I realized I had better change course. Once conscious, it’s what we choose to do about our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that can forge a new direction–new possibilities. We always have choice; we are not our thoughts, we are the thinkers of them.
A funny thing happened yesterday. Funny interesting, and strange, that is. And, kind of awesome (an experience leading to awe).
After planning for months that several days at the end of the month would be dedicated to the specific and serious de-cluttering of my home space, and after very painful procrastination during designated well-planned days, I unexpectedly ran into a colleague who offered up an identical story, strangely.
While waiting in line for our lattes, he recounted his story of scheduled organizing in the final week of the month as well as a lack of giddy-up in the GO.
My antennae picked up the signal with maximum alarm.
Inside my head it sounded like this: Whaaaat?! Beeeep! Beeeep! Beeeep! What?!
I knew immediately that this encounter wasn’t just about the random coincidence of a mirrored situation from someone I rarely see and who never discloses information about his personal life. Nor was it about the unbelievable story of what was happening in the latte line.
It was much bigger, and I became consciously, thrillingly aware of it in its unfolding this time. Right there in that informal setting surrounded by average people and beverages, where I recognized the inter-relativity of everything, and, that I create my own reality whether I realize it or NOT.
I took an intensive class once called SynchroDestiny about the spontaneous fulfillment of desire and our built-in human capacity to harness the infinite power of coincidence. In other words, because consciousness co-creates reality, we help make things happen; we are the co-creators of our lives and of all the good (and not so good) things that take place therein.
Poetically, this captures it:
There is an endless net of threads throughout the universe.
The horizontal threads are in space.
The Vertical threads are in time.
At every crossing of the threads,
there is an individual.
And every individual is a crystal bead.
And every crystal bead reflects not only the light from every other crystal in the net,
but also every other reflection throughout the entire universe.
~The Rig Veda (translated by Frank Joseph)
If intense focus on my cluttered closets and accompanying lethargy beamed out signals to the universe powerful enough to attract others living the same pain, imagine what I (each of us) can do instead to attract situations, relationships, and dreams that are intentional.
It’s so easy to forget that we are so powerful, but it is the truth and it is an inherent quality of the human spirit. I was a walking, breathing example of a girl, who out of trauma and struggle dreamed a different life for herself, and made it happen.
Today I understand the grace and the quantum mechanics behind this, but living it came first—it always does.
Back in the latte line I saw that I had created this too. Luckily no harm this time from my unconscious week of self-inflicted wallowing, but I realized I had better change course. Once conscious, it’s what I choose to do about my thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that can forge a new direction–new possibilities. I always have a choice; I am not my thoughts, I'm the thinker of them.
So, I listened to my colleague with a light-bulb over my head and an expanded heart for the beauty of synchronicity. Back at home that afternoon, this awareness and some really good music stoked a fire under me and I made some good head-way with my task (a back-seat full of headway in the form of donations).
My closets and I are much happier now that I am out of my funk, and, I have a new play list ready for the storage space in the basement as I prepare to police the boxes and dark corners…
I hosted a women’s mini retreat at my house on Saturday and it was everything I’d hoped it would be with terrific women ranging in age from 34 to 61. Many of them were strangers to one another when they arrived, a couple having travelled 80 miles to be here, but in just 3 hours the group had become what many women’s groups become after any heartfelt period of shared time, a sisterhood.
Yes, whether its 30 minutes or 3 hours, when it comes to heart, women of diverse backgrounds inevitably relate to one other, empathize, laugh with, support, and encourage each other, because we share an emotional language of understanding what it means to be this gender.
Our stories and contexts of experience might be different, but what’s the same is perceiving life through female eyes and spirit, and extending forward from a long line of female ancestors.
And, women like and need time to gather for the purpose of healing. I remember the light-bulb moment of this realization 15 years ago when I read Anita Diamont’s historically accurate, Red Tent, in which the women of the village lived together according to the moon cycle, about 7 days of each month. I’m still moved by the image of women washing the feet of their “sisters” and massaging the abdominal pain away as they convalesce.
I’m going into my 9th year of coordinating and facilitating women’s gatherings, and what never fails to happen in the first hour, is a collective settling into togetherness. It’s very much like coming home, and if the facilitator’s agenda is to focus on emotional strength instead of failure, these homefolks become the functional, happy family we always wanted, at least for the duration of the gathering. Even if participants never see one another again, what was shared becomes a sacred
experience of connectedness that fostered self-reflection.
