RB003 It’s All In The Voice

Posted on : 20-01-2014 | By : Lynn | In : Baby Boomer, Featured

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Even though I’ve sung a lot in my life including singing duets and rounds with my brother, Howdy, who, although currently is the President of a popular men’s choral group in Jacksonville, FL called “Big Orange chorus” has been singing pretty much all his life, it’s only been in the last few weeks that I had the realization of just how sensitive I am to the sound of people’s voices.

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My brother Howdy is on the left and his son, my nephew, Howdy III is on the far right

Two recent incidents come to mind.  I won’t link you to either one for sake of anonymity for  the people involved so perhaps you can take my realization and apply it to your own interactions and see what you hear in the voices in your daily life.  The first example is a female DJ who I would guess is in her 30’s. Her voice grates on my nerves and she has never done anything in her DJ duties that has ever indicated that she is anything but the nicest of humans.  But I hear in her voice an ego and almost a self-assured mocking  that incites me to want to knock her off her block.  I have no idea if my judgement from listening to her voice is correct; however, I do realize that just her voice sets my nerves on edge.

The second example is a person who I dearly love who has only recently found the inner strength to stand up on their own two feet and declare their place in the world.  When this person talks, their voice sounds as if there might be polyps on their vocal chords. And there might be, I don’t know, but what I’m basing the sound of their voice on is that when this person speaks their voice flows for just the first sentence or two and then their voice sounds as if their words are being funneled through a cheese grater. The voice seems to stop flowing the minute this person realizes they feel insecure and are being heard!

I’ve written before about “toning” with your voice for healing.  I am by no means a professional “toner”, but I have found toning to really help me. Especially if I am stuck and/or can’t quite put my finger on what I am feeling.  When I first began, I used to sit crossed legged in our guest room and let out sounds from low notes to high notes moving my voice/sound from my root chakra and on upwards to the highest note I could sound out.  I could actually feel when my voice/sound would catch where the feeling was stuck and then I’d focus on those notes until the notes became unstuck. Be careful when doing this around a cat or dog friend who is well-connected to you.  My cat Data used to run across the room when I began toning, run up my lap and touch my lips with her paw (sheathed of course!).

We humans are such animals!! I believe the more we accept this about ourselves, the more we can recognize and learn about the natural gifts we have inside.  I mean, it makes sense to me that our hearing can work for us well beyond just hearing the sound.  I remember when I began working in the fast-paced publishing environment “hearing” the shhh-shhh sound of some of the words that the Texan Ad execs (specifically the men) would pepper throughout their conversation with others, especially when they were trying to make a sale.  There was a sound in their voices that would often conjure up images of fine leather plush seats, smooth whiskey poured neat and potent cigar or pipe smoke wafting up and around a bent cowboy hat.

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Maybe my sensitivity to voice is one of the reasons that I don’t like to listen to myself in interviews because I can “hear” what I was feeling and more times than not, I really prefer not to be that obvious!

And of course what is my favorite DJ on KUTX.org, John Aillee playing right now as I am blogging about voice and toning?? None other than the wonderful Craig Hella Johnson’s Conspirare singing Joby Talbot’s “Path of Miracles” which starts off with what sounds like Toning and/or Trance Singing!  Love it when everything moves in sync!  Makes me believe I’m right on target writing about the voice.

So…..why don’t you play with this?  If not with your own voice then wake up to the sounds in the voices all around you.  What are the sounds of life telling you?

RB002 Being Real Even, Especially in Our PJs

Posted on : 15-01-2014 | By : Lynn | In : Baby Boomer, Featured

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I laugh at myself a lot.  Bless my little heart.  I must have made a really strong pact with the Universe to be authentic because it seems like it doesn’t give me one inch to fake it til I make it most of the time.  Take my car (no, please, really take it!) it’s a good little car considering it was born in 1999 and has over 189K miles on it. And it is sporty with a little engine that always does.  But the convertible top has had to be replaced and bless their little hearts, my husband and brother replaced the top themselves (original DIY!) leaving just enough of a gap in one side where the top connects to the windshield that when it rains, drops get in and collect.  The first morning after a rain when I realized this, I was backing up our driveway headed to a coaching appointment and the inside of my car sounded like I was at the beach with the waves gently wafting on the beach.   But I wasn’t at the beach, I was in Austin, Texas and so I looked down at my floorboard to discover that over an inch of water had collected in the floorboard of my car.

