I’d like to propose a question for this week, and that is : How am I doing what I’m doing? In other words, what is my inner attitude while I am performing an action?
For example, is my nose to the grindstone, am I acting in a hurried manner or preoccupied with something else? Am I pressuring myself to do something or to accomplish something, subtly criticizing myself or someone else, or am I nervously or worriedly doing something? How about am I happily or gratefully doing something, am I doing it in a relaxed way?
I caught myself sitting to meditate this morning with an inner attitude that was tight, like a duty, “I need to do this.” When I realized it (mostly by becoming aware of my body and thought patterns) I decided to “relax” and “open” instead. I’d rather be in the space of I want to meditate vs I have to.
I was sitting outside in the morning and it was beautiful. I had only noticed that peripherally so far because my mind was preoccupied. So I took a couple breaths and repeated “relax” and “open” a few times. My body softened and so did my mind. My thoughts slowed down. I relaxed into the beauty of the morning, and my gratefulness to be alive and well. I listened to the birds singing, looked at the vibrant colors, inhaled the fresh smells.
By focusing on what I was taking in with my senses, my body and attitude shifted. My awareness began to expand gradually and naturally into a meditative head space. I felt more present within and I sensed the subtle presence of my teachers and guides in the spaciousness of the moment. I asked myself, “what would my problems feel like if I were on the moon right now?” The answer was “very different.”
Have a great day and week enjoying the fullness and build-up to solstice on Saturday.
Today I’m preparing for the international facial workshop I’m giving (May 28, 11 am- 1pm, free) and I’m contemplating about Original Face, a concept in Daoism and Buddhism which points to knowing ourselves as the cosmic qi and essence that is present in us before we are born. Returning to our original face is another way of pointing us towards realizing who we really are at heart. Here is a quote from Lillian Bridges, who is a Chinese face reading expert.
“According to Deng Ming-Dao in his book Everyday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony, the very ancient pictogram (Chinese character) for Dao shows a character on the left that means run and another that shows a leg or them movement of running below. The character on the right is a face with hair on top. This face is the Original Face and when you know it, it allows you to follow your life’s purpose, which I can the “Golden Path.” In other words, when you know who you are and who you came in as, you can find the virtuous action “Te” (like in Tao Te Ching) that allows you to complete your destiny (“Ming) and become your best future or golden self. This is classic Taoist Alchemy.”
So I sat in meditation today and asked myself and the universe, “what is my Original Face?” I repeated it several times, quieted my mind and made it my intention to know more about my inner essentialness. Gradually my mind went back to childhood memories and my face and expressiveness as a child. I had memories of growing up in an Italian-American family. My grandparents were immigrants. Travelers from a different culture. I remembered an insight that I had in the past that my purpose was to share information across cultures. One example is how in the US, I share information from my deep study of yoga philosophy, Chinese medicine, and Daoism.
This current facial workshop with my co-presenter from Italy and participants from the US and Italy is another attempt to share cross cultural information and connect people from different parts of the world. No doubt that is why I am enjoying the process so much.
So, I invite you to contemplate the same question and see what happens. I sent this letter to the women in my Monday Night Women’s Qigong Group, because our theme is women and manifestation which connects with internal earth element energy. Centering and aligning yourself to discover your clear intention and manifesting that in the outside world is part of leading from a deeper center within.
I look forward to hearing your insights in the comments section. Let’s share our wisdom
With warm qi,
PS: if you want to participate in the Love Your Face workshop, or the Monday Night Women’s Qigong group (open to new members in June) let me know in the comment section below.
I didn’t know what to expect when I walked into the hospital
room. On the door was a sign that said please talk to the nurse before
entering. She has been living with ovarian cancer for more than a year, keeping
it under control with chemotherapy. She has a lot to live for because she has
two young daughters. Recently the cancer got much worse and damaged her
intestines. The holes in the intestine were patched in surgery and tubes are
helping them drain. I heard that she was on hospice and they thought she would
pass last week, but she rallied.
I went to the nurse’s station and said that I would like to
visit. The nurse was very cheerful and asked how I knew her. Then she knocked on
the door and opened it to tell her I was there. I was greeted by a big smile
and a bright face. “Thank you for coming.” Inside were three other young women
friends who were smiling and upbeat. Not the situation I had feared before
I sat beside her bed and she filled me in about recent events. “I’m on hospice now,” she said, “but I’m hoping to get off. I had to come in for the surgery and to get the pain under control. They told me I only had 72 hours, but here I am! There is some skepticism that the holes in my intestine will heal on their own.” Then she motioned me to get a little closer and said, “But I’m keeping my focus. I believe my body can heal.” She said it as if it were a secret that not everyone would agree with.
She has always had a strong inner light and determination to
heal, and here it was still beaming. Her body looked very thin and she wore a
bandana around her forehead. Above that there was very little hair. But her
eyes were bright. and she was very much alive. “You have always been a strong
woman,” I said. “Your inner light is shining brightly.”
I asked her if there was a plan now. She said, “They think I don’t need full hospital care, but the tubes make it a little tricky. The girls are going back to school tomorrow. When I thought I only had a few days to live I wanted them by me.”
When I stood to leave, I told her that I was going to send her light every day to support her own. As I walked out of the room and down the hall, I felt inspired to see her optimism in such dire circumstances. I felt the strength of her inner spirit and her will to live. I want to support that. We are alive until we are not. We can help hold the candle for each other.
If you are reading this today, I hope you will take a moment
and see her, and all the people in the hospital, bathed in the healing light of
I’m taking off in an airplane gazing out the window as we climb, bank, turn. The miracle of human flight. I remember the young man who sat beside me once and said those words. The mountain ranges, lakes, clouds and incredibly beautiful blue that radiates upwards through the scattered clouds. The feeling of love seems to radiate from it. Mists on the lake, clear crisp mountain peaks in the sunlight. I am witnessing this beauty.
Gazing at the blue planet I know I belong. It is here that my existence is centered in this moment in time. Thoughts pass through like clouds. Joy bubbles up from within. The view from above gives perspective. I’m thankful for this moment of awake attention as awareness opens. Its so different from being focused on what I’m reading or writing when the plane becomes a bus. This is a special moment of unity consciousness. I’ll store it in my heart.
Patterns are funny things. They are familiar, and yet they keep us seeing things from the same perspective. Like in the morning, I enjoy going out to my back yard to smell the morning air and do some movement and meditation that helps me feel grateful and alive. But I most often go out the door that leads from my kitchen where there is a covered deck space and some chairs. So, when I’m there I see the yard and surrounding area from that perspective. I like that because it helps me sink into the familiar inner space that helps me feel at home in myself and in my surroundings.
However, this morning I decided to go out the door in my bedroom which also opens to a covered deck, but I rarely spend time there. It’s like its in my yard and I’m familiar with it but I’m not present there, and I don’t really “see” from that place. So, I swept the deck and put a couple chairs and my mini trampoline there. I bounced a while, did some qigong and then sat on a chair to do some meditation.
I was pleasantly amazed to “see” from that place. The groupings of ferns and plants that I always observe on my left are now directly in front of me. They are wet and green because it’s a cozy, rainy fall morning. The rain surrounds me and patters on the roof. Its soaking the entire yard and everything looks more vibrant. My inner eye opens, and I sense the harmony of it all. The way that the heavens nourish the earth, and their energies merge. This new (to me) little microcosm has its own qualities and distinct beauty, and bringing my presence there offers the possibility of co-creating some new experiences. This writing is one of those.
I have a good friend who has a beautiful garden with several different places to sit in it just so she has this same kind of experience. This morning I’m happy to share in that, and I invite you to do the same. Magic is right there to see when you look with fresh eyes.
The Fire Dragon form is one of those “shamanic” yogas that can help us become aware of and express our fire qi. With the movements and visualization in this form we gather light around us from the external world and shine it internally to body, mind and spirit. Through our symbolic dance and gestures, we embody our inner fire qi to express in all three realms.
In the demo video In the first round we are activating and clearing our physical body through tapping. In the second round we are clearing and brightening our bioenergy (qi) field with a brushing movement, and in the third we are activating the light of our consciousness and spirit presence with a smooth and flowing movement.
Below I say more about fire qi and how you can use it to transform your relationships:
The high point of the sun at solstice and the beginning of summer in the solar calendar happen in June. The fire element is in the spotlight and with it the Heart meridian. The “heart of the matter” for fire and Heart is shining the light of awareness and love in the world especially through our relationships. Break through experiences can happen in relationships this month with a little attention, effort and communication.
I can attest to this personally. During my weekend visit with my family in California I noticed my desire to spend more time with them on a regular basis. To be more a part of their lives. Our visits here are often short because of the busyness of our lives. My husband noted that it seemed like I was anxious. I shined the light of awareness inward and asked myself what part of me was in pain about this. The answer came as we were all practicing yoga led by my daughter-in-law. I mention this because the focused body movement was a real part of helping the unconscious memories and emotion come forward. The roots of my present experience began many years ago in the complex web of events that occurred after my divorce from their father.
Discovering the roots of events and traumas that reverberate in our behaviors in present time is a powerful transformational tool when you couple it with awareness and self-love. I was able to communicate this with my family and together we came up with a plan that fits our lives now. Most importantly, they felt loved and our time together was greatly enhanced.
Practice Fire Dragon with the intention of enhancing your relationships and see what happens!
For the last two nights the moon has been very full, and the sky has been very cloudy. I woke at 3:30 am and couldn’t get back to sleep. I stayed in bed for a while trying to settle my mind and snooze again, but no luck. Thoughts about work and life kept swirling around. Sound familiar?
I saw light shining in the window and remembered about the moon. So, I got out of bed and went to the living room windows looking to see if I could find it. At first there was too much cloud cover to see the moon itself, so I settled myself on the couch waiting and enjoying the change of venue. Soon my patience was rewarded and there she was peeking out as the clouds began to part. At first a feeling of awe struck me as I saw the full moon in all her glory. The clouds thinned leaving a translucent layer that slowly spread and gathered, weaving patterns with the bright moon and the dark sky that looked like they should be captured on an artist’s canvas. I felt like the stunning display was just for me and that the moon had come in response to my heart’s desire. Continue reading “Can’t Sleep? Try Moon Gazing”
For an extrovert, and someone who grew up around a lot of family members, being alone can be confused with being lonely. When the house is quiet, and the weather is cloudy it’s a paradise when you want to be alone, and an empty room when you feel lonely. All kinds of thoughts can intrude into an empty room. Like thoughts about those who are missing, or restless wanderings about what tasks are incomplete or what activities, like cooking or TV, can fill in the void. The judging mind likes to add to the party with comparisons about what kind of life would be better, or how to be a better person by doing this or that. It taunts about how the grass is greener on the other side, and longs to be with others to distract from feeling lonely.
Maybe today all of that is just a cover for grief. Grief about the loss of someone dear. Grief about the passing of an era and the passing of a life. I don’t like to admit that I am worried about the future, about my health, and about getting older. Someday I will have to say goodbye too. I’ll have to leave everyone I know and begin something new.
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.
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. Continue reading “From One Heart to Another”