with holes for chain-link fencing, lined a small area of the site. A strong wind coming across the ocean caused the pipes to sing in otherworldly harmonies. As the strange sounds filled the air I thought, If we can be open and surrender, be still and silent, the energies of the Universe can then move through us and use us in beautiful ways.

The thunderous roar of the sea pounding on to rock walls reverberated in my heart like a drum and opened the inner door wide. As I walked around the 3000 year old fortification, all of my walls crumbled and I became an open channel for Spirit to move through–a flute for the winds of heaven to play and bring forth beautiful music to the world.

I remembered this experience from Ireland after a dream I had a few days ago. In the dream, I was a stringed instrument and a bow was drawn across me. I felt the vibrations within me, the deep tones and movement of sound throughout my body. The same reminder I received during my experience in Ireland came–be still and open and allow myself to be an instrument.

The past few years have been incredibly frustrating. In previous years I have produced videos, photographs, books…all good…but I feel that deeper work is yet to come and is yet unknown. So I wait and listen and try to be patient. The world is hurting so much and I know that I have contributions to make…but how?

I keep wondering–What is my purpose? Why am I here?What am I to do? Perhaps those existential questions are lifelong puzzles that haunt some of us. The answer I have received for many, many years is to deepen with Nature. And still…those same questions repeat, perhaps so much so that what I search for is hidden beneath the chatter of my mind.

Why is it so difficult to be at peace in that unyielding space of the Unknown?

All I know to do is to lean into the Invisible and be still and silent and listen…and call upon the strength of purpose that came with me to this life…and go outside and connect with Nature.

If we are the instrument we were born to be and are open to being played by the energies of the Universe, we powerfully stand in the space where our gifts and talents meet the needs of the world and that is a place of pure magic.

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What Kind of World Do You Want

What Kind of World Do You Want

If our phone is damaged we might have it repaired. After the repair there is a reboot that happens. Information might have been lost so we have the opportunity to decide if we want to reinstall all the old information or choose start over with new information. Most of the time we will just reinstall all the old data because it’s easier than inputting choices of contacts we want to keep, photos, apps. It’s tedious to review every bit of the old. It’s time-consuming. And a real pain.

We’re in a time now where the system is damaged. We’ve known it hasn’t been working for quite a while. So during this time of pause we have the opportunity to choose what we will input once things are up and running again. And so the question comes, What kind of world do we want?

Do we want more time at home with family? Do we want to do more things that enrich our life? Do we want to feel more compassion, more connection, more Oneness? Everything is up for renewal, rebooting.

So in this time of pause, the gift we are given is the choice to make changes that will steer us into a new direction. It’s easier to go back to what we’ve known but will we have the courage to make life-enhancing choices? Every one of us is being given the opportunity to choose…What kind of world do you want?


by Five for Fighting

Got a package full of wishes

A time machine, a magic wand

A globe made out of gold

No instructions or commandments

Laws of gravity or

Indecision’s to uphold

Printed on the box I see

Acme’s build a world to be

Take a chance, grab a piece

Help me to believe it

What kind of world do you want?

Think anything

Let’s start at the start

Build a masterpiece

Be careful what you wish for

History starts now

Sunlight’s on the bridge

Sunlight’s on the way

Tomorrow’s calling

There’s more to this than love

What kind of world do you want

The Way Home

The Way Home

The other day I reflected on survival resources. Not outer ones that address our physical needs but inner ‘resources’ that help us find our way back…home, to balance, to sanity.

We live in a time of global Unknown where our health, careers, food, money, and even toilet paper can be sources of stress and anxiety. Things we took for granted are quite suddenly not as dependable.

For the most part I’m handling this time with calm, groundedness. There are moments where tears come for the suffering of the world, where I take a journey down the bumpy ‘what-if’ road but I find my way back. So I questioned myself…how do I find my way back to that place of calm, grounded, peace?

 As I asked the question I started seeing scenes from underwater caves…of my first dive into a high-flow cave system, of a dive in Mexico when one of our team members had light failure in all three lights, when a guy leading our group out of a cave took a wrong turn (but we quickly steered him back to the correct line)…of one of my first open water dives as a newly certified diver diving with two guys I didn’t know and coming up in a maelstrom and them leaving me to my own devices underwater to find my way back to the boat or the shark dive that had the entire hungry shark cast coming to me as I struggled against the current (also a newish diver and left by my dive buddy).

Those scary times and more all gave me experiences in problem-solving, working together, learning to remain calm when things around me were stressful. Those times prepared me for this time we are all experiencing now. I have successfully navigated situations that required me to momentarily suspend the fear and make a plan to make it through to completion of the experience.

These steps can be applied to any situation in life. And I credit PADI, the dive training agency for my open water diver and eventually my instructor training, with the simple solution: STOP, BREATHE, THINK, ACT.