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Of course, I chose to keep my coaching appointment and so on the 20 minute drive had the opportunity to not let the crazy reality of driving up in a car full of water effect the delivery of career coaching for the client.  She never knew!

This morning as I sit in my pjs keeping my commitment to daily blogging for this year, I’m reminded that many of us are in similar disparate situations.  Especially us writers who work from our home offices.  Somewhere in here there’s a mirror image of how we act outwardly differently then we feel inside and in most professional instances, that is good.  Even so, it’s important for us to remember to acknowledge what it is that we’re feeling inside too and not let it get lost.  One of my good friends, I’ll call her “N”, exposed her daily wearing of pajama jeans to her blog readers during a time of intense depression and change after a divorce.  I don’t have the stats to support how much pajama jeans stocks went up after N’s sharing, but I’m betting they did.  Who wouldn’t want to be comfy and look good without notice when going through a dark period of their lives?! A whole lot of us!  And we were all grateful that N had the courage to let us know about her find and her process through the mucky part of her life.

Not sure how I’ll be able to weave the broken zippered sweat shirt jacket that I’m wearing over my pjs this morning, but I know I will and that sharing this part of who I am keeps me humble (and cuts down on the wear and tear of my good clothes too!).  Don’t hate me because I’m comfortable!

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RB001 From the Boomer Sidelines

Posted on : 14-01-2014 | By : Lynn | In : Baby Boomer, Featured

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And the Universe continues to laugh at and with me! After decades of being shown in numerous ways that I am but “one of many”, yet wanting so badly to be considered awesomely unique,  I find myself smack dab in the middle of the baby boomer generation.  I’ve survived and thrived in life just long enough to know how to turn a fact that I have to accept, into a palatable form, by re-defining definitions to suit my mind and heart.  For instance, yes I am a baby boomer and yes, I am right in the middle of the generation AND we are a generation of all kinds of unique minds and hearts.  The older I get, the more I find this definition to be true.

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I believe that many of us baby boomers also think (and would secretly be like) the Millennial Generation if we were brave enough to let ourselves be ourselves.  Like Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess, for example.  Jenny didn’t grow up with the likes of Emily Post or Miss  Manners breathing down her neck like most of us BBs (though I think Jenny would appreciate Miss Manners for her snide wit) so one/we could say that she is automatically freer to say and be who she is BUT if truth be told, I think many of us bbs would be just as outspoken as Jenny if fear wasn’t part of the DNA sequence of our generation.  This blog for this year (Raving Boomer) is my attempt to break through our BB structure and be a voice in the wind for us all….like Abbie did for many of us before our thirties.

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In my younger days, I always felt so different from everybody else and then I discovered that a.) most of us felt or feel different from everybody else and b.) in some of the situations that I found myself in like a conservative boarding school that was military for the guys—I was indeed very different from everybody else!  If I was good at math or at least statistics I’d be able to whip out some stats that support the sheer number of people in my generation that all feel different, but since I’m not good at math (but believe EVERYTHING can be explained mathematically) I’ll just leave it to you, the reader, to decide if you relate to what I blog about.  And please jump in with your two cents if for no other reason then to encourage me to show more of my skin!

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Life003 Break Through to A Warm Peace

Posted on : 02-12-2013 | By : Lynn | In : End of the Road, Featured

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The first time I really wrestled with mortality and reality was after a weekend of psychedelic imbibing that pretty much burnt away any filters my brain and consciousness came with and any defenses I had created along the way. My response was to dive into intense fear of being alive with constant panic attacks and severe anxiety. Nothing brought me peace, except my big red Golden Retriever who kept a watchful eye on me as my serenity sentry.

