Saturday, March 30, 2013

the little no of self-love...

“Your task is not to seek for Love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”  Rumi

Another reader wrote, asking: "How does one love oneself if one is not happy with oneself?"

How does one love oneself -- quite often by saying no. The little word "no" issuing from an inner "yes" has soul resonance and a deep sense of well-being. However, my ability to say that little no is interfered with and often buried by old wounds, habits, adult failures and griefs, which rob me of the feeling for that soul-yes.

I want to eat healthy, I don't. My body needs to lift a few weights, I  don't.  I want to write or paint but it is easier to procrastinate or be lured away by daily chores.  These little no's not said make me unhappy, get me in trouble with my god-self.  However, these feelings, beacon-like, also tell me I am on the track.

A friend who was losing weight told me recently, "The power to say no is built one small no at a time. I have to act no until it becomes the feeling in the body. Every mouthful has to have a no in it. Sometimes, all I can do is have a no in place, acted on or not." She concluded, "At first, I don't feel a thing, however, I trust the process and make small steps. Gradually, a feeling of well-being emerges."

The outer no becomes the lover of the inner yes. I love the self that eats healthy, has me hiking these mountains, resists destructive habits, negative inner dialogues and anything soul-diminishing. This self makes me happy and loves me back with passion. One's task, as Rumi wisely observed, is merely to seek and find all the barriers within that one builds against love.

* photo source:

Monday, March 25, 2013

two visitors and a vortex...

Vortexes are areas of high energy concentrations, originating from magnetic, spiritual, or sometimes unknown sources. Anna Jones

As I have mentioned, I live in Tucson, Arizona for the winter. My daughter is visiting for a few weeks. She and a friend are going to Sedona tomorrow -- a place of red cliffs, mesas, and beauty -- which reminded me of my last trip there. I wrote the following a short time later.

My friend was treating my cousin and I to a tour of the Sedona vortexes. He had felt different energies on previous visits. I was skeptical.  Ten years ago, I dismissed the vortexes as a tourist-draw. A lot happens in a decade and now I was curious.

Walking the mile to the base of Cathedral Mountain -- supposedly a vortex location -- we came out of the trees and were dwarfed by mountain walls, brilliant orange-yellow wrinkled with purple shadows. At my feet a stream trickled over flat, red rock. Our hiking guide invited us to close our eyes and let the sun warm the morning chill. The air was pristine, the birds were waking.

After a while, my hands started to tingle. I wondered if this was the vortex feeling but thought not? We sat awhile in silence. I could feel the beauty even with my eyes half-closed. Then out of the corner of my mind’s eye, to the left, a figure caught my attention -- a native American.  I dismissed "the image" knowing these southwest areas are steeped in history. However, as I kept watching him, he seemed quite material as if resting or waiting on one knee. Oddly, one feather on the right side of his head was pointing down. Then looking closer with my inner-eye I saw another smaller feather sticking out behind the larger one. Why were the feathers pointing down? 

The guide interrupted my reverie, “We are now at the center of a vortex. Did anyone sense anything? Silence. My cousin said her hands were tingling. More silence. My friend observed he didn't feel anything, this time. Hesitantly, I related what I was seeing. The guide instantly asked, as if it was a normal observation, where "the visitor" was positioned? I pointed to the left of a small sand bar about twenty feet in front of me. Then, describing him, I told them about the feathers pointing down.

While I was talking my cousin puts her hand on my arm and whispers, “A yellow, black butterfly has been sitting on your shoulder since you began talking.” Without moving, I saw it’s wings fluttering. Then looking toward the sand bar, my visitor was disappearing. The butterfly stayed a little longer. As we left, I turned and waved good-bye.

Several days later my friend described my encounter to a woman of the Hopi tribe. Her initial interest was in the butterfly "lodging" on my shoulder. She asked, "Is her birthday in July?" (July 24 th) Seemingly satisfied, she continued to informed my friend the meaning of two feathers pointing down signified the "visitor" as a teacher.

Driving back to Tucson, I had difficulty dismissing the experience. A quote kept filtering through my disbelief, "When the student is ready a teacher appears."*

* A Buddhist proverb
Photo source: fotolia

(Basically, a writing from a decade ago which my daughter's visit reminded me of.)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Which are the artificial yeses?

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else, means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight... e.e.cummings

A reader's question from the last writing "the lioness and the oryx":  "I can so identify with where you are coming from. Of course, it raises the question -- which are artificial yeses?"

My artificial "yes" was institutionalized early. In the fifties and sixties, being female, I was trained by society to say, "yes": yes to wife-hood, mother-hood, religion-hood, and just about any hood my blind eyes couldn't see. My inner no's, my authentic self had pretty sparse ground in which to sprout.

Yet, those yeses gave me social value, protections, and security. Becoming a wife, I was no longer considered an "old maid, a spinster." The labels speak for themselves. Becoming a mother was the most important contribution I could make to society. (I had three degrees.) Leaving the children to work outside the home was neglect. I was also not to be smarter, taller or earn more money than my mate. These requirement/roles, too often starve my true lioness nature, my natural self. (My husband, who was a freer thinker than the norm, gave me support and space in which to explore these social roles.)

At first, I had to learn what was the "surface me" and then what was the "authentic me" -- how did they differ? I discovered I starved emotionally and spiritually every time I said yes when something in me said a deeper no: how many times did I say yes to sex when I did not want it, yes to company when I was exhausted, yes to measuring up to someone elses expectations rather then my own. (Actually, it is rather embarrassing to write this.)  I sought personal value from others, my yeses often put me in a box/situation that crippled my choices. I needed to make things right, keep everyone happy. To sum it up, I too often was gooy-nice rather than honest and true --  with a, "No thanks."

Socialization peels away a layer at a time and the odd time in chunks. Of course the trick is, even today, who am I, really? What expands my spirit, what resonants with my inner being, what freedoms wait there for me to play in? I try for a glimpse daily as it is always new ground.  Socrates said it several thousand years ago, "To thy own self be true." No one ever wrote to thy own self be artificial. If the lioness had been true she would be alive today.

Photo source: