Tag: Pema Chodron

The Face of Love

The Face of Love

SimoneLipscomb (3) The sand is cold from a night of darkness. Starlight is still embedded in the crystalline grains. It lingers as the gathering orange orb peeks from behind dark, gray clouds. Lunar fullness…madness… seeps into my bare feet as I walk along the shore, chilled from a wintery morning.

SimoneLipscomb (4)The pre-dawn excursion gave me time and space to freely open to the creative impulse working within and through me. I came away with a synthesis of revelations of late.

Recently, in my morning meditations, I have asked for one-sentence seeds of wisdom to begin the day. Yesterday it was this:

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Throughout the day I contemplated this statement and felt a deeper opening in my heart…and a Buddhist story came to mind. It goes something like this…

An abbot of a monastery sought a replacement. The test given to monks who applied for the position was to stand against hungry ghosts…legions of them. Bravery, courage and wisdom was needed. One by one, they were defeated as they wielded weapons and used defensive maneuvers. Finally, a monk calmly stood ready to face the test. Rather than hold weapons or stand in a defensive posture, the monk remained calmed and opened himself, allowing all the hungry ghosts to pass straight through. By not holding on or clinging to defensiveness, he passed the test and thus possessed the wisdom to become the new abbot.

SimoneLipscomb (13)It’s possible, while trying to maintain an open heart, to become defensive and protective of it as there will be those who are threatened by such joy, such happiness and they will make attempts to put down the light being emitted. Yet those ‘hungry ghosts’ have nothing on which to attach if we remain open, undefended, allowing pure joy and love to flow through.

SimoneLipscomb (9)As Pema Chodron wrote, “To experience something that liberates us from the narrow minded-ness of our biases and preconceptions is truly wondrous.”

“Don’t worry about results; just open your heart in an inconceivably big way, in that limitless way that benefits everyone you encounter,” wrote Chodron. Yesterday’s meditation included a vision where I climbed through a castle onto the top of it and went on the high roof. As I stood in the winds of this sacred place I saw a light approaching from the distance and heard a deep voice in my mind. Light the beacon, stay open, I am coming. So in the vision I took a torch and lit a huge light and knew that in reality I was lighting my heart’s light..and it would be my task to keep that sacred light burning brightly. There was no other task necessary.

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Doobie and Bucket understand the value of basking in the sun…it’s where most of their wisdom is gleaned.

Yesterday at The Frog Pond Sunday Social, a gathering of musicians and music-lovers who come together to create community, I basked in the winter sun as the musicians warmed up. As I faced the sun and closed my eyes I reflected back to the meditative vision and allowed the light of my heart to meet that of the sun and heard the deep voice in my mind once again….stay open.

After over half-a-century of exploring what love is and more specifically what it is not…I have come to realize that love is the only ‘thing’ that matters. It’s not romantic love or sexual love…although that can be an expression of it…it’s the stuff that comes from having an open heart that breathes-in love, exhales love and in the middle finds a way to experience sheer joy and compassion just for the experience. That’s what I’ve gotten to thus far.

SimoneLipscombThis is the face of pure joy, pure happiness….this then is the face of love.

And this is the face of love……

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 “When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it’s bottomless, that it doesn’t have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless. You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there, as well as how much space. Your world seems less solid, more roomy and spacious. The burden lightens. In the beginning it might feel like sadness or a shaky feeling, accompanied by a lot of fear, but your willingness to feel the fear, to make fear your companion, is growing. You’re willing to get to know yourself at this deep level. After awhile this same feeling begins to turn into a longing to raze all the walls, a longing to be fully human and to live in your world without always having to shut down and close off when certain things come along. It begins to turn into a longing to be there for your friends when they’re in trouble, to be of real help to this poor, aching planet. Curiously enough, along with this longing and this sadness and this tenderness, there’s an immense sense of well-being, unconditional well-being, which doesn’t have anything to do with pleasant or unpleasant, good or bad, hope or fear, disgrace or fame. It’s something that simply comes to you when you feel that you can keep your heart open.” Pema Chodron, Start Where You Are.

May we all be the face…the embodiment…of love.


Paradise Awaits

Paradise Awaits

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Adult Bald Eagle. Image taken last winter in Florida

I glanced up as an eagle snatched a fish from the water and flew away. Did I just see that? I thought to myself. Ospreys are common companions on the river but a bald eagle? I was ecstatic! As I glided in raptor-bliss a snowy egret flew overhead and then a brown pelican nearly collided with me as his six foot wing span overshadowed my SUP board. “Dude!” I said aloud. Smiling, I paddled on.

Crisp air and clear blue skies, filled with beautiful birds, felt like paradise. The entire four miles was one continuous flow of beauty–an experience that opened my heart with awe and gratitude.

Osprey...image taken in Florida last winter
Osprey…image taken in Florida last winter

The river time started with huge schools of juvenile mullet circling and moving together as my board gently glided through their watery home. The water was so clear I could see them glancing up at me as I paddled. Occasionally one of their scales would sparkle in the morning sun and this display of rainbow light caused giggles to explode from my core. Precious life. Sacred life. So holy, so amazing.

simonelipscomb (4)As I paddled downriver alligator gars surfaced to breathe, turtles sunned on logs, floating pelicans carefully watched my antics. Quietness, stillness was so evident–so appreciated by this soul. When the bald eagle caught my attention by grabbing a meal, I was already blissed-out as just a few minutes earlier an osprey had passed overhead with a fish. Life was evident with every turn of my head.

The paddling meditation continued as I moved further downriver. Reaching with each stroke of the paddle, engaging my core, pulling myself to the paddle blade as it resisted the water, I felt my physical core engage like never before. Training in the Pure Barre classes I take has helped me learn to isolate core muscles and work to strengthen them. Applying what I learn in the studio to my stand up paddle board workouts feels amazing. A light bulb flashed overhead.

simonelipscomb (8)It was easy to see the parallel between fitness endeavors and life’s journey. By applying something I learned in a studio class to my SUP boarding, I saw how my work paid off on the river. Each stroke produced an explosion of forward momentum. Likewise, when I explore my inner life by going deeper into my emotional core, I clear out and heal old wounds thus leading to big leaps of forward momentum in life.

When we gain courage to go deeper, work deeper, the payoff is greater awareness, greater freedom. This morning I was able to see beauty and allow it to go deep within to touch my most vulnerable self. Had I been focused on worries and fretting about anything I would have missed the tremendous blessing of abundant life along the river.

simonelipscomb (3)Pema Chodron writes, ” The armor we erect around our soft hearts causes a lot of misery. This shield, this cocoon is just made up of thoughts that we churn out and regard as solid. In fact, this shield is made out of passing memory.” These passing memories of things that happened in the past can close us to life. As she writes, “Compassion for others begins with kindness to ourselves.” No matter what struggles and disappointments we have experienced on our life’s journey, only by choosing to let go of these painful memories can we lighten up. Letting go of ego, of the storyline of being wounded, helps us move into the present moment, the only place where happiness is found, the only place where paradise awaits.