The blessings from this time were plentiful including getting into some much needed therapy and finally sobriety. During this journey, I cobbled together a belief system and spiritual path created from many discoveries and learnings which helped me to find peace about death. I believe this acceptance allowed me to be there for others in their time of grief and also for friends who were making their own transition from this life to the next.

Two “teachers” come to mind this holiday season as it seems many of us are experiencing a dance with death. One is a friend I’ll call “N”. N and I were part of a group of women (he being the only male) who explored and investigated all kinds of spirituality and psychic worlds. Our whole intent as a group was to learn how to help in healing animals, people and the planet. About a year into our studies, N found out that he had AIDS. We all gathered around him and loved him through the next two years until his passing. I will be forever grateful to N for allowing us to experience his most intimate experience of life in his last years on Earth. One of the lessons I took from N was that each person’s choices to how they handle their illness, life and death is ultimately their choice! And the best way I could help N was not to try to save him with all the ideas, information and knowledge that I possessed but rather to love him and accept him fully where he was at even though he chose a different way to handle his disease than I thought I would have chosen for myself in the same situation. I learned that this kind of all purpose accepting love would break my heart open to grow even bigger.

The other teacher I’ll call “I”. “I” had beaten non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 11 years prior to when I met him. A year later a cancer came raging back that was not Hodgkin. My friend “I” handled his prognosis in a way that I will always hope that I would follow if God forbid I found myself in his situation. In the beginning, he held a large pot-luck party with friends and family to let them know about his diagnosis, the process and how he wished to have his time unfold with all of us along the way. He gave us all permission to have our feelings and to be there for him (if we chose to) in our own special way. Some cooked meals, some cleaned house, some took him to appointments. “I” definitely took the power out of his death sentence. His life and how he chose to handle his last years encouraged me to become the kind of person that I always hoped I could be. The last week on Earth, I picked him up from an appointment and we went for an early lunch at Magnolia Cafe with his constant companion of the oxygen tank. I was so grateful for our conversation about life, and what was on the other side. And he was able to shed some tears about the beauty of it all and also some pain and sadness. I’m so grateful that I was able to just be there and hold the space without interjecting myself.

Who knows the whys and wherefores of this life that we are all living right now. We’re all really just doing the best we can as a result of the choices we’ve made up until now. I will tell you that, for me, I’ve learned that in illness, dying or death situations going fully into the love that you have in your heart and allowing it to break through the crusty constraints you’ve let settled around your heart is the way to peace. A warm kind of peace.

Break through to the peace. Love will take you there.

 

Life002 The Sweet Sour Love and Agony of Gratitude in the Midst of Chaos

Posted on : 31-10-2013 | By : Lynn | In : Featured, Heart Talks

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Okay, sure I’ll admit it. I can be a bit of a drama Queen, but then if you’ve followed me for very long…you know that about me!    But I couldn’t come up with a better way of explaining how I experienced this morning.  My feelings felt like how my tongue experiences the taste of Vietnamese soup.  Sweet and sour.

The morning began with me cuddled up in bed attempting to sleep away another dark and rainy day.  I heard what I thought was the normal morning sounds of David drying his hair.  But the sound kept going on and on and as I was in that state of being half awake and half asleep, rather than waking up, my writer mind began making up stories.  Stories about how much I loved my husband for always getting cleaned up in the morning even if he planned to work all day from home.  Stories about how much I loved his great head of hair.  Stories about how funny it was that he was going on and on with drying it, especially since there really wasn’t that much to dry.  And then my consciousness woke up a little bit more and realized that what I was hearing wasn’t the hair dryer, but rather the wet vac.  That could only mean that because of the heavy rain last night, water had found other ways to seep in through our floorboards.

Our home had flooded again.

I popped up to go investigate forgetting to put my glasses on, hair rumpled, and mouth guard in (being nice also added extra points to my concern for him resolutely vacuuming up the mess, not that there were points to be had but in a good long-term relationship, it’s the little things that count….).   David asked me to rally the cats from the garage into the kitchen so that he could wet vac up the water in there.  And I set about calming the cats and fixing the dogs’ breakfasts.  We both remained amazingly calm even though we knew this latest flooding meant we’d have to replace the Pergo in the dining room at some point soon. Adding to that long line of “things we need to replace soon.”

