The bliss of Getting to Source

The bliss of Getting to Source

I was raised to have faith that were was something deeper to life, something beyond the physical senses. I had faith there was a deeper point to all our existence. Many of us are raised to have this kind of faith.

It wasn’t until my oldest daughter was born and I held her for those first precious moments, that faith turned to knowing. I looked into those wide eyes and saw the Source. I saw the Universe reflected back to me, God’s love in all its mystical beauty and astounding truth. In that all-too-brief moment I went from believing in a greater source to knowing it was there.

This was the inspiration for Rule #1 (Get to Source) in 10 Little Rules for a Blissy Life. But what does that look like in practical terms?

Some get to their spiritual source through prayer or religious devotions. Others get there through meditation, writing, painting, music, walking on the woods, even weeding the garden. It doesn’t matter how you get there. Just take some time, even a few minutes each day, to shut out the physical and turn your focus on the bigger picture.

When we do, we begin to feel more connected to the whole. We feel less alone. From here, we start to embrace our existence as a vital part of the whole.

Having faith is a powerful thing. Your faith, combined with this deep knowing, amplifies that power in incredible ways. When we are intentional about getting to source every day, that power starts to manifest in entirely new ways.

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the truth about Meditation

the truth about Meditation

All good yogis do it, right?

And if we don’t, we keep it hidden like some dirty little secret that we sweep into the closet when our friends arrive for a visit.

I did yoga for seven years before I once even attempted to sit still to meditate. All that “ohming” in classes I attended never once spoke to me or even WHISPERED some deeper meaning … I never “heard” any ANSWERS but only realized I had a long way to go before I could resist the urge to scratch my nose and sit in peaceful bliss like all the other good yogis.

What no one ever bothered to tell was that there are many ways to meditate.  Meditation is not about emptying the mind. It is about being able to focus on ONE  object…

solely.

That may be a little hard at first. We are so used to multitasking that it is hard to put the brakes on that warp speed we seem to always move at.  So in our yoga classes, we work to give that “monkey mind” ONE object to focus on. Think of it kind of like an anchor, tethering you to the present moment.

When we begin to meditate, we start with the breath as that anchor.

So try this….

Remember in 10 Little Rules for Finding Your Truth

our first Rule is Be Still. Take a moment and revisit your book. Find your mountain pose (you can even do it sitting) and just feel how the breath moves in the body. Encourage the breath to first fill the belly then draw the breath up into the rib cage. From there, draw the breath into the chest. Imagine the torso expanding like a three-dimensional box….

From side to side, front to back and top to bottom.

Once you can follow the breath up … try to release that breath first from the chest, then slowly from the ribs and finally the belly. It’s that easy. This is called Dirga Breath or 3 Part Breathing.

So just in the last few minutes you have practiced this breath you have begun a simple meditation practice. Try taking 10 rounds of breath this way periodically through your day. Recite in your mind as you breathe … belly, ribs, chest … as you inhale. Then as you exhale, in your mind repeat … chest, ribs and belly.

When you release the assumption that in order to be a true meditating yogi you need to sit like a pretzel and not move for an infinite amount of time …

the rest will slowly evolve.

More techniques to come!

Micki

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On Rituals … and the Value of Temporary Chaos

On Rituals … and the Value of Temporary Chaos

Rule #9 in 10 Little Rules for a Blissy Life is “Make Life a Ritual.”

There is a certain comfort in routine. The morning cup of coffee is a perfect example. While some view it as a chore or a necessity, I see it as a way to reconnect to the waking world.

So much of our lives rush by in a blur. We find ourselves doing the same things over and over again, like dropping the kids off at school, or tossing a load of laundry into the washer, dashing off emails to the clients, or paying the bills. It’s too easy to become automated, almost unthinking, as we scurry through our lives.

One way to bring more connection into my life has been through rituals. Growing up Catholic, we had plenty of proscribed rituals. Tuna noodle casserole became a Friday staple during lent. Even stopping for donuts after Sunday Mass, which explains my ongoing craving for a good jelly bismark one day a week.

