Me and My Brother

An open letter to my friends:

I just spent a week with my brother.  Gregg is 70 and has lived with a PKD (Parkinson’s Disease) diagnosis since he was 45.  He has been on PKD meds for 25 years, had a “brain stimulator” procedure which failed to produce the desired relief of his symptoms… and YET, he still golfs, lawn bowls, paints, boxes, does yoga, sings in a choir, weight lifts and does a PKD stretch class.  He jogs, dances, does tai chi, writes music, sings karaoke (we sing duets), plays the guitar, plays cards & games, rides a bike, cooks, drives a golf cart and knows the value of a massage.  He can make a great smoothie and makes me laugh a lot.
He manages his finances, fixes things that break, and offers help wherever he sees a need, including organizing support groups for people with PKD.
My sister-in-law, Jo, has been in my family since I was 20.  I love and respect her for being Gregg’s constant companion and support for so many years.
I am 66.  Gregg was 3 when I was born  and has been my steady, solid friend all of my life.
I have rarely heard Gregg speak in the negative about anything.
Depression is a part of his disease for over 60% of those diagnosed.
He told me, that when he learned his brain stimulator was a failure, he got depressed.
He says, “I let myself have a pity-party for a couple of hours, and then I said, OK, enough of that.  Let’s get moving.”
If ever I start to feel down about my life, all I have to do is spend time with Gregg and everything gains perspective.  He inspires me with his willingness to be vulnerable… all the time.  With him I realize that life is what I make of it.
What do I perceive? How many layers can I peel off to experience the essence of life?
Everything is moving energy.  Can I relax my gaze, relax my body, relax my mind?
Can I  rest back…behind the parade of thoughts that is passing through the field of my mind?
In this relaxed state of perception, I see life with no clothes on.
“Naked Life”, is the experience of my primordial state, pre-domestication.
“You wild-animal, you!”
In this state-of-mind dwells my “true nature,” and it will always choose the efficient “path of least resistance.”  Gregg has shown me that this choice is not related to the conditions or external circumstances of my life.  It has everything to do with how well I am able to choose my thoughts (or even better!  Simply watch the parade go by…) rather than be a slave to my “thought-processor.”
My brain, the “think-tank” of my mental body, is programmed to run on auto-pilot.  The program produces rationalizing thoughts to neutralize the “events” of my present experience that are  creating a “disruption” in my nervous system/state of equilibrium.  This “disruption” can be good or bad.  The mind doesn’t judge it, it just wants to bring things back to balance.  Too high, bring it down.  Too low, bring it up.   Using data gleaned from my life-history recording, it’s purpose is to try and make me think I am balanced, equalized… okay…It wants to hear me say, I’m in a homeostatic state.  The truth is, I already am okay.  I was okay and I’ll always be okay, with or without the mind’s constant balancing act.
My body works very much the same way on it’s physical level.   My body’s immune system continuously meets whatever is coming into my field to neutralize it and try and keep my body in homeostasis.   My body uses it’s immune system cells while my mind uses thoughts.  The body uses the physical system’s cells of  the immune system, and the mind uses the mental/emotional system’s thoughts. 
What I am practicing, and I invite each of you to try it if you haven’t already, is to rest back behind my constant thread of thoughts.  As I rest back and observe my thoughts like a parade going down the street (it used to be a ticker-tape, then a computer screen,  but I needed to slow it down, so I made it a parade, you know, like the speed of walking horses and kids.) I relax and watch the parade of thoughts go by and when one catches my eye and tries to lure me in, I notice it and I say,“Thank-you, but, no thank-you.  I’m just great and I don’t need your help.”
With the mind ignored, the body does what it’s programmed to do… innately.  You don’t have to think to breathe, pee, eat, have sex and sleep…sounds like retirement to me!!
The thing I love best about myself is the way I joke with my own process.  I truly do not believe my own bullshit!  Eliciting a laugh is the best possible use of a thought!  Right?
So I say, “Right on, my Fellow “Feel So Much It Makes Me Crazy but THERE IS NO BETTER WAY TO LIVE!”
You are my peeps!
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I Forgot Who I Was…

I forgot who I was!

This morning, in Yoga,  I remembered…

At least, a part of myself.

 

I remembered I am strong.

I remembered I am kind.

I remembered I am human.

I remembered I am Divine.

 

The forgetting…

It happens when I get lethargic and sluggish

It happens when I stop turning inward

It happens when I pay more attention to what others think than what I know.

It happens when I stop my practice.

 

My practice is to stop hiding in my doing.

My practice is to listen to my body.

My practice is to honor what I hear.

My practice is to love myself enough to do my practice.

The Way of Life

Fran, Gary and Laura have left…bittersweet ending to a wonderful visit. Stubby is going to stay with us while they are off on the adventures of their individual and connected lives. Finding their own way into the unknown future.
It is the exciting and courageous path of the uncertain future that lies ahead for all of us. I believe in the sacred path and I notice that the Way changes. I am now mostly in the slow rooted, Earth Way and but I have had times when my path was in the mysterious flight and deep connection of the Air Way, other times in the sometimes flowing, sometimes crashing and sometimes stillness of the Water Way and yet other times when I was in the fast ignition path of the Fire Way.
No matter the Way. It is all the Tao. To remain centered in the Way is to be in harmony with life. Then the world becomes a paradise. I feel at peace. I then realize that my name and form is provisional. I know that when the institutions lose their function it is time for them to end. I know when to go and when to stop and thereby I avoid danger.
All things end in the Way as all rivers flow to the sea.
Knowing others is knowledge. Knowing myself is wisdom.
Mastering others is strength. Mastering myself is true power.
Because I realize I have enough, I am truly rich.
As I stay in my center, embracing all that is with my whole heart, I will endure forever.
Lessons from the Tao Te Ching by Chery Owens

Air Way Earth Way Fire Way Water Way

Like an Old Friend…

Coming to my blog site is like visiting an old friend that has been a long time gone.

It’s late. I need to go to bed and rest, for tomorrow is another day of dawn to dusk laboring. I am in a birthing process. It is not a human baby I am birthing, well perhaps in a way, but I will get to that. What I am birthing is a dream.

For years I have dreamed of a gathering of all my beloved friends and family…a coming together of many souls whose only connection to one-another is me. From around the globe they will come and as their eyes meet for the first time they will see a kindred spirit. They will know one another in an instant of soul recognition. Eyes will light up with smiles and arms will hold one another in the warmth of loving embraces.
I am birthing this dream by creating a space for such gatherings. Each day is a labor of love but as in all birthings there are moments of fear and pain.
There is spilled blood, dripping sweat, and nights of aching muscles and deep fatigue.
Through it all is a push to complete. The urge to reach the climatic moment of revelation is intense. It is what wakes me at 5:30 with instant alertness and clarity of purpose. It is what keeps me moving from project to project, checking off one after the next as they reach completion. It is what makes my heart sing with joy when I vision the gathering of friends who will soon be crossing the threshold of Mountain Valley Retreat.
The birthing of Mountain Valley Retreat is also the birthing of me. Through this creation I am coming out as myself. Everything about this place represents my authentic self.

IMG_4967[1] I am, through this place, revealed at last.

Lessons From a Leaf

falling leaf

I am getting ready to launch the website for Mountain Valley Retreat. Building the retreat has been a significant endeavor for the past year and for the last few weeks I have been creating the website with the help of my friend, Brad Lucas. Every day this week I have lost myself in writing the text and finding the pictures to try to convey the heart and soul of the retreat we are building.  I sit at my laptop when the sun comes up and close the lid after dark.

Today, I received an email from my dear friend Pat Tuholske. I read her beautiful words that speak so poignantly of trust and change and tears well in my eyes.                                    “If you were a leaf on a tree, would you be the first to cast off in the late summer breezes or the last one to cling on stubbornly until bitter winter winds force you to let go?”                                          I feel myself longing for something unnamed.

Lessons From a Leaf
Watching fluttering leaves fall fills me with a contradiction of feelings. I get the slight sadness that summer is over yet the thrill of witnessing the wonder of the alchemy occurring within the leaf. Observing the transmuting cycle of spring’s leaf buds bursting with new life, summer’s fullness converting sun into food, autumn’s grace of falling colors, winter’s patience trusting the cycle.

Have you ever seen a single leaf twirling from the tip of a limb when no other leaves are moving and there is barely a breeze? When I see that leaf I feel the tree speaking to me in a language long forgotten by humans. This tree language shouts in falling curtains of color: let go, trust, fall, don’t fear, change.

Connected to the tree for the entire growing season, the leaf possesses the wisdom of release. Falling to earth, caressed by the wind, it is able to express its own inner timing. Performing its final dance with the air, the leaf gives itself to the soil.

If you were a leaf on a tree, would you be the first to cast off in the late summer breezes or the last one to cling on stubbornly until bitter winter winds force you to let go?

When I feel stuck on something, I follow the teachings of the falling leaf. If I feel an issue tugging at me, I go watch the falling leaves. It helps me to let go of the struggle and understand falling is not a failure but a surrender to the cycle of change.
Pat Tuholske
This entry was posted in Ozark Flora and Fauna, The Human-Nature Journey on October 14, 2013.
http://pattuholske.com/uncategorized/lessons-from-a-leaf/

Today is Today…

My friend and mentor Fritz Smith taught me to wake up and say, “Today is today and I’m glad its today.” It has been a challenge lately to feel upbeat about my day. I believe I have once again reached overwhelm and I’m not sure how to fix it…
Actually, I do know, and I am finding it difficult to let go of the list of things to do in my outer life and turn towards my inner life, where a sense of peace and joy lie waiting.
This feeling of urgency is familiar. It has taken me by the throat before and squeezed the juicy joy out of my days. So today I am taking the time to write, one of the things that brings me down and in. I am taking the time to read the inspiring words of Brene’ Brown. I share them with you here…
“I will carry courage, compassion and connection in my heart while on this journey. Even when the road is bumpy. Even when I’m so busy that I feel behind. Even though there is really no ‘getting behind.” And, especially when I start to compare and judge myself. Courage, compassion and connection will be my constant companions.” Brene’ Brown

I believe that vulnerability is a key to whole-hearted living. I must become more comfortable with who I am. I have set the intention to be transparent, wild, undomesticated and authentically me. And yet, as I peel away the layers of conditioned beliefs, as I reveal myself, I find I am meeting myself with judgment, criticism and feelings of unworthiness.

So I review these words from Brene’ about intention:
“For me, setting intentions is a power move. It is how I bring clarity, meaning and purpose to my day. Setting intentions helps you get clear on why you are doing something (clarity), why it is important to you (meaning) and how it moves you closer to your values (purpose.) “ Brene’ Brown

As I listen to myself read her words aloud, I reassess my purpose, my “north star,” and my values. I find my purpose in connection. I seek to experience the energy that exists when being seen, heard and valued is shared between people. I seek to live in a world without judgment, giving and receiving support and sustenance in my relationships.

So today I set my intention, seeking clarity of purpose and what is important to me. It is my intention to live wholeheartedly, cultivating the courage, compassion and connection to wake up each morning and say, “Today is today and I’m glad its today. No matter what gets done or is left undone, I am enough!”

When my head rests on the pillow at night, I  say, “With all my fears, imperfections and vulnerabilities, I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.

bb-download-2

A Letter to my Soul Mates

etheric meditationI wrote a letter this morning and I share some of it here because it speaks to all of my new and old heart connections…
I have often felt awe at the connections I have with you and others in my life that are beyond my ordinary understanding. I can only imagine that we are interrelated throughout many lives as I recall a book I once read called Return of the Revolutionaries. Dr. Epstein explains about “Soul Groups.”
Soul Groups are individuals who make a pact on a soul level to move through lifetimes together; changing roles, changing gender, race, ethnicity and interrelationships. A friend in one lifetime may have been a wife, child, parent, or someone else in a previous lifetime. The group has a common thread running through all their lives and relationships. I think he called it the Soul Group Mission. It is a large-scale mission, shifting the global thought field. The group Dr. Epstein tracked in his book was revolutionaries in the American Revolution and continue to walk the cutting edge of revolutionary thought regardless of their occupations in this life. (Oprah Winfrey is an incarnation of one of the souls he tracked.)
When I read the book, it rang true for me. I have noticed that in the past 20 years, and especially in the past 6 years, the friends that I have deep heart-felt connections with, practice healing methods that are outside the mainstream view of medicine. They include art therapists, organic farmers, teachers, writers, actors, sound healers, energy workers, yogis, bodyworkers, psychologists, movement therapists, physicists, shamans, and non-traditional nurses and doctors.
I think that our “soul group” chose the mission of changing the worldview regarding healing.
I have no doubt that you and I are partners in this soul group and that we are affecting the global field with our beliefs and actions regarding the way healing happens.
Interestingly, it is a return to indigenous ways supported by modern science. Quantum physics has now proven what the ancient mystics intuitively knew: every thought-form put into the field affects the field.
All fields entrain themselves toward the strongest, most organized field. Our thoughts draw to our awareness from the unlimited Universal field of all-potential the experience we are having.
The most intriguing and thrilling aspect of my life is the repeated experiences I have that support this belief. When I meet someone from my Soul Group, we both experience a feeling of remembering and reconnecting on a soul level. The level of comfort and communication is deep and immediate. I am smiling as I think about what the future is holding for us, just waiting for us to think the thought!