I find this incredibly interesting and though it’s not new (women’s circles go back 1000’s of years), it might be news to some
that we do share an unconscious understanding of our feminine-divine need to have sisters. On her way out the door
on Saturday, one participant commented, “I really needed to be with other women like this; I’ve been so tired of
being with people who complain, but I didn’t realize there was another option. “
After all the gatherings goings-on I’ve observed, what I continue to find special is articulated beautifully by another
participant who e-mailed me later saying, “We uplift each other simply by being there. Yet, as each person enters
the group with an honest intention of her own forward motion, the whole group moves forward.”
Sighhh. Our sisters are everywhere and in every context, and we often do support, care-for and empower one another, even strangers, without giving it much thought. This is just how we roll.
The next time you spot a woman with her dress tucked into her underwear and you stop her to gently whisper this truth, you are upholding the sacred oath of sisterhood. What can be different now is your conscious awareness that this is what you are doing. From here, you can seek all the perks of membership whenever, where ever, you want or need it.
See you there,
In 2005, after reading yet another inspiring book by Deepak Chopra, I gave myself a birthday present and attended my first Chopra Center weeklong class called, SynchroDestiny.
The title still excites me and I can tell you that it was fantastic. Dr. Deepak is a terrific presenter with a peaceful, engaging presence, and when he signed my book he was warm and present. At our farewell dinner we chatted about a mutual acquaintance and I felt, and do still, that he is swell guy and one of the most influential leaders of mind-body medicine in our modern world today.
It was at this Chopra Center class that I was introduced to meditation for the first time, and it was there that I thought
meditation was baloney the first time, the second time, the third, and twice a day for the entire week.
I really did want the promised health benefits of optimum blood pressure, deeper mental and emotional stability, and a
state of “restful awareness” that would ensure a stressless existence, but my struggle to sit still in silence seemed to indicate I was wasting my time. I could NOT calm my mind, I could not focus, I could not enjoy it and I certainly did not see a future in meditation for myself.
*As you gain experience with meditation, you’ll begin to feel the reappearance of youthful energy and vitality that is being released from the deeper level of the nervous system. This is a very profound change and the real fountain of youth.” Perfect Health: The Complete Mind Body Guide, Deepak Chopra, M. D.
But I persevered along with the other 50 or so attendees because it was part of the deal and because I had paid for the entire Chopra Center experience with my birthday savings. And because I was loving the rest of the SynchroDestiny intensive.
So I returned home and went about life as usual and felt pretty good. For me, there’s nothing like a vacation that includes learning, great food, AND massage. And because I hate to give up before the promised results, I continued to try to meditate daily despite feeling I was getting nowhere.
And then something happened two weeks later, the day my handyman Elvis, worked in my attic.
I looked up from my computer to see Elvis’s feet dangling through a hole in my second story hallway ceiling as huge pieces of paint and dry wall and ceiling continued to break off to expose his entire flailing lower body.
I should add here that because we have vaulted ceilings from the living-room up, the distance to the closest floor is
Yes, a man was falling and holding on for his life, in my home, no joke. And he was screaming, and kicking his legs around in panic, just the way it looks in movies. The fear was palpable.
But I felt completely and genuinely calm, "Hey Elvis, don’t worry, you’ll be ok—just hoist yourself back up slowly and come on downstairs—I’ll make you some tea.”
What? Who was this strangely calm and reassuring being that had taken over my senses, my spirit, my own vocal chords?
Ahem. Turns out there was a “restful awareness” me inside me the whole time, and with just a few weeks of meditation
practice (albeit sloppy and restless and checking my watch every 8 minutes) I had rewired my primal fight/flight response mechanism enough to circumvent it and thereby help prevent a disaster.
And so, my relationship with Deepak Chopra and his Center truly began (I have twoChopra Center Instructor Certifications to date), my relationship with Elvis remained intact (though my ceiling did not and frankly has never been quite the same—I can see the painted-over patching-job right now from my living room), but most importantly, I discovered how profound it is to explore and integrate the health of my mind and body for my daily life.
This calm-in-the-storm response is what grows in us when we become aware that “activity in your mind is communicated to
every cell in your body. If you can quiet your mind, you can send messages of peace and harmony to every cell in your body.” The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga, Deepak Chopra, M. D.
