blessed

It's All OK

images.jpg

I got the news that she had passed and the wave of sadness gently began to roll in. I would not be surprised to hear it was a drug related death, that was the way she had been recently, awash in a sea of drugs. Knowing that does not soften the blow as I think back to the woman she was before.             I was fifteen when she told me I was like her and I would always be a smoker. She was right and she was wrong. I was seventeen when she told me how her son saved her life as he and I scavenged for Easter eggs in Des Montes, he was a perfect two year old excuse for me to engage in childish activity. He was an even better excuse for her to stop using and to try to put the pieces back together. I was in my late twenties when I saw her beginning to fall apart again while I was slowly trying to put myself together. Since then I have felt the waves of grief rise and fall in the wake of countless drug related deaths, nothing to be done about now, for them.

My wise mother always says, “No one has the corner on suffering.” She is right, and yet what we do in the face of our stories is where we set the stage for the outcome of the tale. I am a smoker, in that I have an addictive personality. I no longer smoke, but that does not mean I don’t want to. If I were to light a cigarette I would be a full-blown smoker again in a day, I know this about myself. I also know that like all my friends who died of over doses, it could have been me. So why wasn’t it? Because somewhere along the way I realized that did not have to be the choice I made. I realized there was more to all my hurt and pain and I wanted to know it, I wanted to feel it, I wanted to integrate it into a story with a happy or happier ending. We are all going to die after all.

My sister wisely said, “She is in a better place now, free from all that pain and turmoil.” They all are, and we all will be to when we leave these mortal bodies. Yet the real challenge, the one that can make us or break us, is to find that freedom while in this flesh.

My friend called last night to say her brother od’d over the weekend. So many fall to drugs. I think of the Lauren Hill song, “I used to love him, but now I don’t.” Remembering when drugs were new, exciting, fun, now all that is just awash in a haze of nostalgia and naivety. Many of the people in my memories of the times I used to love drugs are now dead. And yet, there was a gift in those experiences, an opportunity to see beyond the veil and into the depths of consciousness, heart, anger, and fear. Just like everything though, too much is too much.

I will always be a smoker, but I refuse to always be trapped in a story or lifestyle of limitation. I will always feel the loss of my friends and loved ones who could not find their way to freedom in these bodies, but I will not see those losses as a reason to give up hope for every other human on this planet including myself. It always makes sense to me to learn something from that which cuts deeply and what I take away from this loss is the remembrance to make good choices, life affirming choices, life enhancing choices…and not to judge the pain of others.

My heart yearns to hug her and tell her it’s all ok, but I know she knows that now. So I share it with you instead. No matter how big the scar, how deep the cut, how sharp the pain, it is all ok, it is all a gift, it is all an opportunity to know a deeper freedom, a more spacious spirit, and a more loving heart.

With Love, Always, In All Ways, For Giving,

Genevieve

Autumn Arrives

Once again, the last day of summer in the northern hemisphere is upon us. It harkens to us to harvest the bounty of the growing season that now comes to a close, alongside stocking up on all that we may need to stay warm, nourished, and comfortable through the colder seasons ahead. Autumn is a time of turning inward, retrospection, and introspection. In any inward turning practice we gain traction and perspective. Just as the seasonal change calls to us to be mindful of our gains as well as our needs, a practice of introspection does the same.

My birthday is this week, and with every successful revolution I make around the sun, I, in accordance with the seasonal invitation look back, review, and plan for the future, at the end of one cycle and the beginning of a new.

This year has brought with it many changes in my life, some I was seeking though perhaps did not know at the time, others I was unaware I wanted or needed and resisted as they slowly took hold. One thing I can say for sure, not much of the changes that have transpired in my life over the last year were ones I were directly seeking out, and in truth I have had a year of adjusting to life as it appeared in front of me, rather than living a life I “choose”. Some say all of the life we experience is of our own creation, I tend to believe this to be true. This reality is hard to agree with when life is so full of circumstances that appear far off from what it is our hearts and minds desire, yet as I have come to learn over and over again, life does get you where you want to go, even when it takes its own route. Truly I know, that even though my year has been hard, it has been valuable. I also know that someday I will look back on the experiences of this time in my life with gratitude, because as they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Lately I have added, and if it does kill you, you’re free. The true challenge as I see it then, is to be free, here, now, no matter the circumstances and experience beneath and beyond our skin.

One of the few life-changing gifts to myself that I choose this year has been deepening my meditation practice. From what began as a few necessary minuets in the morning so that I would not loose my mind (or so I thought), to a now regular practice or more than a few minutes both morning and evening. I read recently that you don’t do meditation, meditation does you, and I immediately agreed. In my short experience with regular meditation I have found the practice allows for, and invites calm and peace of mind, to the awareness of what is disturbing the mind, and the introspective journey that heals the mind as well as the heart, back to calm and sometimes in fleeting moments, pure bliss. Meditation, like asana is a great tool I am happy to regularly pull from my toolbox, and like asana chose to begin out of great necessity.

