Quiet and Receptive in November

Several questions come to mind as I attempt to embody the inner environment suggested by hexagram 2, The Receptive, which is the symbol for the energy of November.  The six broken, or yin lines mean that this is the quietest time of the year and a time to be receptive to inner guidance, like the moon is receptive to the light of the sun. Hexagram 2, K’un, characterizes the virtues of the Earth, which is mother to all of us without discrimination or need for acknowledgement.

This is a month to let go of self interest, to listen more than talk, to be receptive and supportive, and to look for inner truth vs respond habitually from our conditioned minds or hidden agendas.

Hua-Ching Ni’s interpretation of hexagram 2* says the search itself for what’s true for us in any situation expands our minds and connects us to the very heart, integrity and foundation of life itself.  “People never realize that their true significance and worth reside in the very being of their individual lives.” It is our beliefs, vanity, expectations and inner conditioning that separate us from each other.

He goes on to say that in the beginning of the search for truth people often get lost because they do not know exactly what truth is. But that clarity gradually develops with experience.

The questions that come in my inner search today are:

  • Am I aligned with finding what’s true and expressing it in the situation I face or do I have an inner agenda?
  • How do I discover what my agenda may be? (i.e. desires, striving, expectations)
  • Does this inner agenda(s) come from internalized pressures or learned behavior, i.e. financial survival, cultural conditioning, family stories and peer pressure that keep it/them in place?
  • Is this habitual inner story blocking me from seeing the bigger picture in this situation?
  • If I soften or let go of this agenda can I perceive inner guidance and organize myself to follow it?
  • Is there anything that keeps me from moving forward with what feels right in the moment?
  • Is there a person or practice that can support me to be more receptive in my current situation?

In keeping with the month, I leave you with these questions in the spirit of connection, and with the hope that they inspire your own insights. You can send your insights and comments to me at kquale@moonandlotus.com.

*I Ching, The Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth; Hua-Ching Ni, pg 224-5.

From One Heart to Another

Our Heart Protector meridian energy encompasses our capacity to be open, vulnerable and intimate with another human being, and to our own feelings, passions and inner spirit. It is also our ability to set a boundary in relationship and protect ourselves from hurt. We need both authentic openness as well as self-protection to have a heart protector gate that swings open and closes easily and appropriately.

In relationship to this, I was pleased to hear an interview on NPR’s show All things Considered, with Joel and Benji Madden, twins who started the band Good Charlotte.  https://www.npr.org/search?query=good%20charlott&page=1

This interview is a great example of opening to inner passions and spirit, as well as other Heart Protector qualities like loyalty, talking about authentic feelings, and reaching out in the spirit of compassion and warmth. Joel and Benji are talking about the music on their new album called Generation RX which came out of their desire to write music that is authentic and vulnerable and speaks to the pain they see manifesting in friends and young people in our culture. Their observations and advice extend to all of us because young people grow into young and older adults.

These young men were heartbroken by the death of their friend who overdosed on drugs and started looking at young people and asking why we self-medicate and distract ourselves with things like social media and prescription drugs, to look in the other directions rather than inward to what they are going through. “Young people are suffering inside and not addressing it.” In their music they talk about childhood trauma, depression, anxiety, bipolar and borderline personalities. “Things young people hide from each other everyday and are hard to talk about.”  The interviewer said that some of their music sounds like a love letter you can write to yourself.

Joel and Benji had a tough road in childhood and one suffered from alcohol addiction. They feel they came through it because they had each other by “luck and the grace of God.” At age 16 they pledged to stay together no matter what. They shook hands and never looked back. “It’s really hard to do this life, to be a human being, alone.” This need and ability to connect with important others in a way that connects us to our authentic self is in keeping with the spirit of the Heart Protector (aka Pericardium) meridian energy.

They hope their music will mentor young people who don’t have someone close. They feel it’s worth it “If only one kid puts on his headphones, listens to the music and feels, I’m going to be somebody. We are all human and need to have compassion for each other.”

 

 

 

 

Vulnerability with Safety

In October, temperatures get cooler and leaves fall from the trees. Nature is shedding her lush summer display and is looking more vulnerable on the outside. Vital essence is moving internally now and will store in roots through winter, so the display can sprout externally again in the spring.