And at first, even a brand new meditation practice is enough to clear some of the cobwebs of turmoil to establish a calm
rather than automatic panic to unpredicted dangers. I’ve learned what every practicing meditator knows:
it’s not what happens in the 30 minutes of meditation that matters (phew), it’s that you tried, and it’s what happens in the other 23.5 hours of the day that matters. The sitting in silence and trying is the practice, and like practice, it takes
My health and well-being have improved by leaps and bounds over the years even as I age. I feel and look healthier at 45 than I did at 25, but what’s more, I’m much happier because when I become unbalanced it’s a mere slight adjustment back to center. Oh, and I now welcome my silent, meditative practice, it truly sets a peaceful tone for my day.
Yes, this is a great plug of a true-story to join me in Costa Rica in February for a Chopra Center intensive focused on
the brilliance of mind-body medicine. This is a Women’s Retreat that features yoga, meditation (of course!), Ayurveda, adventure, hammock-lounging, sisterhood, laughter, and deep healing.
I hope you’ll consider attending with me and my Chopra Center facilitating partner and friend Sherri, for what can be the best Christmas, Hannukah, Birthday, Thanksgiving , Just-Because, gift you or your family can ever give you.
Get in touch with questions, I’d be happy to talk or type with you: LisaMMM628@aol.com
If you are truly looking for transformation and more balance in your life, this Retreat is for you: click here for details.
I read a story this morning that was written in 2005, about a lost and traumatized
baby hippo in Kenya, who “adopted” a tortoise to be his mother. An elderly
male, the tortoise is said to be a century old.
“They sleep and eat together, and have become inseparable” says the director of the nature preserve.
As if that’s not moving enough, I am tearful after learning further that this baby had survived a tsunami-ravaged river that swept him into the Indian Ocean where tides eventually washed him ashore. Dehydrated but hanging on, rescuers found him on the beach (and brought him to the nature
For me, this story tugs at the strings.
And when I step back, I find it interesting that both tragedy and miracle are (now in my heart) here in this story—two seemingly opposing forces. And a third force, inspiration, is here as well.
So, is inspiration born of tragedy and miracle? Is inspiration the baby hippo of the married couple, Tragedy & Miracle Kenya?
If you are like me, your favorite stories are about true-life people overcoming adversity.
Why do those stories appeal? Because there’s something truly amazing and life affirming and heart-filling about knowing that others have faced what seemed like insurmountable obstacles, and not only survived but found deeper meaning in life.
It’s hardly ever easy to recognize the worth of something tragic while in the middle of it. No tsunami, loss, or pain feels like it’s going to lead to something positive.
It’s hardly evereasy to recognize the worth of something tragic while in the middle of it. No tsunami, loss, or pain feels like it’s going to lead to something positive.
But, for whatever it’s worth, I know that “worth” cannot be measured until later when the dust has settled, when we are no
longer in survival mode, and as we move forward with living.
There’s an old Jewish saying, “Gamzu l’tovah” which means, “This too is for the good.”It’s about leaving room in the
moment for faith, hope and God, and about acceptance that the grand-scheme-of-things picture is not completely ours to design. But that it is one that ultimately leads to meaning.
While baby hippos might not specifically rely on inspiration and faith while riding out storms, what does seem intrinsic to the nature of all living beings is to do one’s best to survive (when there is nothing one can do to change what is) by going with the flowing. Tsunamis are devastating, but they too pass.
Finally, isn’t it true that we’re hardly ever inspired by our own life stories? That’s because we’re always still living them.
But why not step back and realize how far we’ve come ourselves? Recognizing the journey and wisdom gained through our own storms is a powerful force that is not just miraculous in some cases, but also truly empowering where inspiration leaves off.
My heartfelt thanks in advance for sharing what inspires you. Tell a brief a story here in the comment box below.
"Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are like works of art"
"Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter"
"The best part about being my age is in knowing how my life worked out"
I’m particularly drawn to this last quote. It has me thinking about life as a story, experiences filling the pages of each chapter, and chapters are all made complete by both insignificant and significant details.
As I think about this, I see that we can’t possibly know the relevance of an experience until many experiences later when they’ve all been assembled and integrated into the story line.
But even having been the one to have lived my own experiences doesn’t automatically make me well versed in the symbolism and meaning therein.
Could I lead a high school or college English seminar on the symbolism of love, addiction, family, grief, bliss, and all the living
that has been the great work of my life so far? Hmmm.
