All About Process
The past few months I’ve been aware of the process of life … the process in every detail of life as well as the over arching process of life as a whole. I will admit to not being a huge fan of process :-). I tend to see where I am and where I intend to go, and do not necessarily understand the need for all those steps in-between. So it’s been an interesting active practice for me these past few months to recognize this tendency in myself and allow myself to sink more richly into the joy of process. After all, I know quite clearly there is no beginning and no ending, so we certainly will be most content if we are enjoying the process! But it is one thing to know something intellectually, and quite another to viscerally live it with every fiber of our physical being, emotional investment and mental clarity, no?
Another word that continually arises for me recently is flow. One might immediately see the obvious connection between process and flow. For me flow is about the willingness to let go of everything I think I know or understand about any given situation and just let the whole process unfold in it’s own time; without the need to insert my personal wants, desires or judgements to create a particular outcome. On one had, this is incredibly freeing! On the other, it does stir up the needs for control that lie deep within. I find the best way to address that is to insert a pause … to not take action when it feels like I’m “set on it”. When a situation arises and I immediately sense that “I know” what’s going one, and what needs to be done, I’m learning to stop myself and let it rest. Before speaking or taking action, I allow myself the time to investigate that sense of “I know’ to double check who is the “I” who thinks they know something. Often times I discover it’s coming from the personal “I” which is typically the one with the need for control. When I’m able to acknowledge this, and acknowledge the needs of that part of me (those needs are totally valid!), I’m able to look more deeply at what that underlying need is and address that (realizing it typically has little to do with the situation that originally arose!). Then I can return my attention to the situation at hand, and respond from the universal “I” … the one that has the best interest at heart for everyone involved. Ha! It’s a process :-).
Thanks for reading and indulging this writing process! Always love to hear from you about what’s happening in your neck of the woods and how life is unfolding for you. You are always in my prayers and blessings, and my wish for you is that life treats you kindly and gently, while bringing you abundant insights, prosperity and endless moments of peace.
Let Light Stream Forth
In my opinion, the single most important responsibility of being a human is to bring
love itself to life. As humans, we have the unique ability and opportunity to be living, breathing expressions of the fundamental essence of all life because we are capable of being aware of our essence; essence which creates all life.
In order to bring love to life, we must first intimately, and with awareness, know our essence; we must know who we are. The most effective way to reveal this is through stillness. It is in silence that the attachments to the external distractions can fall away long enough for inner awareness to be revealed. This is why the great spiritual traditions recommend a practice of meditation. Making the choice to sit still, even for just a few minutes a day, brings the entire energetic system into a quietness that is difficult to attain when we are engaged in daily activities. The more often this is done, the easier it becomes to touch into that stillness which is always present, no matter what we are actively engaged in. It is within this stillness that we can sense essence ... true source ... that open, empty, transparent, luminous and boundless nature of being. That which is light itself.
The more we allow the external distractions to fall away, the stronger this light will emanate through us. Remember you are light. You are not only a "being of the light" ... you are light itself. You are both. Both, but not two different things.
Shine forth and bless all beings around you!
Contemplate Now: Observe the Observer:
Loving Kindness / Pride
If you have to choose between being right and being kind, be kind.
And you'll be right every time.
I don't recall where I first read this, but it has stuck with me because the simplicity and beauty of it is elegant. Don't you think that as a guiding principle, it's so easy to use this to check in on ourselves in any situation where we find ourselves digging in our heels to prove a point? Or when we are on the verge of taking action that we know would hurt someone, whether that hurt would be mental, emotional or physical. How easy to stop ourselves ... and check in. "Am I just trying to be 'right'?"
Recently in my Arhatic Yoga group we had a short discussion about pride. Our teacher, Master Choa Kok Sui, teaches that pride is the greatest obstacle on the spiritual path. I see the spiritual path as equivalent to living as a good human, and can see how pride is a great obstacle to being a good human. While there is positive, healthy, self-esteem aspect of pride, the negative side of pride is what this is about. The negative aspects of pride are rooted in "me;" about asserting "self-importance." Think about it for a moment: recall the last time you were engaged in a conversation (or argument) with a friend or loved one, and you were adamant that you were "right" or that they ought to see it your way. If you look deeply at yourself in that moment, why did you need so much to feel right? What type of acknowledgement were you seeking that you weren't receiving? And who was the one needing that acknowledgement ... your true essence/pure self or your personality/ego self?
It's not to say that triggering won't happen; of course it will. We ALL have pride, and needs for self-acknowledgement. What's important is to be able to recognize when this is arising, and be willing to take one step back from that personality-self, to get a clearer view on what is the most loving and kind response for everyone involved (including ourself!). Sometimes the best response is no response; or a response that says "let's come back to this in a little bit."
Keep in mind, too, that acts of kindness release the hormone oxytocin in your system. Oxytocin is one of the bodies four feel-good hormones. Doing kind things makes you happy! And the happier you are, the happier people around you are too. You know how contagious a smile is? Kindness is the same.
"Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.
Be the living expression of God's kindness:
kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile."
~ Mother Teresa
On To What's Next
I'm honored that my work was exhibited, and well received by many, at Morse Coffee Company in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Here's a taste of below; but if you missed it in-person, see all of it in the new online Gallery!
When I stopped in to take down the show, the wish arose for me to do another presentation in the future. As I contemplated what would be next, an inspiration came to me. I can't share more just yet as it's a seed-idea that is in the incubation stage. I will reveal what I can about it in the months ahead. For now, thank you again to Sam and Sarah for their encouragement, support, environment and awesome coffee!
Almost Show Time
Putting the final touches on the February show. Here's a sneak peak of how some of the pieces will be displayed at the cafe.
Treat others as you want to be treated.
Keep it simple. There’s nothing complicated in the golden rule: "Do unto others as you would have done unto you." Why not make this an active practice and consider it as you move through your day?
Observe and be aware of your thoughts, words and actions. Stop, think, and consider how you would want to be treated in any given situation ... then choose your words and actions accordingly.
Thinking February (already!)
During February, I will be hanging out at Morse Coffee Company (417 1st St. Lake Oswego) every Tuesday from 10:30 - 12:30. Come have a cup of outstanding coffee (or tea), see the show, and share some contemplative, existential conversation with me about Awareness Manifesting!
Making rice paper scrolls by request is probably my most favorite art form. This one was a commission by one of my dear friends (and Patron :-). She wanted a background for her Buddha altar, and the request for imagery included a triangle, a sun, a moon, and the colors of blues and purples. The size is 14" x 10" ... needed to be small as she's living in a fifth-wheel on property while they build themselves a home. She sent this series of pictures to show me how it looks in the changing light throughout the day. That's one of the most magical things about these ... the way they shift and change depending on the light. When the scroll is complete, I invoke for it to be energized by my spiritual teacher with his blessings, especially for the person it was made for.
If you're interested in commissioning a scroll for yourself or loved one, contact me.
Visit my store to see other scrolls available for purchase.
A contemplative human; being in the world but not of it.