Saturday, November 22, 2014

the gold fish bowl...

And then the day came,
when the risk
to remain tight,
in a bud
was more painful
then the risk                                                                                                
it took
to Blossom.  Anais Nin

A piece of research, I read recently, observed what would happen if gold fish were taken from their bowl and put in a large bath tub. One would assume they would make a dash to splash and play in the larger body of water. They did not. They remained swimming within the confines of their non- existent fish bowl -- their environment.

I create my own fish bowl and it becomes my mini-universe. My inner environment, beliefs, thoughts and perceptions limit my swimming range. A few centuries ago my ancestors thought the earth was square. And what a fish bowl that created -- no sailing into unknown waters. Then, only a few decades ago I considered my body solid, skin was skin, bone-bone and the cat was a cat. I also thought the end of the world was limited to my five senses. Now Einstein tells us it is all an illusion be it a convincing one. Science is proving (which the shamans, Buddhist monks and mystics have known for eons) that it is a multi-dimensional world with parallel realities. And the breaker of limits is: I am 99.9 percent energy with essentially no solidity other than the one who thinks there is sitting here typing. So my fish bowl is having a hard time telling me the earth is square, that reality ends at my limited perceptions.

My outside environment can easily be confined by habit, routines and old patterns. They make great fish fodder. These well-worn pathways are useful, dependable and offer me comfort and security. They are familiar, like family to me. Yet habit and routine done long enough become mindless and automatic, taking life rather then giving it, dulling heart-eyes, zip, zing and spirit. They build up an energy field which I can easily mistake for essence or reality rather than a tool to make life easier. I create them then get trapped which I suspect keeps me from an ocean of life or, at least, a bathtub full of living that I have yet to splash and play in.

What gives me fresh, new aliveness, what dulls it? What takes the shine off my days, my minutes? What keeps me from a big swim in the whole tub? Where am I stuck? Picking up my self-evaluation spy-glass I need some distance, be it geography or head space. When the children were smaller I went to Toronto every five or six weeks for committee work.  It was a different positioning being out of the comfortable, the habitual activity. For a few days, periodically, I lived outside the fish bowl. I was not a mother or wife as much as I loved being both. Distance gave me a new ledge from which to check out what gave us life and what took it away. Tucson gives me the same opportunity -- space, distance, and detachment which does challenge Nova Scotia routines.

Yet, I don't have to go far for the same opportunity, I just have to go different.  The smallest choice, one simple step can result in a meaningful ocean-swim. After writing here at the desk for a spell, I can so easily click on the TV and "numb out" convincing myself, I am just relaxing. Again, good fodder. However, remembering that TV is not exactly a source of fun and laughter, I head outdoors. "It doesn't take much to do a lot" or to swim in fresh water.

Stepping out the front door, I hear a little voice from next door calling, "Gusta".  I've been spotted. And here he comes heading my way, arms extended until they wrap my knees. So much life just delivered itself at my feet. I can hardly see his face for the red hat hauled down to his nose. Two-year old language is hard for me but he definitely has a story to tell and if I could understand, I know it is about the most exciting happening. No fish bowl here, just innocence, fresh eagerness, a child's aliveness and now, mine.

And isn't it at the edges of living, where we are energized, where the "ah ha's" happen, where we are surprised again by this magical, mystical place that invites us to swim beyond out-dated beliefs and old habits. Here, we can splash and play in the rest of the tub, in a new freedom. A place where cattails talk back and a two year old, knowing no limits, has the most exciting story to tell?

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Friday, November 7, 2014

Halloween heroes and their choices...

Look at the choices you have... Because in those choices, there are whole worlds of strength and new ways to look at things. Michael J Fox

We each want and need personal power. My two Grands, four and five, want it. His place mat for dinner is Superman and hers is Wonder Woman. They also have matching dinner plates. He says, "Look Grandma" and I look to see skinny, little, five year old fore-arms, flexed. He sees strength, power, and has a feeling he can do anything. And I think, how wonderful.

Yet, if things don't go well the odd time, there can be some disturbance to calm water. On their sleep-over this past week-end we were reading about Stillwater, a panda bear, who tells stories about keeping one's emotions stilled when things don't go right. In the stories, ill fortune be-falls a farmer. His horse runs away, his neighbors commiserates with him on his bad luck.  Seemingly, undisturbed he replies, "Maybe." Next day the horse comes back with two other horses. Then his son breaks his leg. Again the neighbors commiserate, the farmer responds, "Maybe". The army comes by but the son cannot go to war.

Thinking this might be an opportunity to make a point, I ask my Grands, "Do you want to be as powerful as Wonder Woman and Superman? "Eyes are focused, ears perked, dial is set to receive. I whisper, "It's magic. The secret power-word is choice, we can always make a choice how we act. The farmer chose not to make a big fuss or have a "melt down" which might have made things worse. I'll bet he asked himself, 'Does upsetting myself make me feel happy, does it give me more muscles?'" Experienced heads nod and giggle as they know the answers.

Then my grandson looks at me with his head tilted. I wonder if he catches the meaning of my meager attempt to explain how to get power or better still how not to lose it. He tells me, "You know when I came into your room my eyes hurt (he was just waking up) but I crawled up on the bed and listened to the story without making a fuss." I had noticed. Maybe like the farmer, he is telling me, as do his sparkling, brown eyes that he had made a still-water choice that worked for him.

Choices are like clay. Mine mold me. I notice my good choices make hard decisions easier, give me more spiritual muscle which helps detachment from negative situations. Also, scientists are discovering that every time we have a thought or emotion we make a chemical* leaving one feeling better or worse, stronger or weaker. Being experienced, I also find reacting and stirring up stormy emotions do not lead me to happiness or to being any kind of Wonder Woman.

I have another little friend who is full of such wonder -- a four year old, who possesses an extra chromosome (Down Syndrome). Feeling invincible, he is going out on Halloween dressed as his super hero -- The Extra Chromosome Man -- with his chromosomes pinned to his chest like medals. He feels he can fly over roof tops and save us all. And maybe he can. After all, are there not, indeed, "whole worlds of strength and new ways to look at things" in our power of choice?

* Joe Despenza, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Does prayer work? A quantum look...

I have prayed without eyes about difficult situations for years, never knowing if change happened and if it did, was it a fluke, mere coincidence or the prayer? This video below allows a view of how powerful our thoughts, emotions and prayers are.

As well, Dr. Masaru Emoto, who is mentioned in the video below, is an internationally renowned researcher and has gained worldwide acclaim by showing how water is deeply affected by our feelings. In fact, through taking pictures he shows how human emotions like anger, fear, happiness and love change the molecular structure not only of water but also changes us.

Below is a link giving a visual of prayer, thought and emotion at work.

Post Script: For some reason I have been waiting to post the above video for a year. (Maybe because I would wish it a little shorter.) Yet, today I heard the news of Dr. Emoto's passing accompanied by the short video (below) of the power we each have.

*Dr. Emoto's Water Crystal Scene from What the BLEEP Do We Know
photo source: