Aging & Death

The rains finally came today.  A solid 20 minutes of genuine downpour…a “get naked and dance in the rain” downpour.

I am so grateful to the Elementals.  They settled their differences today and found balance.  And so, too, may I find balance.

I’m 68.  I have been moving consciously through layers of armor and patterns of conditioned-response to stress for decades.  But at this moment, what seems significant, is the last decade.

I reverse my timeline and look backwards from July 12, 2018.  

I officially opened the Mountain Valley Retreat in 2014.

Sidebar:  “This is 2018, my fifth year in my new business.  I’m sorting out the bugs and it’s working.  My working edge is clarity about what I want.  I am a Renaissance Woman.  Staying focused on one project at a time isn’t as fun  (read challenging) as juggling several projects at once  Some interests are more lefty, artsy-fartsy and some more righty, rational-mathematical.  I seem to go for the balance.”

  In 2010 my marriage of thirty-seven years ended in divorce.

 

Sidebar:  “We hooked up for the first time in 1968.  I was an 18-year-old freshman at DU and Jim was a 20-year-old junior on a 4-year NCAA basketball scholarship majoring in Economics.  When Jim graduated he moved to Chicago to play at being a banker in the big leagues… riding on the lapping tongues of the jock-sniffing Execs at the First National Bank of Chicago in the loop.  His entry-level position was as a Jr. Trust Officer.  Jim did the leg-work for his boss, Manny, from Kenilworth, Sr. Trust Officer. I transferred to NIU and majored in Education and Psychology.  We got married in 1973.”

In 2007 I left Jim and the farm we had lived on since 1975, 32 years.  I maintained my business, Be Well Now, in Godfrey/Alton.  I moved into a tiny log cabin 10 miles from my farm isolated in an oak forest on a little lake owned by a young couple going through a divorce.  My landlady, Kristy, was getting the house with 100 acres and rented the cabin to me and my cat, Lemur,  for two years.

The story of the preceding fifty-seven years is a blog (read book) for another day.

So, this somehow brings me to my topic, Death & Aging…or Aging & Death.

What, you are asking, is the connection between Aging & Death and the past decade of my life?  I’m aging and so is everyone around me and we all die.  The longer I live, the more Aging and Death become a “thing” for me.  As friends and family die, I’m left wondering the great unanswerable question, “What’s it all about?”

Within my ‘wonderings’ I came upon a thought.  As I age, time appears to be collapsing in on itself.  The clock may say it is six hours later than what feels like a moment ago.  It appears that my mind is staying more and more present.  Without thoughts about the past or the future time is losing its relativity.  Without anything to relate to,  there are no relatives for time?   Without relativity, there is no time!  Only now.

What does this have to do with Aging and Death?  Everything!

Aging depends upon the passage of time.  No time…no aging.

Death is the absence of time…it is timeless.  Therefore, if I am in a timeless space, I am already dead, by definition.  If I am dead, what separates me from life? Just the appearance of this body.

Savasana,  The little death, the chance to die before you die.  This is what my yoga is all for.  For 50 years I’ve known of yoga, practiced yoga, studied yoga, taught yoga…and now?  Perhaps, I am yoga.

Aging and Death?  Nothing but concepts of the mind.  Paper Tigers.  Bring it on!

Agelessness and Life Eternal.  Word!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who?

“Who Am I Without My Story?”
I cut the barbed wire stretched taught between two sturdy old fence posts,                          first at one end and then the other.
Tossing it away,  I pushed on the posts, each in turn.
They loosened easily from the ground.
Lifting them free, I threw them aside, away from my body.
Lying back, I viewed the scene without them.

I saw a flawless field of blue sky and green pasture untouched by human invention.
Again came the words that had been moving through my mind, like a mantra,          endlessly asking,
“Who am I without my story?”

I looked into the scene produced within and saw now the fullness of nature revealed.
Three wild Indian ponies galloped into the pasture of my body
and I saw them as me.
Body, Mind and Spirit.

This is who I am without my story.
I am wild and free, uninhibited by custom or convention.
I know not my past and care not my future.
I am here now. This is all there is.

In this moment, I dance myself into existence and awareness flows along each breath.
I continuously unfold.

I am neither nefarious nor reputable.
I am either the falsehood of my story or the truth of my being.