After breakfast and reading Michael Barnes’ latest Out & About column in the American-Statesman, the back porch beckoned me to sit outside for some quiet time.  Our backyard backs up to the Williamson Creek and the frogs were singing all about the fresh water barreling through so how could I resist them?  All the trees bordering the boundaries of our acre and a half were glistening in the breaking morning sun and the Blue Jays vacillated between angry squawks and happy chirps that sounded like wooden wind chimes blowing in the breeze.  As you can imagine, the hypnotic glory of the morning influenced my heart to open to what was beautiful and to be grateful!

And I continued to feel grateful even when we realized all that rain meant that my convertible had probably flooded again.

I’d forgotten to fix/mend/Gerry-rig where there is a gap between the top of my car and the windshield and so my car had flooded again.  And somehow I was able to keep feeling grateful for having a car, having a car that runs, having a wet vac that works great and having a really clean car.  That and the sun is breaking through the clouds so I can take the top down to let it evaporate out all the humidity.  Plus it looks like the Crepe Myrtles are so ecstatic that new buds are bursting to say hello to the world.

Oh I still have my response to mold allergies which means that even with the sprays and shots the ever present congestion remains. And somewhere between pruning the front yard and loving on the cats I’ve acquired a poison ivy rash that runs from the side of my ear down and around the back of my neck and up the other side.  So I’ll make an appointment with my allergist to get a script and on my way I’ll stop and get a large Americano while listening to The Takeaway on KUT.Org. Why not make the most of it?

I’m grateful that in the midst of the sweet and sour morning that unfolded today, I’m able to keep enjoying the bright spots along the way.  This isn’t always true for me, sometimes I can dip into a melancholy that borders on feeling like a psychotic depression, but I believe what helps inflate the life rafts of serenity that can seemingly come out of nowhere at the most unexpected times, is to be in continuous prayer to all that is good and to ask for the serenity and peace of acceptance.  Even during those times when we don’t think we need it.  There just has to be some kind of cache in the other dimensions outside of our reality that stores up our prayers and thoughts for those times we need to be buoyed through life.

A raft ship of Grace.

May peace be with you and us all!  And not too much water.  No flood water…

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Life001 Listening Beyond the Noise

Posted on : 29-08-2013 | By : Lynn | In : Featured, Heart Talks, Mind Fodder, Yoga

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Warning! This is another post to encourage you into the practice of meditation.   So, those of you who have no desire to explore this possibility for helping you to find contentment and peace are welcome to click on to the next headline waiting for your attention.

How quiet is your mind?  If your mind is like mine, most of the time it’s not.   I’ve usually got at least three or four streams of thinking going on at the same time (and probably more if I would sit still long enough to have it measured). Most of us already have mind chatter keeping us company from the minute we get up until we go to sleep. Then you add in one, two or several forms of electronic media that many of us have access to and it’s a wonder that any of us get anything done! Which voice do you pay attention to?  Where do you put your focus?

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As many of my spiritual elders, sisters and brothers have shared with me through the years, dedicating 20-40 minutes of meditation practice at least once a day can help us to listen beyond the noise.  There are as many forms of meditations as there are unique kinds of people in the world…find the one that your heart (and soul) has an ahhh response to when you practice it.   With that said, here are some basic tips that I’ve picked up over the years to remember about meditation that seem to align with many of the practices that I’ve been exposed which are:

1.) Try to find the same time to meditate everyday. This may vary because after all there is LIFE, but if you’re intention is to meditate every morning having the same time will help you to carry out your meditation.

2.) Find a place where you are comfortable sitting.  I have heard that someone who is deeply disciplined in the practice of meditation can connect with that inner peace anywhere and anytime, but for those of you who may be starting out…..be kind to yourself and give yourself all the help possible so that you can sit still.

3.) Light a candle, incense or if you’re outside, breathe in deep the smell of your surroundings.  I like ritual so for me, lighting an incense tells my mind that we’re going to get quiet.  My dogs even know that and will run to jump in my chair and curl up by my side (I’m sure if we could see their canine thought bubbles they would read, “finally!”)

4.) Follow your breath.  My yoga teacher of many years used to say this after every class as we lay in savasana (yoga meditation pose) and what he meant was to let any thoughts or worries of the day drop off as we paid attention to the act of breathing in and breathing out.  Just paying attention to your breath will help you to let go of much of the chatter in your head. Mostly.

5.) Do not judge your practice. Explore how you can find that deep inner peace more fully, absolutely! But, if you find that it is all you can do to sit for 10 minutes, let that be okay.   You can work up to longer if you choose. I try to make my time thirty minutes, but please know for many of us just the practice of sitting still and learning to let go is enough.  Even sitting outside with the breeze on my face did not stop my ego-mind from wanting to interfere with my meditation when I first began.   Most anything that you think that you need to be doing during your meditation time can be done afterwards.

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6.) Meditation is not a competition.  For many of us in the Western World our thoughts have been trained to think of many things that we do as a competition.  Your meditation time is between you and your higher power whatever or whoever that may be.  I remember several years ago talking about my meditation with a friend who had practiced the Kriya meditation techniques passed down through the lineage of gurus in the Self-Realization Fellowship founded by Paramahansa Yogananda.  As we were walking and talking I told her about a profound psychic experience I had during meditation and in her gently way she shared that in her experience, those psychic experiences could be a distraction from the real intent of being able to drop our ego and connect with the God of our understanding.

This sharing is just to remind you that you can drop all the cacophony of voices within and without at anytime if you so choose and giving yourself the gift of a daily meditation practice is a lovely way to do this.

Listen beyond the noise, peace is waiting for you.

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WRITE015 Seeing Things A Bit Differently Through A Dog’s Eyes

Posted on : 05-02-2013 | By : Lynn | In : Choices, Featured

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What is one thing you can “see” in a different way than you ever have before?

For example, there is this little area in our living room that has kind of morphed into what some might call an alter of sorts.  Two different people had given me Ganesh statuettes that ended up on the marble stand that used to hold up a water fountain.  Because that area has always been hidden in an unlit area, when a friend gave me a salt light, naturally I put it up there too.  And then, of course when my husband brought home three of those tall candles with religious icon decorations all over them (instead of something basic like vanilla) I put those next too the stand.

Over the years, we’ve ended up with interesting rocks from various trips abroad and a couple of petrified coral…so they fit perfectly in the little cave-womb of the stand along with another candle in its own little case that refracted the light nicely off the inside when lit.  It has occurred to me more than once, that some of my “less-than-open-minded” friends and acquaintances that have visited our humble abode may have wondered, almost feared the altar area of the living room but I quickly put that aside knowing that this area was really art-in-the-making for me.

Fast forward to a weekend of thorough house cleaning. Happened to have George, our Border collie and Paul, our Aussie-Shep, keeping me company while I cleaned. I noticed when I got to the alter area and pulled out all the rocks and candles to dust thoroughly that, George, was watching the whole process intently and being as how it is in the genes of these two dogs to pay attention to everything in their environment, I didn’t give it too much heed.  Later that evening as my husband and I were settling in to watch an episode of our favorite TV show, David noticed that one of the rocks from the “sacred pile” was almost purposefully sitting all by itself about two inches from the others on our living room floor.  We chuckled at the oddity of it and went back to watching our show.  After the show, David looked back over to the alter area and, sure enough, there was not just one rock two inches out from the others, but four very carefully moved rocks set out from the rest.

Now, I’m not sure exactly what was going on in George’s mind when he moved the rocks except that he does love to chew on rocks and stick, but I do know that he must have thought there was something pretty darn special about those particular “alter” rocks which left me to conclude that if my dog knows enough to treat this area and all its content with reverence then perhaps I should as well.

Today I’m claiming my “God spot”, rocks and all.  Thank you George, for helping me to see something a little differently that was right in front of me all this time.

