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country mouse & the big city

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while i am not typically drawn to large cities, i can barely make it through a day without reading or hearing something about new york city—enough to be interested in checking out its paths, people and on-goings at least one great time during this life. these past couple of days have gifted this time.

not being a fan of crowds, my first impression, as the openness of the highway gave way to the nighttime hustle and bustle of times square, was of feeling stifled and disconnected. i could no longer see the sky. i could no longer see the ground. there were only people and pavement and buildings and cars and lights and noise. …and it must have been trash day—at least i hoped that it was, because the streets were lined with piles upon piles of plastic bags. the following day, however, the same streets were lined with the same amount of bags and somewhere in between seeing how much waste the more congested areas of our country can produce in one day and retaining a trust that each of us is continuing to make big ways-of-living changes, a couple of tears traveled down my cheeks.

any interest in the lights and the buildings, the noise and the hurried, forward rhythm and pace has quickly shifted to an interest in the people around me—an interest that is often present.

i have watched lovers parting ways, bikers weaving through traffic, a woman, cozy in her sidewalk home space, painting her fingernails purple with a huge smile on her face—a sincere smile which she freely offers each time that we cross paths, groups of people deep-steeped in their normal, everyday routine and groups of people very far away from theirs. everywhere i look, i am reminded that, regardless of where we are, who we are with and how our lives are momentarily rolling out, we are all human, with human hopes and joys, human pains and problems.

i really like the subway. in its own unique way, the crowded, hot, under-city stretches of people waiting for a ride feels like a different brand of ‘real.’ doors sliding, time overlapping, people meeting and maybe meetings missed…by only seconds.

ellis island is especially interesting to me, as well. even while surrounded by the intense on-goings of the city, my mind often drifts to thoughts about the many groups of people who ventured to this ‘new world’ with little aside from a few belongings and dreams of a different life.

would i want to live here? nah, but i’m not ready to leave this morning and i have a feeling that ‘one great time’ will be an idea that i once had before deciding that ‘many great times’ is a better fit for this place.
***
as we were driving away, i turned around—as if a few more seconds, through my eyes, would more permanently etch the skyline somewhere in my mind. i thought about one of my favorite childhood books, “country mouse, city mouse” and how abner’s own snug bed in his own little house had never felt so good.

side note: i love that i was able to write most of this while sitting in central park. …maybe i’ll keep the ipad.;)

whole.

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clinical environments are impressively distressing to me. although i occasionally find myself immersed in them to be with and support someone else, i am otherwise skilled at avoiding them. this morning, i had one unruly (yet really lovely:)) wisdom tooth removed. though i realize that this a common procedure that may seem like a small matter to many or most people, i felt terrified—and have spent the past two weeks barely able to think about much else. very early this morning, awake and unable to sleep, i scribbled out the following:

‘i trust.
i am grounded in confidence.
i trust myself to create the best version of my life.
i trust the man who will be working with me this morning—in his confidence and his experience and his skill.
i trust myself, in every situation, to be a giver and receiver of light and love and good.
i will soften my shaking, deepen my breathing…
…and trust.’

i can recall few other times during which i have felt so challenged to surrender any unsupportive mind chatter and/or fears—and to more fully trust that all is as it should be.

at one point, this morning, the surgeon, obviously aware of my tension, simply said, ‘trust me. i know what i’m doing. just trust me.’
yes, sir. yes, please.

everything went so well—so exceptionally better than i’ve envisioned it going, during moments of focused intention.

i am grateful to have the experience behind me.
i am grateful for good people who, when needed, do good work.
i am grateful for reminders that, while they are essential for this physical experience, we are not our physical bodies.

we are expansive and connected and creative and powerful…
we are, at all times, whole.

holding on while letting go

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i am finding time, each night, to sift through a few things that my parents have saved throughout the years and recently sent home with me. my mom is a card giver and a card keeper. i have never been much of either, yet i’m taking the time to read through each sweet card that she saved before placing them in one of two piles; one on its way to the recycling bin and the other to my closet where i have somehow condensed decades of living into two small suitcases. within them, i stash away the few things that i imagine my children might enjoy seeing some day.

i love the little things that i am noticing as i read through these cards—like the shift from my parents signing ‘mommy and daddy’ to ‘mom and dad’ around 1989, how my grandma’s unique character spiritedly splashes out onto the thick paper and becomes conveyed through her eccentric handwriting…and the way that my grandpa ciula habitually wrote ‘love ya’ so that the end of the ‘l’ swept across the entire page.

i smile.

these experiences and people are forever etched in my mind without palpable reminders. still, it is fun to reminisce through the occasional unfolding of these safeguarded keepsakes. while i enjoy looking through these things, i also enjoy an uncluttered and simple living space. at some point, taking a photo of and writing about the sentimental items that i don’t necessarily want to keep, yet appreciate, became my way of simultaneously holding on while letting go.

for now, it is a compromise that works.