I cannot be both.three wild horses

Lessons from Roy

Lessons from Roy

Mountain Valley Retreat just finished its first four-day retreat.  I invited Roy Dopson, a Canadian man I met years ago, to come and share his experience of life with us.  Being with Roy has helped me to remember what is important to me.  It has helped me to realize that I want to move in the direction of contentment.  I understand that contentment is not dependent on any external condition or circumstance.  It is within me.  Happiness is within me.  The path to happiness, to pure contentment, is through the letting go of thoughts that drive me to action, always seeking happiness through some external event or condition.
Thoughts arise. They are random. They are meaningless. They are simply chemical firings of the brain creating the experience of the senses. Thoughts are the mind’s attempt to prove its existence to itself.
Every movement of the mind, every thought, is a movement away from the Self.
Notice movement of the mind and ask yourself, “Who is doing the moving?” “Who is doing the thinking?” “Who am I?” “What am I? “I am.” “I.”
The “essential Self” is only found in the stillness of mind. The “essential Self” is before thought, before mind, the nameless, the potential that is “prior to” movement of mind.
“Step” in and out of stillness. Stepping out of stillness of mind is the engagement of mind for the purpose of serving the body. Serving the body is acting on movement of mind. IE: I want this…I don’t want that…I like this…I don’t like that…the mind measures everything it perceives. The mind is our sixth sense. It craves focusing on something, anything. For in that focus on something outside of itself, it affirms its existence. I am not that, therefore I am this. I think, therefore I am. The mind is constantly trying to prove its existence by comparing itself to everything it perceives through the five senses.
When you stop the movement of the mind, the mind turns in on itself. It moves from the duality of “I am this and you are that” to the oneness of “I am that.” Oneness is the source of all existence. Oneness is the essential Self, All that Is. Oneness needs nothing for it is Everything. All seeking stops. The experience of Pure Contentment arises. Bliss. Nirvana.
Practice sitting in stillness. Notice what is arising. Let it go. Invite the mind to stop. Notice without judgment. Give no thought any credibility. Remember that no thought has any value to the Self. Thoughts only have value to the ego and the body. They feed the belief in separation.
In the experience of duality  (everything that is more than one) is polarity. For every yin there is a yang, for every high there is a low, for every happy there is a sad. There cannot exist one without the other. Living in duality is a constant roller coaster ride. It cannot be anything but this. We are up and down, in and out, pushing away, pulling toward, constantly in flux between this and that. As long as we allow the mind to run loose, life will be this way.
The other choice to become master of the mind. Choose when the mind is allowed to think and when it is still. When I gain control of a muscle through exercise and strengthening it, I choose when to engage it and when to relax it. Exercise and strengthen the mind through the practice of sitting in stillness and observing the mind. Choose when the mind can think and when it will be still. In stillness, experience the blissful state of pure contentment as the mind stops chasing the highs and running from the lows, endlessly seeking what can only be found when it stops seeking.  The final paradox.  Stop seeking and find that you have within you what you have been seeking.  Liberation from suffering. Freedom.meditation pose silloette

Notes from the Session

Notes from the Session on Feb 23, 2014

Zero Balancingetheric meditation Session with Melinda

Session Intention:  Clarity

Within five minutes a belief came right up to my consciousness!

Surfacing Belief: “I can’t trust men”’

The movie of my life ran through my mind reviewing all of the betrayals I suffered at the hands of men from 6 months of age through the present.

I asked myself:  Is this belief true?

Myself said:  Apparently!

Me:  Are you absolutely sure it’s true?

Myself: Well, in fact not only can I not trust men, I can’t trust women either…the truth is, I can’t trust anyone…not even myself! 

I’ve betrayed myself more times than any other single person!

Me:  What if you could trust everyone?  Play with that belief.

Myself:  “I can trust everyone.”

I can trust that humans will behave like humans and human beings cannot be trusted to be any certain way on any given moment.

When I choose to believe “I can’t trust people”, I am being too simplistic.  Trust is incidental.  For all of the betrayals I have suffered there are many more equally significant experiences of support and love. 

Why does one betrayal cancel out one-hundred acts of love?

 Myself: I am seeing an expanded view of this discussion.  Beyond the single belief that I can or cannot trust humans, I am realizing that all beliefs are concepts.  The human mind conceptualizes, that is, it takes its limited body of experience (finite) from the limitless pool of possible experiences (infinite) and creates a theory based on that incomplete experience.  Beliefs are human perceptions attempting to bind the boundless!  Beliefs are our attempt to control that which cannot be controlled. 

Trying to make the infinite finite is the labor of all beliefs.  A belief implies that the same outcome will happen over and over again…that there is a truth that can be depended on. 

Not so in this Universe.  We (this Universe) are a living, breathing, infinitely expanding experience.   Nothing can be depended on.  Nothing is finite.  Nothing is true. The only constant is change. 

There is no belief (human concept) that is supported by our universal experience…without exception.

Me:  So where does this leave us?

Myself:  In any given moment, I recognize that I am in an ever-changing environment, in which nothing is as it appears, and all is expanding and evolving perpetually.  I survey my environment and use discernment to determine my next step. 

Human beings can only be trusted to be themselves, unpredictable.

I perceive myself as more than this body and mind, this human being. 

It is in that experience of “more than this” that I choose to trust.

I trust in the Tao.

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.

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!