WRITE014 We All Have “Clay Feet”

Posted on : 19-01-2013 | By : Lynn | In : Choices, Featured

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According to the Idiom Dictionary, “if you say that someone you admire has feet of clay, you mean that they have hidden faults”.  Of course, all of us have faults and many of them are hidden, that’s part of being human.  I’m consistently amazed; however, at how offended and surprised the masses seem to feel when the latest and greatest celebrity shows that they do indeed have feet of clay.

Take Lance Armstrong.  No, really, take him!  Unless you’re living under a rock somewhere you have probably been privy about Oprah’s interview with Lance.  Even though I love Oprah, I still have not been interested in watching the interview.  Just seems like it would be too rich with the set-up of all things having to do with branding and spin and not enough humanity although I do believe Oprah is very intuitive and so it would be interesting to watch what she seems to be “picking up” from Lance.

A guy I dated decades ago once told me that some of the best articles you could ever read are located in your local newspaper’s sports section. For some reason, I’ve never forgotten his advice.  In our own Austin American-Statesman, Kirk Bohls summed up what many were feeling after Oprah and Lance’s long ballyhooed interview in his Thursday column.  Then in Saturday’s Statesman, Suzanne Halliburton wrote about “Armstrong Talks of Pain He Felt” which, I gotta admit, put a chink in my armor when I read about Lance’s interaction with his 13-year old son, Luke. Oh yeah, he’s a Dad too.  That one got to me.  I had to remember that even Lance has clay feet.  Big clay feet.  And his son knows it now at such a gentle age.

In our world of making celebrities and unfathomed amount of monies we seem to get so caught up in the spin and glitz of it all that before we know what is happening the human in the center becomes lost in the tornado of things much bigger and each part takes on a life of its own.  Soon huge entities supporting millions are built on top of the celebrity with branches, limbs and roots reaching out to eternity.  And what we all forget is that those clay feet cannot hold up under all the pressure.

The burnishing light of truth will always find the cracks.

So, yeah, it really sucks that Lance got lost inside of his fame at a cost to many least of all himself and it sucks that the balancing side of his celebrity is a big huge glopping seedy amalgam of mess and it sucks that just shy of Lance doing himself bodily harm it seems to be the only way to satisfy the public about his remorse but what we all need to keep in mind is that we all, every single one of us have clay feet.

Remember the Glass Houses……….

WRITE013 Money Can’t Buy It

Posted on : 20-12-2012 | By : Lynn | In : Featured, Heart Talks

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Well, of course, there is a lot money can buy.  In most cases, money can put a roof over our head, food in our bellies, clothes on our backs and some mode of transportation or access to it.  If you live in an informational advanced society then money can buy you all kinds of things beyond the bare necessities.  What money can’t buy is love.  Truly, real love.  You know the kind, the friend or loved one who is there by your side with good humor and cheer during both the good and the bad times.  All the money in the world can’t keep you alive if you’ve got an untreatable catastrophic illness.  Money can’t take away a broken heart…although it may be able to mask it for a time.

It’s always fascinated me what we people do with our money.  Just this week a coaching friend told a story of a client he had who was making half a million dollars a year and wanted to expand her business to three times that much over the next year.  During the interview process he discovered that the reason she wanted to make three times as much money was because she was unable to make ends meet with $500, 000 a year.  Further exploration discovered that she spent over $2000 a month on several storage facilities for her shoes.  And no, his client was not Imelda Marcos.  He then told his client that before he could work with her, she would need to sell all her shoes and close her storage accounts. She fired him and then after six months of hemming and hawing around about what he told her she would need to do….she did it and hired him.   Her problem was not that she did not have enough money and her solution was not to make three times as much but rather for her to go to the core of her sick thinking around money and things and get in front of that first.