Hell, yes. I force my teen daughters to take this class almost every day. (I’m sure they’d say “hell” was a good way to begin this paragraph.) But they are allowed to audit because I am a kind and righteous mother.
But perspective isn’t immediate—it tends to be quite a little journey down that road of whatever experience and accompanying emotional stuff it features—it has to be that way, the panoramic view requires distance and space. And similarly, the plot doesn’t make sense when you read only chapter 18.
So, I’m here at 62 (chapter, not years, thank you) with a lot of back story to work with—trauma, drama, love, pain, plot twists, and pa-lenty of metaphor. It’s all really very interesting so far. A top notch read. (Now, to work on the telling.)
But really, I think that the best part of my age (45, thanks) is my awareness that the way in which I read and re read my own story is completely up to me, and can determine the way in which I live the rest of my life. Regardless of this character or that situation, this is really about my own education. This is essential for me.
(By the way, if the theme of this blog entry were favorite t.v genres, I would say here that I’m partial to the sit-com and that I like
actresses with great hair and teeth, and also, tall hunky actors.)
Finally though, it’s true for me right now that, “the best part of aging” is knowing that there IS a rich story ahead, that I intend to enjoy it consciously, and that most of all, my story is made all the richer as I share it with my girls again and again and again and again….
I’d love to know---what are you really enjoying about growing up?
Shanti Om y’all,
And a hug,
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do
are in harmony."-Mahatma Gandhi
Hmmm. I used to think of a million reasons about why I couldn't be happy until later including but not limited to: losing 10 lbs, finishing that project, finishing this course, earning more money, losing 14 lbs, leaving this job, switching lanes, leaving that job, switching cities, losing 6 lbs, leaving this gathering, switching vitamins, when my husband stops snoring, taking a vacation,
taking a vacation from my family, taking a vacation from my thoughts, leaving this vacation and going home, losing 24 lbs, buying that thing I NEED, eating a pizza....
So there was a lot of getting somewhere else in order to be happy, it was never right now but rather, a destination in the future.
But what happens is that later, when we finally get "there", we're still not actually there because there can't be a here and now for the later thinker, later will ALWAYS be later and somewhere else.
So what did I do?
FOUND A WAY. FOUND A WAY. FOUND A WAY. I had to find a way to be happy in myselfness, even if only for some brief, genuine, constructive ("constructive" does NOT include the deceptive lie of colored sugar and artery clogging fat found in cake and other processed desserts, and bacon) minutes throughout the day.
And it wasn't easy, at first. But I'd heard that people could do it. There were true stories of not-perfect, non-vacationing, working, family oriented, unemployed, healthy-food-eating, kids, adults, men, women, and centenarians, who were actually happy. And often, they felt happy for no particular reason. And some of them even lived in poverty—with only one leg and maybe 6 fingers all together.
So, this made me think, but what's more, it began to give me perspective.
Thinking that happens only in the brain is limited. Perspective however, is something else (as in, "all that perspective is
something else, aint it!") because perspective is thinking from the heart and soul.
It’s seeing and feeling and knowing in a big-picture way. And this leads to gratitude, and gratitude is right now. And each right now full of perspective, heart, soul, and gratitude, creates exactly what is most desirable for the future.
And, it takes us there gently, more smoothly, with hope, and with awareness; it's not some other time and place, it's a process of now turning into later eventually, evolving into later in the same way that the sun rises and over the course of the day it sets too, and then night turns into day again smoothly and definately.
Well, here I am today. My kid has this big problem and my husband another and I'm really worried about that thing
that could potentially turn horrible and world politics is...
But it's okay; this too will pass, and right now I'm breathing clean air in my own space, in my safe neighborhood surrounded by chirping birds and the light of day, and I've got five good fingers on each hand.
It's right now in this breathing moment, an amazing thing to be alive. And right now. And right now.
This is the space (full of calm, perspective, gratitude, awareness) from which to approach each perceived problem.
And apparently, because “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony”, it might make sense to re-evaluate a lot of what’s been stored in that thinking department upstairs--there can be a whole lot of expired junk in that old cupboard.
So here you are right now, too. What are you feeling happy about right now? What are you grateful for? And what is the big picture for you?
I would love to know; your stories continue to inspire us all. Briefly, post here!
Shanti Om (peace y'all)
Lisa M. Miller* *Mind-Body Health Specialist*Teacher*Chaplain