As that newly certified diver surfacing in six foot seas and lightning popping all around, the first thing I thought was, OH SHIT! The next thing I thought was…Stop, breathe, think, act.I stopped, looked around. A boat was close enough to swim to even though it wasn’t the boat I was a guest on. I took some deep breaths and then decided to swim to that boat to rest. Even though they didn’t want me to board their boat because I wasn’t a paying guest, I not-so-politely told them to get out of my way and let me board to rest. I rested, calmed myself even more and then made a plan with their dive master and the boat crew which I had to swim back to. I got my compass out, took a heading, dropped back down underneath the six foot seas and made that lonely, hard, against-the-current swim back to the boat.

That dive stands out because things happened that were unexpected…the current changed from a slight current to a raging current coming from the other direction. The surface changed from a slight chop to six foot seas. Clear skies changed to lightning-filled raging heavens. I took the conditions at the beginning of the dive for granted. Was paired with two guys I didn’t know who were there until they decided to leave me while I was doing a visual check at the surface. What I expected to remain the same didn’t…in any way. So I had to adapt and remain calm to find my way back to the boat…to home base.

During this current time, the Unknown is really all we can be sure of so I offer the PADI dive reminder….Stop….Breathe….Think….Act.

Remember how you have successfully navigated past stress and trauma with healthy coping strategies. If you haven’t used life-enhancing methods, now you are being given the opportunity to develop them.

Stop….whatever you are doing when you start to spin-out or get anxious about the future just pause your thoughts and actions. Sit down and then….

Breathe….take some nice clearing breaths focusing on your body.

Think….you are in a temporary state of heightened anxiety. Until you are calm and grounded, abstain from decision-making. Spend some time breathing and thinking about ways you can navigate this moment….not the month or the year….this moment. Make a plan for the next half hour, hour, half-day, day.

Act…once you have a well-thought plan, then take action.

When we find ourselves spinning with anxiety we can practice good self-care by developing strategies that will lead us back home to our self. Call upon all of who you are and all the past experiences where you learned vital life skills and coping mechanisms….and if you never learned them celebrate the opportunity to learn them now.


Turn to Oneness

Turn to Oneness

Therefore turn your attention to the Oneness–the relationship between you and your Self–and away from fear. When you do this you create new ground upon which to build your life. Observe the fear but connect with the Oneness. This then creates a new reality from which to build your life.

Fear creates separation…between you and your Soul self, between you and others. Fear is the great divider.

When you feel fear arise imagine your Soul self standing beside you. Together observe the fear and work to see the fear as something that is not a part of you. It has been circulating in your energy field but it isn’t you.

Our tendency is to run from fear…to keep moving so perhaps we don’t have to look at it in the face. But once we have the courage and support to stop…to p a u s e….and look at it, we come to see and understand it is not who we are nor is it a part of us. It’s simply floating around in our quantum field and the more power we give it, the more it steers our lives.

At first, pausing to look at fear takes a lot of focus and concentration because it is so interwoven into our story, into who we think we are, we cannot discern the voice of fear from the voice of freedom, our Soul self. With practice we come to understand that the voice of fear has few positive things to say to us while the Soul voice speaks in amazing unfoldments of truth…synchronicities, dolphins leaping up at just the right moment, a friend stopping by to visit and helping you piece together a mystery of growth, an email that answers the question you held…small little everyday miracles that are always present if we simple stop and pay attention.

Once we learn to discern the voice of fear from the voice of the Soul self it becomes crystal clear who is speaking. The more choices we make to listen to the Soul self voice, the more relaxed we become, the less we run from life.

Stillness, breathing, compassion for self…all vital keys to this process. When we become the observer rather than the reactor, fear doesn’t know what to do. It is used to controlling us but when we turn the tables on it, it’s like deflating an over-filled balloon. It sits there, head down, going…where did I go wrong? I had her so wrapped up in this fake story of her life.

My friend Rose Bator reminds us that our body and soul have all the intelligence and we can simply cooperate and observe. The changes become a natural, organic flow from our willingness to cooperate and observe the process. She says to allow fear to wash over like waves at the ocean. We don’t have to grab a wave or try to figure out where it originated. We just observe. Allow.

Becoming an observer of fear rather than a victim to it is like slipping between worlds. Most of the 3D world operates in fear. Political systems are motivated in fear, religions seem quite at home with the leverage fear provides, society thrives by fear–conform to our group or be outcast, buy our expensive gadgets and clothes so you will be cool like the others.

I saw a funny quote recently that was about FaceBook so I altered it to apply to life in general: Being a celebrity or ultra-popular in this insane society is like being at the cool table of the mental hospital. When we heal our lives and stop allowing fear to steer us we step out of the world we know into something new and different…and honestly, quite amazing.

A daily practice for me lately has been observing fear. When it arises I pause, connect with my Soul self (higher self, guide, inner teacher, God….whatever works for you) and sit as an observer, not reacting, not spinning off into all the what-if’s and staying present…very present…with my Self. It has changed my life.

We are taught from infancy to fear–as if fear will keep us safe. Fear pushes us away from our true self and we come to rely on fear as our touchstone rather than trusting our true self to lead us safely through life. We grow up in a constant state of struggle between being who we really are and being true to that or betraying ourselves to fit into this messed up false reality based on fear.

The more we deny our true self the more we buy into the fear-based method of survival. Eventually we cannot even see our true self until something happens to break us open and then we are given the opportunity to see the fear for what it is, an unreal experience of something that feels real, or we pause and look it in the ‘eye’ with the support of our true self and call bullshit.

When I experience Nature deeply, I connect with my true self. I remember the first time I returned from cave diving in the Yucatan. The jungles and magnificent, clear-water caves with massive formations took me so deep into my Soul self that I was transformed and in perfect alignment with who I really was. Then I returned home and walked into a Target store and nearly had a panic attack. I felt myself want to use my tiger sharp teeth and claws to gnaw my way out of the trap of a world that I no longer wanted to belong to…the world of greed and ‘more’ and fear.

As we practice breathing with our Higher Self and seeing it as part of us, strength arises and we begin to feel empowered. When we begin to see our True self as a friend and regard It with unconditional, positive appreciation we build this strength. Breathe in the Oneness of relationship with our Soul self. Every day but especially when fear arises. When we do this we become a force instead of a runner.

I suggest a new path away from fear and into the truth of who we are. No dogma, no rules, no pleasing anyone, no paying anyone for the secret formula. You have it now. The mystery has been revealed. Now, it’s in your hands to do with as you see fit.

Painting by Donna O’Neal

Nurturing Life

Nurturing Life

It felt as if my body was wound around the busyness of the past four days of work in an outdoor clothing retail store. No matter how much I like my coworkers and the quality of the clothing, the constant music, influx of customers and steady-non-stop-going is as far from my ideal way to generate money as I can image….almost. I’m so sensitive energetically that I don’t have time to download the extra stimulations when I’m working so many back-to-back days. So many, you ask?

I’m a contemplative…an artist, writer, poet, lover of nature who thrives on conversations with trees and rocks and occasionally cool critters such as whales, dolphins, bears…you get the idea. There’s lots of space in that life. So the shock of retail sales, even with a great store and company, is taking a toll on me.

I am grateful for work and it is teaching me that I’m excellent at sales (who knew?) and this confidence in talking with people and selling great practice for the next step in my own work…but I am learning just how much space I need to feel healthy and whole. I left this afternoon, after the four days in a row, feeling shattered.

After dinner and a movie at home with my dog and cats, I felt my body wanting some restorative yoga so I got out my mat and lit a candle and put on my favorite soothing music…the same music I used when I did yoga with humpback whales a couple years ago. Just the act of caring for myself made me feel better immediately. I realized I need to set limits on how many days I can work without a day off….to restore my sense of stillness…of wholeness.

I’ve been working on the Deepening with Nature study course and it has suffered with my retail commitments. The work of my heart has taken a back seat to the retail world…and that’s not okay. That is a breeding ground for frustration and depression for me. So I’m learning how important my soul’s calling is and how it needs to be given priority.

That’s part of nurturing my life.

Here’s the thing…the stress I feel isn’t just from a part time job; the insanity and chaos of our country, failing ecosystems and all the social injustices adds up. Whether or not I dwell on any of them, I know they are happening and that adds to the heaviness of what I carry around with me.

But you know that dear reader for you, too, carry the stress of the wrongs of this mean-seeming world. We all feel the burden and the helplessness when we hear of children locked in cages and not properly cared for…when we hear of polar bears and gray whales starving….of ice melting at unprecedented rates. We might try to fool ourselves into thinking we’re not worrying but it’s still there in our subconscious mind. Our hearts are still breaking whether we acknowledge it or not.

So listen to your body….listen carefully….for it will tell you what you need to hear. Listen….listen….listen.

Restore yourself….restore your life. Join me….light a candle for your life. Tell your heart’s work it comes first and make time for it, even if it means cutting back hours of paid work. Don’t short-change the soul’s longing.

Just the act of unrolling my yoga mat, lighting a candle and putting on soothing music helped my body relax and feel appreciated. The intention I set was to be present with myself, my life….my light. And that simple act helped me breathe a bit deeper, release stress and then pick up my laptop to finally write….

The world needs us….our soul needs us to listen, pay attention and honor the sacred work we feel called to do. It’s time to nurture the life that longs to live in us.