October is also the month of the Heart Protector meridian, also called the Pericardium. Key words for the Pericardium are vulnerability with safety, intimacy, authenticity, and staying in contact with our inner light and passion. We use our heart protector energy to show our naked vulnerability with our intimate other and turn on the hormones that give us the feeling of being in love. Like the trees, we must shed some layers to open in this way.

Opening to our heartfelt realities is a special space and deserves protection. Just like the weather outside, the heart protector wants to be a little cool on the outside yet warm and passionate on the inside. This coolness on the outside is accomplished with health boundaries and discernment. We want the heart protector to say no to people or energies that take us away from what feels right for our inner brightness, well-being and peace of mind. That is often hard to do given the cultural influences and peer pressure we experience every day.

We also want the discernment of the heart protector to say no to internal voices that cause hurt and shut us off from our feelings or paralyze us from expressing our authentic inner passion. An example is a harsh inner critic that can be cynical and self-deprecating. Like a faithful guard dog, the animal associated with the Pericardium meridian, we can be on alert for external and internal intruders that can harm our heart space.

We’ve all had experiences where our intimate feelings are met with what feels like misunderstanding, severe judgment and even violence. We may have felt betrayed or forced by circumstances to share our intimate space inappropriately. These experiences are traumatizing and cool our passions. We can close the door to relationship with others and even cut ourselves off from knowing our feelings, needs and passions.

In the symbolism of the heart protector there are many references to betrayal, which shock the heart and injure us deeply. This is when we can start to develop behaviors that we express externally to others or internally to ourselves like physical or emotional defensiveness, resistance, anger, irritability, jealousy, impatience and even depression, anxiety, mania and schizophrenia. These compensating responses to emotional trauma are helpful for a while, but eventually limit our journey towards our authentic self and real intimate relationships with others. They damage the strength of our ego and the true discernment of what is positive or negative for us.

Sometimes out of inner anxieties and feelings of inadequacy or need, we switch the balance of the heart protector and become hot on the outside and cool on the inside. Sex without real intimacy and addiction to substances or food are examples. We may knowingly or unconsciously violate the intimate space of others with words and actions, or betray trust and integrity in our intimate relationship.

Shadow and light, like night and day, exist within the wholeness of life. By looking internally and shining the light on both the shadow and light side of our personality we can begin the inner process of change. Healing needs to come through relationship with someone who can help us sort through our experience and inspire us to feel our wholeness. This may be a counselor, mentor, spiritual guide, family member or dear friend. It can also come through inspiring books and music. Look for my next post which talks about a music group that is reaching out to inspire young people in our culture.

 

Fear and Bowing

Today fall is in the crisp morning air. The temperature was a cool 51 degrees. It’s a reminder that the seasons are always changing and its time to start loosening any attachment to summer. We can say that in summer Mother Nature’s ego is in full beauty. Now the fruit trees and garden vines are bowing towards the earth with their mature bounty. We must pick the fruits, eat them and store them to preserve their nutritional value. Preserving and storing essence is a theme for this time of year.  Just as winter follows fall, if we don’t preserve the foods they will go back into the ground, decay, germinate and reemerge in the spring. Its all part of the process. Continue reading “Fear and Bowing”

Feel With Your Soul

They call Rome the eternal city and I can see why. Life is flourishing here and has been for centuries.  Streets are filled with cars, buses, taxis and mopeds. Skillful taxi drivers maneuver in and out of tight spaces like water flowing around rocks. Crowds of people are out at night walking through the streets, enjoying the evening, the sites, the wine bars and restaurants. Street artists and musicians entertain eyes and ears in the open piazzas. Groups of people gather at key public places with flags and signs listening to impassioned speakers trying to persuade them about politics. It’s colorful, noisy and chaotic to the everyday eye, but when I check inside myself I feel joyful and alive. There is a smile on my lips. I’m happy to be here although the noise on the street woke me.  It’s 4am and this flow of creativity started coming through, begging me to get up and write it down to share with you. Continue reading “Feel With Your Soul”

Live in a Connected Universe

Grace: an elegance, body movements that are flowing and flexible, a shower of blessing, a giving of blessing, appearing radiant. Longevity: living a long life, perseverance, in touch with the infinite. In my mind, grace and longevity are concepts that belong together. It seems to me that the more I know about grace, the happier and more flowing my life will be no matter how many physical years it lasts. Grace and the infinite are connected. Continue reading “Live in a Connected Universe”