“the art is not one of forgetting but letting go. and when everything else is gone, you can be rich in loss.” —rebecca solnit, from a field guide to getting lost

allowing the ‘more’

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for years, when i feel really aligned with something—whether it is a vision, an idea, a person, a sight or a situation—i have, without much thought, breathed out and offered up the simple mantra; yes, please, more, please and thank you. it can certainly be true that ‘less is more’, yet sometimes more is more! —more love, more healing medicine, more unguarded life stories, more excitement, more passion, more aliveness, more given, more received.

there are moments when i feel myself pulling back from the ‘more’ in life. fear and/or doubt can be so skilled at penetrating our bold, warrior spirits. included in my daily meditation and intention, as of late, is a focus on continuing to stretch the boundaries of ‘yes’ and ‘more’ in my life—and to move assuredly forward with any changes, coordination and responsibilities that these ‘yeses’ and ‘mores’ might require.

continually, i surrender to the power and majesty of this present, perfect moment—while also further opening up to the wildness and goodness of this life.

new year blessings to and for all.

yes, please.
more, please.
and thank you.

 

(photo credit; jon ciula)

stillness; a powerful act of self-care

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i don’t often think about the words ‘extrovert’ or ‘introvert’ (most of us are probably a blend of both). these words, however, have been surfacing enough during recent conversations to invite more thought about them. a few times, while talking about this subject, others have expressed feeling as though the time they choose to spend alone is somehow frowned upon—as though others question their innate need to step away from a crowd.

there are probably many unique reasons why each soul is drawn to certain ways of living and being—and there are benefits that we receive through both connection with others and spending time alone, in more quiet, still and solitary ways. while it doesn’t always, often time spent alone translates into a meditative stillness. the stillness in our surroundings supports different thought patterns and energy movement.

i truly enjoy listening to and interacting with the people i cross paths with, yet one of the reasons i find myself feeling more quiet, at times, is that i easily pick up on the thoughts and feelings of others. being in a crowd is like walking into an electronics store and having every piece of equipment on around me. it’s overwhelming—and, again, while i sincerely enjoy time with others, i need some time, spent in quiet calm and silence, after a crowded event to regain balance.

i can process through life events, with others, warmly and effectively—yet it’s often in the less frenetic, solitary moments when i feel the most growth taking place and when i may even feel the most connected. i imagine that there are many others who feel and process things in these same or similar ways.

we each receive our own unique list of experiences, during life, that invite us to discover and see things from new angles. we each meet with trials that may elicit potential within our beings that we were previously unaware of.  when we practice stillness, through peaceful moments alone, and allow ourselves to experience the world around us without distracted senses, we—regardless of how off track we may feel, at times—retain an alignment with what is good and right for our course.

in these reserved spaces, free of culturally or personally imposed ideas about what is best and what outcomes should present themselves, we deeply connect with ourselves and we connect with a power within us that presents greater and stronger possibilities than what we might perceive through our logical minds, alone. out beyond the visions, the hopes and the dreams that interweave the plans or intentions of others, we find clarity for our own story.

stillness allows us to hear what might not be effectively coming through amidst the noise of our routine life and living. even during our most alone-feeling moments, it can infuse us with a sense of hope and trust in the perfection of our life path. it brings an awareness to the connection and interplay between our mind, our emotions, our breath and our body. it supports tapping in, bringing up, working through and letting go.

we thrive in community, in feeling connected, in embracing all with a spirit of divine  love. we also thrive in allowing the time and space—as much as we need—for quiet, soft moments to work their magic unveiling and integrating us into the sacred network of universal intelligence.

yes, connection is essential to our well-being. stillness, too, as a simple act of self-care, is powerful.

 

(elephant journal, november 2014)