I have found new joy in recognizing and celebrating the rituals in my life. Making the bed is now an opportunity to bring my bedroom back to a state of beauty, and prepare the space for another restful night. Checking the mail is gives me just a minute or two to think of someone I’d like to hear from, and plan to write or email them. Cooking dinner goes from being a chore to celebrating a healthy offering for my body.

But what happens when change interrupts our rituals?

The last two weeks have been all about chaos — sorting, packing, storing, selling our home and moving in with a friend while our new home is under construction. The comforting rituals are turned on their heads. And with it, my sense of balance. It’s no wonder I’ve had vertigo in the mornings, as my physical body expresses what’s in my heart and mind.

Yet overturning the familiar is where we find new joy. Creating new order out of the chaos — even though I know this too is temporary — restores my balance while allowing me to be open to new experiences.

My latest ritual? Morning coffee on the dock, feeding the baby turtles at my friend Melissa’s beautiful home. Who knew watching tiny little shell kids bob for food could be such bliss?

I may be out of my element, but that’s no reason to be out of my mind.

 

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FFS, Have a Little Faith, Woman

FFS, Have a Little Faith, Woman

It’s not that hard.

We get what we put out there. Our external life echoes the thoughts we have running through our heads. If our thoughts are chaotic and uncontrolled, we get chaos. If our thoughts are fear-based, we get a life filled with anxious moments. If we have a million conflicting dreams and desires, we experience unfilled wishes. And if our thoughts are calm and centered? Yep, we find our lives are calm, more in control, and we are better able to cope.

Of course that doesn’t mean bad things won’t happen. Parents will get sick; kids will have crises; partners will flip out and leave; houses will burn down — literally or figuratively. These things will continue to happen — but our experience of those things will be vastly different, depending on the state of our inner mind.

Now, when we get really good at maintaining that mindful balance, we are able to focus our thoughts and intentions on what we truly want — far beyond just surviving the day, making it through the next crisis. We are able to spend time seeing the future we want for ourselves.

When we can do that, it suddenly becomes clear what step to take next. We take that step in trust, in faith, knowing that mistakes will be made (it’s how we learn), and setbacks may occur. But we move forward — in faith — knowing that how we experience our own lives it up to us. Entirely up to us.

Much love.

 

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Catholics and Other Creatures

Catholics and Other Creatures

Get to source.

It’s the first in my list of 10 little rules for a blissy life, the guiding mantra that underpins the rest of the philosophy.

And still, I forget.

I was raised Roman Catholic, in an Irish-German family that put tradition and duty above personal fulfillment or enlightenment. Not that there wasn’t love; it was just that this love seemed to me to be highly dependent on “doing the right things.”

In church, I would see parishioners who seemed so devout, so in touch with their God, and I’d wonder why I didn’t feel that. In fact, I struggled to feel it, longed for it.

When I married my first husband, a non-believer, it was easy to back away from the Church and its teachings, giving up on ever finding that connection. This was during a time when the magnitude of abuse by Catholic priests was first coming to light, so there was even a solid basis for a certain amount of moral “rightness” in my decision not to believe.

Still, I was married in the church, baptized my daughters as Catholics, proudly sat by as they were confirmed, and now watch proudly as they make their own spiritual decisions – one remains Catholic while another is a youth pastor in another denomination. Both choices are fine by me – as long as they are finding their source, from wherever theirs springs, I’m at peace with what they choose.

For me, I began to finally feel connected to my Source several years ago when I began to meditate. I realized that this is simply another way to describe what I was raised to believe was prayer – with one key difference. Instead of speaking to some separate entity, petitioning the saints and the holy ones for intercessions, in meditation I connect with most internal being. Semantics, to a large degree, this idea of connecting with source.

When I found this connection, my life altered in ways that could be defined as miraculous in religious terms. And that power to alter circumstances by altering my perceptions continues.