I’ve recently had the opportunity to work with some wonderful people who own a lovely store which attracts many wealthy and sublime clientele.  What’s been fascinating for me to experience is people buying beautiful (and sometimes) expensive things for themselves and/or their loved ones.  You get a sense of the pleasure they find in being able to spend the favors of their hard-earned rewards.  Of course it is the holiday season with many coming through to spend the most they will all year long.  We witness this kind of thing happening all over the country and world for that matter but I’m getting a very different sense of the season and all it entails in this unique store setting which is set apart from the big box stores and malls.  The money exchanged feels more respected and cared for rather than desperate and impulsive.  I get a sense that this relationship with money is something that can’t be bought.  Oh sure, many of the clients are very wealthy but more than a few have set their sights and goals on specific items they enjoy in the store and look forward to purchasing them for well-thought out reasons this time of year.  The money they spend is not instead of helping out in philanthropic ways but is in addition to.

I’ve lived in all kinds of environments from very wealthy with cooks, gardeners, china and place-settings to having only bags of potatoes to eat, one room and lousy gas heaters.  What I’m re-learning these days is that, that sense of esteem, peace and enjoyment of life is not something that money can buy.  I’ve had the same sense of loss, discouragement and very low-self esteem living in renovated castles and sleeping on hand-made mattresses  as I have sleeping in a very old one-roomed efficiency on a used mattress and box spring and very old sheets.  And, conversely, have had the same kind of joy riding Thoroughbred Polo horses wildly across acres and acres of blowing fields of grasses and flowers at the base of the Grand Tetons in Wyoming as I have walking the rim of the Ft. Davis State Park in Texas.

The joy that comes from inside can’t be bought.

How will you spend your inner beauty today?

WRITE012 Reaching For The Divine

Posted on : 17-12-2012 | By : Lynn | In : Featured, Heart Talks

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In two of the world faiths that I study, Paramahansa Yogananda’s Self-Realization Fellowship and the Bahai Faith the Unity of Mankind is often encouraged as well as the connection between the East and the West (India/Iran and the U.S.).  From both of these traditions, I have “heard” the call for us to reach out to the Divine (God) and really ask for that connection.   It may seem like an easy thing to do for some people who have never questioned or pondered what they believe, but for those of us who question, becoming vulnerable within ourselves to reach towards something/someone when all we have to go on is faith….can be very difficult.

And that’s just for those of us who don’t have all kinds of accessory problems with being human and living such as mental illness, dysfunctional families, addictions, catastrophic illness in ourselves or a loved one etc.   That may leave about two people out of the 7 billion of us on this planet who are able to fully give their attention towards finding the Divine (God) without any distractions.

So what about those of us who remain?  How do we handle big situations that occur in our community such as the shootings recently at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut? What is it that needs to be looked at more closely in order for us to heal the limping elephant in the middle of the United States?  Sure, we can look at gun control and have conversations about what laws can be put into place so that mentally disturbed people can be found out before they are able to purchase weapons of destruction.  But how are “we” going to know who is mentally disturbed and what being mentally disturbed means if we aren’t willing to look within our own lives, at ourselves and the people around us to admit that there just might be a bit of insanity in all of us?   Much less reach for the Divine (God).

For me, admitting I am powerless over addictions, people, places, mental illness is hand-in-hand with coming to believe there is something (the Divine/God) that can restore me to sanity. But first, I have to surrender to the reality of what “is”.   As a nation, I feel the United States is such a long way off from surrendering to the idea that some (many) of the things (overlooking extreme violence in film and videos etc.) are either a symptom of something much more wrong with us as a people than we care to know about or its too painful for us to let go of the curtain that hides the great and powerful Oz.  As in the Wizard of Oz, there is no great wizard that can grant us our wishes, our gifts are inside for us to find and realize.

Trying to reconcile the incredible distrust I have with politicians and big business in general with the belief that, as a group, our nation has the amazing capacity to unite together and leap towards goodness more than any other civilized nation in history,  considering where we come from (prisoners, refugees, etc.) is so complex. Where do we begin? Where do I begin?  How can I best live my values and help the people and community where I live (as well as myself)?

If ever there was a time for us to “wake up” it is now and as the great Sufi poet Rumi said, “do not go back to sleep” instead we’ve been giving another huge wake-up call to surrender our illusions and reach out for the Divine.