In retrospect I can see that though life has moved me into circumstances I would not have choose if asked, in those places have been the greatest gifts along the way in this wild ride of life. Every year brings me more satisfaction in an agreeing sentiment to a favorite John Lennon quote, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”

Here I am again, at the end of another beautiful summer, birthday closing in on me and I am grateful that I get to be here for it all. If all goes the way I want it, my next year of life will have a bit more splashes of color that I choose directly. However, I know, whatever arrives, I have the skills to respond with an open heart, a spacious mind, and the willingness to continue.

I share my story with the hope that in sharing, others find a bit more comfort in their own stories when they choose to look inward, and take stock, clearing away the unnecessary clutter of despair and disdain, while listening to their hearts desires and confidently planning for it’s happiest future, no matter what life may have in store. It is also my hope, that like I have come to see with each passing day, others will recognize the universe to be their ally always conspiring in the favor of each of our greatest good, and we do wind up eventually where we want to go. In the end I believe truly we are only limited to what we believe.

I pray that each or ours last day of summer shine bright warm golden light into all of our dreams, enlivening them with magic and unwavering belief in their reality. May this autumn bring with it the blessings of introspection, and all each of us need to carry us through the winter warm, nourished, and comfortable.

With Love, Always, In All Ways, and Joy,

Genevieve

Dancing to the DJ of Perfect Timing

Some days it seems to me that time drifts by so slowly, and yet I find myself rushing to complete tasks, trying to make the most of my productivity as if I am attempting to live out the lyrics of a Righteous Brothers song.  Other days go by so fast it feels as though I blink and the crisp brightness of morning has flashed into the dark of night, leaving me breathless with wonder watching the day go out like a blister in the sun.  

Admittedly, doing nothing, is not an easily found skill in my skill set.  I like a honey bee, buzz around all day picking up, putting down.  Some days there is clear vision behind the movement, a more beautifully choreographed dance of this and that, stuff and things.  Other days, I am a mish-mosh of clamoring about like a heavy footed boot wearing grunge kid in a mosh pit, moving deliberately, without much grace.

Regularly, making a conscious effort to be more present in the moment, I observe that the moment becomes more clearly a dance in the space of time rather than a race with time.  Like all dance parties some songs are fast, others are slow, and some, one just has to sit out.

It is when I sit one out that sometimes a storm rises in me, telling me that in sitting it out I loose momentum, I miss the opportunity to move forward, sideways, back, around in circles, but to move nonetheless.  Perhaps I am more like a shark, fearful that if I stop moving I will sink to the bottom and die.

However, with time, in time, I am learning to sit on the sidelines, if only for a moment, and catch a breath as I enjoy observing the undying flow of movement on the dance floor of life before me.  

In stillness I observe that I am never truly still, as my hearts is always beating while this body that houses me continues to breathe, lungs expanding, blood flowing, thoughts sometimes racing and other times drifting across the horizon of my mind like clouds.  Movement on the dance floor of life never ceases.  On the days when life feels stagnant, like momentum has ceased to move me forward toward my desired goals, or even backward and sideways away from them, I now acknowledge that the appearance of the feeling of inertia is only an illusion. 

The human ego when in a state of myopic self perception demands to be in control of the state of ones life journey, demands to be the DJ choosing the music.  When we become skilled in the practice of balancing our ego state into a perception of ourselves in a bigger picture, where all things are moving together and our actions contribute to and evolve from that net, we come to realize something greater than our small ego mind is really weaving the story and is truly playing the roll of DJ on the great dance floor of life.  Letting ourselves arrive to the dance party without concern of what the DJ will play, rather, aware of our own passionate desire to dance, or sit on the side and watch the glorious movement of life around us, is the gift we are given when we step out of the stream time management and into the present perfectly timed moment.  When we permit ourselves to be swept away in the current of the perceived concept that it, whatever it is, needs to happen right now, we steal from ourselves the grace we can bring to the steps of our own dance led by a partner we may not see, but have the opportunity to trust.  In trusting an energy greater than ourselves, we lift the pressure of perfect timing, the pressure of how and who, the pressure of control, and we open to the delight of being in the flow of the magical presence of the conscious universe, which when we allow ourselves, we see is always conspiring for our greater good.  Stepping out of the seat of control we come to find ourselves responding with ease to the songs this great DJ chooses to play for us, be them sad country songs, heavy metal ballads, or that happy song you call your jam.  Over time, we find ourself waking up with songs in our head like "time is on my side" and "sittin on the dock of the bay, wastin time" without a worry or a care for missing a step or a cue.

Today I acknowledge there is no race, nor place I need to be. I sing "time is on my side" as I look around and perceive all of the choreographed steps of perfect timing being executed by the brilliant magic of nature in the fullness of the season on the precipice of the harvest moon.

We can all enjoy more of each moment by breathing deeply, acknowledging the movement that is always present and does not stop, and the gift of our present awareness in this magic moment, time after time.  

With love in joy, slow dancing,

Genevieve