So why is it so easy to forget to do this? What explains my tendency to wait until the wheels fall off in some way before I reconnect with my innermost nature? That’s the million dollar question.

Last week was a challenge. I spent several days in New York with my parents at their senior living community. It was good to see them and have this length of time with them, but being with them is difficult on a lot of levels.

For one, they are both struggling with some debilitating cognitive issues, so conversation and everyday tasks demand an incredible amount of patience and focus. And my dad has some physical limitations that slow normal life down to a mind-numbingly slow pace. Still, we had some laughs, met some of their friends, and I found a stronger compassion for them than previous. And when Mom wandered off in Target, leaving Dad in his scooter on the verge of panic, I was able to breathe, focus and deal with the situation calmly and easily.

Where does getting to source come into all of this? Frankly, if I hadn’t been meditation and doing yoga during my visit, I would have lost patience, gotten angry, escalated the potential minefields into explosions, and basically made everyone – self most of all – miserable.

At the end of the week, they were supposed to fly down south with me for a week on the beach. The idea was too much for them, and it became quite apparent the night before the flight that it wasn’t going to happen. So I flew down on my own, where John was waiting for me at the airport.

I was so sad. Sad that they couldn’t enjoy the beach, sad that their traveling days are clearly over, missing the people they were just a few years ago, when they flew to Hawaii for an island cruise and had a level of independence they’ll never experience again.

Having intentionally gotten closer to source through the week, I was able to feel that sadness for what it was – a reflection of the love I had for these people, and my wishes for their happiness. It didn’t take me under or make me miserable. I was able to truly feel that sadness and still know it wasn’t going to take me down.

When we are connected with source – whether that’s in meditation, prayer, a long walk on the beach, however that shows up for us – we can feel those emotions and know they aren’t bottomless. We can be sad, happy, anxious, scared, elated – and feel them, recognized them, and choose how to act on them.

The work of being human begins with recognizing that we aren’t just human at all, that there is an inescapable spiritual side to every one of us. Connecting to that realization is the ultimate source of peace.

 

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Rule #1 – Get To Source

Rule #1 – Get To Source

In our hyper-connected, hyper-goal oriented world, the rush of things becomes a constant undercurrent to my day.  How can we hear our hearts speaking their truth when there is so much noise and turbulence? Drowned out by the phone, radio, TV, neighbor, co-worker, spouse, child, the heart would have to scream to be heard.

In fact, my heart did scream. I found myself mired in a horrendous place, where I was close to violently unhappy in my situation.  I was scared, vulnerable, and susceptible to quick fixes that only made things much, much worse.

I began to recover when I spent some time each day in complete quiet. I didn’t call it meditation at the time, just down time. Eventually it grew into a practice of quietly learning to hear my heart speak.

The true healing came for me when I spent two months in a cottage on the Gulf of Mexico the next winter. I began every day with a four mile walk on the beach, with only the seagulls and an occasional dolphin to keep me company. With each step, I focused on clearing my head of the noise, the shouts and the chaos. Every step brought me closer to peace, until, finally, I arrived back at the cottage with a clear mind.

The more I practiced this, the easier it became to block out the seemingly endless thoughts, the constant chorus of voices. And once I got to quiet, I started to really hear my own voice, the voice of my own heart. What blessed bliss this is now to start and end each day with this time.

By the end of my incredible two months on the shore, that quiet space turned into a new place for creativity and imagination, for problem solving and forgiveness, and ultimately for a deep peace and joy that I had never known.

You can find source in so many places, in those little moments that take your breath away. I will never forget when my oldest daughter Valerie was born and I held her for the first time. In that moment, I saw the Milky Way in her eyes, as if she knew all the wonders of the Universe. For the first time in my life, I felt completely connected to God.

Begin today to find your source; just take 10 minutes and turn off all the noise, breathe deeply and let the thoughts drift in and drift out again. Tomorrow add another minute or two. It doesn’t take long, but the results are amazing.

Excerpted from “10 Little Rules for a Blissy Life” by Carol Pearson.

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